happy 2017!

Hello, friends!

I hope you enjoyed the holidays and are ready for a great new year! At our house we’re not fully back into the swing of things yet because school in Spain doesn’t start again until after Three Kings Day, on January 6. Traditionally the three kings are the bringers of gifts (instead of Santa), but now that Santa delivers to Spain the three kings mostly bring candy. If they still brought all the gifts there wouldn’t be time to play with them before school starts, and two weeks of vacation is a loooong time to wait for Christmas gifts to arrive. Madrid celebrates the arrival of the three kings with a big parade and by eating Roscón de Reyes, which is sort of like coffee cake or Italian Panettone except that each cake has a toy and a dried bean hidden inside. Whoever finds the toy gets to wear a paper king’s crown, and whoever finds the dried bean has to buy the next Roscón.

In any case, this week I’m preparing a photo shoot for our next two Liesl + Co. patterns, and I’m also planning for the year, including blog posts and tutorials, new patterns to develop, etc. Any special requests? Feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll happily take it into consideration. We’ve got lots of fun things in the works already, but there’s always room for more. And I’m always curious to hear what you’re most interested in doing, especially with the new year. What are your sewing plans?

Since every blog posts needs a few photos, I leave you with (lots of ) images from our trip to southern Spain. Such an inspiring place! Have you visited? If you have, you’ll probably recognize a lot of these images.




On the road



  1. María.

    Mmmm…. Not candy from Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar at home! We are anxiously waiting for them to come! My youngest one has told me that I’ve been so good this year, that I will most probably get something to sew!
    All those projects sound amazing. Can’t wait to see the new Liesl + co patterns.
    Happy New Year!

    1. Ack, see that’s the problem with trying to make generalizations. I’m glad the three kings still bring the gifts to your house! It’s a great tradition. Some of our gifts have been very late in arriving, so it looks like the kings will be stopping at our house too. xo y besos!

      1. Maria

        Don’t forget to leave a bucket of water and bread for the camels! And surely the Three Kings will appreciate some roscón and wine…

      2. Maria, we’ll be sure to leave those treats! We don’t want the camels or the kings to be hungry. xo

  2. Jessamy

    Gorgeous photos!
    I would love a tutorial on inserting side zippers in the Bento tee! I have a quilted version next on my to sew list, and I love all your various versions with different details on those side bottom seams. Perhaps there is a tutorial already out there already that I just haven’t been able to find?

    1. It’s on my list, Jessamy! I promise I’ll get to it as soon as possible.

      1. Jessamy

        Yay! Thanks Liesl! I’m sure it will be worth the wait, as all your tutorials are so well done! I’m sure I could figure it out, but I’m definitely one who likes to check, double check and then triple check all directions before venturing off (even when I know what I’m doing!)
        Happy New Year!

  3. Maggie H.

    This year I am hoping to try sewing more clothes for myself. I just bought my first two Oliver and S patterns and can’t wait to sew them. I was wondering if you would ever consider expanding the size range of the Jump Rope dress. I absolutely love the style and would love to make it for myself, but I wear a size 10 bodice. Thank you, and Happy New Year! Your trip to southern Spain looks amazing.

    1. We don’t generally go back and re-size older patterns, Maggie, but I wonder if you could alter one of our upcoming Liesl + Co patterns and get a better fit anyway? I’m thinking you might be happy with it–it won’t be too much longer now until it’s ready.

      1. Maggie H.

        Thank you for responding! I understand. I may try to achieve a similar look using the Building Block Dress. The new Liesl + Co pattern sounds wonderful, but I don’t think it would work for me – I’m a kid, and don’t think I could fit into grown-up patterns.

      2. Oh Maggie, good for you! I was assuming you were a small grown-up! Yes, you can almost certainly use the Building Block Dress if you’re feeling adventurous. But now that I know you’re a kid I’m wishing I could grade it for you! Stay in touch, ok?

      3. Maggie H.

        Thank you! I would love to show you what I make when I finish my first Oliver and S garments. I’ve mostly sewn doll clothes, and it’s so cool to start sewing for myself!

  4. Sondra

    I would really like ideas on how to expand some of your adult patterns to be maternity wear! Also, please work on a building block dress book for ladies!

    1. Great suggestion, Sondra! Let me give this some thought, ok?

    2. Katheryn

      I’d like to second Sondra’s request for maternity and nursing wear. Maybe even tutorials for how to make modifications to the current patterns for this! Button plackets, T shirts with belly room , etc. I’ve found most of the online “hacks”
      are rather junky and I’m mulling over how to do this with some good technique.

      1. Thanks for the feedback, Katheryn!

      2. Darci

        Altering a basic shirt pattern for a pregnant belly is a great idea

  5. Oh, I do love the south of Spain (we’ve been to Seville last week as well) – Granada and Cordoba are truly amazing/magical places, aren’t they?
    Can’t wait for the new patterns – Hopefully I will be able to finish my Lisette coats before spring 😉 (only lining and buttons to go on both coats!)

    1. Oh, I’m sorry we missed you! You must let us know the next time you come to Madrid, ok? Would love to see you.

  6. Taryn

    I see Ferdinand! Loved that book!

    1. Ha! I’m not sure he’s known as Ferdinand here, but he’s everywhere along the highways. We love him.

  7. Lynn

    Some more patterns for boys would be great. So inspired by the Building Block Dress for my granddaughter but don’t,like leaving grandson out.

    1. Don’t forget that you can apply a lot of the techniques from the book to other patterns, too, including our boys’ patterns!

  8. I would love to see basic patterns for older kids!

    1. This is definitely on my radar, Susan. Thanks!

  9. Stephanie

    Oh those photos are so very inspiring. Especially as Im sitting looking out looking at snow snow snow.. Would love a adult building block dress one day. Happy new year.

    1. I’m hoping to write that book, too, Stephanie! Happy new year. And thanks for the comment.

  10. Michele

    Hi Liesl! I love the photos! I would probably spend hours just staring at the tiles; the colors are magnificent. Right now, I’m learning the ins and outs of fleece by making the mittens from your book, about a million of them for the four little ones so they don’t run out by spring. I made flannel holiday dresses for the girls from the Building Block dress and I plan to use more flannel with the Playtime dress, as well. (Can you tell we live in Minnesota?) But my grandson would like something, as well. Could you please suggest which pattern might work for him in a flannel? I did make him a flannel Christmas art museum vest and that was a hoot, but I’m thinking of something cozy. Thanks!

    1. I’ve been wishing for flannel PJs, myself. Would he like them, too? We have two good patterns that would work well for him: the Sleepover PJs and the Bedtime Story PJs. Or you could line the Art Museum Trousers in flannel using this tutorial: https://oliverands.com/community/blog/2014/02/customizing-with-oliver-s-flannel-lined-art-museum-trousers.html

      Super cozy! The Sketchbook Shirt would also be terrific in flannel. In fact, I think we’ll have something about this coming up on the blog very soon…

      1. Michele

        Thank you! Any of those would be perfect! He’ll love them!

    2. Emily

      Hi Michele! Another idea for sewing with flannel – I just made my son the Nature walk pullover in flannel. It turned out really lovely, and my son was happy to have the extra layer this morning – it’s cold waiting for the school bus in January in Wisconsin!

  11. Eunita

    I’m interested in hearing about what kind of sewing reference books you own. When and how do you use them? What books would you recommend for an intermediate level sewer (like myself). My apology if you have already blogged about it.

    1. That’s a good suggestion, Eunita! I’ll get it on the list. In the meantime, here’s an older blog post about sewing books, but it doesn’t really answer your question: https://oliverands.com/community/blog/2012/11/your-own-gift-list-books-baby.html

      And here is a forum discussion on the topic that might be more helpful: https://oliverands.com/community/forums/topic/favorite-sewing-books

  12. Lizabeth

    Is it me or has S grown about a foot???? She looks so tall in the photo!

    1. I know! Crazy, isn’t it? We need to measure her again. I’m too afraid to do it…

  13. I am almost 60 and have been sewing since I was 10. I love seeing ore smock shapes for shirts and dresses as they can be flattering on many body types as well as very comfortable. I would love to see more of these and of course, a building block book for adult women!

    1. Have you tried our Liesl + Co Gallery Tunic/Dress yet? It’s an easy-fitting style that you might like. Also the Cappuccino, of course.

  14. Penny

    Hi Liesl,

    Thank you for sharing so many photos from your adventures, I’ve never Been to Europe so I am living vicariously 🙂

    I can’t wait to see the new Liesl and Co patterns. I would love to see some blouse patterns that are a little more trim in their styling and a cute little fitted shawl collar jacket to kind of blur the line between jacket styling and cardigan comfort.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks for the feedback and the suggestions, Penny!

  15. Peggy

    Thank you for this and past blogs, revelations, musings and patterns — I’ve really enjoyed them and have learned a lot from your tips and techniques. I’ve also loved making and wearing the Gallery tunic. As for suggestions, I’d love to see some loose, 3/4 sleeved outfits for kids (girls specifically) for the warmer months. Our Australian summers are hot and blisteringly sunny, and our kids need protection from the sun and can’t always wear sleeveless or short sleeved clothes.

    1. Peggy, have you considered our Carousel Dress pattern? I think it would be perfect for your needs!

      1. Peggy

        Hi Liesl — that’s a great idea and I’ll give it a red hot go! Happy New Year to you …

  16. Jennifer

    I’m grateful for your family school bus package. My husband has been asking me for a men’s raglan and also a men’s zip-up hoodie. A PDF pattern for the men raglan is difficult to find and it’s one of the most common requests I see in other sewing groups on Facebook, just FYI. I eagerly look forward to seeing your upcoming Liesl + Co. patterns.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Jennifer! I’ll give the raglan some thought. Didn’t realize there wasn’t anything like that in the market already!

  17. Janice

    I’d love a good solid, detailed jeans pattern for kids. And maybe another winter coat pattern for kids….now that I’m living in Michigan! I really.love your Friday blog posts, so I hope you have time to continue them. That’s it for now!!

    1. I’m glad you like the weekend links posts, Janice. It’s nice to get feedback like that so we can continue them. And I’ll definitely take your suggestions into consideration. Cheers!

  18. Beautiful photos! I look forward to seeing the new Liesl and Co patterns. I would like to try pants this year (other than pjs). I am planning to start with the Lisette for Butterick B6183. I would appreciate tips on making a muslin and adjusting the fit.

    1. I’ll put that on the list, Addie. Have you looked at any of our Lisette for Butterick women’s trouser patterns?

      1. Yes! I want to start with the wide leg trousers in B6183. (I have made 3 of the tops in this pattern already.)

  19. jane doe

    Re: Special requests (and welcome back btw (great to have you back)): I just happened upon a post by in the Bombazine blog about hacking the Lunch Box T. The blogger liked it so much, she figured out how to upsize it, which I thought was really interesting and something you might like to address (or not). https://www.bombazine.com.au/worktable/oliver-s-lunch-box-tee-hack/ A propos of nothing, the unlined double-faced wool Forest Cape worked out well. Thank you for your help and support.

    1. Well that’s interesting since we offer the same pattern in women’s sizes; it’s the Bento Tee and it’s one of my favorites. No need to do all the re-sizing! Glad the cape worked out well.

      1. jane doe

        Yeah, another blogger commented about the (much-beloved) Bento. Bombazine said she reproduced the Lunch Box size 12 at 110% and made a few other adjustments. I’ve no idea which O + S patterns I’d upsize (especially with myriad Liesl choices); I just found the idea interesting. Thank you for your reply. PS Library Dress with brocade ribbon sash was also a hit.

  20. Laura

    Hi Liesl,
    I really enjoy all the tutorials that you do. I’d really love to see a building block book for women, though I know that is a huge undertaking:) I so love the girls book, and have used it a lot!! Thanks so much for making this accessible to those of us who can’t go away to design school!
    Happy New Year!

    1. I’m really hoping to write the book. Keep your fingers crossed that we can make it happen soon. Thanks for the comment!

  21. Beautiful pictures Liesl, and I agree that S has shot up!
    For my new year’s wish I’d love to have the last digital only Liesl & Co patterns released in paper.
    And I’m surprised no one has mentioned the boy’s blazer yet! (It’s like mentioning compulsory helmet laws on an Australian cycling forum. Can’t be ignored but guaranteed to start a flame war )
    I think I know part of what’s coming and if I’m right, then I’m delighted. Now, I just need some amazing designer tropical fabric for the bloke.

    1. Ha ha! I know. The blazer. We are considering printing a few of the digital-only patterns. Maybe the Bistro Dress?

      1. Yes please! Especially if the Bistro is what I should base my own building block dress on.

  22. Athe Sanders

    Loved your pictures We lived in Rota fifty years ago! We passed “that” bull on our way to Jarez. We use to go to Seville to shop at El Corta Engleis…the only real store we found the whole time we were there! I started sewing just before we lived there. Modestas were used by most of the ladies in Rota.

    1. Shopping is very different here, isn’t it? Sometimes I love it and sometimes it drives me crazy. I went to a grocery store in Granada where you had to ask for everything, and it was almost impossible for me to shop because I couldn’t browse to decide what I wanted. It’s the same with shopping for trims! A very different process, that’s for sure.

  23. Kerri

    I love your patterns, and can’t wait for the new Liesl and Co patterns. I would love to see a men’s pajama pant. I use the slumber party pants for my kids, and the Lissette pajamas for me. My husband is a little jealous and wants some jammies. The options on the market are pretty bland. I would also love to see more knit patterns for kids. I love to sew the Oliver+s woven dresses, but my daughter prefers to wear knits. Last, my son is about to size out of Oliver +s. I would love to see some basics in larger size ranges. Thank you for the wonderful patterns and blog! Your patterns and blog have taught me how to make a truly beautiful, hand crafted garment that my family loves to wear. Happy New Year!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that, Kerri, and thanks for the suggestions!

  24. Sophie K.

    Thanks for all that you do. I would like to see more adult ladies’ patterns in an expanded size range.

    1. Thanks for the request, Sophie. Right now we’re grading to the most sizes we can develop from a single base pattern, but if there is enough demand for additional sizes I would be willing to consider developing a second pattern to be graded into additional sizes. This probably deserves a more complete explanation at some point. (Also: I wish there were more hours in the day…)

  25. Love the pictures! Somehow we didn’t have time to get to Sevila, which means we have to go back, right? I would love a pair of women’s trousers that aren’t flared or skinny- like a slight bootcut; a pair that could work in denim or twill. I would also love a basic women’s woven blouse that is shaped through the shoulders and bust and looser (but not boxy) through the middle. I am excited to hear a women’s building block dress is in the works!!!!!!!!!

    1. Yes, I think it deserves a second trip, Emily! Also, have you considered Lisette for Butterick B6331? It’s a not-to-skinny, not-too-wide trouser. And you and I are definely of the same mind when it comes to tops. I think you’ll like several of the patterns I’m working on! (With regard to the next book, that’s still a wait and see situation.)

      1. I better start saving now! I will have to see if i already own that pattern! Thank you! I love your patterns!

  26. I’m very happy you like Seville, my city. We can’t wait for the Three Kings to come, although we had some little presents from Santa.
    As my favourite garments to sew are dresses, I’m always looking for new and fresh dresses for my grown girl. Trousers and blouses would be welcomed too!

  27. Ledys

    Happy New Year, and thank you so much for the beautiful pictures!

    As for requests–it’s so hard to find a nice cardigan pattern! (For girls or ladies 😉 ) 🙂

  28. Fiona

    France has a similar tradition for the Feast of the Epiphany; a big flat cake with a bean in it, cut and eaten on the night of Jan 5th. Whoever gets the bean is Queen/King for the day on the 6th.

    Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and the coming term is a good/happy one for S. She’s growing up so beautifully!

    Right now, Adelaide is undergoing a heat-wave with 2-3 days of 40+C which is no fun at all; however, the coolest activity to trace off/cut out Oliver + S outfits with the fan blowing, and Season 2 of “Outlander” playing. The costumes of mid-18th century France are stunning.

    Whatever your team produces this year, Liesl will be admirable, I’m sure. Happy 2017!!!

    1. I love that, Fiona! Isn’t it fun to learn about different traditions? Which reminds me that I need to find a roscon today, since Three Kings is tomorrow! Happy new year, and thanks for the sweet comments.

  29. Ginger

    Your photos are gorgeous! Thank you for asking for customer input. That’s one of the reasons I love buying pattern from you, you all care about your customers. I know men’s patterns are not huge sellers for you. Having said that I would love to have a few basic patterns for men (button up shirt and pants with zipper). I do have your men’s tshirt and will be making it whenever my son’s outgrows his current school bus tshirts. As my oldest son grows out of your children’s patterns, I am finding it hard to find patterns in men’s sizes that he would wear. I haven’t seen anything that is in between children and men’s sizes but I could be overlooking them. With a few basics we can use your book concepts and alter men/boys patterns to fit our needs. Thank you so much!

  30. Kirsten

    Princess seemed anything, please! I’m getting my courage up to try the coat but princess seams are lovely in dresses (or a blouse?) And allow for so many variations.

  31. Darci

    Maybe this has been covered at some point, but what about a series on hand stitching as it relates to garment sewing: hemming,basting,tacking a facing, inserting a zipper by Hand,marking patterns, sewing different kinds of buttons, decorative pickstitching, thread loops and that thing in tailoring when you put all the stitching on the underside of the lapel and collar ( I don’t remember what it’s called, school was a long time ago) Most of these concepts are pretty basic but they can really improve the final look of a garment.I think you may have talked about some techniques before but a series is always fun.

  32. patricia crouch

    I am working from the Building Block Dress book for the first time. I am confused about when to add the zipper on an unlined Building Block dress with sleeves.

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