outdoor ready: hiking shirts

Today we are excited to introduce a new series on the blog called Outdoor Ready. Let me introduce you to its creator, Ashley. She is a mother of two and an outdoor enthusiast living in Northern California (home to some of the most spectacular outdoor adventures on earth). She is kicking off the series with hiking shirts. Take it away Ashley.


Oliver + S Sketchbook Shirts


Hello everyone! We are more than halfway through summer vacation, which means that camping, hiking, boating, and all sorts of other outdoor activities are well underway. Just this spring, my own kids turned three and four, and after some backyard camp outs, the time had come for the real deal. Our first hiking/camping venture included a fair sampling of the great outdoors: poison oak, stinging nettle, mosquitoes, flies, dirt, mud, sand, rocks, thorns, salt and fresh water. In short, a raging success, but one that required no fewer than four complete wardrobe changes per child, just for an overnight trip! Every last article of clothing came back filthy, damp, torn and stained. I was determined to somehow streamline our outdoor adventure packing checklist as well as keep everyone as comfortable as possible on future trips.


Oliver + S Sketchbook Shirts


Oliver + S Sketchbook Shirts


It initially did not occur to me to attempt to make performance wear for my kids because I had no familiarity with or access to the fabrics. However, I happened to be organizing my patterns one day, and I noticed that several Oliver + S patterns are actually quite well suited for outdoor gear. The superior construction of the garments can stand up to all the great outdoors has to offer, if only created in the correct materials. After some research, field trips, and enlightening conversations, I’m happy to report that constructing your own active wear for your kids is fully within reach, and much easier than you might think. I want to share all the tips and tricks I’ve collected so you too can get your little ones outdoor ready!


Oliver + S Sketchbook Shirt


Oliver + S Sketchbook Shirt


First up, Sketchbook Shirts, hiking edition!

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color palette: pachyderm palette

Whether you spell it gray or grey, it’s a mix between black and white, so by definition gray is a neutral. Gray comes in many variations from light dove to dark charcoal. It’s effortless to style with gray because all colors go with it, making it easy to create several outfit combinations.

color palette: pachyderm paletteImage: Wikipedia. Fabrics: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

More gray inspiration can be found on Pinterest boards dedicated to the love of gray, see here, here, and here.

Do you use gray as a neutral in your wardrobe? Do you use it in your sewing?

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mapping the flat s tour

After hearing from Flat S again last week, and learning that she’s on her way back across the Atlantic (under duress this time), I started thinking about all the places she’s gone and the experiences she’s had in the year and a half since we sent her out on tour. And what a tour it’s been. So far, Flat S has made 14 stops and has traveled 43,170 miles!

I thought it would be fun to put together an overview of her travels thus far, so I created an interactive map that charts her journey stop by stop along the way.

Flat S Tour Map

You can click on the map above or on this link to interact with the map and see some highlights of her journey. As she makes additional stops, I’ll update the map so we have a complete record of where she’s been, who she’s visited, and what she’s seen.


introducing the in a clutch cosmetic case

Do you remember when we introduced you to the Road Trip Pattern Club? Well, today’s the day that our contribution becomes available to club members. Meet the new Straight Stitch Society In a Clutch Cosmetic Case.

In a Clutch Cosmetic Case

Have you ever reached into your handbag and found that you didn’t have one of your essentials? It’s no fun to have to make do in a clutch. Load up this pretty little cosmetic case, keep it in your bag, and you’ll never have to again. This cosmetic case can be made in three different, fun styles. Your finished case will look so lovely you may want to carry it as a clutch instead of tucking it away. And it’s quick and easy to sew, so it makes a perfect stash-busting gift.

In a Clutch Cosmetic Cases

This pattern is available now exclusively to Road Trip Pattern Club members who are receiving their copy today. It will be available for individual sales this coming fall.

It’s not to late to join the Road Trip. Sign up now, and you’ll receive this pattern, plus all already released patterns, as well as one more to come in August.


flip this croquet dress voting

Ashley and Emily over at Frances Suzanne are wrapping things up with the month long Croquet Dress Flip This Pattern competition. The four contestants shared their Croquet Dress flips all this week. Now Friday is here and it is time to vote. In case you missed the reveals over at the Frances Suzanne blog earlier this week, here they are.

Luna Blue by Bernadette from daisies and dresses.


Customized Oliver + S Croquet Dress

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flat s pays a visit to muskoka, ontario

Well, we’ve heard from her again, and it sounds like Flat S is really enjoying her summer break. And what a lucky little flat she is! She’s just paid a visit to a place that National Geographic recently called one of the ten best places to visit during the summer! She was hosted by Deb Adams and her family. Both Deb and her husband have spent summers in Muskoka (known as “cottage country”) since they were children. In fact, they met there one summer when she was 12 and he was 16. Eventually they bought their own cottage, and a few years ago when Deb’s husband was ready to wind down his career in advertising, they decided one weekend not to go back to the city. So they didn’t! Their cottage in Muskoka is now their home.

The Flat S Tour Logo

As luck would have it, Deb’s daughter, her husband, their kids, and some friends were visiting while Flat S was there, so Flat S had plenty of companions to play with. Deb reports that the children loved Flat S, although her dog Lucy wasn’t too sure what to make of her at first. And neither was a local deer. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s turn things over to Deb.

Driving on the highway heading north from Toronto, at about the two hour mark, one begins to observe large pink and grey chunks of the Canadian Shield protruding through the ground. Wooded areas become denser and clearings reveal diamond-speckled pristine lakes. Jet black ravens soar in the blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds. Tall white pines flank the highway. When you see that kind of landscape, you know you’ve arrived in Muskoka.

In the late 1800s the tranquil beauty of Muskoka made it a popular summer destination particularly for the wealthy from Toronto as well as Americans from Pittsburgh and New York.  Because roads weren’t built, the early cottagers would arrive by train in a little town called Gravenhurst.

Oh look! There’s Flat S arriving with her luggage at the station.

Flat S arrives

Then with their families, staff, household effects, and some even with livestock, they would board one of the steamships which would take them to their grand summer home on Lake Muskoka. The Segwun, one of the original ships, was built in 1887 and is the oldest operating steamship in North America. Today it plies the lakes for sightseeing, lunch, and dinner cruises.

Just like the summer cottagers at the turn of the 20th century, Flat S is ready to board the RMS Segwun and sail to her cottage destination.

S is ready to board the RMS Segwun

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