Suz from Sewpony had an idea: "Let's have some fun and share some sewing love!"
She wanted to organise a little surprise for An from Straightgrain and asked a number of bloggers to take part.
How could I say no?
If you're an active follower of sewing blogs, then I'm sure you know An already.
Just like me, she is Belgian and I love her style.
Over the years she has been very active in bringing people virtually together to share their handmade creations while inspiring them through her blog.
It is thanks to bloggers like her that "Belgian-style" is a "thing" now in the online sewing world, and it made it as far as Australia.
This is great of course!
Belgian exports should go far beyond delicious chocolate and the best beer in the world.
So as a "thank you" this surprise blog tour was cleverly called "Anspired".
The brief: make something that was inspired by An.
But what is Belgian style? It means cute fabrics, a bit of vintage, no frills but lots of piping. Of course, there has to be piping!
But I am digressing.
How did she inspire me?
I love how she adds details just to make a garment that extra special: collars in all shapes and sizes, piping, little ribbons... She's not afraid to experiment.
I think she has subconsciously inspired me in several projects, for example when I used gold piping in the seams of this Louisa dress I made a few months ago.
This week I decided to make a winter dress for my daughter. She does not like collars, so that was not an option. But I did think she might like big pockets. So I made my own version of the Ishi dress, a pattern designed by An.
And I would experiment too... (no piping was involved though this time)
Searching online, I could not find anyone who had made a winter version with a knit fabric. "Challenge accepted" I told myself, trying to boost my confidence.
I used an aqua blue sweater knit for the dress that I had in my fabric stash. For the pockets I used remnants from a top I am sewing for myself in the Eva's horses fabric (another blog post coming up, I've been busy!)
To add a bit of contrast I used mustard coloured ribbing for the top of the pockets (from my stash), and then used the same for the cuffs and neckband. All this removed the need for a zipper and facings. This made for a quick dress.
I did stitch with a higher seam allowance to make the fit a bit more snug.
I am not sure if I have done An's style justice, but I have a happy girl nevertheless.
Now I just need to convince my daughter that Mustard is a really fashionable colour!!
She does own a pair of shoes but she refused to put them on (what cold floor?) and party balloons had to be involved at one stage. She turned 8 last week, negotiating is getting harder.
An, thank you for telling the sewing world about Belgian style!