touchy feely

I’m a tactile girl. Must feel the fabrics before purchasing. Always carry my favorite pens that I can’t write without. And I’m very picky about my sketchbooks: the ink can’t bleed, but the paper can’t be too heavy either.

So when I was writing the business plan for Oliver + S and doing all the research before launching the company, I was especially picky about the papers we’d be using for the patterns. In fact, I think I nearly drove a couple of printers wild with my requests. Couldn’t abide the yucky newsprint that most instructions sheets are printed on: it yellows and gets brittle and feels awful when you touch it. The ubiquitous flimsy pattern tissue was too whimpy and wrinkles and rips too easily.

But I’m not a big fan of heavy white paper for patterns, either. After all, if you need to flip a pattern piece to cut it, you can’t see through the paper to follow the cutting lines or transfer pattern markings to your fabric. What to do?

Well, how about a heavier-weight tissue paper? One that isn’t so light, doesn’t wrinkle as badly as the usual pattern-weight tissue, and generally feels more substantial than a typical pattern? Sounds (and feels) great to me!

Our tissue paper (the paper I love!) is too heavy for the folding equipment at the press, so every pattern tissue is folded by hand. Which takes a long time, of course. But I think the final product is worth the extra effort and expense. And it feels good when you touch it, too.




  1. R

    I KNEW IT! I knew! there was something special about that paper… it’s over-the-top brilliant (but then everything you’ve done has been, why would I be surprised of even the paper choice? BIG smiles). Anyway, my friend likened it to the feel of thin vellum. It just feels right – and irons well, too. (I also do a quick press of my pattern pieces for pinning them to the fabric.)

    Tactile, eh? One more thing of relativity – it never ceases to amaze me the uncanny resemblances to our personalities.

    Please post more trivia like this – it’s “thought”-eye-candy. hahaahahaha!

  2. I totally get it!

    I think you’re crazy, but I’m crazy, too, so I get it!

  3. i love the fact that these details are important to you and i think all of us who buy your patterns appreciate it.

  4. Thank you for sharing this. I am completely the same way, cannot write in my favorite notebooks without the pens I love. Your attention to detail is extraordinary from the patterns themselves to paper and it shows!

  5. Discussing this fun post with Karen we realized a question… would you recommend cutting the pattern out entirely before pinning it to the fabric (to protect your good scissors?) With traditional thin tissue paper, sometimes patterns will get ‘mostly’ cut-out but all preciseness is cut with the tissue and fabric together with sewing scissors. What do you do?

  6. I just bought my first Oliver + S pattern this week and when I opened it up I was so happy with the paper! It was the first thing that impressed me. Thanks for that!

  7. Thanks for your interest and enthusiasm, everyone. And April and Karen, I don’t usually worry much about my scissors much, to be honest. You’ll end up cutting paper with your good scissors, one way or another, and it’s not that expensive to have them sharpened (which you should do regularly anyway). Our paper is still thin enough that it shouldn’t effect your scissors any more than a lighter tissue. Cut away!

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