When we were young: La Gang a Nat

April 13, 2014

It's time for When we were young again....I hope you love these posts as much as I do!  Today's guest is the lovely Natalie from the French Canadian blog, La Gang a Nat.  Natalie is a lawyer by day and mad sewer by night! She has become addicted to sewing for her three beautiful daughters and loves to share her creations on her blog.

Today she is sharing some great pics and stories from her childhood and a very nostalgic creation for her second daughter, Alix....



Well hello sewpony readers! I am Natalie from La gang à Nat and I am quite excited to be here today to share with you a tiny bit of my youth.  I am very much smitten with this series created by Suzanne... it's been lovely taking a peek into the childhood of fellow bloggers, and then seeing the wonderful creations inspired by their youth.


I was born and raised in a small town in Northern Ontario, Canada, who's main industry was a pulp and paper mill. (Don't worry, this post is NOT about pulp and paper mills!). Our little town was, and still is, primarily francophone. I did all of my schooling in French, including high school and university. In fact, even though I grew up in an anglophone province, my English was quite limited until I started university. Today however, I am fluent in both languages and can slip from one to the other with ease, with only a slight trace of a French accent.  I grew up alongside my younger brother Alain, as well as a succession of family pets: a bird, a cat, two dogs, a few hamsters, loads of fish, even a chicken family at some point! We lived in the countryside, on the shores of a lake and spent amazing summers swimming, snorkelling, water skiing, fishing, and playing in the woods. As my parents were both high school teachers, we travelled quite a bit as well during the summers, even crossing the entire country in our camper one year. Winters were spent cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, skating, and as a teenager, snowmobiling on the lake and on forest trails. I have three girls now and even though they are all very different from one another, I see bits of myself in all of them. Maïan is sensitive, intuitive, empathetic... she's also insecure at times when she definitely shouldn't be (as she is quite amazing!). Alix is strong, determined, stubborn even, yet she is incredibly caring and nurturing and nobody makes me laugh the way she does! And little Gaëlle is calm, happy, at peace with life... but step on her toes and she will let you know you are out of line! Pushover she is not.


Here are some pics of me taken when I was three years old. I'm actually quite fond of the little outfits I'm wearing in all of them and had difficulty picking what I was going to reproduce from one of my girls. That little romper above would make for a great modern pattern don't you think? Oh, it certainly looks like polyester was the fabric of choice back then, haha!  Here I am, celebrating my third birthday... gosh I loved that Fisher Price camper!

  WWWY SP 12 

And here I am, ready to head off to my first day of school. 

This yellow jumper dress is the outfit I decided to recreate for my little 2 year old Gaëlle. Only when it was all done, I realized that it was way too big for her! But lucky me, it fit perfectly on 4 year old Alix! Phew! How did I screw up that sizing so badly?? Oh yeah, my fabric has stre-e-e-e-e-etch!!!! Ooops!  


The bodice is based loosely on the Perfect Little Party Dress by Heidi and Finn. The attached jumper skirt is self-drafted. The yellow mustard fabric is Ponte de Roma from my local Fabricland, an appropriate fabric to reproduce 70s fashion as it is basically 100% polyester. I totally forgot to note what the floral fabric was but it is definitely in the silk family... perhaps charmeuse?  As a first prototype, I did make quite a few mistakes on this dress (the stitching on the pocket is OH SO BAD!) but regardless, I am still very happy with the overall 70s vibe that it projects... And I love those big handmade fabric buttons! 


I was hoping to recreate the image of happy 3 year old me sitting in the stairs... but unfortunately, Alix was in no mood to model for me. She was refusing to give me any smile whatsoever. As I mentioned earlier, she is by far the most stubborn of all of my girls, hahaha! So I simply followed her around for a bit and decided not to push things... Not identical but close enough! How do you like that red shag carpet??? 

 WWWY SP 14   WWWY SP 2  > WWWY SP 3 WWWY SP 1 >   WWWY SP 13 

I haven't quite decided on how to finish the back yet. I am debating whether the straps should be stitched at the shoulders to keep them from falling down? Or perhaps sew together the straps where they meet in the back? I suppose I would need my little model to try the dress on again to help me decide... hummm hummm....


Et ben, merci beaucoup Suz! It was lovely being here again on sewpony! I really hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of my childhood in Canada, circa 1975!


Thank you so much Nat!! This is gorgeous Nat, I love it!

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  1. Awww what a perfect 70's feel in this dress!! But I bet the fabric is much more comfy than the scratchy polyester :) I think you did a really great job recreating your outfit!

  2. So gorgeous Nat! I love that you're keeping this series alive Suz - It's by far my favourite :)

  3. What a gorgeous dress Nat :) Thank you for sharing about some of your adventures growing up :)

  4. Suz, thanks so much for having me... big big fan of this series! And thank you for the lovely intro and the cool collage of my daughters!

    Oh, and I wanted to tell you that I really love the font that you use for your main body.... very cool!


    1. Thanks nat! And thank you for your lovely intro. I have changed my blog a bit...I get bored! I cnt remember the font I think it might be courier but I am not totally sure:)

  5. So cute Natalie! Love all the childhood photos of you too Natalie. Alix looks so much like you so it is sort of perfect she was the one ended up wearing it and (sort of) doing the photo shoot :-)

  6. What a cute little outfit! Great job on recreating your first day of school dress!
    This series is so great! Love seeing these posts :)

  7. Love this series :)
    It was such a pleasure to read your post as first-day of school outfits are among my favorite childhood memories (I can related with a stubborn kid as well)!

  8. It was so fun to learn more about you Natalie! I think I had that same camper! I love the outfit so much and it was really fun to see your cute baby pictures. This is such a great series!

  9. just adorable! what a cute take on that original dress, which was also very cute! Will have to check out her blog!

  10. Oh that camper is amazing! And this dress is just beautiful!

  11. Just a suggestion on finishing the straps - put a belt loop on one then run the other through the loop - it works great! BTW adorable jumper/blouse and a BEAUTIFUL child. Thanks for sharing

  12. Oh Putznanu... I love that idea! Thanks!!!


  13. What a lovely dress and a beautiful child! I just discovered your blog, and will sure be back to see more of your creations. Oh, and if I can add my two bit, I can also attest to what Putznanu says. It works!

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