Skip to main content

Help and get helped: Behind the hedgerow

When I discovered ‘Laura’s Behind the hedgerow‘ a while ago, I was fascinated! I love her style and the way she writes about her adventures! I don’t understand why this is her very first guest post… I hope this one helps to have some more requests to hop over to another blog! When I opened Laura’s post I almost fell of my chair: this blouse pattern was one of the patterns I had in mind to draw myself. I guess I’ll have to skip to another idea. I’m happy to find out now. Thanks Laura!  Laura is about to move to away from Brussels so maybe we should try to find some time to meet in real life first! I have the impression that she’s a rather special lady…


Well, hello there stranger!  I’m Laura from Behind the Hedgerow and this here is my first ever guest blog post!  I’m excited and, as I type, I feel slightly more nervous and conscientious than I normally do when writing my posts – it’s like, as a child, writing a book report that you know you’ll have to read to the entire school. I am a half-British, half-American expat currently living in Brussels, Belgium (although not for too much longer!).  In and amongst the chaos that comes with raising three kids, I squeeze sewing into any small window of time I can find!  I sew to keep me sane, I sew to make me a better mom, I sew to make me a better person.  I love Marte’s blog and jumped at the chance of sharing something with all you lovely readers. I am inspired by so many Belgian bloggers, designs and fabrics and, since my time here is now winding down, I wanted to share a Belgian-inspired outfit that, for me, encapsulates all the bright, fun, funky, quirky, aspects of my time here in the capital of Europe!  (I hear what you’re saying, “Belgium? Bright, fun and quirky?!  Isn’t it meant to be grey and rainy and boring?!”  Well, if you don’t believe me have a look around the blog-o-sphere…all the Belgian designs will surely put a smile on your face!  A good starting point is An from Straight Grain’s Kid’s Clothes Belgian Style series). I call this an Autumn outfit…well, I say Autumn but really it’s quite transitional – too warm for mid-summer, yet not warm enough for crisp, Autumn days.  This little ensemble is full of the colours and joys of summer but with a little more coverage so it can go happily into slightly cooler days.


The Details – Blouse

Pattern: Belgian pattern design company, Blousette Rosé’s Nivéole Top
Fabric: red quilting-weight cotton with white dots (from my stash).
Overall, this top turned out how I envisioned but not without a fair amount of fiddling with the pattern.  I didn’t make a muslin and went straight for a size 6 for my average-sized 5 1/2-year-old.  There are three main points to mention about this pattern:
It is in French, just so ya know!, and it’s not one of those patterns that teaches you along the way.  In other words, you’ll need a fair amount of knowledge before attempting this (although not too much – I managed to sew it after all :-) – basic knowledge of shirt construction will do).  It is cleverly designed and you can do most of it by just looking at the pictures.  In terms of technical ability – one buttonhole and some quite narrow pleats and you’ve cracked it!The sizes are huge!!  This was the biggest drawback for me.  My daughter was swimming in the size 6 so I had to take in quite a bit from the sleeve and bodice width to get somewhere near a decent fit.
I made a few other alterations to the pattern – I used matching jersey (instead of bias binding) for the facing of the neckline (I got this idea from pattern testing the Bess Top for Rachael at Imagine Gnats); I added elastic around the cuffs of the sleeves so it can be worn comfortably with the sleeves pulled up (I find this is much more practical for kids and all the mucky things they get up to!); and I chopped off about 3cm in length before hemming.So, would I recommend the pattern?  Yes, I actually would.  It looks so sweet on and I just know it’s going to one of those tops that gets worn all season (the open back means that it will need to be layered with a long-sleeved t-shirt but that’s fine).  If you attempt it and need help with the translation or more technical aspects please get in touch – I’d hate for the language to put anyone off (or maybe all you readers out there are French-speakers?!  You just never know with the internet!).
The Details – Leggings Pattern: Go To Leggings from Go To Patterns.
Fabric: Funky Native American stable jersey purchased from Bambiblauw during the Maakdag sewing classes earlier this year.
This pattern I can recommend whole-heartedly as being easy to sew and ever-so-satsfiying – one pattern piece and you’ve got completed leggings in under an hour!  I’ve made leggings before but always drafted my own pattern – with mixed results.  Using this pattern meant I didn’t have to think too hard – just follow the instructions and it’s done.  Plus, the pattern offers all sorts of variations as well as a skirt.  I will be using this time and time again.
After my sizing issues with the blouse, I took no chances and made a size 5 for the leggings.  This was a perfect fit (even after I had to chop off about 2cm from the bottom because my machine ate the fabric!).  I am currently going through a steep learning curve with sewing with knits – and this is a perfect way to get over the fear and practice certain aspects – cutting on the grain accurately, hemming, how to finish exposed edges, etc.
So there you have it – a bright and breezy little outfit that will take your little one happily into the cooler days of Autumn…while still showing off the bright colours of summer!  Belgium has inspired me and I hope that I have, in turn, inspired you to try something similar.  You, and your little one, won’t be disappointed!
Thanks for reading – it’s been fun! Laura x

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Dotta says:

    Great job Laura! I love the fabric you’ve chosen for the top! The second or third thing I’ve ever sewn in my life was the Laelia top by Blousette Rose…and yes, it gave me a hard time! As you say, they’re not patterns for beginners. The top turned out pretty well, but it was such a challenge!

  • mycozyco says:

    This outfit is so lovely Laura. That blouse is to die for!!! amazing job, some day I would like to try and make it for sure. Also I always love how colourful your pictures are.

  • Kid Approved says:

    The outfit is so lovely. I absolutely LOVE the blouse. Great job!

  • pixidance says:

    I love those bright colors :) I, too, am on a steep learning curve with knits. I just had to scrap a project because my feed dogs ate a hole in the front at my hem line :(

  • Teresa says:

    I love how bright and happy this outfit is. You had me at all those pintucks…they are perfect!

  • Jo H. says:

    Brilliant! And I totally agree with you about Belgium – it IS a vibrant, colourful creative place! I sometimes think the locals like to cultivate the grey boring image, though, just to be perverse :-)

    And by the way, if there’s any pre-move meeting up to be done, might I gatecrash?? It’d be so nice to meet some other Belgium-based sewists and bloggers!

Leave a Reply