January Refashion Month

I have to be honest! I have been trying to write this post for about a week. 

Refashion Month Series is just around the corner. Another month full of talented ladies, sharing their refashioning skills with us. I am sure no one will want to miss this festival of creativity. I have challenge - again - some of my favourite bloggers to join us and write us a post with a refashion they have made, her tips, tutorials or anything else they would like to. 

Are you ready to be surprised? 

During all January, you'll be able to see guest posts from some of the greatest refashionistas I've came across this blogland, and also, some bloggers that even though, refashioning is not what they normally do, have accepted the challenge. 

I don't know about you, but I just can't wait to see everybody's creations... 
The series kick off January first! Make sure you don't miss it!

EDITED: remember to share your own refashions HERE!!! You have until the 31st of January!

*Wondering what refashion month is? Click HERE to read about 2013 edition!*

Top 5 of 2013 |Reflections and Inspirations|

Today it's time to tell you about my top 5 reflections and inspirations. Those two topics are pretty much connected to each other, and that's why I chose to write them all together in one only post. When looking back I see I had a very productive year, I believe I've never been sewing so much. So... 

#1 - Sewing from my stash

I made a commitment as 2013 started. I wanted to buy less clothes for me and my daughter, and just a few days after, I came across this Sewing Your Stash challenge (click link above) and I thought I'd take part, it was a great motivation and inspiration to start searching through my fabric piles before I'd go running buying new fabric. I was able to spend an entire year without a single online order to get new materials. As for buying any fabrics, I can count which fabrics I bought: less than 5 meters total, not counting fabrics I had to buy for two orders, they were payed by the costumers after all so not counting. And I was able to use right away all the fabrics I bought (except for one that is still waiting its turn). So, when it comes to fabric, I did use a lot from my stash, and manage to keep the pile low... until the end of the year, when I was donated a few pieces of fabric... I have plans for some already so the future looks bright. Here's a collage of all the items I made from the fabric stash... I forgot to include a dress shirt I made for G. so I have included that on the mending clothes collage below. 

Also it's not here but I've been making a patchwork duvet cover for my bed... and it's allowing me to use lotsssssssssssss of my scraps!!!

#2. Refashions

As I satrted by saying before, I had to shop my own cothes. And looking at the collage below, I could say I have succeed, the problem? There are always people giving me lots of hand-me-downs that go straight into my to be refashioned clothes pile. And it means the pile looks pretty much the same as it did a year ago, only with new and different clothes on it. Good thing another Refashion Month is coming!!!

#3. Mending my clothes
Puffff... I had piles and piles of clothes I wasn't wearing only because they needed little adjustments, but I was always postponing doing those boring things. I challenged myself to take an entire month to fix them all... or at least as many as I could. And again, I think that gave me the inspiration and motivation I needed. I managed to fix about 9 garments, not bad!!

#4. Sewing Competitions and Sewalongs
I was lucky enough to be selected to participate in two sewing challenges this past year. The Sew Off and Refashion Runway. That made me push harder, lose fears that were holding me back, and I was able to feel more secure and mature when it comes to sewing. The same happened with the sew along challenges. There were a few I joined and enjoyed: PR&P, Sew-vivor, Project Sewn, Sew in Tune, KCW, Pinterest Challenge, Peques de Cine, ... I was inspired to try new techniques, tried new things I had never done before, was able to see what other bloggers created and allowed myself to be inspired by them. I also tried to sew more practical then beautiful and eyecatching clothes. 

#5. Guest Posting, Pattern Testing and Pattern Tours
It was a pretty active year in all of the mentioned above. I discovered that I love pattern testing, giving a deadline to finish a garment is a great motivation to get my hands sewing. Guest posting is great for bloggers interaction, and I talk about both being a guest at somebody else's blog and having guests in my own blog, just like we did for the Refashion July Month. And let's not forget the pattern tours. These are some of my personal faves, you get to see so many different versions from the same pattern, there's no way you won't get inspired to use some of those great ideas. I love it all, so many bloggers out there, bigger or smaller, doing it professionally or doing it for themselves... they all make up for a great inspiration. As I usually say, inspiration runs wild everywhere, the rest is up to your mind and creativity. 

Wow, and this turned out a bit long today. What about you? What do you think about when you look back at the past year? Next and last list: Goals for 2014.


The rest of my handmade gifts from this year

Due to my sickness, it wasn't easy for me to sit and sew more often. I had plans to do a few more gifts than I did, and better ones too, so I was happy that at least I did manage to make a few things in the past two weeks. I've already shown you a few of the handmades I made for Christmas, if you missed them, there's a link at the bottom for those posts. 
Today, I am sharing all of the other gifts I made too. 

For my daughter's carers I wanted to make something simple that would be useful for the three of them. I made kleenex purse pouches. It's been soooooooooo long since the last one. Like three years ago I made a bunch of them to sell! 

For a good friend, I had a fabric basket in hand. She's a great knitter and I wanted to make her a gift that would also be useful for her. I had in mind a basket with pockets for different things: scissors, needles, yarn, etc... my time ran short though, the sickness was too much and when I realised it was too late to make the basket - I actually wanted to make two: one for her and one for my mom. So, I didn't make the basket but I did something sorta similar, a roll, with slim pockets for the needles and two bigger ones for her to save any ongoing project or whatever she needs to save there. It rolls up and ties with a ribbon, if she needs to carry it anywhere. 

And the last minute gifts of the year were these two little ladies. They are the 12th and 13th dolls of a collection I have created exactly 3 years ago. Back then, I was wondering what to make for my bosses' daughters. They had pretty much everything... I made them two dolls, and I called them The Hearties. I designed them to have a heart shaped head and they are functional. Those first two dolls were suppoused to be used as a hairclip holder (in their long legs), when I made the next dolls I made a few changes and now they have clips in their hands, so elastics can be organised in the dolls too. I didn't make a Heartie doll for a longggggggggg time, so I was really pleased to see two more on daylight. again, they were made for two sisters, that's why they look so much alike. I always name my dolls after the girl's name - their future owners. You can check pictures of all the dolls HERE

Other gifts I made this Christmas:
- Toddler girl blazer 
- Bracelet for an adult
- Book cover and pencil case for a girl (drawing/painting set)
- Pencil Roll
- Two fabric (Pocoyo) memory games
I've also made two bag organizers, no pictures sorry.


Gifts for boys

When Christmas time comes, the hardest thing for me is to come up with gifts for boys and men. I never know what to get them, especially men. Boys are easier because I can always give them toys for their age, but men... why is that so hard? I usually like to think my gifts deep, I like them to be appropriate for the individual person, something that I'll know they will love or that they really need. 

For the last few years, I made edible gifts, liquors, cookies, chocolates, etc. This year though, I couldn't dedicate too much time to handmade gifts and so I bought all the men's presents. For our (hubby's & mine) fathers, and a brother-in-law who's a fishermen I bought very warm underpants. For the other two brothers-in-law, I got gloves for one (yeah... I really didn't know what to get him and besides, none of us gets along that well with him, this was just a gesture, so we wouldn't get there with our hands empty for him when bringing gifts for everyone else), and for the other one, who's like a real brother for me, I got a cheese book with a few cutting tools and a wood board. Hubby got a new camera. 

These are all the adult males I usually make or buy presents for. When it comes to boys, we only have a nephew, all the rest are girls. So, other than my cutest nephew, I only have two more boys, from friends that I like to make/buy gifts for. For my nephew and the older friend's boy I bought toys, but I wanted to make something handmade for the little one (he's 2), and I had the idea in my mind for quite a while. 

I made him a pocoyo memory game in fabric. I started by printing 8 pocoyo pictures in transfer paper, well, twice of each. Then all I had to do was ironing it to a white fabric and cut into squares, cut the same number of squares in a blue fabric and sew it all together. I actually made two of these games. The first wasn't this one, it was made for a secret friend game I played with some moms from a forum we're all in since I got pregnant with G. 

This is the first game I made:

I didn't like that the squares weren't perfect, so when I did the second, instead of sewing pocoyo front and blue fabric right sides together, then turning around and sewing the edges, I tried just putting both squares wrong sides together and sew them with a zig zag stitch. I personally liked this one better and it was made easier too. 

Another thing I made different from the first to the second was the acessory where to keep the game when it's not being used. For the first one, I made a drawstring bag, but for the second I made a zipper pouch, I think it will last longer than the first, and it will also keep the pieces safer inside. 

Now I might have to make a girly version of these for my own daughter. I think she'd love a memory game all for herself. I just have to decide, maybe ask for her help, and choose a character for her memory game. 


Top 5 of 2013 |The MISSES|

Three days ago, I started by sharing with you my 5 sewing Hits from 2013, today, I have prepared the 5 misses from the year. Ready for it?

Number 5 

Knock off nightgown. I actually like it, but it's not wearable at all. It didn't work as a nightgown, it has so many details, it'd be perfect as a regular dress, but there a problem with it... completely see through. So, She hasn't been wearing it, and what good is it to spend so much time sewing something, if you don't get the best of it?!

Number 4 

Boy outfit for my nephew. I had to sew a boy outfit for PR&P's theme week, and I am pleased with the pattern, but honestly, when I look at this outfit nowadays I just see how girly it looks for a boy. I guess his sister will wear it more often than he ever did. 

Number 3

Shorts for my nephew. First thing to make it go straight to the fails list is the fact that my dear nephew didn't even want to put these on for the picture. He didn't like it at all, and was even ashamed to be seen in it! The fabric I chose wasn't good enough either... I refashioned two t-shirts and they weren't that elastic. 

Number 2

My peplum dress. What can I say that I haven't before?! Although many liked this, it is still a failure for me. I feel like I ruined two shirts I was saving for a great refashion, and just went and used them on an item that turned out totally unusefull...

Number one

My black & white striped dress. This is my biggest heartache when it comes to my sewing in 2013. I was so pleased with this dress, I had been wanting to make it for years actually, and when I did, I didn't realise how bad my fabric was... it got ruined after the first wash... the black color was totally faded and it ended up in a garbage bin, with little pieces of my heart.

And that's it, my 2013 failures. Next list? Reflections! It's going to be a hard one to write for me, but I will do it. 


Looking back at all of my PR&P items

It's almost a year since I finally started sewing along Project Run & Play - to read details on all the outfits, just click here and you'll be able to see every PR&P post I've made so far - and I never thought it would push me so much. It is a great way to be inspired, learn new techniques... and meeting great sewing mammas to share our thoughts and ideas with. My sewing blogging got so much better since I started sewing along. I've been loving it. 

Today, I am making a look back through the last year, with the clothes I've sewn inspired on PR&P themes.
SO, I started sewing along with season six, here's what I did with each of the themes:

week one: pattern remix

week two: polka dots & stripes

week three: boy's

week four: love is in the air

week 5: men's dress shirt challenge

week 6: Signature style

Between seasons, then there was a Party Remix, and this is what I made:

And before season 7, we had a All Stars season, with a four week challenge. Challenges were...

week one: inspired by art

week two: riley blake chevron

week three: all in the details

week four: formal wear
... and the first theme I missed sewing along since I've started to. 

The latest season was number 7 and I happily sewed along all four themes. 
week one: pattern remix
week two: candy inspired

week three: mad about plaid

week four: signature style

So, what's your favorite? I've got a few personal faves: week 5 & 6 from season 6 really make me happy and proud; and so does all the All Stars season outfits I created, I guess that was my best season. I like the things I made for the last season too, but I just realised they were a bit more practical. 

Season 8 is about to start, as I've already mention a few posts ago, and I am really excited about the new themes. I have big plans but I am really afraid I won't be able to do all I have imagined. Crossing my fingers though. If you're on board too, it'll be great to see what you'll make then... stay around if you want to see what else I'll be sewing!


Top 5 of 2013 |The HITS|

I just knew about this through the blog Aventuras de Costuras, and itt consists in writting, between here and the end of the year, 5 lists refering to 2013:

Top 5 Hits: Favourite Creations, most worn or most loved
Top 5 Misses: Sewing Fails, UFOs, worn once, or complete disasters
Top 5 Reflections: What did you learn about yourself or sewing this year? 
Top 5 Inspirations: What books, people, blogs, trends etc motivated you this year?
Top 5 Goals for the New Year 

Last year I did my Top 12 of 2012, it was my most viewed links of the year. I think I will only stick with the top 5 lists this time. And today I will start with my Top 5 Hits of 2013, enjoy:

Number 5

My daughter's birthday outfit! I just love everything about it and how much love I've put into it. Unfortunately we didn't get a lot of wear from the tunic, though I believe it'll still fit quite well next summer, it had room to grow. And those shorts, are one of the greatest things I ever did (click HERE for the details). She did wear these a few times. 

Number 4 

My latest Bumblebee pattern version. I just love the color and all the details I could re-use from the original dress (it was an adult sized dress I've refashioned into this tunic for my princess). It wasn't made that long ago and she's been wearing it, well, not now, those are cold months for this garments, but I am sure we will be wearing this a lot in the warmer weather). 

Number 3 

The dreaming of Spring outfit. I made this one while competing in The Sew Off contest. Three pieces were created for this outfit and these are some of her most worn clothes, especially the pants. The blazer jacket is a personal favorite too, I even shared a free pattern (size 2) and a sew along step-by-step of it. apart from this red one, I made two more, a blue version and a pink one. Also had a few bloggy friends testing the pattern, and they all created wonderful blazers for their kids. 

Number 2

Romper Dress knockoff. I had started this right at the beggining of the year, but it took me a few months to get it done. It was worth it though, this is one of the most worn items that I made her. It just looks too adorable on my little miss. I also made her a matching hat, but don't know why, I never got to blog about it. I did take pictures though... weird! 

Number 1

And my drearest project from 2013 had to be the jacket I made while sewing along with Project Run & Play. It was also a knockoff from a cathalog's jacket, but I certainly gave it my touch and it turned out - according to many - even better than the original. I just LOVE everything about it, and so does the little miss, which means she has been wearing it over and over and over again! No doubt the most used item I ever made her (together with the pants from number 3 I suppose). 

Next list: the misses!


Gifts: Pencil Roll

My sister needed a quick gift for her son's friend; they were having a gift swap on school on tuesday and she had no idea what to get to the girl. Last year, I made two pencil rolls for our nieces and when she saw them, she asked me to make one for her friend's daughter too. And so I did. 

Eventually she asked for another one this year, and I was able to make it because mom was here for the weekend. I couldn't find the measurements I had used for the ones I made last year, so I had to measure it all over again, and I guess it turned out a bit too tight when it's got the pencils on. I wasn't pleased that it wasn't perfect, but I guess it worked. 


A gift for a 3 year old

I was finally able to sew the last couple of days. The sickness wasn't so heavy and I could finally sit and sew a few easy and quick items for Christmas. I did not make a lot, not as many handmades as I wanted, but I did make a few and I am so satisfied about it. I will be showing those little things through the next days. 

For my cousin's daughter I had something in mind for quite a while. She's 3 and the thing she loves the most is drawing. I planned this gift for her birthday back in November (4th), but I already had a puzzle for her for Christmas and ran out of time to sew what I actually had in mind, so I gave her the puzzle for her birthday and used my idea on her Christmas gift. 

sorry pictures taken on a grey day and a bad light

I bought a notebook and a color pencils box. I wanted blank sheets, but couldn't find a single one. I made a book cover for it, and a pencil case. You may recognise the fabric, I've used it a few times before and still have some left. I'm pretty sure little D. will appreciate her gift, can't wait to give it to her. 


PR&P season 8

Have you noticed? Yes, the 8th edition of Project Run & Play is starting next month, and it's going to be fun to follow because the contestants are past sew along winners! How fun is that? Again, I will try to sew along, but I am not totally sure I will be able to.

Anyway, the themes for this season are:

Week One: (Jan 13th)---Winter Wonderland:  Design a winter inspired look.
Week Two: (Jan 20th)---Let's Go to the Movies:  Design a look based on a favorite movie or movie character.
Week Three: (Jan 27th)---Repurposing:  Design a look where the majority of the materials you use are either upcycled or recycled.
Week Four (Feb 3rd)---Your Signature Style:  Design a look that best represents your personal style of creating children's clothing.

Of course I am loving week 3, especially because it will be Refashion Month in January, it will fit the theme of my series too. Exciting, right? Let's start sewing as soon as possible! It will be a year since I started sewing along with PR&P and got addicted to it!

It's coming!

I know you're probably too drawn in Christmas  crafts and sewing, but soon December will be over and a new year will arrive will a lot of new experiences, and things to do and remember. 

Also, in the first day of the new year, we are having a winter edition of the Refashion Month over House of Estrela. Again, a month full of great and talented bloggers, all trying to give new life to old garments. 

Ready for the fun? 


A Bracelet for my big niece

When I wore the refashioned leather corset I made for Refashion Runway, I wore a purple and black bracelet with it. Can you remember? Maybe you didn't pay attention to that detail. Well, it doesn't matter much really, I just wanted to mention it, because I bought it like 4-5 years ago to a mom crafter that was going through some difficulties and I wanted to help. When I recieved it, I loved it more than I thought I would. But I am not a bracelet wearing kinda gal, and the same thing has been laying around. I wore it like twice so far. I've thought about gifting it away for a few days, it's new, but then again, I love it so and feel kinda attached to it.  

For a very long time, I've been considering reproducing it, my sister would love one and I guess most women do. This year, I haven't been able to sew much for Christmas, and going through some stuff I found my old beads. Hey, I haven't been able to sew but I guess beading is something I can do quietly, right? So I tried it. 
I realised I wouldn't have enough material - or similar - to reproduce my own bracelet, but I as always I took the challenge to work with what I had. And this is what came out... 

So, I made a bracelet. I just used what I had, and went creating a design as I was making it. I like it. I hope my big niece will like it too, I used a tulle bag I was given before, to put the bracelet in, and it's ready to go under the tree.

How are you doing with the homemade presents? Or are you just buying them? I'm half the way through my list and unfortunately I've been buying more than making this year.


Pattern Testing: Cupcake top

So, last month, I was able to test for Sewing MamaRaeAnna again. I was very excited to test for her again and this cupcake top is just adorable. She asigned me the 18 months size. I have a grandniece who's just that age right now but it totally fitted my daughter too after all. Mine is nearly 30 months, but she's skinny I guess. 

I was in the middle of that huge order when I sewed this, and I didn't even got the time to take good pictures of it. I visited my niece to get her daughter into the top and check out the fit. On the photo below, that's my grandniece wearing it on the top photos and my daughter on the bottom photos. 

This was RaeAnna's first sketch of the pattern, it has been changed and improved ever since. This pattern is about to be realeased and I am sure you'll love it. 

Unfortunately I couldn't be a better tester this time. I only got to make this one piece and then it was impossible for me to sew at all. I haven't done anything, and I feel terrible sad about that... actually I'm starting to feel a little frustrated. 

So, although it was a test top, I wanted to make it cute. Or, at least I tried to. I chose pink and brown knits because it reminds me of cupcake colors. Chocolate brown and strawberry pink. The pink fabric is the same I used for the romper I made for my little cousin a couple of months ago, and the brown is actually left overs from a t-shirt I used to make my daughter a (failed) pair of leggings I never blogged about yet. It was actually grey, but by the time I dyed my brown jeans, I included the t-shirts scraps in the machine, I knew I'd get a chance to use it. 


A simple project: Flower hair clips

A couple of weeks ago, daycare asked us parents to help them collecting a few things so theu could sell in a local Christmas fair. The money from the sells would go to new materials for the kids. I went through my ready-made box of handmades and found two wallets and a dress I was willing to donate. But I thought that wouldn't be much, so to add a few more things I made some very quick hairclips. The flowers were done - I have a jar full of them from the time I learnt how to make them - so all I had to do was glue the ribbon to the clips, then glue the flower on it, and a button to finish. I made 6 hairclips to complete my donation in just a few minutes. Which is the best I can do lately. 


Advent Calendar 2013

I've been wanting to make an advent calendar for years. I started saving little boxes last year to make one I have in mind for about two years or so, but I only had 22 by the end of November, so I guess that will wait for another year. I did make a calendar though!

I was inspired by this one here, but mine isn't as cute because as I told you, things have been slow on the sewing and crafting around here. This was the best I could get and I am pretty happy about it, because at least I made it!

In our calendar, we have activities to do together as a family and also one or another sweet for the little miss. This is all about her after all. 

Now I only wish I had a fireplace to put in on, but while I don't this has to work. I'm considering trying to build a fake one sometime in the future, but there are just so many projects in line... 


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