All posts by Kristine

DIY Waxed Cotton Jacket

This project has taken its time. The goal was to make a classic waxed cotton motorcycle jacket like the ones Belstaff and Barbour makes. These jackets has been around since the 30s and style-wise one of my favorites. Just think of Steve McQueen, fun little article about his racing career here. Love the rustic look of an aged, anonymous jacket like this with the typical asymmetrical left chest pocket, drunk pocket I think its called.

Belstaff jacket from the 60s and an early Barbour jacket. Pictures from Vintage Showroom!

I ordered Chocolate brown oilskin from Merchant & Mills in march. The rest of the things took a month to get. I wanted all metals to bee antique brass and the lining to be checked cotton flannel so it took some research to get everything right.

During the toiling I learned a lesson when it comes to shape. I already know that sewing patters isn’t standardized in body proportions. For me most indie patterns are on the short side, the waistline hits the lower point of my ribs and the hemline on a mid length skirt is above my knees. It never struck me that some companies fit are so far from my body shape that it’s almost impossible to make it work. I made the Willa Vest two sizes smaller than my actual size, made adjustments for shoulders, bust and raising the arm cycle just to find that I had to make a small bust adjustment on both front and back(!) again. The garment had a strange and ancient look on my body, so I gave up. The Leyla Jane patterns are well made and Ive seen them look great on a lot of people, but its not for me. After some searching I found the Burda Style 10/2013 jacket that I used instead. Already had the fabric, so no going back.

This jacket is a bit different from the originals. Its base is an ordinary mens style blazer cut with no side seam and looks a bit more formal. I liked that look and wasn’t so interested in adding some of the details but otherwise I basically followed the instructions. I made bellow pockets and skewed the left pocket to make it look more like the vintage motorcycle jacket. Instructions for making bellow pockets is found at Müller & Sohn

I had to skip the front buttons from the original too, could have hammered them in anyway but then I cant change zipper if it breaks. As I plan to wear this jacket for a long time that could happen. Also added belt loops on the sides but it didn’t look great belted so I removed that one.

Outside of Jacket
Inside of Jacket. There is a zippered pocket somewhere.

Loved working in oilskin, the fabric is fabouous! I have a soft spot for working with leathers and plastic materials but there is always the risk to screw up and end up with visible lines of holes in the fabric if you have to rip a seam. With oilskin there isnt that problem, the holes are visible after ripping but nothing a new coat of wax cant fix. It feels sturdy but also flexible and stichings look gorgeous. I have a few meters in other colors so there will be more things to come.

Cant help thinking of the Rick Owens quote ”Every jacket I make has interior pockets big enough to store a book and a sandwich and a passport.” I’m having that plus four more on this one.

When Your Capsule Wardrobe Derails!

Ive been working on my module for The great module seawalong for a while. The Kabuki tee from Paper Theory Patterns turned out great, the Burda skinny jeans from BurdaStyle 8/19 not so much. The fabric was too stiff and soft at the same time, very strange. I was ok with it, slightly worried that my module was too basic, dull and of course dark but fine anyway. As research for a blog post about it I looked into styling methods and came across Carol Tuttle and her Dressing Your Truth concept. Made the free analysis and must say, it totally derailed the whole project and my wardrobe with it. At first I wasn’t too happy about the result. It felt lame and containing everything I usually try to avoid, but why did I feel like that? Then I thought it would be a fun experiment to examine my preferences a bit.

Came across an old envelope with inspirational pictures I’ve gathered for another capsule project. The images in the envelope was what got discarded in the process.

Patterns from Jenny Hellström, DP Studio, Greenstyle Creations, Burda and Trend Patterns. Images from Vogue Runway.

There it was, the muted colors and curved lines I was supposed to wear! Everything doesn’t work but put together it looks fun and interesting. My finished capsule didn’t. Then I decided to have a look into a favorite resource of mine, a scrap book of fashion pictures made in the 80s and 90s.

There it was again, over and over!

Im writing this in the process of building another module for the sewalong, with some new patterns and new fabrics from my stash. Also making a new print for fabric to accompany the new colors and lines. Its early to say how this will turn out and how it will proceed, but I will continue this research and get back later.

Alexander McQueen Jacket

I printed pictures of all the Showstudio Design Downloads and let my husband choose the designs he liked best. One of them was the infamously difficult Alexander McQueen Jacket. So that one became the next make. I already had this pattern in my computer and dreaded a bit printing it out.

Lee Alexander McQueen was a British fashion designer known for theatrical, provocative fashion shows and his masterful tailoring. He started the journey at Savile Row as a tailors apprentice, studied fashion design at Central Saint Martin and later worked as head designer for Givenchy. The Alexander Mqueen brand was started in 1992 and the designer himself was awarded for his work several times. He died by suicide in 2010.

This jacket is from the 2003 fall ”Scanners” collection and is a complex tailored jacket with elements from both Victorian womenswear and Japanese kimonos. There is a fantastic, in-depth introduction to this pattern at Pattern Vault, a source of information on designer patterns I highly recommend.

  • Pattern Info: Drawn. Has a 1 cm seam allowence and a lot of markings. Size 40.
  • Fabric: About 2,5 m polyester suiting and a bit less acetate lining.
  • Notions: Chiffong bias binding, scraps of satin + thread and more thread.
No, it isn’t an animal.

Theres one difficulty with this pattern, the back pleats and darts. When you managed that problem the rest is pretty easy. The first dart made me think of late 19th century cutting, then I quickly got lost. After failing the first time with getting the folds in the right position I started over. The second attempt I traced everything exactly and then thread marked every line and marking making it visible from both sides. it magically worked and I was able to press all folds flat. I secured them on the backside at a few points and then moved on. One try at getting all folds in place took a weekend and just following the instruction won’t cut it, you have to think too. It probably was more difficult since I decided to line the jacket but as it turned out so nice, it was worth it.

Old tracings and new…

Then the fitting. My shoulders are straight so I adjusted for that and added a stretch satin panel in the side since the jacket was really tight.

The setting of the sleeves comes with a simple instruction and I chose to cover the seam and opening with bias binding as one big loop. The rest of the sewing is pretty basic.

Conclusion: Im glad I lined it but should have chosen a fabric that pressed more easily. This polyester creases like crazy when one steams it, total nightmare getting loads of pleats in place. Next time, I’ll chose a high quality suiting or brocade and quality lining. Stripes looks fantastic with this. Yes, there will be next time. I want one that’s perfect.

There are two time consuming parts in this, the pleating and the finishing. I would suggest to finish by hand and cover all inside seams with chiffong bias binding or similar to get a nice clean look.

Pros: This jacket has great movability built into it and looks amazing! It’s the ultimate couture comfort garment. This will sound odd but it also has sort of its own presence… has to be experienced.

Cons: If you don’t like a challenge or is a beginner, this isn’t suitable. It doesn’t matter how enthusiastic you are, can’t compete an ordinary jacket, don’t try.

Thanks for reading!

Karate Gi Trousers Pattern

Say Hello to Tant Monokroms first ever sewing resource, a drafting instruction with printable (primitive) hand drawn pieces for classic Karate Gi trousers.

In my early twenties I copied the trousers from my Karate Gi for the first time. I wanted something fun to wear for yoga and had seen a similar pattern in a book. I made loads of these pants the years to come for myself, friends and family. Making them over and over made me realized that the pattern could easily be sized up or down just by adjusting length and circumference of the leg tube. Nowadays I have my geometrical crotch pieces in cardboard ready and can draft these from memory at any time.

Photo by SOON SANTOS on Unsplash

The Karate Gi is the sturdy uniform worn when practicing Karate and other martial arts. The original is made in tightly woven cotton canvas with reinforced seams to hold for intense training. The fabrics thickness and the loose fit makes it stand out from the body and prevents it from clinging and restricting the movements when sweating heavily. The origin of the uniform is fishermens working clothes from Japan, first used by Judo practitioners and later adopted by Karate. Must say that I never made a pair for wearing in the Dojo. For martial arts practice a real suit is long lasting, reliable and worth the investment.

With that said I hope you try this pattern with its unusual construction, perfect for movability training and can also be shortened to make cool fighter shorts. The pattern fits sewist of all skill levels and can be sewn as a minimal fabric waist garment.

Happy sewing!

Fashion Central Saint Martins

This book celebrates one of the most famous and influental fashion schools in the world, Central Saint Martins. It contains student works, sketches and short interviews with the most famous students from the 1960s to the 2010s like Katherine Hamnett, John Galliano, Alexander Mqueen, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo and others.

I argued with myself in the bookstore before buying this. My recent idea to sew up all 14 of the Showstudio Design Downloads was one of the best arguments for it. Many of the designers represented started their journeys at Central Saint Martins and the book gives a small, creative overview of their origin in the design world. The layout is messy, collage-like and resembles a students portfolio, love that type of look. Glad I got the book in the end, find it really inspiring.

My favorite quote so far comes from fashion designer Giles Deacon on what piece of advice he’ll give to aspiring or current fashion students.

Do more drawing; take the broom out your arse.

Giles Deacon

The Gareth Pugh Balloon

Well, last sewing of the year and second Showstudio Design Download make. The perfect accessory to my Christmas party dress.

The British designer Gareth Pughs designs are as much artwork as clothes. He is mostly known for his use of inflatable parts to create volume and use of odd materials like electrical charged plastic, latex, pvc, foam footballs, balloons, synthetic and human hair. This design was first featured in his 2003 Central Saint Martin graduate collection.

From the fabulous book Fashion Central Saint Martins
  • Pattern info: Photocopy, has marked seam allowance and comes with instruction + fabric recommendation.
  • Fabric: Scrap pieces of polyester satins.
  • Notions: Zipper, thread and a large 50 cm balloon.

This is a really simple and fun pattern to make and can be varied endlessly. As a garment it is hard to wear but make a few and try it out, it could work. As an accessory I can come up with loads of possibilities such as children’s parties and for masquerade costumes. As decoration it can be great for weddings or summer parties, just make loads of them.

I live in Northern Sweden so, ”We only sell those during Halloween,” the girl in the shop said when I asked for a large balloon. She asked what I was going to use it for, (probably where looking suspicious) so I had to explain that it was going to serve as filling for a fabric balloon. It must have sounded confusing. Thankfully, there were a few left and I could go on with the project.

  • Pros: Easy, super fun, decorative project. Never thought I would like this so much.
  • Cons: No, unless you only make very practical and usable stuff. In that case I would see this project as educational.

Merry Christmas!

Sewing Top 5 2019

I haven’t done The Sewcialists sewing top 5 before, it is such great topic. The most notable sewing and others from 2019. In no particular order, and not five of anything.

The Hit

The most worn, loved selfmade garment this year is one being almost impossible to take a pic of. The Fine Motor Skills Elise t-shirt in black bamboo jersey from Tygverket. I altered the shit out of this pattern as seen, but it’s now my favorite t-shirt pattern ever. It was nothing wrong with it from the beginning, I just started to fit it to my shoulders better and couldn’t stop. As soon as I buy more interesting jerseys, there will be more Elises.

The Misses

As I recently got back to sewing there has been a lot of sewing failures. Pattern testing is not for the faint hearted. One of my longest ongoing failed projects started with a pair of ill fitting jeans that I carefully took apart to save the selvedge denim. The fabric was used for a vintage pattern that was shoehorned onto the pieces. It got sewn and looked absolutely hideous! After some thinking time it was turned into a vest, that’s a lot of sewing in one small piece of fabric.

The latest mistake is this front piece of Merchant & Mills The All State Shirt, its on my sewing table now. This is a common cutting failure that makes you feel very stupid. Luckily I had fabric left to make another one in the right direction. The fabulous Tintin print is from Tygverket.

The Highlight

I took a Vedic Art course in Öland during the summer. I was there to paint and run together with my husband. The artwork turned out all crap and running was exhausting in the heat, but we had a great time. It was a wonderful week! When the summer was over I run my first half marathon and then the season was over. Now it’s back to weight training again.

We run a lot this year, this is in Vilhelmina by the way, with a lot of mosquitos along the way.

The Reflection

I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to talk about this, but I’ll give it a try. Ive been sewing most of my life, 2013 I started doing it for a living parallel with illustration. It evolved to a sort of Gyro Gearloose shop where I got the chance to do all kinds of interesting stuff. It has been a great experience but also tough and all over the place. Some years ago I left it for teaching but now Im back.

It feels like I have a fantastic opportunity to share my work with more people. Not only my own designs but also some of the material I’ve collected and projects that I’m working on. But the problem is that talking about my work is hard and way out of my comfort zone. I do best irl, while working… silently. Nevertheless it would be great to overcome that fear of visibility and find new ways of expressing my creativity. Since I have to be a bit more mindful how I treat my body there is suddenly the time for it too. Not that Im sure how that should be done yet, Im moving slowly forward.

At least Ive set som sewing goals for 2020.

The 4 Goals

Im a fan of designer patterns. Some times I don’t know what really draws me to it, I probably want the experience of making them, getting inside the designers head. One of my favorite sources is Showstudio. They have a lot of patterns and all for free, just search Designer Download there. Ive decided to make all of the designer downloads Showstudio has published. It will probably take more than a year. Ive already started with the Martin Margiela pattern, tested here! Next up is the Gareth Pugh balloon.

Another thing I like is menswear, and especially denim and workwear style clothes. Im so happy that the popularity of that style has made it into the sewing community and that there is a constant flow of new patterns. How many workwear jacket pattern has there been this year? Don’t know, but my favorite looks something like this vintage one. I would like to make more things in that style this year.

Then we have my own designs and pattern notes. There is so much fun things to be shared. It starts on Sunday this week with my first pattern note, I’ll explain it on Sunday. Just wait and see.

I also would love to do more printmaking, a skill learnt in art school a long time ago. I already started wit tie dyeing. Here is a failed but interesting test using layers of color and bleach.

Thanks for following this to the end!

Margiela Over Robe

At last I sewed the Martin Margiela dress pattern from Showstudio. It has been lying rolled up among my fabric rolls forever.

The Belgian designer Martin Margiela has over the years kept a very low personal profile. He started his own brand in 1988 and is one of the most known and influential avantgarde designers. He is known for deconstruction and redesigning of already existing objects into garments and working with proportions. This pattern is an example of his playing with size and removing everything from a construction like hemming and lining.

Recomended reading: Margiela the Hermés Years
  • Pattern info: Photocopy with markings and no instruction. Forgot to take measurements, sorry!
  • Fabric used: Scrap pieces of wall mending paper. A thick, felt like wall paper used to cover structured or damaged walls to avoid the plastering. It’s a great material for test sewing things like bags and toys.
  • Notions: Thread

It’s an easy pattern to assembly and sew. The wall mending paper was stiff to work with an I repeatedly knocked down flowerpots from the window behind my machine.

From the beginning I had a suspicion that it would be one of the designers oversized designs. As the name suggests, I probably could wear it over anything/everything in my wardrobe. If actually worn it has to have a closing at the neck, it’s tight to get a head through as it is. It probably looks great in thin materials that you can fold or pull together in various ways or as a plus sized dress. In the last case it has to be measured first and probably altered.

  • Pros: It’s simple to make and can be varied in material and styling. Fits most.
  • Cons: It’s really big.

Week Thirty

I’ve spent the last week tidying up my workspace and reorganizing materials and books. I’m starting a new project and it makes me feel overwhelmed and without direction so to get past this phase I’m trying to make my studio reasonable tidy. Since cleaning up makes boring posts I’ll show some pictures from two weeks ago when my mum and I went on a roadtrip through Värmland. The purpose was to see where some of our ancestors came from but since it was mom and I traveling we couldn’t resist doing a few cultural touchdowns along the way.

This is the exhibition ”Textila Spår” at Sillegården, Västra Ämtervik where we stayed. A really beautiful collection of Scandinavian textile design.

I came home with some flour, Finnskogsmjöl från Röjdåfors Kvarn and a really large exhibition catalog of Lars Lerins art. No yarn, no fabric. Next week there probably will be paintings done.

Playing with Fashion Flats

One of my favorite YouTubers at the moment is Zoe Hong, love to watch her draw while explaining different subjects relating to fashion design and illustration. She has introduced me to new ways of seeing the design process and since it looked so fun I recently bought her Fashion flats templates to do some playful fashion design sketching of my own. In this example Im using Seamworks Audrey jacket . The task is to change one thing at the time. For me its a challenging since I have a tendency wanting to do everything at once.