weekend links

Hello, friends! We just learned, last week, that I’ll be headed to Vicenza, Italy, to exhibit at the Abilmente Fair next weekend! I’m very excited, especially since I’ve never been to Italy and have heard that Vicenza is the most beautiful city there. (With apologies to all those other beautiful Italian cities–I mean, how does one choose?) In any case, I hope to have a little time to explore when I’m not at the show. Any suggestions for places I must go and restaurants that can’t be missed? I’d love your recommendations. It looks like Teatro Olimpico, below, needs to be on my short list.


oct 9 bpinterest link


At the show itself I’ll be sewing and chatting and generally hanging out, so if you go I really hope you’ll stop and introduce yourself. I’ll bring a small collection of patterns to sell and some other goodies to give away, and I’ll be sewing with my new Woodland Clearing fabrics so you can see them in person before they are available in stores.

What else? I’m going to try to finish my Gallery Dress in time to wear it to the show, but since we didn’t bring any samples along to Spain, I’m also trying to sew a few things to display. It’s going to be a few wild days of flying pins until I leave on Wednesday! Wish me luck. Sewing is slow going these days until the delivery of my tools arrives.

In the meantime, here are a few things I wanted to share with you.

Pinterest Links

While in Vicenza, I hope to find a fabric store or two, and I’ll be looking for fabric to make a skirt like this one. I’m dreaming of a wool or silk/wool blend, and I’ll use the Lisette 6224 A-line skirt pattern, maybe without the center pleat. The addition of a half-tie belt like this is a must and would be so easy to do. I love this length.


oct 9 apinterest link

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kid’s clothes week: october 2015

Did you know that Kid’s Clothes Week is coming up again soon? Meg is stopping by to tell us all about the next season. Take it away Meg.

If you love to sew kid’s clothes, I hope by now you’ve heard of Kid’s Clothes Week. KCW is a sewing challenge where you commit to sewing clothes for your kids one hour a day for seven days. It happens four times a year–once each season–and it’s super fun to sew along!


Kid's Clothes Week Oct 19-25


Each season we choose a theme and sew clothes based on that theme. You can of course choose to sew whatever you wish, but it is fun to narrow down your to sew list a bit–especially when you want to “sew all the things!” This fall’s theme is DISGUISE. Our amazing contributors have come up with a ton of ideas on how to use the theme: from disguises your kids can wear everyday to pockets disguised as kitten or sharks!


Kid's Clothes Week Oct 19-251. costumes for the dress up bin 2. costumes to wear everyday 3. hiding in plain sight 4. disguised details


Oliver + S patterns have always been a great starting point for good disguises. The patterns are simple enough to customize (or should I say costume-ise!) and durable enough to be worn over and over again. That can hardly be said for the super thin, super flimsy, and super pricey costumes you can buy. I chose a few of my favorite costume-ised Oliver + S pattern (pictured below). I love that some of them were even sewn during past KCWs!


Oliver + S inspiration for the KCW disguise theme1. skeleton fairy 2. evel knievel 3. madeline 4. sheriff woody 5. fox 6. snow white

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my favorite oliver + s pattern: melani aka sayiamyou

Today we are happy to welcome Melani to the blog. You may know her as sayiamyou on Flickr. She’s stopping by to share a bit about her favorite Oliver + S pattern. Thanks so much for being here Melani!

Hi everyone! I was invited to talk about my favorite Oliver + S pattern. There truly are so many that I love. In fact, I have yet to sew an Oliver + S pattern and not develop a love connection. But, looking back through all my sewing I can easily see which one has continued to grab my attention – the Swingset Tunic and Skirt pattern!


Oliver + S Swingset Tunic + Skirt


I first made the pattern for my daughter’s 2nd birthday. I paired the top with sailboat pants, and very quickly afterward made the skirt in a fun print to coordinate with a ready-to-wear top and denim Sunday Brunch Jacket. I’ve been hooked since sewing the first set. Each of these pieces is so much fun to sew, and coordinates perfectly with other clothing, either Oliver + S or ready-to-wear.

In spring, we have paired the tunic with jeans and a cardigan, or the skirt with a light jacket.


Oliver + S Swingset Tunic


Oliver + S Swingset Skirt and Sunday Brunch Jacket
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sew + tell: liesl’s lisette B6183 top

I’m finally catching up on all my personal sewing. It’s taken a while. And by a while, I mean about eight months since this fabric was cut out and ready to sew. But finished is finished, and I’m really happy with how it turned out!




Project details
Pattern: Lisette B6183
Fabric: Indian silk matka (or it may be tussah silk, I always forget the difference) with a Bemberg lining

Did the fabric work well?

Yes! I had a difficult time choosing fabric for this style. I wanted something with a little body and structure, but I didn’t want it to be too dressy. (I want to wear the top casually, which is generally my style.) I loved the raw silk, but because it’s a very nubby fabric I knew it would also need a lining, and the pattern isn’t written for a lining. But now that it’s finished, I love the fabric and am very happy I lined it.

Did you make any changes to the pattern?

Only the addition of the lining. And I think I added a couple of inches in length, which I usually do, but those are the only changes I made.

How did the sewing go?

I’d love to tell you how I went about lining it, but dealing with the zipper and zipper facing got a little tricky so I think it’s best to say that I did some hand sewing and a few fancy maneuvers to make it work. I’m sure there are easier ways to add a lining to this pattern, but when you’re moving to a new country and writing a book and developing a new fabric collection and designing a couple of pattern collections sometimes your brain isn’t as focused as it could be. All in all, it turned out fine. But it wasn’t the easiest construction to figure out, under the circumstances.

In any case, in these photos I’m wearing the top with my navy wool crepe Liesl + Co Girl Friday Culottes. The top is extremely comfortable and will transition well into fall and even winter, I think. And, of course, next spring I’ll wear it a lot. Obviously I’ll be pairing it with jeans (what don’t I wear with jeans?), but I’ll also wear it with my B6183 trousers. I mean, if I designed the two pieces to be worn together I should probably wear them together sometimes too. I like that I can wear the top as a casual style as well as a dressy piece.






I made sure to choose a really chunky zipper for the back opening of this blouse because it just seemed like the right touch for a somewhat fancy fabric. This zipper was designed for blue jeans and gives the top a little bit of an edge while rescuing it from becoming too precious, I think.




By the way, this pattern is sized for cups A, B, and C, so it’s really easy to fit. And the princes seams make it even easier. Have you tried it yet?

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living with plenty: slow fashion october

Over the years, I’ve gotten really good at packing. It helps that my dad travels a lot and has loads of experience packing for very long trips. When we traveled as a family we were never allowed to bring much; after all, there wasn’t enough room in the car for all five kids and a bunch of luggage. Dad used to tell me that when I got home from a trip I should evaluate the contents of my suitcase, notice what I didn’t really use or need, and keep that in mind the next time I traveled. Then Todd and I got married and started backpacking, which meant that every single thing we took along had to be carefully considered. We learned to pack as lightly as possible and to get by with the bare minimum. And now, when we travel, I can easily pack a month’s worth of outfits into a backpack or small suitcase, taking along just a few versatile, key pieces–with plenty of room left over for shoes!

Those key pieces comprise what we call a core wardrobe. The core wardrobe is really trendy right now–I see everyone talking about it now, and I’ve talked about it before as well. When I design clothing for sewing patterns, I think a lot about the core wardrobe. What are the pieces that you can wear over and over again, in a variety of ways, that will be really versatile and useful to you?

But when we started talking about moving abroad for a year or more, I was a little nervous about packing a core wardrobe idea with a much longer time frame in mind. Packing for a week or a month is relatively easy. Packing for a year seemed a little more challenging!


closetmy closet and wardrobe: including two drawers of workout gear!


In the end, however, it really wasn’t that different from packing for a month. I packed S and myself (Todd did his own packing) a core wardrobe for each season, with lots of cross-over between seasons. Plus, I knew that if we needed anything else I can certainly make or buy it. But though I really limited the number of clothes we brought along, we still have more than we need! Personally I brought 4 or 5 skirts, 2 pairs of jeans (which ended up being 3 because I needed something to wear on the plane), 4 trousers, culottes, 2 blazers, 2 jackets, 2 coats, 4 or 5 button-down shirts and blouses, 4 dresses, 4 or 5 sweaters, a bunch of short-and long-sleeves T-shirts, a lot of workout clothes (I was surprised at this category–but I do exercise a lot and actually wear all of them), and a selection of accessories like scarves and hats and shoes. (When we arrived I had 6 pairs of underwear, and then I found 2 more pairs hidden in the toes of my running shoes–do you do that when you pack?–so now I feel like I have more than enough.) Many of the items I brought are hand-made: lots of Gallery Tunics and Dresses, Maritime Tops, City Stroll Skirts, etc. Those items are my favorites because I’ve customize them precisely to my preferences. And they’re the most important items to me because they feel more personal.

But here’s the surprise: I really enjoying living with less! I was afraid I would miss the clothes that I left behind, and I’ll admit there are a few things I wish I had taken. (I wish I had packed fewer T-shirts and had instead brought the shawl that my Grandma wove, which is like a security blanket to me.) But on the whole, I find that it’s much easier to get dressed in the mornings now, I spend much less time taking care of my clothing, and I’m not getting tired of my clothes at all. In fact, it’s just like I’ve heard people say: having few clothes allows you to be more creative with the clothes that you have. Todd and S have both mentioned that they’re really preferring having less, too.

I’m making a conscious effort to keep my wardrobe small. I’m really motivated to keep it small, actually, so I’m not buying anything at all. I’m making a few items here and there that I know I’ll wear a lot, and I’m going to limit myself to the few hangers and drawers that I have so I’ll need to give away something if I make something new.

And this minimalist approach is working for our family in areas beyond clothing, too. We are renting a furnished apartment, but it’s minimally furnished. We have beds and tables and sofas and a whole bunch of Spanish books, and the kitchen has dishes, a few pans, a microwave, and silverware. But we don’t have a blender, a mixer, or almost any kitchen gadgets at all. We also don’t have a TV. We have just enough sheets and blankets and towels for each of us (we’ll need to get more so we can have guests). S brought just a few favorite toys and books. And we love it! We spend much less time cleaning and straightening. The apartment is always neat (or much neater, at least) and tidy, and when I do laundry I enjoy caring for the few items that we have. I’m realizing that we need far less than we actually own, even though I’m really careful to edit our belongings in our small NYC apartment. And I have a strong feeling that when we get home we’ll want to get rid of a lot of our belongings. We just own too much.

Right now I’m sewing a Gallery Dress out of fabric it took me ages to find: I had an image in my mind and couldn’t find exactly the right fabric to match, which happens to me a lot, actually. Now that I’ve found it I’m really taking my time making the dress, even though I’m eager to wear it. I’m making sure to sew everything just as well as I possibly can, using French seams and other little details so that when it’s finished I can really take pleasure in it and can wear it for a long time. I think that’s what Karen, of Fringe Association, was referring to when she proposed Slow Fashion October. (By the way, Karen has a lovely post today about week 2 of Slow Fashion October and featuring the Gallery Dress she’s sewn for herself.) It’s this idea of conscientious consumption. If you care to join in, you can do it on your own terms in whatever way you want. This week’s theme is Small, and I’m taking that them to heart with my small wardrobe. Which is still plenty big. Bigger than I need, really.


gallery-dressGallery Dress in progress


And that’s part of the reason that many of us sew, correct? We can make conscious decisions about what we make, where it comes from, etc. But Karen does a much better job of explaining it than I do.

Some links for you:

What do you think? Are there changes you want to make to how you buy or sew, how much you own, or other issues that this topic raises for you? Have you ever decided you have too much stuff? And have you considered joining Slow Fashion October?

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origami roses

Let me introduce you to Krista who lives in Finland. She created a lovely Roller Skate Dress embellished with origami roses. She was kind enough to take the time to stop by to show some of the steps she did in order to create the flowers. She’s also going to share a great resource for folding fabric flowers. Great to have you here Krista!

Hello everyone! I’m very excited to be here today sharing my first guest post ever. I’m going to tell you a little about fabric origami, which is such an interesting technique. As you all probably know ori (folding) gami (paper) is often associated with Japanese culture and it means the art of paper folding. But you can fold fabric too, and that’s what makes this technique very interesting to all of us sewing people. Fabric origami can be used separately on all kinds of sewing projects or you can just get inspired by the the shapes of origami and try to create a surface or structure that somehow imitates them. That however would be a whole other post, so let’s just concentrate on a single origami which you can use for instance to embellish your Oliver + S patterns, like I did.

I will give you a word of warning though: once you learn the basics of the folding technique you just want to learn more. It’s truly very addictive! On the other hand I’m sure we all have lots of small fabric scraps at home, and origami is just the perfect way to get rid of them and turn them into something beautiful.


Oliver + S Roller Skate Dress embellished with origami roses


My first experience with fabric origami took place fifteen years ago when I was on holiday in Florida. The world has changed a lot over the years and at that time buying books on the net wasn’t as easy as it is today. So one of my favorite things when going on holidays especially outside Finland was to visit local book stores and buy inspiring craft books. That’s how I found Rebecca Wat’s book Fantastic Fabric Folding. I was amazed by her beautiful quilting projects with the touch of fabric folding and occasionally tried even, making some of them here at home. But the essential step forward happened just this year when I finally had enough patience, peace and quiet (I have four kids) and understood how the folded roses were meant to be made. I totally fell in love and decided to decorate my youngest daughter’s dress with them.


Fantastic Fabric Folding by Rebecca Wat


Today you’ll get to see how I gave a really nice twist to the beautiful and classic Oliver + S Roller Skate Dress by using that same three-dimensional Folded Roses pattern from Wat’s book. I’m also going to give you some tips if you are a beginner in fabric folding and share some in progress pictures.


Oliver + S Roller Skate Dress embellished with origami roses

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