When we were young - Week 10: StraightGrain

August 14, 2013

I have had the pleasure of An, of StraightGrain's company on my blog twice in one week.  She sewed up my Debbie's birthday dress here, and today she is guest posting for When we were young!  As you may have read a few days back, I am a huge fan of An and her lovely creations for her daughter Norah.  An's is one blog that I read very regularly.  She always comes up with new and imaginative sewing ideas and techniques and her patterns are just gorgeous. 
Watch out for her latest pattern - the Hanami top and dress which will be released very soon!

When I dreamt up my idea of When we were young, I really wanted An on board.  When An saw my blog button for when we were young, a conversation started about our mutual love of Marcel Marlier (who inspired her Tinny dress and my Debbie's birthday dress pattern), and also started the very first conversation about co -hosting a series together .... aka Secret Squirrel.

Anyway, I will now hand it over to An who will begin by telling you a bit about when she was young...

Hi everyone! I'm so excited to be part of Suz' beautiful series. The past weeks, some amazing creations have been shown here... Before I show you mine, here's a little bit about myself:

Where were you born/where did you spend your childhood?
I was born in Duffel, Belgium, and lived there untill I went off to study in Antwerp, where I still live now. In case you're wondering: yes, the duffle coat and duffle bag were named after the little town I spent my childhood in! Indeed, a long time ago, Duffel was renowned for its production of the cloth used for overcoats and luggage. These days, it is renowned for pretty much nothing.
Who did you grow up with?
I grew up with one little sister, Sarah, who is 2.5 years younger. And with Guinea pigs - I love guinea pigs!
Did you have a childhood ambition? 
Becoming a veterinarian. Specializing in guinea pigs, dolphins, and kittens (dogs scare the **** out of me!)
What did you like doing when you were little?
Reading books, and writing stories, mostly. And taking care of  my guinea pigs, of course.
Do you see any similarities between yourself and your child/children? 
This is a difficult question. As far a personality is concerned, I see more resemblances between Norah and her dad, than between Norah and me. But that's probably because I don't know myself that well. 
There is one similarity which does stand out I guess, and that is that Norah loves to play with (matchbox type) cars. She's not interested in dolls at all; she plays with her cars and garage all day long. Her interest in more "boyish" stuff is something we share: I also like doing cool stuff with hammer and saw, lighting the barbeque, trying to fix the sink, and so on, much more than I like so-called girly jobs. Sewing would be one important exception to that rule, of course (although, aren't most successful fashion designers men?).
Where do you live now and who with?
I live in the city centre of Antwerp, with my husband Jelle and our daughter Norah. 

Do you live far from where you grew up?
No, Antwerp is just a thirty minute drive away from Duffel.
When Suz invited me for this series, I was immediately excited about it. Such a cool idea! Only one problem: I tried to remember some pretty clothes I used to wear as a kid, but really couldn't. I asked my mom for some photo books, but they only confirmed that there was nothing wrong with my memory: I really didn't wear pretty clothes as a child. The reason was not that my parents had bad taste or anything; the problem was simply that I was born in 1980, right at the start of Fashion's Official Decade of Horror. I flipped through the two photo books about a million times, and then I suddenly realised that the picture below might have some potential. Rather than doing a real knock-off, I decided to create a dress inspired  on the knit dress below. Good taste and all, you know. (Oh, and, disclaimer: I have no idea why my toes look like those of a frog in that pic, and I would like to stress that today, I have perfectly normal, even quite pretty toes.)
I made the 2013 version in a lovely beige linen, on which I painted horizontal stripes with some ordinary fabric paint.
Painting the stripes was a job which took me a lot longer than I anticipated. My original idea was just to paint them on off-the-cuff, so you could really see the brush strokes. But that didn't work out very well, as the paint really needed to be brushed into the fabric. So I used tape to protect the areas around the stripes.
I used my upcoming Hanami dress pattern, but left off the flutter sleeves. 

I also replaced the blind zipper in the back by buttons. Do you like them, by the way? They are handmade ceramic buttons, made by Sarah from Fulton & Co. Beautiful, aren't they? I just love their raw, matte look. If you'd like to win a set of Fulton buttons of choice, or enjoy a 20% discount on all Sarah's beautiful buttons, visit my blog today! :-)

Thank you so much, Suz, for including me in this amazing series!
Thankyou An!  What a beautiful and creative outfit!!  But I was hoping to see Norah in a pair of orange pipe-cleaner glasses!!

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  1. An, the 2013 version is gorgeous. One thing I am noticing about your creations - you are not looking for easy ways :)Cording, now fabric paint. I am in owe :)

  2. AN does it again! Absolutely stunning!! Seriously everyone in this series is knocking it out of the park...AMAZING!!

  3. Love the dress! The black stripes make it gorgeous.

  4. What a beautiful dress back then and now! Oh I remember the 80s VERY well and I agree... there was some seriously funky fashion going on.

  5. I love the dress!! and the color is perfect!

  6. This is gorgeous! What a perfect, modern interpretation!

  7. The dress is beautiful just like your daughter. I love how the dress looks sleeveless. And the picture with the frog toes is too funny.

    1. I know! Glad to hear that an now has normal, pretty toes!

  8. what a beautiful interpretation! and your toes made me smile :)

  9. Thank you, everyone, for these sweet comments :-)

  10. I loooove this Dress, An!!! You did such a great job adding those stripes, love how there's just the one on the bottom too.


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