The 12 Days of Christmas: Straightgrain

December 10, 2013

Today’s guest is An from Straightgrain. An lives in Belgium and learned to sew so she could make clothes for her adorable daughter Norah. Her style and fabric taste is impeccable, often with unexpected colour combinations that make me want to rush out to the fabric shop. It’s difficult to choose my favourites but I love this deer dress (made from her own Tinny pattern), this smocked sundress and these amazing origami sleeves (includes link to a tutorial). If you have a little girl to sew for then you can’t go wrong with one of An’s patterns.

An recently welcomed her second daughter, Ava, to the family and has shared a wonderful tutorial for a baby bean bag. She is also involved in some of the best series around including ‘Kids’ Clothes Belgian Style‘ and ‘The Secret Squirrel’ that she co-hosts with Suz. Today An is sharing a beautiful dress that she has sewn for Ava.


Hi everyone! I’m An from StraightGrain, and I’m so happy to be a guest here in Laura and Suz’s great series. While Belgium is a secular country, Christmas is still a very important holiday here. I guess you could compare it to some extent Thanksgiving in the US: Christmas is for many people that day of the year when they meet up with family members they do not see that often.

For me personally as well, Christmas has always been mostly about family. As a child and teenager, celebrations always started in the evening of the 24th: drinks and exchanging gifts with my sister and parents, some good food, and then watching a movie together. Then on the 25th, we used to spend the day with the extended family, with more good food, and most importantly: playing party games with my nephews and nieces. It was a day to which I always looked forward for weeks, and I was always sad when it was over.

Today, as our nuclear families have become our extended families, we celebrate Christmas in a different way, but it is still one of my favorite events of the year.

To be honest, I might be a bit miscast in this series, as for me, sewing for Christmas is not different from sewing for any other day or event. Personally, I don’t really like to dress my daughters in very formal clothes. I’m not a fan of the shiny and dark fabrics which are traditionally worn on Christmas, I’m too lazy to spend hours on garments which are worn only once, and finally, I like kids best in colorful, fun clothes in natural fabrics.

However, for this series, I did want to do something special, so here’s a first… (drumroll) … I made a dress for my 2-month-old baby Ava! When I was pregnant, I always swore I would never sew clothes for her in the first year, because she has plenty of clothes from her sister Norah, and because babies outgrow their clothes so fast. But, it was stronger than me…

The dress I made is a very simple pattern which I drew for the occasion. It closes with two buttons on the shoulders. This makes the dress much easier to put on than with a zipper or buttons in the back, as Ava cannot sit up yet, and hates to be put on her belly 🙂

The blue dotted fabric is from the Belgian chain store Veritas, and the amber one is the Cotton Couture fabric I already used so many times this year.

Thank you, Laura and Suz for having me in this lovely series. And a very happy Christmas to everyone!


This is such a gorgeous dress and Ava is so cute. It’s such a practical design for a baby yet still looks so stylish. I think those fabrics would work just as well for a boy’s outfit too. Your Christmas celebrations sound quite similar to mine and it’s such a magical time of year. Thank you for joining the series today.

Now click on the button below to go over and visit Sewpony and see what her guest, Laura from Behind the Hedgerow, is sharing today. Laura also lives in Belgium at the moment.


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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  • Reply Suz December 10, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Gorgeous An! The colours look lovely together. Hopefully this will be a special dress that you can pass down to your grand girls?! Thankyou for sharing:))

  • Reply Olga Becker December 10, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Awww! Ava is the cutest. The dress is awesome!

  • Reply Laura - Behind the Hedgerow December 10, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    This is lovely! I’m shocked you found that gorgeous fabric at Veritas! And the sweetest little model. xx

    • Reply An (Straightgrain) December 13, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      Veritas has a new line of fabrics in really pretty prints (designed by Maaike Boot). Unfortunately, the quality is disappointing…

  • Reply Mie @ Sewing Like Mad December 10, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Well, if you are miscast for this series…we can be it together…I made my first christmas dress this year too 😉 Absolutely beautiful dress and Ava is soooo cute. Well done!

  • Reply Sarah Helene December 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    CUTE AS CAN BE: your 2-month old infant AVA wearing her first dress sewn by you! GREAT turquoise dotted fabric with amber belt & lining– creative color combinations for a dress you designed yourself. She’s all set for more and more photos with family & friends during the Christmas holidays, probably the center of attention. Thanks for sharing in this series. Sarah Helene, Minneapolis, MN

  • Reply Lucinda December 10, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Gorgeous! Both the adorable baby and the dress:) That blue fabric is a wonderful choice for her!

  • Reply April December 11, 2013 at 5:39 am

    She is just beautiful! And the buttons on the shoulders is such a cute touch!

  • Reply Jenya December 11, 2013 at 9:04 am

    An, Ava is adorable and the dress looks so cute on her 🙂

  • Reply Celina December 12, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    oh Ava is so cute in her little dress. The colors and patterns work so well together. Everything is super sweet.

  • Reply An (Straightgrain) December 13, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Thank you all, for the super nice comments about the dress and the model 🙂

  • Reply abby @ thingsforboys December 14, 2013 at 9:56 am

    oh so sweet! Buttons on the shoulders is a great idea! I think all babies hate being on their tummies…mine certainly did!

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