Friday, 27 September 2013

Local gifts for local people

Have you come across Laura of Behind the Hedgrow yet?  She's a new-ish and recently new-to-me blogger who makes lovely stuff, for herself and for her kids, and writes about it in a very readable and enjoyable way.  So before I ramble on, I thoroughly recommend a good read and a follow! However, let me be totally up front here: what excited me most when I discovered her, was her walls.

I was timewasting on Pinterest the other day when I saw a picture of her absolutely beautiful Liberty skater dress. And no sooner had this garment's gorgeousness sunk in than the realisation struck me: "hang on - semi-exposed brick? Peeling white paint? Bright but grey daylight? AND funky children's clothing? This blogger can only be in Belgium!"

And of course I was right :-)

All of which is a long-winded way of introducing some children's clothes, on my garden walls.  Because there are not just new-to-me Brussels bloggers round these parts, there are new Brussels babies aplenty as well.

And you can't make things for newborn boys without making things for their big sisters as well. The little t-shirt on the right is for a little T, and the bigger t-shirt on the left is for big sister S. T's shirt is from this free pattern - I just could not get the scaling to print out right, so I guessed a random size and it's probably far too big. S's t-shirt is a lengthened skater dress bodice, size 18m - 2yrs: she's just over two, but my T insisted on trying this on and it fit, and he's four, so I guess it'll be too big as well. Good thing kids grow I suppose. Both t-shirts are made of recycled adult tees and fabric scraps.

Baby A gets a stuffed inital. I enlarged hugely the A from the free Ottobre sulo applique letters, because I like the shape of them so much. The back fabric is towelling; the front is Alexander Henry quilting cotton. I bought a metre of it ages ago and have got so much use out of it, one gift or pair of trousers at a time.

And finally, I couldn't leave out A's big sister E, now could I? She gets her very own skater dress!

This came out an awful lot greener than I expected (though really, what did I expect?). But apparently she likes it and is quite taken with the little squirrel on the front, so, phew. I've seen her wearing it and it's also pretty big - I think she might still be getting some use out of those long sleeves next winter as well.

All in all, I have to say I really enjoyed making a whole lot of little gifts for little people. So much so that it's got me thinking quite a lot about what I actually like to sew, and how I use my time and abilities. In my head I'd make myself an entire bespoke wardrobe, and I certainly have no intention of giving up the many patterns and fabrics I have planned for myself. But I also have all sorts of ideas swirling around my head about how to get the right balance of time and importance between the kinds of sewing I do.  It's got something to do with that connection - the babies we know, the crafts in our communities, that putting together of our hands and our hearts.  Who knows, maybe my thoughts will come to something and I'll tell you about them :-)

A few days after we'd given baby A and sister E their presents, we bumped into them and their grown-ups at the playground. This happens quite often after school; we don't live far from each other. I'm very glad that my L and T are such good friends with both the littles and the bigs among my friends, that we have this kind of community - though in such a different way from how it was for me, growing up in a non-urban environment in the UK.

A and E's mum knows how to do french plaits, even on short-ish hair. L thinks she's the best.


  1. "Hello Hello Tubbs, what's going on? What's all this shouting, we'll have no trouble here!"

    Ahem. If that's what your title was referring to, yay!

    Great stuff!

  2. hehe yes it was :-) Great stuff indeed!

  3. Silvia - Sewing PrincessSeptember 28, 2013 7:35 pm

    I recently discovered her blog too and subscribed. I'm drawn to Brussels bloggers, you see! One day I might be back

  4. Aah, what a lovely new blog to follow and your gifts are just so cute. I have been thinking a bit about the same after the many handmade gifts I've been giving lately. Looking forward to more thoughts from you on this!

  5. ooh maybe we'll become a hub - the Portland of Europe :-)

    (so highly unlikely!)

  6. Funny isn't it - I always think I mostly sew for myself, but I really don't, and I don't even mind. That said, I just started tracing the darling ranges dress and it's SO GOOD to get into a proper challenging project for myself again (fit and everything!). How's the fete sewing going??

  7. I find I hardly ever sew for myself. Then when people ask to see what I do I don't have things to show them unless I pull out my blog or Flickr. Maybe it is time for more Me sewing. I do also like the idea that there are people wandering around in the world with a bit of handmade love that I've created.


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