Er volgt vandaag alweer een blogpost in het Engels. En dat heeft zo zijn redenen. Jenya nodigde me enkele weken geleden uit om deel te nemen aan een 'sewing series' die zij samen met partner-in-crime Renee organiseert. Twee sympathieke Australische blogmadammen met een grotendeels Engelstalig publiek en mijn bescheiden nederlandstalige blog. Tja, wij Vlamingen passen ons taalsgewijs dan maar aan, nietwaar :) Ben je niet zo beslagen in het Engels - nu ja, mijn Engels with some serious hair on it - gewoon doorscrollen naar de fotootjes ;).
So over to English!
I was really honored when Jenya invited me a few weeks ago to take part in the sewing series 'Constant change' she and Renee were planning. Moreover, the theme they had in mind is one that binds us all. Because isn't life one long chain of constant adaptments to new challenges? In my book anyway. So how could I say no?
While brainstorming about the theme - cycling to work really is the perfect opportunity for such a mindblowing activity - I came to the conclusion that we, as a family, have actually been experiencing a quite 'constant' period, in terms of big life changing events anyway. Our two girls, 3 and 5 year old, are both attending preschool for a while now and have settled in nicely. I have been working in the same place for almost 5 years now, and we have not moved houses in the last 4 years. In my spare time I have been sewing for about 2 years now, like constantly, so no big change there. And a year of blogging seems to pay off in terms of routine too.
But I don't think Jenya and Renee were only talking about 'life changing events' when they set up their constant change series. So I decided this would be a story about change, in a modest way. And in a very literal way too.
My eldest daughter Jolien turned 5 in the summer, and in Belgium 5 is the age that many kids are enrolled in a swimming class. So that's what we did - of course - and she had her first class just a few days ago. By the way, I think Jolien would not agree with me, when I say modest change. In her world, learning how to swim is a very big step. And it is actually. She's growing more independent every day. That's change number one.
Of course going to the swimming pool is not something a five year old can do by herself, so our family's evening routine on Mondays has changed quite drastically, from a relaxed family dinner to rushing to the swimming pool, waiting there for about 50 minutes, and rushing back home in order to get everyone in bed in time. There you have change number two.
I don't know about you but if there one thing I hate about going to the swimming pool, especially in winter time and with small kids, it's the changing part. I mean literally, the changing clothes for swimming wear and vice versa. It's cropped in these changing rooms, wet and way too hot. So my plan was to make Jolien a comfortable outfit that she herself can easily change for swimming wear. A one piece outfit preferably, and with a zipper to make the process as fast and smooth as can be. Enter change number three.
This is the sweater dress I came up with. I had actually planned to use another fabric for the dress, but the online-ordered fabric did not arrive timely, so I needed to be a bit flexible. Adapt to changing circumstances, so to speak. The outer fabric, featuring racoons, is from the Etsy shop 'Land of Oh'. I used the outlook of a dress I 'designed' last year as my starting point. (You can find a tutorial for the original dress on my blog, if you 're interested, provided you are not put off by some dutch :))
I used the sweater pattern from Emma & Mona's new book 'Stof voor durf-het-zelvers 2' (also in dutch, sorry guys) as my base pattern this time. Her book includes a collection of base patterns (including sweaters, trousers, jackets and dresses), inviting you to play around and create your own personal look. My cup of tea! Maybe, if you all shout very loudly, she might be talked into translating it into English?
I changed a few things in the dress compared to the original. The most obvious, of course, is the added diagonal zipper. But the collar too was adapted. I wanted a warm cosy upstanding collar, so that no extra scarf would be needed when coming from the swimming pool. On the other hand, I really liked the assymmetric collar on my original version, so I experimented a bit with the placement of 3 kamsnaps and now the dress can be worn with (see below) of without(see above) upstanding collar. And lastly I adapted the circular inserts to real functional pockets.
While taking pictures, I remembered I knitted Jolien a hat last year, the 'Zsa Mask' using this tutorial. The hat seems to be made to accompany this racoon outfit, don't you agree? My knitting skills are very basic. Maybe the 50 minutes wait in the swimming pool cafetaria every week might be the perfect time to improve them?
Ready for some more pictures?
Jenya and Renee, thank you for inviting me to take part in your series! Annika from Näh-Connection is my fellow contributor today. I for one am very curious to see what see came up with!