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.


Jalie 3133 and the easy way to finish kids knits

Kids simple knits are usually very expensive in Australia, with a double pack of these body suits usually $18 from target, which are probably also made by children in terrible conditions, so I decided to have a go at making them myself, with decidedly mixed results.

Jalie 3133

The pattern I chose was Jalie 3133, which is a bit larger than A4 and is printed on sturdy paper. If you’ve never made Jalie patterns before, they are designed to be traced and used over and over again, which is quite fantastic as some of the patterns come in 22 sizes, from children’s to adults.

Sadly 3133 only goes up to 2 years, so you’ll miss out on the striking image of myself in a bodysuit. We all have our disappointments in life.

The first 3 were not terribly successful, but for varying reasons.

Jalie 3133 organic cotton baby onesie

This blue and purple jumpsuit I sewed the shoulders around the wrong way. So the first step is to clear mark the pattern back piece. When putting the sleeves onto the crossed over shoulders it’s really easy to not pay enough attention. This is actually the view from the back. Whoops!

The second and third jumpsuits were made out of a very stretchy organic cotton, which was so unsuitable for this. Even using iron on stabilising tape, the right needles, “0” pressure on my pressed foot this stretched out horribly. Are shown below, the shoulders just fall off the coat hanger.

Jalie 3133 baby onesies

These two were too difficult to stabilise the binding and they stretched out horribly. Then, to add insult to injury the snaps would just not stay on.

At this point I was just going to write this pattern off as a loss. The binding strips for the neckline were just too annoying, hemming the tiny little sleeve was annoying, and the snaps fell off.

Cue Fold Over Elastic and the raglan tee!

Jalie 3133 raglan baby FOE fold over elastic blue

Realistically, little miss is getting too big for onesies now, but raglan tee’s are still great to get over her giant head. Modifying the bottom of the pattern (read here that I just folded up the ends of the front and back pieces) this was looking a little more promising. Then, I decided to finish ALL the pieces with fold over elastic first following roughly this process here.

Jalie 3133 raglan baby FOE fold over elastic zigzagThe sleeves, front and back hem and the front and back neckline were all finished first using the fold over elastic. I’m pretty happy with the final finish. Experimenting with two different sizes of FOE, the thinner size seems to look nicer, which I buy from Bumbino, and Australian ebay store based in WA.

Jalie 3133 raglan baby FOE fold over elastic sleeve

The next step was just to attach the sleeves to the front and back pieces, overlock, then overlock the sleeves and body. Too easy!

Jalie 3133 raglan baby toddler FOE fold over elastic

The final Jalie 3133 count?

1 x purple bodysuit for pjs
2 x pink bodysuit for pjs
2 x blue tees
2 x blue and gray tees
4 x white tees

Overall, this pattern is really (and surprisingly) turned out to be a Tried and True pattern! I just wished it went up a few more sizes now.

Oliver & S lazy days skirt

If you haven’t seen the photo bombing baby, you might not have seen my photo bombing dogs. If you’re lucky, sometimes I get all three in one photo!

The baby LOVES dogs. So much so, she often insists on wearing her doggy t-shirt in cold weather.

To ease some of the wear on her tshirt, I decided to please the little mite with some more puppy based clothing.

This is a quilting cotton I picked up for GJs discount fabric after social sewing one week, with some black ribbon and waistband elastic we were good to go.20130817-195823.jpg

This is seriously one of my fastest makes ever. Using the free lazy days skirt pattern from Oliver & S, the most difficult part was getting the toddler to stand still to measure her waist.

The only change I made to construction was to hem the skirt first with the ribbon, prior to any waist or side seam shenanigans. I tried to get some action shots, however little miss was a little too busy raiding the drawers. Apparently tea cosy’s closely resemble hats. Who knew?



FO: The cord dress

This little cord dress was for my darling little cousin for Christmas.  It was meant to be a simple make, but a few things threw it out.Girls Style Book

The pattern was out of the Japanese pattern book, girls style book.   I believe this was dress W or maybe T, but the instructions were tricky to find, as although the patterns were all designated by letters in the alphabet…the instructions were not in alphabetical order.  There was some well chosen language trying to find the instructions.

I’m not completely in love with this make as I did a shocking job of it.  Next time, I will plan appropriately and master the cord.
Cord dress

Cord dress


Ahhh, I’ve not seen it on the most lovely recipient, and I hope it fits.  If it does it could be a nice little stashbuster as winter pinafores with tights.  For a Japanese style book, I anticipate these being better fitting for slimmer children, which so far would not be the case.  Most of the styles are very loose fitting, which was not what I intended when making an impulse buy.  I was seeking patterns to fit skinny tall kids – and this is not the answer.


This pink cord was $9.95 a metre from the Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe.  It’s a very thin cord, and lovely.  Let’s get this out of the way.  I rushed this project.  Big time.  I cut out every piece from one metre.  But wait…where’s the back of the dress?  That’s right.  I left off the second largest pattern piece from my layout and did not notice.  Don’t worry, I did cut out an extra piece, in case I ever need a jacket front facing for the matching coat (for one side).  There was epic drama trying to get an extra metre to finish this dress, and due to Christmas opening hours being poorly advertised, this didn’t get finished until January.
Pocket detail

This was a really tricky make, as I didn’t bother thinking/reading about sewing with cord.  My seam finishes are horrible as the serger would not play nicely with the cord, pinking just got pink fluff everywhere, and using three different methods on the same seam does not look nice.  I’m really disappointed with the insides of this garment, and it is entirely possible the nap on the front and the back are different.

On an upside, following the instructions in this book is great.  Like Cake Patterns, the sewing process is designated by numbers, so you can do a quick check of the order of assembly.  Fab for instruction skippers like myself.

Future lessons

Do not be a stupidhead but out pattern pieces before laying them all out.
Do not forget that cord has nap.
Do not do such ugly seam finishes.
Do not start christmas dresses a week before christmas, when the fabric store might be shut, and all your rushing is going to cost you more time.

Oh, and nothing in this book is going to fit my little one for a very long time, which means if I start all of them now…they might be finished by the time she grows into them.