Pattern Overview

Belgian Sewing Talents!

Marjolein (Flaflinko) organized a Belgian campaign for a her 5th sewing anniversary: "Stik Belgique". That roughly translates to "Belgian Sewing". She had us making projects with Belgian patterns and fabrics all month.
I joined the sewing spree and made 6 projects (so far). The great part: 5 of these patterns were a first for me. Way to go on the GUTA-challenge!
I hardly found time to blog them all in Dutch and I did not get around to translating them at all.

I'm giving you guys the short version in a quick photo overview:
(if you want to see more pictures, you can check out the Dutch version of my blog: 

project # 1: Eloïse by Minniemie



Eloïse is a free pattern from a Belgian blogger who also co-authored her first book this month. She's a rising star in the Belgian sewing world. The pattern and instructions are written in Dutch, but I'm sure you can figure it out with the photos and Google translate.
This dress was meant as a test/nightgown for me because the pattern goes up to 8Y, but my daughter is 9 and does not quite match the measurements anymore. The fabric I used is gorgeous, but it hates needles. The tiny white spots make this dress a permanent nightgown in my mind. My daughter disagrees and consistently refuses to change into her day-clothes on Sundays. She requested more of this pattern in the future! I think I can compensate for a little while longer with lengthening and widening as she grows.

project # 2: Blueberry Bag by Cherry Designs


I registered for a workshop to tackle this pattern. The pattern comes in a small or large version, with a lot of options. It's in Dutch, but that should not be a problem considering the very detailed photo-instructions.

It took a lot of time at home after the workshop to get it completely ready. I'm not too familiar with bag making at this level. There were moments in the making process were I just wanted to cry and stop, because my hands were hurting and the seams did not come out the way I wanted them to look.  I soldiered through and I'm so glad I did. I love how it turned out in the end! My son picked the fabric and the options. He used it at his very first schooltrip with an overnight stay. Both he and the bag came back whole ;-)


project #3: PJ's: a mashup of patterns by Zonen09.


Sharon of Zonen09 has a gorgeous PJ-pattern called Wolf (2-9Y). It has an amazing range of options, including a detachable superhero cape/blanket, piping details and a jumpsuit version. It's only available in Dutch at the moment, but Sharon has started translating some of her more recent patterns into English and French. You can allready get the gorgeous Lars (coat) and Theo (formal shirt) in English, so it may just be a matter of time before Wolf and Billie get English versions too ;-)

Unfortunately, my son outgrew the Wolf-pattern 2 years ago. I attacked my last version of the pattern with scissors and tape and came up with a 'Frankensteined' 11Y version of the pants. I was about to start Frankensteining the shirt when I remembered the Billie T-shirt pattern does come in larger sizes (even adults). That was a easy sew, as this has been my go to raglan T-shirt pattern for years.
The result: a boy ready to go on his school trip in brand new polar bear PJ's.


Project #4: Monkey puppets from "Feest in het Knutselbos"


I'm a big fan of the "Knutselbos"-books. There are 2 of them, only available printed in Dutch, so not exactly accessible for foreign readers. It is a great resources for everything related to stuffed animals and dolls though. I have made several stuffies with these books and added 2 monkey puppets to the collection. The books even feature a banana pattern for the monkeys to hold.

Here's a clip where my daughter is playing with them. She had me make these as party favors for her  two friends at her birthday sleepover. I think she misses the monkeys already.


Project #5: Jaanu dress by Straightgrain patterns


I won my copy of this pattern a few weeks after the launch at Miss Matatabi's. It has been sitting on my hard drive ever since (I know that's awful). I have bought suitable fabric last year and still it did not get made. I loved the examples in the launch blog tour and I'm very happy to have made my own now.

I used a gorgeous blue fabric with gold metallic touches by Timeless Treasures: Tonal Fern (Royal Blue) from the Suffolk collection by Chong-A Hwang. It is VERY forgiving for not matching the print. There are 7 seams in the bodice, so I did not try to match. But they really don't show! Even the topstitching doesn't show unless you look very close. The thread color matches the dress a bit too well ;-)

I just had to adapt the pattern instructions a bit to try my very first exposed zipper. I used this great tutorial by SewGuide for the adaptation. I also succeeded in adding a zipper tab all by myself. The zipper is not installed perfectly, but I'm still very very proud of this dress. It' ll fit even better next year! The fit of this pattern is actually tighter but I was stubborn and went for 1 size above the sizing chart suggestion. My babygirl has finally started to grow the last few months and I did not want this to be a one time dress!


Project #6: "Awesome Oslo" by Eva Maria 


The amazing Eva Maria has published a sewing book for teenagers. We NEED more of those, right?
Her patterns are called after cities. The (Dutch) book is titled "Urban Style". The sweater I made from it is a simple raglan model. The link with Oslo? Every combination of fabrics makes this sweater look totally different. You can go for bold sleeves, extra piping details, a harmonious blend ... Oslo is a city with lots of different views too. I should really go and have a look for myself ;-)





4 tips for Fancy Gathered Skirts


Gathered skirts are pretty simple projects. I have made quite a few with elastic in the waistband when I started sewing. My daughter loves them, because they are so easy to put on. No zippers, no buttons, just step in and go play! I put together some tips & tricks I used for the "Fancy Gathered Skirt" in  the Cat's Cradle post.

I'll explain how to draw the "pattern" with just 1 measurement in tip #1.
Lately I have been seeing loads of gorgeous gathered skirts with sparkly elastic waistbands. My daughter had asked for them whenever she saw on pop up at my screen, but I didn't try because I did not see how to finish it nicely. What does a sewing mom do in cases like these? Ask Google! It found a great tutorial in Dutch by Seija that really works like a charm. You get a clean finish without itchy threads on the inside. Check out tip #2!

I like it when a gathered skirt has some volume, so I usually go for at least the whole width of the fabric. On Starbrite (Cat's Cradle by Michael Miller) skirt, I even used twice the fabric width. If you want the skirt to stand away from the body a bit more, you add a little something to make the hem firmer. If you get a nice finish in the process: bonus points. On my first elastic skirt I used piping: Have a look at tip #3! The Starbrite fabric was too shiny to let anything else steal the glory, so I went for bias binding on the inside. Check out tip #4 if you want more info on that.