introducing the butterfly blouse + skirt sewing pattern

The second of our new patterns for this season is the Butterfly Blouse +  Skirt. I thought we needed more separates for the girls. They get lots of cute dress patterns, but they also need sportswear items to round out their wardrobes. This outfit includes two cute little styles that will be perfect for spring and summer, and the skirt will be especially great for year-round wear.


Butterfly Blouse + Skirt Sewing Pattern


The top has a gentle A-line/trapeze shape that gives it a relaxed, breezy look. The pleated skirt is a pull-on style that will be extremely versatile for a wide variety of events and seasons.

The blouse can be sewn with either a sweet little flutter sleeve (View A) or a classic cap sleeve (View B), as modeled by these two little cuties.




The blouse features a back keyhole opening with button closure and a subtle peplum with gathers at the front. It’s a classic-looking style that still has a contemporary feeling, I think. This style feels a little bit like the Ice Cream Dress and the Roller Skate Dress, I think. It has that same simplicity, with style that allows the fabric to shine.

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introducing the parachute polo + sweatpants sewing pattern

I’m so pleased to finally introduce you to the spring Oliver + S patterns! We have two new styles this season, and many of you will be thrilled to discover that the first one is for boys as well as girls.

The Parachute Polo + Sweatpants pattern is packed with options. It includes pattern pieces for a boy’s polo shirt in both short and long sleeves as well as a girl’s polo shirt with short and long sleeves. And it includes some great sweatpants, too.


Parachute Polo + Sweatpants Sewing Pattern


What’s the difference between the girls’ and the boys’ polo shirts? The boys’ shirt is a little longer, and the sleeves are wider and less fitted. The girl’s style has a smaller armhole and a more fitted sleeve, and the short sleeve is shorter than the boy’s style, with a more feminine shape.

This pattern has lots of terrific details, too. The continuous inset woven button placket, one-piece woven collar, optional chest pocket, and side vents will give you a really professional-looking shirt when you’re done. And I think you’ll be surprised at how easy this is to sew, too!


MannequinShortPantsthe girl’s polo has a more fitted sleeve


MannequinShort3the side seam has a little vent for extra movement (and style!)

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what we learned from your feedback: part 1, paper vs. digital patterns

I have to make a confession. I’ve been remiss about something. At the end of last year, we asked you to take a survey for us. Over 1,500 of you completed it. For that, we’re very grateful. The part of the process where I dropped the ball was in sharing some of the things we learned. I’ll start fixing that today.

You were serious in proving feedback, and we were equally serious in reviewing it. Over the month of January, we put together a detailed analysis of your answers to our questions and a plan for responding to what we heard.

Now, I can’t say that we’re going to respond to every piece of feedback we received. And I may explain why in a future post. But today I want to address one of the topics that generated a lot of comment: paper vs. digital patterns.

This is a topic on which almost everyone who sews has an opinion. Some people love the convenience of digital patterns. (Immediate delivery with no shipping costs! No need to trace the pattern!) Others hate the idea of having to print and assemble a pattern. It’s always the most vocal who have their opinions heard in discussions on the topic, so I want to share with you what we learned about this from listening to over 1,500 dedicated sewists and from reviewing our sales numbers. The findings are quite interesting to us, and as a result of what we heard we’re making changes that you’ll see beginning next week.

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world’s largest textile garage sale

There is a unique event that takes place in my area called the World’s Largest Textile Garage Sale. For many fiber lovers it is the most thrilling annual event, and it raises funds for the MN Textile Center. Individuals and businesses donate mountains of unused or unwanted materials including fabric, yarn, threads, notions, kits, patterns, magazines, tools, beads, buttons, and even unfinished projects. It’s a fabric lover’s and bargain hunter’s paradise, and all of this material is diverted from the landfill or incinerator.


World's largest textile garage sale


This is such an affordable way for artists, students, and craft enthusiasts to purchase materials. The prices are already incredibly low, but then it gets even better when they hold a bag sale the last hour of the event where everything that can be stuffed into a paper shopping bag costs only $2. Then after that, all surplus materials go to schools and nonprofit organizations. They do a really good job of making this a zero waste event.

This year I was fortunate enough to get in while they were still setting up the sale, so today I’m taking you on a little field trip and showing you some of what I saw! Oh and by the way, when I visited they still had 24 hours left to put out the rest of the donations. There really is a ton of stuff (a total value of over $50,000). Here we go.

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animal inspiration

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Kids Clothes Week is coming up very soon (April 20-26) and this time around they have an optional wild things theme. KCW is a seasonal sewing challenge, where you commit to sewing kids clothes one hour per day for one week. It’s a community of hundreds of people sewing together everyday from all over the globe. Also, KCW is always a great motivator, just the push you need to start a new sewing project.

The kids you sew for, what are their favorite animals? It can be easy to add animals to Oliver + S patterns. I gathered up some inspiration so you can plan, go through your stash, and get all the needed supplies.

First up, I spotted these adorable ideas on Pinterest. Add fox knee patches to the Playtime Leggings or cat knee patches or an embroidered cat face with 3D ears.


Adding animals to Oliver + S patterns


You don’t have to look very far for animal inspiration. We’ve had quite a few tutorials in the past on the blog.


Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee with cat embroidered pocket
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sewing for dolls

Wondering what to do with all of those smaller pieces of fabric in your stash? Make doll-sized clothes out of them! One of the great things about sewing doll clothes is that such a little amount of fabric is required that you can squeeze them out of just a fat quarter or 1/4 yard of fabric. Maybe you have some fabric left over from a clothing item you sewed that special girl in your life, so now she can match with her favorite doll.

Oliver + S has four 18-inch doll projects that include two dresses and two skirts, most of which are free. One bonus is that these projects are quicker and easier to sew than child-sized items. They make perfect beginner projects and for those with more advanced skills, they become instant gratification projects.


Oliver + S 18-inch doll clothes patterns


1) The Popover Doll Dress s a loose-fitting, A-line sundress, featuring a contrast yoke with bias ties at the shoulder. It works great for girls who want to match their dolls as the pattern also comes in girls size 2-8. Would you like to sew along with Liesl? It is available as a Creativebug workshop.

2) This 18-inch doll skirt which can be made reversible, uses a pattern piece from the Reversible Bucket Hat.

3) Get a little fancy with the Onstage Tutu Doll Skirt which is a gathered elastic waist skirt with a layer of tulle on the exterior. For a detailed photo tutorial check out day 1 and day 2 of the Onstage Tutu Skirt sew-along.

4) You will find the Tea Party Doll Dress in the Little Things to Sew book. It is a miniature version of the Tea Party Sundress which is available in sizes birth-5.

Here are some examples from the Flickr group. What until you see these darling doll dresses! They are sure to inspire you to sew in miniature.

First up, we have several Tea Party Doll Dresses. KJ sewed new Easter dresses in two different coordinating versions.


Oliver + S Tea Party Doll Dresses

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