introducing the carousel dress pattern

When I was starting to work on the fall patterns last spring I got to thinking about the easy styling of both the Ice Cream Dress and the Hide-and-Seek Dress and how much you’ve liked those patterns. I suspect those patterns are appealing because they’re simple silhouettes that are also really versatile. They’re easy to sew, have a cute shape and style, and they offer a lot of options for creating a wide variety of looks–as can be witnessed in all the many ways you’ve been sewing them and posting them to the Flickr group.

Our new Carousel Dress pattern is similar to those styles in that it has a similar relaxed feel, and it’s a great pattern for beginners. But it’s also got lots of style and plenty of options that will keep you dreaming up new versions of the dress. This makes it especially versatile.


The dress has raglan sleeves with a simple dart at the shoulder for shaping. The neckline is finished with bias binding, and the back keyhole opening makes it easy to pull on and off without any fancy closures that might intimidate someone who’s not fond of buttonholes and zippers.


But the best feature, in my opinion, is the seam details. The pattern includes pockets that get sewn into the seams for a really clean finish, and you can do all sorts of fun things with those seams. Add contrast topstitching like we did on the chambray version for the envelope cover. Or have fun with the fancy stitches on your machine and do something like this, which has such a nice effect.




You could also take advantage of the seams to do some fun color blocking, like this.


As usual, we included two different views of the dress. View A has simple lines with a tailored feel to it. And View B is the girlier, frilly version of the pattern. I love the ruffled hem.


In terms of fabrics for this pattern, quilting cottons are obviously perfect for it. I mean, with all those colors and prints to choose from, what could be better? I think this is a great pattern to use if you want to experiment with mixing prints, too. Other fabrics that would work well would be linen and chambray. I chose Robert Kaufman’s cotton-linen denim for the cover image, and we added lots of topstitching with denim thread, which is heavier than regular thread so it will show up nicely for topstitching on jeans. You could also use fine-wale corduroy, sateen, lightweight twill, or even go fancy and try silk dupionni or shantung.


The Carousel Dress pattern is available now in both paper and digital format. I hope you’ll have lots of fun with it and that you’ll try all different ways of customizing it. I’ve added some ideas to my Customizing with Oliver + S Pinterest board to get you started. Maybe you’ll try color blocking just the center panel or just the pockets? I can’t wait to see!




  1. Mary Kay

    Love this dress!! The pockets and top stitching make it. Plus no zipper!!!

  2. Could you make this in adult sizes — *please*? It’s lovely!

    1. L

      YES PLEASE – Adult version much like the hide and seek vs cinema dress. PLS!

  3. Maria

    I like it A LOT!!! I don’t only like it as presented now but its a kind of design that gives you wonderful possibilities to be creative. Great job!

  4. Love the denim version – and yes, I’d like an adult version of this one too 🙂

  5. So, so in love!
    Utterly lovely, I am lost for words and that just never happens!

  6. Helena

    I really love this. The sculptural shape with the curved shoulders and raglan sleeves make it look really ‘sports luxe’ to me. Made for an adult (me!) in neoprene it would be amazing. I will opt for a machine washable practical fabric for the toddler version!

  7. Jenny

    Last night I was at the mall and wandered into a Gap Kids. Honestly, I don’t think I have been in one in YEARS. So, I love looking at all the dresses for little kids for inspiration. So many of the dresses had the raglan sleeve and there were two with a similar pocket design.

    Liesl is right on the edge of kiddie fashion! 🙂

  8. Phyllis

    I love that Liesl uses her creativity to encourage ours. This is a great new pattern in that partnership. Thanks!

  9. Nancy A

    I can hear the calliope. Love Love Love this dress! Perfect for a growing girl!

  10. Simply fantastic!! Not only have you made a stellar pattern, you’ve stretched your customers to “make it their own” by making a vision come to life within a given garment…Thank you for the push to get those creative juices going again! Looking forward to the many options within this pattern…

  11. Lucy Daniel

    What a FABULOUS pattern!!!! Now, will there be one for adult too?????

  12. ybat

    I love this pattern. I also vote for an adult version of this pattern

  13. Sarah Helene

    Liesl, SPOT ON STYLISH & SOPHISTICATED DESIGN in your new Carousel Dress pattern! This denim girl’s dress is so COOL & VERSATILE with the red topstitching, raglan sleeves, 2 side front pockets & no zipper up the back! FAB to show several different colorful prints with options for a second print on the sleeve band & bottom hemline with a ruffle option, too. Many other comments I agree with also. Sarah in Minneapolis

  14. Monte

    I also would love an adult version. Any ideas of what could be adapted? I find myself wearing my gallery tunic all the time, and would love something similar.

  15. Doreen

    Loved this pattern.. made it for my four year old grand daughter.. it won’t fit over her head.. I made it exactly to the pattern.. I did see a review where this was mentioned. She’s not a big child. I can’t see what I’ve done wrong. Advice would be appreciated.

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