very quick pictures, taken in the five minutes before i had to run out to catch the subway.

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(my necklace is totally crooked in this one, but otherwise it was the best i had)

jacket: ‘borrowed’ from my mom, about a decade ago
shirt: bring me the horizon
pants: toxic vision
beret: c&a
shoes: trusty doc martens
bag: market at the elf fantasy fair
rosary necklace: sophine giam (review still coming up)
star necklace: bella lili
rings: sugar mafia, accessorize, gifts

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i love this jacket so much. when i went back to suriname earlier this year, i rediscovered it in my old closet. it’s funny, i had been looking for a jacket exactly like this for ages. while this was in my old closet all along. i was very happy to discover that it fit me perfectly again. & that it has six pockets.

p.s. i’ve been learning how to properly use my good camera lately. not only with the ‘easy’ setting. these pictures are unedited. pretty cool, huh?

since my last post, i’ve gotten completely obsessed with dyeing fabric. it’s such a basic crafty thing, but has such an awesome impact. & is so much fun! i highly recommend it to all you beginning crafters, advanced crafters, people who never craft.

in the past few weeks i’ve dyed with the standard dylon dyes, idye, tea, coffee, natural dyes from vegetables & fruits. i’ve dyed clothes from both natural fabrics & synthetic, fabric scraps, lace. some experiments have failed horribly, others have turned out marvelously. & i still feel like i’ve only scratched the surface.

the first thing i started with was my pastel pink gibbous dress, pictured in it’s old state here. i loved that dress so much, when i was still into pastels. & as my only gibbous purchase so far, i highly valued it. only i outgrew pastels. so dramatically that i got rid of all my exclusively pastel coloured clothes, save this dress, a vintage blouse & a vintage cardigan. i still really liked this dress, just not the colour. then i had the ingenious idea to dye it to a more agreeable one.

so i went to the drugstore, bought a packet of green dylon dye & attempted to. as i stirred the mixture, i got so excited about the outcome. it was such a lovely green. then came the rinsing. to my horror ALL of that lovely green washed out. & apart from some bits of lace & a tiny scrap, i was left with the original pastel pink. apparently my dumb ass had overlooked that the majority of the dress was synthetic. polyester, probably. & most fabric dyes don’t work on polyester & other synthetic fabrics. so naturally i went to google for the solution. synthetic fabrics are very hard to dye, blah, best left to professionals, blah, materials only available at specialists, blah. but then i discovered the dye shop, where they sold these miraculous idye polyester dyes. they made it ridiculously easy to dye these hard-to-dye fabrics. later i read in a review elsewhere that the colour of idye wasn’t permanent, but that’s a problem for another day.

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this was the result of that fabulous green idye polyester dye. i love it so much! i was also amazed that even the buttons became green.

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only after dyeing it was i able to fully appreciate all the different materials that went into it. they all dyed differently & it came out so beautifully. i would have found it very boring if the whole thing became the exact same shade.

after that dress, i went back to the easily available dylon dyes & natural fabrics.

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i dyed this orange top i got from my sister when i was in the very short-lived phase where i liked orange. i only had a packet of navy blue dye at my disposal when i decided to do that.

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it became a pretty interesting grayish brown, with the letters remaining red & the stitching turning the full navy.

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i’m not finished with this top yet, i’m still thinking of a way to reconstruct it.
fun fact: while i was dyeing this, i somehow managed to get my gloves full of the dye & my hands looked like this for DAYS:

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& itched like crazy.
not long after that i used the same navy on a pair of white patterned pajama pants.

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i really only dyed these because i could. but it turned out to be a really nice change, with how often i wear these. it felt completely new after the dye job.

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then a pastel pink pajama top followed. i actually meant to dye these black, but i must have added too little salt, because it turned out charcoal gray. it was not a bad mistake. i probably would have liked it less if it had turned the full black.

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of course the synthetic ribbon & lace & stitching did not dye. i think it looks really nice in combination with the charcoal gray. i also really like that the pattern of the cotton insert shows through.

after all that i wanted to try something new. i was looking into dyeing with tea & coffee, when i came across a link for natural dyes, which i clicked. i didn’t really know what natural dyes were & was absolutely delighted to find out that they were very varied dyes you could easily procure from things like berries, vegetables, flowers & roots. i learned all about them at money crashers & pioneer thinking.

this same way of dyeing i was so delighted with also led to much frustration. this was the first thing i attempted to dye naturally, with red cabbage:

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it was one of the several vegetable dyes that failed miserably. the ‘dye’ i got out of the red cabbage was such a lovely deep purple & it was pretty sad when my white fabric only turned a light blue. i had done everything described on those websites too. i thought it was just the damnable red cabbage that was the problem. i tried it again. same thing. also with spinach. i only got a very light green out of that.

then i tried it with raspberries. for berries you could use a salt fixative, whereas it had to be vinegar for plants.

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i got such a lovely uneven pink out of those. since the only difference between dyeing with the raspberries & the vegetables was the type of fixative, i concluded that that must have been the problem.

after my raspberry dyed lace, i tried it with another vegetable. beets. i added a lot more vinegar to the fixative than before. & some salt, just in case. again i got a lovely deep colour dye, but it just wouldn’t take. i concluded that it must just be the kind of vinegar i was using. i had seen the 4% on the bottle, but hadn’t really paid attention to it before. then i asked my mom. yes, the 4% meant there was only 4% real vinegar in the thing. so i was using vinegar that had already been diluted with 96% water, which i diluted more with four times as much water which i prepared my fabric in. goddamn. there’s no stronger vinegar available in the regular grocery stores here in the netherlands either, so i’ll have to see where i can get pure vinegar before i can dye with plants again.

in the meantime, i’ve also tried tea.

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tea is my favourite to dye with so far! i LOVE the antique, blotted effect you can get out of it. unfortunately that effect is very hard to capture, so you can only catch a glimpse of it through my camera. the second picture is pretty close to the original colour though.

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this hoodie also needs to be reconstructed into something more-ish.

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as i’m writing this, i’ve also got two bleach projects drying on the balcony & a jar of cherries next to me, waiting to become immortalized through a dye solution. i can’t wait till i have enough to sew into a new multi-hued garment!

if you’re planning to start dyeing yourself (which you totally should) or you’ve already started, but don’t know that much about it yet, i hope this article was somewhat useful to you. i hope you can learn from my mistakes & avoid them yourself. & that your projects turn out marvelously (:

as always, thanks for reading!

or: THE MOST FABULOUS THING I’VE EVER MADE. probably.

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i’m so happy with it! i can’t wait for an excuse to wear this.

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SO MUCH work & time & materials went into this. i started it the sunday before last, worked on it for four whole days straight, then one of the lenses of my glasses broke & because of all that led to, i couldn’t work on it as much as i liked for the rest of the week. i was away the weekend & then spent the greater part of the past three days on it. & now it’s finally done! i think.

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it was such a massive project, i loved the whole process. i should make things like this more often.

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looking at this picture, i might add some more to that side…

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this whole dress started with a bra. a lovely pink one with black lace i had never worn, would never wear & couldn’t bring myself to get rid of. while i was fanatically getting rid of loads of other crap, i thought why not use it in a scrap dress i would wear? i had so many pink & black scraps i could use for it. so i went through my box of scraps & failures, to-be-reconstructed pile, the debris at the bottom of my sewing box, my accessory boxes, the bag i had just packed for the clothing bin, the suitcase of stuff i was going to sell & this was what i found:

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i didn’t use all of it, but definitely most. despite how fanatically i emptied out my massive closet, there is no way in hell the finished product will fit.
one of the things i unearthed in my box of scraps & failures was half of the beginning of an ill-fitting corset. that & the bra & an atari teenage riot shirt i had forgotten about, formed the base of the bodice. i pinned them to my dressform, which is lovely & alterable & i had already set to my size. to that base i added some matching scraps, decorations & a zipper i had never used, molding it all into shape on my dressform. i almost always work with patterns drawn beforehand & that was quite nice to do for a change. thank you artemis, for introducing me to that other way of making clothes.

here are the only in-progress pictures i made:

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(some of those things i removed, lots of other things were added)

at the front i only added a couple of longer pieces to flow into the skirt at that point. when it was to my satisfaction i took it off my dressform & sewed all the way over the scrappy parts to make it a whole piece. the bra part was later hand-sewn to it. quite a lot in this dress is hand-sewn, mostly in the skirt part.

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then i left the top for what it was & started on the skirt part. that was the most work, of course. for those scrappy skirts you always need more than you think you do.
for the base of it i used cut pieces from an old flared pinstriped dress i made, an old poison industries dress i never wore & a pink petticoat i made with too little tulle. i’m so glad i finally found a use for that poison industries dress. i bought it in an emergency (one of the hottest april days in the history of the netherlands in a full v costume) at the elf fantasy fair four or five years ago & hadn’t worn it since. i started with a full piece of the skirt cut from it, pinning it to the back in an upwards curve. i added some more long scraps of fabric to the front.

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then i cut the petticoat in half & gathered it into about half its size. it made a nice base for the other half of the skirt part. in-between & above i added parts of the pinstriped dress. then it was a long, long process of adding smaller scraps to it all. among those scraps are a black with white print bandanna i bought at some random bazaar in surinam & was a sort of signature of mine throughout my childhood & early teens, a pink polka dotted sheer scarf i got for free with a copy of cosmo girl & i had worn to death in lots of different ways when i still loved pink, the sleeves from that old laughing vampire dress & fabric samples that were too small to use for anything else. at some point i sewed together all the base parts of the skirt to make it one piece. i also added one tier from the poison industries dress to the other side & continued pinning & (hand-)sewing the scraps in co-ordinating layers.

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when i was done with all that, it still seemed like something was missing at the front. so i fell back on one of my old trademarks, a bow. i made it out of the lining of an old hell bunny dress, also bought in an emergency, for a party in 2008, because i had ‘nothing to wear’, & never worn again. the painfully cute skull fabric is from that same dress.

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then i went on to the top of the bodice. i bought some new lace for that, my supply was very low. it was pretty hard to find a good way to sufficiently disguise the origin of the cups, but, after looking through my inspiration folder from gibbous, i think i succeeded quite well.

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besides lace & a ruffled bit of a fabric sample i bought for that old fashion course of mine, i also used half of the top of a tank an aunt gave to me because she didn’t think she’d wear it after all. for one of the straps i used a whole strap cut from my pinstriped dress, with some scraps sewn to it at the front. for the other i first only used the elastic strap attached to the glittery top, but it looked so small & awkward next to the other one. so i added half of a garter belt bought in the wrong size & more of that fabric sample used for the front. it turned out super cute.

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to top it off i added some beads to the front top. they were from a bracelet i got for my sixteenth birthday from some of my favourite people at the time, loved & wore almost every day until it tragically snapped at an arch enemy show some years later. at the back i also added another, open, zipper & one of the strange wheel things i got with my serger & never discovered the use of.
i was planning on adding lots more of those small things, but everything else i added seemed to detract from the perfection of it.

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some suggestions if you want to make your own:
+ gather as many different materials as you can, at least twice as much as you think you’ll need
+ the higher quality your materials are, the higher quality of the end product
+ specifically for the skirt part: the more light, sheer, shimmery materials, the better it will look
+ also for the skirt part: don’t just bunch all the scraps together at the top, work in layers; it’s easiest to start at the bottom with these
+ the more smaller pieces you use, the better
+ for molding on a dressform: keep in mind that you’ll have to remove your clothing from it in one piece, don’t stick your pins in the body
+ preferably pin in a way that you don’t have to remove your pins & they won’t hinder you when sewing
+ more is more.
+ if you’re using clothes that still look good on its own & you’re hesitant to cut them up, just start cutting; staring at them for hours on end is not helpful
+ don’t just do some random shit, it’s better if you have some sort of base/rhythm/recurring theme
+ keep track of your pins! it’s very easy to lose them &/or get them stuck in the patchworky parts
+ use old, existing things in a completely different way
+ surprise yourself
+ feel free to change things you’ve already pinned or even sewn; our first ideas aren’t always the best
+ be patient
+ it’s better not to listen to very energetic/aggressive music when you work on it
+ if it starts to irritate you, step away, take a deep breath, have a cup of tea, go back to it at a better time
+ don’t forget to change to thicker needles for thicker parts
+ if you can’t decide between this way or that way, pin & take pictures of both & decide later
+ serge/zigzag edges where you can; you don’t want something like this falling apart on you, do you?

thanks so much for looking & reading!

haven’t done this in a while! i often forget to take pictures when i don’t intend to post it on my blog & then the habit slips.

anyway, i was at the elf fantasy fair on saturday, in such a lovely spot to take pictures. & i conveniently had my boyfriend to do just that.

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jacket: we, customised
top: handmade
skirt: handmade
underskirt: handmade
slip dress: vintage
stockings: hunkemöller
hat: portobello road market in london
shoes: trusty doc martens
bag: warning label creations (review coming up)
cross earring: mademoiselle cafe au lait (review coming up)
rosary necklace: sophine giam (review coming up)
star necklace: bella lili
rings: gifts

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i was wearing lots of layers & handmade that day. personally i think that’s the best (:

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i also joined lookbook recently. i am curious how that will turn out. all of the people on the front page look like they could be models, which says a lot. as of this writing my profile is still empty, but i’ll add stuff later. if any of you are on there, do share yours.

as you loyal blog followers might have noticed, i have recently been reborn to darkness. the 10’s & 30’s of the past century also hold a new fascination over me. this collection started as me leisurely browsing through etsy for things to buy. i unearthed such wonderful items, i had to share. besides, i haven’t done one of these features for far too long.

enjoy!

made this yesterday. i’m so happy with it! it’s obscenely comfortable. & still looks awesome.

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(i know, my expression suggests otherwise. i was not as enthusiastic about taking pictures of myself. tripod issues.)

i nicked the text from an old, very worn the blackout shirt. it made the front a little stiffer than i planned, so it doesn’t fall as nicely as in the back, but i ended up liking that. & it’s not like it lessened the comfort level.

the eyelet tape & D-rings on the shoulders was something i thought of at the last minute. in addition to being pretty, they also have the function of strengthening & keeping the shape of the shoulders. with those raw edges there is a slight risk of it stretching beyond recognition.

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it’s so nice & wide. i could live in this forever.

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this was the first time i ever made something like this. with the exception of skirts, i usually make my clothes super fitted. this was nice to make for a change. & somewhat challenging. i only had the vaguest idea of how to get the shape i wanted. when i was cutting the fabric i pretty much just winged it. it could very well have turned out atrociously & to be a total waste of that nice fabric. but it didn’t (:

this was how i cut the fabric for the main body:

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i used a regular fitted shirt pattern for a reference, & for the unchanged armholes, & tilted the hell out of it. i also placed it a little off the fold, to get that extra width at the bust. it was roughly 33.5 cm from the armpit & 55 cm from the widest part at the bottom (before the flared tip) to the fold. the flare was about 30 cm down. for the shoulder/neck opening i just followed the line of my original pattern to the end. when i was sewing i simply left 24 cm in the center open for the neck opening. i liked that straight line.

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for the sleeve i used the matching pattern, only adding some to the bottom for a slight bell sleeve. at the wrist i made it as wide as at the armpit & made one side about 12 cm longer (that was as long as the remainder of my fabric allowed, but it turned out well).

putting it together was very easy. just sewing + serging all the sides shut & then sewing + serging the sleeves to the body. i wanted the edges raw. & then i topped it off with the text & eyelet things.

i want to make more of these! perhaps also without sleeves. or a cardigan version.
without sleeves it would probably be wise to make the arm openings bigger.

thanks for looking! & reading! if you want to make one yourself, i hope my pattern & mini tutorial were helpful!

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all scanned from the book gothic & lolita, photographed by masayuki yoshinaga