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Nova: A New Shirt

2017 July 10

What do you get when you mix my favorite unicorn fabric from the Sarah Jane, Magic collection, some hand smocking, and vintage (probably) hand-tatted lace? This shirt!

I broke with my better sense and designed this blouse without asking the girls what they would pick. It just seemed too perfect a match. My oldest has snatched it up, and for good reason, I think.

StraightGrain provided the Nova pdf blouse/dress pattern for this blog tour. My opinions are always my own. Thank you for reading!

Today is my stop on the Nova pattern tour with StraightGrain patterns. I am going to go right out there and date myself by saying I’ve been following them around since the Bubble Dress debuted in 2012… eep! I love the simple, European style of their patterns and the Nova is no different.

The Pattern:

Since I haven’t made a StraightGrain pattern before I was interested to see what they were like. Also, the many options could make the pattern very confusing! I was so impressed, the details were clear and easy to follow. There are many notes on the pattern pieces and instructions to help you through the steps for each option. It also comes in a pdf version, or a paper pattern from the StraightGrain shop.

I was happy to see the finished garment measurements included along with the regular measurements. These are not common on indie patterns and it helps a lot when I’m merging sizes. For this blouse, I made a size 6 with an 8 length for my small 9-year-old. Had I made a muslin, I would have adjusted it to have slightly wider shoulders – but this is me skipping steps, not the fault of the pattern. The tie back allows room for her to fit and grow.

The Style:

I love how swingy the blouse is. Plus, having many options for pleating, smocking, dress/blouse, button, zip or tie back and sleeves or none give it tons of potential for the future. The pattern also covers a wide range of sizes from 3 months to 12 years! This means it is a great option for an older child or tween especially.

As my oldest grows up, I am finding the need for more grown-up styling and the Nova is perfect to grow with her. It’s comfortable, but looks stylish and includes long sleeves for winter. Though, I admit, this is not the most “grown up” looking fabric!

Sewing the Shirt:

I squeezed this blouse out of 1 yard of fabric, there was “just” enough room to make the sleeveless version without the cap sleeve.  I breathed a sigh of relief as I only had 1 yard of the unicorns and really, really wanted it to fit!

Smocking! Crazy, never would have thought I’d sit down to hand-sew smocking. But it was relaxing, and I perched on a chair in the sun and just sat and sewed. Very calming! I have to admit that the pleating process was a bit more time-consuming. I didn’t mark them as precisely as I should have and had to redo them all a bit smaller to make them fit. Next time! A new process usually has a learning curve.

The rest of the steps followed without trouble and I love the included bodice lining. It’s simple and finishes all the edges nicely. Since I didn’t make the sleeves I’m not sure about those steps, but can imagine they are clear as well.


  • Sarah Jane, Unicorn Forest from the Magic collection for Michael Miller.
  • Vintage (probably Hand-Tatted) lace! My friend’s mother had a box from someone she knew and gave it to me a few years ago. It’s gorgeous. This shirt will be washed carefully!
  • Gold Ribbon for the tie
  • Pink Broadcloth lining


We picked the kids up from their first week at sleep-away camp and my daughter has so many mosquito bites! Despite that, she was enjoying being home after a week and did an awesome job thinking up poses with her sunglasses. She cracks me up! As she gets older her sense of humour is kicking in and it’s so much fun. Can’t believe she will be 10 later this year!


Wow, this post is sounding super formal, LOL! Anyhow. It’s a great pattern with lots of options and a large size range. Definitely worth buying as it will last a long time. If you’re not sure there’s lots of inspiration in the rest of the tour, with links you can find below.

Check out the other participants in the Nova tour:

Sisko by MiekeBel’EtoileZowiewo - Petrol & Mintsewpony - Fairies, Bubbles & Co
Elizabeth LittleMaker Mountain FabricsBetter Dressed Child - Just Add FabricMy Petite Sophie
Frances SuzanneI Sew BlancheLily & WoodyMy Minnie Mie
I Love You SewThread Riding HoodAriane Blog

I hope you are enjoying your summer!

Thanks for reading, Sherri

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6 Responses leave one →
  1. Ann (no e) now in Waterloo, ON permalink
    July 10, 2017

    Dear Sherri,
    Summer vacation is here ;) So happy that your girls enjoyed their Pioneer camp adventure. We are just back from our Alberta Family Reunion. A grand time was had by all ;)
    Love, love, love the Nova pattern from StraightGrain Patterns.So many options and sizes. Did you order the pdf? I will be ordering this week. I love how the ‘Tours’ can take me to so many different sewing/blog sites around the world.
    Enjoy July, take care.

  2. Natasha permalink
    July 11, 2017

    I love that you added the lace. It really makes the blouse. Whoever made that handmade lace is probably smiling knowing it was reused so beautifully.

  3. July 12, 2017

    What a beautiful top! Love that fabric! I miss sewing for little people – enjoy it while you can, because this time will not last long.

  4. July 19, 2017

    Nice top, it looks so classy on her! :) She is realy turining into a lady, isn’t she?

    • July 21, 2017

      Thank you Mirjam! Yes, it’s crazy how fast they get so old!

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  1. Nova Tour 5: Cristy, Sherri, & Ariane – StraightGrain

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