Refashion Month: Toddler Dress

It is refashion month over at House of Estrela and I am super excited to be taking part!

Refashioning is not something that I do often but since I have a steadily growing pile of discarded clothing from both my husband and my own closet, it is something that I need to start doing more of.  For this project I started with an old dress shirt of mine that shrunk the first time I washed it, making it just a tad too tight.


Since I still really loved the fabric, I opted to turn this into a dress for my daughter.


To do this refashion, I started with the front bodice piece from the geranium dress.  I lengthened it by a few inches so that it would hit my daughter at her waist and lowered the neckline to give it more of a scoop neck.  I used the same bodice for both the front and the back of the dress and I kept the button placket from the original shirt and used that as the front of the dress.


I used the back of the shirt for the back of the dress.


To make the skirt I used the rest of the shirt and turned it into a simple gathered skirt.


To make it even easier, I kept the existing shirt tail hem.


To finish the neck and arms I made bias tape from some pink cotton I had in my stash.  I love the pop of colour that it adds!


The final product is a simple and quick summer dress!


Make sure to check out the rest of the line up and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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Finnley’s Summer Wardrobe

I have big plans over the next month or so to sew the majority of my kids summer clothes. Fabric has been bought and patterns have been picked, but not much more than that has been done so far. Last weekend I did make a start and whipped up a super quick tank and some capris.


For the tank I used the rio racerback tank from Peek-a-Boo patterns.  I picked this one up as soon as it was released because I knew it would be a great staple for my daughter’s summer wardrobe.  Plus I am a sucker for a good knit pattern.  Love, love, love sewing with knits.  So quick!  This top took about an hour to make from cutting to hem.  I have plans for a few more tanks and at least one dress.  The triangle fabric is from Girl Charlee and can be found here.  The one thing with sewing for toddlers is that their clothing doesn’t take a lot of fabric and I still have about 2/3 of a yard left.  What to do with the leftovers?


The fit on the tank is really great.  I cut a 3T for the width, but made it a 4T for length.  I especially love the racer back!


To go with the tank I just happened to have some aqua stretch denim that I picked up for 50% on a recent trip to my local Fabricland.  Totally lucked out and it was a perfect match for the triangles (plus a couple of the other knits I picked up from Girl Charlee on my last order).  I decided to try the host pants pattern from LouLouBee clothing that was part of the most recent Pattern Parcel.


The host pants are a super popular pattern and there are lots of adorable versions where the fit is excellent.  Unfortunately the fit on Finnley’s pants is not quite what I was going for.  She very clearly fit into the 3T measurements, but there is a ton of extra fabric on the back of the pants, especially in the bum area.  The waistband is adjustable and I had to tighten it quite a bit just to make them stay up.


Thankfully when her top is pulled down it becomes less obvious. I would like to try the pattern again, but will have to do a bit of tweaking to make it work.  To make the pants into capris I used this as a reference and then simply rolled the pants up to make a cuff.  Simple to do, but makes the pants perfect for spring.  I tacked the cuff down, but they could easily be taken down and turned into pants in the fall if I so desire.


Fit issues aside, it is a great outfit that was made just in time for the warm weather we are having this week!  Comfy and easy to move in which works well for playtime, such as digging in the dirt with sticks with little brother!



Linked up with:  Tuesday Sews



Matinee Dress Blog Tour

Recently I was one of the lucky few picked to test Jennifer’s very first pattern, the Matinee Dress!  I love testing patterns (and test a lot of them!) but was particularly happy to be picked for this one. It’s adorable! Considering that this was Jennifer’s first pattern, I was incredibly impressed by the quality and am happy to report that she has produced a professional pattern with excellent diagrams and very straight forward and easy to follow instructions.


What initially drew me to this pattern was definitely the plunging back.


The pattern features a bunch of different options so you can easily customize it: cap sleeves, hem band, or you can even make a peplum.  Jennifer even adds a section with suggestions for additional modifications you can make to personalize your dress or top, such as adding a ribbon as she did here.  For this version of the matinee dress I did make one modification, which was to omit the sash as I thought it would break up the stripes on the front of the dress. However, I did want to keep the button closure so I made two short pieces using the sash dimensions and sewed them to the dress when attaching the bodice to the lining.  I love how this feature turned out and I especially love the pop of yellow against the blue and white stripes. Nice splash of sunshine to welcome the spring!


The fit on this dress ended up being excellent, although I have to admit that this was my second version as my original dress was a wee large on Finnley and didn’t do this pattern justice!  Thankfully Jennifer added a whole section talking about how you can customize your pattern sizes to get the perfect fit for your child.


This is the original dress that I made for testing which is too big all over and overwhelms my daughter.


The back of the dress gaped and it doesn’t take much to see undies which is not something anyone needs to see!


Fabric choices for this dress are pretty open which gives you endless options to make a more casual dress with quilting cotton or a more formal dress from satin or taffeta.  For my second version I used a striped quilting cotton and alternated the direction of the stripes to add visual interest.


Thanks so much for the chance to test your very first pattern, Jennifer and I am super excited to see what you come up with next!


Linked up at:  Inspire Us Thursdays

Princess Sofia Inspired Dress

Back with another make for Project Run and Play.  This weeks theme was to make an outfit inspired by a favourite vacation spot.  Although we haven’t actually been there yet I choose Disneyland since Steve and I are constantly talking about when we will take the kids there.  Currently we are waiting until Daxton is a little bit bigger so he will really be able to enjoy it.  Anyways, when I think Disneyland I think of all the characters and how all the little kids like to buy expensive costumes to look like them.  Finnley is currently in full on princess mode so I knew I wanted to make her something inspired by one of the Disney Princesses.  Although she loves them all I decided to go with Princess Sofia.

Full view front

I didn’t want to make a big princess gown or anything that was too costumey so I picked the elements that I liked from the original dress and tried to incorporate them into a more wearable casual dress.

Close up

For the bodice of the dress I wanted to try and recreate the cap sleeves and the wide neckline.  I started with cap sleeve version of the geranium dress, but I extended the bodice to make it sit on Finnley’s waist.  I also made the neckline have more of a boatneck shape by using this tutorial.  To the back I used pearl snaps for a closure.  The bodice sits a bit lower than I would like, but after shortening it three times I was having a hard time convincing myself to remove it from the skirt and try a fourth time.  I feel a little bit meh with how it turned out.

Back bodice

The scalloped skirt overlay was a must to make this dress even slightly resemble Princess Sofia’s dress.  To make the skirt I used the full width of fabric with a bunch of extra fabric added to the length.  I then folded the extra fabric towards the right side and traced scallops on the bottom and sewed around the lines.  Finally I trimmed the extra fabric and turned them right side out.  In case this makes no sense you can refer to this tutorial for a better idea of what I did.  I also used a rectangle for the white underlay but made it less wide so it wouldn’t be as full.  Both layers were gathered and sewn to the bodice.


Not so sure this dress scream Princess Sofia, but since that was what I was going for I am going to say success.  I do love how the skirt with the overlay looks, but am not completely happy with how my bodice turned out.  Thankfully Finnley is happy with it and the fact that it is purple means it should be pretty easy to get her to wear it.

Angled view

Taking photos of this girl is becoming increasingly difficult and there were a whole lot with this super unimpressed little face.

Side view

I did have plans for next weeks theme but they are feeling far more ambitious then I am in the mood for lately so not sure if anything will get finished.  I do have the fabric picked out and a definite plan for week 4 so will be back then!




Rainbows Sequins and Unicorns!

Full view

Sewing along with another season of Project Run and Play and this weeks theme was to create an outfit inspired by a zoo animal.  I really wanted to pick Finnley’s favourite animal which happens to be a unicorn.  Now I realize that the unicorn is not actually an animal, but rather a mystical creature, but I decided to go with it anyway.  So what do you think of when you think of a unicorn?  For me rainbows and magic jump to the front of my mind.  The starting point for this outfit was the skirt.  I knew that I wanted to incorporate a rainbow and this dress from Caila made came to mind.  I used the idea of the ombre flying geese, but instead I made a rainbow and used that for the side panels on a the skirt.  I especially liked this idea because the triangles reminded me of a unicorns horn.  The flying geese are made from broadcloth and the pink is a solid quilting cotton.  The actual skirt is a simple gathered elastic waist skirt, but when gathering I made sure to not gather the side panels.  I used this tutorial for the flying geese.  I love how this detail turned out.  It was my first time trying any sort of quilting technique and it was much easier than I expected.  The only difficulty was that my machine did not handle all the layers when assembling the skirt and after more skipped stitches then I have ever seen and every adjustment I could think of making, I just used my serger and hoped everything lined up correctly!

Skirt panel

Next I wanted to try and incorporate the idea of magic, which makes me think of sparkles and shine.  This is where the sequins come in.  Sticking with the rainbow theme I used a rainbow of sequins to add some sparkle and colour to a basic t-shirt.  I spent a couple hours hand sewing a ton of sequins to spell the word “einhorn” which is unicorn in German.  No special significance other than I wanted to incorporate unicorn without being too literal and this was my favourite way to spell unicorn in all the other languages.  The shirt is the Anytime At All tee by Shwin Designs made with 3/4 sleeves and about a 1/2 of width taken from the sleeves and body to make a slightly slimmer fit.


To bring it all together I wanted to add an actual unicorn somewhere and decided to do so on an accessory that Finnley would enjoy using.  What little girl doesn’t love a purse?!  The purse was trial and error and it actually ended up working better than expected for my first attempt.  Not quite a perfect circle, but otherwise I am happy with how it turned out.  The purse is made from black linen and the unicorn was added using freezer paper and fabric paint.  I had meant to add some hot pink piping around the purse, but forgot so instead managed to find some pink leather cording at Michael’s which I used for a strap.


This outfit turned out pretty much exactly how I had envisioned it in my head which makes me super happy.  Plus Finnley told me she loves everything about the outfit and that makes sewing for her so much fun!

Full view 2_edited-1


Linking up with:  Make It and Love It // Friday Favs // Simply Create Thursdays // All Things Pretty // Sew Can Do

Martha Bubble Dress

I have been doing a ton of pattern testing recently and all of the patterns except one have been released (one quite awhile ago now) so I plan on sharing them over the next few weeks.  To start I am going to go all the way back to December when I had the chance to test the Martha Bubble dress by Shwin Designs.  This adorable dress is a wrap dress that features a bubble skirt and a sash closure.


For Finnley’s dress I used a quilting cotton for the bodice, shirting for the skirt, and lined it with a light pink voile.  I also used the voile to make the tie.

Dressback Dressfront

I am really happy with how this dress turned out.  The only problem I had and need to fix at some point is the sash and the way it attaches to the bodice.  I put it at the bottom of the bodice so when it was wrapped about it would lie right between the bodice and skirt, but this makes the top of the bodice flip out a bit.  Will probably go and make a wider sash which should help take care of that.  The only other problem is the fact that the skirt is extremely wrinkled.  It has been sitting in a pile with a bunch of WIP’s since December, which also means it hasn’t been worn yet.  Need to find an occasion for Finnley to finally wear this dress. And I need to stop being so lazy and iron my finished projects!


I love this scallop fabric I used for the bodice!  If you look carefully on the left side of the picture you can clearly see the issues I am having with my bodice.

Originally Finnley was going to wear this dress on Christmas Eve, but our plans changed and we didn’t have need for a fancy dress such as this one.  Because she was going to wear it in December I made a cardigan that she could wear over it and not freeze.  For the cardigan I used the slouchy cardigan from Heidi and Finn.

IMG_7405 Cardigan back

This was my first time sewing a Heidi and Finn pattern and it came together super easily.  My only complaint was that there wasn’t more specific fabric requirements depending on which size you sewed and I ended up buying more than was actually necessary.  In terms of  construction, the only step that was difficult was attaching the sleeve cuffs.  It was extremely challenging to stretch and sew around those little things, but it ended up working in the end.

And to end some pictures of my daughter dancing.  Put this girl in front of a camera and I guarantee the dance moves will come out.  And if you look carefully in a few of the pictures you will see her Minnie Mouse microphone. This girl loves to perform!

Dancing Dancing2


PR&P: Upcycled Colour Block Dress

Week 3 of Project Run and Play is here and the theme of the week was repurposing.  I decided to sew for Finnley this week and since my daughter tries to put on a knit summer dress most mornings, I thought that a more weather appropriate comfy dress would probably get a lot of use.

Finnley over top

I ended up making her a colour blocked dress using some old t-shirts for the fabric.  Not the most creative upcycle, but you can get quite a bit of yardage out of a cheap t-shirt so definitely economical.  My inspiration for this dress was this Burda pattern.  I felt pretty confident that I could recreate something similar so decided to save myself a bit of money and make my own pattern.  I started with a t-shirt pattern that I added some extra length to so that it was dress length.  For my starting point I used a soon to be released pattern from Shwin and Shwin.  To add the colour blocking I retraced the front piece of the pattern to change it from cutting it on the fold to making it one piece.  I wanted the back to be a solid colour so I just left that pattern piece alone.  (Sorry for poor quality of the next few pictures, but if you are interested in what I did you can see it when you click on them and look at them full size).

First pattern piece

Once I had my new pattern piece I decided where I wanted my colour blocking to be and simply drew lines directly on the pattern.  Then cut along the lines which meant my new bodice pattern was 3 pieces.

Adding lines

For the sleeves I kept the original pattern piece which is cut on the fold and then drew my colour blocking line and cut along it.


Then I decided where I wanted each colour to go and cut the pieces out making sure to add seam allowance where I was going to attach each piece.  I then took all the pieces and sewed them together.  Once I had my front and sleeves put together I assembled it the same way I put together a basic T-shirt.

Finnley smile IMG_7325

The other changes I made to create this dress was to add a flutter sleeve and add a band of fabric on the bottom to pull the bottom in a little bit.  Although I love the addition of the flutter sleeves I do think I made them a bit too wide and heavy so they lie a bit more flat than I would like.

Finnley sleeve

Pretty happy with how this one turned out and have some plans, if I can ever find the time, to make her a few more simple knit dresses.

Finnley surprised IMG_7322

Finnley seems to love the dress if these pictures are any indication, which means success!


Christmas PJ’s

We stated a new family tradition last year which was letting the kids open one present on Christmas Eve.  The present is always going to be new Christmas PJ’s so I since this is my first Christmas since taking up sewing I was excited to make them for the kiddos.  So when I came across this reindeer fabric at Girl Charlee that had coordinating solids I could not resist.  I don’t have any actual PJ patterns in my ever growing collection so I decided to use my favourite t-shirt pattern, the recess raglan, from See Kate Sew and pair it with the fancy pants leggings pattern from Titchy Threads.  Both were perfect choices since they made it easy to combine both the print and the solid fabrics.



For Daxton I decided to use the green solid fabric for the bum insert and the body of the shirt.



And for Finnley I swapped out the green for red.  Now since these are Christmas eve presents I couldn’t really get the kids to model them for you guys to look at, but I figured that Daxton is a bit too young to really understand what is going on so took a few pictures of him wearing his.

IMG_7098 IMG_7102

I had already made Dax the shirt in a 2T so I already knew I would be happy with the fit, but I had not made the leggings before.  When I took his measurements he fit perfectly in the 12-18month size and although that is not the size he wears in RTW I went with it and could not be happier with the fit.  I love how the leggings look on him and am thinking I might make him a few more pairs to wear as pants.  Fingers crossed the fit is just as great for Finnley when she puts them on Christmas eve!


The bum insert is by far my favourite part of these PJ’s.  How adorable is his little bum?


The cuteness factor alone makes this one of my favourite makes so far!


Linking up with: Feathers Flight // Friday Favs

Lucille Top

You only have to look through some of my previous makes to see how much I enjoy the patterns from Shwin and Shwin so you can only imagine how excited I was when I got the chance to become a pattern tester for her.  Shauna recently released 2 brand new patterns, the Lucille top and the Martha bubble dress, and I tested both of them.  Today I am going to share my Lucille top and I will be back later this week or early next week with the Martha bubble dress.

The Lucille top is a raglan sleeve, colour blocked top with some fun angles which makes it different than any other pattern I have seen.


The colour blocking lets you have some fun with mixing prints and for this version I used some floral scraps with some red french terry.


The front and back are angled down to make a v


and the sleeves are angled in the opposite direction and point up.  The sleeves also feature two small pleats where they attach to the bodice on both the front and the back but you really can’t see them on the fabric I picked.

IMG_7008 IMG_7016

The sleeves are super tapered at the wrist, and although I love the look of them, this made it super difficult to hem them.  Trying the wrestle those suckers with my sewing machine was a struggle and my stitches are not nearly as straight as I would like.  Looking at the final pattern it looks like she added the option to use a cuff to hem them which should make them easier to work with.


Taking these photos was crazy challenging.  I have been playing around with the setting on my camera and trying to learn how to use it to get some better quality photos (which I obviously have not quite figured out) and the first set I took ended up being super overexposed.  Trying a second time was asking a bit much especially when your one year old tags along.  So we ended up with lots of funny faces as seen above.


And lots of them had little glimpses of this little man as he was playing and distracting his big sister.

Overall this pattern was really easy to sew and the directions were easy to follow.  Finnley has asked to wear this multiple times in the last few weeks which means it was definitely a success.  I foresee another one in our near future.  But first I need to start and finish my holiday sewing list.  It is December 2 and I still haven’t even started!

Linking up with: Feathers Flight // The Train to Crazy

Desmond and Jude

I have had this post half done for over a week now and have been procrastinating like crazy instead of just finishing it.  And these projects have been finished for even longer than that!  Anyways, I recently got the chance to sew up a couple of jackets for the kids using a couple patterns from Shwin and Shwin, the Desmond and the Jude jacket.

First up is the Desmond.  I am in love with Daxton’s new jacket!  For his jacket I used a fine wale gray corduroy that I lined with flannel to make it a bit warmer.  I sewed up the 2T hoping that it would fit with some room to grow.  The fit is the one thing that I am not super happy with.  I find it to be a bit boxy and the next time I sew up the pattern I will pick a smaller body size but use the longer length to make it a bit more slim fitting.


This pattern has some great details that elevate the pattern and result in a very professional looking finished product.  The jacket is fully lined so the inside is just as neat as the outside and is a great way to add a little bit of personalization.  Don’t you just love this car flannel from Riley Blake Designs for a boy?!


The jacket also features welt pockets and sleeve cuffs.  This was my second time sewing welt pockets and I am super happy with how they turned out.

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And although it is a bit difficult to see in this photo I think my favourite detail is the back yoke and button tab.  Overall I am just super happy with how this project turned out!


Next up is the Jude jacket for Finnley.  I am going to be honest and say that I really am not happy with how this jacket turned out.  It is not fault of the pattern (take a look at the pattern pictures and you will see that the jacket is adorable), but rather some poor fabric choices and picking a size that is just too big for Finnley.  I am not sure why I decided to pick this shade of fleece for the jacket, especially for Finnley who would live in pink if given the choice, and I wish I had picked something a bit more feminine.  And why did I pick a contrast fabric with a black background?  Oh well, they can’t all be winners!


The pattern does have a few details that I love, such as the collar.


And the button tabs on the sleeves.


Will just have to give this jacket another try is some different fabric and see how it turns out!