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Halloween Costume Sewing Tip #4

2017 October 4

Halloween Sewing Tip #4:

Choose inexpensive fabrics! A one-night costume doesn’t have to be fancy. Felt or broadcloth are great cheaper options, watch for sales at your local fabric stores or online!

I generally choose broadcloth (on sale) for most of my handmade costumes. It comes in lots of solid colours, is lightweight and translates well into the “clothing-type” costumes my daughters usually choose. (Princess, Princess, Princess… LOL) This year, however, my youngest wants to be a chocolate chip cookie – so I bought 4 1/2 meters of felt on sale last weekend. I’m excited to play with a new type of material I haven’t tried yet!

Sewing Tip: When sewing felt (and other fluffy Halloween fabrics like faux fur) a lot of fluff can accumulate in your bobbin case. Make sure to clean it out regularly to get the best performance from your sewing machine. Collecting fluff can put a lot of wear and tear on the mechanics over time.

Follow all 10 Janome Halloween Costume Tips with InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin’.

Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided artwork (with my photos) for this project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion. 

Halloween Costume Sewing Tip #3

2017 October 3

Halloween Sewing Tip #3:

Size up your pattern pieces! Sew the costume one or two sizes larger than your fast-growing child so it can spend lots of time in the dress-up box. (Maybe it could even be re-used or re-purposed next year!)

While you take the time to sew an awesome costume, make sure to start and end each seam with a locking or reverse stitch. This will hold the stitching tight and allow your costume to make it through the whole day at school and a busy night!

The Skyline S9 I have on loan from Janome Canada has a specific stitch that includes locking or reversing. The lock-a-matic (U2) and locking (U3) stitches will automatically reverse or create a locking stitch at each end of your seams. Check your sewing machine to see if you have a setting like this as well!

My oldest’s princess costume (from her first year of kindergarten in 2012!) is a good example of up-sizing. It is still upstairs in our dress-up box today and is “the favorite” dress to pull out when playing. It still fits my youngest and gets worn all the time.

(Of course, if you are in Canada or another cold-weather Halloween country, you know sizing up is important so you can fit the child’s snowsuit underneath! LOL)

Follow all 10 Janome Halloween Costume Tips with InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin’.

Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided artwork (with my photos) for this project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion. 

Halloween Costume Sewing Tip #2

2017 October 2

Halloween Sewing Tip #2:

Get your kids involved in sewing and designing the costume. If they do not usually sew, teach them with simple straight lines. They will be so proud of the finished project!

Kids love to help and the fact that you want their opinion on the final product will make them so pleased. Even more if you let them actually sew it too! You will be the best #supermom (grandma, dad…) ever!

A great tool to use is the Speed Control slider available on many sewing machines. Slide the control so the machine operates as slowly as possible.  This will allow them to concentrate on the seam, not on how fast the machine is moving!

You can also get your child interested in sewing by teaching them how to gather fabric to make a ruffle or gathered skirt. (I know my girls love them some good ruffles!) This new skill might be enough to get them excited. Here are some tips:

  • Use a strong thread, like a button weight.
  • Set the machine to the longest stitch length.
  • Start the seam with a locking stitch or a back stitch.
  • Sew the length of the seam and leave a long thread tail without locking or back stitching.
  • Pull the thread tail to gather the fabric.

Another idea is to sew the base project and get them to add details with fabric paints and markers. My daughter painted the complex embroidery on the front of her costume last year, and was so pleased with the results. Kids can also add ribbons and embellishments with glue. They’ll love being part of the plan!

Follow all 10 Janome Halloween Costume Tips with InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin’.

Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided artwork (with my photos) for this project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion. 

Free Cape Pattern (sizes 18m – Adult)

2017 October 1

Are you ready for Halloween? It’s October and I’m excited to be posting a series of 10 Halloween Costume Sewing Tips, sponsored by Janome Canada. To start the series with a “Boo!” (hee hee) I’m relaunching my popular Super Hero Cape pattern – updated with new photos and 2 new larger sizes!

The smile on your child’s face when they see their handmade costume is the best! Be your kid’s Halloween costume hero and sew it yourself! Find the first Janome Halloween Costume Tip in the instructions below and follow along on InstagramFacebookTwitter and Pinterest so you don’t miss the others. You can also find great sewing information, contests and free patterns on the Janome Life blog.

When I made the first Super Hero Capes for Christmas (2011!), they were a huge hit. My girls flew all over the house solving mysteries and doing super hero business. Usually they were saving someone, sometimes a prince in distress. (You go girl!) Sometimes they’d stop to save kittens from trees, or rescue babies from mean monsters and other things of that sort. Since then they’ve grown up a little, but the capes are still in good use during their creative plays and shows.

Many of you have asked for a cape in larger sizes and I’m excited to be able to upgrade the free pattern and tutorial below! The old post was looking pretty dated with tiny, dark photos – I hope you like the new version!

Free Cape Pattern and Tutorial

As usual, please feel free to use my patterns/tutorials for your personal projects and gifts and for charitable fundraising events. Please do not sell anything made with this pattern without a license. Thank you! (P.S. Buy a Seller’s License or a tidy printable PDF version of this Cape Pattern in the shop.)


  • 1 yard (child sizes) OR 1 1/2 yards (adult size) fabric for the cape outer
  • 1 yard (child sizes) OR 1 1/2 yards (adult size) fabric for the cape lining
  • optional: felt for the hero applique
  • optional: fusible web (or a glue stick!) to attach the applique
  • matching thread
  • hook and loop tape (1″ piece each)
  • sewing gear – scissors/sewing machine/pins/ruler/iron etc.


Before you begin:

  • Print the pattern piece pdf on letter size (8.5″ x 11″) or A4 paper. Important: Do not select “fit to page” when printing, make sure you print at the original size. Once you have printed the pages, measure the 1″ test square to ensure the pattern is correct.
    • Want to save paper?
      • Size 3m-3 – Print only pages 1-7
      • Size 4-8 – Print only pages 1-7
      • Size 9-12 – Print only pages 1-9
      • Adult size – Print all 11 pages
  • Cut on each page’s outer gray lines and tape them together, matching the letters in the gray half-circles.
  • Cut the pattern pieces out (with paper scissors!) along the line that corresponds to the size you would like to make.

Cut your fabric:

  • Pre-wash your fabric before cutting to ensure it will not shrink in later washes.
  • If you need a longer cape – here is a tutorial on how to lengthen the pattern pieces.
  • Cut one cape shape per fabric colour using the pattern piece. * Be sure to place the pattern piece on the fabric fold before you cut it out!
Let’s Sew:
I recommend that you read through all instructions before sewing, so you don’t miss something important!

Step 1: Cut out the applique that will be on the back of the cape. Be creative! I used stars, hearts and letters to make each cape unique. Each logo was sized between 6″-9″ tall, depending on the size of the cape.


Halloween Sewing Tip #1:

If you are making a long-term project, make sure your layers have fusible web on the back. If you are sewing a one-night Halloween project, use a less-expensive approach! A regular school glue stick will adhere an applique while you sew around the edges.

Center the applique on the outer cape fabric piece approximately 3″-7″ down from the neck opening.

  • Fusible web: Iron on the applique following the instructions on your fusible web. Use a press cloth if necessary so you do not melt the felt.
  • Glue Stick: Attach the applique in place using the school glue stick, press with an iron on low heat from the back of the cape to set the glue if necessary.

Top-stitch the applique as you wish to tidy up the edges and make sure it stays on. I used the Blanket Stitch and Satin Stitch Foot F included with my on-loan Janome Skyline S9 to make the one of the appliques extra-nice!

Step 2: Lay the two cape pieces right sides together matching all of the edges. Pin. Mark a 6″ opening on the cape’s bottom edge by putting 2 pins in the same spot on each side. Leave this opening when you sew, it is where you will turn the cape right side out.

Stitch around the cape with a 1/4″ seam allowance, starting at one double-pin. Pivot around the corner on the neck opening. Finish at the other double-pin with a back-stitch.

Step 3: Clip the corners and trim around the curved edges of your neck opening to allow the cape to turn more easily. I use my pinking shears to trim tight curves.

Step 4: Press the seam allowance up on the bottom opening before turning the cape right side out. This creates an easy finished edge once the cape is turned.

Step 5: Turn the cape right side out and top-stitch. Push out your corners and edges neatly, press the cape flat and top-stitch 1/8″ or so away from the edge all the way around the edge of the cape. You can pin the opening shut before stitching or just wing it, the top-stitching will close the opening.

Step 6: Cut a 1″ piece each of hook and loop tape.

Use a zig-zag or straight stitch to sew the hook side of the tape onto the outer piece and the loop side of the tape onto the lining. This way the rough hooks are facing away from the neck when the cape is worn.  Note: I like to cut off the corners of the tape when sewing for kids so they don’t get “stuck” with the pointy edges by accident. (* Don’t accidentally sew both hook and loop to the outer side of the cape, it won’t be able to close properly. Not sure why, but I have managed to do this more times than I would like to admit!)

Step 7: Sew a label or hero-worthy piece of ribbon onto the side of the cape.

Congratulations, give your cape a good press and you’re done!

I’d love to see your project! Please share your cape on InstagramFacebookTwitter and Pinterest using the  hashtags #alongforthreadride and #threadridinghood. Thank you!


You can purchase a full Super Hero Cape PDF Pattern for any donation! 

The 16 page instant PDF download of this tutorial includes these extras:

  • The full tutorial and pattern pieces, in a tidy and easily printed form.
  • Cutting layout diagram and glossary of terms.
  • Granny’s Sewing Basket – highlights Notes and Tips to make sewing this cape easier. (Meet Granny here.)
  • Extra tips not included in this free tutorial.
  • Check boxes, for those of you who love to get a sense of accomplishment when checking off each step!

Aside from these great features, you can choose to purchase the PDF to support this blog and help Thread Riding Hood continue in its goal to create more free content. Thank you for your support!

SUPER HERO CAPE PRINTABLE PDF PATTERN: available for any donation! Add to Cart 

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Would you like to sew and sell the Super Hero Cape Pattern?

Please purchase a Seller’s License in my shop and receive an instant pdf download!


P.S. Here’s the original Super Hero Cape Photo from 2013. My daughter still comments on how cool it was to look like she was really flying! #photoshopforthewin

A Yellow Buttoned Feliz

2017 September 18

Since “Feliz” translates into English as “Happy”, it is appropriate to make a Feliz dress using polka dots and yellow buttons! Even when I chose to make it from squidgy rayon that was almost impossible to cut straight… but that’s a different story…

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

This little lady of mine is SO FUN and hilarious on photo shoots! She is our joker and loves to make us laugh. She seems to have a knack for saying the funniest things. This translates well into a photo shoot and we generally end up laughing and coming up with great photos! It’s also fun to give her creative props and see what she does – like a yellow hard hat and drill, since they were originally the only yellow things I could find to use.

The Pattern:

Since being asked on the last StraightGrain blog tour, I was excited to sew another one of An’s patterns. (You can see my oldest’s unicorn Nova blouse here.) They are well put together, straightforward and have a TON of options. The Feliz can be made in a gathered or pleated blouse or dress length. Choose from sleeveless or dolman, short, wide/narrow flutter, 3/4 and bell sleeves – plus use a zipper or buttons to fasten the back! With the wide size range 3m-12y it’s a one-stop option that will last as the kids grow up.

Looking for the pattern? It is available in electronic and paper form and you can find it in the StraightGrain shop.

Sewing the Dress:

I chose to sew a 3/4 bell sleeve gathered dress for my youngest as a fall transition piece that will easily layer into winter. I figured the gathering on the skirt would match the gathered bell sleeve and love how it looks! The bell sleeves and button back are on-trend, and since navy is now the new black, she’s dressing better than I am, lol!

I chose a size 6 based on her measurements and increased the sleeve and shoulder area to a size 8. I do this on most patterns for my kids, since we all seem to have broad shoulders and large upper arms. I love the fit, it’s roomy enough to be comfortable and allow her to move without being baggy.

The sewing was straightforward. I love the clear illustrations and didn’t have any trouble sewing this dress up. (Yay!)

Changes: I did add a few extra buttons down the back since I had them in my stash AND (genius) I figured out how to sew buttons on with my sewing machine! Love the Janome Skyline S9 that I have on-loan right now. You can see a video of how it works on Instagram. (Plus photos of other projects in the works – it’s my main sharing space!)


The dress length is 1″ shorter than intended due to an unfortunate scissor accident…. on the late night after I cut out that squidgy rayon I was talking about earlier! I love how comfy and super soft rayon is… but cutting an obvious pattern out is nigh unto impossible unless you spend 3 hours straightening it impatiently doing it like I did… eeep!


  • Navy Polkadot Rayon (big box store)
  • Yellow Buttons
  • A bit of fusible interfacing under the buttons


Love it! My favorite is that the number of options allows you to use the pattern over and over while making each project unique. Definitely recommend it!

 Check out the other participants in the Nova tour:

Lily & Woody | Kaatjenaaisels | Yerasi | Flaflinko | Blanche | Liesellove | Bel’etoile | Petrol & Mint

Made By Sara | A Naais ID | sewpony | 128 | Sweeter Than Cupcakes | Noortjeprullemie

Thread Riding Hood | Clara stickar | Christinaa | Love You Sew | My Petite Sophie | With Love By Eva

 Thanks for reading! See you again soon,


My turn on The Canadian Sampler

2017 September 1

Hi! I’m popping in to let you know that my block is out this month (September already!) in the Canadian Sampler, a block of the month from my sponsor, Sew Sisters Quilt Shop.

I went through lots of scraps creating this block, and my final test ended up being in Cotton and Steel Mustangs. It was my first time fussy cutting a block and I love how the horses gallop in a circle! (Don’t mind the strange-looking bent horses at the sides, lol!) I also made the final “proper” red and white one to send to Sew Sister’s with the pattern, and it’s great how different they look next to each other. I can’t wait to see what everyone else will do with it.

We are almost at the end of the sampler and mine is coming along, slowly but surely. I’ve got 8 out of 20 blocks finished and 3 more cut and ready to sew. This might not seem like an accomplishment – especially when I now have patterns for 18 blocks… but it’s my first sampler and I’m thrilled! I wrote about the first two blocks and you can see the other’s I’ve made so far on Instagram. Oh, and there’s more in my intro post from last year as well – including links to all of the designers.

Sew Sisters has written a bit about each designer on their blog, so you can find more about this month’s block designers there as well. I’ve enjoyed learning the history and reason for each block design, as well as sewing them up!

If you are in North America, I hope you enjoy the upcoming long weekend!

See you again soon,





Fold-N-Go Pocket Placemats {a tutorial}

2017 July 27

Picnics spark all kinds of good summer memories. And what better to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday than with a whole look book of picnic ideas – including a brand new Fold-N-Go Placemat tutorial I wrote for the project!

Disclaimer: I am a Canadian Janome Artisan. Janome provided the materials for this look book project and the Skyline S9 on-loan machine I am currently using. Michael Miller Fabrics also provided the Cotton Couture solids. As with all the products I write about – I always tell you my own honest opinion. Thanks for reading! (P.S. Working with Janome is a dream-come-true for me, it never gets old! Plus, they are amazing and fun to work with, and I love their machines, which doesn’t hurt either!)

Earlier this year, Janome asked their artisans to contribute picnic-related projects for their latest look book – Cross Country Picnic – and the result is chock-full of great ideas, tutorials, and patterns. (You can read the previous look book full of projects too!)

These Fold-N-Go Placemats combine my love of impromptu picnics with the desire for a cute (and clean!) space to have them on – plus a little Maple Leaf Canadian pride.

Our set is going to live in our car so we can grab it and picnic whenever we want! This quilted project includes a matching napkin and divided utensil section. Plus it folds and buttons to keep everything tidy. I used vintage leather buttons and added a customizable leather (or vinyl) label to give it a more professional look.

Materials: (makes 1 placemat with included napkin)

  • Placemat: 2 pieces pre-washed 12″ x 18″ Essex Linen in Flax (Found at my sponsor Fabric Spark)
  • Napkin: 1 piece pre-washed 16″ x 16″ piece of linen or linen blend
  • Binding/Applique/Pocket: 1/2 yard/metre pre-washed Michael Miller Cotton Couture (I used Violet, Raspberry, Cornflower and Lime)
  • Quilt Batting: 1 piece 12″x18″
  • Fusible Web: 1 piece 8 1/2″ x 11″ (I love Steam-A-Seam 2!)
  • Matching Thread
  • One Button
  • Scrap of Vinyl or Leather for the Optional Label
  • Basting Spray or Pins
  • Removable Fabric Marker
  • Janome Skyline S9 sewing machine with these included machine feet/accessories: ZigZag Foot A, Satin Stitch Foot F, Quilting Guide Bar, AcuFeed Dual Feed Holder and Foot AD (quilting), Automatic Buttonhole Foot R and Stabilizer plate, Knee Lifter


Before you begin:

  • Print out the free pattern pieces (link in the materials list above) on letter size (8.5″ x 11″) or A4 paper. Important: Do not select “fit to page” when printing, make sure you print at the original size.
  • Once you have printed the first page, measure the 1″ test square to ensure the pattern is the correct size.
  • Cut the pattern pieces on the outer gray lines and tape them together if needed, matching the letters in the gray half-circles.

Cutting the Binding/Applique/Pocket:

Important: These pieces are carefully placed to fit in 1/2 yard/meter of fabric. Please follow the cutting layout carefully! 

  • Applique: Use the Applique pattern piece to cut 1 Maple Leaf in the solid accent colour. Be sure to place it as indicated in the layout above. Also cut 1 Maple Leaf from the Fusible Web.
  • Pocket: Cut 2 Pocket pieces, mirrored and placed as indicated in the layout above.
  • Binding: Cut 3 full 2 1/2″ strips along the width of the fabric and one 1/2 strip as indicated in the layout above.


1) Thread your machine. The Janome Skyline S9 includes Large and Small Spool holders to fit the size of your thread spool.

2) Binding: Sew the 2 1/2″ strips together to create a 147″ length (approx.) of binding using your preferred method. This will be used for the napkin and placemat.

3) Pocket:

  1. Place Pocket pieces right-sides-together matching diagonal raw edge. Pin and stitch the diagonal edge with a 1/4″ seam. 
  2. Press seam allowance open. Fold pocket wrong-sides-together along the seam, matching remaining raw edges. Press.
  3. Match and baste all raw edges with a scant 1/4″ seam. I used the Auto Basting setting on my Skyline S9.  Top-stitch the finished edge.
  4. Press the pocket in half width-wise, matching the two side edges.
  5. To create utensil pocket divisions: With the short diagonal pocket facing up (See Pic), mark the binding area with a 3/8″ seam allowance along the left and bottom raw edges. Mark another line 1 5/8″ from the left binding mark (not the raw edge), and another from the right fold. The center section will be about 1 3/4″ wide. Pin and stitch along each marked dividing line (but not the binding markings) to finish the pocket.

Let’s Sew!

1) Match the maple leaf shape to the right side of the placemat, 3/4″ up from the bottom edge. Fuse according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

2) Switch to the Satin Stitch foot F and choose an Applique stitch. I used stitch #6 with a width and length of 3. Stitch carefully around your applique to secure the edges.


3) Sandwich the front and back of your placemat wrong sides together with the batting between them and baste using basting spray or pins.

4) Switch to your AcuFeed Dual Feed Holder and Foot AD (or walking foot) and choose a straight stitch to prepare to quilt the placemat. I used the automatic Quilt Setting Straight Stitch option. (Note: If you do not have a machine with automatic or computerized tension, test your stitches on a scrap quilt “sandwich” before quilting.)

5) Stitch around the applique 1/4″ from the edge. Use the clear inside edge of the Dual Feed foot as a guide.

6) Mark your remaining quilt lines with a removable marker. I stitched 2 rows of 1″ wide and 4 rows of 2″ wide straight lines, following the leaf outline. Alternatively, use the Quilting Guide Bar to evenly stitch the around your applique.

7) Quilt along each marked line. Attach the Knee Lifter to easily lift and replace the presser foot. (Side note: It was so nice not to use my hands to pivot at each corner!) My favorite Thread Cutter button made trimming the threads at each edge quick and easy.

8) Place the pocket in the bottom left-hand corner of the placemat matching the raw edges. Pin and baste with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.

9) Bind the placemat. I like to use Cluck Cluck Sew’s machine binding tutorial and the AcuFeed Dual Feed system. ** Don’t forget to insert your leather label! See the Janome Cross Canada Picnic look book for instructions. Place it along the back edge of the binding about 3 1/2″ up from the bottom as you sew.

10) Choose and set up your machine to make a buttonhole that will fit your button. The Skyline S9 has an automatic buttonhole system with lots of options. The buttonhole should be centered on the back edge of the placemat (sSee pics for reference). Mark a 2″ center point 1/2″ away from the binding, make a test buttonhole and mark its beginning and end points on the placemat.

11) Attach the Automatic Buttonhole foot R and included Stabilizer Plate. Sandwich your project between the Buttonhole foot and Stabilizer Plate to secure it and hold it in place. Stitch and finish your buttonhole.

12) Fold the placemat in thirds; left side first, then the appliqued side with the buttonhole. Mark your button placemat using the buttonhole as a guide. Stitch your button on securely at the marked point.

Matching Napkin:

  • Machine bind the 4 raw edges of the napkin as you did for the placemat. I used a decorative applique stitch to further secure the longer edge of the binding. Fold the napkin in quarters and then in half again to fit it into the pocket.

Insert your utensils and napkin and Fold-N-Go. Enjoy your picnic!

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. Please email or message me anytime with questions or leave a comment below.


I’d love to see your project! You can share your placemats on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (links below) using the hashtags #alongforthreadride and/or #threadridinghood. Be sure to tag me @sherrisylvester so I can see it! Thank you!

Flamingo Throw Pillow

2017 July 21

I love the precision of paper piecing, once I remember how to do it again. (Every Time!) It allows for crazy things to be pieced, like the eye on this flamingo – that is only 3 or 4 stitches across each side. I have so much respect for quilters who “regular-piece” mini things!

This pillow started with the backing fabric a couple of years ago. I found it while on vacation in Florida at Byrd’s Nest Quilt Shop. My parents’ saw some flamingos on their honeymoon (I think!) and it has become “their animal”. Since their 40th wedding anniversary was this January I decided they needed a flamingo throw pillow.

The pattern is from Quiet Play – my go-to for paper piecing as she has made so many patterns, and lots of them are free! I picked this one up as part of a monthly zoo animal block blog post. She was giving away one free block per month and I happened to get in for the Flamingo. (If you want to get it now you can purchase her Zoo Animal Bundle. Or you could purchase this Geometric Flamingo on its own.)

To get the flamingos to face each other, I printed the pattern once correctly and a second time using the mirror-image setting on my printer. Then, I made them and sewed them together down the center.

The front is pieced from my solids stash, most of which is from my sponsor Sew Sister’s Quilt Shop, purchased while I was part of their Kona and Colour Wheel Club. The quilting is simple, straight lines in blue. I took my time deciding the quilting colour and I think it turned out ok! Though I should not have quilted right through the black of the eye. Next time I’ll plan differently.

As I sew more of them,  I am realizing that throw pillows are super fast, good scrap destashers and fun to sew. They make great gifts, especially for kids’ birthdays. They can be personalized to someone’s favorite colour and even include their initial. Plus it’s a fun “quilty-break” between other projects. My pillow forms are from IKEA, pretty inexpensively, which works out to an “almost free” project most times!

Hope your summer is sew-ing well. :)

See you next time! Sherri

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

Tamara Kate: Frolic Fabric Collection

2017 June 6

Sometimes I wonder if my girls realize how lucky they are to have so many amazing clothes hanging in their closets. Amazing artists and designers design fabric and I get to sew with it and then they get to walk around wearing the gorgeous artwork-turned-creation!

Case-in-point, Tamara Kate’s latest collection for Michael Miller Fabrics ~ Frolic. I was able to feature the knit fabrics in this collection a few weeks ago, and now am fortunate to be able to work with the wovens. Everything Tamara designs is beautiful, and I am loving the last few collections especially. The bright springy colourways, the watercoloury designs. Did I mention the colour? I LOVE colour!

Michael Miller Fabrics provided these woven Tamara Kate “Frolic” prints for me to play with. My opinions are always my own. Thank you for reading!

This time I sewed up two Sally dresses. This pattern is easy to sew, has no closures for easy dressing and has HUGE pockets! This time I rounded the corners of the square neckline. I found that the squared off corners tended to fray over time – but maybe it was just me? Anyhow, it was an easy fix. and it keeps the original intent of the pattern in tact.

The girls love the contrasting pockets. (And I’m waiting to find the youngest’s rock collection in my washing machine, LOL.) Plus it gave me a chance to show off more of Tamara’s fabric. I also added an inset into the bodice in the same fabric to tie the whole dress together. It was fun fussy cutting the inset to match each fabric print!

I also played around with a fun heirloom-style stitch that comes with my on-loan Janome S9. I have used the cross-stitch looking X’s on so many projects – they are simple and add a nice touch without being overly decorative.

The girls surprised me again and picked the opposite favorite colours for their dresses! My blue-loving youngest girl chose (my favorite) On the Wind in Spring with contrasting pink Big Love in Candy. The pink-loving oldest chose On the Wind in Blue with pockets and inset in Maggie Jean in Sky. Fun Fact: The Maggie Jean print is named for Tamara’s grandmother – how cool is that?! This print is my absolute favorite and I’ll be hoarding the scraps for until I find the perfect project for it.

The Tamara Kate Frolic collection will be shipping to stores on June 15th, 2017. Ask for it at your local shop! To find more Frolic inspiration visit Tamara Kate to find all of the Frolic Fabric Tour posts as they are released.

Thanks for visiting, see you again soon! ~ Sherri

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