an autumn walk, a kestrel coat, and a giveaway!

thank you so much for the birthday wishes! it was a really nice birthday…a quiet but sweet day with my little fam that culminated in dinner at my new favorite restaurant (portlanders, you must try the pizza at nostrana!) and drinks at a great pub with great friends. my birthday gifts were mostly sewing-related, which was fine by me!

i was also able to finish up a project i’m really excited about. it’s the kestrel coat, by clever charlotte. have you heard of clever charlotte? they’re a relatively new independent kids’ pattern company, and recently released their second line of patterns for fall/winter. i first heard about them when katy of no big dill reviewed a couple of their spring/summer patterns back in june, and thought they were very interesting and beautiful and different from anything else that i’d seen.

a little while back, i was contacted by erin, co-creator of the company, to see if i’d be interested in trying out a pattern from their new fall/winter line. after getting over my initial surprise (who? ME?! they want ME?) i checked out the patterns and quickly agreed!

erin gave me my choice of pattern, but gently suggested that i try the kestrel coat. at the time i wasn’t so sure…while i thought the coat looked beautiful, i’d never made a coat before and was a little nervous. i practiced on the sunday brunch jacket (because i know i can always trust oliver + s to learn techniques), then felt ready to tackle the kestrel.

honestly, i shouldn’t have worried! the pattern was really well-written, with the perfect ratio of diagrams and clear written instruction. i made the 3T, using a lovely bone colored velveteen from fabric depot, lined with anna maria horner little folks voile that i’d been hoarding. it is a bit large on her, and i know it’ll fit next year too. Em was happy about the “reindeer fabric” and buttons, which are the perfect mix of her favorite colors (pink and purple, duh). it kept her warm during a long, chilly afternoon walk together.

i really like the details in the pattern. i knew it was going to be a special-looking coat when i was done. i did make one modification, on the sleeves. the pattern calls for separate upper and lower sleeves, with the lower sleeve puffed a bit. i wanted to let the scarf collar and full gathered back details of the coat shine, so i opted to modify the sleeves to just one piece. i handstitched the lining in, for a clean finish on the cuff if rolled up, and i left a little extra length inside there to let out next year. here’s a quick “how i did it” on the one-piece sleeve:

line up the dotted basting line of piece 6 (lower sleeve) with the cut line of the bottom of piece 5 (upper sleeve).

put a piece of tracing paper on top. using a ruler, connect the outer edges of the upper sleeve with the lower edges of the bottom sleeve. trace the rest of the pattern, including notches.

now you have a one-piece sleeve pattern! one more step…

square off the sleeve hem, using the cut edge of the sleeve as a guide. i did this step on the fabric itself with a rotary cutter. proceed with the pattern as instructed, skipping the steps relating to the two-piece sleeve.

and now, the part i’m really excited about…my first giveaway ever! if you’d like to give clever charlotte a try or if you’ve been eyeing one of their patterns for a while, leave a comment below for your chance to win a clever charlotte pattern of your choice! you don’t have to decide which one right now – i know it’s a tough decision. 😉

here’s how to enter:

  • leave me a comment, any comment!
  • include your email address in your comment, if it’s not linked to your profile. if you’re nervous about spam, the format of skirtastop(at)gmail(dot)com works great.
  • the giveaway is open until this sunday 11/27 at noon PST, and is open to international residents. **Giveaway is now closed**
good luck and happy thanksgiving to all you non-international residents!

57 thoughts on “an autumn walk, a kestrel coat, and a giveaway!

  1. Jo says:

    Oh wow, such a beautiful coat!! Smart to make it a bit bigger. Being a non-residential, I guess I’m the first one to enter. Never heard of the nr. 1 winning, but hey, one could be lucky! Greetings from the Netherlands!!

  2. beth lehman says:

    OH MY WORD!!! That is just darling!! These patterns are great!!! I hadn’t heard of them before, but I love them – they seem very timeless and classic – with some fun details that add flare!! I LOVE them – and would have a hard time choosing!!! I have an 8 yo daughter and an 11 yo – I wish these patterns went higher than size 8 for my older daughter – she’s inbetween many pattern designer’s radar, I think. (

  3. Kim says:

    Beautiful coat pattern and it fits her beautifully. I thought that the pattern looked sophisticated and maybe worked better on an older girl but it looks adorable on your young daughter.

  4. Melanie says:

    This is so sweet! You’ve done a lovely job with it. The velveteen is perfect and a wonderful color on her. I’m excited to see this one made up. I especially like the scarf detail. It’s hard to fit children’s coats that fit their little necks comfortably, but this looks warm and not too bulky. I would love to make it! Count me in: queenoftheflies(at)

  5. Erin says:

    I have been thinking about ordering some of their patterns but have been a little unsure. After seeing your cute coat I am sold. I would love to win one of these beautiful patterns.
    emstone28 (at) gmail (dot) com

  6. cindy says:

    Gah! I’ve been admiring their patterns for quite a while but haven’t taken the plunge and made a purchase yet. I’d love a chance to win!

    The Kestrel Coat looks divine! I love your choice of fabrics.:)

  7. Karen says:

    Oh my, the velveteen is so luxurious and beautiful. Perfect for a coat with details like this one. The setting for the photos is gorgeous, what a beautiful fall day.

    I’d love to enter your contest, pick me please!! karenk823(at)hotmail(dot)com.

  8. Ledys says:

    Waaay behind on my commenting, but…

    Happy Birthday! I’m glad it was a nice day for you 🙂

    The star pajamas are gorgeous!! As is the Sunday brunch jacket. And the kestrel coat. You are so talented!!

    Thanks for the giveaway. Happy Thanksgiving!


  9. christina says:

    This is really lovely. On a selfish note, I’m so pleased to see Kestral done up in a light colored fabric as it’s much easier to see the details. I have this pattern and seeing your version makes me excited to make my own. Thanks!

  10. Erin says:

    love this coat- especially that lining… gorg!! always fun finding out about a new pattern company- so, thanks 🙂 hope to win! ErinM1979 (at) gmail (dot) com

  11. Sarvi says:

    This is perfect, because it was the fuller lower sleeve that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to manage (my gathering skills are not the greatest on heavier fabrics). Thanks for the tutorial!

  12. Lesley Condon says:

    I love Clever Charlotte Patterns! I have 2 of the new winter patterns, but opted not to get the Kestrel Coat because I liked 2 of the other patterns better. I love the fabric that you used on this coat. It looks great.


  13. Karen says:

    Oh this is lovely – the velveteen is perfect for it and seeing how you modified the sleeves makes me wish I had purchased this pattern (I got two of the others but passed on this one!).
    So choosing would be easy for me – this pattern – now I have seen your version!
    Thanks for the chance to win.

  14. Yolanda Kavita Robinson says:

    gorgeous work on the kestrel coat! I have to learn to make things bigger- my girls grow so quickly and by the time something becomes a favorite, it’s too small…
    I am looking forward to tackling this coat as well. Have a wonderful day 🙂

  15. cate says:

    how beautiful! see, aren’t you psyched that you made a coat? she looks gorgeous. i just discovered clever charlotte a month ago and am ready to dig into one of these patterns.

  16. Jeni says:

    Wow, that is amazing! I’ve been thinking about making my daughters coat this year, but cant decide on a pattern. Maybe this is the one…? (living in florida, theres no rush 🙂 anyway, love following your blog. It is always inspiring!

    Jeni (dot) goldsmith (at) gmail (dot) com

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