Shop update

It has been a bit of a rocky start with my shop, DAAIN. Within a week after the opening, my sewing machine had to be repaired. I was separated from it for six days, which felt like an eternity. When I finally got it back I happily continued to work maniacally and made four new things. After I photographed them in the forest I got sick. I’m still sick, but I did edit the pictures and write descriptions and list those clothes in the meantime.

I made a velvet crop top, a multi-layered asymmetrical skirt, a hooded vest and a sleeveless maxi dress. All up for adoption now! Besides the dress they’re all made from recycled materials. The dress is made from the same eco-friendly, fair-trade, organic fabric that I used for my other maxi dress. The more I learn about the clothing industry, the more I stand by this use of materials.

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Shop now open!

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I have been scattering hints like breadcrumbs these past few weeks and now my shop is finally open! It’s called DAAIN, which means ‘witch’ in Sarnami. It is, of course, all monochrome eco-friendly witchy fashion. So far I have three ready-made items for sale, and one custom option. The first top I have already shown on this blog:

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The other two are a maxi dress and a crop top:

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Before this dress, I had the ambition to only make clothing from repurposed materials. I went to thrift shop after thrift shop, prowled around flea markets and scoured the web for second-hand clothing. But I came to realise how impractical that would be. It would take a very long time to build up a good collection to work with. So I went for the next best thing: organic, fair-trade, environmentally friendly produced fabrics.

I bought a couple of meters of black jersey fabric from SewNatural, a Dutch shop specialising in eco-friendly fabrics that I have only recently discovered. I must say, it’s the nicest jersey fabric I have ever worked with. I would love to buy a lot more of it for clothing for myself, haha. But for now, I made this maxi dress to sell. I thought it was a good basic staple to start off with.

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And then I made this top, from a thrifted lace dress that I’ve only just scored a little over a week ago. I gave that poor dress a much more exciting life as this little top. I hope. The flared part of the sleeves was already part of the dress, its finest feature. The rest was all my own hacking and stitching.

I’m so excited to make more clothing and fill up my shop!

More sewing: Long-sleeved hooded top

You won’t believe how long it took me to make this top. It looks simple, but a lot of experimentation and puzzling with materials went into this. And re-doing, oh re-doing. It turned out amazing though. It falls perfectly and it’s super comfortable.

It’s made of all recycled materials: thrifted shirts and a scrap or two left over from old t-shirt reconstructions.

I’m a bit disappointed with the pictures though. I thought I had devised a good set-up with a wire strung across my room and a €1 thrifted sheet, but the lighting in this room is pretty terrible. How I miss the natural light in my old room… I suppose I’ll have to invest in studio lights to make this work. And a bigger tripod.

Thanks for looking!

Starting 2018 off sewing

In the past five weeks I have been questioning a lot about myself, my life and the path that I’ve been on. One thing that has led to is the conviction that I need to get back into sewing. I’ve missed it dearly and honestly, it’s what I’m best at. I will write a whole post about it at some point. But for now, here are pretty things.

I made these two reconstructed dresses over the past week.
The first is reconstructed from a skirt and a top which I never wore, with other scraps added to it. I love how it turned out so much! It’s so cute and comfy. A perfect dress for a casual lolita look, but could also be dressed up with a blouse and petticoat and everything.

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Despite all the layers it’s really light, which I love.

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I got the middle strip of lace from a second-hand market last week. Antique lace is the loveliest.

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This old, ill-fitting Queen of Darkness skirt and an ill-fitting thrifted top formed the base of the dress:

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I took this skirt apart almost completely, while I kept the top basically intact, save for the closure. (Yes, the skirt was beautiful, but I’m a punk crafter and have no remorse.)

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This second dress I reconstructed from a vintage dress I’ve had sitting in my closet for years. I got it from the Brick Lane market in London, back in 2012. It was a shapeless maxi dress with embroidery and long sleeves. Not the type of dress I would have usually considered, but the dye-job on this was absolutely gorgeous.

Because of the dye-job I sought to make it work. I already altered it a bit back then: shortened the sleeves and took in the waist with elastic. It didn’t help much. So it sat in my closet. I only took it out again last week, and now I’ve finally managed to salvage it.

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It’s super flattering, comfortable and has pockets! I can see myself wearing this a lot in the summer, and on my next trip to the tropics.

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The little things I added are all old things from my scrap heap. The stringy thing for the bow I made myself, back when I was in fashion school (2010?) and had to research different textile techniques. This method was a sort of knitting; it’s called “punniken” in Dutch, I have no idea what it is in English. At long last, it’s gotten a purpose.

This is what the dress was before:

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Thanks for looking!

handmade lolita-esque bolero & a circle skirt

i’m pretty impressed by how much i’ve managed to sew lately. what with all the things working against my favour. here are a bolero & a skirt that i finished this weekend:

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like many things, this bolero took longer than expected. it was the ruffles. oh, ruffles. these ruffles are killing me. why do they have to look so cute?

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when i started, they didn’t look so bad. the bottom ruffles went pretty smoothly. but then the top! i had to redo them twice. first they were much too packed & it looked clownish. then the front barely had any ruffles left.

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i also added the second layer of lace at the last moment, when i had already finished up the rest of the collar. so i had to ruffle that lace separately & sew that ruffled lace over the ruffled fabric, under the more narrow lace. however, it was worth going back to do that extra work; it ended up looking fabulous. i’ve become a lot more critical with my work over the past year or two. it does lead to better results.

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i was planning to do a fuller ruffle at the end of the sleeves, but i stuck to this smallish bell shape. i thought it would be cuter. maybe i’ll add some (removable) bows to them. if they’re removable i can switch up white and black ones. the bow at the front is also removable for that same reason.

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i love this skirt so much. it’s high-waisted, super comfortable & has big pockets in the side-seams. it’s pretty basic, but basic can be very nice. i’ve needed a skirt like this in my closet for ages.

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it’s made of such nice materials. the lace especially was an amazing find.

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on a sidenote, i took out my old leopard print fabric backdrop which i used all the time back when i had my etsy shop. oh, nostalgia. i would love to have a shop again. it’s actually pretty doable at this sewing rate. difficult, but doable. maybe towards the end of the year…

the egl dress from hell, finished

i posted a preview of this on AUGUST 23RD, when i had already been working on this for a very long time, & just last week i finished it. & when i had finished it, i realised that i had forgotten my good camera at my other house & i couldn’t take any pictures & there are so many frustrations with this dress. but it’s done! i think. the hemline could be cleaned up a bit, but i can’t face those ruffles again just now. so many ruffles… & layers… & weight…

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looks good though, doesn’t it? overall. it has some small flaws, but did i mention the ruffles? & weight?

for a long time i only felt frustrated when i looked at this dress on my dressform. even when i tried it on & looked at it in the mirror. just last night i properly wore it, with a blouse & everything, & i felt like a princess. for the first time all those hours & hours & hours seemed vaguely worth it.

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i drew up a new pattern, from scratch for this dress, & i think my pattern drawing skills could still use a lot of improving. it turned out much too big; it was supposed to be fitted at the top. however, i ended up quite liking the extra room. it makes this dress super comfortable & gives it something of a yohji yamamoto vibe. like if he would design for angelic pretty.
aside from the miscalculated sizing, the back also looks a bit off, because the pattern was drawn with sleeves in mind. for dresses with sleeves you need a little more room at the back. i changed my mind about the sleeves at the last minute. i had already pinned them on, short, extremely puffy sleeves, & then decided that it looked better without. with how big the sleeves were it would also be near impossible to wear shrugs or small jackets over it. sleeveless this dress is a lot more versatile. plus, those huge puffy sleeves did not flatter my broad shoulders at all.

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those pattern flaws are a lot less noticeable on me than on my dressform though. i would have taken pictures of me wearing it, but when i remembered to take my good camera with me, i forgot my tripod, & the lighting here in my primary home is too bad to take pictures. another time.

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this dress is fully lined & the skirt is built up of two layers. both of the layers of the skirt are divided into two parts. the top gathered part of the skirt is 3 meters wide, the bottom ruffles come to 6! a lot of the bottom ruffles are also patched together, because otherwise i wouldn’t have enough fabric. initially i bought 5 meters of the main fabric of about 1.80m wide. i thought then i would have maybe a 1 1/2m left for another project, but i ended up using it all. even buying some extra! & then there was the lining. a lot of fabric is in this dress. it makes it very poofy without a petticoat, which is what i was going for. a lot of lolita dresses look kind of sad without a petticoat & i didn’t want that.

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i probably could have used a little less fabric though. i wanted to try a bias-cut for the skirt. with wide skirts it can look a lot better when fabric is cut on the bias, but that is not the most economical way of cutting. now that the experiment is done i’m also not sure how much of a difference it made, what with all the ruffles. ruffles. ruffles everywhere. i should try a design like this cut regularly & compare it… in a couple of months when i can handle a ruffle again.

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like with my favourite lolita brand, the front bow & waist ties are removable. i also put two huge pockets in the skirt. skirts are always better with pockets.

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i also made a matching headbow:

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maybe i’ll make this dress design available as a custom order, when i’ve cleaned it up a bit. see how i can make this more efficiently & thus lower the price. as it is now it would have to be around €275-€300. feel free to comment if you’re interested.

thank you for looking!

diy pants, shirt & accessories

i just came back from my mom’s house, which i’ve come to think of as my studio. i’ve spent a glorious day and a half there doing nothing but crafting. i finished up a shirt i had been working on the last time i was there, made some wristcuffs, a choker, & made a plain, boring pair of pants awesome.

first off, the shirt.

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it was just a plain, striped men’s shirt i got from the thrift store. not too bad, but i already had another plain, striped men’s shirt from the thrift store which looked very similar & i tended to wear more. so i decided to make this one different.

DSC03335 copy i took an old converge t-shirt as the base for this transformation. it was a very white, extra large one which i had been meaning to make into something else for several years. i cut out the graphics & added some mesh, so the bright colours wouldn’t be so harsh against the dark background. i also dyed the ‘converge’ & pink square parts in tea for the same reason.

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then i added some scrap materials i had lying around & replaced some of the buttons. i also rolled up the sleeves & added scraps & buttons there to hold them up. some of the pieces are sewn by machine, others by hand. i really like combining both methods for these sorts of projects.

DSC03342 copyoverall, it was a pretty simple modification. i was planning on doing more to it, but with the striped base not that much was needed. i love how this shirt turned out.

also very simple, were these wristcuffs & choker:
DSC03358 copyi made the wristcuffs by layering stretchy lace, ruffling them smaller with elastic & then adding bows of velvet ribbon on top. the choker is made out of that same velvet ribbon, which i sewed some scrap already ruffled lace on, then a tier of rhinestones, & completed the whole with five small roses. only the lace was sewn by machine, the rest by hand. it closes by tying together some smaller ribbon. very gothy. the choker reminds me of something that a 90’s teenager with a small budget who was just getting into gothic fashion would make. kind of second-hand nostalgia? anyway, i love it for that reason.

& now, the pants. i got them from a thrift store & i never wore them because the top was a little too big for me & it kept falling down. this is what they looked like before:

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& this is what it became:

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i spent about twelve straight hours on it yesterday. when i look at it now it seems impossible that it took so long. twelve. then again, i had to figure out what exactly i wanted on them, i had to paint, wait for the paint to dry, sew a lot by hand…

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i started by dabbing thinned down black fabric paint all over it. then i splattered silver fabric paint over that. then i thought about patches i wanted to put on it. of course, it is the alternative way to plaster band names & logo’s all over one’s clothes & provide all this free promotion while meaning to show the depths of one’s soul. whatever. i went with the first bands that came to mind & had interesting or easy to paint logo’s. all four patches are painted freehand. i’m pretty impressed with how they turned out.

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go ahead; guess what they’re all from.

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for an extra layer i added some more scrap mesh. most of that is sewn by machine, but it was rather hellish to get so far to the bottom in such narrow pipes. most of the lowest parts defeated me & i ended up sewing that by hand. at one part even that was too much & i just secured that with safety pins.

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i also added some patches of striped fabric, more decorative safety pins, the obligatory studs & a d-ring. to fix the sizing issue at the top i added belt loops & hoped that wearing it well-belted would be enough. & now that i’ve been walking around in it all day i can confirm that yes, a belt is enough.

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as you can see, all the patches were hand-sewn on. the patches were probably what took the most time. i don’t mind though. it was nice, easy work that i didn’t have to pay that close attention to. i could just watch videos & shows while i was working on them.

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i’m so happy with these pants! worth all twelve hours. i keep looking down at them or in the mirror at them. they’re perfect. or almost. i would still like an extra pocket in front, for things like my public transport card. i think i’ll make a zippered one, with the pocket out of sight on the inside. maybe the next time i go to my mom’s house. first i have to stock up on metal zippers again.

these pants sort of compel me to similarly punk up other plain black items. otherwise they’re so lonely. however, i also don’t want all my plain black stuff ending up the same… i’ll see.

thank you for looking! i hope you enjoyed this post at least a fragment as much as i enjoyed making these. maybe even inspired a diy project of your own.

sneak preview of a dress i’m working on

it’s a terrible picture, but i really wanted to show something of this dress that i’ve been working on. i’ve been working on it, on & off, for a couple of weeks now.

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it’s a very lolita inspired sleeveless dress. at first it was really fun to work on this, but later it became more & more frustrating. so many ruffles & layers & weight. i also made a few mistakes and changes to the design, which made it much more work than it should be. i think it will be worth it though. it’s already looking rather fabulous. i just need to fix the bottom ruffles, & the back of the top, & improve the bow clip, & buy & add more lace…

soon.