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Today, my post is not sewing-related. I would like to introduce a new book, “Mãos-á-Obra” published by a (very) talented friend, Constança.

Constança blogs at Saídos da Concha and she describes herself as a “rafter, seamstress, baker, trees and flowers lover, experimental homemaker”. She’s Portuguese and is currently based in New Zealand. If you don’t know her yet, you should take a peek at her blog (I actually mentioned her blog here as one of my favorites).

livro MAOS A OBRA!

“Mãos-á-Obra” is a such a delightful reading and truly a labor of love. The pictures, notes and projects included are a extension of Constança family life. I’m a firm believer of simplicity living and Constança book echoes this feeling and way of living.

As you can see by the book cover above, the book is published in Portuguese, but if you love crafts and the simple life pleasures (and can understand Portuguese, of course) you might want to check this book.

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Pink Winter Jacket

I wish I had a better excuse for the lack of activity here, but the fact is that more often than not, my sewing projects are quite “ordinary” and lack the “wow” factor.

I’m quite practical in my sewing (as with everything else, to be honest) and winter sewing seems to suffer the most from it. Usually I look for practical designs and fabrics that withstand the everyday wear. Plain colors and natural materials are always on top of my list.

The Oliver+S School Days Jacket Sew-along was held in the beginning of November, and although I did managed to sew my girl’s new winter jacket during the sew-along week, I never managed to post about it.

School days#3

Every since this pattern was released, it has become my go-to-winter jacket pattern, for both my boys and my girl. Usually, I can get away with sewing one (for each child, of course) every 2 years, mainly because I always sew one size above …

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Lotta skirt: pattern tour

I have a confession: the minute I spotted the Lotta skirt I knew I needed to sew it for my girl, so when I got to test it I was so happy (to say the least) :)

It’s not my first time sewing a Compagnie M’s pattern – the Mara blouse is a favorite around here and both the Louisa and the Lotta dresses are on my to-sew list.

It took me less than a second to pick a fabric for my version – I had bought this lovely print in the end of the summer (from here and originally intended for another project that never happened) and I knew immediately it would be perfect for the Lotta skirt.

Lotta skirt#2

Knowing Marte’s patterns, I was confident of the fit on my girl so this was actually a quick sew – no major adjustments were needed and the fit was spot-on on my girl.

The Lotta skirt has a hidden zipper and button elastic at the back (easy to adjust to your child) and the most lovely gathers at the front. The front gathers are my second favorite feature of this skirt.

The first ? The folded front pockets – absolutely darling, right?

Lotta skirt#6

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I might just as well face it: I sew faster than I blog :)

Just kidding, of course, but that could help to explain why I have so many projects in the pipeline (waiting to be blogged).

The weather is still quite nice around here (if you consider the fact that winter is fast approaching) and my kids still refuse to wear a proper coat in the morning (if I insist too much – which I always do – I will inevitability find the coats hidden in their backpack by the end of the end). Yet, I’ve already started to pull-out some warmer clothes and I found some of last year favorites (which obviously weren’t posted here).

As much as I love pretty dresses and lovely prints, I love the fact that my kids closets are also filled with a number of plain basics pieces that coordinate well with everything else and make our morning routines so much easier – and let’s not forget that its also quite useful for helping them pick their outfits on their own – and actually look coordinated enough to go outside :)

A white blouse is definitely a must in a little girl’s wardrobe (if you don’t mind about stains, of course). This is made of chambray and has a very nice weight – it did withstand the whole winter season and looked perfect beneath dresses, cardigans and and almost everything else. Pattern is Agnes Blouse by Citronille with an added peter pan collar with a tiny ruffle (size 6 with a bit of extra-length and without the smocking).

Agnes blouse whiteMy girl prefers dresses and shorts (and more recently skirts) but when the weather gets a bit chilly one really needs some proper pants. One of my favorite patterns is Oliver+S After School pants (I always skip the back pocket ruffle, per my girl request).

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Organizing | Kids reading

I think I’ve mentioned before my pet love for Organization.

Actually, I’m not making many friends around the house because of it (joking, of course, but I’m sure both husband and kids would prefer a less-organized environment), but recently I found a project that was loudly applauded by everyone (especially, the little ones): the Kidlet (an awesome free tutorial by JCasa).

Usually, my kids beds are pilled with books – the ones they are currently reading, the ones they expected to read and some just because :) Obviously, these books are always tossed in their beds and floor and that’s the way it should be :( (in my opinion, of course).

I love books so my idea was not to banned them from their bedtime routine, but getting everything a bit more organized – they pick a few favorites for bedtime reading and keep them by their bed (not “in their bed”). That’s why the Kidlet was useful – before the Kidlet, the books ended up under the sheets, or in the floor. Now, they are actually storing the books inside the Kidlet (the next morning, at least)  :-)

Kidlet#1

Let me not digress about the sewing process. As usual, I let them pick the fabric for the pocket and lining (the main fabric is a type of canvas).

This is a beginner’s level project and actually one that kids can help you with (just don’t expected it to be perfect afterwards).

My kids loved to help sewing their personal kidlet and I’m sure that’s part of the reason why they actually use them.

Ours were made to be placed near their beds (easy to reach), but there are so many options for using the kidlet and helping your kids, storing their own toys/construction blocks, animals, etc. I love organization, but I’m all for my kid’s empowerment when it comes to help me with the house chores :)

Here’s our final Kidlets: Liberty Betsy for my girl (inside it’s pink polka dots):

M Kidlet#2

And a pirate’s print from Sarah Jane for my boy (blue spots for the inside):

G Kidlet#2

Obviously, their reading choices vary greatly on a weekly basis.

My son current selection includes Tintin comics by Hergé, a collection of bilingual fairy-tale stories (English and Portuguese), a book on overcoming fear for children and his praying book.

G Kidlet#1

I’m not sure if my girl selection is typical, but I love it: The princess and the pig (a classic, right), The Gruffalo’s Child and Sarah Kay paper dolls.

M Kidlet#1

Who said organizing can’t be fun?

Happy sewing,

Ana Sofia

You may already noticed some lovely vintage patterns designed by the super talented Suz: Sewpony Vintage here on the blog.

It’s not a secret that I love to test new patterns yet probably not for the most obvious reasons. I actually love to test my own skills by sewing a pattern as per the designer instructions and unleashing my creativity by making fabric selections that may differ from my usual (aka. conservative) choices.

Nevertheless, time is scare around here (you know it already: full time job, kids with endless school chores, family time, personal time, commuting and house-chores, you name it) so at the moment, I’m a bit picky when it comes to pattern testing – selecting just a few favorite designers at a time.

Well, Suz and her Sewpony Vintage definitely fit into this category: I’ve tested the Debbie’s dress and later this summer the Cosi swimsuit, and I have nothing but the nice things to say about both patterns – they were both instant favorites :)

So, when I heard about Suz’s new pattern, I knew a new favorite was on the works. And I was so right! The Sunday Picnic Dress was released just a few days ago and I almost couldn’t wait to share my version.

DSC_1027

It includes 3 different versions with lots of room for embellishment (if you love piping, there’s quite a few places to add it) so I’m sure everyone will be able to “sew” a favorite Sunday Picnic Dress.

As much as I loved the dress, my girl wasn’t even a bit cooperative during the tester sessions despite been the one actually selecting the fabrics used (she’s getting more involved in the process) and wearing the dress (when no sessions were prepared).

With the Blog Tour soon approaching (and no proper pictures taken), I decided it was better to sew a new dress (and see if it might work), and kindly asked for her collaboration. She immediately declined (very politely, I must add): She insisted that she loved the initial version of the Sunday Picnic Dress and was not looking for another one.

It took me quite a while to understand the root of the problem: It’s a “Sunday dress” and on Sunday her favorite thing to do is riding her bicycle in the park. Because the weather had been cloudy and rainy during the testing stage, we had been taking indoor pictures!

The entire setting was completely wrong and my little lady was not pleased (and was happy to show it) :(

DSC_1371

Lucky for me, the weather has since improved (a lot), so she was happy to model (kind of, but that was a huge improvement) her Sunday Picnic Dress (with her bike).

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Fear not, she actually wears a safety helmet when riding a bicycle. I was holding it for the photos, but she did put it right afterwards.

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The little Prince(ss)

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Littleprince

I couldn’t sew everything I had planned for this KCW (again, I was over-ambitious) – there are still so much in my list, but sewing time is always limited around here.

This blouse was probably my first pick for this challenge and as usual it was finished in the wee hours of the night.

When I got this fabric I immediately though about The Little Prince – another of my favorite stories and one that, in my opinion, should not be limited to children (in fact, one might start reading at a younger age, but will understand it much better later in life).

DSC_1426

If you follow me here, you are already well-acquainted with this pattern (Agnes blouse by Citronille). This is a size 6 and, again, I skipped the smocking.

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