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.

Birthday and Saint’s day cakes

It is a long time since we last published a post on cooking or food. Nevertheless we try to keep planning our meals weekly (see our current or older meal plans) as it helps us to keep a budget and stay organized. When coming home tired from work, it always helps to know what to cook. Otherwise we may just end with a quick pasta or salad. They are good choices but after some days the menu lacks variety. We always like to try a new recipe and from time to time we also have some special treats.
Today I will post the last two cakes we made: the first one was a birthday cake and the other one was baked to celebrate a saint’s day. They resemble each other and that is because when we ask our daughter about her cake preferences, the answer is now: “A strawberry cake”. So we just make modifications of the same theme:-)

For the birthday we had to have an Italian treat: a crostata. It is by far my husband’s favorite and go-to cake. The crostata consists of a pastry base (pasta frolla) and a top layer of jam or in this case of pastry cream (crema pasticcera). For the recipe of the pasta frolla I had no choice but to follow Artusi’s book. My husband would not have approved it otherwise ;-). This is an Italian book first published in 1891 (it is also available in english), and full of nice recipes. They are not very precise concerning the quantities needed and sometimes quite old-fashioned terms are used, but with a bit of practice the results are worthwhile. He has three slightly different versions for this crostata dough. If you google Artusi&crostata you will find them all. One of them is used here, or you can also follow the link of one of our posts. This is the recipe I used for the pastry cream. On top we just arranged some strawberries and blueberries.


For the second cake we used the recipe of sablé breton galette from the book “Around my french table”. Then we put a thin layer of strawberry jam followed by a layer of whipped cream. Sara decided to make a sun with the berries, and it looked quite nice at the end. The smaller strawberries in the middle are from a couple of plants we have at the window sill. They are delicious but scarce :-).
We were actually not so fond of the biscuit layer. It was rather hard. But we baked thinner and the day before, which may count for this extra hardness. Anyway everyone enjoyed it!


KCW: Dress and swimsuit

The Kids Clothes Week (KCW) is over. Last week was the summer edition of KCW, a week to carve out a little time each day to sew. I had a pattern (Burda Style 06/2011, number 133) and the fabric cut before the week started, and with a bit of time in the evenings at the end of the week I had a new summer dress for Sara 🙂

Sara was very pleased to get to wear it on the weekend. It is so nice to get such enthusiasm back.
The dress is made with a linen in fuchsia. It is very fresh and summery. I specially like the back, with the crossing stripes.
As you can see, I also made the coordinating hair tie.

So let us do the pattern review:

Pattern Description: Summer dress with shoulder stripes crossing at the back.

Pattern Sizing: I made size 116 cm for a four years old. It fits well and at the same time it has a lot of room for growing. I bet we can also use it next summer.

Did it look like the original photo/drawing once sewed?: Yes, though the frill seems bigger than in the drawings.

Were the instructions easy to follow?: The instructions were not very clear. Specially the first step concerning the armholes. It took me a lot of time until I figured out that the bias stripe was supposed to be a kind of facing (and therefore you cannot see any seam in the inside).

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?: I still have my problems with yokes.

Did you learn anything new from this sewing project?: It has a pleated frill, so I learn to make the pleats. I used french seams except for joining the frill, as it would have been to bulky. There was also a lot of gathering to be made, which is something I did not do so often until now. I covered buttons for the first time for this project. They were quite small (11 mm in diameter) and it was impossible to cover them with the kit they come with. At the end I had to stitch the outer circumference of the fabric circle and pull the thread. In this way you get the fabric to lay down flat in the interior of the button and it can finally be closed using the tools in the kit.

Fabric Used: Linen.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?: Yes, but I think I would make the frill a bit smaller (in the circumference).

Here a detail of the frill:

After finishing the dress I still managed in the weekend to finish a project I wanted to do for some time: a bikini for Sara:
I used jersey knit and plain elastic band, things I had at home. No swimwear fabric, no swimwear linig nor any special elastic. I just wanted to try out a new technique: sewing with elastics. I followed the instructions found here. It is not easy and for sure requires much more practice. But I was happy with the result of this kind of muslin. It was a kind of experiment, but I´m sure it will get to be used at the lake this summer.

Pants for Pablo

Pablo is needing some summerly clothes, so I started making some shorts. This one here is the first one, but there are still two to come (at least that is the plan). They are made using the same linen fabric I used to make my shorts. And though very different, we have now coordinated shorts 🙂

I used again some facing to finish the hem and also the waistband. It is a kind of vintage fabric which I like a lot. The pattern is from Burda Style, from the issue 07/2012, model 144 B in size 80. It is a very quick sew (though not as quick as my shorts!).

And here is the happy toddler in action with his new shorts:

I want to start introducing a small review of the patterns to keep track of the problems that had to be solved on the way. I borrow (with modifications) the template that Merche from Aventuras de Costuras is using:

Pattern Description: Toddler pants with elastic waistband (with casing).

Pattern Sizing: I made size 80 cm for my one and a half years old son.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow?: The instructions were fine. I did not follow the part of the hem nor the part of the waistband casing, as I wanted to add some contrasting fabric, but I guess they were straightforward to follow.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?: It is easy and fast and gives a well-fitted pair of pants for everyday adventures.

Did you learn anything new from this sewing project?: Not from the pattern, but I made french seams for the first time.

Fabric Used: Dark blue linen and a retro-looking flower print with bright colors.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: As said, I added a facing at the waistband and hems.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?: Yes. But as 80 cm was the biggest size, I guess I will not be making it again. But I do like the final result.

Sew-along: Shorts for the CC (sew-along) MRdM

I got again involved in a sew-along organized by MiRincónDeMariposas. I have sewn the first piece of garment for myself: a pair of shorts for this summer. The pattern is really flattering and the elastic waist makes of it a very comfy wardrobe piece. If it would not have been for the sew-along I would have never made the reinforcement top-stitching, and it is great: it gives a professional-looking finish.


Thanks to MRdM for this sew-along and for the final push to make something for myself:-)

The fabric is a dark blue linen. I did not include any pockets as I wanted to finish as quick as possible. I have several running sewing projects, that I would like to finish before the holidays. I might include later on a small snap pocket though. The hem was done using some contrasting fabric to make a hem facing as explained here. It adds a nice touch of color.

Here a detail of the hem:
and of the top-stitching for the reinforcement of the seams: