All posts by Kristine

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.

Why so quiet?

Yes, I have been silent. Last autumn I started the BurdaStyles teaching certification course. The projects included proved to be more difficult than I thought, so after Christmas I have sewn every day to get the projects finished in time. The last thing was one of Burda’s most gorgeous retro-inspired dresses, patterns here. Unfortunately I had no inspiration but stilI managed to sew two versions of the pattern, do not ask me how that was done.

It feels great that its finally finished!

Margiela at Artipelag

I had to wait several weeks before having a chance to see the Margiela the Hermes years exhibition at Artipelag. First I had the cold, then there was more cold, then no car to get there… still, it was definitely worth the wait.

For those of us interested in fashion, this exhibition was a treat. I had an overwhelming temptation to touch the materials, lift and check details. Seeing Margiela’s own design parallel with the design for Hermes was also fascinating. Im more drawn to Margiela’s own more experimental work, but the craftsmanship of the work for Hermes is absolutely fantastic.

The exhibition runs until 10/3 2019, so go there.

There is a Margiela dress pattern to download at Showstudio, link here. Its quite old and from his overzized collections but Im still interested to see what to make of it. Silk maybe, with a harnesk on top… ?

Calyer – Pinstripe

Pinstripes are called chalk strokes in Swedish and I find them difficult, very difficult. The fabric has matured in my stash for years. It’s pure wool, slightly shiny and absolutely gorgeous. I bought it at a long lost time when goth was something to strive for, I think it was supposed to make a ruffled mini skirt. The times change thankfully and now it became the Calyer pants from French Navy instead. It’s a great pants pattern, link here. The cut is slightly unusual with the side seam moved toward the front and with dramatic tapering at the legs. It’s very comfortable and my most used pants at the moment.