weekend links, rachel edition

Hey there, and happy Friday! Liesl is in London this weekend for a short trip, so she wasn’t able to put together her usual weekend links. While Liesl is traveling I thought I’d share some of my recommendations for the weekend.

Although Fashion Revolution Week is now behind us for this year, I enjoyed all of the camaraderie. I was reminded that I really need to get around to mending my favorite pair of jeans that I’ve worn so much that they now have a hole in them. I’d like to try my hand at visible mending, on my jeans using Sashiko stitching like these done by Katrina Rodabaugh. I’ve been following her on Instagram and if you aren’t following her, you should be! She teaches workshops on visible mending, but unfortunately not in my area. So I’m secretly hoping Creativebug will invite her to make some video classes. Oh, and her “Slow Fashion is a Revolution” blog post is a must read!

Visible mending with Sashiko stitching on jeans

Pinterest link

Speaking of Sashiko I really want to get my hands on this book and find a fun Sashiko design to make something beautiful like Sara did here.

About a year or so ago my daughter started reading the Sew Zoey book series. The books are aimed at girls ages eight to twelve years old and the fourteenth book in the series just came out last month. Here’s the general idea of the whole book series: Zoey’s middle school drops the school uniform and Zoey goes clothes shopping and doesn’t find anything she likes. She then starts designing and sewing her own clothes, starts a sewing blog, opens an Etsy shop… Read all the cute book titles that they came up with.

Sew Zoey book series

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My daughter recently got this adorable LEGO Friends set which includes a sewing machine, scissors, camera, and laptop! The product description states: “Emma is sewing beautiful hair bows to sell on her e-shop. Check the sewing pattern on her whiteboard and use the sticky notes to add changes or new ideas. Then it’s time to get cutting, but which color will make the nicest bows? Get to work at the sewing machine to help Emma turn her designs into beautiful creations ready to buy—she just needs to take pictures and upload them to her website.” Be sure to watch the cute one minute video. All of this makes me think of the Felt Bows, free pattern and tutorial.

LEGO Friends set 41115

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first communion fairy tale dress

We’re delighted to welcome back Shea from Empty Bobbin Sewing Studio. You remember Shea, right? She stopped by at the end of last year with her wonderful Christmas dress tradition post. Today she is sharing a very unique white dress that she sewed for her daughter that will now become a special family heirloom. Now I’ll hand it over to Shea.

I’ve known for a few years now that when the time came for our oldest’s First Communion, I would make her dress. I didn’t know what style or fabric I’d use, but there was no question about it…. I would make it.

As I neared the dressmaking finish line, I told a friend, “It’s a good thing I only have one daughter. Because I think I only have one of these dresses in me!” And my friend very quickly winked and replied, “No, if Eleanor had a sister, they’d each wear it. And you’d call it a family heirloom.”

Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress with Library Dress sleeves

My mother still has the First Communion dress she and my aunt wore in the 1950s, along with my dress from the 80s (complete with drop waist and giant collar) and my sister’s from the 90s (hey there, flutter sleeves!). We made my daughter try them on, just for laughs. But I secretly knew that I wanted to recreate my mom’s dress. And the Fairy Tale Dress pattern was the perfect starting point.

1950s First Communion dress

Keeping certain elements as a nod back to the original was important, but so was updating it to be more current in style. The graduated horizontal pleats, collar, sparkles and length were important to carry forward. The lace and sleeves would change.

1950s First Communion dress

Fabrics were key, and we searched for a long time (over multiple trips) before I felt like I had the right combination. The original dress is sheer and was worn over a full slip. To mimic the sheer fabric, I used chiffon for the top pleated layer and then used a white voile underneath. Lining fabric and three layers of tulle are hidden underneath. In her hair, she wore my veil from our wedding reception (which was a little long and full for her, but we’re all about the nostalgia here, so we went with it).

Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress made to replicate a 1950s First Communion dress Continue reading →

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exposed zippers on welt pockets

Please welcome Deb back to the blog. She has stopped by before with her favorite pattern, her Flat S visit, and she hosted one day of the School Days Jacket sew-along. Now she is here to give a book report on the Book Report Dress or how to add exposed zippers on welt pockets. Thanks Deb!

Oliver + S Book Report Dress with exposed zipper welt pockets

The Book Report Dress certainly lends itself to some fun modifications, not the least of which can be exposed zippers on welt pockets.

I’ve taken loads of boring but mostly in focus photos along with fairly verbose dialogue to show you how I accomplished exposing my zippers.

Here we go.

First of all, I highly recommend trying out this method using scrap fabric first so that the opening for the zipper, (a.k.a. the zipper peep hole) exposes the amount of zipper tape you want to see.

Instead of using a real zipper in the trial run, use a piece of grosgrain ribbon or a contrasting scrap of fabric with zipper teeth drawn on the same size as the zipper you’re going to use.

Oh, and as far as my Imperial/Metric conversions go, please note when I went to school we were taught to use Imperial measurements and then our country went metric so I had to re-learn measurements all over again as an adult. So a 1/2 inch for me is 1.25 cm but exact conversion is 1.27 cm. The 5 inch zippers I purchase are labelled 12 cm but are really 12.7 cm. Just sayin’.

The first time I tried exposed zippers on this pattern, I made a ton of errors. The first mistake was constructing the dress front and shirt front as two pieces as per the pattern and not making it one piece. Having a seam in the middle created extra seam allowances, unwanted fraying and bulk. Not good. Especially when using thicker fabric.

My preference is to lay the traced front pattern pieces (#2 and #5) over top of each other along the seam allowances so you can trace out one complete dress front piece. Oh, and don’t forget to add dots and all other marks from those two pieces.

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my favorite oliver + s pattern: alex from giddy ants

We love seeing what you create with Oliver + S patterns. The “my favorite Oliver + S pattern” series features Oliver + S fans who share what they’ve made and an added bonus is we get to know them better, too. Today we have Alex who is stopping by to talk about her favorite Oliver + S pattern and share the many wonderful versions she has sewn. Here she is.

Hi my name is Alex otherwise known as Giddy Ants and you can find details of my sewing exploits at my blog Giddy Ants or on Instagram.

A few years ago when my daughter was around 6 months old I finally gave sewing a try and instantly fell in love with it. Oliver + S was one of the first patterns I tried and I was quite blown away with the beautiful creations I saw on Flickr and the Blog. It seems quite surreal that I am here writing about my favourite Oliver + S pattern now, but here goes….

As many of you could probably relate it’s quite a challenge to choose just one pattern to be my favorite. I regularly sew their patterns and they always make me smile when my daughter Freya wears them. But if there’s one pattern I come back to again and again it would have to be the Lunch Box Culottes.

I sewed up my first pair shortly after it was released in this gorgeous red cotton I found. It was quite generous in sizing on my little one but I instantly loved them. I quickly adjusted elastic in the waist and got started straight away on my second pair.

Oliver + S Lunch Box Culottes

The next pair I made was in a mustard yellow Cotton and Steel fabric. This really isn’t a color I was ever really drawn to but it was perfect for this pattern. I must admit to a spring in my step when I heard people admiring them as we walked past them in the shops.

Oliver + S Lunch Box Culottes

The third pair was for the black and white challenge last year and I paired them with the Butterfly Blouse. I usually match them with a t-shirt but it was nice to see the culottes worn with a blouse instead. I still haven’t tried sewing the accompanying t-shirt in the pattern as I’m really not very confident at sewing with knits, but maybe one day I’ll give it a try.

Oliver + S Lunch Box Culottes

I made another two pairs this summer. The first were made out of a spotty denim. The details on this pattern, as ever are gorgeous. It’s got a great design but is totally practical, especially for my active little one. She’s gotten a lot of wear out of them, at home, going out or at childcare.

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beachwear with oliver + s

Today, Shelley, everyone’s favorite pattern hacker, is back to share a fun tutorial for making beachwear. When Shelley sent me photos she had taken for this post I was so thrilled! She has a knack for doing clever things with our patterns, and I hope you’ll be inspired to try this yourself now that temperatures are warming up and it’s time to start thinking about what the kids are going to wear to the beach. And don’t miss her tips for buying (recycled!) swim fabric, which will also be helpful if you’re thinking about sewing the two new Lisette swimsuits. Take it away, Shelley!

Oliver + S Field Trip Raglan T-shirt and Nature Walk Pants as beachwear

Hello again. For those of you in the Northern hemisphere I hope you’re starting to get some warmer weather and signs of summer coming. Here in Australia, things are beginning to cool down, but I thought I’d extend the feeling of summer by sharing some of my summer sewing with you.

We had a beach holiday in March and I knew the kids would need more swimwear. Specifically, some swim trunks for my son and a “rashie” – that is a long sleeved swimming t-shirt to keep the sun at bay and protect his skin from chafing while riding his “boogie board.” (There’s going to be a bit of unavoidable Aussie vernacular in this post. Just imagine me as Crocodile Dundee and roll with it!)

Oliver + S Field Trip Raglan T-shirt and Nature Walk Pants as beachwear

I searched high and low for a good pattern for boys’ swim trunks before realizing that I had the perfect pattern already. That most versatile of patterns, and my official “favorite”, the Nature Walk Pants.

All that is required to turn the Nature Walk Yoga Pants into boys’ swim shorts is to size down and shorten them! I’ve gone down two sizes from my son’s measurements for these swim shorts and then shortened them such that the finished inseam length was about 1 inch long.

The only pattern piece you need to adjust is the pants piece (number 12).

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weekend links

Hello friends!

I’m headed to London next weekend for a short trip with some new sewing friends, so I won’t be here with my usual weekend links on Friday. But I hope to come back with lots of new fabrics and trims. I have quite a shopping list!

Speaking of which, several of you have asked for tips on shopping for swimwear fabrics for the new Lisette swim patterns. For a little change of pace, I thought it might be nice to crowdsource a list from all of you! Do you have any favorite sources, either local or on-line, for swim fabrics? If you know a good source, please leave a comment on this post and we’ll compile them into a single list so you’ll have a nice reference guide for your personal shopping.


My personal favorite place to find great swimwear fabrics is Spandex House in Manhattan where I found this fun print last year. Spandex House has an enormous variety of fabrics, and it’s really fun to browse their selection in person or on-line. But many stores carry swimwear fabrics, so don’t be afraid to go shopping. It’s always nicest when you can touch and feel the fabrics yourself so you know how tightly knit they are and what sort of stretch recovery they have.

Shelley will have a little swimwear-based information and inspiration for you next week as well, with a special guest post about sewing swimwear for kids. (I’m so excited about her post!)

OK, off we go with this weekends picks.

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