Fall/Winter 2015 Maternity Capsule Wardrobe

I wanted to blog about another wrap dress I made but the weather and a teething 20 month old got in the way for now. So while you eagerly await those pictures, let me tell you about my sewing plans for this Fall/Winter.

My maternity makes were all over the place last time and I’ve ditched them all. There just wasn’t anything special about them and they didn’t coordinate at all. I’ve been meaning to make a capsule wardrobe for ages but so far it’s proven harder than I expected , seeing I like to start from scratch but I don’t want to throw out any of my clothes…

So with almost no maternity clothes left and Fall just around the corner, I’ve decided to do a quick brainstorm on what to make.

I’ve known what type of clothes I’ve wanted to wear for quite some time, so all it really took was some sketching and shopping the stash.

FW15 Capsule Wardrobe

If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can really see the texture of each fabric! (Colour is a bit off though)

As you can see, it’s a whole lot less ‘computer-y’ than last time and for three good reasons.
1) After 8 years of loyal service, my iMac died and I decided to get a Chromebook as a replacement while I save up for a new Mac. So I’ve got none of my previous programs available (I miss my Photoshop)
2) I didn’t feel like spending days working on this, I just needed something visual, fast.
3) I wanted to give drawing a chance and see how I would cope with less than perfect drawings. (The answer is ‘quite well’)

My method this time.

First I decided on a colourscheme. I’ve been really into raspberry lately and navy has always been my go to colour, so it didn’t take long.

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Then I traced one of Megan Nielsen’s previous cover art pics (I still adore them) to make a basic croquis to work from. I scanned it and multiplied it in Powerpoint, so I had croquis pages to work from.

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Then I just started sketching until I had 7 outfits I liked.

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All that was left to do was shop the stash. Worked really well too, I just have to get some more of the off-white sweatshirt fleece. I tried combining different textures with different types of fabric. I’ve got wool, viscose, sweater knits, French Terry, faux-silk, etc… I’m really excited to venture away from plain cotton and regular jersey ;)

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I’m really happy with the result of the ‘study’ and I’ll tell you more about each individual piece when it gets made!

Sunny Sunday Morning Wrap Dress

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written an actual finished outfit post. No excuses, just life I guess.

For months now, I’ve been looking for the perfect wrap dress pattern. If I could afford a real DvF dress, I would wear only those. The pattern itself was also way above my budget… There must be millions of other patterns out there (and a few in my stash) but none of them really spoke to me. I was either dreading the tracing, the taping or the altering. I gave the Style Arc Kate a try, but didn’t get any further than cutting out the pattern and realising it would be too big (and waaaay too long), so I folded it back into the enveloppe. I tried the one from my Famous Frocks book which is loosely based on a Farah Fawcett Dress.

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I got as far as assembling the top but the facing kept flapping up, the collar wouldn’t lay flat, the armholes only looked nice on the mannequin so I called it quits before it made me even angrier. Somehow I had made this dress 4 times before and only now realised that the drafting and instructions are ridiculous.

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I finally settled on Burda 6957 which is a maternity wrap dress. (btw I’m pregnant) but my pregnancy brain must have blocked out the fact that I hate hate hate hate adding seam allowance to knits. It would have worked apart from the fact that they tell you to close the wrap with snaps… I’ll let that sink in for a moment… Closing a maternity wrap dress with snaps… So, it’s totally adjustable. Ofcourse with a faux fabric wrap belt to top it off. Back in the enveloppe it went.

I finally came to my senses and realised that I had already pattern hacked the perfect maternity wrap dress by combining two of my favourite designer‘s patterns. I returned to the Alissa maternity top and Cascade wrap skirt.

Since I wanted a real wrap dress this time I decided to lower the wrap portion of the Alissa so I could extend it in the wrap ties. Since I didn’t want to fiddle with any binding and I found an article saying the DvF dress had a cut on facing. I decided to go with that. (I’ve been looking all over the internet to find the article again, to no avail.)

But without further ado, here are some pictures :) I cannot take any credit for these pics as they were taken on Lieke‘s Birthday picknick. Caroline takes lovely pictures and Lieke and Anneke made me forgot there was a camera :D Sewing friends really are the best!

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verjaardag Lieke-21I love the dept of the wrap. It’s sexy without being revealing.

verjaardag Lieke-28I opted to make the ties really long so I could wrap them a few times around my body. I just used the entire width of the fabric for each tie. I inserted them between the main dress and the facing so all would be nicely finished on the inside.

verjaardag Lieke-32As you can see I’m unwrapping my dress in a public park. The things I do for my readers. But as you can see as well, the waist doesn’t really sit at the same level as the wrapped ties. This is mostly due to the sheer weight of the skirt. The viscose knit drapes beautifully but it’s heavy. So I’ve already shortened my bodice pieces for the next one.verjaardag Lieke-43I was trying to photobomb Anneke while Caroline was taking pictures of her sweater. She’s way better at photobombing than I am. I love my scarf with this dress and I’ll probably wear it like this once autumn arrives.

verjaardag Lieke-52It was such a lovely day and we couldn’t resist getting our feet wet, ofcourse add shallow water and a camera to three sewcialists and you’ve got a splashing party all around.verjaardag Lieke-56The dress held up pretty well in the water although it grew 15cm in length due to the weight of the water.verjaardag Lieke-57Needless to say I ended up completely soaked but the dress has proven to be chic and playfull at the same time :) Perfect for running after my toddler!verjaardag Lieke-60Look at the three of us in our handmade outfits! Ah, to be young, wet and happy on a Sunday morning. Life is good :)

Details:

Patterns: Megan Nielsen Alissa Maternity top and Cascade Skirt
Size: Both were cut in a size M
Alterations: Lowered the wrap on the top, added a cut-on facing and ties. Shortened the back of the Cascade to match the side seams.
Fabric: Viscose knit in Cherry-Plum, 3m

Spring and Summer sewing 2015 part 2

I like to plan my sewing, I spend more time planning than actually sewing and then I want to kick myself for not putting my words (or drawings) into action.

I told you about my Spring sewing plans, I finished the copy of the dress and love it, but haven’t gotten round to taking pictures yet.

But just the colour scheme wasn’t enough. My drawing went into overdrive and I experimented a bit in Photoshop. I wanted to try my hand at creating a beautiful capsule wardrobe (there’s a lot of clothes, ‘cuz I don’t do minimal)

 

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These were just the ‘in between’ ideas, but you get the gist. I finally settled on the pieces of clothing I wanted and the fabrics to use…. Most of them from stash (yay for me), I even wrote down the place to find the ‘new’ fabrics for future reference (Yes, I’m that organized – when it comes to sewing)

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I’ve bought most of these fabrics by now (somehow, some unplanned ones jumped into my bag as well – bad fabric) and having them here really inspires me, I love looking at the colors, touching and stroking them and they really give me a ‘Spring’ feeling! If you’re wondering about the weird numbering, it corresponds with the picture below (I numbered them by hand and not on Photoshop and I really can’t be bothered to fix that but basically top left is 1 and so on…)

Let's play the game 'Spot the pattern'

I’m sure you can spot a few familiar patterns :) I might not use the exact same patterns but I’ve began experimenting with what works and what doesn’t. I tried my hand in drafting my own perfect Spring/Summer t-shirt to turn into dresses and tunics and so on. I’ve never drafted anything before, I’m more a ‘hack from pattern’ kinda sewist, but it’s been fun and it’s given me the chance to use the ‘less pretty’ fabrics in my stash for wearable muslins :) Now those fabrics finally feel loved as well.

Now before you go on saying how pretty my drawings look and you wish you could do the same: Keep reading!

I’m not very good at drawing but this series of blogposts inspired me to give it a go anyway! I suggest you read them if you want to make your own outfit drawings but are afraid you can’t draw.

I actually cheated by copying the line drawings of all the patterns I wanted to use, scaled them to be the same size and then started mixing and matching. Those of you who follow me on Instagram, know how much fun I had a few weeks ago. (Note that fun should always be accompanied by The Doctor)

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How is your planning going?

PS I want to thank you all for the kind words on my last blogpost. I feel a lot better now that it’s out in the open. I’ve taken my life back into my own hands, Konmari‘d my entire house to get rid of the mess and I have a new co-worker who’s awesome! (And has a blog) She’s basically been acting as my personal therapist to get me to like my job a bit better…. So far, it’s working :D

Sometimes life gets you.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time but always hesitated because this is supposed to be a sewing blog. But it’s my blog and in the end I decide what gets published. I consider you all to be my friends, I’ve never related to anyone as much as to my fellow sewcialists and I’ve never felt less judged by a community. So I at last feel comfortable sharing what’s going on in my life.

It all started after the baby was born about 14 months ago (time flies). Because we were still renovating the house I was confined to two spaces upstairs with a newborn. I spend three months inside with only a TV to keep me company. I didn’t have a decent kitchen, I didn’t have a decent place to do laundry. All I got to do all day was sit at home in front of the tv and eat. So I ate and I ate and I ate. In the end I gained nearly 12 kgs. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but the more I gained the worse I felt about myself.

I felt bad because I had gained weight, I felt bad because I couldn’t keep our house tidy (which was really no surprise since it was basically a construction site) and I felt like a bad wife because I wasn’t happy and in return couldn’t make my husband happy.

It improved somewhat when I went back to work and when we finally finished our downstairs area enough to actually live in it. But in June (10 months after we moved) I still didn’t have a kitchen and I still had people staying here every Friday to Sunday working around the house. I lost it. I couldn’t handle the mess, I couldn’t handle the pressure of being a new mom and I couldn’t handle the fact that my husband never learned how to do household chores. I love him to bits and I love my mother-in-law to bits but he never had to do anything around the house when he was living at home so he messes up every single task. He can’t cook, he doesn’t know how to do the laundry and he doesn’t know how to clean or tidy things up. He leaves his stuff everywhere, doesn’t put anything back into its rightfull place so it all comes down to me. On top of that I have the sweetest family who spend entire weekends helping out and staying over to get the house ready as fast as possible. But the constant presence of all these people and having to serve them extra meals and having them critisize every thing I did or didn’t do was too much. I felt so guilty and so bad about not wanting them there when all they did was help out, that I just lost it. completely…

At the time I didn’t have a fulltime teaching job, I wanted to, but the school system is very weird in Belgium so I wanted to work fulltime but there just wasn’t a fulltime job for me to do. Financially we were barely coping. I kept telling everyone that we needed to stop construction so that we could save some money, but nobody ever listened. And money grew tighter and tighter and tighter.

I spend my entire Summer depressed on the sofa. 8 weeks of Summer holiday and all I did was cry and watch tv. I was home all day, the baby went to daycare and I didn’t even manage to make dinner by the time my husband got home.

I felt totally worthless. By then we had a kitchen and our downstairs area was looking like a house, but everything got to me and it was all too much. I couldn’t handle the mess, I couldn’t handle the pressure and I didn’t know how to talk about it. Every few days I would break down and cry in front of my husband, who tried to understand but couldn’t. I didn’t feel like a good housewife, I felt like a bad mom, I felt like a bad wife plus money was tight so I felt bad everytime I bought something or everytime I wanted to meet up with friends. But spending money was the only thing that made me feel better. It was a vicious circle.

At the end of August, I got a new teaching job at the same school as last year, this made me partially happy since I would be seeing my pupils and co-workers again and for the first time I got to recycle some of last years’ work, which gave me a bit of free time. It wasn’t a fulltime job, again, but I was hopefull that something would open up and I would get a fulltime work schedule in a few months.

In Octobre, I finally decided to do something about my weight and my depression and I started eating Paleo. I’m not going to promote Paleo here, but the fact remains that by January I had lost 10kgs, I was sleeping better and that my depression was partly gone because I didn’t have anymore bloodsugar spikes. Eating Paleo really is the way to go for me.

By Novembre it was becoming obvious that getting a fulltime work schedule wasn’t going to happen and money was again running tight. This made me feel worse again, because it was my fault that this was happening. I was the one not working fulltime. All my guilt and all my feelings of depression came back. I didn’t enjoy prepping for class anymore, my house was a mess! All I did was lay on the couch and spend money we didn’t have in an attempt to feel better. I still loved teaching though, just not the stuff that came with teaching. It was getting so bad that something had to be done and I started considering other options. By the end of Decembre money was still our biggest problem and I finally gave in and looked for another job, something other than teaching. I found something quite easily, something related to interior design which I studied before I decided to become a teacher.

It really killed me to say goodbye to my school and pupils, but we needed the money. I really liked the new job, although working overtime was part of it. I didn’t mind, the only thing I felt bad about was not seeing the baby as much as I did before. I wasn’t used to working a 9-5 job.

Things started to look up until the 25th of February. Around 10 am, I was at work and had a missed call from my brother-in-law from the previous night. I decided to call him back but he told me it wasn’t important anymore. He sounded weird but I blamed the bad connection since he was out of the country. It wasn’t the bad connection. He had just gotten a call from my father-in-law with the news that my sister-in-law had been in a car accident and had passed away. Her car slipped on an ice patch, she hit the concrete bridge with her head and was killed instantly.

I still haven’t come to terms with what happened, I still don’t belief she’s actually gone. It was the stupidest accident anyone could ever imagine. I spend the entire week up to the funeral in a haze. Making sure I was there to support my husband and his family, taking care of practical stuff, calling newspapers to get the details out of the paper. I tried to stay strong. But inside I was dying, not because I was as sad as her family but because in a split second I lost whichever kind of faith I once believed in. I lost myself. It felt like something out of a film, something that happens to other families and you read about in a newspaper. i never imagined it could happen to anyone I knew, let alone family.

It made me rethink and it still does, who I am, what I really want to do with my life. Not in a kick under your butt kind of way but in a way that made me realise that I have absolutely no idea who I am or what I want.  The only thing I’m certain of is that I love my daughter and that I love my husband.

But it made me realise that I don’t like to work overtime and spend more time than necessary away from home, it made me realise that my job is quiet superficial, very money oriented and I hate that people complain about their table taking a bit longer to produce than first estimated. It doesn’t seem important as anymore, nothing does.

I want to do something that I love, something that makes me happy, but I have no idea what that is. All I know and feel now is that I’m not happy. It’s a taboo to say, but I’m not happy and I don’t know how to fix it.

I don’t feel as worthless anymore as I did 6 months ago, I don’t even care about that last kg or cleaning everyday. It’s worse, I honestly have no idea who I am.

I don’t expect you to help me or feel sorry for me, I wrote this post just for me, because I have nobody to talk to in real life and these words just needed a way out. This is what my life looks like at the moment and for the past month I’ve been trying to get it back on track while helping my husband get over what happened, but I honestly don’t know if I can.

Spring & Summer Sewing 2015

It’s February and I can’t wait for Spring to begin so I can start sewing my warm weather wardrobe!

Sure, I’ve got a massive backlog of winter sewing to blog about but since those clothes are on constant rotation they are never available for photographing when the light outside is somewhat decent. Truth be told, they’ll probably never make it onto the blog but I’m not going to feel bad about it :)

A few years ago I bought a dress, it was relatively cheap and the amount of ironing it required drove my mother insane. But I wore it until it had holes (which didn’t take long since the quality was quite crappy). Then I gained some weight and stopped wearing it. I couldn’t get myself to throw it out and kept it aside to save the fabric. I’m glad I kept it because it fits again (yes, holes and all) and I want to recreate it. I’m still looking for the perfect pattern as I can’t get myself to take it apart and rubbing it off turned out to be impossible (too many details and gathers)

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Yes, I know, my drafting skills are spectacular :D

Apart from wanting to recreate the dress, I wish I could get my hands on the fabric because I’m in love with it and it inspired me for my Spring/Summer palette.

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Suggestions are always welcome! Have you ever found such inspiration in an ‘old’ piece of clothing?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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I’m blue!

I’m lying in bed right now feeling very much under the weather and in one of my awake moments I posted an Instagram pic of my signature style. (Day 8 of Sewvember) I found the pictures in my Instagram feed and on my blog and came to a revelation about what I like to wear!

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Apparently it’s coloured/floral scarfs, tan boots, chambray and lots of blue!
I’m an autumn type so I would never consciously pick navy as my favourite but apparently unconsciously I do! Who knew!

Are there any colours you wear over and over again?

Now I’ll just go right back to feeling sorry for myself and watching Gilmore Girls!

Blurry pictures and selfie overload!

Today I discovered a gorgeous spot far away from prying eyes. Sadly all my outfit pictures turned out this way.

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Upside, I get to go back and play around with my camera a bit more tomorrow! Husband agreed to look after the baby while I’m away (like he would ever say no to that) so I could enjoy my alone time. Fingers crossed the weather is as beautiful tomorrow as it was today!

I’ve been working on building up confidence in front of the camera and on taking better pictures. So far I’ve started liking it, which up until a few weeks ago I really really didn’t. Confidence is getting there. Picture quality is still tricky ;)

I’ll leave you with the few pictures that turned out okay. Far from perfect but I like how they look, the way they capture the light and the fact that these are straight of the camera totally unedited! Sorrynotsorry for the silliness. It’s a steep learning curve :D

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I wish you all a lovely evening, I’ve got a date at a diner in Stars Hollow!

The Epiphany of the Perfect Knit (Pencil) Skirt

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For months I’ve been pinning pictures of fitted knit pencil skirts and oversized sweaters. I really wanted that as my go to outfit for fall and winter, even to go to work. (One of the perks of being a teacher – wear a scarf and tights and you can pretty much get away with anything)
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But finding the perfect skirt deemed to be harder than expected. I couldn’t find the perfect skirt or perfect pattern. I tried on a few skirts in stores to see what I liked, but they were either too long, too short or too flimsy (or pricey). Buying a pattern seemed silly as well since this is basically the easiest piece of clothing on the planet to make and I wasn’t looking forward to spending money and then taping the PDF and then altering the entire thing (since I always have to)
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Why was it so hard?
My demands, that’s why it was hard!

  • I wanted my skirt to come all the way up the slimmest part of my waist, not any higher since I have a very short waist and I didn’t want a waistband getting stuck underneath my boobs.
  • I wanted it to be mid thigh length so it was covering the larger part of my legs, but not restrict any walking.
  • I wanted it to be very very stretchy with great stretch recovery.
  • I didn’t want it to show underneath my clothes.
  • Most skirts where either barely covering my behind or the right length but with a waistband that would creep up while wearing ending in a skirt that was too short.

This morning I was planning my sewing for the next three days (we’ve got a week off of school and the first three days baby is still going to daycare) and it hit me!

I’ve got tubular ribbing in my stash! (You see where I’m going with this…)

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Take a piece of tubular ribbing twice the length you need/want.

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Fold it in two length-wise. The fold will be the hem.

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I used the wrong side out because I prefer the texture.

I decided not to finish it with a waistband or elastic or even serge the layers at the top since
1. Knit doesn’t fray
2. Waistband or elastic would show under my clothes
3. The serging might affect the stretch.

UPDATE: On day 2 I decided to finish the skirt with a waistband after all. Not because it would be more comfy but because I kept thinking ‘What if I get into an accident and people see that I’m just wearing an unfinished piece of fabric.’ I tried, wearing unfinished pieces… not for me. I simply serged a 1″ elastic sandwiched between the two layers, I then folded the top so that the serged edge was under the elastic. I then stitched down the serged edge 1″ from the top, creating a ‘waistband’. It doesn’t show underneath my regular clothes so it looks the same and no stretch was affected ;)

For those of you that think this is totally stupid, you are entitled to your opinion. For those who think this is genius but are worried about finding tubular ribbing in your size, good news, it comes in different widths and it’s all very stretchy since I used the narrowest size in my stash (14″x2) and my 42 inch hips fit into it perfectly!

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The green is the same width as the blue one I’m wearing.

Waist to mid-thigh, fitted, stretchy, great recovery and the double layer makes it completely opaque and the lack of waistband makes it sit smoothly under my clothes. I’m happy! Let’s order some more ribbing!

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Cuddly cat bomb!

Cuddly cat bomb!

Have you ever wanted to smack yourself for coming up with something so easy you don’t understand how you didn’t think of it sooner?

Outfit: Sweater – Megan Nielsen Briar sweater with owl applique (unblogged) // Skirt – No sew knit (pencil) skirt

One year ago

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One year ago today I married the best husband I could ever wish for.

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Before I met him, I had spends years looking for the right guy. I wanted love to be like movie love. Happily ever after with my soulmate. I wanted to get married and have kids when I was 16. It has always been my dream. But since I only seemed to fall for guys who needed fixing that just didn’t happen. For years I kept thinking it would change and I was too romantic to realise movie love is nothing like real life love.

I couldn’t predict real life love was better!

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Three years ago, on our first date he let me talk about myself all the time, he wanted to know everything. We didn’t kiss that night but I couldn’t get him out of my head. Just a few days later we had a second date and we talked and talked all night. We both had to get up in the morning but he didn’t leave until 4 am. We kissed by the car and I was in love. Date number three came around and when I asked him how on earth he could still be single, he looked shocked and said: “I didn’t think I was single anymore, I thought I was yours.”
That’s the moment I knew he was the one.
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We moved in together 6 months later and living with him is easy. He doesn’t need any fixing (although I wouldn’t mind him picking up his socks once in a while). He’s sweet, reliable and a hard worker. Not the most exciting qualities in a man, but the most important ones in a husband and father. But I also think he’s absolutely gorgeous and he still makes me swoon. He’s also the best father to our daughter I could ever wish for. He makes me laugh and makes me feel good about myself. He doesn’t know how to comfort me when I’m down, but he’s a guy and he scores points for trying.
We never go out and don’t go anywhere, maybe that’s boring, but that’s just us. We prefer to stay in and watch a movie together or spend the morning in bed playing with our daughter.
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I got pregnant a year after we moved in together and we found out the day we signed the deed to our house. We decided to get married.

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We wanted all three of us to be in the picture.


Our wedding day was the happiest day of my life (apart from the day our daughter was born). We only invited our family and closest friends. It was magical and perfect and I still wouldn’t change a thing. A lot of people have been asking for pictures, so a year later, here we go.
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I was fortunate enough to find the best photographer. He was one of my best friends in college and he came to stay with us from the day before the wedding till the day after, so we have professional pictures of our entire day. He knew us well enough that we felt totally at ease in front of the camera and he knows enough of weddings to make sure everything runs smoothly and on time.
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I know everyone will be looking at my dress, so long story short: Because we were renovating our new house and I was pregnant I thought that making my own dress would be too overwhelming. So I bought one. I still really like it, but since then my sewing got better and if I had to do it again, I would have made it myself. .

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Yes, I’m feeling up his butt…

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Taking pictures by the fire and a piece of charcoal jumped into my cleavage.

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He captured me…

We are both raised Catholic but we don’t attend church, so it didn’t feel right to have a big church wedding just because it looked good in pictures. We had a small civil service instead (perfectly normal around here, since you need to have a civil service anyway)
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“You may now kiss the bride!”

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Us and my godfather – normally he’s a serious doctor.

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The wedding party

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The historical landmark in our village – I am a history teacher after all ;)

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A quite moment to ourselves.

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My secret weapon in a long day of standing on my feet ;)

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My father-in-law and my dad. They get along perfectly!

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He was actually cuter than my husband, but he couldn’t stay, sadly.

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Speech! Speech! Speech!

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Food was good.

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Wedding cake – total surprise as we didn’t ask for any :)

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First dance together.

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Father – daughter dance.

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And then the party started… She’s my best friend and my ‘best man’ ;)

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These are my other be sties. We live to far apart, I miss them so much!

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I did however change into a stretch lace dress halfway through the night and I did make that one myself. It’s a Maria Denmark Day-to-Night dress in red stretch lace underlined in red jersey. Not my best make but I had it for a year, wore it only once and despite me being pregnant, it still fit!

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It was getting to hot for my wedding dress so I switched. A lot of our guests thought there was another pregnant lady, the one in the red dress… it was just me who changed dresses :)

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I did my hair and make-up myself and I don’t regret it. I felt like a princess marrying her knight in shining armor.

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See through back.

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Good view of how pregnant I was :)

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These are our baby’s godmother (my cousin) and godfather (my husband’s best friend). We asked them on our wedding day.

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My brother… and cousin in the back.

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It got late…

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It got later…

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Last dance…

 

I can’t believe it has already been a year, time flies when you’re having fun.