travel kit bag

Before Liesl’s second book is released in September, I thought it would be nice to highlight a couple of patterns from her first book Little Things to Sew. Did you know that the book is available in French as well? Here it is: Petites choses à coudre: 20 accessoires et jouets classiques pour enfants.

Let’s talk about the Drawstring Bag pattern. We plan to run a little drawstring bag series through the end of August. So be sure to come back often to be inspired.

The drawstring bag is a fabulous pattern and has so many uses. You can make one as a lunch bag, ballerina bag, or knitting bag, for example.

Try adding a pocket on the outside, like an exposed welt pocket, some hexagon pockets, or an exterior pocket from an Oliver + S pattern.

As for the drawstrings, here is a post with tips on inserting drawstrings and here you find some drawstring ideas.

This is a beginner level sewing project that does not require a lot of fabric. You could easily find all of your supplies from your stash. If you are interested in sewing some for charity here is an organization that accepts drawstring bag donations.

During this series we will be sharing different ways in which the drawstring bag can be customized as well as the many different ways it could be used. Off we go!

Travel kit bag made from the Drawstring Bag pattern from Oliver + S Little Things to Sew

Summer is here and it’s time to go on a vacation. So today we’re going to focus on a travel idea – enter the travel kit bag. Also known as a road trip busy bag, these are filled with things for a long car trip, plane trip, etc. The drawstring bag is the perfect size for an activity book as well as several other items which can be customized to any age group.

The one shown here was sewn by Peta. Have a peek at another example.

Bon voyage!

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weekend links, post-father’s day edition

Hello everyone and happy Friday.

Liesl has family on our side of the Atlantic this month, and she’s been traveling to to see them. Last weekend she and S went to The Netherlands where they met two of Liesl’s sisters, her parents, and some cousins. They spent time in Amsterdam, and then they all went to visit the village their family came from.

Yesterday morning S left with her grandparents for the United States where she is going to spend the first part of her summer vacation, and now Liesl is flying off to Morocco (a place she’s always wanted to visit) with her sister for a few days.

I’m here in Madrid, estar de Rodriguez, so I’ve been drafted to write this week’s weekend links post. Sorry in advance to those of you who look forward to Fridays for Liesl’s fashion- and sewing-related picks. Today it’s all about me! (Well, every day is all about me around here, but it’s not often that I get to take over the blog too….)

A few weeks ago I bought a ticket to the bullfights in Madrid. There are corridas every day during the month surrounding the Festival of San Isidro in May. I didn’t really have much interest in bullfighting, per se, but I thought that I should go at least once to have the cultural experience while we are here.

Bullfighting is controversial in Spain. It has been banned in some parts of the country, and it is losing its audience as aging aficionados are not being replaced by younger ones. People have profound differences of opinion on bullfighting, and I don’t want to open a discussion on that topic by mentioning that I attended a bullfight. But I do want to share some photos from last Sunday’s Madrid bullfight to give you a taste for the artistry of the traditional costumes worn by the toreros. They really are spectacular. (All photos are by Juan Pelegrín, the official photographer of Las Ventas.)

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ten yoke tutorials

We all know and love the Hide-and-Seek and Cinema patterns for the fact that they do such a lovely job of highlighting a favorite fabric. Next time you sew one, why not try a fabric technique and showcase it on the front yoke? It’s a project that doesn’t require a lot of fabric as the pattern piece isn’t too big.

Oliver + S Yoke Tutorials

Let me introduce you to ten techniques/ideas you might be interested in using for the front yoke of the Oliver + S Hide-and-Seek Dress + Tunic or the Liesl + Co. Cinema Dress patterns. Get your creative on and have some fun!

Want to try your hand at fabric weaving? Our woven yoke tutorial will show you how to do just that. Starting out with a small scale project is a good way to begin.

2) Summer is here! That means it’s time for tie-dye. You all know that shibori is tie-dye for adults, right? Add visual texture and interest to a yoke with the art of shibori with our karamatsu shibori tutorial.

Oliver + S Hide-and-Seek Dress + Tunic

3) If you would like to switch the opening from the back to the front, do not fear we have a front placket tutorial for you.

4) Do you love making things with your ten fingers? I do, too. Try our popular sashiko embroidery tutorial for a pretty yoke.

Oliver + S Hide-and-Seek Dresses

5) Jump into sewing hands first. Slow down and enjoy some hand embroidery.

6) Try sewing the pattern up in knit and adding some lovely lace appliqué.

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tiered maxi dress

Today Wendy will generously show us how to make a tiered maxi dress using one of our free patterns–just in time for a gorgeous summer day! You can find Wendy on Instagram, Flickr, and Pinterest. Thanks for stopping by to share your tutorial Wendy!

The hot weather came on fast and furious this year on the West coast of Canada where I live, and suddenly there was an urgent need for comfy and fun dresses for my ever-growing six year old. These days my work schedule leaves me with not as much time as I’d like for sewing little frocks, but I’m reluctant to let go of the fun and satisfaction of making a quality garment from scratch and watching it being enjoyed all season.

Enter the Popover Sundress! It’s a blazingly fast sew, easy to wear and looks sweet in a variety of fabrics. I got the idea to alter it to make a tiered, ruffled maxi dress after seeing a few ready to wear kids maxi-dresses on-line, and also to satisfy my daughter’s current penchant for flounce. We’re both really pleased with the results and it’s become the go-to dress around here. If it’s not being worn it’s in the washing machine, and if it’s in the washing machine there’s often an anxious six year old with her nose to the glass waiting for the cycle to end. Obviously we could use a few of these on rotation!

Tiered Maxi dress using the Oliver + S Popover Sundress (free pattern)

I’ve since made a couple more and in this tutorial will walk you through the modifications that I made. The fabric I’ve chosen is Kaffe Fasset shot cotton, which is nice and breezy for summer and available in a great range of colours. Being cotton it washes well and one added bonus of this fabric, to me at least, is that it actually looks kind of awesome when it wrinkles.

You will need 2 yards of 44” wide fabric to make the largest version of this dress, which is an 8. The dress I’m working on is a size 7.

There is no need to print out the entire pattern, as you will only need the yoke and top 5” of the front/back pattern piece. To modify the front/back pattern piece, measure and mark 5” down from the centre and about 3 1/4” down from the side. Now join these marks by improvising a gentle curve. This will be the cut line for tier 1 of your dress.

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weekend links: tour de france edition


When Liesl mentioned that she’ll be traveling to southern France in August, it got me reminiscing about when I lived in France for a few years. I was fortunate to be able to explore most of the corners of France and I thought I’d offer my recommendations if you happen to find yourself in “The Hexagon” in the future.

France is ranked as the first tourist destination in the world and with good reason, every region offers something different, so there is something for everyone. Grab your passport and off we go!

I thoroughly enjoyed my self-guided tour of La Toile de Jouy Museum in Jouay-en-Josas, a western “suburb” of Paris. Inside this chateaux museum you can learn the history and view many examples of this quintessentially French fabric. (I’m positive you are familiar with these classic monochromatic prints of country scenes.) This past year they have been celebrating Oberkampf’s bicentennial. Wait for your return home to buy yardage of this famous fabric, as the boutique mostly sells items (at Parisian-style prices) made from these prints.

La Toile de Jouy Museum in Jouay-en-Josas

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The next time I’m in France I’d love to stop by the Christian Dior Museum in Granville. The museum is located at the designer’s childhood home which is pink. Obviously the color had an impact on him.

Pink Christian Dior quote

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Well it seems that pink houses are popular in Normandy. If you’re in that region why not visit another famous pink house? Drop by Claude Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny. Don’t forget to stop to smell the flowers as you stroll through his gardens (you just can’t experience the wonderful fragrance from the photos on the internet).

After a drive along the pretty pink granite coastline of northern Brittany, take a boat ride to travel to the picturesque Ile de Brehat, a small car-free island where you can get away from it all.

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road test: girl friday culottes

Today we have another visit from Shelley, our regular contributor from Down Under. She is here to share how she wears her Liesl + Co. Girl Friday Culottes that she sewed for herself. Take it away Shelley!

When Liesl wrote her Style File post about wide legged trousers, I was reminded that I’ve been conducting a long term road test of the Liesl + Co. Girl Friday Culottes. What better time to share my findings?

I made the Girl Friday Culottes back when the pattern was first released and I’ve worn them over two summers now, so I can truly say that they are just the easiest things to wear in almost every situation.

Liesl + Co. Girl Friday Culottes

Not sure that a pair of wide legged pants would fit with your lifestyle? Well, here are mine going through their paces in my “average urban mum” day. (I may, or may not, do these kind of activities every day (the bad yoga pose perhaps gives me away). But you might, and I’m here to show that you can, in the Girl Friday Culottes!)

A trip into the city with a visit to the art gallery? Sure.

Liesl + Co. Girl Friday Culottes

Yoga by the beach anyone? Forgive me for not trying a headstand, but I’ll bet you can imagine the culottes would have protected my modesty even if I’d forfeited all dignity!

Liesl + Co. Girl Friday Culottes

If you have to run errands, then why not team your culottes with a French market bag and some organic fruit and veg shopping.

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