Nova Dress by StraightGrain Patterns - Baby, Toddler and Girls Dress and Top Sewing Pattern

     I am so excited to be sharing this beautiful pattern with all of you and I was so honored to be asked by An of StraightGrain Patterns to be a part of this blog tour.  The Nova Dress and top is a clean, classic style girls top and dress pattern with so many gorgeous options and incredibly well written and illustrated instructions.  

Nova Dress Pattern 

       The pattern can be made with cuffed long sleeves, cap sleeves or sleeveless.  The back closure can be made with an invisible zipper, a button or ties.  And the front can feature flat pleats, box pleats, zigzag pleats or honeycomb pleats.  And it can be made in sizes 3m - 12 years (despite what my graphic says up there, I don't know where I came up with that 12m business, sorry)!  I chose a size 3, cap sleeve, tie back with zigzag pleats.  

     Before deciding which of my girls to sew the first version for I had a serious talk with Annie.  "Listen, my love", I said, "Whoever I sew this for is going to have to wear it, and let me take pictures of them wearing it."

    Without a second thought.  Without a chance to catch my breath...

"You better sew it for June, then, Mama!"

     Bahahahaha!  Well, I have got to love the self awareness and honesty.

     I let June pick out her own fabric from the shelf, and I was so excited when she picked out these gorgeous, neon pink ducks.  Quackers from the Black and White collection by Cotton and Steel Fabrics is on unbleached cotton, with simple little ducks in perfect rows, but they are neon pink.  Like, really neon!  I am in love with them.  I also thought it was perfect to take this very classic style of top or dress, with the perfect pleats, and add a bit of silly.  We are pretty good at silly around here.

      Now, fair warning, friends, all of these options mean that the PDF pattern is 35 pages.  Luckily for me I had half cleaned out my sewing room right before assembling the pattern so I had lots of room to lay all the pieces out on the floor.  And then leave them there untouched for two weeks.  Did I say untouched? I mean, the dog trampled on them a time or two and the girls thought it made an excellent dance floor, and I have no idea how that baby doll bottle got there.  Thanks, everyone...

     I think that the number of pages and options was initially a bit intimidating to me in getting started, but friends!  That intimidation was totally uncalled for!  As soon as I took a peek at the instructions, I was able and excited, to get right to work.  All those pages up there made total sense, I was able to trace off my size, sleeve and pleat options with very little trouble (and if you print in color instead of black and white you will be able to do it with absolutely no trouble) and I was so excited that I couldn't stop working, even as it got late, because I was having so much fun watching everything work out and magically creating the world's most beautiful pleats.

   Seriously, look at these!

Zigzag pleats

    After the pleats were completed, the rest of the dress was a breeze to sew up.  I love the soft angle of the cap sleeves,

Nova Cap Sleeve

I love the way the fabric of the dress swings out perfectly below the pleats.  

Nova skirt angle

I love the ties in the back!  So simple to sew in perfectly, I just used twill tape that I happen to have a giant roll of (because that is normal, right?), that perfectly matched the unbleached cotton background.  I wished that I had a bright pink ribbon I could use, but when you live in the mountains a last minute trip to the craft store 30 minutes away just isn't always in the cards. And I was too desperate to finish it so that I could see my little girl running around the garden quacking, to wait for any sort of internet delivery.  I also love that the ribbon ties in the back make it easy for me to get the dress on and off her running, wiggly little body and they seem the most adjustable as she grows, because I know I am going to try to get as much wear for her out of this gorgeousness as possible.  

Nova back ties

   When looking at the size chart before starting, she was a bit between sizes.  The instructions state to choose your size based on the chest measurement, and adjust from there, but I know my little girl, and I know her big round belly, better than that.  She is strong, and she is seriously nothing but muscle, but she is also short and her cutest toddler belly is pretty big.  I went with the larger size because I did not want it to be tight and uncomfortable on her stomach, and I wanted her to be able to run and play and jump and be cuckoo, or else I knew it would never actually be worn.  It is a bit big, but I actually love to sew things for my girls a bit big and get a few more months of wear out of them, and I think this turned out just us two the right amount of a bit big.  And from the second I showed it to her, even unhemmed, she has been constantly talking about her Quack Quack Dress.

    We had an early morning fitting (complete with dark, blurry picture and frog boots for your viewing pleasure...)

Nova dress fitting


    Then I did a quick cut of three rows of ducks (a very technical way to measure and correct hems), pressed and machine sewed that hem and we were ready to party with the Quack Quacks.  We just had to wait for it to get light out.  And for June to have a clean face AND clean hands (very harsh expectations), and then it rained, so we had to wait for a bit of sunshine and warmth.  But then my friends, after all that, my wild thing could finally wear her Quack Quack Dress and run and jump and explore in the garden.  Prepare yourselves - 

'quack quack in the garden

 Nova strawberry

Nova jump

     I had so much fun sewing and photographing this dress!  I was provided two copies of the pattern in exchange for my participation in the blog tour and last week's giveaway, but I promise that everything I have said is true.  I can not say enough good things about this pattern!  You really should get yourself a copy, probably soon, and start sewing!  The pattern is available as a PDF or a printed paper pattern.  You can buy it for yourself right here.  Or you can be sure to check in on Instagram on Tuesday and enter our contest to win a copy.  The prize also includes 7 Japanese sewing books.  I am entirely jealous and wish that I could enter.  I also happen to have an extra paper copy of the pattern (thanks to An's extreme generosity), that I will be giving away in my Facebook group next week.  Come join us there for your chance to enter (and because it is a pretty fun place, where we make new friends who share our love of sewing, talk about our sewing hopes and frustrations and where I offer exclusive presales)!  

Oh, and don't forget to get some gorgeous fabric to make a truly special Nova top or dress for your little wild thing!

 And before you go anywhere else- check out all of these other amazing sewing bloggers and their take on the Nova Pattern! 

I can not wait to read each and every one of them!

Sisko by Mieke - Bel'Etoile - Zowiewo - Petrol & Mint - sewpony - Fairies, Bubbles & Co Elizabeth Little - Maker Mountain Fabrics - Better Dressed Child - Just Add Fabric - My Petite Sophie Frances Suzanne - I Sew Blanche - Lily & Woody - My Minnie Mie I Love You Sew - Thread Riding Hood - Ariane Blog

    Thank you so much for reading, friends! Let me know what you think and what your plans are to sew up this gorgeousness! 



ps- If you are new here, I would love to send you some sewing inspiration, pictures of beautiful fabrics and maybe the occasional funny sewing meme, plus your free copy of my Handmade Wardrobe Planning Tool.  Sign up here to get in on the weekly fun!


  • Frances Suzanne

    Ahhhh, the honesty of children!!! Looks like it was a “winner” for June!

  • Emi

    This is so, so, so cute!! Your daughter Annie cracks me up, but I have to say lucky June for getting such an adorable dress out of it! I looooove the pleats!

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