yes you can use the book to sew for women, and other questions answered

Just a quick note or clarification for the many of you who have had the same questions about the book.

Yes, Oliver + S Building Block Dress is for everyone, not just little girls sizes 6 months to 12 years!

If you’re interested in learning how to alter patterns and you want to sew for yourself, your husband, grandson, mother, or anyone else, many of the techniques in this book apply to these sewing projects too. The dress pattern included in the book is a great starting point, but the book is intended to be used in situations far beyond that single dress pattern.

So if you’ve ever wanted to alter a sleeve for yourself, add a facing, change from a zipper to buttons (or vice versa), or include a lining where there wasn’t one, this book will serve as a reference guide to help you make those changes to the pattern and to sew them with confidence. And it doesn’t matter if you are sewing for a girl (from the pattern included with the book) or if you are sewing for yourself with another pattern. The techniques I teach you are the same.

I’ll be demonstrating some of those ideas in the weeks and months to come, so don’t hesitate to get the book just because it includes a sewing pattern for girls. You’re missing out if you limit the book that way. Even if you never sew from the included pattern, you’ll use the book as a reference time and time again, I promise.

Building Block Dress Inspiration

Also, I’m busy planning all sorts of fun events for our exclusive Building Block Dress Facebook group! If you purchase a copy of the book from our website (right here!) before 11:59 PM ET on Saturday September 24, we will send you an invitation to this private group.

Invitations will go out via email at this time next week. One of our first events will be a Facebook live discussion where I’ll talk about how I design a dress. I’ll explain some of the tips and techniques I learned in school and in my experiences as a designer for other companies, as well as what I subsequently discovered when I started this little company. I’m also busy sketching ideas I’ll be sharing with you on the group: a dress design idea a day, as it were. We’ve got so many things planned, be sure you don’t miss it!

And finally, regarding the book tour. I would dearly love to extend my trip and visit more than the six places already on my travel agenda. I’m flattered that you’ve asked me to come to so many places. But as much as I would love to make a stop in your town, this trip will require me to be away from home and my family for three weeks, so I’m sure you can understand that I’m not able to extend my travel to go everywhere you are. After all, who’s going to write more sewing patterns (and books?) if I keep traveling? (Although it certainly sounds like fun….)




  1. RR

    So glad you will be coming to Seattle! Hoping I can make it to your signing.

  2. Taryn (forkandneedle)

    It’s such a pity International shipping is so expensive – I know that is way out of your control.

    1. Taryn, yes we feel exactly the same way. Shipping costs domestically increase about 5% every single year, and international shipping costs increase even more. It has had a big impact on our business. We really wish this weren’t the case.

  3. Jill Janssen

    Thank you for this post! I always love your patterns and wanted to support your new book, but with no little girl to sew for it wasn’t on my “need”list. I bought the book just now and look forward to using the concepts on patterns I already own for my self.

    1. Fantastic, Jill! Thanks for your support, and I hope you gets lots of use out of the book.

  4. Margery

    I’ve been sewing for a few years now and have learned many techniques by using Oliver & S patterns. I always recommend them to new sewers (sewists ?) because I am confident that the end result will be a well made garment – on the inside as well as the outside! I’ve just ordered the Building Block Dress as a gift for my 9 year old daughter who is constantly designing dresses. I have a feeling this is just what she needs to help her understand design elements and just what I need to help keep the peace in my sewing room – you know how it goes when Mom “helps” too much! I’m sure we will both learn something new.

    1. Margery, many thanks! For the kind words, the recommendation to others (this is so important to growing our business), and for your support. And you know what S always tells me when we sew together: “Don’t help me!” xo

    2. I love the idea of using this book to help your daughter learn to design clothes! I have a (very opinionated) four year old, who also designs dresses, I think! Right now, they are all purple, floor length ballgowns, and I’m like, “no,” LOL, but perhaps over time, I can get her engaged on picking out details! She did insist that a recent dress I made have pockets and I had to add one after the fact!

  5. Morgana

    Hi Liesl and Todd, will you have a distribution deal for the book in Australia? I can order it as a direct import from the USA, but it would be nice to know if I might be able to get it via an Australian distributor. Many thanks.

    1. Morgana, we don’t currently have distribution lined up in Australia. So you might need to purchase from the US.

  6. Meg

    So hlad to hear this will help with adult patterns too! Any chance this would be available as an ebook? As someone who is constantly traveling and living “out of a suitcase”, I still enjoy being able to conceptualize and work through the planning process on the road, so I’m ready to go when I get back to my machine. An ebook is best for me in keeping luggage and weight down.

    1. Meg, for the time being the book is only being released as a physical copy.

  7. Anne

    I just got my nook today! Thank you for clear concise instructions. This is an amazing book. I am coming back to clothing construction after many years away from it,and it will make it easier.

  8. I am excited about sitting down and asking my daughter to pick elements and I do the rest. She can pick the silhouette and sleeve and collar etc and I can decide closures etc.

    The more ownership she has the better.

  9. Sophie Hussey

    My book arrived today and Im so excited to get started with our little girls dress! Just wondering if there is a particular Women’s block dress pattern out there that you would recommend? I.e. a simple dress pattern similar to the one in the book but for women? Thanks!

  10. Debbie

    Liesl – the book sounds really exciting. Would love to have bought the book direct from you and join your Facebook group but I am going to have to use Amazon. The shipping costs to the UK are just too expensive .

  11. Hi Liesl – I just placed our order for 2 copies, one for our shop and one for my youngest sister who is a sewist and has made quite a few of your patterns for samples in our niche fabric shop. She has shared different hints from your patterns and is very impressed and appreciative of the special details/instructions you share. The garments she has made are very well made and we actually purchased your copyright labels and sewed them into the dresses. We highly recommend your patterns to our customers. In placing my order I missed your deadline by 53 minutes! I hope you will consider still inviting me to be a part of your interactive blog-chat! Look forward to hearing from you and receiving my books. Kudos to you for your investment of time etc to produce this book! Thank you very much!

    1. Margaret, we’ll get your email address included in the list.

  12. Hi – I just re-read your info and see that I missed your deadline by a whole day, I mistakenly thought it was Sunday evening! I’m sorry.

  13. Colleen Donnelly

    Would this book be helpful in altering adult shirts/blouses as well?

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