looking back at 2013 and forward to 2014

Happy new year! I trust that your holidays were relaxing. We enjoyed a little family fun and time off, and we’re all looking forward to spending a new year with you.


Looking back at the blog posts that appeared here over 2013, I realized just how many of you contributed tutorials and customizing posts last year. And for that, we’re very grateful! We started out 2013 with Nele’s spectacular scalloped yoke School Photo Dress and ended with outside facings and an adorable holiday dress made by Jessica using the Playtime Dress. And in between there were many, many wonderful tutorials and customizing posts contributed by you! Give yourselves a pat on the back, will you? You’re quite the accomplished sewists.

Last year also saw the worldwide travel adventures of Flat S, who continues to meet and be welcomed by many of you and your families. I’m so envious of her travels and look forward to seeing where she’ll be going in 2014!

The Flat S Tour Logo

A few of you have already begun taking a look back at your sewing in 2013, and you’ve created some wonderful mosaics that you’ve posted to the Flickr group. Shelley (aka Lightning McStitch) has already posted a whopping five new 2013 mosaics, including this one!


Lightning McStitch Year-in-Review 2013


It’s so much fun to see what you accomplished in 2013 and how far many of you have come in developing your sewing skills! When you have a moment or two, I hope you’ll consider making a mosaic (or two or ten!) of your 2013 Oliver + S sewing to add to the group. (Mosaic Maker is a good tool that makes quick work of it.) I’ll do a round-up of your mosaics next week when you’ve had time to assemble and post them. I think you’ll be proud of everything you’ve accomplished. (And you might be surprised to see how much your children have grown, too!)

And now that we’ve looked back, it’s time to look forward. I’m curious to know a few things from all of you. What are your sewing goals for 2014? What can we help you to accomplish? Are you planning to sew for yourself this year? Any new sewing skills you hope to learn or get more comfortable with? Your feedback helps us decide what to cover on the blog, what tutorials to develop, and what new pattern styles to create. So don’t be bashful about leaving comments. I sincerely want to hear your answers to these questions.

I’m looking forward to spending this year with you, and we’ll have lots more to offer in 2014. Happy new year!



  1. Joanna

    I am starting 2014 with sewing goals of sewing girls’ clothing (even though I don’t have a grand baby girl). Part of my goal is to learn how to apply the little extra’s to clothing that makes it a treasure. I don’t care at all about getting them done quickly. I am finished raising my children, so I have the extra time. I want to learn the secrets for making “expensive” clothing for little girls. When I watch the really old movies, from the 40’s. I tried to find some patterns like those in the movies. I can’t find them. Your patterns come closest to what I want. I am waiting for my first purchase with you, the Fairy Tale dress. I have the fabric and have promised it to a sweet baby in Geogia. She just 6 months old. After that, I am going to keep the clothing I make and hope for a baby girl from one of my girls. 🙂

  2. Robin

    Hi Everyone! Liesl, I’m so impressed by your 3 new patterns for women. I’m interested to see what you’re going to come up with next. Could it be flowy, linen, drawstring pants, that don’t droop in the seat and have some shape to them? And it would be great to have some knit patterns for women – t-shirt, wrap dress, leggings, etc.

    I’m interested in reading what others have to say. Happy New Year!

  3. alana

    I just had a baby girl so I’ll definitely be sewing a few things for her this year, starting with the ice cream dress. I also really like the playtime tunic and leggings and the fairy tale dress.

    I’d also love to sew more for myself and really expand my skills to create more professional looking garments. I’m planning to make the everyday skirt and the weekend getaway blouse. I’d also like to conquer shorts this year and add more tops and tunics to my wardrobe. (I love wearing dresses, but I’ll be breastfeeding this year and need to take that into consideration).

    I’m still very new to your patterns, however I’m very excited about my planned projects and can’t wait to see what you add this year. I love seeing tutorials, especially for techniques. I also love ideas for customization, and the Flickr group has been very helpful for inspiration.

    1. Alana, congratulations on your new baby! And I think you might be excited about something we’re working on for spring. I’m thrilled to hear from you. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  4. Jenny

    I want to make a winter tunic or two for myself that I can wear with pants and perhaps a jacket to wear over the tunic on days when I want to dress up and not wear pants.

  5. Sara

    Well I just started sewing this last summer and it is 100% due to Oliver + S patterns on the Probably Actually blog! I’m hoping to venture into sewing with knits, sewing for myself, and gasp, sewing for myself with knits. I’d love to see a women’s knit dress or top pattern and a simple pants pattern for women. Thanks Oliver + S for being my hand holder and security blanket as I finally found a productive hobby that I really enjoy!

    1. Sara, that’s so great! We’ll definitely be doing more women’s patterns, so stay tuned for that. And I’m glad you’re learning to sew and enjoying it. Happy new year!

  6. Karen

    The linen pants Robin described would be wonderful!

  7. Thirding Robins flowy trousers.

    Its pretty much school uniform sewing for me this year, with only the odd play outfit. My goal is to work on my seam finishes.

    I hope you had a good break.

  8. Nicole

    I found out I was pregnant between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I am going to be sewing baby clothes. I have to finish up projects that were supposed to be for Christmas for my boys. I was hoping to start sewing for myself. I am going to try the Late Lunch Tunic and the everyday skirt pattern, those look like they would be good for a growing belly and after baby.
    I love your patterns, I have learned so much from them!

  9. Happy New Year to you and your family, Liesl. I love your patterns and am excited to see what you’re sharing in 2014. Some of my goals include sewing for myself, learning to put in zippers, and continuing to sew for my son and daughter. First I’m tackling the School Days Coat pattern. I bought fabric today and now just need to do some pattern printing and assembling. I’d love to try a girls swimsuit pattern, a kids zip sweatshirt, and baby pants designed to fit over cloth diapers. I know other pattern makers have these, but I’d always prefer to use your pattern!

  10. Lynda

    I’m learning to sew and would like to thank you for your patterns. I’ve just successfully made a Popover dress (my 2nd garment) an O & S bucket hat and some hair bows for GD’s 6th b’day next week. I’m waiting on The Seashore and Rollerskate Dress patterns in the mail, so they are on the to- do list.

    After my visit to GD I’ll be returning to my almost finished Portfolio Tunic and hope to make another. I love tunics, leggings, dresses, layering clothes and hope to continue to skill/confidence build to make some for myself. I’m enjoying having the time (one of the advantages of aging!) to go slow and make things I’m pleased to give and that I’ll (hopefully) feel OK about wearing.

    Thanks again for your patterns and tutorials.

  11. I love your patterns and use them for my boys so much! I plan on continuing to sew for them this year and would love to see more boys’ clothes patterns, for big boys too! (My oldest wears a size 10 or 12 in your patterns).

    I also plan on sewing for myself this year too and would love to see more patterns for women.

    Thanks for all the great patterns!

  12. Deb

    My goal for 2014 to make better buttonholes. Once they are cut open, they seem to fray and become distorted.
    In terms of patterns, I’d love to be making an O+S child’s blazer pattern (hint, hint, hint) maybe even with vent sleeves, oh, and bound buttonholes too.
    Since I have all of the patterns in the collection, (most in both sizes too!) my plan is to make them randomly over the next year as needed. All the patterns are a pleasure to make and results are always gratifying.

  13. Janice

    I want more difficult sewing – yes, seriously – more things like the placket on the jump rope dress – details that make people say – incredulously – “you made that for your kid??” Challenge us!!

  14. Carrie

    I’m pretty new to Oliver+S, but have so far been so pleased with the results! I’ve made the playtime leggings, hopscotch shirt, and a roller skate dress for my 8 year old. I also made the Late Lunch tunic for myself. The tunic itself looks great, and I thoroughly enjoyed making it. However, it just doesn’t look good on me! Which brings me to my goal for 2014: I want to learn more about fitting myself and recognizing what styles suit my body shape. I love sewing for my girls and I would love to make more clothes for myself this year too. Thanks for your fabulous patterns!

  15. I’m not one for resolutions but I expect I’ll continue as I did last year. I’ll make whatever takes my fancy (nearly always an Oliver + S pattern) in whatever fabric I like and then hope the kids will wear it. For me, you could almost stop making patterns for a while as I’ve got some unused ones and a bit of catching up to do.
    Oh, but one thing I do HAVE to do is finish off the Little Things To Sew book! And maybe even before mama_knowles does!! Dare I say it, but LTTS Volume II would be very well received!

  16. GretaClark

    I would like to be able to use a few of your patterns in my small children’s
    charity, without a license fee.

    1. In most cases, that’s perfectly fine and something we support. Please see the third item in the FAQ section here: http://oliverands.com/about/boutique/faq/

  17. Emily

    For 2014 I would like to make more clothes for myself. I’ve already made one everyday skirt and have fabric for a second, and I would also like to take on the late lunch tunic.

    I found it really helpful to get fabric ideas directly from you, Liesl! I just don’t know that much about fabric. I also found your outfit suggestions for your patterns really helpful.

    I will continue to sew for my kids, but more with knits. That seems to be the most comfortable for them, and what gets worn the most.

    Thanks for the wonderful patterns!

  18. My wish list:

    More knits, with more details – I would love a henley/polo top for boys/girls. Knit patterns for women would be awesome too – I wear mostly knit tops, and I’d like a new pattern with some more special details, more than just a t-shirt.

    Classic overalls for boys/girls?

    More gender neutral patterns. I would love a trouser with a narrower leg. Not uber-trendy, but a straighter silhouette.

    You have so many beautiful little girl patterns, I can’t even keep up!

  19. Chicmamainedh

    I have two boys, but my favorite person to sew for is myself!
    It is so hard to find the time though.
    I have the everyday skirt pattern and fabric, but haven’t attempted it yet.
    So I would love to see more women’s patterns…I love the relaxed styles that we’ve seen so far. A great pair of trousers would be amazing.
    I also like the cutesy giftable straight stitch patterns.
    I visit this blog nearly ever day and I really appreciate the posts!
    It would be great to learn to add more special details like pleating, or working with knits, or lace.

  20. Heidi

    I would like to sew more structured for myself and work out the how and why of the fitting, I’ve sewn a lot of yoga type pants and leggings but not regular type pants.
    I love sewing for the friends kids/nieces and nephews. But I think this year I will have to start branching out of Oliver and S for the eldest or do some serious up sizing 🙁
    I too would love to see LTTS2!
    I think I had better go and learn how to make a mosaic and maybe add photos of the non Oliver and S clothes I made!

  21. One of our goals is a little selfish sewing {and, yes – using some O+S patterns} for both of us.

    Patterns?? If you designed a child’s swimsuit pattern, we might just overcome our fear of tackling such a task!! We could sew one, with you virtually holding our hands through the process. Think: one piece, retro. And, sewing with knits is always an area we could improve on….

    We can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for 2014!!

  22. Karen

    A girl’s one piece or tankini would be a dream!

  23. Marika

    I would love to see a tutorial on the basics of cutting out a project, I know it’s such a basic skill, but I know that you would show us the correct way!
    I would also love to make some little shoes for my 9month old daughter, would you consider designing a shoe pattern?
    I can’t wait to see what you come up with next, I truly love what you do!!!

  24. Clémence

    Thank you for asking!
    For 2014 I wish for more women patterns, a basic fitted dress or, you know, the whole wardrobe of Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face (a girl can dream!). I really want to get into sewing for myself and I long for a bit of structure after being in loose maternity/breastfeeding wear for two years.
    As a mom of two boys and two girls I would love it if there were more patterns like the sailboat top with girl/boys options. Or, as Bryanna asked, just more patterns for boys! And swimsuits would be great for girls (and boys!).

  25. Michelle

    I like a lot of these ideas. For me, 2014 will (hopefully) be the year of mastering zippers. I’ve put them in a couple things (most recently, the art museum trousers and library dress with your excellent tutorials) but need more practice to master these. And while I love the forgiving fit of your women’s patterns, for the first time in almost 4 years I am not pregnant or breastfeeding and I hope to make a tailored dress to enjoy as long as possible.

    I’m also trying to tackle knits more – would love to see more kids and women’s patterns for that.

  26. Joy Fox

    First of all, I love your new adult patterns! Thanks so much for creating easy AND cute/contemporary patterns for us ladies! I would love to see the Lisette Portfolio dress pattern (Simplicity 2245) come back into print; it has some great design elements which work well for customization ; )

  27. Marika

    Oh yes!! I agree with Joy! The Portfolio dress is one that I would definitely make for myself! I see pictures all over Pinterest of it.

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