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The Mini Briar sweater and tee

Megan Nielsen Mini Briar sweater and tee sewing pattern / modern, practical and adaptable designs for stylish kids

I’m so excited to tell you a little bit more about the Mini Briar sewing pattern!

As per usual, i thought i’d share a bit with you about the development and ideas behind this pattern. It’s a great base for a young girls wardrobe and i hope you love it as much as i do!

// INSPIRATION //

Megan Nielsen Mini Briar sweater and tee sewing pattern / modern, practical and adaptable designs for stylish kids

This pattern is obviously based on my adult Briar sweater and tee sewing pattern. But the story really starts at the beginning of this year when my eldest girl, Bunny, began asking nagging for her own versions of my designs. That’s when I realised how perfectly most of my adult designs would translate to kids clothing. And when inspiration hits you really just need to run with it! I can’t even tell you how many pieces i made Bunny this year, coming up with ideas was so fun!

// DEVELOPMENT //

Megan Nielsen Mini Briar sweater and tee sewing pattern / modern, practical and adaptable designs for stylish kidsIt took a very long time to develop this pattern. Partly because i’m fussy and i wanted all the details to be absolutely perfect, and also because this was our first line of childrens wear, so there was a lot to learn. Everything took a long time from developing our size charts, to developing the grade rules, to testing the fit.

We are really blessed to live in a very socialable neighborhood – my fit models were our neighbors and our children’s friends. I included as many children as possible, different ages and sizes and likes and dislikes. I really enjoyed this whole process because i was really able to talk to little girls about what they wanted to wear, and also the parents about how they like their children to dress. I took it all on board, and included as much as i could and tweaked everything constantly till everyone was happy.

This really has been the most satisfying development process, as i have loved seeing my girls and all of our friends wearing and enjoying the designs.

// VARIATION POTENTIAL //

Megan Nielsen Mini Briar sweater and tee sewing pattern / modern, practical and adaptable designs for stylish kids

You guys know how much i love packing variation potential into patterns, and this one is kind of the king. There are two lengths (cropped for full), two sleeve lengths (short or long), three neckline binding options, three appliques, two patch pockets and three elbow patch options. PHEW!

When i sew for myself I like to get as much use out of a pattern as i can. The more you use it, the better value it is! That’s still true for kids wear, except that they grow so quickly that I also want their clothing to grow with them, and last more than one season. Mini Briar fits the bill. There are so many possible variations that this single pattern can create an entire wardrobe of tees and sweaters… for years.

You can create cropped sweaters, longs sweaters, short sleeved crop tops, short sleeved tees, long sleeved tees, sleeveless tees … i could go on. And once you start adding all the other details, no two pieces will look the same. The base variations are great – but i also encourage you to try adding your own ideas and details!

Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing some awesome variation tutorials for this pattern so stay tuned!

// FIT //

Megan Nielsen Mini Briar sweater and tee sewing pattern / modern, practical and adaptable designs for stylish kids

As i mentioned before the release, i thought very carefully about i wanted to do childrens sizing. It’s important to me that clothing lasts beyond one season, so all of our designs include growing ease. The size you choose should last until your child’s measurements extend beyond their size bracket.

The Mini Briar specifically has a loose fit, which allows it to work equally well as a sweater or a tshirt. You’ll get a great result with sweatshirt knits, stable knits, jersey knits… you name it. Just keep in mind that i recommend a stretch percentage of 10-20% for the fabric you choose, so if you choose a fabric with significantly more stretch than this the pattern will work and will still look great, but it will drape more and fit more loosely. (If you need a little help with stretch percentage, check out this post)

The overall length of the pattern was something i really fussed over. Probably too much hehe. The long length is intended to extend beyond your childs bottom – this is a detail that is very important to me as my daughters tend to live in leggings and I like their bottoms to be covered :) For the cropped version, I wanted the length to looked cropped, but still be modest and not show any tummies. As you can see in the lookbook the crop top length should sit just below the belly button at the front and cover their waistband. At the back on the cropped version, the dipped hem is long enough to keep their backs warm and covered.

// ALTERATIONS// Megan Nielsen Mini Briar sweater and tee sewing pattern / modern, practical and adaptable designs for stylish kids

As with any pattern, you may find that you need to make alterations for your child’s specific needs. To extend the length of the pattern i recommend either slashing through the midsection, then spreading – or using the length of a size above. The same works for shortening the pattern, just use the length for a smaller size, or slash and overlap at the midsection.

If your childs measurements have them between sizes – say for example their waist has them as a 6/7 but their chest has them as a 4/5 – i always recommend choosing the larger size and allow them to grow into it. Having said that, if you do cut a size too small it shouldn’t be a big deal, as the loose fit of Mini Briar will mean that you’ll just end up with a slightly more fitted tee. I’ve found that trying to grade between sizes doesn’t yield results that are as good as simply cutting one size and going with it.

If you would prefer a straight hem, that’s easy! The centre front length is a good guide – just draw a line horizontally from the centre front to the side seams and make sure you match up with the back pattern piece. Easy!

// STYLING //Megan Nielsen Mini Briar sweater and tee sewing pattern / modern, practical and adaptable designs for stylish kids

I love styling! The thing i love about Briar is that the hi lo scooped hem means that it never looks boring and styling is a breeze. You almost can’t get it wrong. The cropped version is really amazing with the Mini Tania culottes or any skirt or high waisted shorts. The cropped sweater is wonderful with dresses as its warm without covering it up too much and hiding the lovely dress. You could still pair it with standard rise shorts, but in my experience most shorts sit closer to hip height and this can result in a gap between the crop top and the shorts which i don’t particularly love for my kids. The long version works beautifully with the Mini Virginia leggings, shorts or jeans. Having said that, my eldest still pairs her long tees and jumpers with skirts and dresses and they look fantastic.

// THOUGHTS //

Megan Nielsen Mini Briar sweater and tee sewing pattern / modern, practical and adaptable designs for stylish kids

So tell me what you think?! Do you love it as much as i do? The Mini Briar is available now in store in both paper format and PDF format, and don’t forget, the use of the Megan Nielsen Patterns app is free with all purchases.

If you have any questions at all about this new pattern let me know in the comments!

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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