Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…..

Disclaimer; no roasting or fires are actually involved in this blog post: I’m just feeling festive after putting the tree up yesterday! There are, however, chestnuts. Two of them, to be precise.

Cocowawa Mini Chestnut Top and Sweatshirt 1

I was contacted a while ago by the lovely Ana of Cocowawa Crafts to see whether I’d be interested in pattern testing her new children’s pattern. I was a little hesitant initially, never having done any pattern testing before, but decided to go for it and I actually really enjoyed myself. The pattern in question is the Mini Chestnut sweater and top.

Yep, that’s the kids version of the gorgeous women’s pattern with all the different bows down the back and I absolutely love it!

Obviously this blog is based on the tester version of the pattern and I know some changes were reflected in the final version; isn’t that the point of having pattern testers?

I decided that having two girls meant testing two versions of the pattern from the total 6 possible versions. I measured up and started with Katie as she was more or less the right size for the size 5.

For both girls I used this epic sparkly bambi print sweatshirting from Fabrics Galore; isn’t it gorgeous?

Katie is a very, very active little girl and so I thought the sweatshirt version would be more practical, combined with a single bow on the back. I just couldn’t see her coping with an open backed top without a waistband! I found the pattern to be pretty true to size; I think I might lengthen it a little for another version but my girls are tall and skinny generally so I think that says more about them than the pattern!

It came together really nicely; the only thing I’d change would be to assemble the back neckline before sewing the shoulder seam so that the facing is caught in that seam instead of being loose. I ended up stitching in the ditch along the shoulder seam to hold it in place.

I then moved on to Beth; she’s even skinnier than her sister and at 7 was the right height for the size 9 but the chest and waist of a size 6. I compromised in the hope of giving her some growing room and graded between size 7 but with size 9 length and I think it worked pretty well.

I think this open backed top style is definitely more suitable for an older, more sensible child (personal preference here): Beth is old enough to think through when it would be appropriate to wear a smarter top that isn’t as warm and doesn’t attempt to mess with the bows. (I’m in love with the black velvet I used for the bows, here!)

Oh, the bows! They are utterly adorable but I had to find a YouTube tutorial on tying the perfect bow! When I eventually managed it, I stitched the bottom three together so I never have to do it again! Which is absolutely fine but I would recommend doing that (and I will be doing that when I make me a version!)

Katie’s jumper is also a lesson in paying attention; I carefully measured the two lengths from a slightly longer piece of ribbon, and then sewed one of them into one side of the jumper and the ribbon remnant into the other side! End result? Totally mismatched lengths of ribbon! Thankfully it was still long enough to tie a bow so I trimmed the other side to match and thanked my lucky stars Katie can’t quite read yet so won’t know I made a mistake!

As you can see, the open backed version of the top is quite open on the kid’s version, so you can see whatever they deign to wear underneath.  On this occasion, Beth determined that her star print vest coordinated perfectly with her star print trousers and so she decided to let her underwear show. Which is fine when you’re 7!

I basically love these two tops and, more importantly, so do the girls.  All I have to do now is to print off and make my own version so we can match; would 3 lots of Bambi sweatshirting be too much?! 😉

Thanks so much for the chance to review this lovely pattern, Ana!

Becca x

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