little things to sew: the fabrics

You know how it is. You open the catalog and see the dress of your dreams. You want to purchase the exact royal blue color the model in the photo is wearing. But royal blue is sold out, and the only colors left are sage green and tomato red. Both of which are lovely colors, but you really had your heart set on the blue.

There’s a similar problem that arises when you write a book. Since books are photographed long before they’re released, the fabrics that were used to make the samples are often unavailable by the time the book comes out. Which means that you can’t make the bias-trimmed apron exactly as it’s shown in the book. I know.

When I started writing Oliver + S Little Things to Sew, I wanted to avoid this dilemma. So I designed several of the prints to be used for the book’s photos, and we teamed up with the lovely folks at Spoonflower who generously printed and supplied the fabrics.

Now you can purchase those same fabrics at Spoonflower. That means you can make the bento box carrier, the art smock, and the bucket hats exactly as you see them in the photos without searching high and low for the same fabric and the same colors.

You can also choose the fabric quality to match the project (look at the fabric description in the book for suggestions): quilting weight cotton, organic cotton sateen, upholstery weight cotton twill, linen-cotton canvas, etc.

To celebrate the publication of Oliver + S Little Things to Sew, Spoonflower is giving away a copy of the book. You can enter the drawing here. And once you’ve entered, check out the fabrics from the book that they are now making available.


  1. May 29, 2011 at 5:25 am Link

    just purchased the book in Australia together with my first sewing machine to sew these gorgeous items for my 2 year old daughter. love the link to your beautiful fabrics on spoonflower. would love to know where i can also find the messenger bag fabric if possible.

  2. March 16, 2011 at 1:35 am Link

    brilliant! and so thoughtful. =) loving the book, by the way. mine just arrived over the weekend. i’m pouring over it and deciding where a beginner should begin.

  3. March 12, 2011 at 9:17 pm Link

    What a great idea! I’ve never heard of that. Nice job being so creative in the application of the projects in the book. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Unfortunately I was too late for the drawing. Perhaps my local library is carrying it. Thanks!

  4. March 10, 2011 at 9:59 am Link

    Eliza, the really neat thing about iron-on vinyl is that you can use any fabric you like with it! You won’t want to go making raincoats from it–too stiff–but it’s great for lots of other purposes. Enjoy!

  5. March 9, 2011 at 11:19 pm Link

    i just got the book and was so excited to read about iron-on vinyl! i had no idea that it existed. thanks for including all of your resources. (am i really at a point in my life where i’m ‘excited’ about iron-on vinyl? yes!)

  6. March 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm Link

    How kind of you to think of it! I’m glad I’m not the only one who sometimes wants things to be just so and it’s great to have those fabrics available. I would also love to know details about the other fabrics used in the book – the red cape, the herringbone for the penguin, etc. Outside NYC, finding good fabrics is a challenge.

  7. March 4, 2011 at 12:18 am Link

    Thank you for thinking of everythings, Liesl!

    And I was just wondering what I should do with all my spoondollars :)

  8. March 3, 2011 at 8:47 pm Link
    nicole keller

    Liesl,do you sleep?
    How very clever!

  9. March 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm Link

    What an excellent idea. I must say that this project has been an excellent use of the web.

    For whatever it’s worth, I looked at the book in detail at a bookstore and gave it a very nice review on Amazon.

  10. March 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm Link

    This is an amazing thoughtful thing to do! This is something that I have found to be particularly frustrating with books and I love that you consider your customers and our needs at every phase of the project. Again I am reminded why you are my favorite pattern designers (and now book and fabric too!).

  11. March 3, 2011 at 1:31 pm Link

    Okay, it’s official…You really did think of absolutely everything and every thought a person reading your lovely book would think of. Thank you for that. :-)

  12. March 3, 2011 at 11:56 am Link

    Spoonflower has just become an amazing asset to the sewing world I am very glad that you all decided to do this…

  13. March 3, 2011 at 10:51 am Link

    This is great news! I love the prints in your book and even searched for them at Spoonflower a couple of weeks ago. I’m headed over there now to check them out using the link you provided. I don’t know if I’ll use them exactly the same way that you did in the book but I know I must have them. Thanks!

  14. March 3, 2011 at 10:33 am Link
    Emily P

    Oh Yeah! Bento box, here I come…

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