my favorite oliver + s pattern: brittney from sewing for four (plus one!)

Today we are delighted to welcome back Brittney who blogs at Sewing for four (plus one!). You remember Brittney, right? She recently stopped by to kick off the size 5 project with a puppet show shorts round-up and sew-along. Brittney is with us today to tell us all about her favorite Oliver + S pattern.

I, like I am sure most of you, have a hard time choosing a favorite Oliver + S pattern. Each one is so perfect in its own right, and every time I sew one I think to myself, “This is my favorite one. I want to make a hundred.”

Turns out, with the Field Trip pattern I am well on my way there. I was rather surprised when I counted and there were 34 completed shirts, three pants, and one pair of shorts. Not to mention the two shirts and two shorts cut out and waiting for me to find the time to complete. This pattern has become an absolute staple in my kids wardrobe.


Oliver + S Field Trip Raglan T-shirt


I bought the Field Trip Cargo Pants + Raglan T-shirt the second it was released, okay, maybe just the day, because I was so excited to be able to sew something I knew my boy (only one at the time) would love. At the time, I was struggling with making things for him because it was just so much easier and more fun to sew pretty things for my girls. So, it became a challenge. He always has been my most grateful and excited child I sew for. He would wear mama mades every day of the week if he could. It is really sweet.

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flat s travels through spain

When we last saw Flat S, she was sitting by the swimming pool, enjoying the Spanish summer sun along the coast of the Mediterranean. It’s been a while since we’ve had an update on her whereabouts, but that’s because she has been too busy to write.

It turns out that Flat S has been taking a months-long road trip vacation all over Spain. (That lucky girl!) She’s been driving around in an old Spanish car (and there’s something important about that jug on the roof too, but I forget what it is–comments, please, if you know) and stopping to visit sewists who are followers of the Spanish fabric store, Telaria. She’s even developed her own logo for the trip.




She has driven pretty much around the country and has seen all the sites Spain has to offer. This is a map of where she’s been since she last checked in with us.


Flat S tour of Spain


Flat S’s Spanish hostesses have been putting posts up on their blogs and writing in to Telaria with notes and photos documenting her stops. You can read about all of her adventures (and see more photos of her travels) on the Telaria blog. Rachel was kind enough to pull together a recap of Flat S’s adventuress for us so that we can catch up on what she’s been doing over the last several months. Click through to see a full blog post with details on what she did at each of her stops!

Flat S’s first stop after Barcelona was Benidorm, a touristy city on the Mediterranean coast. Flat S spent her days at the beach accompanied by Charo and her husband, along with many thousands of tourists that make this city alive and colorful.


Flat S in Spain

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introducing the cappuccino dress + tunic sew-along

Who’s up for a Cappuccino Dress + Tunic sew-along? We hope you will join us next week when we will be hosting one. This pattern was very well received when it was released almost a year ago. The flattering v-neckline, those cool almost-hidden inseam pockets, and the loose fit are all very appealing.

Today we’re introducing the sew-along. We’ll cover the fabric and supplies you’ll need to make your dress or tunic. There’s also a little photo round-up to offer a bit of inspiration. After that, you’ll have some time to buy your pattern and all of the supplies you might need before we kick off the project. You can sew a little each day, or the posts will be up indefinitely if you decide that you want to sew your dress or tunic at a later date.


Cappuccino Sewalong


Cappuccino Dress + Tunic Description

This easy-going pullover can be made in two lengths—as a tunic or dress. Both styles feature a flattering V-neck and crossover neckband with a softly gathered front detail and options for either a kimono-style short sleeve or a three-quarter-length sleeve with contrast cuff. The dress includes unique on-seam pockets in a flattering curved seam.

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pinterest picks and other links

This week I attended a screening of a documentary about the construction of a Dior couture gown, which was amazing to see! The film was originally commissioned as part of an exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum, and a crew filmed the entire making of a dress from start to finish. The design was from Galliano’s last collection for Dior, and all during the film I kept wishing I could stop the progress and get closer to the action to see exactly what the tailors and petites mains were doing at each step along the way. It’s such an incredible, painstaking process to construct a couture garment. This dress took over 500 hours and 166 metres (181 yards) of silk faille and tulle to construct. But to see the amount of labor and dedication involved really gave me a new understanding of couture. Here’s an image of the finished dress, which is named Passage #5.


galliano for dior spring 2011photo from


Sadly, the complete film isn’t being shown to the general public. But here is a short version of the documentary.



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style and fabric inspiration: lisette B6169 dress

I’ve always felt that, as a designer, it’s my job to encourage you to try new things. And that includes encouraging you to try clothing shapes and silhouettes that you might not otherwise consider for yourself. I mentioned this in my Ask Me post last week, and I’ll address it more in the months to come.

Even if you think you know what looks good on your body, keep an open mind for now, OK? I promise you that if you do your horizons will be expanded, you’ll have a whole new set of silhouettes available to you, and you’ll ask yourself, “Why didn’t I try this sooner?”

Many women seem to think that dresses without a defined waist are “shapeless” and that they shouldn’t be worn by anyone except the ultra-slim. That’s absolutely not the case! I’m on a crusade this year to educate women who sew for themselves that they can wear styles other than 1950s-inspired dresses with a fitted bodice and defined waist. And I’m starting that crusade with one of our newest Lisette styles–the dress included in Butterick B6169.




This style is a relaxed dress designed for drapey fabrics like silk and rayon. It includes kimono sleeves (no set-in sleeves!) and an oversized but very slimming silhouette that’s popular right now. This pattern can be sewn with or without the included sash, which is shirred and attaches at the center back. You could also shorten the pattern to make a cute tunic or top, as I’ll show you.

A few things that I like about this style: it’s extremely easy to fit due to the built-in ease. This ease includes gathers at the yoke which gives the dress design ease and also leaves extra room at the bust for women who need it, but it’s not too much fabric that it will overwhelm a smaller-busted woman. The princess seams will allow you to customize the fit as needed, since princess seams are the easiest to adjust for a good fit. And who can resist pockets in a dress? They’re practically invisible on this one, which I love.

Here are some styling ideas that I’ve assembled for you.


B-6169 mosaic 1

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customizing with oliver + s: upcycled sweater mittens from little things to sew

Spring comes to us at such different times. For some, flowers are blooming, but a large portion of the US and Canada are currently buried in snow!  If you’re still in winter (or heading into it – I’m not forgetting you Aussies!) and your family’s poor worn mittens have turned into orphans, today is a day to be happy you can sew!  The creative and talented Jane from Buzzmills is here with a tutorial to make brand new cozy mittens with materials in your upcycle pile–truly the perfect snowed-in project.

The calendar may say that spring is only a month away, but for many, frigid temps and snow are still quite prevalent!  We are some of those folks.  Both of my kids were in desperate need of some new mittens to keep the cold and wind out and their hands nice and toasty warm, so a couple of weeks ago I sewed them each up a pair of new mittens using the Mittens pattern from Little Things To Sew.


little things to sew upcycled sweater mitten tutorial


While I love this pattern, I made a few changes to make them suit our needs a little bit better.

These mittens were made using upcycled sweaters and are lined with fleece.  They have an added cuff made from cotton ribbing.  I love the little changes and so did Kristin and Liesl, so they asked if I would share how I made them here.


little things to sew upcycled sweater mitten tutorial


The mittens I made initially (pictured above), were just partially lined with fleece, only on the top part.  Since the undersides of the mittens were made with a thick felted wool sweater, I worried that lining the mittens would make them too bulky and difficult to grasp with. If you are using a more lightweight sweater, I would recommend underlining all pieces with fleece as I did in the tutorial to follow.

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