Tag Archives: compagnie M.

Winter into spring linen dress

mara dress linen - title imageMargot needed a new dress.  As a home sewist with a little girl, this is not something that’s said very often; dresses are the most tempting item to sew and consequently Margot usually has plenty to choose from.  But, due to my lack of sewing (discussed in my last post) and the fact that my kids now wear school uniforms, the dresses are suddenly in short supply!

linen Mara dress // Behind the Hedgerow

Planning the dress

I knew exactly the kind of dress I wanted – something that could be worn now (with layers as it’s still quite cold here), but was equally suitable for hot summer days.

I knew exactly the overall feel I wanted – dusty pink, muted Liberty fabric…a nod to springtime without turning Margot into a pastel easter egg!

All I had to do now was figure out how to sew what was in my head!

linen Mara dress // Behind the Hedgerow

One of my goals for 2015 is to be more deliberate and thoughtful about the clothes I make in order to achieve my own vision for a garment – rather than just following a pattern, unthinking.  To help me with this I’ve started to be more disciplined about using two tools:

  • An online mood board.  By putting all my inspiration into one collage-like view I was able to get a clearer idea of what I wanted for the dress.
  • [Question: This mood board was thrown together quickly in Photoshop – does anyone know of a good mood board app?  Pinterest is the obvious one but I want something that allows you present it all collage-style.]

  • A fashionary sketchbook.  This is a great place to write down all the planning stages of a garment.  The book has very faint outlines of people on the pages so you can sketch the clothes – or feel free to just write over them if necessary.  The first few pages are an excellent reference tool for everything from pattern and garment shapes, to body measurements and sizes, to typography, to online colour generators!

And, although not quite as detailed (or outlandish!!) as the drawings above, I used my book to map out what I wanted for this project.

linen Mara dress notes // Behind the Hedgerow

Making the dress


Now, with all this inspiration floating around it was time to actually make the dress.  Not wanting to buy any new books or patterns, I limited myself to what I had on hand.

linen Mara dress // Behind the HedgerowThe top part of the dress is a sleeveless version of the Mara blouse by Compagnie M.  I wanted the yoke to be more of a square shape (similar to the Tova top) but, due to time limitations, I decided to leave it as it was.

linen Mara dress // Behind the Hedgerow

The skirt shape and length, as well as the pockets are from the Oliver+s Jump Rope Dress (view B).

The main fabric is a gorgeous shade of dusty pink that my husband bought for me from Purl Soho when he was in NYC in 2012!  If you ever want to know if your husband/partner truly loves you then send him/her to NYC (while on a business trip if you want to add even more pressure!) with a list of fabric shops and tell him to “just pick out some things I’d like”!  He chose really well!!

linen Mara dress // Behind the Hedgerow

The pockets and piping are Liberty print – from my stash.

mara dress linen - pocket detail 2

Once all these details were decided upon, the actual sewing was quite straightforward.  As I’ve made both patterns before I was comfortable with all the processes and it came together pretty quickly!  The only time-consuming part was making the bias binding as well as the piping.


So, we’re almost into April and Margot has one new dress.  It’s a start but I need to get a move on before the really warm weather comes!

What is your planning/sewing process for a new project?  What are your go-to patterns for customising?  And finally, what dress should I make next?  I feel I’m on a bit of a roll now!

Hope you’re all sewing up something lovely on this sunny spring day!

Thanks for reading,

Laura x

linen Mara dress // Behind the Hedgerow

My Favourite Things GIVEAWAY

My Favourite Things Giveaway // Behind the Hedgerow

You can call it a Thank You to all you truly wonderful readers who have been part of this blogging adventure with me for the past 15 months; you can call it a celebration of a change in life and an update of blog; or you could simply call it AN AWESOME GIVEAWAY!

A natural love of the English countryside has always drawn me to the classic designs of English tailoring, epitomised by the patterns of Merchant and Mills and even better when sewn with Liberty of London fabric.

My time in Brussels has allowed me the chance to get to know some of the innovative pattern designers who incorporate their sense of Belgian flair in their work.

I feel that my own sewing is now lodged somewhere in between these two realms – and that’s a lovely place to be!

So, is this post just about me, me, me?!  Mais, non!  There’s something in for you as well!  If you’re a reader here and like what you see and what I do then I assume you too have impeccable taste 😉 and deserve to win some of these delights!

The Giveaway

There are 12 prizes to be won (by three winners) which pretty much some up my favourite things about sewing.  These have been generously donated and I can’t thank those individuals and businesses enough.  Let’s have a little wander down Prize-Winning Alley…

Straightgrain Patterns

An, the creative force behind Straightgrain, designs patterns for babies and girls that are modern and elegant.  Her natural style and flair for matching patterns and fabrics comes out in all her creations.

To be won: three digital sewing patterns of your choice.  You can get drooling over all her patterns here.

Straightgrain's Hanami Dress // Behind the Hedgerow

Zonen 09 Patterns

Sharon has been one of my sewing inspirations ever since I met her at Maakdag, Gent’s sewing extravaganza, that she organised.  I’ve waxed lyrical about the Jacob Trousers enough times for you all to be sick of hearing it!  Her newest pattern, The Lars Jacket (only available in Dutch at the moment) just blows my mind!

Jacob Trousers // Behind the Hedgerow

To be won: three digital sewing patterns of your choice.  At the moment she has three patterns in English.  Should you win you can choose one of these or, if you’re patient, wait until the others are released in English.  Check out all the patterns here.

Compagnie M. Patterns


CompagnieM logo

I’ve worked closely with Marte on some of her patterns.  She’s exacting and prolific (which is even more admirable considering she’s the mother of twin toddlers) and her patterns just keep  geting better and better!  The Mara blouse and Lotta dress are both wardrobe staples in this house.



To be won: three digital sewing patterns of your choice.  Even if you don’t win, you’ll enjoy perusing these beauties.

Merchant and Mills

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Merchant and Mills embodies everything I love and aspire to be as a home sewist.  I even wrote an entire post on this shop.  If you have a moment (and even if you think you don’t) please read this – it might change your life (or at least your life as a sewist) like it did mine!

The Merchant and Mills Factory Dress // Behind the Hedgerow

To be won: one digital sewing pattern of your choice.  I can personally recommend the Factory Dress (in fact, I’m wearing it as I type!) but the others are equally irresistible!  I have the Camber Dress pattern just waiting for the perfect fabric.  Have a look at all the patterns available.



A trip to London is never complete without a visit to Ray-Stitch.  They stock all the usual on-trend quilting cottons as well as a wide yet artfully curated range of home deco weight, Liberty lawn, jersey and corduroy, buttons, patterns and tools.  Oh, and there’s a gorgeous little café too!  A little slice of heaven if you ask me!

Green Bee Pattern's Mug Rug // Behind the Hedgerow

TUTORIAL - Liberty Baby Comfort Blanket // Behind the Hedgerow

To be won:  One bundle of worn and washed Liberty fabrics.  Talk about heaven, these little bundles offer 35 pieces of Liberty fabric.  Yes they are small but they are perfect for adding just a touch Liberty to a project – and with Liberty, a little goes a long way!

de Stoffenkamer

A gem of a fabric shop alongside a picturesque canal in Gent.  When I visit this shop I head straight for the jersey, ribbing and the most gorgeous display of piping!  They stock a huge range of delicious colours including some fabulous metallic silver and gold, polka dots and jersey!  Adding piping to projects can really transform them and make them your own.

Oliver+s bucket hats // Behind the Hedgerow

You can see more of this piping in action here, here and here.

Piping - de Stoffenkamer, Gent, Belgium

To be won: 10 meters of assorted piping (including some metallic).


So what are you waiting for?!  Are you ready to enter?  The giveaway is open to ALL readers – everything can be sent internationally!!  I wish you all luck.  The giveaway will close next Thursday 12th June and 13.00 CET and I’ll announce the winners on Friday 13th (which won’t be unlucky for three of you!!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again for all your support and encouragement over the past 15 months.  Long live home sewing…and photographing…and writing…and sharing!

Laura x

It’s Spring – time to get outside! {A Mailbox Surprise creation}

Bias-trimmed gardening apron // Behind the HedgerowToday I’m guest posting at Compagnie M. as part of the Mailbox Surprise Series.  This series has seen fabric parcels being sent to talented sewing bloggers all over the world to be used to make wonderful creations for the little people in our lives.

I sent Ana Sofia (S is for Sewing) this parcel back in December…

…which she then turned into this:

Pretty fun, right?  (And pretty cute – well, just plain pretty!).  Today it’s my turn to share the creation I made using fabric sent to me by Suz (Sewpony).

Bias-trimmed gardening apron // Behind the Hedgerow

I’ve enjoyed this whole project because:

  • The sun is out!!!!!  Can you see the light shining on the apron at the top!!  I haven’t seen the sun in months!
  • The photo shoot did NOT take place in front of my white brick wall!!  Shock, I know!  So, where did we venture?  Click over to Compagnie M. to find out!
  • The photo shoot required exactly ZERO bribes and no tears were shed.

You can read all the details and see many more photos over at Compagnie M.  I think every girl deserves an apron to get mucky in!

Bias-trimmed gardening apron // Behind the HedgerowThanks for reading!  I have something BIG to share on Monday so please stop by!

Laura x

GIVEAWAY – Mara Blouse Pattern (and Project Run and Play Signature Style)

mara blouse and jacob trousers - title image

This is one jam-packed post!!  We’ve got Liberty print, we’ve got a pattern tour, we’ve got signature style, and, best of all, we’ve got a GIVEAWAY!  Way-hey!

Mara Blouse

mara blouse and jacob trousers - top wearing

Before we get started with the pattern itself, I just want to mention the fabric.  Yes it’s Liberty, yes it’s Tana Lawn and yes, it’s covered with quirky, cool animals (complete with giraffes wearing sneakers/trainers and elephants carrying satchels).  This is quite possibly my most perfect fabric ever!  It even has okapis on it!  Who can resist an okapi?! (Did you know an okapi can wash its eyelids and ears with its unbelievably long tongue?!).

mara blouse and jacob trousers - top hanging

The pattern that had the honour of being used with this fabric is the newly-released Mara blouse pattern from Compagnie M.  This is the second day of an awesome pattern tour for this top and it promises to be full of innovation and inspiration (you can check out the full line-up here).  Marte has designed a beautiful and functional top which, I think, suits Liberty fabric beautifully.  I chose to make a top with long sleeves but you could also choose – flutter sleeves, cap sleeves or even a dress or tunic version (like Marta from doguincho posted yesterday).

With lots going on at the moment (and yesterday being my son’s fourth birthday) I almost didn’t join the pattern tour.  But, boy, would have I been kicking myself if I missed out on this!  Here’s what I love about the Mara blouse:

  • This is one of those patterns that not only guides you smoothly along the path to a well-sewn and beautiful garment (it even goes so far as to give you the exact measurements for perfectly spaced buttonholes), but also teaches you a few things along the way that will help increase your general sewing knowledge.  In particular, this pattern teaches you how to make your own bias, apply piping, and finish a long sleeve with a beautiful elastic cuff.  And, as if this weren’t enough, Marte has also posted some free tutorials to help with each aspect of this top.

mara blouse and jacob trousers - sleeve cuff

  • With so many stylistic options available this top is suitable for all seasons and can be changed in so many ways that it will always seem fresh.  In other words, you can sew this for siblings or close friends without them thinking they’re wearing the exact same thing.  Next time I want to try a contrast fabric for the yoke.
  • I’m in love small pleats/pin tucks under the yoke – a subtle detail that adds sophistication (just sew slowly when attaching the yoke to the this section – with the sharp curve and the pleats it’s easy to misalign the yoke and end up with the whole piece off-centre).  (And of course I love the piping – surely that goes without saying?!).

mara blouse and jacob trousers - yoke detail

  • This pattern ranges in size from 1 – 10 years.  I really appreciate this!  I see a fair few of these being made for Chritmas gifts!

As home sewists we are all spoilt for choice with so many amazing indie patterns available at the moment.  The bar keeps rising higher and higher in terms of how much we get from a pattern (fully photographed instructions, multiple style options, corresponding online information, step-by-step sewalongs, instantly downloadable, etc).  The Mara Blouse is competing at such a high level and really does deliver on every point.  I know Marte has worked her socks off to get this pattern right.  If you’re looking for something stylish, achievable (although not completely simple), and easily personalised for your daughter, grand-daughter, niece or friend then I highly recommend giving this pattern a go.

mara blouse and jacob trousers - top with bunting

Signature Style

mara blouse and jacob trousers - trousers

Project Run and Play is in its final week (how did that happen?!).  I participated in week one (pattern remix) but weeks two and three managed to slip by without my attention (I blame Selfish Sewing Week for getting in the way!).  Anyway, I’m back for the final week – signature style.

mara blouse and jacob trousers - on knees

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you’ll know my weakness for piping, Liberty print fabrics and Belgian pattern designers.  I’m pleased to say that this signature style outfit has all three…twice!

  • Piping has been added to the Mara blouse – subtle green rope-like piping around the yoke of the top – and also to the pockets of the trousers.

mara blouse and jacob trousers - button and pockets

  • In addition to the scrumptious Liberty zoo print, I also added some Liberty scraps to the inside of the pockets.

mara blouse and jacob trousers - inside pocket

  • And, in addition to the fabulous Mara blouse, the trousers are a pattern from Sharon at Zonen 09 (you can see another version and read the full pattern review here).  The fabric is a wool blend (I’m guessing here – I bought the fabric years ago in Bristol).  It has a bit of stretch in it which I didn’t realise until I started sewing.  I even fully lined them – a new first for me.

mara blouse and jacob trousers - mid-view

This outfit is perfect for my daughter because, as much as I love all her sweet dresses, I think it’s just as important to have wardrobe basics that will see her through winter in comfort and style.  I just wish both patterns were made for adults as well!


If my waxing lyrical about the Mara Blouse  isn’t enough to convince you to try it, how about a giveaway?!

back view

If you’d like a chance to win an instantly downloadable PDF pattern of the Mara Blouse, leave a comment below telling me the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Belgium!!  Let’s celebrate the best of Belgium!  (And if you indeed are Belgian then perhaps you could tell me one great/cool/little-known fact about your country or city).  The competition ends at midnight (GMT +1) on Saturday 5th October.  I’ll choose a winner at random.

mara blouse and jacob trousers - top with elephantmara blouse and jacob trousers - mid view with buntingThanks for reading and good luck with the competition – I wish I could give a copy to each of you!

Laura x

Some Belgian-inspired fun at Compagnie M.

Belgian style - detailWhat do you dress your daughter in when it’s too cool for a summer dress yet too warm for tights and jumpers?

For the answer, head on over to Compagnie M. to read all about it in my first ever guest post.  I hope you’re inspired to make something bright, fun and funky!  Why be subdued when you can be colourful!?

Happy Friday – keep smiling – and, most importantly – keep sewing!

Laura x