Jocole Blog Tour – A Spring Quick Top

Jocole blog tour

Spring has finally sprung here in NZ and it is time to start enjoying some new spring clothes, so the Jocole blog tour was a great opportunity to sew up a top I have been wanting to sew since I first purchased the pattern on its release last year!

Yip, tell me I am not the only one who buys patterns for me a never gets round to sewing them up for ages!  I have almost all the Jocole ladies patterns and have sewn up a few but not all of them yet, this Summer I plan to spend more time sewing for me as the Gingerbear Princess is off to school soon and so will be wearing a uniform.

Front 1

The quick dress and top really earns it name and is really beginner friendly.  I made the extended sleeve with contrast front yoke version and had it printed taped and cut out in 40mins and less than a hour later I was wearing my new top.

The pattern is so easy to tape together thanks to the grid lines in the background.  I chose to contrast the front yoke and leave the back in one solid piece using the boat neck cutting line.


There are many more options for this top including a variety of sleeve and top lengths all neatly laid out in both the many line drawings and tester photographs.   You could set up a huge part of your wardrobe on this one pattern alone and have no two pieces looking alike.  I also like that a little bit of really cute or expensive fabric can co a long way if used in the yoke.

Side 3

The other great aspect of this pattern is that it can be made from either wovens or knits or a mixture of both.  I sewed this version in rayon and I love the way it drapes and feels lovely and cool as the days start to heat up.

Front 2

Jodi the designer/owner Jocole patterns writes awesome tutorials and they are definitely one of the ones I measure others against.  They are really detailed with clear digital line drawings but also have a “cheat sheet” option without pictures for those who are more confident.

Side 2

So pick yourself up a pattern or two here, using the tour discount code detailed below and check out all the other awesome items for adults and children my fellow bloggers have made.

Save up to 25% with Jocole’s Fall Blog Tour.
Your entire shopping cart, no restrictions.
Starts: October 15th 12:01am
Ends: October 26th 11:59pm PST.
Use the code “FallBlogTour” during checkout.


Little Kiwis Closet Bow Back Beauty

Oh what a beauty she is!

Close up back 2

Once again I was fortunate enough to test the Bow Back Beauty for Little Kiwis Closet, and once again I love it!  So much so we are all working on convincing Lydia to try making it in woman’s sizes.

Close up front 1

Aside from the stunning bow feature on the back Lydia once again provides you with more options than you can poke a stick at seriously so many designers would release this as separate patterns or multiple add-ons, not Lydia.  In this pattern you can make so many different versions that you have all your seasons covered.

Options included are:

Bodice length
~ natural waist
~ hip length
~ Onesie option too!!! (in sizes nb-4years)

Back options
~ bow
~ plain

Skirt style
~ peplum
~ dress
~ hi-low

Sleeve type
~ sleeveless
~ short
~ short with cuff
~ long fitted

Sizes nb – 12 years

I am all about value for money when purchasing a pattern so here is another bonus – you can just make a plain envelope neck top or onesie for the boys in your life also.

Twirl 1

One of the testers even put the bow over the plain back for those of you in places that see several feet of snow many months of the year, so no exposed backs in the depths of winter!


Photo by Carrie Collier

Photo by Carrie Collier

Made from knit this pattern can be a great stash buster or scrap user.  Yet another reason I think Little Kiwis Closet patterns are great value; they can provide a showcase for those really cute but oh so expensive patterned knits (the Rockstar Raglan is great for this too).  Don’t be scared of knits, this confident beginner pattern will hold your hand every step of the way and there is always the LKC Facebook group to help.

Back 1

By the way the bow can also be made from a woven.

Front 4

As always the pattern is easy to put together and there is a cheat sheet for those that only want to print specific pages.

Back 7

I have made three versions of this so far (one was a pre-test so the pattern was a little different) and the Gingerbear Princess loves them all.  My pre-test dress was from a thinner, soft, stretchy poly cotton, the sleeveless version from an up-cycled t-shirt and stretch lace and the plain long sleeved peplum from a wool/poly sweater knit.  On my cutting table I have an Elsa hi-lo version planned plus some merino versions ready for winter (I have a few other things to finish first so maybe for Kids Clothes Week).


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Plain back side


Go on grab this pattern now here – it is on sale for the next 24 hrs


Apple and Fig Kiji Kimono Test

Front 4I was stoked to get to test the Kiji Kimono from Australian designer Apple and Fig as I could see how versatile it would be in my wardrobe, and a great chance to show off those fabrics that I feel on me would look way too much on their own.

Coming in sizes XS to XXL this cross over sweater is suited to multiple seasons having the following options

  • Three sleeve lengths:
    Short, Half, Full
  • Three neck options:
    Scoop neck, Collar, Hood

And the bonus is that it is a fabulous maternity/breastfeeding piece, talk about bang for your buck.

Front side 2

The pattern pieces fit together beautifully and the tutorial is well written with illustrations.

Back 1

I am looking forward to the cooler weather to make a long sleeved version.

You can find the pattern here.

Patterns for Pirates Palazzo Pants

I have finally been sewing for me again, and have several items in the works due to testing 3 new patterns – YAY!

First up in the Palazzo Pants from Patterns for Pirates, Judy started out designing cute patterns for our boys who always seem to miss out in the fashion stakes and has since branched out into patterns for their Mummas (and a few for Dads too).

Front 1 copy

This is her first foray in to pants for ladies, and if you are after a pair of pants that can be made super dressy for work or a night out but still like a bit of comfort with your glam these are what you are after.  Of course when lounging around comfort comes first and these pants are perfect for that too.

The pants can be made in a variety of lengths, making them suitable for exercise, and there is a choice of an enclosed elasticated waist, or a folded yoga waist.  I made both the capri and full length versions with the Yoga waist in both a 2-way  and 4-way polyester knit.

Front2 copy

The tutorial is simple to follow with clear photographs.  Once you have printed and taped this pattern (which comes together with ease) you will find they take less than half an hour to make, and who doesn’t love a fast sew.


Please ignore the leg tucked into the shoe, sewing for oneself is fine but getting the photos is not so easy – how DH the details man missed this I have no idea!


The pattern comes in sizes XXS – XXXXL and can be found here on sale today with a bonus free cardigan (today only so download it immediately) pattern (size Medium).  This bonus cardigan will be going into testing soon.

P4P Front copy


Peekaboo Pocket Mix and Match Outerwear by Little Kiwis Closet

One of the things I love about PDF designers is that many of them are not afraid to go back and revamp some of their previously released patterns, and add to them and generally just make them better.

Front hood up 1

Lydia has been planning for sometime to revamp one of her first patterns the Peekaboo pocket vest, and boy am I glad she did.  Not because the pattern was awful (I bought the original and made it just fine), but because she felt she had grown as a designer and that it could be improved upon, I applaud her for that.  So today I bring you the new and improved Peekaboo Pocket Mix and Match Outerwear pattern.

Front hood down 1

Of course Lydia never does things by halves so now the pattern is massively expanded (including sizes) giving you all the options in one great pattern, this is becoming quite the theme with Little Kiwis patterns but you won’t find me complaining.  As you know from my previous tests for Little Kiwis, taping the pattern pieces is a dream (there is a print guide for all the options too) and the tutorial is easy to follow for a confident beginner.  The Little Kiwis Facebook Group is always there to lend a hand if you need it too.

Side detail 1

Here are your options – heck there are even options within your pocket options! -individual pockets or a reach through pocket.

Vest – snap or zip, hoodie or collar, peekaboo or kangaroo pocket

Jacket – snap or zip, hoodie or collar, peekaboo or kangaroo pocket

Sweatshirt/Pullover – snap or zip, hoodie or collar, peekaboo or kangaroo pocket

All in sizes Newborn through 12 years!


The Captain was my first model for this one, one is cut out for the Princess, however Chickenpox and tummy bugs have gotten in my way.  He is a sucker for a hood and in spite of the weather this has become his go to hoodie.  Great to have a pattern for him that offers so much variety, boys often miss out in that area.

Side detail 3


A deceptively quick sew from fleece and ribbing, I chose the peekaboo reach through pocket because I knew the Captain would love it and sure enough it was the first thing he noticed after trying it on :D.

Hood front 1

I love the way the lined hood crosses over and envelopes him, it also sits so nicely when down, and the ribbing on the bottom makes it snug ensuring no chills up the spine when sitting.

Hood detail side

This will become a staple in our house, and with so many options it could be a while before I make the same version though the Princess has asked for one like the Captain.

Back hood

The pattern is on sale for the first 24 hours at $8 here – if you bought the original peekaboo pocket vest pattern expect an email from Lydia offering you the new version.



Flutterby Romper by Little Kiwis Closet

Beach back 3As you know I have had the privilege of testing for Little Kiwis Closet several times now and I really don’t tire of it.  The patterns are always well put together and provide multiple options in multiple sizes.

Beach close up 1

The Flutterby Romper is no different, a companion pattern to the previously tested Flutterby Peasant Dress and top (there is also a Flutterby Playsuit for the little ones sizes NB-4 years) in sizes NB-12 years.  It offers the huge number of options listed below:

Sleeve options:
~ short sleeve with elastic casing
~ Short sleeve no elastic
~ long sleeve elastic at wrist
~ long sleeve elastic at 3/4 mark
~ 3/4 sleeve length
~ flutter sleeve 3 ways

Pant options
~ Shorts
~ Long pants with elastic at ankle
~ Long pants with traditional hem
~ Tapered pants with traditional hem.

PLUS she added a pocket option!

Flying flutterbyBeach front 4

Not only is it well drafted, easy to put together with a tutorial that holds your hand every step of the way it is super easy for your little one to pull on and off when needing to use the bathroom.

Beach back 1


Beach front 2

I made a size 2 width with size 3 length in a mid weight knit and cotton sleeves, this could be made in all knit or all woven, adding to the versatility of the pattern.

Beach front 7

You can find the pattern here on sale until tomorrow with 20% off, don’t forget to check out the companion patterns here and here.Beach side 4

The Princess had a grand time at the beach taking these pictures, it was a fabulous afternoon spent chasing waves then letting them chase us.


It was hard to arrive home to hear on the news that not too far from where we were a young boy was swept out to sea by a rogue wave, his body has still not been found as yet.  I look at these pictures full of delight and joy of being at the beach and am reminded to hold my little ones close because such a tragedy could happen to anyone.  I hope they find little Jack.


4 Seasons Tank and Tee test for Little Kiwis Closet

Ta da copyright front wall 1 copyright

“Four seasons in one day” is something NZ is well known for and is truly a very apt name for the latest pattern from Lydia at Little Kiwis Closet.  What started as a pattern test for a Muscle Tee evolved into a fabulous staple that caters not only for all the seasons but also both boys and girls for sizes Newborn through to 12 years.  Talk about value for money.

Front 1 copyright beach

Now you know by now I have tested for Lydia several times and as always her patterns are a dream to put together.  Not only do the instructions walk you through the pattern step by step with pictures but she is always willing to answer questions or offer ideas on her Facebook page.

Looking down 2 LS copyright

These shirts were both up-cycled t-shirts and by using the existing hems they were an even faster sew, an ideal pattern to start your adventure in sewing with knits.


I sewed up a size 6 for the Captain who is now 5 ½ and going through a bit of a growth spurt – to give you an idea 4 months ago I would have sewn him 4!  He was so excited by the muscle tee immediately putting it on and announcing he needed to join a basketball team as he had a basketball shirt to wear now.

Back LS

This shirt is available here and will be on sale until 3pm NZ time tomorrow (13/8/14).  And don’t forget to grab your copy of her free vest pattern too.

Laugh 1 copyright

Hip Hop Harems by Little Kiwis Closet

In the midst the crazy that is moving cities and living with family while you wait for you house to sell, sewing is my happy place, it isn’t easy at the moment but it is worth it.

So when Lydia from Little Kiwis Closet put out the call to test her Hip Hop Harems I went for it, sewing to a deadline definitely helps to not have another UFO waiting for buttons, or a hem (I know I am not alone in this one right?).

Front looking down copyright

Now harems are not strictly a style I would dress the Princess in (nor is it something she would choose) but having sewn and reviewed a number of Lydia’s pattern’s now I know the pattern and the instructions will allow me to produce a great result.  When the Princess pulled these on she said they were like Jammies and given she is just like me and loves hanging out in her PJs, you can bet they are comfortable.

Beach rear side copyright

Being cuffed these pants have plenty of room for those growth spurts children always seem to have after you sew a bunch of items for them, but at the same time the extra length is not being dragged along the ground.

Playground back

I decided I would put these pants to the ultimate test, an afternoon at the playground.  My past experience with harems have been poorly made mass-produced ones that children wore at work, they had such a hard time climbing and playing in them because they lacked space for movement.

Front close up

We even went rock climbing along the shore without any trouble or stress on the stitches.

rear side hair shake

I used a mid-weight knit for the main fabric and some cotton lycra for the waistband and cuffs.

Beach rear side copyright

Another great pattern from Little Kiwis Closet that can be found for sale here in sizes 0-3 months to 6 years.  It also has a choice of crotch lines for even more swag as well as allowing for cloth nappies in the smaller sizes.

Mimi Dress Blog Tour for Filles a Maman

Hello, it has been such a long time but big things have been happening around here – we are moving (moving cities even).  Well actually we have moved already and travelling back at the weekends (2 3/4 hours) to finish our renovations.  So as you can imagine things are crazy busy and there is very little time for sewing.

I made time this week though for the Mimi Dress by Filles a Maman.

Microsoft Word - Mimi anglais général.docx

I missed out on testing this pattern but purchased it as soon as it was released as I though the details were just gorgeous, and there are so many options; short or long sleeved, top or dress, with collar or without.

First up putting the pattern together is super easy as Mel provides several great marking points to line up your pages from circles to lines and letters.  This makes the usually not so fun task of putting a PDF pattern together really easy.

Since we are currently between houses (and staying with my lovely sister) I was limited in my fabric choices having packed most of my stash.  The Princess picked out this pink polkadot from my stash that I brought with me.  It probably has just a little too much stretch for what the pattern needs, an interlock would have been a better choice, but she loves it so why argue.  I cut the size 3 intending for her to wear it as a layered dress this winter and still be able fit it over the Summer.


Also given that it was the first day of sunshine after 5 days of continuous rain she was not into posing for photos (or wearing Mumma’s choice of footwear). I did managed these photos by getting her to sing – Let it go – yup big Frozen fan here.

"The cold never bothered me anyway"

“The cold never bothered me anyway”

For all that there are several cute details that set this dress apart from all the other t-shirt type dresses out there, they are extremely simple to execute using the detailed instructions and photographs.  An adventurous beginner could make this with confidence.

Top Half

My favourite is the neckline and I can’t wait to unpack my vintage button collection from my Nan to use on my next one.

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The little turn-up on the sleeve is another sweet detail that is so simple to achieve for a big impact.

Sleeve detail


So go and grab your copy of the pattern available here, and use the code MIMITOUR20 to get a 20% discount.

fillesamamanmodern epattern[1]


Then go and check out all the other bloggers to see what they have done, and I promise to try and not go so long between posts, high on my wishlist is a sewing/crafting space just for me HURRAH!


If you want a chance to win 5 patterns of your choice from Filles a Maman then enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


EYMM Woman’s California Dress

As you know a few weeks ago I got to test the California Dress and Peplum from Everything Your Mama Made in the girls sizes and commented how much I would love to make one for myself after the Princess said it was ‘so comfy’.   Well last week I got to test the Mummy size, I was stoked!

Cali woman's


I picked up this cotton knit at a super low price from my local emporium and thought I would have a go at creating a chevron since horizontal stripes are not necessarily the most flattering on those of us who are vertically challenged.

Once again the pattern was easy to follow (in fact the directions are the same) and the multiple options make this super versatile (it also comes with a maternity/nursing option, how is that for value especially as it includes sizes XS-5X).  See my full review of the children’s pattern here.  Again I chose to make the longer length, but this time with a regular hem.

Once on I was in heaven, this dress is just so comfortable and is really easy to dress up with a belt and heels or wear as a swimsuit cover.

As an aside it is so great to see a designer really embracing plus sizes, and not just the low end of plus sizing.  This is not just in one pattern but ALL her woman’s patterns.

Thanks Kymy.

Now go and make one (or three) for yourself, you won’t regret it.