Saturday, 30 August 2014

Some of my favourite kid’s sewing patterns (and some I’d like to try!)

Recently Sophie put out a call for everyone's favourite sewing patterns both on her blog and facebook page.

I’d been planning on doing a post detailing my favourite kid’s patterns during the whole Handmade Kid's Clothing Swap madness but I have sooo many favourite patterns and the thought of linking to all them stressed me out a tad, but I’m in the mood now, and Sophie’s put the call out so here I go! (I warn you, this post is gonna be loooonng!)

I am rather a fan of the PDF pattern thing – the printing and taping them together not so much, but the accessibility and instant downloading – yes please!

There are a few things I look for when buying a pattern – style, versatility and ease/ skill level required.

Style is an obvious one really – I mean you’re not going to buy a pattern if you don’t like the style/ look it produces! Duh! Sometimes the clincher for me when buying a PDF pattern is doing a google search of the pattern name – have other people made awesome things using it? Have I got fabric/ can I easily get fabric that would work and look awesome for this pattern?

Versatility is a pretty big factor for me when buying a pattern. What is the size range of this pattern/ what variations can I make/ is it unisex? (In other words, is it good value for money?)

When thinking of versatility I immediately think of The Street Smart Sweatshirt Collection by Lydia of Little Kiwis Closet. Lydia is a friend so of course I’d say nice things, but I truly love this pattern. It is unisex, can be made with a hood or not, other embellishments such as a kangaroo pocket (or whatever your imagination decrees) and a dress or high low hem version can be made. And the size range is an amazing NB- 12 years!!! (Heck, I even made myself one by extending the 12 year old pattern a bit!)


This versatility (and great instructions) are kind of a trademark of all LKC patterns. I really love the Scalloped Princess Dress too which despite being a bit more work is super versatile and will definitely be my standby “Mum, make me a frozen/tangled/snow white etc… Princess dress”

In terms of versatility Go to Patterns also tick the boxes for me (please be warned that that is an affiliate link so if you purchase using that link I will gain some more pattern/fabric money! You have been warned!)

Go To Patterns Screenshot

 Go to Patterns is a curated online modern sewing pattern store which was started by Andrea Pannell (the designer behind the Go To Patterns brand); but also includes other amazing designers too. I have and love the Go To Signature Dress a little knit dress which can be sewn SO many different ways! And I also own a lot of the Blank Slate Patterns which I find great for the sometimes elusive boy’s patterns. I particularly love the blank tank and basic's blazer. I also would love to try some of the designer’s on that site’s patterns – most particularly See Kate Sew and Figgy's because I really love their design aesthetic!

SeeKateSew screenshotFiggys Screenshot

The Go to Patterns site is also really great to navigate – you can search by pattern type or season; as well as by designer, skill level or size. … And they often have great bundle deals and sales … speaking of sales there is one on now use coupon code “LABORDAY” (US spelling ;) ) to get 20% off your order of $10 or more.

Another pattern designer who I really love is Elegance and Elephants (Another affiliate link). If you followed my KCW sewing you will have also seen me thrash The Bubble Pocket Shorts Pattern (see my versions below), but I’d also love to try the Bohemian Babydoll and the Spring Showers Jacket.


I know this post is super long! But I couldn’t not include writing a little something about Straightgrain. I have long been in love with An’s style and colour choices and I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for her Lua Sleep Sac pattern and I’ve made a bubble skirt using her FREE Bubble Skirt pattern and tutorial; but I’d also to The Bubble Dress and The Hanami Top/ Dress.

This brings me to my last thing I look for when buying patterns – ease/ skill level.

Obviously you want to buy a pattern you think you can successfully make – BUT at the same time I think it’s great to challenge yourself too! Please don’t be scared of knit fabric, zips and buttons! These things are NOT AS SCARY as you think – and there are heaps of online tutorials and even youtube clips to guide you through such things. Having said that, if you are a complete beginner I think it’s best to perhaps try out a few free tutorials before buying a pattern. There are a heap of free peasant tops and dresses online which are a great place to start, as well as a simple skirt and I love these free shorts patterns: The Sunny Day Shorts pattern from Oliver & S and the Sycamore Shorts pattern. Of course, I also think you should try out Little Kiwi's Closet FREE woollen vest pattern!

For knits – perhaps try Go To Sew's  Free Leggings Pattern – leggings are a great place for a newbie knit sewer to start!

I really love sewing with knits and plan to post something here in the near future with helpful hints and other good patterns to start on – but I think the biggest hint is not to be scared and just to dive in on something like these leggings!

Phew! I think I’ll have to wrap things up now! I’ll probably be back at some stage with a post on my favourite Women’s patterns and general selfish sewing inspiration! But I think that’s enough from me for now!

I hope that’s answered your question, Sophie?

…And now, I want to buy a whole lot more patterns – thanks for that ;)

What’s your favourite kid’s pattern of the moment – post a link below

Jen x

Friday, 29 August 2014

{My Handmade Wardrobe} Sweatshirt with Lace Shoulder Panels

First of all, apologies for the unscheduled blogging break. After sewing and blogging up a storm during the last Kid's Clothing Week, truth be told I felt like I needed a bit of a breather. Also we had a bit of sickness and other busyness that comes with Wintertime, running a family and life in general. I haven’t really taken that much of a break from sewing (just from blogging) and I still need to spend time tidying my sewing space; BUT I’ve been focusing a bit of my sewing time on ME which is a nice change.

Recently, I made myself a pair of shorts, which I haven’t had a chance to photograph properly yet (bring on Spring and Summer) … but if you follow me on Instagram (@mendandmakenew) you may have seen a couple of sneak peeks.

And then last night I made myself this sweatshirt!


I’m really happy with how this top turned out, particularly given the fact that I used a kid’s pattern! Yes! The pattern I used was the Streetsmart Sweatshirt Collection  from Little Kiwi’s Closet, which I was lucky enough to pattern test early last month. I clearly LOVE this pattern because counting the 4 versions I made when testing, 3 I made during KCW and this one now I have made this pattern 8 times in the space of a couple of months and all versions have been quite different than each other!!! … And I haven’t even tried the high low hem or other variations yet!

I’ve been dreaming of a top like this ever since I made Isabelle’s lace front one (below) but I didn’t quite have enough of the lace (from a thrifted top) to do a whole front – hence the shoulder panels. The grey sweat-shirting fabric was also thrifted so this top was as cheap as chips. (Bonus!)

I used the size 12 years kid’s pattern as a starting point (this pattern goes from size NB- 12years and is unisex – super versatile, right?) I altered it slightly by adding 2.5cm on the fold line on both the back and front pieces (thus adding 5cm to each of those pieces width) and I also added 5cm extra to the bottom of all pieces including the sleeves. I also added a further 5cm to the length of the neckline ribbing to allow for the increased width. (I’m a size NZ women’s 8-10 normally, in case you wondered.) It was kind of a fluke that the size turned ok, and when I asked Isabelle if making a size 12 was a good idea she said “No Mum, I think you need a size hundred” (the biggest size she can imagine) – well, gee thanks, Sweetie!


Now I can’t wait to make a whole bunch more … along with a whole of other things!

(I have a selfish sewing plans and inspiration post half started in my drafts folder – so hopefully I publish that before everything is already made! It seems I can sew faster than I can blog these days!)

What have you sewed lately!


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Woollen Vest Sew Along


This week I have been joining in with The Woollen Vest Sew Along hosted by Lydia of Little Kiwis.

This vest is made from a free PDF pattern that Lydia has created. Yes I said freeeee! You can download your copy from Craftsy here. It’s a fast and easy sew – and being fully lined with no exposed seams you don’t require an overlocker/ serger, but still can achieve a nice neat finish. It’s a great way to upcycle an old woollen blanket too. (Or you could always use stretch denim, corduroy or fleece.)

For Isabelle’s vest I used some grey wool that I had in my stash (it previously belonged to a friend’s grandma) and some navy spotty and floral cotton lining. Obviously, I also embellished the wool with some simple snowflake stitcheries. (I browsed Pinterest for inspiration). My children, like pretty much everyone else’s are not immune to ‘frozen fever!’ So, in a way this is my little ode to Frozen. (However, I’m pretty confident that this will not be the last ‘frozen’ thing I sew!)


The girl and I are both pretty happy with the result.

Make sure you check the Facebook album with everyone else’s creations.

Belatedly joining in with Sew & Tell 

… and the Sew Along of course!


Saturday, 9 August 2014

4 weeks of portraits (29, 30, 31 & 32/52)

I am so  overdue posting my portrait project photos here – so late in fact that I have 4 weeks of photos to catch up. I still have been taking photos – I just got a bit distracted by sewing & KCW to post anything other than sewing blog posts!

Just in case you’re new here and haven’t heard of the portrait project – the aim of the game is to post a picture of each of your kids, each week for a year.



Noah & Isy: These two, they dress themelves! (Enough said!) Note how Noah has chosen to wear slippers when we were going out (and that they’re the same tone as his pants – co-ordinated!)

Pipi: ‘Helping’ me put her clothes away.



So inevitably there was going to be some photos that I’d already used for Kid’s Clothes Week (because that’s pretty much all the photos that I took that week.) I particularly love this pic of Isabelle and the photo of Pipi captures her perfectly. She spent most of that week pulling her hair tie out. (She’s since had a fringe trim!)



Noah: My little man lost his first baby tooth in the last couple of weeks and then lost a second one (I think he ate his second one with his afternoon tea!) He’s pretty proud of himself and thinks that now he has ‘adult’ teeth coming through, this means he is now pretty much an adult.

Isabelle: Photo bombing a self timer shot.

Pipi: She decided she needed to hop into her baby capsule.



Noah: Such a sweet big brother. What you can’t tell from this photo is that Noah had just come back from the A&E after an accident before school whereby he opened up a great big hole under this chin and need to have it stuck back together. He’s all good though.

Pipi: She’s loves her flowers

Isabelle: My happy, pretty girl.

Joining in over here.

For the rest of this year’s weekly portraits (one other so far) see here

And for last year’s portraits see here


Friday, 1 August 2014

{Sewn} A Colette Moneta

In the aftermath of Kid’s Clothes Week I think I mentioned something along the lines of plans to destash, clean my sewing space and a spot of selfish sewing.

Well, my sewing space remains a bomb site,  but I’ve done a spot of destashing (only to then purchase more fabric) and last night/ today I embarked upon some sewing for me! As with recent sewing I’ve done for the kids, the sewing I’m doing for myself (with the exception of one project I have planned) is for Summer.

My dress

And does anything say Summer more than a simple tie dyed knit dress? I’ve had this project planned for a couple of months but when I started cutting out the pattern pieces last night I had second thoughts. In my opinion tie dyed fabric can look really chic and beachy or really really tacky! However as the dress came together I began to like it more and more!

The fabric I used is lovely tie dyed blue knit fabric from Girl Charlee, it is really soft and silly and makes this dress a dream to wear. The pattern is the 'Moneta' by Colette Patterns. I had intended to sew this back in June, I think when they were having the sew along. I did end up joining in with the sew along obviously, but referred to the sew along posts a lot when sewing – especially the post on shirring the waist with clear elastic which was something I hadn’t done before. I made version 1 without the collar in size small.

It was a relatively quick and easy sew, but that didn’t stop me making the silly mistake of accidentally sewing through two layers of the bodice at one point while attaching the bodice and skirt (on my overlocker nonetheless!) Not to matter, I just top-stitched around the bodice and turned it into a ‘design feature’ of sorts!

Moneta 2

Of course, my little photo- bombers had to make an appearance! Love those little critters!


I’m sure I’ll be back at some point to share the other things I hope to sew for me! (Possibly another one of these in budgie fabric? Hmmm… not sure I have quite enough left!)

Roll on Spring and Summer (it was a stunning sunny Winter’s day here today!)

What are your sewing plans?