my favorite oliver + s pattern: kelly from sewing seeds

Here is the next installment of the “My Favorite Oliver + S Pattern” series. Today we have Kelly who is going to share a bit about her favorite and show us the many fantastic versions she has made. Thanks so much for being here Kelly!

I’m Kelly Donovan – first time blogger, long time Oliver + S sewer. I put myself through sewing school with Oliver + S patterns, and while I may dip my toes in other waters once in a blue moon, my heart belongs to Liesl. This wonderful art began for me as a hobby and has recently transformed into a small business, in which I sell custom handmade clothing under my own label, Sewing Seeds, participating in the generous Oliver + S Boutique Sewer licensing program.


Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dresses


Today, I’m excited to share my favorite Oliver + S pattern, the Fairy Tale Dress. I had been sewing the gamut of Oliver + S patterns when the Fairy Tale Dress was released, and I distinctively remember Liesl’s warning mention that this pattern was serious business. It would require a muslin. It has darts. It calls for tulle. There is copious hand sewing. However, this release was timely in that my eldest daughter had recently requested to be a princess for Halloween. Not yet into the Disney princess phase, just any old princess would do. Enter the fortuitous Fairy Tale release.

I made a quick muslin to gauge the bodice fit and plunged in full steam ahead. I chose dupioni silk with a glittery tulle overlay, Peter Pan collar, petal sleeves, floor length…the works. She loved it, and in true older/younger sibling form, sister was the toad.


Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress


Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress


Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress


Next up was a Christmas Dress, again for the eldest. This time I carefully chose a Liberty print from my favorite fabric shop, Purl Soho. This was view B all the way, with shot cotton as the contrast. In hindsight, the shot cotton felt a bit flimsy for the back bow, and I learned the valuable lesson that the “disappearing” markers don’t always fully disappear. Cue tears/rage/confusion as permanent purple dots exist on the collar corners to date. Heed those warnings of testing on swatches!


Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress


A fourth birthday party was a fantastic excuse for a third Fairy Tale Dress. And what better fabric for a party than over-sized Ascher vintage bows? This dress got a ton of wear and sewed up beautifully in the quilting cotton-esque fabric. I bypassed the structural bows, as I felt the fabric provided enough on its own, and chose a simple white Peter Pan collar for added crispness and whimsy.


Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress


When launching my business, I gave a few local moms their choice of mostly Oliver + S patterns which I’d make for their girls in exchange for their participation in a photo shoot to launch my brand. Not surprisingly, the majority picked this consummate party dress. Here they are in Nani Iro, Liberty of London, and Michael Miller Eyelet. With each of these, I mixed and matched the different pattern elements between views A and B.


Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress in Nani Iro


Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress in Liberty of London


Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress in Michael Miller Eyelet


Tickets to the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center and nothing to wear? Fret not, mom will sew you up a festive Fairy Tale Dress in Michael Miller Glitz.


Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress in Michael Miller Glitz


Finally, with the announcement of my brother’s impending marriage, also came the request to make the flower girl dresses for my two daughters. An intimate NYC wedding – at an historic church in lower Manhattan – set the stage for my last two Fairy Tale dresses, loyal to Liesl’s traditional view A/B vision. I traveled with my beloved future sister-in-law, by rail, to the garment district, with her invitation and bridesmaid dress fabric swatches in hand, and together we decided on the palest blush silk taffeta with gray contrast to match the bridesmaid dresses.


Big bow in the back of an Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress


With our precious fabric successfully secured from B&J, we trekked through snow and wind to M&J Trimming on Sixth and picked out matte silver small sequins. Over the course of the next two weeks, each sequin was meticulously hand sewn onto four separate collar pieces, for two dresses. At dance class, at gymnastics, during naptime, at red lights. The results were well worth the effort.


Sequin collar on an Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress


Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dresses for a wedding


I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to Liesl and team for this fabulous, versatile, classic pattern. With this in my arsenal, and all of the variations and customizations it affords, there’s no dress I can’t conquer.

Want a trip down memory lane? Here’s Liesl’s original introduction to the Fairy Tale Dress from August 2012!


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  1. Oh, I think I’m going to cry! This is really sweet, Kelly. Thanks for the lovely words and post. All the dresses turned out beautifully!

  2. Anita Kay

    I absolutely love this dress and all the variables in which you were able to make with the one pattern. I have a 20 month old and a 16 month old granddaughters and this would be perfect for them as they grow.
    I adore the dresses made for your sister-in-law’s wedding. What you did with the collar’s are esquistite!! Love it along the the big beautiful bow!!! Great thinking!!!

  3. Dear Lord, those are some beautiful dresses!

  4. There’s not one of these that I wouldn’t wish to have sewn myself. They’re all beautiful and i really dig the madness of hand sewing those sequinned collars.
    The contrast from pink princess to the teen/tweenager in the simple, elegant dress shows how versatile the pattern is. Well done.
    It was great to see you here Kelly. I love hearing from the blog-less names that I know from Flickr. Good luck with your shop, if I didn’t sew I’d be all over it!

  5. Each one prettier than the last! Lovely work, Kelly!!

  6. Kelly

    Thank you all so much for the beautifully kind comments. I feel so fortunate to have this community from which to draw inspiration and support!

  7. Agree with all the above — and surprisingly to me, given my great love for all things small and cute, the older girl in her darker dress was my favorite! Such a lovely, elegant look for a kid who wants to feel sophisticated but is too young for grown up things like makeup and jewelry.

  8. Great post, Kelly!! You definitely showed the versatility of this pattern….what beautiful creations you’ve made!!

  9. All the dresses are beautiful, but those flower girl dresses cannot be matched. Beautiful, beautiful work.

  10. WOW. Kelly, you are amazing! Beautiful sewing, and making this many fairy tale dresses is no small feat!

  11. Darci

    I really love the simple version on the tween girl. Just stunning and makes me see this patten differently

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