Nearest The Pin

A blog about sewing

Alice in Wonderland Sewing Series

Sara from Made By Sara wins the award for the most fun sewing series of 2015! It’s the Alice in Wonderland Sewing Series, in honour of the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland which was published in 1865.


It’s hard to think of a work that has a similar timeless quality – my kids have embraced the story and fallen in love with the characters.


I knew right away that Miss A would love to play Alice. Any excuse for a twirly dress really (that is her with the twirly dress obsession, not so much me). I’m a big fan of Alice – she’s strong willed, smart and feisty. She’s brave, curious and not afraid to follow a different path.




I used the Sugar and Spice Dress pattern from Heidi & Finn. I’ve been wanting to sew this for quite a while – it’s a fun and super easy knit dress pattern (there is a romper version too). It has a cross-over bodice at the back which I think would be fun to reverse as well (next time!).

I promise the dress us not as unruly as it looks – apparently tulle likes to stick to itself….!



Before this sewing series came up, my kids were not familiar with Alice in Wonderland. It’s been a lovely adventure for us all discovering (rediscovering in my case) the interesting and thought-provoking characters of this enchanting story. We’re all won over!

Thanks so much for such a fantastic series Sara! Oh, and there is still time to enter Sara’s awesome pattern giveaway, just click the link here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Dear Prudence Dress – Blog Tour

I don’t sew enough dresses for Miss. A. I need to change that. She loves the twirling and she loves wearing tights. Suz’s invitation to join her Dear Prudence Dress blog tour was the perfect opportunity to begin to putting that right.



This was such a great pattern – the fantastic vintage inspired detail are as I have come to expect from Sewpony Vintage patterns. I’m quite new to piping, but I’m quickly falling in love! I made my own from some beautiful bias tape which was pink with a small white check. Making piping is seriously easy and a great way to add uniqueness to a dress.



The dress has a fully lined bodice – the inside of the dress looks just as professional as the outside! The shirring and elastic at the neckline mean there are no other fastenings to wrestle with – perfect for 3 year olds who are always getting their hair caught in zips.


I did make a small modification to the pattern – the instructions call for about 9-10 rows of shirring at the front. I love shirring, and was quite successful at it on my old cheapie sewing machine, however, since I upgraded to my Singer with a drop in bobbin, I cannot get nice shirring. I don’t know why, but I’m working on getting an answer. So, in a pinch, I added 4 rows of 6mm wide elastic in a casing. I think it works, as an alternative.


This pattern looks really cute in cap sleeve and sleeveless too – can’t wait to sew a few summer versions for this dress loving girl :)

Suz is offering a 15% discount off the Dear Prudence pattern during the pattern tour (July 6th – 17th) with the code PRUDENCE15. You can find this and Suz’s other lovely vintage inspired patterns in the Sewpony Vintage Etsy Shop.

I’m joined on the blog tour today by Jenn from A Jeannine Life and Sophie from Bobby Minouch – I can’t wait to see their Dear Prudence dresses – head on over to check them out!

Thanks so much for the invite Suz – your patterns are always such a pleasure to sew!

blog tour


Surprise!! A Virtual Baby Shower

Today’s post has been weeks in the planning – lots of emails, lots of scheming. Finally today, we are showering our awesome blogging buddy Jenya of While She Was Sleeping!



Surprise Jen!! We wanted to wish you all the very best for bubba No. 2 ( your new Little Monkey??). Enjoy your virtual shower today and all the blog love coming via this awesome group of bloggers/friends of yours! Make sure you check out all of the surprises and thoughts being prepared by this amazing bunch (links below).

My partner in crime today (and shower mastermind) is the lovely Alisa from A Stitch in Between.

How fun to sew teeny tiny stuff! I didn’t start sewing until my littlest was 18 months old, so I missed the joy of cutting mini little patterns. So many awesome indie patterns start their sizing at 3 months, so there is lots of choice – however, we don’t know whether Jenya’s bub is a boy or a girl, so something gender neutral was in order.

In the end I fell in love with two cute little designs from Ottobre Design Magazine Spring 1/2014. The patterns are the Spring Bird Reversible Hooded Jacket and the Spring Stripes Reversible Pants, both in the smallest size which is 56 cms. It will be coming to the end of winter when this bub arrives, so some snuggly layers will be in order.



Ah,  so it’s not super girly I know, but probably nothing a pink hair clip or bunny rug can’t fix :) Or maybe the bub will be a boy, and we’ll be all sorted!


Both pieces are fully lined and reversible (well the jacket would be if you used snaps instead of buttons). Ottobre patterns only give written instructions (no diagrams/photos) and are brief. To be honest, I just went ahead and sewed these, so I can’t even comment on how easy the instructions are to follow. The purple is a thick ponte knit from Spotlight and the grey is a gorgeous soft knit I scored locally. The pattern also suggests adding an extra fleece lining, but Australian spring is not really cold enough to warrant this.


If you don’t know While She Was Sleeping – go and check it out! This lady is an impeccable sewist and a serious laugh – I’ve loved getting to know her and her little one over the last year and a half. Where I rush in to projects, she is considered and thoughtful. I’ve seen her topstitching first hand and now I come to think of it – I’m not sure my stitching is up to scratch (but she’s way to polite to say!!). Can’t wait to see this outfit on a real bouncing baby!!

Here we are with kiddos in tow at our most recent catch up (super hot blinding sun and all):


Join me in checking out these awesome blogs who are also showering Jenya today – thanks so much ladies!!

A Stitch in Between / Naeh Connection / Straightgrain / Siskobymieke 

Threading My Way / Lil’ Pip Designs / Sew Delicious / Things For Boys

Sewpony / Made By Sara  / As It Seams / Sew n Sow / Nearest the Pin

Just Add Detail – The Ziggy Top


My blogging buddy Olu (Needle and Ted) invited me to be part of the Made It Patterns Ziggy Top – Just Add Detail sewing challenge. Quite simple really – take the Ziggy Top pattern, which is a relaxed fit top/jumper and add some eye-catching detail.

But make it good because the competition is on….


Olu’s calling it a no holds barred gloves off competition – but whatever – I’m just excited to see what everyone has done with this pattern!



Lots of ideas went through my mind – sooooo many possibilities…… but in the end, I decided to keep it fairly understated, adding hand-stamped gold polka dots. Now understated is not likely to be a competition winner, but I’m cool with that – mostly because I’m super happy with how this top turned out.



This is the Ziggy in a size 3 and I think the fit is right on. The slouch % is perfection :) I used a lovely thick ponte knit from my local Spotlight. Luckily the neckline is fairly wide as I accidentally cut the neckband on the wrong (non-stretchy) grain – argh! Luckily it still goes over her head.

I fashioned a stamp and used some gold fabric paint for the spots. I’ve found that at least two coats of paint is generally needed for a smooth finish. I made a few things last year that I stamped or used freezer paper stencils and I’ve been really happy with how well the paint holds up to the washing and wearing – all those clothes were outgrown before the paint showed any signs of cracking or fading.

We had such a great time taking these photos – Miss A convinced me that instead of just admiring the Ferris Wheel, we needed to take a ride. And so we did :)


Want to make your own Ziggy? I’ve got a few things to tell you:

1. There is a magnitude of Ziggy inspiration on a whole bunch of blogs today as part of the Just Add Detail competition – go check out some amazingness!!

2. Made It Patterns is offering 20% off the Ziggy Top Pattern for this week only – head on over to their site to get your own.

Made It Patterns have a whole Autumn/Winter pattern collection that I can’t wait to sew more of. Thanks for having me Olu & Anna – love your work!


Well hello there!

It’s summer around here. There have been lots of play dates, park dates, swimming and movies. Some sewing too. After 2 months off blogging, it’s great to be back. I’ve been on a selfish sewing kick all of January – it’s been fun :)

I’ve been eyeing off some lovely summer dress patterns, particularly the Ruby Dresses (Tessuti) and (Made by Rae). But in the interest of making the most of the patterns I already own – I decided to modify the Tessuti Valerie Top pattern into a dress.

Valerie Dress 5

I sewed the Valerie Top here if you’d like to see the difference. The modification was super simple – just extending the pattern and adding some volume to the skirt. It’s quite floaty and super comfy to wear. The pattern has four horizontal darts where the bottom part of the dart is gathered and the top is not. This time I added a lightweight interfacing to both sides of the dart to try and increase the longevity of the seam. My Valerie top pulled apart on one of these seams – not sure if it was the fault of the fabric or a bit a dodgy sewing – but hopefully I won’t have a repeat of that.

The fabric is rayon from my local Spotlight – I have been pleasantly surprised with their current range of rayon, I don’t actually hate all the prints for once.

Valerie Dress 4

Quick and easy to sew – fun to wear – I’m calling this a win. In hindsight, there is probably more fullness to the dress than is necessary, but I’m going with it.

In other news, my tripod broke. So unfortunately we are back to taking pictures in front of the garage with the camera sitting on top of the wheelie bin, for now. #bloggingprofessional #givingawayallmysecrets

Valerie Dress 1

You know I have never been much of a dress wearer, but since sewing dresses is less daunting than pants, I’ve become a bit of a dress convert.  In the spirit of grandiose new year predictions, maybe this will be the year to tackle the sewing of pants….

(UK readers note ——-> trousers not undies)



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