While I spent my summer knitting hours on socks, I spent the majority of my summer sewing hours stitching together garments to take and wear during our recent vacation.
I've sewn a mini vacation wardrobe before. This trip, I had extra incentive and motivation to sew, because we weren't traveling alone. At some point during one of our regular get togethers, Liz, Meg and I started chatting about wanting to go fabric shopping in Paris. It was daydream banter, really. We'd seen other bloggers post about the marvelous fabric shops in the city of lights, and we were starry eyed at the possibility of having our own adventures. That chatting turned to scheming, then convincing, and. ultimately, planning. Before we knew it, we were on our way!
If it all seems a little ridiculous, it is. I still giggle over the idea that we managed to arrange an entire trip abroad based on our original premise, but we did, and it was wonderful! A major topic of conversation in the months leading up to our departure was the things we planned to sew and knit for the trip. We were all bursting with ideas, and among those ideas, we had a common plan to sew the very popular McCall's M6696 shirtdress.
This dress was the building block of my vacation wardrobe. As I recently mentioned, I've been unable to stop myself from making multiple versions of patterns I enjoy. A shirtwaist dress is one of the most classic and effortless garments a girl can have in her closet. One would not do. I needed several. Five, actually. Well, six, if I'm being totally honest (my first version landed in timeout).
I came to own this particular pattern thanks to the generosity of the lovely Mrs. Hughes who sent it to me in the form of a prize package for a giveaway she hosted on her blog. This pattern first caught my attention back when Clare made it for her vacation. But, it took the surge of McCall's 6696 dresses across the sewing blogsphere to convince me I should sew it. I'm so very glad I did!
I wore this chambray version of M6696 during Mike's and my first day in Brussels. (Each couple in our group took a mini-trip prior to meeting in Paris). It served me well. We started our first day with a short walk through Botanic Kruidtuin and then embarked on a self-guided walking tour/scavenger hunt searching for as many of the city's famous comic murals as we could spot.
Mike and I are strong believers in pedestrian tourism. We like to walk and explore in the process. These murals were a wonderful way to get acquainted with the city as we weaved in and out of side streets and down roads less heavily frequented by crowds.
We spent most of our time in the center of the city in order to maximize the small amount of time we had available. But, we did manage to find a few spots without any obvious tourists.
We found Brussels to be a very navigable, international, and friendly city. We arrived at the tail end of summer. Boulevard Adolphe was closed to traffic and the temporary home of numerous palate playgrounds and felled tree trunks inviting people to spend the evenings sitting outdoors watching impromptu table tennis and badminton matches in the street.
Evenings were lively and heavily populated with both tourists and locals. Best of all, Mike and I found several restaurants serving gluten free and vegetarian menus and brews, which allowed us to blend in with the crowd.
We trekked many miles our first day. We even found our way to the fabric store(s), Les Tissus du vert chine, which currently holds the award for the most charming and 'best dressed' fabric store I've ever had the pleasure of visiting! It's well worth a trip if you ever find yourself in the vicinity!