Guest post 3#: Print like a pro

The lovely ladies running this blog suggested I’d write a tutorial of sorts, to keep with the handmade spirit. I thought about showing you how to sew something super easy for a while, but the truth is there already are tons of tutorials for tote bags and pillow covers on the internet, and most of them do a better job explaining things than I ever could. So instead I’m going to show you a neat printing technique that works really well on fabric! You can use it to make patches to decorate your clothes, or turn the fabric into a tote bag. Or a pillowcase. Endless possibilities!

printing-supplies

The technique I’m showing you is called lino cut, and the good thing is you only need to buy about four things. Five if you don’t own any spare fabric. Most of it isn’t crazy expensive though! You’ll need a piece of linoleum, a set of carving knives (most art shops sell budget versions of these that are perfectly fine for lino, just don’t try woodblock carving with them), a brayer (again, small budget types are available! You don’t need a huge one for a project like this), printing ink (I have block printing ink especially for fabrics so I can wash my things on 40° regularly, but oil-based block printing ink works fine as well). You’ll also need paper, a pencil, pieces of fabric, a smooth piece of plastic or cardboard and a spoon.

First we need a design, of course! You can basically do whatever you want, but solid shapes work best for visual impact (and are far easier to cut). You can always use one of the finer knives to add texture. The most important thing to remember is that your final print is going to be a mirror image of what you carve, so make sure all text is mirrored!

Draw the design onto the linoleum using a pencil. Before you start carving it’s a good idea to test your knives in a spare piece of linoleum, just to get used to the feel. Remember: you can carve away, but you can’t add anything! So if you slip, a whole lot of work is ruined.

printing-carving

Use the fine v-point knife to carve around the outline and add texture (like the hairs in my bat drawing). Proceed with a larger knife to remove linoleum around the outline, and then use the largest knife to cut the rest away. Try to get the background as smooth as possible if you want it to be clean! I also cut the rest of the lino away because there’s nothing there and I don’t need the borders for accurate positioning (as you would when printing on paper with a press)

printing-printing

Now onto the easiest part! Squeeze a small amount of ink onto your smooth surface and spread it with the brayer. Once it’s spread evenly you can use the brayer to put a layer of ink on your lino block. Roll it in a few different directions, making sure the entire thing is evenly covered. The place a piece of fabric on top of the block and start rubbing it with the rounded part of a spoon. Small, circular motions work well, and make sure you get all the edges and points! The advantage of using fabric is that you can usually see the design through the back and easily spot missed parts. When you think you’re done, carefully remove the fabric and admire your genius.

printing-result

It might take a few tries before you get the hang of exactly how much ink your block needs and how long or hard it needs to be rubbed. Once you get it though, you can create a whole load of patches to decorate all your favourite jean jackets…

- Anneke

Read Anneke Caramin’s introduction post here and all her other posts here.

Guest post 2#: Start to sew

I don’t know if you noticed it, but sewing has a ‘look’ these days. A lot of people sew for their children so there are tons of colourful cotton prints everywhere. Most sewing patterns and books look like a fifties or sixties fantasy come to life. It’s all very sweet and nice and cute, but what if you aren’t into that kind of stuff? I’d like to highlight a few (of the many!) independent pattern companies who go in a slightly different direction.

papercut-patterns

Papercut patterns is based in New Zealand, and I’d say they’re the most beginner friendly of the ones I’ll talk about today (right out of the envelope, that is). The patterns are released in small collections and tend to be versatile, with garment ranging from bomber jackets and dresses to swimsuits and exercise gear. The instructions are so clear my absolute beginner friend managed to sew a welt pocket (difficult! google it!) on her own using only the provided booklet.

Shown here: Ensis tee, Anima pant and Pneuma tank, Meissa blouse, Rigel Bomber, Soma swimsuit and Saiph tunic

grainline-patterns

Jen is the heart and brains behind Grainline patterns. Based in Chicago, she was trained in fashion design with a focus on patternmaking. She uses these skills to create sewing patterns for what can be described as the ‘perfect basics’: garments of the type you spend ages looking for. Think classic button-up shirts, denim skirts, sweatshirts, and shorts. Her instructions are a bit more basic, but she has a blog with loads of tutorials and pictures detailing every step.

Shown here: Linden sweatshirt, Scout tee, Archer shirt, Alder dress

named-patterns

Named patterns originated in Finland and is the brainchild of two sisters who wanted to turn their love for fashion into something everyone can enjoy. Their goal is to support ethical consumerism by encouraging people to give sewing their own clothes a try. Their patterns look modern and stylish, with interesting details to set them off from others in the field. They also have a blog where they show loads of fabric and garment inspiration!

Shown here: Leotie midi dress, Kielo wrap dress, Jamie jeans, Yona wrap coat, Ailakki cross front jumpsuit, Magena fringe jumper

I hope this was helpful or inspiring to you! Remember, the best way to start sewing is to just jump in with your eyes closed. Don’t listen when someone says something is too hard, use all the resources you can find (there’s a tutorial for everything on the internet) and don’t be too upset when things don’t work out perfectly the first time. Good luck!

- Anneke

Read Anneke Caramin’s introduction post here and all her other posts here.

Guest post 1#: Handmade Streetstyle

I’ve been writing my sewing blog for a little over 2 years now, and there has been one unexpected side effect: new friends! This is going to sound super corny but I met some of these people because we are interested in the same things and I think I can call them real friends at this point. Since a fair few of them are located in Antwerp I wanted to use this post to put them in the spotlight!

hanne | Antwerpen Streetstyle

When I asked Hanne why she sews she told me it’s because she likes it. Sewing is her job so she sews a lot of very different things for other people, but she’s still fascinated by how a piece of fabric transforms into a garment. Her other main reason is that it’s very nice to be able to make something exactly the way you want it! Hanne is still super proud of her Galaxy dress and the jacket she’s wearing in the pictures.

lieke

Lieke is probably the most professional blogger I know. She updates regularly (wow!) and even makes videos! Most of the clothes she makes are meant for daily wear and have to be comfortable, even though she goes all the way with sequins from time to time, as you can see in this picture and this entry for the online sewing competition Sew it Up!

eleonore | Antwerpen Streetstyle

Eleonore started sewing because she couldn’t find what she was looking for in stores. She still can’t find anything, but for entirely different reasons! She often spots clothing made using poor techniques or low-quality materials, and then thinks she can do better. Sewing also made her conscious of the amount of work put into a garment and the impossibility of high street prices. Right now she’s incredibly proud of making a pair of jeans, even though she hasn’t blogged about them yet!

joost

Last but not least, we have Joost. Joost decided to stop buying clothes four years ago and now makes clothes because he wouldn’t have anything to wear otherwise. He’ll make anything he needs, from boxer shorts to neckties. Right now he’s focused on shirts, and trying to make shoes (yeah, you read that right) as a sort of side-project. Joost has spent loads of time working on a website that is supposed to get more men into sewing by offering patterns that are easily customizable to your own measurements.

Home sewers are a pretty diverse bunch, as you can see. Whilst talking to them all I noticed we all had one thing in common: every single one of us loves the process of creating something entirely with our own hands!

- Anneke

Read Anneke Caramin’s introduction post here and all her other posts here.

Our December guest blogger: Anneke Caramin

I am stoked with this month’s guest blogger Anneke Caramin since she is quite the creative inspiration for me. She is awesome at sewing, makes beautiful illustrations, and I coincidently found out we went to a lot of the same gigs in Antwerp this year. Such luck to have met her boyfriend Jangojim so he could lead us to our December writer!


Hello, I am Anneke and I am 25 years old. I’ve studied comics and illustration and combine this with a love for sewing my own wardrobe.

I’m guest blogger because I’ve lived in and around Antwerp all my life. The city and its inhabitants still manage to inspire me every day!

At the moment I am (really) busy with sewing winter clothes and party dresses and planning future projects. I’d like to try and combine my sewing and illustration more often! I’m also slowly catching up on my super long reading list.

But if I have some spare time I like to pet my cat, take detours home and bike around for a bit. Or I’ll just invade a friend’s home and spend a few hours on their couch to talk and have tea.

The thing I like most about Antwerp is how it feels big and small at the same time. It’s easy to just get lost in your thoughts, but you run into so many people you know you’ll never truly feel alone.

- Anneke

Interview: Ecstatic

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Are you into deep house and parties? Then it’s more than possible that you’ve heard of Ecstatic before. Ecstatic is a party concept, run by Christophe Balloey  and Robbe Dekoning.  Besides being a student, these two have been organizing parties in Antwerp since 3 years. One year ago, Robbe and Christophe started with this new and fresh deep house concept.

The guys started organizing events at the age of 16 at their local scouts. Here they organized Experiment, their  first project. The scouts helped them at collecting a budget and they still receive a lot of support from these people. When Christophe and Robbe started with Ecstatic, they became independent.

Robbe and Christophe got their inspiration for their new party concept while listening to YouTube channels like TheSoundYouNeed (one of their former partners), Majestic Casual, Eton Messy and Belgian channel High on Track. At the time, these channels were still pretty ‘underground’, but they are well-known names now. “The first time we heard the Bridge & Law remix of Ain’t No Love on Majestic Casual,  we were both hooked.” Since Christophe and Robbe already organized events and were looking for something new,  the choice was easily made.

When I asked what their ultimate goal was, where they wanted to see Ecstatic in the future, Christophe and Robbe told me that their big dream is to organize a festival/open air party. “Our concept is all about sunshine, nature, good vibes and happy people and a festival is the best place to find those elements. The plan was to start working on this in 2015, but due to a lot of schoolwork, we will have to move this idea to the side. Another goal we’re continuously working on is expanding and improving Ecstatic. This means that we aim to improve quality, attract more people and book bigger artists.” When I asked who their dream-artist is, the person they would love to collaborate with the most, the choice was easily made: Flume. “This unique DJ is at the top of our wishlist, because we have seen him perform a few times before and he always blows our minds.” Christophe and Robbe don’t have a concrete plan on how they will catch Flume yet, but they secretly hope to cross him off their list one day.

ecstatic

I asked Christophe and Robbe to describe Ecstatic in four words. The answer: sensation, release,  dancing and good vibes.

Did you get excited after reading the interview? Lucky you! On Friday December 12th, the sixth edition of Ecstatic will be held at Zappa, Antwerp. There’s a beautiful line-up with artists like Kidnap Kid (who has already toured with Disclosure and Gorgon City), XYconstant, Village and Joe Hertz. Next to all these international names, Ecstatic will also bring you some local talent: Losco and Babel.

Ecstatic

When? Friday December 12th, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Where? Zappa, August Leyweg 6, 2020 Antwerp.

FB-page + Tickets: https://www.facebook.com/events/272685369588666/?fref=ts

 

Christophe and Robbe put together this small playlist to get you all warm and ready: