starting out with oliver + s: knit patterns

As promised, here is the third and final installment of the Starting Out with Oliver + S series. It’s meant to offer a bit of advice as to where to begin when learning how to sew garments with a sewing machine.

We started out talking about the girl patterns, then next moved on to the boy patterns–both of which only dealt with woven fabrics. But what about knit fabrics? That’s what we’re going to discuss today. We are focusing on just the one scissor level patterns, which are considered beginner.

First off before we even get to the list of knit patterns, would you like some help finding good knit fabrics? I would encourage you to read Liesl’s post About Knit Fabrics: What and Where? Additional posts that you might find helpful are Some Knit Fabric Basics and Tips for Sewing with Knit Fabrics.

Here is the list of suggestions for starting out with knit patterns. These are all Singles patterns which are digital-only and priced significantly lower than full Oliver + S patterns.


Oliver + S Playtime Leggings


1) Playtime Leggings
These leggings are super-fast, easy-to-sew, and have only one pattern piece (and was the first Oliver + S knit pattern that I sewed). It comes in sizes 6M-12. Lotta created this fun pair of Playtime Leggings saying that it was her first really successful knits project.


Oliver + S Playtime Leggings

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feature friday: care bear dresses for three

Here’s a happy and fun image for a Friday: three Care Bear-inspired dresses for three sweet little girls!


care bear inspired dresses


Harmony of the blog Sew in Harmony sewed these classic Care Bear dresses for her daughters.  She adapted the Tea Party Sundress and the Seashore Sundress, adding special details to hint at Cheer Bear, Funshine Bear, and Friend Bear while keeping them very wearable and so fun too!  You can see lots more detail in Harmony’s blog post right here.

Have a great weekend!

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introducing the liesl + co cinema dress sewing pattern

When we released the Oliver + S Hide-and-Seek Dress last season we heard from many of you who wanted to sew it for yourselves. Which is good, because I had wanted to make an adult version of that pattern! So here we are: the Liesl + Co. Cinema Dress, available in women’s sizes 0-20.




I love everything about this style. It’s relaxed, comfortable, and easy to wear, but it’s also feminine and flattering. The pattern includes all the features of the Hide-and-Seek Dress: front pockets with those cute welts, princess seams, a yoke that can be made from a contrasting fabric if desired, and three-quarter-length cuffed sleeves.

The new Cinema Dress pattern includes two dress lengths: View A hits just below the knee and View B is a longer, mid-calf length that’s so popular in fashion right now. Lengthen or shorten as needed. I’ve been adding about two inches to View B for myself (because I’m tall), and you could also shorten View A and wear it as a shorter mini-dress or even as a tunic for yet another great look.




One of the things I like about this dress is that it can be made in a wide variety of fabrics for different looks. If you’re partial to printed cottons, I’m especially fond of sateen for this style. But I used our printed Lisette twill for the version above and it worked great! I wore it all summer in linen and loved it, but for fall I’m planning to make another dress in washed silk, which I think will be really beautiful and flowy and very contemporary looking. I’m sort of obsessed with the idea of an indigo ikat, too. That may need to happen soon. Also, fine wale corduroy or a lightweight wool would be fantastic for winter.





This style has always reminded me of Frida Kahlo. Can you just see it with an embroidered yoke? As you already know from the Hide-and-Seek Dress, this pattern is perfect for an embellished or contrast yoke. It has a little bit of that huipil feeling, don’t you agree? I also really like that it’s a seasonless style. I’ll absolutely be wearing this all fall and winter!

As with many of our women’s styles, I’ve included instructions for a full-bust adjustment to help you with fitting this style. And the princess seams will help a lot, too. It’s so easy to take in a little here and let out a little there when you have princess seams to help you.





I know you like ideas for styling your sewing, so I’ve been assembling lots ideas on my on Pinterest for you. I’ll continue adding ideas there, and I’ll add be styling ideas for our other upcoming patterns as well.





You can see many more ideas, and sources for all these photos, on my Liesl + Co. pattern styling ideas Pinterest board.

Personally, I wore this dress with sandals of all sorts this summer: really flat sandals for a casual look and sandals with heels for a more dressy approach. This fall and winter I’ll be wearing it with my short boots and maybe with taller boots when the weather turns really cold. You don’t need a lot of accessories with this dress–it holds its own really well–but I like to wear a bold cuff bracelet or a longer necklace. It will be great with a long drapey cardigan when the weather calls for one. Or a scarf. Big fan of the scarf, here.

How are you planning to sew this dress? I seriously can’t wait to see!

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customizing the library dress: knit fabric

Today we are happy to welcome Melissa. She recently sewed up a Library Dress using knit fabric and has graciously put together a tutorial so we can all learn how to make one, too. Thanks so much for being here Melissa!

As part of the Knock It Off series hosted by Elegance and Elephants, I decided to re-create a knit Tea Collection dress. It was one of our go-to day care dresses last winter. I used the Library Dress pattern as my starting point since it is similar in appearance. I love that there are no closures on this knit dress – that’s always my least favorite part of sewing (and buttons and cranky toddlers really don’t mix).


Customized Oliver + S Library Dress in knit fabric


For all of my dresses I used a medium weight cotton jersey or jersey blend. I started one with a lighter weight knit and realized right away that it would not hold its shape for this style. I used Art Gallery knits for the pink and light blue dress and cannot recommend them enough. They are soft, stretchy (but not too stretchy), hold their shape well, and are not too thick. I squeezed a full dress out of a half-yard and still have some scraps left for another project. The pink dress is made with Ripples Rose from the Emmy Grace collection by Bari J. and the light blue dress is Frilly Flutters from Bonnie Christine’s Winged collection.

The first time I made the dress, I went down one size. My daughter is a small 2T and I used 12-18M. That was still too big for her tiny upper body. The next time, I went down a size and took in the sides a little more, and it still wasn’t right. The third time, I went down two sizes and was really happy with the results. They are all wearble and cute on her;  it’s just a personal preference on the fit. I wanted the bodice to be snug.


Customized Oliver + S Library Dresses in knit fabric
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fall 2014 liesl + co patterns coming soon

I know many of you have been eagerly awaiting an announcement of our fall pattern release. As we mentioned in our last newsletter (you do subscribe to that, don’t you?), we’re doing things a bit differently this year. We figured why not give something new a try?

Over the next four weeks, we’ll be debuting four new Liesl + Co patterns. We’ll release one pattern on each of the next four Thursdays, beginning this week. And then we’ll release our new fall-winter Oliver + S patterns during the second half of October.

I can hardly wait to show the new Liesl + Co patterns to you! I’m very pleased with how they turned out. I’ve had the pleasure of wearing these new styles all summer, so I can guarantee that they’re comfortable and can be styled in a variety of ways. I think you’ll get a lot of wear and enjoyment out of them.

By way of introduction, I thought it would be nice to tell you a bit about the inspiration behind the collection. I know many of you like to get a behind-the-scenes peek, so I’ve been posting little hints on Instagram and taking lots of photos of the development process, which I usually forget to do.




This season I was inspired by movement and by how it’s affected by ability and disability. Right around the time I was really starting to design this collection, we shared a table at a benefit dinner with a well-known ballet dancer and with a dear and very talented friend who has spent her adult life living with a severe disability. As it turns out, the dancer, Wendy Whelan, was just returning to the stage after an injury and the resulting surgery that prevented her from dancing for almost a year.

All of this started me thinking about movement and how it relates to clothing. (Because, really, when am I not thinking about clothing?)  I had recently read Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress which is about Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe and personal effects, and I was inspired by the book. Kahlo spent much of her life in unspeakable pain after a terrible accident. But she was also well-known for her personal style, and she’s inspired many people as a style icon. I was especially struck by a quote in which she said, effectively, that her colorful clothes and vibrant style drew attention away from her disability. (I wish I could locate the quote for you. If anyone has it, please let me know!)


self portrait in a velvet dress


So I was thinking about both movement and disability as I was developing these styles. You’ll see that we’re offering a variety of hem lengths this season, in part because I’m really in love with the longer (midi-) length right now but also because I was thinking about movement of the body and flow of the fabric as I was working on these styles. I was also thinking about Kahlo’s wardrobe, and you’ll probably be able to detect her influence in some of the styles. She wore longer skirts to hide her disability, while dancers sometimes wear longer skirts to emphasize their long legs and the beautiful lines they create as they move. It fascinates me that the same type of clothing can serve as either emphasis or as camouflage.

If you want to see more images from my mood board, I’ve pinned a lot of them here. I’ll tell you all about each of the new styles as we introduce them. Are you ready to sew for yourself? I hope so!

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flat s visits barcelona

When last we heard from Flat S, she had been kidnapped by pirates who were setting out across the Atlantic to points unknown.

The Flat S Tour Logo

Shortly after that post was published, a message in a bottle washed up along shore in the East River near our apartment. It was from the pirates, and it contained a ransom demand. In exchange for a small selection of patterns and some yardage from past Oliver + S fabric collections, they would turn her over to us when they made landfall in Spain sometime in August. We immediately pulled together the ransom, packed our bags (including a change of clothing for Flat S because she had been wearing that poor Family Reunion Dress for more than a year), and booked a flight to Barcelona.

Upon our arrival, we were given instructions for making a dead drop of the ransom payment. We did as instructed, and the next day, Flat S slid through the mail slot of the apartment where we were staying. It was great to see her again after a year and a half! We decided that as long as we were all together in Barcelona, we might as well see some sights and get some work done. And Flat S got to tag along.

We started our time together by doing some sightseeing. Flat S joined us for a day of walking around Montjuïc. The hill was walking distance from our apartment, so we went on foot and stopped at Plaça d’Espanya on the way.

Plaça d'Espanya

Before heading up the hill, we stopped to see the reproduction of the German Pavilion designed by Mies van der Rohe for the famous 1929 International Exhibition held in this area. This building is seen as one of the first examples of modernist architecture to be realized, and it introduced the world to a new way of thinking about building and using space.

Mies Pavilion

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