The Tenth Day of Christmas: Behind the hedgerow

December 10, 2013

Wow, it is already the Tenth day of Christmas!!! How are your Christmas preparations going?  Mine are going slowly, but luckily I have some child free time up my sleeve soon to sneak out to the shops!  I am also sewing a few quick things for the girls.

Today my guest is the lovely and very talented Laura from Behind the hedgerow.  I discovered Laura's blog a few months ago and I just love her style.  She sews really colourful and fun clothes for her kids and the most awesome stuff for herself too.  I love love this hoodie she made herself recently.  I also love this liberty jersey dress she made her daughter.  Liberty jersey? How lush!  And these green banyan pants are pretty damn cool!  Laura lives in Belgium but she is kind of from all over the place!!  Over to you Laura!

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12 days of christmas sewing series // Behind the Hedgerow When Suz and Laura got in touch about the 12 Days of Christmas series they described it as "making something for your child(ren) to wear on Christmas day." 12 days of christmas sewing series // Behind the Hedgerow Now, visions of beautiful Christmas dresses did immediately flash through my mind but then I snapped out of my idyllic daydream of my kids wearing gorgeous, pristine clothing, all sharing and getting along while serenading us with perfectly pitched Christmas carols. The reality of our Christmas day is more National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation than The Nutcracker.  It's messy, it's loud, it's often chaotic and it's FUN!  The kids rarely get out of their PJs until at least midday. So, in the spirit of keeping it real...and comfortable...and acheivable, I decided to make *simple* PJs and coordinating dressing gowns. 12 days of christmas sewing series // Behind the Hedgerow And, that's not all folks...this post also has FOOD (with recipe included)!  I have been so good for the last 10 months about not letting food creep into my blog (I'm nearly as obsessed with cooking as I am with sewing and, little-known-fact, I use to run a catering business in Brussels), but for this post I couldn't resist because for me, food is such an integral part of family Christmas traditions.  But I'm getting ahead of myself, first the sewing. danish pastry collage

Pyjamas

These pjs turned out exactly as I imagined - simple, easy-to-wear, with just enough Christmas cheer. Best of all - they're a breeze to sew, so, if you're inspired, you still have time to whip up a pair before the holidays. 12 days of christmas sewing series // Behind the Hedgerow

Leggings

The bottoms of the pjs are leggings made using the  Go To Leggings pattern.  I made them all quite long (to allow for those legs to grow) and added cuffs at the bottom.  Really not much to add since the instructions are very clear and the pattern itself is spot on - fitted but not too tight.  I did, however, make my waistbands slightly too tight - the pattern recommends to cut the elastic three inches smaller that the waist measurement. Next time I'll do about 1 inch.  I made the cuffs following the instructions from the flashback skinny tee (see below). 12 days of christmas sewing series // Behind the Hedgerow

Tops

The pj tops are none other than the trusty Flashback Skinny Tee pattern which I'm pretty sure I could sew in my sleep by now!  Again, everything is explained beautifully in the instructions and Rae even gives you an instructions summary sheet for when you just need the bare bones of what to do - makes everything much quicker.   You can read a full pattern review for the flashback skinny tee here. 12 days of christmas sewing series // Behind the Hedgerow These two patterns are some of the most useful in my collection.  They are versatile, unisex (although the leggings wouldn't go far beyond pjs for the boys), stylish and comfortable.  And, even if you're not a pro at sewing with knits, they are still very achievable (I don't own a serger and have no problems doing these with my normal machine).

Flocking

To jazz these pjs up a bit I added some festive flocking in the form of a polar bear, stag head and penguin - I wanted something festive but not overly Christmasy so I don't cringe each time they wear them after 25th December.   What's flocking?  It's kind of a fuzzy iron-on adhesive substance that can be cut and applied to most textiles. It is easy to do and a great way to personalise a garment (you can also do it on RTW clothing).  I got the images from the internet, sized them, cut them out, traced them on to the flocking, cut them out and ironed them on.  I've done a few projects with flocking (here, here and here) and, I must say, I'm getting better each time - oh, and I got some expert advice from Leentje who also adds some cool designs to her clothing this way (I love this one). 12 days - stag detail, wearing Here in Belgium I buy the flocking online.  If you can't find it you can achieve a similar effect with fabric paint and freezer paper - check out Laura's (Craftstorming) Christmas tee for a more detailed explanation of how this is done (I've never actually done it myself!).

Dressing Gowns

12 days of christmas sewing series // Behind the Hedgerow I have a slight obsession with snuggling, comfort and keeping my kids warm so, what better to go with pjs than dressing gowns?  These gowns are heavily inspired by the ones Meg (Elsie Marley) made for her kids a couple of years ago.  Ever since seeing these I haven't been able to get them out of my mind!  The pattern is from Sewing for Boys and I bought the book on the basis of this project alone. The pattern is clear with useful illustrations.  Meg gives a great pattern review and I took her advice on lengthening the belt and shortening the sleeves.  My pocket placement is a bit suspect but I can live with that (I should have marked the placement on the pattern itself rather than just slapping them straight on to the front of the robes).  Also, be sure to clip into your seam allowances under the arms before attaching the lining - there's a lot of fabric here and you don't want it to get all bunched up. 12 days of christmas sewing series // Behind the Hedgerow This is another pattern I would recommend, but, be warned, it's not quite as quick to come together as the pjs (and each gown uses 4 yards of fabric!).  If you do make one - make it BIG so it'll last a few years and you can feel you've done your maternal duty of keeping your little one warm. 12 days of christmas sewing series // Behind the Hedgerow

Food and Traditions

There is no one fixed place where I celebrate Christmas.  I've lived outside of The States (where all my mom's side of the family live) for 14 years now so I rarely make it home for Christmas.  For me, Christmas is not about a specific location but more about the people and THE FOOD!! Perhaps the my biggest Christmas food tradition - one that shouts out 'Christmas!' and fails to be ignored until every last morsel in consumed - is my grandmother's (known to all as Aunt Mummy) Danish Pastry. Now, she called it Danish Pastry - I have never seen such a thing in Denmark and it rings no bells with any of my Danish friends (perhaps Mie could shed some light on it!), but that's what she called it and Aunt Mummy was the most awesome woman of all time so for me it will forever remain Danish Pastry (or Panish Dastry as I called it when I was young). 12 days of christmas sewing series // Behind the Hedgerow
In case you'd like to introduce a new foodie tradition to Christmas morning (and I don't know why you wouldn't :-) ), I'm sharing this recipe with you (I'm even giving both US and European measurements - I know the notion of 'cups' baffles many Europeans).

Danish Pastry

Danish Pastry Recipe // Behind the Hedgerow

Crust

1 cup (140g) plain flour; 1/2 cup (115g), butter; 2 tablespoons water.

Pre-heat oven to 350° F (180° C). Put flour in bowl and add the cold butter in chunks.  Work with the tips of your fingers until you have a fine breadcrumb-like consistency.  Sprinkle with the water and blend quickly.  Pat onto a cookie sheet until you have a rough 12in (30cm) circle.

Filling

1/2 cup (115g) butter; 1 cup (24oml) water; 1 teaspoon almond extract; 1 cup (140g) plain flour; 3 eggs.

Combine water and butter in a pan and bring to the boil.  Add almond extract.  Remove from heat and beat in the flour with a large spoon.  Add eggs one at a time and beat quickly (this is going to seem really weird - the first time I did it I thought I had done it all wrong because the eggs separate everything and you need to incorporate them back in).  Spread over crust.  Bake for 50-60 mins (I actually only bake mine for about 35 mins but my oven tends to cook everything quickly - just check it - it needs to be set but you don't want the top to be too brown).  Once cooked, remove to cool and make your icing.

Icing

3 oz (90g) cream cheese; 2 cups (250g) powdered sugar; 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; large handful of chopped nuts (being in Belgium I tend to use a praline mixture which is chopped nuts and bits of caramelised sugar - delicious!).

Cream all ingredients together (except nuts).  Spread over cooled pastry and then sprinkle with nuts. Enjoy on Christmas morning - guaranteed to give you enough energy to get through all the present opening! 12 days of christmas sewing series // Behind the Hedgerow *** Wow, I've really enjoyed writing this post - all the comfort, chaos and food would make Aunt Mummy very happy!  It has also forced me to detach from the daily grind and to reflect a bit on what's important to me this holiday season. 12 days of christmas sewing series // Behind the Hedgerow Christmas will still be messy, loud and chaotic but at least we'll be comfortable and well-fed.  And that, for me, is a very merry Christmas indeed. Thanks for reading and a huge thanks to Suz and Laura for inviting me to be a part of this joyous series! 12 days of christmas sewing series // Behind the Hedgerow Laura x

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What an amazing post!! Thank you so much Laura for all the love and time you poured into your outfits, the recipe and this post.  I LOVE the flocking you did.  I will have to try it one day - so effective and professional looking! I think your kids are going to have an absolute ball on Christmas day.  Thanks so much for joining in our series:).
 
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 Today at Craftstorming, An from Straightgrain is guest posting.  Click on the picture to take you there.  And don't forget to add your creations to our flickr group!

www.craftstorming.com

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On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me,
Ten lords a leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a milking,
Seven swans a swimming,
Six geese a laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

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21 comments

  1. Super! Super fun outfits, super fun photos! I could almost hear all the laughter and the happy noise! The food - yum! Thank you for sharing :)

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  2. Reading this post makes me so happy Laura! It is just full of everything that is important at Christmas time. The pjs and dressing gowns all look amazing and so comfy. The recipe sounds delicious too! Thanks so much for sharing this today.

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  3. My Mom makes Danish Pastry too (although I think she calls it Danish puff). It is delicious and we usually consume it all in one sitting:) What child doesn't love to hang out in their new PJs while playing w new toys on Xmas - they are great!

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  4. What an amazing post! Thank you for sharing the recipe! The pjs look and the robes look super comfy!

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  5. WOW! I counted 19 photos of the PJs & robes for your 3 kids PLUS the Danish pastry-- all for your family's CHRISTMAS DAY at home. WONDERFUL robes with a mix of plaids & polka dots for your daughter as well as bright red & orange with more subdued tiny plaids for your 2 sons. And to top it off-- a FAB recipe, YUM YUM! All together this post shows vividly your LOVE as a nurturing mother, sewing practical & colorful clothes & baking!! Your talents in both are evident. BRAVO for all the cool photos, such a variety! Sarah Helene, Minneapolis, MN USA

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  6. I love those pj's. They would make the perfect Christmas Day outfit over here too!
    And your flocking looks great!

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  7. 3 tops (with flocking), 3 bottoms, 3 robes AND a recipe!?! You really outdid yourself!!!

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  8. Wow Laura...you have been busy...and it is all amazing. And no I have never heard of this type of cake before but it sounds delicious!!

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  9. Oh man Laura, what a great post!! Love all of your sewing projects and the recipe looks delicious, too. You'll have three cute cozy kiddos on Christmas.

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  10. Laura, I'm happy to know that I'm not the only one who is obsessed with both sewing and food! These pjs and robes are wonderful! So cozy and I'm sure they will love wearing them on Christmas!

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  11. Thanks for the lovely post! What lovely gowns and pjs. And I am glad to get a review of the leggings pattern. Have been wanting to try those for a while.

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  12. Oh, cute PJs and the kimono style robes look so comfy! Well done Laura! thank you for sharing recipe too :)

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  13. So comfy and great!!! I would love such a robe for myself. And the pastry - never heard of if here in Denmark, but it looks delicious!!

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  14. That recipe looks delicious! I love the pjs and robes too...they look so comfy and cozy!

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  15. oh what perfect lounging around outfits. I really need to try some flocking. Everything looks great!

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  16. oh, those pj's look so cute and comfy! I love the simple design, and the pops of color. And the robes... what I wouldn't do for a cozy one in my size! but that would take some SERIOUS yardage! ;)

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  17. wow, great post.. so much going on! Will be heading over to check out her blog for sure!! EMily@nap-timecreations.com

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