24 april 2014

Who Made Your Clothes?

One year ago, a factory collapsed in Bangladesh, killing 1133 people and injuring over 2000 more. This factory supplied clothing for a few well-known high street stores. If anything, it really made me think even more about where our clothes came from. Is it really worth it?

Today is Fashion Revolution Day. It's a day to challenge yourself and the people around you to wonder: where do your clothes come from? Who made them, and at what cost?

I started sewing as a creative outlet, and the switching of my wardrobe from storebought clothes to mainly handmade had more to do with the joy I got out of it, and the higher quality garments. But the ethics of fashion have always been present, at least in the back of my mind. I bought cheap clothes because it was what I could afford, and I tried to ignore the pang of guilt I felt. At this moment I try not to buy anything I can make myself. I still buy things like underwear, t-shirts and sweaters, but I do try to limit the quantity to a minimum.

I won't judge anyone for what they choose to wear (or not to wear). Hell, I'm not free of blame at all. But if a few people put some more thought into what it is they are buying, and how these stores manage to keep their prices so low, there is progress being made.

22 april 2014

My Mom's Puerto Rican. That's Why I'm So Lively And Colorful.

I'm sure you've all heard by now, but Roisin is getting married! Some brilliant people decided to celebrate this with a competition to honor her unique sense of style, and of course I jumped at the chance to make something...

Roisin and I met once before in London, and we immediately got on. In fact, I'll be seeing her again soon! I was lucky enough to meet Nic as well and I can only wish these two people the best for the rest of their lives together. They are both incredibly nice and perfect for each other!

I've admired Roisin's sense of style for a while, and we seem to be drawn to the same type of shapes and prints. I had this Alexander Henry fabric in my stash for a while with the intention to make it into a Cambie dress, and took this as a sign!

We took pictures during our family's Easter celebration at my uncle's house. This is their dog, and we both just spotted something!

This print has a very large repeat, so it was damn near impossible to match the pattern along the seams. I tried my best to avoid glaring repeats and left it at that. There is quite a big repeat on the back though, shhh!

I used the bodice of the Cambie dress but made a straight neckline instead of the sweetheart version, since I thought it would be too much with this busy print. I also used the Chantilly skirt from Colette Patterns because I love the shape of it.

Easter is the time for awkward smiles and much needed haircuts.
I love my new dress, and like it even more knowing that it's made in honor of two people I like a lot. All the best to you, Roisin and Nic!

20 april 2014

Trust No One.

I've since long wanted to incorporate my drawing into my sewing. I have designed a few fabrics on Spoonflower, and last year I made my final school project about a young seamstress. Recently I've started block-printing again and decided I'd try some things on fabric. here's the outcome!

Someone needs to trim her fringe...

This was a very simple printing project: I carved a lino stamp and used a metallic textile paint to stamp a length of dark blue linen. The paint is slightly too thin for block-printing so the coverage isn't perfect, which is exactly what I was going for! It took me a few hours to stamp the entire thing, but I loved the result. Making it into a dress took a little bit longer though, this particular paint (Setacolor) has to be heat-set and I really wasn't looking forward to ironing each painted section for five minutes...

Right before gathering my wits and starting en epic ironing session I decided to look for some alternatives. I quickly found out this particular paint can be set in the oven as well. Bingo! I ended up popping the entire thing in there for a few minutes, and now it should be washable. This was so much easier, and nothing caught fire. I'm curious to see how the paint will hold up!

The dress bodice is good old Simplicity 2444, with a gathered rectangle for a skirt. I didn't want the direction of the print to be all over the place, since it was so ridiculously off-grain already. Pattern matching this was out of the question, but I did manage to avoid having literal headlights...

I bought this linen during our first blogger meet in Brussels, because the colour was so nice. It's a truly deep navy blue and the fabric has lots of drape and lots of body at the same time. I have made some (unblogged, and sadly unworn) things with linen before, but this really won me over. There is another project in the pipes!

Here's another close view of the print. At first doing this for others didn't even cross my mind because it would take AGES with all the heat setting... But if it turns out the oven works just as well it might be an option. I've been steadily working on starting a webshop selling hand-printed patches and tote bags along with postcards and embroidered felt pins, but would anyone be interested in hand-printed yardage? I've been a bit disappointed by Spoonflower's printing quality, and while the possibilities with hand-printing are a lot more limited it certainly has its charms!

09 april 2014

Wednesday Has Been Cancelled Due To A Scheduling Error.

"A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep."

Do any of you listen to Welcome to Night Vale? If not, I'd give it a listen. It's a free podcast about a small town where... strange things happen. Very strange.

I bought one of their patches some time ago and thought it would be a perfect addition to my first Rigel bomber!

I've had the pattern for a while, but it took some time to source al the supplies and muster up the courage to tackle welt pockets, ribbing and a separating zipper. Looking back, all these fears were unnecessary.

 I've made a straight size small and was quite amazed at how quickly it all came together. The instruction booklet is super cute and very clear! Everything is explained well enough for me to easily wrap my head around it.

I'm not sure what this is. Sorry.
The pattern itself is very basic: a classic bomber jacket with ribbing at the hem, sleeves and collar. It doesn't need a lot of fabric, so it's a great stashbuster! I used a Nani Iro double gauze and got everything out of two yards (it's a narrow fabric) with quite a few scraps left. I can also see this pattern work in loads of different fabrics.

This is me trying to look menacing. I failed.
The only downside about the pattern is one that's been mentioned a few times: it doesn't come with a lining. This could work with some jackets but in this case you have welt pockets on the inside, and those... Don't look so sweet. I took the easy way out and just sewed up the shell a second time in a black cotton (minus the pockets, obviously). I then basted the shell and lining together at the neckline, arms and hem before attaching the ribbing.

I've already worn this jacket loads of time and predict it will get even more wear in the future! The fabric is lovely as well, it's a nice textured double gauze with a mottled purple-blue-brown print on it. It's super soft and wears really well.

We took a series of pictures meant for a gif, but I couldn't resist adding something to it... Station management has had a bad influence on me. And last but not least:

My boyfriend really knows how to find the nicest places in our town.

03 april 2014


I ordered the Sewaholic Gabriola skirt almost as soon as it was released. A flowy maxi skirt has been high on my list for a while, and this pattern ticked all the boxes! Massive hem for maximum drama? Check! Sits on the natural waist so it makes me look tall? Check! Interesting details, fit for customization? Check!

I made this not-that-basic black version in a soft cotton batiste, and I think this will be a summer staple! It makes me want to release my inner witch and cast spells on innocent bystanders. Nice spells!

The construction of this skirt is pretty interesting: the part around the waist and hips is fitted and panelled, with the real volume starting a bit lower. This takes the whole thing up a notch from the usual waistband-with-a-gathered-rectangle and makes for a slinky and flattering fit. Sewaholic patterns are drafted for pear-shaped women, which I'm not (not that this has ever stopped me before...) so I graded down a size between the waist and the hips (this was very easy to do!)

The biggest change I made was to line the skirt, since the batiste was slightly sheer. I simply underlined the yoke pieces in self fabric and constructed a separate skirt out of more batiste (don't ask me how much fabric went into this thing...). The skirt was handstitched to the inside yoke seam and the zipper after I constructed the entire skirt, so it would hang as freely as possible. Sewing it to the outer skirt before attaching the yoke would have been an option as well, but then I'd have to sew the shell and lining together while inserting the zipper, and that was a no in my book!

The yoke details are hard to photograph on a black skirt, but here's an attempt! Newt time I'll probably change the waistband a bit to make it curved, since it doesn't really lie flat against my body... It's just a long rectangle now. I shortened the skirt a bit before making a narrow hem and the length is perfect now for my 5'4" frame: the skirt skims the floor when I'm wearing flat shoes.

I already have an idea to turn this into a dress...

PS: if anyone is wondering about the title of this post, it's this song by Sigur Rós, from the album with the same name. The movement of this skirt seemed strangely fitting!

01 april 2014

Giveaway Winners, and some exciting news!

Woops! I completely forgot to pick a winner for the giveaway! The last few days have been a bit strange and hectic, and I even felt like this at times:

So, I finally got around to picking three winners! Random.org provided me with the numbers corresponding to the comments of Amanda Milner, Helen McFayden and Kathryn! Hooray! Please send me an e-mail at annekecaramin(at)hotmail(dot)com to claim your prize!

If you'll excuse me, I'm now venturing back into my gif archives to find more moving pictures fitting for winners.

Congratulations, you lovely people!

In other news, I've recently purchased the domain name annettetirette.com. The old link should redirect you just fine, but you can update your bookmarks or whatever accordingly!

I was also really excited to see news about Sew it up pop up online! A few weeks ago me and some others started chatting on Twitter about a Belgian/Dutch version of Project Sewn, and things are happening! If you live in Belgium or the Netherlands and would like to be a contestant, you can apply here. I know I will!

20 maart 2014

OMFG! I won a thing! Celebrations! Potential free stuff to be gotten here!

I entered my Albion coat in the sewalong contest Colette was having and I actually won one of the second place prizes!

I did not film my reaction when I got Sarai's lovely e-mail, and I don't really feel I can recreate it. But let me give you an idea of how it went using a different medium:

... That's roughly how it went. I did do a little dance and called my boyfriend.

Since this glorious happening calls for a celebration, I thought it was a good reason to have a giveaway! I recently got incredibly lucky at the thrift store and got 22 metres of striped cotton for an amazing price. I'll definitely use some of it but it's way too nice to use the rest for muslins... And I don't see myself wearing nothing but stripes from now on. Here is the fabric, modelled by my friend Darth Vader:

It's a lighter weight fabric, probably pure cotton or a cotton-linen blend (I burnt a piece and don't think there's anything synthetic in there). It has a slight texture and would make a nice summer dress!

I'm giving away three pieces of fabric to three lucky winners! Each piece will be three meters, enough for a dress or something else. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by next Friday, and I'll pick the winners by Monday! You can earn extra entries by tweeting about this giveaway, or mentioning it on your own blog. Just make sure to leave a separate comment on the post linking to your post or tweet! This giveaway is open for international readers as well, I'll ship anywhere!

I'm off to do some more dancing work. Thank you for the support, everyone!