Kids’ Clothes Belgian Style week 12: Sanae Ishida

This week’s guest in the Kids’ Clothes Belgian Style series is Sanae Ishida, the woman behind the aptly named blog Sanae Ishida. Week after week, Sanae posts the most beautiful outfits for her daughter K. Her fabric choices are superb, and she always combines them with the best patterns. If you like Japanese pattern books (and who doesn’t?), Sanae’s blog is the place to be. What I also love is how the aesthetic of Sanae’s clothes translates into the minimalist photography and graphic design of the blog. No flashy colors or loud banners here; just black, grey, and lots of white. Visiting Sanae’s blog is like having a session of relaxation therapy – except that it’s free.

Are you just as curious as I was how Sanae would translate her style into a Belgian outfit? Scroll down a bit, and be amazed by Sanae’s Belgian style trilogy!


I’m so excited to be participating in the awesome Kids Clothes Belgian Style! So, when An invited me to take a stab at Belgian style sewing, I was actually a bit nervous. I felt that my aesthetic was very different from An’s Pinterest board, and I was afraid I wouldn’t do the über cool European vibe justice. Turns out I loved working outside of my comfort zone so much that I made three dresses.

I studied An’s board for a long time, and wanted to incorporate collars, nature and at least one animal. I also really loved the vintage-y feel of a lot of the outfits and planned to go in that direction.

I had two rules for myself. 1) I wouldn’t buy any fabric for the challenge. 2) I would try to draft my own details. Fortunately, my mom has given me tons of fabric over the years and I’ve come to the realization that she would be right at home in Belgium because she loves bold prints, floral and nature-themed loveliness, and bright, bright colors. All the main fabrics for the three dresses are from my mom. Yay for free fabric!

This first dress is made from a colorful and drapey cotton that feels almost like sateen. If you look closely, there are peacocks amid the blue roses. Animal motif, check! For the dress pattern, I changed the square neck dress from here to a rounded neck and slimmed down the bodice. And I added a yellow grosgrain ribbon for that oh-so-Belgian touch.

The second dress is also from the same dress pattern, but I drafted a slightly exaggerated peter pan collar. I love this cocoa-colored linen blend and the skirt is this amazing scarf gifted from my mom a few months ago, which was thrifted. It’s a Tiffany’s scarf and frustrated me to no end because it frays so easily and the skirt kept tearing from the bodice seam. I can’t figure out what it’s made out of — it’s almost like very thin wool/cotton/silk blend – maybe even a cashmere blend?? I used a lovely turquoise voile to line the bodice, and re-purposed a lining from an old JCrew dress for the skirt because the scarf was surprisingly sheer. Reduce, reuse, recycle!

The third dress was a happy accident. I was scrounging around for some contrasting fabric when I found this canvas-like cotton in my stash and the butterflies practically fell into my lap. I used the simple A-line dress pattern from this book, and I drafted the collar for this dress as well. Self-drafted details? Check, check, check!

There you have it – my interpretation of Belgian Style. What did you think? Yea or Nay?

Thanks so much for having me, An – I had a blast!


27 thoughts on “Kids’ Clothes Belgian Style week 12: Sanae Ishida

  1. Wow Sanae – three dresses! You have really put the pressure on for those of us left to post for An's series! Great that you used fabric you already had – I love being creative with what is in the cupboard. Your style and photography is beautiful as always:)

  2. You always go over and beyond Sanae, which is what I really like about you. I expected one dress& got three. SUCH a pleasant surprise.

    Thanks for sharing!


  3. I love all dresses that Sanae made for this series especially the butterflies dress with cute collar. Thank you An for hosting Kids' Clothes Belgian Style, I enjoy it very much!

  4. Sanae, beautiful work! I can see your signature on those dresses. I like them all, but my heart goes with the one with butterflies print.

  5. Oh Sanae – you'e done it again! That is, wowed and amazed us all:) Not one but THREE beautiful interpretations of the Belgian style. Love how you upcycled and used fabric you already owned. And congrats on such successful self-drafting – those collars are great! They give another level of detail that makes the dresses so special.

  6. Beautiful creations as always, Sanae. Hard to pick a favourite! It's obvious a lot of planning went into these looks and it paid off! Lovely.

  7. Unique girls' dresses…. simple patterns sewn with lovely fabrics… and modeled by your daughter…TERRIFIC!
    Your photography is FAB! Sarah Helene in Minneapolis, MN

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