the monochrome project

Currently there’s a black and white challenge going on over in the discussion forums. Maybe you’d like to join in on the fun. Shelley is here to tell us all about it. Now I’ll hand it over to Shelley.


Black and white challenge using Oliver + S patterns


Most of the time I have many more ideas for sewing than I have time to sew. I’m sure that’s true for a lot of you. But perhaps sometimes you struggle for inspiration and feel you could make something, if only you knew what to make.

Then there are times when you sort of know what you want to make, but you throw an idea up on the Oliver + S forum because it’s always fun to hear everyone else’s ideas. Well that’s exactly what mcholley1 (@mcholley1) did when she needed inspiration for a recital dress for her daughter. Of course the idea took off, we all got carried away with the idea of sewing in black and white, and The Monochrome Project was born.

Have you sewn for your kids using only black and white? I was just about to start making my first ever monochrome dress for my daughter (a zebra ballerina dress by request) when the forum discussion began. It seemed the perfect time to have a sew-along and create some excitement about forgoing colour!

If you want to join in then sew your monochrome outfit and post a photo to the Oliver + S Flickr group or Instagram. Use the tag #oliverandsmonochrome so we can all find each other’s work and maybe have a round up at the end. Which is when? How about the end of the first week of October, let’s say, the 5th.

The classic recital dress follows the “rule” of solids, no patterned fabric, with a white top and black skirt. I knew Sarvi (@sarvi) had made some beautiful versions for her little violinist, so let’s start with the original idea, a recital dress:


Oliver + S dresses in black and white

1, 2, 3

Then I waded deep into the Flickr pool in search of monochrome treasure and boy did I find some wonderful outfits. Amazingly, I also found a huge variety of Oliver + S patterns sewn up in black and white. There are some patterns, the Roller Skate, Fairy Tale and Croquet Dresses in particular that seem to lend themselves well to monochromatic fabrics, but so many more have turned out beautifully when sewn up in only black and white.

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my favorite oliver + s pattern: janice from so-cal sewing mom

You remember our friend, Janice, right? She stopped by with her posts about her Flat S visit, the School Days Jacket sew-along, and customizing the Swingset pattern. Now she’s here to discuss her favorite Oliver + S pattern. Take it away Janice.


Oliver + S 2 + 2 Blouse


Hi everyone! Today I’m talking about my favorite Oliver + S pattern.

So, how does one choose? It’s kind of like choosing your favorite child – those of you who have multiple children will understand me. I have four kids – on any given day, my “favorite” changes…. You know, depending on a lot of things – like who actually took out the recycling without being asked….

To decide on my favorite Oliver + S pattern, I delved into the recesses of my Flickr photostream. I started sewing with Oliver + S in the summer of 2011 when my daughter was about 18 months old. One of the first Oliver + S patterns that struck me was the 2 + 2 Blouse. I made my first one in August of 2011 but tragically, I have no adorable modeled photo….


Oliver + S 2 + 2 Blouse


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faux layered long sleeve t-shirt

Brittney visited last week with with her knit romper tutorial. She’s back already with how to do a faux layered long sleeve t-shirt. By following her quick and easy steps, you can create one, too. Thanks for stopping by to share your tutorial Brittney!


Oliver + S School Bus T-shirt with faux layered long sleeves


Today I am going to show you how to make a faux layered sleeve. I am using the School Bus T-shirt, but it would work just as well with the Women’s or Men’s Metro T-shirt, or the Field Trip Raglan T-shirt.

Off we go!

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inspiration: lace

Today it’s all about lace. Lace is a textile that has been described as ‘holes surrounded with thread’. But that doesn’t sound very pretty now does it? When really it’s a very delicate type of fabric that can produce gorgeous results. Garments can have just a little touch of lace with a little bit of lace trim or an entire dress can be made in lace. One great thing about lace is that it does not ravel, so you don’t need to worry about finishing any raw edges. Another bonus is that many come with a finished edge, so hemming isn’t always necessary. Also lace is in style every season, so you can sew with it all year round. I’ve gathered all sorts of inspiration to get you sewing in lace. Enjoy!

1) First up, how gorgeous is this dress!?! Recreate a similar look by adding some lace appliqué to a Rollerskate Dress.


Lace applique on an Oliver + S Rollerskate Dress


2) Turn the Field Trip Raglan T-shirt into a sweatshirt like this with a strip of lace down the center front.


Strip of lace down the center of an Oliver + S Field Trip Raglan T-shirt

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knit romper

Brittney has stopped by in the past with her Fox Playtime dress and Rapunzel Fairy Tale dress. Now she has taken a couple of Oliver + S patterns and mixed them together to create this adorable knit romper. Why didn’t I think of that? Here is her tutorial. Enjoy!

Today I am going to show you how to combine the School Bus T-shirt and the Tea Party Playsuit to make a knit romper. It works just as well with the Field Trip Raglan, and you will use the same method to make the pattern pieces.


Knit romper tutorial


First, decide if you want a baggy fit or a tighter fit. For a baggier fit, use the same size for the Playsuit as the Tee. For a slimmer fit, use a size smaller for the Playsuit and the size your child measures into for the tee. For example, I used the 18 month size for both of my pattern pieces as that’s what my son measures into.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

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weekend links

Hello, friends! Wow, yet another week has flown by! Yesterday the shippers came to pack up all the equipment we’re taking to Spain. It was fascinating to see how they packed up the dress forms especially. Once we had removed all the appendages from Fiona (as S has named my women’s dress form), they wrapped her in bubble wrap and covered her with corrugated cardboard and lots of packing tape, and she looked nothing like her usual self, as you can see from the photo below. One of the guys said she looks like a giant “We’re No. 1” finger. He’s right. I hope she survives her long cruise. We’ll see her sometime in October. Can I survive for two months without all my sewing equipment?


dress form shipped


Tonight we’re headed to Colorado to spend a week vacationing with my family before our big departure. I’m looking forward to some time relaxing and hiking and enjoying time with everyone. I’ll be sure to check in on Instagram while we’re away. What are your plans for the week?

Pinterest Picks

Last weekend we visited a few of our favorite museums for the last time before we move to Madrid. We said goodbye to the Degas dancer, which reminded me of this darling photo.

aug 14 apinterest link

We’re about to paint the bedroom for the first time in about 15 years (no exaggeration–I really liked the color we had, but now we need to patch up some nail holes), so I dug up this photo from Design Sponge. This is my favorite sneak peek of all time for its subtle, sophisticated palette and decor. I think I’ve chosen a pale gray for our walls: Benjamin Moore wickham gray or harbor gray are my top choices for now, although I do love these creamy walls.


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Isn’t this an interesting sleeve? I love the architectural shape, which remains feminine despite the strong structural elements.

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Such a cutie.

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This tile could inspire a really interesting quilt block, don’t you think?

aug 14 epinterest link


Weekend Reading (and Looking)

  1. For a kid who says she doesn’t like to visit museums, S doesn’t always act like t. When Todd asked her where she’d like to live in Madrid, she didn’t hesitate for a second. “Near the Prado,” was her answer. And yesterday I found her touring the Uffizi, which is rather fun to do on-line, especially since you can explore it from your sofa!
  2. Have you ever fantasized of starting your own country? Here’s a story about a man who is doing just that. He’s named it Liberland.
  3. The story of the world’s finest woven Panama hat. Amazing.
  4. Whether you work in a creative job or not, we’re all creatives in some capacity or another. I thought this piece on the three fears all creatives face was really insightful and also a lot of fun.
  5. You know how I’m always saying that people make snap judgements about you based on your appearance? As it turns out, we make a lot of snap judgements about each other. Seven of them, in fact.

Be well! And have a great weekend.


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