27 juni 2017

Very Still Life

One of my friends is a taxidermist with an amazing workspace, and he said he'd teach me some things a while ago. We were supposed to meet for the first 'lesson' when he messaged to tell me he was a bit too busy to really teach, but I was always welcome to just hang around instead. So I did, and brought my sketchbook!

(click for larger versions)
When I'm working in cut out paper the point is to simplify things as much as possible, reducing them to their essence. I liked drawing all these tiny details for a change! It has been a while since I did anything like this, drawing on location, and it's rusty to say the least. These two drawings (slightly larger than A3 sized) took three hours, and I kind of cringe at the perspective. But it was fun, and isn't that more important? My sense of perspective will come back eventually.

21 juni 2017

Triangles Are My Favourite Shape

(I'm not entirely sure about that but it sounds good)

Summer has definitely arrived here, and I try to get away with wearing as little as possible to stay comfortable. I recently discovered that a whole lot of my summer clothes from last year don't fit anymore, so I've been planning some lightweight sewing. At the top of the list was a breezy cotton summer dress:

I had an allergic reaction to an ant bite so could only wear these shoes for a few days. Also pictured: Joost, or at least his shadow.
I had this fabric in my stash for a long time, it came from Pauwels (where I also bought the fabric for this other strappy summer dress. Hey, if it works...). I had intended to make a playsuit out of it, but thought a dress might get more wear. I'm very particular in what length of shorts I want to wear (basically, they have to be quite short or I'll feel really stocky and frumpy) but I'll often lack the confidence to have that much leg on show, so a slightly longer dress will definitely get worn more often. Does that make sense?

The pattern is a simple one, and I drafted it myself, starting from my bodice block. I rotated the side bust darts out to the waist darts and evened out the bottom so I could just gather it for a dartless bodice. The neckline was eyeballed and took two tries to get it right (the first attempt was too low in the back to fully cover my bra band and too narrow in the front).

My previous appartment (from hell) is actually in the backgound.
The gathered bodice is attached to a straight waistband, which has a gathered skirt attached onto it. I had limited yardage (end of the bolt so not my fault for once) and cut everything on the cross grain because I liked the print more with the stripes running horizontally. The skirt is two gathered rectangles, not super voluminous (because not that much fabric) so it's a bit narrower and more tulip-shaped than usual. I was a bit worried that there would be too much gathering all around and that the top part would get super blousy, so I was very careful about the length of the bodice!

Try to ignore the mismatched stripes on the back bodice and look at the strap action going on here! Some people might call this a dress that is not 'bra friendly' but I don't actually mind visible bra straps- as long as the bra itself is covered. (what is the problem anyway? People will know that- gasp!- I'm wearing underwear?). The straps are narrow tubes of fabric, and getting them right took some work. The neckline of the dress is finished with a facing (I thought about lining it but it might have gotten too bulky with all the gathering and just too WARM) and I sandwiched the straps between shell and facing at the front only. I then tried it on, pinned everything in place and hand-stitched the straps down. The outer ones still kind of fall off my shoulders (as seen in these pictures) but I think I'll leave it or they might get too tight.

I really like the shape of this neckline and will probable make another version as a top... There is some silk lurking in my stash that would be perfect.

12 juni 2017

Girls Girls Girls

I'm working on a little something that's called #justgirlythings. It involves lots of drawings of girls, so I dove into my archive of old photographs and made some sketches:

(click for larger versions)

The end result is going to be in cut out paper, not pencil. It's also going to be a lot gorier. Stay tuned!

10 juni 2017

One Granny Bullet, Dodged

Here's something else I've made  with one of the fabrics I bought in Germany! I had spotted this viscose crepe at Stoff & Stil and loved it at first sight, but I knew I'd have to be careful about my pattern choice here. I was a bit worried that the print, combined with the crepe texture, would make for a grannyish look if combined with a pattern that was too... Strict? So I went for something light and floaty, and combined it with short shorts.

Still seems a bit conservative, maybe? Well, the real surprise is in the back:

I had spotted this loose foldover back top thing in one of the sewing magazines at work and took it home one night to trace the pattern. This might have been a quick and easy sew, but I decided to make things harder for myself! The fabric was super shifty so I had to be careful while cutting, and I didn't have much of it (barely a yard, it had been cut very crookedly- the lady in the shop noticed this and asked me if it was ok though, so it wasn't a nasty surprise or anything!) so the only reason I got this top out of it was that it's pretty short.

The pattern came with facings for the neckline and hem, and I just kind of scoffed at that idea (nothing to do with me not having enough fabric to even think about facings, haha). Cutting, interfacing and sewing a hem facing on this thing with all its rounded bias edges sounced like hell, so I decided to make bias tape out of my remaining scraps of fabric. Very sensible! I managed to cut strips that weren't even that uneven, sewed them on and hand-finished everything for a cleaner finish.

 This top also turns out really short, and not really bra friendly! I'm wearing a very cropped black top underneath, because if I bend over or anything my entire back is on show. Which is perfect for summer, of course. I decided to pair it with some high-waisted shorts made from an old Burda issue, and think it looks fine. I'm not too sure about the pleats in these shorts, maybe they would work better in a drapier fabric so they're less poofy. For now I'm happy with my grannyshirt and poofypants though!

04 juni 2017

When You Are The Moon, The Best Form You Can Be Is A Full Moon

And by that I mean that if you get an occasion to get all fancy you should just GO FOR IT!

Every year the students of the Antwerp Fashion Academy present their final work in a fashion show, and since many of them frequent the store I work at now (come say hi if you're in Antwerp!) we thought it would be fun to go see it. I had seen these guys a lot over the past few months, getting more and more stressed out, but it was definitely worth it! The show was awesome, and we saw some really interesting things. But what did I wear?

I had seen this Vogue pattern pop up here and there recently, and got intrigued. The pattern photo looks a bit weird, and the fabric they chose doesn't do the design any justice in my opinion, but I thought the line drawings looked promising!

I had not worked with a Big 4 pattern in ages, so after checking the size chart I decided to measure the pattern pieces. Doing that turned out to be a good decision: I am a size 14 according to their size chart, but the waistband for that size is over 7 cm larger than my actual waist size. That is a lot of ease for a waistband that kind of supports the entire dress, so I sized down. The skirt portion fit really well out of the envelope, but I had to make the top a lot smaller as well. I took about 10 cm of width out of the center back and omitted the split and loop (I was also lowering the neckline so wouldn't need it to be able to pull the dress over my head). I also removed a wedge fron the center front because the neckline was gaping. The bodice was too long on me, causing it to blouse way too much, so I raised the shoulders (also eliminating that crazy shoulderpad) and lowered the armholes to compensate. Phew!

Construction is interesting on this one. It's basically a skirt and top, with the top pleated in front and sewn between the waistband and waistband facing, making it look like it's been tucked in. This means the entire back and side is loose, which makes for a nice breezy feel and easy acces in case of itchiness. The back is still really loose and I considered taking a bit more out of the center, but that would make getting in and out of this dress even more of an adventure! I like how the hem on the top has some interesting curves going on, instead of just being straight across. The neckline and armholes are finished with a facing, and I chose to do all my hems by hand.

The pleats give the skirt some nice fullness at the front. I feel like I could shorten the top a tiny bit more, since it still feels really blousy unless I stand up absolutely straight. Or maybe this dress will finally teach me good posture! Next time I'll probably omit the center front seam and cut that piece on the fold, since there doesn't really seem to be a reason for a center front seam anyway. There are inseam pockets, but they are anchored in the waistband as well, which means they don't shift around too much. This works really well on this type of fabric but would probably be too bulky on heavier things!

All this talk about sewing and fitting and I haven't even mentioned the fabric! I wanted something drapey but not super thin and unstructured, and found the perfect viscose at the Fabric Sales with Hanne and Joost. I had envisioned this in black, but this nice deep not-quite-blue-not-quite-green caught my eye. It also has a slight silvery sheen to it that doesn't photograph at all, so you'll just have to take my word for it. I had 3,5 meters and still have enough left to make something else, even after cutting this in a maxi length!

I went for maxi because the pattern length looked really frumpy on me (I'm not made for midi lengths) and cutting it shorter would look really unbalanced. The skirt is pretty straight, even with the added fullness in front, so I made a split in the back to make walking easier.

I really like this dress and think there might even be room in my wardrobe for another one!

"Go stand by the motorcycle and do something!" "Eh"