sew + tell: building block jumper

Please join me in welcoming Kate to the blog today! She made a darling outfit for a little girl and she’s here to tell us all about it. Thanks so much for being here Kate!

Jumper made from the Oliver + S Building Block Dress book

Name: Kate
Where can we find you on the internet?Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest

Project details
Link to your project: Flickr
Patterns used: Building Block Dress Book (A-line instructions) with pockets borrowed from the Oliver + S Puppet Show Shorts and sized-down appliqué cats from a Shiny Happy World quilt pattern, Oliver + S Music Class Blouse

Fabrics used: Dress – Tan Oxford cloth from my stash, lined with Cotton + Steel Netorious in Orange. Blouse – Heather Ross Tiger Lily Marching Cats in Green

Did the fabrics work well?

The fabrics for the dress worked well. The tan fabric gathered beautifully for the pockets. By itself, it had more drape than I wanted for the body of the dress, but adding the lining gave it enough structure to keep the A-line shape. The quilting weight fabric for the blouse was slightly heavier than I would have liked, but it made for easy sewing and the print was just too cute to resist!

How did the sewing go?

I wanted to create a simple cat-themed outfit to go with the applique cat pillow I’d sent my niece earlier in the year. Most of the work was planning and adjusting the pattern using the Building Block Dress book. The sewing itself was pretty simple.

cat applique

Dress: I started with the directions for the A-line dress with invisible zipper, but ended up skipping the zipper (no need with the buttons at the shoulders!). I drew in a deeper neckline and slightly wider and deeper armholes to make sure there was enough room for the blouse underneath. I added some extra length at the shoulders for the button tabs, with adjustable buttons to add a bit of room for growth.

Jumper made from the Oliver + S Building Block Dress book

The only challenging part of the sewing was the cats peeking out of the pockets, mostly since I’m still a beginner with appliqué. Luckily, I had to sew those first, and the dress came together quickly after that. Since it was lined, all the seams are hidden and there was no need for hemming or other hand-stitching.

Music Class Blouse: As usual, following the Oliver + S pattern was such a pleasure. I hadn’t sewn a blouse in years (and definitely not such a tiny one), but the directions were very clear and all the little details meant that the finished blouse looked very professional.

What was the best part?

The best part was starting with an idea and having it come out just as I imagined! I love adjusting and customizing patterns, but I’ve had a tendency to just wing it. Which means that the results were a bit hit or miss, with much seam-ripping and re-pinning. And I had been less adventurous with changing patterns for my niece since she doesn’t live close enough for me to try things on her as I go.

Learning from the Building Block Dress book has been such a delight. I’ve had such fun drawing the pattern pieces, making adjustments, and then sewing them up in to much more predictable creations.


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  1. This is adorable! I love the Music Class blouse and am always delighted when I see one sewn up. Plus, kitties!!

  2. Emi

    This is such a cute outfit! Those pockets are adorable on the jumper – my daughters would love the cats!

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