Mittens for this fall

For this fall I wanted Sara to have new mittens. The snow-gloves still fit her, but the last year´s mittens are a bit small. I used the medium size of the mittens’ pattern of “Little things to sew”. It is a very nice pattern, quick and easy to follow. I used a very soft and nice cotton fleece, but I thought it was not thick enough. I first thought of lining the mittens, following the construction of ikatbag. You can even make mittens for the snow with the same technique and Liesl´s pattern (see here). But at the end I decided to quilt two pieces of fleece and treat it as a single layer.



I like so much the pattern that since then I have already sewed two more pairs 🙂


Yeah, I know: it is a bit late for Halloween. But I just did not manage to upload the photos until now. We actually do not really celebrate Halloween over here. But two of the teachers in the Kindergarten of Sara are Americans and they organized a Halloween party. So some quick costumes had to be organized.
Sara wanted to be a witch, and pinterest was of great help. I sewed her a hat following these instructions. I changed a bit the pattern to make it fit a bigger head (increasing the brim by about two fingers, and the cone to match it).
This is a foto of the hat on its way to the Kindergarten:
The skirt was made as a tutu with no sewing involved. It is made by knotting stripes of tutu on a band. I saw the idea here, and funny enough a friend of mine just used it too. I did not had a crochet band, so I just cut small slots in an elastic band, which worked more than fine. I also sew a layer of tutu underneath, but it was not really showing.
If you look close, you can see the stripes fraying. I was not even careful at all when cutting the stripes, so they came out really irregular. But the effect was the one we were looking for, and Sara was very pretty and first of all very happy in her witch costume:
Pablo was then supposed to be her black cat. So I quickly cut a tail out of black felt and made a cat head with a hood. The hood was the medium size of the “cozy winter hood” of Little things to sew. I did not line it so I reduced the seam allowances accordingly, and also changed a bit the ears. As felt does not need to be finished at the borders, it all went very quickly. Here was our cat:
For me I made this bats-headband, which was so much fun, and surprised the children :2013Holloween_BatHeadband

Sewing retro (Telaria challence) and KWC

This week is Kids Clothes Week (KCW), a week to spend a bit of time each day for sewing for kids. I have been doing a bit of sewing anyway in the last time, but to match also the challenge set by Telaria I chose to sew a retro-style dress for Sara. It is the Debbie’s birthday dress.

I like the way she looks with it, and it is an easy and quick sew.


Here is a picture of the back, which has a button closure.


The Pattern review:

Pattern Description: Debbie’s birthday dress (View 1): An A-line dress in the spirit of the 50-60´s. The front has a parted bodice.

Pattern Sizing: Size 5T for a nearly five-year old.

Did it look like the original photo/drawing once sewed?: It does.

Were the instructions easy to follow?: Yes, they are very clear.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?: I like its flair and elegance, but I did not like the way is finished in the inside. The construction makes it also difficult to use french seams, so I finished the seams with a zigzag stitch, which is not so neat.

Did you learn anything new from this sewing project?: Not really, but the construction is interesting.

Fabric Used: a wool fabric of Lancetti bought this summer in Italy. The lining is “Monkey Swing” from Birch Fabrics.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?: I might sew it again in a couple of years.

New summer dress and other summer projects

The temperatures have dropped here since a couple of weeks and it is actually quite chilly around here. So it feels quite strange to keep posting about the summer sewing, but let us go quickly over it. Here it comes: the last post on the summer sewing to complete the record.

The last dress before the summer holidays for Sara was the one to become her favorite. I made it following this tutorial, which now seems to work only upon an invitation. We liked several of the dresses made with this pattern, such as this one or these two. It has a rectangular top, with shirring at the back. The straps of the dress can be designed in different ways: I chose to make a buttonhole in the middle of the back. The straps are tied on the back making a v-shape, and going through this buttonhole. The skirt is great for girls: it is a rectangle made with two pieces with the full width of the fabric. As twirly as it can get.


Sara felt like a princess with this dress and loved it.


For Pablo I made still two other shorts before the holidays. For one pair I followed the tutorial of MiRincónDeMariposas, as already done here. It was actually too big for him but perfect for Sara 🙂

The other pair of shorts were more successful. The pattern is from the Ottobre magazine 3/2012, the “puffer fish” shorts made with linen. It was fitting perfectly.

From the same issue I made this romper:

I happen to have the very same fabric as the one of the ottobre issue in my stash and decided to make it just as theirs. It was looking very nice on Pablo, but by the end of the summer it was already a tad too tight around the tummy.

Experiments with water! (I)

We have been doing some experiments with water, following a nice book that we borrowed from our library: Experimente – Velbi entdeckt das Wasser (experiments about water).

The first one requires a mirror. You put it for some time in the freezer and after you take it out, you breathe on it. The water vapor in your breath condensates on the cold surface of the mirror, so that you can observe water drops on it. No wonder we need to drink all day long: we are constantly loosing water!

A second experiment consists in checking if several items like clothespins and paper clips can float on water. You then try it again, but putting on the water surface one of the layers of a tissue handkerchief. You will see that the lighter items do float now, because they feel a stronger “skin” of the water. It can be a nice moment to explain how some insects can walk on water or how much strength dragonflies need to break this skin in order to lay their eggs inside the water.


Do your children like to play with playdough? At our home we do not use it so often, but when we take it out to play, the children get very engaged and play with it a lot. At the moment we are using store bought playdough, which we like from time to time, to also use many colors (at least the first day of playing with it). But in between I make batches of homemade playdough. It works pretty well, and our oldest also gets involved in the process of preparation, which she enjoys a lot. We use this recipe here (without the glitter, though I am sure that it will be a nice addition, but we will wait for that until I am sure that the youngest won´t taste it). It is a nice playdough that also lasts a lot, as it is cooked. The last batch we made lasted over three months. We then threw it away, not because it had developed mold or anything of the kind, but it had lost its consistence and was not holding its shape anymore.

Homemade playdough

Homemade playdough

The site where I got the recipe from is great for craft ideas. Some ideas for playing with playdough can be found here.

From this site we also tried the air dry playdough. It has a very nice texture to play with, but the next days we were a bit disappointed with it: only the thinner “scultures” really dry out, but they were breaking very easily. We never came to paint them and it was a pity. Anyway I think we will give it another try at some point.

Enjoy playing with playdough with your children!

Polka dots swing skirt

Probably my favorite garment that I have sewn for Sara so far is this skirt. It is a simple pattern for a lined skirt, but with a lovely cut. I really like it a lot. The pattern is from oliver+s and it is one that I will use for sure many times.


The Pattern review:

Pattern Description: Oliver+s swing set skirt: A gathered skirt with elastic casing and drawstring, fully lined

Pattern Sizing: Size 4T for a four-year old.

Did it look like the original photo/drawing once sewed?: Yeah

Were the instructions easy to follow?: Yes, they are very clear.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?: I like the cut and the fit.

Did you learn anything new from this sewing project?: Well, it has been the first lined skirt I have sewn. The way of inserting the elastic was quite clever.

Fabric Used: polka dotted denim

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?: For sure. I will sew a winter version soon, and surely further versions will come.

To match the skirt I also made a bow hair tie for her, from the free pattern of oliver+s:

Upcycled dress

Still posting old sewing projects… This is an everyday dress I made from an old shirt of my husband. I was inspired by this dress here, which I found very beatiful. So I bought the pattern of Lillesol and tried to modify it accordingly, moving up the box pleat and keeping the dress sleeveless. I like a lot the cut of the dress and its drape. Sara is not very fond of it, so if it still fits next summer I will have to add an applique to spice it up.

Using the button-up front of the shirt at the back is a nice add-on. I do not like so much making buttonholes, so it is a nice advantage of upcycling a shirt.


Name puzzles

Sara is very interested in learning the letters. We do not push her, but when she shows interest we try to keep it. We have made for her a set of name puzzles. For the time being we just made a set with the names of the nearest family members. Each person has a match box with his/her photo on it, and inside there are the letters of the name, which have to be put into the right order to made up the name. We have to extend it to include the names of her friends as she is eager to know how to write them.


When she was finished with a name she was putting the letters in the right order into the boxes. Very accurately:-)


Following the Kindergarten theme: American indian blouse

Hi there!

Back from holidays and willing to start a new year (well school year). We will be having some changes over here during this course as I will be looking for a new job, which will probably mean also a change in our family’s schedules. But let us not rush into what is still to come.
Before getting into the new sewing projects for this fall and winter term, I will like to post these coming days some projects that I finished before the summer.

The first is a blouse I made already a couple of months ago, following the theme they had in the kindergarten. Every term after a month or so observing the interests of children, they discuss in a “children assembly” which will be the subject they will cover during the term. The children finally vote and decide on the topic. Last semester the topic was American Indians. In our local fabric shop we saw a fabric with the American Indian theme and it was just calling for us. How perfect it was to fit the theme of the Kindergarten!

We have also learned many things about American Indians at home during these months: about their houses (did you know that the tipi was only used by the Indians living in the Great Plains?), their clothing, religion and moral values …

Here is a map they made in the Kindergarten about the houses:

We also got several books covering this topic from our public library. The one we liked most by far was: “Tipi und Tomahawk. Geschichten, Spiel und Spaß für kleine Indianer”. It is in german and I did not find an english version of it. But it is a great book with a lot of facts but including also recipes, children games, etc. We liked it a lot.

And now to the pattern: It is a Burda pattern for a girl’s tunic, appearing in Burda Style 06/2012:

And here is the version I made:
I did not realize that I cut the sleeves upside down until I saw the photos! At least I was consistent with both the sleeves.

So let us move on to the pattern review:

Pattern Description: Girl’s tunic with long sleeves and a button-up front detail in a front insert with gathers underneath.

Pattern Sizing: I made size 116 cm for a four years old. It fits very well with some room for growing. It has already been in high rotation.

Did it look like the original photo/drawing once sewed?: Pretty much.

Were the instructions easy to follow?: The instructions were not clear. Some parts were really confusing. I tried to follow them exactly and at some points I did not understand how to proceed at all. With the back neck I was very unhappy. I finished it with bias binding as said, but I could not understand how to assemble it to the front in a nice clean way. So I ended having this bulky and horrible seam allowance up to the neck:
It is barely noticeable when she is wearing it, but it is terrible. How was it supposed to be is still a mystery for me, but I would put the bias binding after the back is joined to the front next time.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?: The explanations were very confusing. The construction of the neck was not clear at all, and it would also be useful if they explain better how to join the yoke at the middle point.

Did you learn anything new from this sewing project?: Yes, it was actually my first more complicated project. I learn to gather, to make the small button loops and to put sleeves.

Fabric Used: American Indian theme fabric

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?: Not completely. I like the design and the fit, but I would not do it again until I feel I can sew it without any directions. So for sure I do not recommend it for beginners.