A present for a little friend

Yesterday was a little friend’s first birthday. He’s actually one of Sprout’s best friends younger brother. Their Mom is really sweet and always has cute little gifts for Sprout. I’ve been meaning to gift them something handmade for a very long time, but something always seems to get in the way. This time I decided to just get to it.

The other day we were talking about fabric balloon covers to make balloons safer for babies and toddlers if they pop. I remembered seeing a free pattern somewhere online and decided to dig it out and just make it. It actually came together pretty quickly and easily. Sprout now wants one, so I guess aI will be making more! You can find the pattern I used here.

I used some Alexander Henry 2D Zoo fabric I’ve been hoarding, left over from Sprout’s duvet cover.

Sorry I didn’t take pictures without the balloon, but basically I made a button-hole on one end (the pattern is a bit different) so you can just pop in a balloon, inflate, tie up, tuck it in and play!!

I hope he enjoys it!

Toddler Backpack: 2 weeks overdue

This post was written two weeks ago. I was actually finishing it when R got home with the terrible news that my father had passed away, prompting an urgent two week trip to Portugal. I couldn’t bring myself to press publish with all that was going on. We’re back now and life must go on, however hard that may be. I just wanted to say this because I’m not one of those people that can just proceed business as usual when things just don’t feel well, so I felt I needed to share this sadder part too.

I’m a procrastinator. That doesn’t always work out well, and this little backpack is proof of that. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I spend months in advance planning things out, sometimes even organizing materials to get things done. It’s the part where things leave my brain to gain a life of their own which usually gets me. I picked up this lovely Marimekko fabric on our trip to Sweden last June, with the sole purpose of making this backpack for Sprout’s first day of school. I believe I purchased Made by Rae’s Toddler backpack sewing pattern even before that. But you know, I still had soooo much time. So why not just leave it for exactly the week before school starts. You know, with all the other running around to get things. Like a normal, sane person would do. Right?

Oh, I had big plans for this little backpack. I decided I was going to laminate the fabric myself. I bough the vlieseline stuff to do so ages ago. And laminate it I did! What a total disaster!!! I can’t quite say what went wrong. I think I applied it properly. The Marimekko fabric was OK (but not brilliant) but the red fabric (supposedly 100% cotton) puckered a bit. No biggie though, thought I. Until I got to sewing. It was like sewing plastic. Don’t get me wrong, I have sewn oilcloth and laminates before, but this was strange. It felt as though the needle was breaking the laminate. But I persevered, because I’m stubborn  determined like that. Just as I was FINISHING the whole thing, I realized there was no way it would ever hold up. The plastic was tearing in places and it was damn hard to sew the last curvy parts. This was the weekend before school started. So I washed his old backpack and gave up on the idea of having a new one for the first day of school.

It was a very involved process, but I’m really glad I stuck with it. It’s not perfect because the thin cotton fabric stretched a bit when ripping off the laminate

But I didn’t give up on the backpack. Oh, no! And I love this expensive beautiful fabric too much to just cut up a new one. So, I tore it all apart unpicked ALL the piping, unstuck ALL the laminate and started over.

And I’m glad I did. It’s not perfect by any means. The thin cotton fabric stretched out a bit when ripping out the laminate, which threw things off a bit, especially in comparison to the canvas I used as an underlining (the Marimekko was too thin on its own). It’s a bit wonky and still missing the lining, but Sprout wanted to use it asap. Here is the unfinished inside:

I’ll share it again when the lining is finally in. Which, you know, can be next year or something 😉

kcwc output: 1 pajama

Sad, I know. I guess I’m just not cut out for these challenges. Unlike others, knowing other people are watching doesn’t really push me along, but rather makes it feel like work I HAVE to do. So there you go. I love to sew, and I can put something together fast if I really wanted to. The thing is, I’d rather linger on the details, take my time and try to learn as I go along instead of focusing mostly on just getting things done. I did do other things.

I started putting together the second sweet pea cap I had cut out, but first time using a mock coverstitch on my new sewing machine meant I botched it up, had to rip it apart and rendered the whole thing useless. I could’ve quickly cut up another piece, but I wanted to use the striped fabric for the lining of a vest and wasn’t sure how much I’d have left over. I also traced and cut out the patterns for a long sleeve tee and vest from Ottobre 1/2010. All I have to do now is cut into the fabric and sew it up – ha!

But back to the pjs. They are Otto 6/2009. I had used this pattern before, but they came out way too big. Plus, my first attempt at applique didn’t go too well and I ended up with a weird “tail” on the whale, not so professional looking stitching and a whale in the tummy area rather than the chest. I still love those first pjs, mind you, but I wanted to make these better. Turns out the problem was not chopping off the complete 1cm seam allowance on my serger. These new birdie pjs came out PERFECT. Great fit, and I think they’re adorable. I still would like to add more detail to the bird applique though…

I still think Kids Clothes Week Challenge is the greatest though. It did get me off my bum. And, just check out all the beautiful things others have created. See, not everyone is as lazy as me! Plus, Elsie’s projects made me just HAVE to add another sewing book to my collection. 😉

Kids Clothes Week – Take 2

Elsie Marley is hosting Kids Clothes Week again, for Fall/Winter this time. I totally expected to participate last time, but way too much was going on, so I didn’t sew a stitch… Since I’m not busy with any work-related project and don’t have any trips planned for the near future, I think I can pull it off this time.

The idea is to sew 1hour a day for your kids, for 7 days. This is a brilliant idea, because it’s always the getting up and doing that holds me back. Once I start, I’m quite likely to go on for longer.

My projects for this week include finishing up an already cut out pajama and a sweet pea cap. It will be so nice to get these two sewn up, before I lose any pieces and pins!! I also want to trace out patterns for an Ottobre vest and long sleeve t-shirt and sew those up. If I have time for more, I may venture into making a pair of cords and maybe starting a fall jacket – we’ll see. Better to go slowly and not get ahead of myself.I’ll be posting my progress every day (I hope), so let’s see what I’ll have tomorrow!

Anyone else participating? What are your plans?

Sewing for Sprout – boy’s romper

Boy’s romper, originally uploaded by sandramorim.

I’ve been sewing!!! Alex is really in need of summery clothes with the weather improving and our travel plans for the summer.
This pattern is Ottobre 3/2007 # 7 size 80. It was one of the items I had planned for the Kids Clothes Week Challenge I didn’t follow through on. I just finished this weekend. It took me two evenings and  I’m really very proud of how this little romper turned out. It was super easy, but I really tried to pay attention to the detail and think it was totally worth the effort. The outside is a very lightweight denim and the facing + patch applique is a very soft cotton (voile maybe? I’m no good with fabric names…). I still need an action shot.

I’ll be posting other outfits soon. I’d also like to make him some summer pj’s, but need appropriate fabric. It’s really hard to shop for reasonably priced fabric in Brussels. This denim I bought at Maison Dorée on sale and the cotton at Maison des Tissus which is more reasonably priced and very close to home.

Mother’s day & Kids Clothes Week!!

Yesterday was mother’s day here (and in the US, UK, etc. – in Portugal it was last Sunday) and what a lovely day I had! We went out for lunch, spent the afternoon hanging out in the park and I received a lovely kit for planting some lucky clover and an IOU for whatever I wanted with a 24h validity 🙂 Rod was a sweetheart! I really hope this day won’t become another “holiday” imbued with consumerism.

Hehe, check him out!

Well, today is the first day of the Kids Clothes Challenge.I hope to still have a little time to do something later on (if Alex doesn’t keep waking up screaming!!! Gotta run!

Belated handmade b-day present

I made this sweet little baby book from Sew Liberated (I love this book! So many more projects I want to make! And no, it’s not all about appliqué) for sprout’s birthday. It was fairly easy to make, even by someone who’s last attempt at embroidery was in 8th grade!!! However, it was rather time-consuming and I miscalculated how long it would take me… I finished it this weekend and it’s been a hit with Alex 🙂

I changed the book slightly to make it bilingual Portuguese/English (I figured French would be a bit much!!!), so the title is different and the placement of the words throughout is different as well.

All in all I’m quite happy with it, despite my laziness kicking in with the finishing stitches… And I still want to print a little message for Alex on fabric (I don’t think I can stand the thought of embroidering the whole message!!) and attaching it to the back cover.

Sewing for sprout

I am entering a challenge. The kids clothes week challenge taking place at Elsie Marley the second week of May. I really have to get my act together though because I still have work to do for my previous job at EFTA, due by the end of May THE LATEST. So, I’ll have to look through patterns, pick up supplies etc. while sprout is awake, and write some professional legal guidance on how to procure Fair Trade products while he sleeps. So, when will I actually sew? Err… let’s see how it’ll work out!

Hand-made love for the sprout – part one

Since I left work, I’ve been making quite a few things for mr. Alex 🙂 I’ve been meaning to post about them for the longest time, but I don’t have good pictures of most of them. Most are taken on my Iphone, in movement. It doesn’t help that he tries to grab the camera every time I pop it out!!
Here are the most recent


The sweet pea pilot cap from Sew Liberated (you HAVE to check out her blog… so inspiring I read it from start to finish… stalking you say? hmm….)

I LOVE Ottobre. I have a subscription and it’s soooo worth it. I’ve made a whole bunch of their stuff already. This is the second time I do these pants (the first time I made jeans live in the pattern). They are the “Rock Me” Baby jeans from Ottobre Summer 3/2009. This is a super soft baby cord I got online from Dots n’ Stripes (I also bought the interlock and ribbing for the cap there – great service, quick delivery!). I still have to check out good and not too pricey fabric resources in Brussels. Rod hates the green. I don’t care, was getting tired of blue and brown anyway!!!!

The shirt was bought at H&M (and it’s organic… I’m hoping there was no child labour involved in the production though!) and I appliqued 2 fabric circles to the front. I used freezer paper stencil to draw the turtle on with fabric paint. The turtle drawing also came from an Ottobre magazine, but can’t remember which!

Oh, and don’t you just love the way he’s showing off how he can walk? 😀 Sigh…

Happy New Year

The New Year has started off really cold here in Brussels. It’s -10°C as I write and yesterday I woke up to this:


It was still dark outside at 8am. Everything is still white today… well, sort of white! Snow in the city gets sloppy very fast.

2008 was a great year and seems to have gone by really fast… I can’t believe 2009 is here already and we’ll soon have a new addition to the family! In (probably) less than four more months our little sprout will be here. I’m really excited and have finally made a list of what I think we’ll need.

We’ll have to hit the stores soon to figure out where we’re going to by things and if we’re going to have a baby list or not at any store. As with everything else, I’m really keen on buying environmentally friendly and healthy products for little sprout, but choice still seems to be limited. I’m thinking of getting some things on-line, such as cloth nappies. I know most people say they’re a hassle, etc but I really want to give them a try. Now I just have to figure out what kind, brand, size and how many!!!

Here are some I’ve been considering:

They are the Imse Vimse all-in-one, Bambino Mio,  Tots Bots and Bumgenious all-in-one. They have to be really simple to use and (practically) leak-free so that I can convince my dear husband and daycare to use them as well. If anyone has any opinion on these (or others), all advice is welcome! I’ll let you know which I chose and where I got them once I make up my mind. i may actually get one of each and see what works best once sprout is here and use Eco-friendly disposables such as these for the first few days.

In other news, I’ve been making more maternity clothes to help fill out my wardrobe. Here another skirt and my bump at 24 weeks:


And a pair of pants at 25 weeks:


I always look so unnatural in pictures! And what’s with my hair? I swear it doesn’t look like this live 🙂 New Year’s resolution: learn how to take and pose for pictures!