A Right of Passage…

After taking most of the summer off, I’ve been getting back into the swing of sewing and testing this fall,  and the Knoxville top is my latest project. I almost passed this one up, because I already own a couple other knot/twist patterns, but I’m so glad I didn’t, because that over sized cowl is everything (especially on the munchkin). As you can see, we’re all smiles in these photos…but 24 hours earlier, it was a VERY different story.

Women’s Knoxville

First up, some pattern details: there are two views for this pattern- the twist hem, and the knot, and I sewed one for each of us. For myself, I paired the bottom twist with a heavy mocha colored rib knit from JoAnns fabrics (that I resisted for a solid day before giving in once I committed to this project. New rule= all new fabric purchases must have immediate project plans. No matter how much they’re on sale.).


I snagged it for less than $5 a yard with my coupons, so I’m estimating that this part of the project cost me a whole $10. The bottom twist is the easier of the two views to construct, and is finished nicely per the instructions (I hate having messy insides!).

There is a little work to be done tucking in your serger tails, but other than that, it’s pretty smooth sailing. The cowl takes up quite a bit of fabric but is absolutely worth it if you have some to spare- and the low scoop means it’s nursing friendly and doesn’t feel result in a feeling of being strangled by the fabric.

The fit is nicely relaxed, and pairs well over leggings or jeans.

I tacked the hem of the twist so it wouldn’t be tempted to flip up, and recommend doing so.

Girl’s Knoxville

My daughter’s Knoxville top was made out of a scrap of pink floral double brushed poly I had in my stash. I love sewing for little people because they make such great scrap busters- unlike my older sons’ projects, which now rival my own in terms of yardage.

She has recently outgrown this cowl dress I made for her two years ago, and I was looking forward to creating another cowl neck for her- it’s so adorable to see a “mature” style on a little girl sometimes!

Her top is finished with the bottom knot- and if you’re planning on constructing this view, I highly recommend the video tutorial. It’s not overly complicated, but it does require some three dimensional fabric manipulation, and some testers struggled with t he process (including me!).

It’s all worth it in the end though- how adorable is that little detail?

Since this fabric came from my scrap pile, I’m registering it as $0….except for the $25 haircut it necessitated, and the extra hour frantically sewing hats.

The DIY Toddler Haircut…and a few hats!

Wait…what? Yes. As you may have guessed, while I was busy stitching up these tops, my daughter climbed onto a chair, got down the BIG KID scissors, and gave herself a new do.

It was a little…chucky doll-esque, with bald patches in front and back. People told me it was OK to cry, but to be completely honest, I didn’t want to cry. I wanted to scream. I was furious. My only little girl was just finally, after 3 years of excruciatingly slow hair growth, getting locks long enough to put in a ponytail, braid, or teeny-tiny ballet bun. And now they were gone.

It’s worth noting that she did all of this while her brothers sat next to her, on their computers working on schoolwork, blithely unaware of her activities, until I stormed back into the room and pointed out the carnage on the floor.

I immediately called our favorite hairdresser, and shared the gory story. She’s been with us since the boys were little, and I knew she’d understand my horror. I texted her pictures of the effect, and she assured me that this was totally fixable….but not for another 4 days. I panicked a little, knowing these photos were due, and decided it was high time I try to construct some hats.

Fortunately, the Brighton beanie is a pretty quick sew, and I had just the right shade of pink velvet and sweater knit scraps in my stash. I stashed her safely in front of Octonauts on the floor in front of me, and constructed a hat for each of us.

Both are from View B of the pattern- hers is lined with sweaterknit, while mine is velvet on both sides. I sewed up a “toddler” size for her, and a “big kid” size for me (I have a VERY small noggin).

Once I was done, and the steam had stopped coming out of my ears, it occurred to me that instead of crying for her lost hair, as I had expected, that my daughter was quite stoic. She was disturbed by my distress, but was actually quite proud of her ingenuity and her new look. What was awful to me, was, in fact, to her a statement of style and art. She didn’t regret it, and I knew I’d need to tread carefully to protect her feelings.

Fortunately, later the next evening we attended a local STEAM event, during which point she had an opportunity to do some activities with the college cosmetology department. As she set about painting her nails carefully with the provided paints, and critically evaluating the selection of face painting designs, she proudly explained how she had done her own hair.

And they reacted with JOY. It was like she found her kindred spirits- here were all these women and men who had not only done what she had done when they were little, but had continued doing it- albeit with more finesse over the years. They praised her, and I praised the Lord that He had changed my view on this situation.

My “Big Lesson” in Parenting:

So here’s my BIG LESSON on parenting this week:  Sometimes, being a parent to a child is more about the process of letting go of who you expected them to be, and embracing them for who they are. I’d love to say this is easy for me, but I had 11 years to dream of the little girl I was going to have.

While Sophia is a total joy most of the time, she is also her very own person- and it’s important that I embrace that, rather than projecting my vision of what she “should” be like. When we got home from the event, I took a minute to praise her artistic skills, and let her know that it was OK to want a new style for her hair, as long as we did it safely, with adult supervision. I let her know about the upcoming hair cut, not as a “fix”, but as an augment to her style- and she smiled a really big smile, and agreed to go.

So, friends, this is what we ended up with- the cutest pixie on the planet. I would NEVER have cut my daughters hair- at least for another 15 years or so. But I have to admit, she totally rocks this style, and her self esteem has gone up several notches as everyone has admired the new coiffure that she had a hand in creating. And that’s what this blog is about, right? Being yourself, feeling good about it, and being creative! I think she has some more adventures in mind for us too…just look at that face!

After the photo shoot she opened up her lunchbox to reveal an entire picnic she had packed for her brothers, so we sat alongside the path and enjoyed it, again taking moment to mentally appreciate not only her fierce independence, but also her kindness toward others, especially her brothers.

I’m incredibly grateful for the special time they have together while we homeschool, even if they aren’t “aware” of what each other is doing all the time…

Oh, and it was a good opportunity to “encourage” the boys to also get their hair trimmed up a bit (in their own style, of course!)


Well, friends, if you’ve made it this far, and have any other stories of child-led hair disasters, I’m all ears! Somehow, knowing I wasn’t alone in this struggle, is really helpful (that’s true about parenting as a whole isn’t it? We need the village!)

If you’re looking for the Women’s Knoxville, you can find it here.

The girl’s is available HERE, and the bundle is HERE (affiliate links- all proceeds go toward professional haircuts)

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  1. Karen on October 26, 2019 at 7:54 am

    My son goes with my husband to get his hair cut. But the barber always cuts it longer in the front.
    So when he came back from his haircut, he got the scissors out and chopped the front off!
    Nope, we did not go back to the barber. I had to straighten it up and live with it!

  2. Deb Scheid on October 26, 2019 at 9:42 am

    I always enjoy your posts. You are down to earth and honest. You make me smile.
    My wakeup call with my son happened when he was about 4. I had him in a sport every season because I just assumed that he was going to love and excel in sports like I did. One night in soccer he refused to participate any more. He wanted nothing to do with it. He didn’t care for sports and he had no interest. I was heart broken but I had to realize and embrace my son for his independence and for being himself and not what I or others expected him to be.
    He is growing into a very strong independent young man. I am very proud of him.

  3. Kelli on October 26, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Yup…I have a similar story. When my daughter was a toddler she had lovely white blond curls. I was dozing one afternoon when I was sick, and my son (around 5 at the time) thought he would do mom a favor and give his sister a haircut. He cut off one of her pigtails right at the base! We had to give her a bob also and the only saving grace was that her hair was curly enough to disguise the lopsided bare patch. Same thing, though…my son thought he was doing a solid, so I couldn’t be mad. At least he didn’t put her eye out with the scissors!!!

    • Sarah on October 27, 2019 at 9:10 pm

      Yes! I think at these times you’re smart to think about what you’re thankful for- that it could have been much worse!

  4. Hope B. on October 28, 2019 at 10:48 am

    I so enjoyed your blog post! And how you kept it real! I have 5 children ( fellow homeschool mom here!), 2 are girls, both at around 3 or 4 experimented with scissors and their hair. (They seem to find those moments when we are distracted!!)Fortunately not bad enough to require a hair cut, just enough to make fixing hair harder! Thinking I need to try the Knoxville, love the look of the knot!

    • Sarah on November 6, 2019 at 9:46 pm

      Thank you Hope! Always happy to hear from another homeschool mama!

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