Oliver and S – Sailboat pattern top

I am a total sucker for Oliver and S Digital patterns.  Why?  As the kids grow I can just print and cut out new copies of the patterns for their sizes, rather than tracing them.  A little lazy? Yes.  The pattern pieces are all so small that it doesn’t take that long to tape up the PDF.

Oliver & S sailboat shirt

The top was so cute I cut out two before actually testing if they fit.  High risk?  A little.


The first fabric is a quilting cotton, which I couldn’t resist with all the animals.  I think it was from Lincraft as I had a gift voucher, and very few fabrics took my eye in that particular store.  Rarely do I make clothes out of quilting cotton, but R is all about the animals at the moment.  In fact, today I learnt that Camels raaaaw! and elephants like eating strawberries.  Toddlers are a wealth of information.

Oliver and S rawwwr


I think this was a straight size two without any alterations.  It fits really well, even as she’s a skinny kid with a large melon, the buttons on both sides of the neckline make it easy to get over her head, and the fit is designed to be fairly slim which is nice.

Oliver and S Sailboat top back detail


Top stitching the facing wasn’t as tricky as I expected, and this top was actually a much quicker make than I expected. The thing that made it so easy? A measuring gauge.   The tricky thing about Oliver and S patterns is they have so much detail, and if hems and top stitching are a little wonky, due to the tiny size of the garments it really shows up and can make them look homemade.  Using a seam measuring gauge ensures that I am pressing half inch and one inch seams, and it makes a big difference.

The only deviation from the instructions is they will have you sew up the sleeve, then press the sleeve hem in and then sew.  I find it quite a pernickity job on such tiny sleeves, so I press the sleeve hem in while the sleeve is flat, then pin together, sew the sleeve length and overlock it.  I then press the seam allowance to one side and do a small amount of top stitiching to keep the seam allowance flat.  It’s a detail often seen in RTW clothes, and it’s just easier in my opinion.  Probably wouldn’t do it on adult clothes, but for kids it’s perfect.

oliver and s sailboat top

Seam detail inside the sleeve

Oliver and s sailboat top

Topstitching on sleeve

Future learnings

The instructions are comprehensive, but even still I find that the concept of this being a beginner pattern a little baffling.  Many beginner sewers really have not used interfacing, done buttonholes or done topstitching.  This would be an advanced beginner pattern in my opinion, as the skill set of beginners now is very low, as opposed to the 1960’s when textiles was still taught thoroughly at school.

I always take Oliver and S their scizzor rating of patterns with a little bit of scepticism, as I doubt I would bother with a three or four scizzor difficulty rating for something that will be grown out of quickly.  With the exception of the coat.  That’s still good value to sew, as coats are so horrifically expensive to buy.

Will I sew it again?  Well, the pattern came with three variations, and I’ve got three blog posts for this pattern*.

*In theory.  Only the tops have so far been finished – so it might be 2015 before you see the rest.


One thought on “Oliver and S – Sailboat pattern top

  1. I concur, elephants do like eating strawberries, and catfish go meow here x That fabric is too cute & yes, I also feel that a beginner pattern doesn’t have all those techniques in one – and has really, really detailed instructions! 😉

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