size 5 project: swingset tunic + skirt

We are now at the fourth and final installment of the Size 5 Project. The idea behind the Size 5 Project is to make a child something from one or more of the original four Oliver + S patterns before they size out of them. We started out with the Puppet Show Shorts, then continued with the Tea Party Dress and Bubble Dress. Now we are ending with the Swingset Tunic + Skirt. Janice has a round-up for us right now. Here she is.


Oliver + S Swingset Skirt


Thanks so much for asking me to participate in this bittersweet project!

Let’s talk about the Swingset Tunic and Skirt today – a pattern I have owned since my early days of sewing with Oliver + S. I made two tops from this pattern:


Oliver + S Swingset Tunic


Oliver + S Swingset Tunic


And one modified dress:


Oliver + S Swingset Tunic modified into a dress


I can’t believe I’ve never made the skirt – as many times as I have drooled over ones in the Flickr pool.

One thing I noticed as I perused the Flickr group for inspiration is that most people don’t wear these two pieces as an outfit. That’s actually one of the beautiful things about Oliver + S patterns – the ability to mix and match between styles.

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a free month of creativebug!

We jut found out that our friends at Creativebug are offering a free Creative Pass. It’s an offer so good that we would be remiss if we didn’t share it with you.


Get one free month of Creativebug


Follow this link and when prompted enter promo code Summer2015. When you do, you’ll get free access to Creativebug until June 30, and they’ll even let you keep one class forever. For free!


photography 101: finding your spot

You all know our friend Sarvi, right? She’s one of the moderators over in the discussion forums. Well, she did a fantastic series on the blog last year about preserving patterns, which included several different methods: freezer paper, Swedish tracing paper, and carbon tracing paper. They were popular posts and you’ll want to be sure to check them out, if you haven’t already. This week she’s back with another series, but this time around it’s all about photography. Take it away Sarvi!

Hi folks! I’m hoping to keep this relatively short and sweet. I want to share some practical photography tips that will help you improve your images, so let me briefly explain what this post is meant to do. I know we all work hard on our sewing, and a big part of the fun is sharing that with our sewing friends. But since most of us are not professional photographers but just parents sewing for our kids (or metric equivalent–grandchildren, nieces, young friends), we often have to shoot in less than ideal conditions. If you’re indoors at night, with a rushed kid on her way out the door, or with no kid at all, and all you have is a cell phone or tablet, what’s going to save you is the work you’ve done in advance. And that’s what I’m going to talk about today: finding your spot.


Photography 101


Here are all the devices in my house that take photos. This photo was taken with my husband’s smartphone. There’s a DSLR, pocket digital camera, film camera, laptop, tablet, and smartphone. They all do the same thing.


Photography 101, cameras


They don’t actually take photos of subjects; they take photos of light. It’s the one rule of photography that rules everything else. So when you start setting up your spot, the little patch of your house that you identify and prep as your micro photo studio, the first thing you need to look at is light.

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field trip cargo pants sewn by matt chapple

Please join me in welcoming Matt Chapple to the blog today! If you’re as big of a fan of the Great British Sewing Bee as I am then you know who today’s guest is. But just in case you are unfamiliar, here’s a little background for you. The Great British Sewing Bee is a TV show where amateur sewers take on pattern, alteration, and made-to-measure challenges as they compete to be named Britain’s best home sewer. Matt participated in season three where the final contained one female and two males. In the end, it was Matt who was declared the winner and crowned Britain’s best amateur sewer!

Matt blogs along with his wife, Gemma at their creative lifestyle blog called Sew What’s New. Together they blog about sewing, baking, as well as crafting with their two children: daughter Evie and son Max. Matt just recently tested out his very first Oliver + S pattern! He sewed up a pair of super cool camouflage Field Trip Cargo Pants that he already posted about on his blog. He was kind enough to share it, here, too. He’ll be walking us through the pattern and telling us how the sewing went. Now I’ll hand it over to Matt.


Oliver + S Field Trip Cargo Pants sewn by Matt Chapple


I make a lot of garments for Gemma and Evie, and a few for myself, but I very rarely make stuff for Max.

There’s a couple of reasons for that, one because he grows a centimetre overnight, I’m sure of it. The other is that some very kind friends of ours, in the village, often donate to us a huge bag of fantastic boys clothes.

Anyway, I decided all that was to change when I had a look through my fabric stash and found some military camouflage material. I thought what could be more fitting for a pair of boys cargo trousers from Oliver + S. They have some really sweet kids patterns. In fact Evie and I are beginning to tackle some projects from their “Little Things to Sew” book; she loves it.


Oliver + S Field Trip Cargo Pants


I think this make has to be one of the cutest ones I’ve ever done.

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pinterest picks and other links

Last weekend at Quilt Market, Rachel and I finally got a chance to meet after working together for the past year. And can you believe we forgot to take a photo to commemorate the occasion? It’s always wonderful to catch up with friends at Market, but it was even better to spend time getting to know Rachel and hanging out with my sister, who also lives in the area. Thanks for the fun weekend, everyone! By the way, Rachel posted a whole bunch of photos of Oliver + S samples that she found as she wandered the show floor. It’s always a surprise and a treat to see our patterns show up in so many places!

Since I didn’t get a photo with Rachel, I’ll instead share this darling photo from the new issue of Stylo Magazine, which is especially vibrant and colorful with its High Fructose theme. Isn’t this adorable? Hide-and-Seek Tunic and Class Picnic Shorts sewn by Erin Maupin and Carol Chong, featuring fabric designed by Avril Loreti for Cloud 9.




If you’d like to see the rest of the issue (and why wouldn’t you?) you can find it right here. You might need to take it in gradually over the weekend; there’s a lot to absorb!

Ready for some Pinterest pick and weekend reading links? Here we go.

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my favorite pattern: katy from designs by bellabug

We welcome back Katy today. She was one of the contributors to our 2014 Flickr mosaics post at the beginning of this year. She’s returning to talk all about her favorite Oliver + S pattern. Great to have you here Katy!

Hi, I’m Katy and I blog over at Designs by BellaBug. I started sewing for my children in 2012 and quickly became enamoured by the Oliver + S brand. Relatively new to garment sewing as I was back then, I found great comfort (and still do!) in the simple, easy to follow instructions and the step by step diagrams that help you to make the most fabulous looking clothes. My brother still looks at me with a quizzical “You made this?” whenever he sees the girls in something from an Oliver + S pattern.


Oliver + S After School Pants


I own numerous Oliver + S patterns and while it is so hard to pick a favorite, I must confess that the After School Pants win me over every time.

The pants themselves are a slim fitting, pull on design, with an elasticated waist. The main leg piece is detailed with side panels, which can be made in a contrast fabric, and into the mix you can add two cute little pocket ruffles for the front and back.

They are a two scissor rated pattern and call upon your gathering, topstitching and hip/patch pocket making skills.

This was one of the first patterns I bought and I sewed the top up first, closely followed by the pants. I went clean and simple with my first pair. They were made from a soft peachskin fabric and I left off the ruffles.


Oliver + S After School Pants


The length is generous on these pants, usually I have to add something on, but these were perfect. The leg is a straight cut which gives a nice slim fit.

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