Sewing for girls

Make It Perfect Joey Dress

I tested a fantastic new pattern recently – you may have seen a few popping up in blog land, it’s the Joey dress by Make It Perfect.

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The Joey Dress is a super comfy (so Miss A tells me) and super easy to put together knit dress. The cute kangaroo pocket is a big hit and I love how the ribbing adds a pop of colour.

This cute little pocket, for keeping little hands warm and storing dandelions. Embarrassing to admit, but I didn’t know, until I started reading sewing blogs, that this pocket was called a kangaroo pocket. And I live in Australia….

is it just me? is this a term that is more common in the US than here? Aussies – help me out here?!!?

Ha ha, anyway, cute pocket 🙂

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I used a knit with a small wool percentage for the dress, so it’s great for the cooler weather. It also has great layering potential. Having said that, the pattern also has a short sleeve option and this, paired with a lighter knit, would make a fantastic warm weather version. For proof, check out Teresa’s cute Joey dress.

Toni’s kids patterns come in two size ranges 0-5 years and 6-10 years. This is the first kids pattern of hers that I have made. I found the layout and instructions to be up there with the best of them. I sent about one line of feedback during the test – not because I’m a lazy tester, I was doing my best to find issues, but seriously, there were hardly any. This lady knows how to put a pattern together.

I love the simplicity of the pattern – it’s super quick and would make a great beginner project.

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Spring has arrived here in Australia and it was so great to be able to get out and about again for photos

and to make some wishes 😉

Around the World Blog Hop

My sewing buddy Jenya invited me to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop. It’s a fun way to get to know each other a bit better and hopefully find some great new blogs to follow too.  I’ve invited two of my favourite international bloggers to join the blog hop – read on to see who they are. Nearest the Pin is turning one and I have to say, it’s been a blast! Starting a blog is scary – putting yourself out there is scary. Being part of a community is great though, especially when your hobby involves long periods of sitting by yourself late at night.

The blog hop challenge, involves a few questions, so read on friends.

What am I working on?

Currently I’m working on a blog re-vamp. It’s exciting, but also a challenge as I’m not the most tech savvy. Thankfully I’m getting some professional advice as left to my own devices I’d probably break the blog all together.

Other than that, I’ve been doing a lot of dreaming and planning and not a lot of actual sewing. I’m planning a few more Staple Dresses.

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and some spring weather sewing

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How does my work differ from others in my genre?

I guess the main difference between Nearest the Pin and lots of other sewing blogs, is that it’s almost 50:50 between women’s sewing and kids sewing. This is not totally unique by any stretch, but it’s certainly not as common as sticking to one type or another.

Why do I write / create what I do?

Who can tell really?! I create because I love it and I think most bloggers would answer the same way. I create the things I do for many reasons – because I’ve been influenced by something I’ve seen, because I see a pattern or fabric I have to try, but basically because I can – or I want to see if I can.

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How does the writing / creating process work?

Sometimes it’s a pattern that sparks my interest, sometimes it’s fabric. Sometimes the process is really quick – like this tunic below, that had no pre-planning. I went into the sewing room pattern in hand and looked through the stash – worked all day and finished with this (you’ve got to love how quick and easy little girl’s summer dresses are).

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Other times the process is really looooong – like this jacket. I bought the dressing gown a year ago with the idea to make a jacket – it took 12 months for the idea to take proper shape and for me to decide on the right pattern.

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Photography, writing and blogging are harder for me than sewing. I’m on a learning curve and I’m determined to keep improving, particularly (ahem) the photography. I get frustrated at times that I’m not as good as I want to be, but on the other hand, I love that there is so much to learn.

And now comes the super fun part where I get to introduce you to two really fun sewing bloggers who I love to follow. Given this is an international blog hop, I decided to go well and truly international. Firstly I’m passing the blog hop over to Shino at Nutta! Shino has just moved home to her native Japan after living in the US for a few years. Her blog is great and she is about to host a Japanese Sewing Book series which will be invaluable to sewers like me who love Japanese patterns but can’t read Japanese. I thought that Nutta was a strange name for a blog, as a ‘nutter’ in Australia is a slang word for a crazy person, but it turns out that nutta is Japanese for ‘I sewed it’. Ha, so it’s actually a perfect name for a blog. Apologies Shino!!

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Secondly, I’m inviting Olu of Needle and Ted to join the Blog Hop. Olu sews and blogs from London – she took on the amazing goal of making all her daughter’s clothes for a year and I think it’s fair to say she is smashing that goal! The clothes she makes are seriously amazing and her photography is fresh and interesting – you have to check out her blog if you haven’t already.

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Thanks so much Jenya for inviting me to participate – a chance to reflect is always fun. I’m looking forward to hearing more from Shino and Olu soon x

Willow and Co. Persimmon Tunic

I’m sure you’ve seen that the ladies at Willow and Co. are running a Back to School sewing competition. It finishes today…. I seem to be good at being motivated by deadlines 😉

I still have a couple of Willow and Co patterns from their first collection that I am yet to blog. One of these is the Persimmon Dress and Tunic – honestly, I was waiting for the weather to improve here before making this super summery pattern. You could say I got a little excited with the lovely spring-like weather we had this past week, winter was all but forgotten as we swapped coats for tees. Unfortunately it was a little hasty as the rain has returned – bleuh. So please excuse the indoor photos, I’m seriously a novice at indoor pics.

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I’m loving this pattern – it’s by the super talented Hayley of Welcome to the Mouse House. I made a size 4 tunic length for my just turned 3 year old. She is broad in the chest and I was also hoping to make something that will fit through summer. There are options for a facing or full lining. I chose a full lining, using plain white cotton, as the navy fabric is a bit see-through. The only change I made to the pattern was to make the straps a continuous piece, instead of having them tie at the shoulders.

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This was one of those project where I readily wasn’t sure that this fabric combination was going to work. I had my doubts right up until the end – but now it’s finished, I really like it. The bird fabric is “Wing Song” Garden Wall Collection by Laura Gunn for Michael Miller. I happened to come by some small pieces of this fabric – none more than 40cms wide. There was not enough for any garment that required cutting on the fold, but the Persimmon’s design is perfect for using up smaller pieces of your special fabrics. The navy spot was left over from the Mara blouse I made recently.

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Phew, just made another deadline.

There are some beautiful creations already entered into the competition, you can check them out here. I hear the Willow and Co. ladies are working on a new collection – so right there is my motivation to get the rest of the collection sewn up already.

How about you, are you a deadline driven person like me?

 

A Polka Dot Mara Blouse

Hi all. Today I’m over at Compagnie M as part of the Mara Blog Action Tour. Compagnie M is a Belgian pattern company/sewing blog, run by the super talented Marte (she’s about to compete in the next season of Project Run and Play!!). Marte’s Mara Blouse pattern has been a super successful and very highly regarded pattern, but for some unknown reason, I hadn’t gotten around to sewing one until now.

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Come on over to Compagnie M to read more and see more photos of my winter version of the Mara.

The Desert Rose and the tale of three photo shoots

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This gorgeous dress pattern is the debut release from Caila Made – The Desert Rose. I was part of Caila’s testing group for this pattern a few months ago and since testing finished, she has been painstakingly perfecting the fit and finish of the pattern. 

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I just love the design of this dress – the simplicity and the impact are perfect. If you’ve seen the beautiful versions of the Desert Rose that Caila has made, the dress has a very summery look. However, with a bit of layering, like we’ve done here, this dress can definitely be worn in all four seasons.

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Caila has really taken her time to produce a high quality pattern. If you read her blog, you would know not to expect anything less. As the pattern goes up to size 8, I can see many more versions of the Desert Rose in Miss A’s closet. 

I can honestly say that this has been one of my favourite makes of the year so far. 

When a pattern designer is gracious enough to invite me to test, ask me to review a pattern or be part of a series, I want to do my absolute best to show my work and theirs in the best possible light. Good photos really make a blog. As a beginner photographer – I’m at that frustrating stage where how I want the photos to look is often beyond where my current ability lies. My first attempt at photographing this dress was on our recent holiday in Indonesia – perfect weather and location. Not sure where I went wrong with the camera settings, but everything was looking very washed out.

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Secondly we attempted a late afternoon shoot in a beautiful setting at the edge of a local forest. Some of these photos show promise, but after taking about 5 or 6, the camera ran out of batteries and apparently I had forgotten to charge the spare one -arrrrgh #rookiemistakes

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For those of you who regularly take photos of your kids, you will appreciate that it’s hard enough getting them out once to get photos of an outfit – but three times! Yes, I’m going to have to lift my game big time. Anyone empathise?

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Cosi Swimsuit Pattern Tour

cosi 2 When I started sewing regularly 2 years ago, I never ever imagined that I would be able to sew a swimsuit. I would have thought that a project like this would be extremely difficult or fiddly. Where would you buy the supplies you need? the specialist swimwear elastic? Cosi 8 I’m very happy to report that thanks to Suz’ latest pattern, the Cosi swimsuit – we can all sew bathers for our little ones. Suz writes and sews over at the blog Sewpony and this is her third pattern release. This project was no more complicated than working with a regular stretchy knit fabric and all the supplies I needed were easy to find locally. Cosi 6 Cosi 7 I’m pretty darn proud of this make! Mostly because of how nervous I was before I started. Being able to read the posts of other bloggers who have already reviewed the pattern was a help. I read a few times that basting the elastic first before stitching helps to hold the elastic in place and I can attest that this is a great tip. Suz provides thorough instructions and also a helpful list of swimwear fabric sources. The pattern gives 7 different style options and I chose view D. If you’ve been following this pattern tour, you will have seen many of the other options already. I also chose a full lining – not because my fabric really needed to be lined, but because I had the lining on hand. I made a size 4 for Miss A. She is almost 3 but has the chest measurement of a 4 year old. I’m happy with the fit on her. Cosi 10 Given there are seven different options to the pattern – it can sometimes be a little challenging to keep track of where you are up to in the instructions. Make sure to look at the cheat sheet that Suz provides at the beginning of the pattern laying out the different pattern options and which instructions are relevant for that option. If you’re worried about finding swimsuit fabric, don’t be! I was pleasantly surprised to find a few great options at my local independent fabric store (including lining), and we are completely out of swimming season here. The swimwear elastic and the little do-dads for the crossover straps were sourced from my local chain fabric store (Spotlight, for those of you in Aust/NZ). cosi 3 The next piece of good news – Suz is offering 15% off the Cosi pattern for the duration of the tour. All you need is the coupon code: COSITOUR15. Be sure to head across to Jenya’s blog (While She Was Sleeping) as she is my co-tour guest today. Also be sure to have a look at all the other great cosi’s that are making up the pattern tour – I dubbed this #cosimania on IG last week (I’m @nearestthepin if you want to follow along). Now just to choose which view of the pattern to make up next! //stitchedtogether //grayallday//buzzmills//doguincho//kidapproved//jsmilaniandco// groovybabyandmama//minadotter//craftinessisnotoptional//welcometothemousehouse// whileshewassleeping//nearestthepin//thesewingrabbit//paisleyroots//rebekahsews// straightgrain//nestfullofeggs//sisforsewing//emmyloubeedoo//handmadefrenzy//  

Pattern Tour: Matinee Dress and Top and a Giveaway

You guys remember how I was a guest blogger for the most recent season of Kids Clothes Week? Yeh, well one of the co-guest bloggers with me was Jenn of A Jennuine Life. Jenn is super talented and she’s just released her first girl’s dress and top pattern, the Matinee.

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The design is beautiful – I had such a great time planning and scheming this top. I splurged on some beautiful Amy Butler (Queen Anne Butterflies) from my local quilting shop. I have had my eye on this fabric after seeing Abbey’s gorgeous Miette skirt. I bought quite a bit, so hopefully there may be something for me from this fabric too…. However, I’m digressing, let’s get back to the pattern.

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I don’t always enjoy each and every sewing experience – but I have to say this one I LOVED. Jenn’s pattern is excellently written, great instructions and lots of options to keep me from getting bored. The Matinee is at the perfect level for my current sewing ability, it’s not complicated, but the challenge for me is in creating a beautiful professional finish. The bodice has a full lining which always gets a big tick when you like the insides to look as nice as the outside. Obviously, this is the peplum version, but extend the peplum and it’s a sweet little dress.

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Let me explain the chocolate face. It’s winter in the southern hemisphere and really a bit too chilly to be prancing around outside in short sleeves. To appease my mum guilt at asking Miss A to do just that, I gave her a hot chocolate. Of course I should not have been surprised that there was chocolate on her Matinee top even before I could start shooting. Ho hum, and so it goes to keep the 2yo model on side.

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I followed the pattern, except for the sash at the back. The pattern has the sash going around the mid-section and joining at the back with buttons. I didn’t want the butterfly pattern to be broken up, so I just added the sash at the back. Instead of joining with buttons, the sash is secured with a hook and eye on the inside. Maybe not the perfect solution, but it works ok.

And now to the important information. Jenn is generously offering 20% off her pattern for the duration of the tour with the code matineetour20 – click here to visit her shop. And there’s more!! A mega giveaway – hurrah!!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

^^here is the giveaway link.

Thanks so much Jenn for the invitation to be part of the Matinee tour. I can’t wait to see what you design next!

 

 

 

 

Pattern Tour: Bohemian Babydoll Dress

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If you’re a regular Nearest the Pin reader, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Elegance & Elephants patterns. I recently tested both the Spring Showers Jacket and the Stellar Vest and Dress patterns. Heidi has been kind enough to invite me to be part of the pattern tour for her newest release – the Bohemian Babydoll dress. Of course I jumped on board – and I was not going to let the fact that we are 3 days into winter here in Australia deter me from sewing up this gorgeous dress pattern!!

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The front bodice has a curve along the bottom edge which I love and the hem also has a subtle hi-low shape. Both of these features add some flair to the dress IMO. Another thing to LOVE about this pattern is that there are no closures – the dress is designed to slip over the head. I’m pleased to report that this was easy to do and there was no contorting of the 2 year old required (as there have been with some other closure-less dresses that I have made for her).

For this dress I found a lovely silk-cotton blend at my local fabric warehouse – the design is a deep purple, which I hope comes out in the photos. The pattern has a fully lined bodice, but because my fabric is so light, I lined the skirt as well. I love that this is a fun summer dress, but there’s nothing too frilly going on – this pattern fits to my taste perfectly.

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The fit is loose and flowing which I love for a summer dress. The armhole is also quite scooped as you can see – but again, I like this for summer. Heidi’s instructions are always exemplary and this dress pattern will not disappoint. The only question I have is whether there could be an alternative bodice construction method given in addition to Heidi’s method, which is to fold the armhole edges under and topstitch. This method worked ok for me – but I wonder whether a ‘sew inside out and then pull through the shoulder’ method could be used here, to give a cleaner finish? I’ll give it a try next time and report back.

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This photo shoot presented a new challenge for me. Making a summer dress on the first day of winter meant inside photos only. I certainly need some more practice which I’ll no doubt get over the next few months. Miss A. will get to wear her new dress in a few weeks as we’re heading off somewhere very warm for a much needed family getaway.

Even though I made a summery version, I think heavier fabrics would also make a great trans-seasonal option that could be layered with tights and long sleeves. Just make sure it’s a fabric that gathers well if you want to use the skirt that comes with the pattern. The scooped arm hole and looser fitting bodice mean there will be no trouble fitting some layers underneath.

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Thank you so much Heidi for today’s invitation. Be sure to head over to Elegance and Elephants to see many other fantastic versions of the Bohemian Babydoll. Stay tuned here too for more little girl sewing in the coming weeks.

 

Willow and Co. Fawn Lily Dress

On safari we went, testing out Miss. A’s new Fawn Lily dress and it’s suitability for ‘glamping’.

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The Fawn Lily dress is part of Willow and Co‘s first pattern collection entitled Wanderlust: A Glamping Collection. This pattern was designed by Rebecca of Rock The Stitch and the unusual design of the crossover bodice and the wrap around sleeves really appealed to me.

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Searching for some more animals, and searching…

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No luck, so we headed to the jungle.

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more luck here. What about those Lemurs in the next photo – score!

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and what about A’s little friend. Do you recognise her? Yes! It’s Jenya’s daughter (While She Was Sleeping). Jenya and I have become great real life friends since meeting through our mutual love of sewing and blogging. Our daughters have hung out a couple of times now too, and they’re pretty fond of each other.

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About the Fawn Lily dress:

In my opinion, this is an intermediate pattern. The instructions are good, but some of the techniques are a little tricky and require sewing precision. The result is great though once you get through the sleeve construction. It’s kind of hard to envisage how the sleeves are going to turn out, but you just have to put your faith in Rebecca and follow those instructions.

I made a size 3 for my 2.5 year old. The fit is good when the dress is on, but it’s not easy to get on and off her because there are no closures (and because my crossing over bodice pieces may be slightly closer together than they should be). Miss A could really use the width of a size 4 in the bodice to allow some room when taking the dress on and off. Miss A. declared the dress to be ‘bootiful’ and that makes the pattern a winner in my book! Suitable for glamping? Yes, definitely!

In these photos, Jenya’s daughter is wearing a Debbie’s Birthday Dress that Jenya is blogging for Vintage May – be sure to head over to Jenya’s blog to hear about the vintage notions she has incorporated into this sweet dress.

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Our safari was shot on location at Melbourne Zoo. Thanks so much Jenya and Little Monkey for such a fantastic day 🙂 If you caught my guest post on Why I Sew, you’ll appreciate how much I have loved the opportunity to meet, in person, another sewing blogging person. The first time we chatted sewing it was a little strange. I spend a lot of time reading blogs and discussing sewing online, but never in person. I can chat to Jenya about Caroline’s new pattern, pattern testing for Caila and the great photography tutorials that Vanessa blogs – and she knows exactly who these people are!! What a revelation!! I love chatting sewing with you Jenya, I think our next adventure needs to involve a fabric store or two….