Oliver and S Patterns

Anyone else in love with the new patterns released by Oliver and S? I’m in love with the Field trip cargo pants, and think they will be great stash busters as they have quilting cottons in mind for the pants.  While I didn’t take part in kids clothing week, I did finish up 5 little frog raglan tops.  I initially just bought the pattern for the pants, BUT GOSH I LOVE THIS TEE.  Seriously, if Oliver and S packaged up the tee in sizes 12m to 8yrs (instead of two size ranges for the top and pants combo) I would pay the $15 for the tee pattern alone.


Ages ago I mentioned how there weren’t many ‘everyday’ patterns but this certainly fits this profile. Unisex and simple to sew, these are the best kids pants, also as with the separate knee areas you can reinforce that section of the pants, without the bulk.  I’ve omitted the pocket on all the t-shirts, as to be honest it’s a cute detail but a time consuming one.  It’s all about the production line around here at the moment.  Cutting and sewing 5 at a time is much faster.

Oliver and S Field trip raglan top and pants

These are sized 12-18m for our best bud B, and are suitably manly.  I bought the pattern with the intention of bulk sewing lots of new clothes for his birthday, and while I’ve been a bit naughty and only made the t-shirt so far I do have 3 pairs of pants cut out ready to sew.  Any day now.  So B has 4 froggy shirts, and R has the one where I accidentally snipped a notch too deep around the neckline.  One day, I’ll get a picture of them all matchy matchy.  These two are a week apart, and they most certainly have an arranged marriage.


Oliver and S Field trip cargo pants and raglan t-shirt.  I love Oliver and S patterns, and they are worth every dollar.  The t-shirt is super fast to cut and whip up, and I’ll be making lots of these in the future.  As an electronic pattern, it’s great as I’ll just re-print each time I need to cut out a new bigger size as the kids grow.  For the time it takes, I can make B and R lots of matching tops probably faster than going and shopping for them (for those sans kids – it can take ages to go anywhere let along achieve anything).  I’m tempted to try a raglan tee pattern for me now!


The frog knit is from the local op shop, it’s quite good quality as far as I can tell and was $4 for 2 metres.  I’ve only used about half of it so far, so I’ll probably whip up another 5 as they will be great shirts for daycare.  The sleeves are a japanese knit from Spotlight, at $15 a metre it was disappointing to see the edges curling up after a wash.  Still, it was beautiful to sew.


These were cut out using a rotary cutter and mat, which makes cutting out knits a breeze.  The key is having a new sharp blade, as any snags will pull the fabric out off grain.  All the seams were done on the overlockers, which again made it SO FAST.  I sewed all 5 up in a after work quick session.  The sleeves and waist finish were done with a twin needle on my sewing machine.  It’s interesting how daunting these concepts were to me a few short months ago, and now I can’t imagine ever not using it.  Twin needles are SO easy.  If you aren’t sure people, buy a twin needle off the internet, and just TRY.  I might do a complete post about this at a later stage.


Right, I have accepted the fact my bag has a large melon and skinny little limbs. Next time on all patterns, I’m cutting at least the next size up for the neckline, and maybe grade down a size for her skinny little arms and belly.  Funny shaped baby.  I’ll have to see what the fit is like for B, he looks like model size.

Any suggestions on how to get better photos of wriggly babies by the way?



Five tips for beginner garment sewing

Going back and relearning the basics, it’s interesting the things that I do now that make sewing easier and faster compared to my first attempts at sewing.  Want to know what they are?  Got better tips and tricks?

1.  Cutting out your fabric.

Pinning your patterns pieces and using scizzors to cut them meant my first garments had odd seams.  What do I mean by odd? Slightly wavvy, never matching up exactly and very imprecise.  The best way (and admittedly, having done quilting I already had the supplies which made this simple to try) is using weights on the pattern pieces and using my rotary cutter and quilting mat to cut out the pieces.  That way the fabric never moves, it’s much faster and accuracy is guaranteed!  The only downside for this is making sure you have a mat big enough to cut your pieces without having to move the fabric.

***Hint to husband if you’re reading this – Lincraft has a giant mat on sale and it’s only $99.  AND my birthday is soon.  Just saying.***

2.  Cutting out your pattern pieces.

DON’T CUT YOUR ORIGINAL PATTERN!  Trace it.  Yes, it is a total pain in the a**e to do, but odds are you will not cut the right size, or years later you want to make another item from your original pattern and you’ve changed a dress size.  If you want to make any pattern alterations as well this means you can cut/stickytape/draw all over your traced item.  I also hang my traced pieces up in my sewing cupboard which means if they do still fit and I want to make another, it’s already out, flat and ready to go.  If you have the option, buy proper tracing paper.  I bought mine from Tessuti in Melbourne and it was maybe $15 for 10 metres?  It’s on a wide roll and it’s taken me two years to use all of it.

3.  Use a basting stitch if you’re not quite sure about a seam

Sometimes if you’re sewing a tricky thing, maybe a zip, a sleeve, a pocket.  Something you’re struggling with and a little worried about the final result, pin it, then sew the seam with a long straight stitch length like 4 just inside the seam allowance.  For example if your seam allowance is 5/8, sew at 1/2.    This way you can see if it’s puckered or wavvy and unpick it quickly if you’re not happy.  If it looks good then sew the proper seam again at 5/8 and it’s a perfect job.  The other benefit, is sometimes using pins the fabric can shift and move a little.  With a long basting stitch you can massage the fabric a little and then sew.  I prefer to do this on inset sleeves and I get less puckering.   Did I mention I hate unpicking?

4.  If you’re doing lots of sewing, get your bobbins prepared.

You’re halfway down a long seam and BAM.  Bobbin has run out.  Don’t waste time then unthreading, winding your bobbin, rethreading.  Be organised and BEFORE you start fill up two bobbins with your thread, and maybe even more if it is a colour you will sew with most of the time.  This is a procrastination eliminator.

5.  Change your sewing needle

This is by far the stupidest mistake I made when I was a novice.  I’d chuck in the towel halfway through sewing as my machine was awful..my stitches were skipping, the thread was breaking…  Anytime now I have a problem with the sewing, I rethread my machine.  Still a problem?  I change the needle.  99% of the time this fixes my problem.  Have you ever seen the IT crowd?  This is the sewing equivalent to turning it off and on again.

Change your needle before you start a new project.  ALWAYS.  A blunt needle only leads to sewing rage.

Do you have any silly mistakes you learnt from?

Wardrobe assessment – Have you thought about it?

As part of the wardrobe revamp/sewing plan, I’ve managed to corral my style (commonly know as boring, my friends kindly called it “classic”) into four segments.  The highly unoriginal Work summer, work winter, home summer and home winter. By really reflecting on what I wear, I’m making a sewing plan of the most multi-purpose items possible.  I am the person that finds a top, and buys three.  Hence the pattern selection will also be based on double duty.  Will the dress suit both work and home?

Work Summer
Mad men style Dresses
Pencil Skirts
Light tops/tanks

Work Winter
Heavier dresses “mad men” style
Pencil skirts
Tailored shirts
Long sleeved tees

Home summer
A-line Skirts
Tank tops

Home Winter
Jeans/esprit pants
Long sleeved tees

The next step in doing my sewing plan is sorting through my existing patterns, then working out what clothing pieces come next (which also takes into consideration moving up from beginner, intermediate then advanced patterns, AND a variety of fabrics).  Then perhaps a colour palette?  The honest measure is looking fairly imminent.  Where to from there?  Fabric shopping?  Perhaps working out what I can use from my existing stash?