The Oliver and S Sailboat skirt

The Oliver and S sailboat skirt is now a Tried and True pattern.  To check the elastic required for the back band, I made little miss R try on the skirt….she then refused to leave my sewing room without the skirt on.  She actually stood by my sewing machine while I stitched in the elastic, and basted down the front where the buttons and buttonholes should go, all the while chanting “mine”.   No higher commendation can be awarded.

Oliver and S sailboat pattern

You can just see one basted buttonhole on the left…

And thus all day she wore the skirt, and I had to wait until after it was out of the wash (and she was out of the house) to photograph the details.


Oliver and S patterns with elastic generally fit her pretty perfectly if they don’t have too much ease designed in.  The length is perfect on the skirt, so it doesn’t get in the way of climbing, jumping, riding on bikes etc.  The back is very gathered, as it always takes significantly less elastic than the pattern recommends, but she’s a skinny mini.

oliver and s sailboat skirt elastic back



The main fabric on this is a black cotton drill from lincraft, and the inside of the skirt flaps should also be black cotton drill but I can’t remember where I tidied it to.  Somewhere very safe obviously.


Future learnings

Pro tip – I usually have a piece of bias tape pinned up on a board which shows her waist circumference.  Wish I’d kept all of the old ones!  It’s a good way to use up old scraps, and then I can just lay it out over some elastic (and then shorten it).

For the next few years, R doesn’t need buttons to get in and out of this skirt, so I’ll continue eliminating the buttonholes and just have the buttons sewn on decoratively.  Also, I might modify the front to turn the front panels into pockets, but really that just invites snotty tissues into the wash.  What does a toddler really need pockets for anyway?

oliver and s sailboat skirt button detail


Every time you sew an oliver and s pattern you learn something new and clever.  Liesl is a genius, and the order of construction and techniques used always give such a professional finish.  I’m putting together my collection of beautiful basics from the Oliver and S patterns, which will get hauled out as nice quality basics for the kids.  The back elastic is just lovely, and so easy to insert.  The order of construction and the way the back is drafted is impeccable.

The kick pleat at the back is also very well explained, and is a lovely detail (and makes it much easier to play in).

oliver and s kick pleat


Shortly after sewing this, I listened to the ThreadCult podcast with Liesel and I would highly recommend listening to it if you sew kids patterns.  Actually, I would recommend the whole series as it’s just fascinating some of the interviewees explaining how they got in the industry and their perception of sewing etc.  Did you know Susan Khalje used to be a concert pianist?  Anyway, let’s get back on track.

This is now my favourite ‘not fussy’ skirt for R.  Do you have any recommendations for great basic kids patterns?  I’m looking for the perfect shorts for her next….


9 thoughts on “The Oliver and S Sailboat skirt

    • The elastic on the back make these fit well, our little lady is super skinny too. The next pair I make might have that buttonhole elastic in it to adjust the fit as they grow

  1. She’s adorable! I really like the Elegance and Elephants Bubble Shorts – my almost-3-year-old wears them all the time. The only problem I have with them is that you have to draft a few of the pattern pieces yourself (though they are simple rectangles).

    • Those shorts are cute! I love the spring jacket too, but I don’t know how much work is in one of those to try it this year. It feels riskier to commit too much time to a project when they start choosing their clothes!

    • The other day she took my sandals from me and threw them under the bed. Little miss then picked out a pair of blue flats that looked better.
      It’s genetically improbable, but she seems to be fashionable. Must be from her fathers side.

What's your opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s