While scrolling through my facebook feed a few days ago, I came across a 20% off promotional code for Oliver + S patterns (coupon code: 4QFEM while it lasts!), which was pretty great because I’ve had my eye on the Garden Party dress since it was released.
I was super excited because as much as I love Oliver + S patterns, they are a little pricey. And I totally get it, they are amazing in pretty much every way. I had to talk myself out of buying two additional patterns by reminding myself I have other Oliver + S patterns that I haven’t even sewn up yet. I LOVE these patterns! And the Garden Party dress is no exception. It’s completely adorable, as all Oliver + S patterns are.
Since I just received a new quilting destashing package from my husband’s Aunt Pam a few weeks ago, I thought maybe I could use some prints she sent for my first take on the Garden Party dress. Hannah picked out the fabric combination.
She’s starting to get picky these days. I’m finding that they key element is pink! She actually wanted the dress to be made out of the pink geometric fabric that I used for the accent pieces on the front bodice, but I didn’t have a large enough cut of fabric to work with. This dress is not really season appropriate in colors or print, and honestly, it’s a little bold for my taste, but I think she’ll like having a dress that she picked out.
The Garden Party dress is a pretty easy sew that I think would be appropriate for a beginner. The gathers on the front and the general fit of the dress are pretty forgiving. I sewed a size 2T since Hannah is petite for her age. I could probably even go down a size and just lengthen it, but I’d rather make it a little large for her to grow into rather than too small. One great thing about this dress is it can be a bit roomy without looking too baggy. And it fits nicely in the shoulders despite the roominess.
After sewing up this dress and seeing how beautifully it came together, I was thinking it might be a great pattern to use for a satin Christmas dress. Maybe just use a longer sleeve pattern from another Oliver + S pattern to give it a more formal and winter appropriate look–possibly the Playdate dress sleeve.
And speaking of sleeves, they are the only part of this pattern that I’m not super crazy about. They are cute, I just prefer the look of an elastic casing over a fuller, more open sleeve. Although, I suppose that style of sleeve might be really great for a light summer dress.
And here is a view of the back closure. I’m going to sew a thread chain using the Oliver + S tutorial here as the pattern calls for, but for now, a quickly stitched on ribbon will do.
When you find a fabric you love it’s hard to part with the scraps, even if they are weirdly shaped and don’t seem usable. When sewing one of my favorite dresses, the Oliver + S family reunion dress (read about it here), I found this FREE felt bow tutorial on the Oliver + S website. Since I loved the fabric I used for the reunion dress so much, I used fusible heat ‘n bond to use up some of my scraps to make an adorable matching bow. And with some new favorite scraps from some recent projects, I decided to revisit the felt bow pattern and to write up a quick tutorial. To make a scrapbuster felt bow you’ll need…
spray ‘n bond fusible adhesive or iron on double sided heat ‘n bond
tailor’s chalk or fabric marker
First, download and print the Oliver + S bow pattern. I printed the two sizes that were mentioned in the tutorial, 100% and 60%. Once you have your pattern cut out, find some felt and fabric scraps that are slightly larger than the pattern pieces.
Spray the WRONG side of your fabric scraps following the directions on the spray can. If you are using fusible heat ‘n bond, same thing. Apply it to the WRONG side of your scraps following the directions on the packaging.
If you are using spray ‘n bond, be very careful and protect the surrounding area. I did it in the garage and placed the scraps on some broken down cardboard boxes. Glad I didn’t attempt this in the house! This was my first time using spray ‘n bond and it sprays much stronger and faster than I anticipated. I wasn’t sure how much to spray. I think I’ll have to experiment a little with this. And honestly, I think for this project the fusible kind might be better and provide a stronger bond.
This is what the back side of my fabric looked like after I sprayed it and let it sit for a few minutes. It has a slightly textured look and feel. Once it’s dry, which is pretty immediate, place the fabric scrap WRONG side down onto your felt scrap.
Use a press cloth to adhere the fabric scrap to the felt scrap following the directions on the spray ‘n bond can or the heat ‘n bond packaging.
Once your fabric scraps are bonded to your felt scraps, use tailor’s chalk or a fabric pen (…or a ball point pen) to trace the pattern. If you plan to wrap the bow center around a headband or a clippie, you may want to make that piece slightly longer than the pattern to give yourself some leeway. You can always cut it shorter later on.
Cut out your pieces…making sure to trim off any pen markings from tracing if you used a ball point pen. Once you have your pieces, follow the Oliver + S tutorial to assemble your bow.
Attach to a headband or a clippie and enjoy! An adorable pattern, and even more adorable with your favorite fabric scraps!
Over the past 6 months or so I’ve come across countless blog posts about Oliver + S patterns. I wanted to see what the fuss was all about and so I went to their website and immediately fell in love. Although their patterns are pretty pricey, I decided to treat myself to two of my favorites as a gift for Christmas–the Family Reunion Dress and the Ice Cream Dress. Since I was definitely not sewing much at the time due to holiday travels and third trimester tiredness mixed with an energetic toddler, it took me awhile to get sewing.
I started with the Family Reunion Dress, which I absolutely adore! There is so much attention to detail in Oliver + S patterns that I decided to take my time and just do a few steps each night. I started the dress while I was still pregnant in hopes that it would be an 18 month picture dress for Hannah but I got busy getting ready for the baby and so I didn’t end up finishing it until well after Katie was born and 18 months had come and gone. Oh well! I finally finished it a couple of weeks ago and I’m glad I did because it turned out to be my very favorite dress that I’ve ever made. And that is how my current Oliver + S pattern obsession began.
So after going on and on to my poor husband about how much I love Oliver + S patterns and how excited I am to have two more (I spent some of my birthday money (thank you in-laws!) on two more), I decided to dedicate an entire month to sewing only Oliver + S patterns! Hopefully this will keep me inspired to post regularly again…fingers crossed.