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Maartje Hobbelen

KCW interviews: Maria from My Cozy Co.

KCW interview: Maria from my cozy co.

Hi everyone, It’s Maartje from huisje boompje boefjes, back here for an interview with one of our amazing participants. I would like to introduce you to Maria (creativewarmth) who blogs over at My Cozy Co. I first encountered her work when she won the Willow & Co sewing contest with a gorgeous Mulberry tunic.

Maria is originally from Colombia, she spent some time in my own little country the Netherlands during her master (she has a degree in Marine Biology) and has been living in England for 7 years now.  Maria has always been very creative; knitting, crocheting, even making stained glass. Oh and a fun fact, she took a course in jewelry making where she met her husband. They have 2 children, a daughter and a son, but her daughter gets most of the sewing for now. Maria has been very active this KCW and made 3 beautiful outfits, all inspired by the storybook theme. But first, let me show you some of her work.

previous work

  1 Skater dress 2 Bubble dress 3 Beetle jacket

When did you start sewing your children’s clothes and why?

The first thing I sewed for my daughter was a very simple top with a button closure in the back when she was 8 months old.  I think it started as a sort of “self-therapy”. The birth of my daughter was very traumatic. I had a hard time getting to terms with what happened to both of us during the birth. The feeling of sadness and isolation were overwhelming and gaining too much space in my head, so I needed something to bring happiness again!
I always loved creating things and one day a book on how to make children’s clothes caught my attention in a craft store. From that moment on I haven’t stopped sewing…well just a bit when I was pregnant with my son, but even then I still made pajamas for my daughter.

When was your first KCW and how did it go?

My first time participating in KCW was the spring 2013 edition. Back then I didn’t have a blog,  I just opened an account on Flickr because I was starting to discover children’s clothes blogs and wanted to share but in a shy manner. I found Meg’s blog  Elsie Marlie, read about the challenge and just jumped into it. It was a low production that edition, I managed to make one dress, one peasant top and a very simple pair of trousers. It was very interesting working with a deadline and rules, as well as imagining all the ladies sewing in the same room encouraging each other. Really empowering! Want to know an embarrassing secret?  I really only sewed for one hour every day and only during that week. Now I work until I finish my projects and I push myself harder.

I noticed you really worked with this season’s theme Storybook, did it inspire you to sew differently or more, if so, in what way?

Yes, this season’s theme was very appealing to me because my daughter loves books. Her bedtime ritual includes reading a whole book and always the one she chooses. The source of inspiration for my sewing was quite different. Usually my creative process comes from the fabrics or the pattern, but this time it was inverted. I choose the pattern and fabrics according to the book.


  1 Room on the broom 2 How to catch a star 3 Little red riding hood

How do you balance your work/family/sewing time?

That is difficult!  I’m a fulltime mom and my kids don’t go to school or nursery yet (preschool here in the UK), that means we are together all day. Usually I sew during the weekends while my husband helps with the kids. Sometimes I do sew weekdays while the baby is sleeping, I invite my 4 year old daughter to my craft room and she plays with my fabric scraps or paints. During KCW I use every available hour in the evening.

How do your children influence your sewing?

I’m very practical, I try to sew things that I think my kids are going to use or they really need. When my daughter was little I used to sew her a lot of pants, because she was very clumsy  when she started to walk and her knees would be more protected with pants. Lately she is asking for more dresses and has been involved in choosing the fabrics, so I let her participate. She also wants to dress herself, so I’m making clothes that she can put on and off easily. Her unique personality is also very inspiring, she is not a pink color girl and if she doesn’t like something, she will let you know. She is my spirited baby. Although I do have to confess that I just make what I want sometimes and then try to persuade her to wear it with chocolates.
My son is just a baby and at the moment I haven’t sewn much for him because we received lots of hand me downs, he has a full wardrobe. But sooner or later I will start making more things for him.

What is your favorite thing you’ve ever sewn for one of your kids?

Do I have to choose only one? Because I can think of at least three for my daughter!
Usually I think a lot before making something and I really have to like it, I’m a perfectionist. This sometimes leads to many hours of thought how to make it beautiful. That is why I love my origami dress, it really is a beautiful dress and she still loves to wear it ,although it’s getting too small for her. I can’t leave out the version I made of the Mulberry tunic either, I love the fabric choices. It is very feminine and perfect for cooler weather. Last but not least a remix I made of the popover dress by Oliver + S. The flutter sleeves in that beautiful Liberty print are a dream! For my son, the How to catch a Star outfit is my favorite.  He looks so cute and I was happy to accomplish making a bodysuit with snaps.


 1 Origami dress 2 Mulberry tunic 3 Popover dress

You wrote a KCW wrap post on your blog mentioning that you had some other projects in mind but didn’t had the time to complete them, can you give us a sneak peek what to expect on your blog the coming month?

Well I would like to finish two more outfits I planned for KCW. One inspired by a book called Puff the Magic Dragon, written by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton  (actually this was a song written in the 60’s). The second one is inspired by the stories of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter and as I was one of the testers of the Rowan tee (the latest pattern by Titchy Threads), I can tell you that I’m going to use that pattern for it.

Thank you Maartje for inviting me for this interview, has been lovely to chat with you.

Muchas gracias Maria for your time and telling us a bit more about yourself! I’ll be keeping an eye out for your next projects on your blog

This is also my last post  in the KCW fall edition. Thanks a lot Meg for having me as a contributor! I enjoyed being a part of this fantastic series and amazed by the great outfits you all made. Make sure you stay tuned here for some more interviews next week and the why I sew series.

Signing off!  Maartje

HOW TO: turn characters into clothes // kid's clothes week

HOW TO turn characters into clothes

Hi there, it’s Maartje again from huisje boompje boefjes. Here with you today to talk about making a book into a garment. Ari has shown you the possibilities of incorporating the illustration colours into your sewing. Today is all about the characters . How to turn the signature style of a book character into clothes that are not costume-like, but can be worn in everyday life. Just to give you some inspiration and possible pattern ideas to sew up during the challenge week.

Little red riding hood
Let’s start with one of the classics, little red riding hood. A familiar story to everyone I’m sure.  The piece of clothing that stands out is of course her red cape. Now how to achieve this look? There are some fun patterns out there that have the same appearance of red’s cape and can be worn on a more daily basis. Especially for fall season a cape is perfect for layering.

HOW TO: turn characters into clothes // kid's clothes week

Red riding hood by Martine Letterie 2 Forest path cape (oliver+s)

3 Elm poncho (willow & co patterns) 4 Storybook Cape (grosgrain, a free 2T pattern)

Aadje Piraatje
Aadje Piraatje is a storybook about a little pirate and his adventures. He’s quite well-known among Dutch children because it’s one of the books that gets read on tv in Sesame Street. Aadje is wearing quite skinny pants and a long-sleeved tee. For an outfit based on this character, there are a lot of pattern options out there. Here are some suggestions.

aadje piraatje

1 Aadje Piraatje by Marjet Huiberts  2 Kudzu Cargo pants & Ziggy top (willow & co patterns  / madeit patterns)
3 W-pants & Recess raglan ( blank slate patterns / see kate sew)  4 Small fry skinny jeans (titchy threads)


Richard Scarry
As a kid I loved the Richard Scarry books, and so do my two rascals. I still have my book from way back and it is now taped together to prevent it from falling apart. Looking at the characters in the Richard Scarry books I noticed a lot of them are wearing lederhosen and dungarees (overalls for the US/Canadian readers). I rounded up some possible patterns.

richard scarry1 Just for fun by Richard Scarry  2 Bas (zonen 09)
3 Charles dungarees (compagnie M) 4 Okey Dokey overalls (peek-a-boo patterns)

Peter Rabbit
Let’s take a look at another perfect item for fall (or spring if you are in the southern hemisphere), the cardigan. Peter Rabbit from the Beatrix Potter tales is inseparable from his blue one. It is a garment that is also sewn up regularly at previous KCW editions.

HOW TO: turn characters into clothes // kid's clothes week

1 Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter 2 Cool cardigan (Blank slate patterns)

3 Greenpoint cardigan (hey Jude) 4 Slouchy cardigan (heidi & finn)


Peter Pan
I always have something practical on my KCW challenge list, something the boys really need, this time it is PJ’s. It’s getting colder at night and the rascals have outgrown their pajama pants. So let’s make some storybook themed pajamas. What better inspiration than Peter Pan? Wendy , John and Michael are always in their PJ’s.

peter pan

1 Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie 2 Christmas pajamas (Shwin&Shwin free pattern)
3 Sadie Grace nightgown (seamingly smitten) 4 Classic footed pajamas (peek-a-boo patterns)

Stay tuned for more “How To” posts on the KCW blog next week. Want help with your book title now? Give a shout out on the KCW facebook page for the “But does it sew?” online helpdesk.

inspiration: color {kcw fall 2014}

inspiration: fall colors

Hi everyone, Maartje here from huisje boompje boefjes. I’ve got the honour to kick off this KCW fall season with some color inspiration. For me, fall is the best season, I love going out into the woods, rolling through the fallen leaves with my rascals, hiking across the moors or just walking along the coastline and enjoy some hot cocoa and pancakes afterwards. The colors in nature are just gorgeous and looking at the fashion collections for fall 2014, a lot of those colors reappear. So what can we expect this fall?

Blue & Grey
First up is a color scheme I feel totally at ease with. I love greys and blues and use them in a lot of my projects. Colors you can wear all year round and can be easily combined with a contrasting colour to make the outfit pop. Match them with purple or the classic fall colors this season and you’re on trend.

color blue/grey


Keeping to the theme of this KCW season, I matched the colour schemes with some book illustrations to get the creativity flowing. 

blue/grey illustrations

1 Bringing down the moon by Jonathan Emmett, illustrations Vanessa Cabban, source
2 Mathilda by Roald Dahl, illustrations Quentin Blake, source
3 De vraag van de olifant (sorry only in Dutch) by Leen van den Berg, illustrations Kaatje Vermeire, source


Next up, the purples. I must admit this is not my favourite color for clothes, but it’s growing on me, and I’m even considering sewing up something purple for my boys. Time to get out of my comfort zone of the blue and grey scale.



Now take a look at these purple book illustrations. Maybe I should make them Willy Wonka jackets?

purple illustration1 Harold and the purple crayon by Crockett Johnson, source
2 A bit lost by Chris Haughton source
3 Charlie and the chocolate factory by Roald Dahl, illustrations Quentin Blake, source


Classic fall colors
And last, but definitely not least, fall fashion is not complete without the classic fall colors, the yellow, green, cognac and red.

fall colors

There are a lot of book illustrations out there containing these colors. The woods are, after all, the setting for many fairy tales and stories.

fall color illustrations

1 Can’t you sleep little bear by Martin Waddell, illustrations Barbara Firth, source
2 Le petit prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, source
3 Little red riding hood  by Charles Perrault, illustrations Walter Crane, source

For more inspiration, check out the colors pinterest board I made for this KCW.
Can’t wait to see what your KCW color plans are!