pinterest picks and links

Hello, friends! I hope you’ve had a good week. I’m in between big projects right now, which always leaves me feeling a bit unsettled. We’re about to embark on a couple of large projects that will take a lot of my attention, and I always feel a little anxious at the start of these big endeavors. I’ll be glad to get started on them very soon! But before that, we have spring Oliver + S patterns to launch in just a week or two, and I need to design the next collection of Lisette patterns. Lots of fun!

Yesterday we experienced quite a bit of excitement. Quick story: S and a few of her classmates are part of an after-school chorus at our neighborhood music school, and we parents take turns “car pooling” every week, meaning that we take turns picking up the girls from school and walking them to the music school a mile away. Yesterday it was my turn, and as our little cluster of walkers reached First Avenue at Seventh Street, just a few blocks away from our destination, we suddenly heard a huge explosion straight ahead of us. As it turns out, we were only one block away from the Second Avenue fire and building collapse. We were exiting the area as the police and fire fighters started to arrive. It was quite frightening for all of us; we could see the building with its missing facade and smoke pouring out, and as I frantically thought of ways to reassure the girls I remembered Mr. Rogers and his “look for the helpers” video. We talked about this for the remaining blocks of our walk: Mr. Rogers says that when tragedy strikes, look for the people who are helping and you’ll find hope. It worked. The presence of hundreds of New Yorkers and emergency workers was so reassuring, and I’m glad our girls are safe. There were some tearful reunions after chorus last evening.


the-cornerphoto credit


Whew! Anyway, I have lots of fun inspiration and reading for you this weekend!


Pinterest Picks

I showed this portable picnic case to S, and she really wants to make one next week during spring break. I think we may try it! Guess I’d better starting watching for discarded vintage briefcases and paint-by-number canvases.


mar 27 apinterest link

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style and fabric inspiration: lisette B6182 boxy top

Allow me introduce you to the other half of B6182! We talked about the A-line skirt a couple of weeks ago. This top is intended for drapey woven fabrics and is a little less structured than the B6183 princess seam top, with a more relaxed fit. All the shaping is accomplished though the center-front seam and darts, both of which allow you to adjust the fit as needed and also work as a fun design detail.




I’m really looking forward to sewing and wearing this one, which I just cut out using beautiful double gauze from Cotton and Steel. I think it’s going to be really comfortable to wear this summer. But there are so many directions you could take this pattern depending on your fabric and styling choices, ranging from dressy to very casual. Here are some ideas to get you started.



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spring dress inspiration

Goodbye winter, spring is here! I always look forward to the joy spring brings: birds chirping, flowers blooming, warmer temperatures, more daylight, more sunshine, and more energy. Some of the rites of spring are clean-up and rejuvenation. This past week I’ve been working on a huge spring cleaning project, cleaning out my sewing room. I removed most of the items that I reasonably could to get them out of the way. Then a friend came over to help with vacuuming, dusting, and washing the single south-facing window. It only took one hour. Now everything is bright, clean, and reorganized. I feel like there is a breath of new life in my sewing room and I am reinvigorated and ready to start some spring sewing. I’ve got my mind on at least a couple of pretty spring dresses to sew.

There are quite a few spring events that a new dress can be made for. Easter will be here before we know it. You can get the girls in your life set for the Easter bunny visit with some new Sunday best. Mother’s Day (in the US) is the second Sunday in May. How about a new dress for a Mother’s Day brunch at a nice restaurant? Or maybe you need to sew something suitable for a spring wedding?

Here are over a dozen dress ideas to help you catch spring fever to make unique one-of-a-kind hand made dresses. Enjoy!


Spring Dress Inspiration

Make a Library Dress like this sweet wrap-styled dress in a lovely lavender which is such a popular springtime color. Pair it with some cute matching t-bar shoes and an Easter hat or bonnet.

2. Sew a Roller Skate Dress in a playful border fabric similar to this super fun dress. She’ll love wearing this for whatever celebration is in store for the day!

3. How about a Hide-and-Seek Dress in yellow? It’s such a classic springtime color.

4. She will be so in style with this bright, eye catching solid colored garment. I think the Badminton Dress would be a good one to use to recreate this frock.

5. Try turning the Music Class Blouse into a dress in a small floral print in pastel colors for a softer, understated look.

6. There sure is a lot of flower power in this a-line dress! Try using the Pinwheel pattern for a similar look.

7. Have fun mixing small and large scale floral prints for a Playtime Dress.

8. This one would be gorgeous for a nighttime spring wedding. Create a fancy School Photo Dress by adding a little bling.

9. This metallic polka-dot dress is spot-on for all spring parties. Recreate it with the Ice Cream Dress, of course!

10. Keep it classic with a gorgeous dress in pastel colors. A timeless look for Easter, pastels exude plenty of vibrancy. Maybe use the Family Reunion pattern?

11. This fun frock would be perfect for a wedding or Mother’s day brunch at a fancy restaurant. Make it by using some amazing fabric and turning the Class Picnic Top into a dress.

12. What would spring be without pretty florals? Create a Fairy Tale Dress inspired by this vintage-style dress.

13. Most of the time, Easter egg hunts are held outdoors, so have the kids dress for the weather. And what would be better than this outfit for that event since it’s so comfortable and allows girls to move freely. You can use the Lunch Box Tee + Culottes pattern to recreate it.

14. Stitch a Puppet Show Dress to make her outfit as pretty as an Easter egg like this super cute one! It would be perfect for portraits taken on a visit with the Easter bunny.

Happy spring dress sewing!

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this week only, save 40% on paper patterns

In case you don’t subscribe to the Oliver + S newsletter (and why don’t you?), here’s some information you probably missed. From now through March 28 you’ll save 40% on Oliver + S paper patterns when you use coupon code MarchPaper at checkout.

All On Sale

Two new spring pattern collections will be arriving at the warehouse soon, and we need to make room for them. So help us out, will you? Give some of these wonderful paper patterns a good home.

Here’s the fine print: this discount is good on Oliver + S paper patterns only. Discount not applicable on past orders. Coupon code must be used at checkout for discount to be applied. Offer expires at 11:59 PM EDT on March 28, 2015.

And because I know we’ll get lots of emails about this, let’s see if we can head off the issue here. Digital pattern fans: this sale is limited to paper patterns because we need to make room in the warehouse, not because we don’t love you too. But it’s OK. You can buy a paper pattern once in a while. They work just as well as digital patterns. And you don’t even need a computer to use them!

You can find all the Oliver + S paper patterns that are on sale here. Happy shopping!

girls in white dresses

You may remember a few months ago when Melanie’s exquisite red Nutcracker Garden Party dress was featured here on the blog. Melanie, who blogs at Queen of the Flies, is visiting today to talk about working in white to create dresses for special occasions like a Christening, Baptism, First Communion, or for a flower girl in a wedding. There’s no reason to be afraid of white clothes for children. White washes up beautifully, and while it needs some extra construction steps, nothing is quite so charming and sweet as little girls in white dresses.


Customized Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress


My very favorite thing to sew is a little white dress. It’s the little girl counterpart to a woman’s little black dress: classic and suitable for so many childhood occasions. White is still the color of choice for important occasions like baptism, portraits, First Communion, graduation or your wedding day, but it can be carefree and casual too. I think maybe we all have a soft spot for girls in white dresses – blue satin sashes or not.


Oliver + S Roller Skate Dress with sash


Oliver + S Roller Skate Dress with sash


I relish the design challenge of working with just one color. To add interest to a white dress, I do what designers do in a white room: play with texture. There are endless possibilities with lace, tucks, pleats, embroidery, contrast, etc. The sheer quality of some white fabrics can itself be a textural element.

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customizing the fairy tale dress: adding box pleats

Easter is just around the corner. Do you have plans for sewing an Easter dress? If so, how about adding box pleats to the skirt of a Fairy Tale Dress? Shelley is here to tell us how to do just that. Take it away Shelley!

The inspiration for this dress and subsequent tutorial was a discussion in the forums about pleating the skirt of the Fairy Tale dress. The question about creating box pleats was posed by Sandra and she went on to sew a beautiful pleated version.


Adding box pleats to the Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress


The invisible zipper at the center back creates a problem for any pleats that continue around the back of the dress and the amazing Alexander McQueen dress that Sandra showed as her inspiration had me thinking….

If the skirt was to have two box pleats on each side, front and back, that would leave the center back clear for the zipper. I set to work with pen and paper and a tape measure. I worked out how deep I wanted my box pleats to be visually, calculated out the required skirt width and then got extremely lucky.


Adding box pleats to the Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress


After my fabric width was exactly what I needed, I had some further completely undeserved good fortune as my box pleats lined up almost perfectly with the bodice darts. That certainly wasn’t planned but it got me thinking that it should have been. So here’s all the number crunching that will hopefully achieve the same whether you’re sewing under lucky skies or cloudy ones.


Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress with box pleated skirt


Rather than just give you the numbers (which I will, I promise) I thought you might be interested in how I got there. That way, if you are planning just a single box pleat on a different pattern you’ll know how much width to add to your skirt piece. Sarvi emailed me with this exact mathematics question recently and it’s so much easier to explain with the help of some pictures!

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