terça-feira, 3 de março de 2015


Last December, Patricia from the blog Pequeno Mundo a 3 had the greatest idea ever: she decided to ask several Portuguese bloggers if they would like to make a Christmas gifts for the kids living in a Charity named Mum's & Kids , a nonprofit association that helps and shelters mothers and their kids. This was the kind of thing I was willing to do for long time so I immediately said yes.
Patricia created a spreadsheet for us to choose the kid we were going to sew for but, as usually, I was late signing in and all children were already taken. So I thought their mothers would also be glad to receive a Christmas gift and I made infinity scarf. Who doesn't like a soft and colorful infinity scarf?!
PATTERN: Infinity Scarf by Imagine Gnats. I love infinity scarfs! And Rachel has put together such a great tutorial with all the tips there is to easily make them. I love that these scarfs are all sewn from the wrong side so there are no raw edges showing on the finished garment. Perfect easy and fast project to sew and perfect piece of garment to wear!
(I had lost my dummy's "neck cover" when I took the photos but I am glad I have already found it. So sorry for the photos!)
FABRIC: Solid knits from my local shop (Feira dos Tecidos). I went fabric shopping with my blogging friends Ines and Rita and we all thought these fabrics were perfect for infinity scarfs. They are soft and have a beautiful drape. Plus, I had lots of fun matching the colors…
The Christmas cards were made with a helpful hand from my daughter Teresa. She was really fund of this project! And so was I!
 And don't forget to check all gorgeous clothes my blogging friends made:
Ana Sofia
Maria João


quarta-feira, 18 de fevereiro de 2015


So, as promised on my last post, I have another free pattern to share with you today. This time I have flipped it a bit so it could be worn in cooler winter days.
PATTERN: Sunny Days Shorts by Oliver and S. I love Oliver and S patterns! Even their free patterns are exceptional and this one is no exception. Super clear instructions that actually look like a sewing lesson! Though I think I would make a couple of adjustments at the crotch if I would sew pants or shorts with this pattern, its loose fit is perfect for pajamas.

FABRIC: Flower printed flannel from my local shop (Park dos Tecidos). I had this flannel on my stash for years! It is really soft and I love the print. I just hope it ages nicely and doesn’t peal much…

(This last photo as nothing to do with the pajama pants but I thought it was so cute!)
All this photos were edit with PicMonkey (thanks for the advise Ines!) and, as I am just starting to learn how to work with this softwear, if you have any advise please let me know!

sexta-feira, 13 de fevereiro de 2015


I am so happy to be, once again, part of Flip this Pattern! This is such a fun and inspirational series and Emily and Ashley are making such a great job by adding new challenges all the time...


So this month's challenge is to use free patterns. Great challenge, right? There are so many fantastic free patterns out there that, for me, the biggest challenge was actually choosing just one or two. So today I am showing you a tunic and a skirt but I must admit I have sewn also a pair of pajama trousers, a tee and an infinity scarf. I will try to photograph and blog about these projects next week so stay tuned!
But now let's get back to what I have to share with you today...

PATTERN: Simple Skirt by MADE for the skirt. Dana's simple elastic band skirt was my first ever sewing project so I had to make a skirt like this for Flip this Pattern! Though I wanted to keep it simple, I did add a couple of details to the original pattern for a little bit of extra fun factor. So not only the skirt is lined but also has deep side pockets. Never the less it was an easy and fast project.
Sweet Tea Tunic by Shwin & Shwin for the tunic. As soon as I saw the pattern for this tunic I felt in love! Such a simple but great design! The deep neckline at the back is so lovely... Though I haven't actually flipped this pattern I did change a bit the construction of the tunic, omitting the lining on the yoke, as I wanted the neckline and armhole to be finished with piping. I love the loose fitting of this tunic and I can't wait for warmer days to arrive so Ines can wear it without the turtle neck.

FABRIC: The skirt is made of bright red corduroy and lined with white and red polka dot chambray. I had just a little bit left of this corduroy so, to make it work, I had to cut it cross grain for the pockets. Sometimes these "challanges" make the garments look even more special (though you can not tell from the photos as it is such a small detail. Sorry! Better photos next time, maybe...)
For the tunic I mixed a bit of very lightweight denim with a beautiful printed linen from MissMatatabi (leftover from this project I made last September.) I love these two fabrics together! The piping was bought in Lisbon and it is vintage. I was going to buy simple red piping but them I spotted this one and knew I had to change my idea.

Thank you so much Emily and Ashley for this invitation!
And, I almost forgot, I have a couple of free tutorials too. Don't forget to check them out!

quarta-feira, 4 de fevereiro de 2015


It’s time for Kids Clothes Week and I am so excited to have been able to sew, photograph and blog about something I actually made this week!

This long sleeve tee was a really quick and easy sew and Teresa loved it. I am truly happy I finally started sewing with knits! It’s fun, easy and super-fast. Plus my kids love comfortable clothes and knits are so much comfy then woven…


Pattern: Climbing Flowers by Ottobre - Winter 2014. The original pattern is actually for a tunic, not a tee. I had turned it into a tee last October and loved the result so, as I needed a quick project, I picked the pattern pieces and.. Voilá! In just about 1 hour I had a new long sleeved tee for Teresa.
Fabric: Grey and navy cotton tricot knit from my local store (Feira dos Tecidos). This is such a soft and comfortable fabric! Love it!


Teresa likes the colors of this fabric but, when I bought it, I thought it was kind of too serious for little girls so I thought adding a stencil would be fun. I bought golden ink and gave it a try with the help of this wonderful book. Though I like the result I think it would have been better if the ink was opaque instead of transparent... But she is happy and that’s what really matters!


segunda-feira, 19 de janeiro de 2015


It’s Refashion Month at House of Estrela and I am really happy to be, once again, part of this series. Last time I made a top for Teresa with a shirt I used to love and this time I am sharing a shirt for me made with a piece of nice cotton from a bed sheet I bought several years ago. (I told you on my last post you were going to see a lot more selfish sewing around here, right?)
Pattern: View B from the Japanese book Stylish Dress Book. I love Japanese sewing books! I love the design of the garments, the styling and even the instructions. But I still don’t know if Japanese clothes really fit my body type… (I hope they do!) Anyway, I had to try this pattern as the sleeves looked so cool… Before hemming the shirt I decided to try it on and it didn't feel quite right. Though the shoulder line was spot on, the shirt was so big, long and wide on me! I decided to cut almost 10cm/4 inches in length and a 5cm/2 inches on each side of the bodice. I don’t know if this was the right decision… I don’t know if the fitting is better this way… I have so much to learn when it comes to women’s clothing! (I have a lot to learn about children’s clothing, too, I must add!)
Fabric: White woven cotton from a bed sheet I bought at Zara Home. Good quality bed sheets (bought for nice prices on sale!) are great for clothes too! They are especially good to make “wearable muslins” (here is the first one I made and still wear a lot.) Since I am just starting to make clothes for me and never know if a pattern is going to work, this is a great way to try a pattern without ruining my best fabric but still getting a nice piece of clothing. One more detail about the shirt: the bias tape on the neckline and sleeves is store bought and I had it on my stash for years. The original design doesn’t feature bias tape on the sleeves but they were so short I thought they would look nice this way.

 As you can see, unlike Teresa and Ines, I don’t feel very comfortable in front of the camera… These were the best photos I could pick and I hope you like them more then I do!

Today is just the first day of Refashion Week so stay tuned for all creations that will pop up at House of Estrela during the week.  And don’t forget to head over Pequeno Mundo a 3 and see what Patricia has refashioned…

terça-feira, 6 de janeiro de 2015


The kids went back to school today so I finally have a couple of minutes to blog. We had a wonderful holiday as the weather in Portugal has been absolutely great these last few weeks. We went to the beach almost daily and I got to sew a little bit after the kids were in bed.

I’ve made a couple of tunics, dresses and shorts for Teresa and Ines but today I want to share with you a super simple, fast and easy dress I made for myself. I am so excited!

Pattern: View 13 from the book Drape, Drape by Hisako Sato.

I saw this book for the first time a year and a half ago at a bookstore in Copenhagen and immediately feel in love with it! But I didn’t buy it right away as I thought sewing for me and sewing with knits was a bigger challenge than I could handle… But a few months ago I started doing both things and I am loving it. So when my friend Carla told me our local bookstore had this book in Portuguese (it’s the Brazilian version but it is quite easy to understand) I was thrilled! I think Carla was as excited as I was and decided to surprise me and sent me a copy. Thank you so much!

I love every single pattern in the book (though I am not sure some of them will go with my body type…) but I picked the one that seemed the easiest to start with: a very, very lose racer back dress. Because I am still not and expert with knits I made a small change to the original pattern: instead of finishing the collar and armholes with a bit of matching knit bias tape, I used my serger to make some simple and super fast hems. I kind of like it this way too though I think I will try to use bias tape next time as the dress looks a little bit sturdier with it.

Fabric: Gray knit form my local store (Feira dos Tecidos). There is not much to say about this fabric… It works quite nicely for this dress and I love the color!

So I hope you are willing to see more grown-up clothes as I am willing to sew a lot more for me in 2015! Happy New Year!

segunda-feira, 15 de dezembro de 2014


Last spring my good friend Asmita from Elephant in the Study surprised me with the Liebster Award. I was so surprised! Thank you so much Asmita!


If you have never heard of the Liebster Award, let me try to explain what it is about… It is a virtual award passed from one blogger to another with the aim of promoting blogs with less than 200 followers. It’s kind of a chain thing where the awardee has to answer five questions and provide five facts about himself or herself and then chose five other bloggers and pass the award. And so on, and so on…

So here are my answers to Asmita’s questions:

A. What’s the one thing that you have been really wanting to make but hesitate when it’s time to actually do it (I mean in terms of sewing, but feel free to interpret it as liberally as you like!)
I would love to start quilting! I never did because I know I am not good with long and repetitive projects. But I just love quilts and I would be thrilled if I could ever make one from start to finish. Plus, my home needs handmade things. (Well, that’s the other way I could interpret your question, Asmita!) I’ve actually been postponing properly decorating my home since we’ve moved…

B. How do you get out of a sewing rut?
I actually don’t have a planned sewing routine so I think I never get actually tired of sewing. During the weekdays I mix sewing with architecture (my daytime job), gardening, surfing, windsurfing and playing or studying with the kids when they arrive from school. I am really lucky to be able to work at home so I can manage my time and that gives me a lot of freedom to do what I really love at my own pace.

C. Favorite summertime activity?
Definitely going to the beach! We live just a steep away from one of Europe’s best beaches so we go to the beach all the time. I’ve been windsurfing for several years now and I just started surfing. These sports, like sewing, are really addictive!

D. What’s the one thing you cannot go to bed without doing?
Checking out the girls sleeping is something I always like to do before going to sleep. (And pee and brush my teeth, of course!)

E. Five random facts about yourself.
1. Besides Portugal, I´ve lived in Italy (Venice) and Spain (Barcelona) while I was studying architecture.
2. I sleep like a stone! During the night, once I get to sleep there is now way anyone will be able to wake me up.
3. I used to drive a big bright yellow wv transporter van and I had all my windsurfing gear inside all the time. When Ines was born I sadly had to sell it as there where only three seating places on that van.
4. I’ve been a vegetarian most of my adult life. I restarted eating meat when I got pregnant but I still prefer vegetables and fruits to any kind of meat or fish.
5. Right now I have three sewing machines (and I sew with all of them all the time): an old Pfaf from the ´50 that used to belong to my grandmother, a Singer Tradition I bought last summer to sew knits (because the vintage Pfaf doesn’t like modern stretchy fabrics at all!) and a brand new Singer Serger I am completely in love with!

And here are five of my favorite blogs. (It was hard to pick only five!) So the award goes to…
3. Nutta!

And finally here are my questions:
A. What is your favorite and less favorite part of the sewing process?
B. Do you have any real life sewing friends?
C. Where would you like to go on your next summer vacation?
D. What is your family’s favorite meal or dish?
E. Five random facts about yourself.

And, because a blogpopst without photos is not a blog post, I’ve got a couple of skirts to show you. They were made with one of the wonderful fabrics my dear friend Asmita has sent me a couple of months ago so this is the perfect timing!
Isn’t this block printed / quilted fabric amazing (and gorgeous and special and unique...)?! I was completely in love with it since I opened the package my parents brought me from India. Yes, they were lucky enough to visit India and meet Asmita!  I wish I could have been there too…

Pattern: Self drafted (inspired by the wonderful Spin Skirt by Elegance and Elephants). For such a unique and busy fabric I wanted a very simple design so these skirts are not much more than a couple of simple rectangles sewn together. I’ve made a couple of skirts just like these last year and they have been worn again and again so I knew I could go wrong with this pattern.

Fabric: quilted /block printed cotton that came all the way from India and polka dot cotton from my local store. The skirts are reversible because the quilted fabric has lots of raw edges on the wrong side and I didn’t want that to show. I think the quilted cotton side will be worn most of the time but I might go for the polka dot side once or twice too. Reversible clothes are really fun!

Thank you so much Asmita for the Award and for the wonderful fabric you have sent me! (By the way, you can see all fabrics Asmita has sent me on my Instagram. Look for “martadoguincho”.)