The Kea Top takes its inspiration from the endangered alpine parrot, native to New Zealand. Kea are cheeky, clever, and they adapt to the harsh four seasons that the mountains give them each year.
We know this evergreen pattern will be a wardrobe favourite for your little one as it travels and adapts with her throughout the seasons.
The Kea Top is a feature or layering piece in your child’s wardrobe (paired with the Tui Pinafore, hello!). With Peter Pan or Pussy Bow collar versions, and short or long sleeves you can create a garment for any season and occasion.
The timeless design of the Peter Pan and Pussy Bow collars hint to vintage charm, whilst the clean and simple lines of the design will have you creating modern tops that look effortlessly beautiful.
The full photo tutorial will walk you step by step through the construction and sewing of this top. It’s a pleasure to sew (and a little bit addictive!)
- Instant PDF digital download
- Children’s sizes 1-10
- 3 collar options (Peter Pan, Pussy Bow, or no collar)
- 2 sleeve lengths (short and long)
- Internal facing for a professional finish
- Button and loop closure (no button holes!)
- PDF includes A4/Letter, A0/Copy shop version
- Pattern layers included for only printing which size you want
- Full tutorial, photos and support to help you create this top
The Kea Top has been designed with adventurous beginners in mind. The tutorial will walk you step by step through the process to create your own top and included full colour photographs and instructions.
Adventurous beginners will learn or practice new skills such as inserted sleeves, button and loop closure and neckline facings. If you have some previous experience in sewing and feel confident in giving these skills a go, you’ll enjoy this thorough tutorial which will walk you through the process step by step.
The more advanced will appreciate the professional finish of the pattern and the versatility of the Kea Top.
Main Fabric: Light – medium weight cotton, poly cotton, linen, rayon, Japanese lawn, chambray etc.
You may also like to use contrasting fabric for the collars or facing.
Peter Pan collar: If using light weight fabric for the collar, consider using iron on interfacing to strengthen it.
Pussy Bow collar: We especially recommend rayon, or other similar fabrics, for the bow to drape nicely.
Fit and Ease of the Kea Top:
The Kea Top pattern is perfect for all seasons and has been designed to be an evergreen pattern for your child’s wardrobe.
You’ll love the semi-fitted nature of the Kea Top. It has been created as a feature or layering garment, along with enough length to comfortably tuck into garments like the Tui Pinafore or Mānuka Skirt.
The pattern includes 2 sleeve lengths (short and long) and a sleeve adjustment guide has been included on the pattern piece for a custom length sleeve.
This pattern has been created using Standard American Measurements and the sizing might seem different to what you usually buy in stores. Therefore, use the size the chart says you are to fit the chest, and if required, lengthen or shorten the pattern as needed.
Fabric and Fit Chart:
Additional Notions Required:
- Co-ordinating sewing thread.
- Small piece of elastic (or a spare small hair tie)
- 1 x small button
- Scissors, pins, needle.
What You Get When You Purchase:
Digital file emailed and stored in your Below the Kōwhai account for future use. Includes files for pattern to print at home, A0 copy shop pattern and instructions.
These downloads will also be available in the “My Account + Downloads” section of this website when you are logged in. This is where the most updated version of your purchases will be and you can access it any time. In the future I may revise this pattern and slightly alter it. If you’re sewing in the future, check back for the latest version.
The digital pattern is 20 pages long in black and white, and can be printed on A4 or US Letter paper on your home computer and then assembled for use. You may want to only print which pages you need for your different styles, or choose which sizes to print using the “layers” feature when viewing the PDF.
You will also receive a comprehensive tutorial with instructions, photos and tips to guide you in your sewing of this garment. Please view this tutorial on your device or computer to save the trees, or if you must print, print in colour.
What’s a PDF?
A digital document viewable in Adobe Acrobat Reader (download for free here). You will be able to save, view and print these documents on your computer or device.
Returns and Support:
I am not able to offer returns on any purchase unless at some fault of my own, because this is a digital product and can be saved to your computer. Please choose carefully and make sure you are purchasing the correct pattern!
In lieu of returns I offer comprehensive online support to those who are sewing! You can contact me on Facebook, Instagram and email, and you can expect a prompt reply! I will endeavour to help you in any way I can.
So, what are you waiting for? Create your own beautiful Kea Top with this pattern and show off your creations!
This sewing pattern is by Sophie Laughton-Mutu. Sewists and children around the world have tested this pattern. Please leave a review, or pop over to our VIP Community on Facebook to show us a photo of your Kea Top!
This was such a joy of a top to make, and so many different options! Love how it is multi seasonal, and was quick to whip up. Love the detailed tutorial too.
Kathryn Denne –
I have made 2 kea’s and I can see a couple more in the future, probably long sleeve for winter. It is a great verstile pattern, one of mine I added length to so its more a tunic as I have a tunic and leggings girl. I made the first one out of a light plain weight demin and the second from a floaty floral. Both are quite different in how the sit but look great. This is a more fitted top that the pipi so if you like to allow a little room for growth and have a dancer like me then you might want to consider going up a size in the older children. It is definitely able to be sewn quickly as I made one in a couple of hours as I had a deadline.
Sally Stevens –
I love this top! It’s classic and simply beautiful. I adore the Peter Pan collar and really enjoyed developing my skills creating the pussy bow too. This top looks delightful on and my daughter is able to run and play in them without her movements being restricted. Love love love the top! Highly recommend! 💕💕💕
Great pattern, love the multi sleeve and neck line options…i like that I can customize it! Beginner freindly too. I’ve made 2 Kea tops and I love them! The peter pan collar is a fun opportunity to add a pop! Another wonderful BTK pattern!
Elegant and timeless! This top is everything I need for my girls’ handmade wardrobe! Loving the choice of long or short sleeves, and my personal favourite – the Peter Pan collar! My daughter LOVED how fancy the pussy bow collar made her feel! I can see myself making many many more of these 🙂
Loved sewing up this pattern for my girls, as with all BTK patterns the instructions are very clear and detailed which meant I could whip up a Kea while my daughter was sleeping. I’ve made three so far and knowing how easy they are to make and how great they look, this is going to be a staple in my girls‘ wardrobe for every season!
I’m so excited about the Kea Top. I tackled a few new techniques in this pattern, and with the detailed instructions it was a breeze and a pleasure!! This is such a satisfying sew, and the end result is just beautiful!
Absolutely love this top and cannot stop making them! I haven’t even tried the pussy bow top yet, I love the peter pan collared one so much I just keep making them!. Great for using up smaller amounts of fabric as it doesn’t take much (my girl is size 4) and as usual has a beautiful, tailored finish an d crystal clear instructions. Love love love!
Melissa Kelly (verified owner) –
I just finished making my first Kea top – this pattern is great. Easy to follow instructions and helpful pictures to lead you through the making process. I love that this pattern has different collar styles and sleeve lengths to choose from – it means I can make this top over and over again and each time it will be different. it is a great little staple of a pattern and I can picture the top working nicely with the pinafore and shorts patterns also by Below the Kowhai. The top literally took me a few hours to make and I now have the cutest little thing for my daughter to wear. Very rewarding.
hannahrose95 (verified owner) –
Really cute and easy pattern to follow! Love the simplicity of all the steps and photographed outlines on what to do. This took me under an hour to on my first try, I love that you can change up the tie, collar or sleeve length.
A basic blouse perfect for wearing and laying with all your favourite BTK sews. My favourite is absolutely the pussy bow but looking forward to making one with a Peter Pan collar. A wonderful tutorial that gives clear step by step instructions. Well worth investing in this pattern
Lauralee Golinski (verified owner) –
I loved sewing this little Kea top. I’m far from an experienced sewer but I found the instructions easy to follow and was so happy with the end result. I can’t wait to make more 😊
barbyline (verified owner) –
The Kea Top makes a darling blouse. I’ve made it twice, both times finishing with a beautiful product. The instructions are wonderfully easy to follow, and there are plenty of illustrations to even more completely understand. I love this pattern, it’s simply awesome! ❤️
Anna Cunningham (verified owner) –
Such a special wee garment, I made the collared version in a light white cotton for my lo’s 1st birthday outfit and it will be a treasured heirloom for the next generation. A simple wee sew that comes together looking way more tricky than it really is to make.