Thursday, May 22, 2008

Oliver+S: Chapter 2

All done!

Actually, I was done late last week. Who woulda thunk that finding the time to blog about the Swingset Tunic and Skirt would take longer than actually making them in the first place!

Well, I am happy to report that this pattern is very fun to stitch together. I had a couple of head-scratching moments, but don't let that fool you into thinking the pattern was hard (It's definitely not). Just remember: a garment sewer, I am not. If I can make this pattern, ANYONE can.

In fact, this pattern took some of the mystery out of garment sewing for me and I learned a lot. The best part is that the finished outfit is soooo cute and professional looking. I love things that look home-made, but it is so nice when a garment (or bag, quilt, etc.) looks so "real" that somebody asks you where you bought it, and you can proudly proclaim that you made it yourself. But homemade things are always better: they last longer and you know that nobody in the world has an ensemble like that.

My favorite details on the Swingset Tunic are the pretty little gathers at the neckline, and of course the buttons at the back. I have no children of my own, but have 4 siblings who are atLEAST 15 years younger than I am, so it is safe to say that I have had a LOT of practice dressing little ones. Remembering my days of battling with buttons, I stitched a snap in place at the top of the Tunic Back and stitched the buttons in place just for decoration. That was the only modification I made to the pattern. Maybe I'm thinking ahead to the days when I DO have little bodkins of my own, but a "one handed in & out" sounded like a good idea to me. A "quick release," if you will.

The best thing about the skirt (besides how quickly it came together) is the elastic waist/drawstring waist combo. Practical AND stylish. What more could a gal want for? AND, as I was feeding elastic through the waistband, I had a moment of realization that I was probably learning how to smock at the same time. How about it Leisl? A smocked bodice in the next round of patterns? I think I'm ready.

The fabric for the Tunic is Fresh Squeeze by MODA and the fabric for the skirt is Dandelion Girl by MODA woven. Both very cute, classy, and easy to work with. I also reverse lined everything (The Tunic is lined in green and the skirt is lined in the little oranges) because -I've said it before and I'll say it again- I'm a details kind of gal.

Anyways, this has been a very good sewing experience for me. And, judging by the way the Oliver+S patterns have been flying out the door, it will be a good experience for other people, too.

Have a GREAT Memorial Day Weekend and if you're in the area you should MOST DEFINITELY come to the Fish Ladder Restoration Festival here in the Mills this Saturday, Sunday and Monday. There's going to be ALL KINDS of food, face painting (by yours truly) a showing of the Alewives Documentary, an Art Sale, have your picture taken with the giant Osprey (Trust me, you WANT your picture taken with the giant Osprey), and all kinds of fun and games. AND, it's all for a good cause: to help the Alewives keep doing what they do and get up that river in style!

See you next week!



Monday, May 12, 2008

Oliver+S: Chapter 1

Being the epicenter (or atleast vying for the title) of all things cool and hip in Midcoast Maine, we would be completely remiss if we didn't carry these totally cute new Oliver+S children's clothing patterns. We have the entire line in stock and so far, we are the ONLY shop in Maine to carry them. I read Leisl Gibson's blog regularly ( and I am a huge fan of anything she does. It all turns to gold, and Oliver+S is her brand new company.

What do I like about these patterns? LOTS of things. I admit, I am partial to the name Oliver. Also, I am a sucker for great packaging, and these patterns are very well presented (each one comes with it's own cute paper doll for your little one- or you - to cut out and play with) and the instructions are well written and easy to follow. But even without the great name and presentation, I would still have fallen in love with the pattern line: these outfits are a great "fit" with our store (pun INtended), and they come in sizes that range from newborn to 5T. I have decided to make the "swingset tunic and skirt" for a display at our store and will keep you in the loop as to how it sews together.

I still haven't narrowed down my fabric choices yet, because new and wonderful stuff is arriving every time I turn around. I'm leaning towards the new "Fresh Squeezed" line by Sandy Gervais for Moda. Very cute and summer-y.

I would eventually like to make all of the outfits from the line to have on display at the store, but you know: one step at a time and all that jazz. Stay tuned the next few days as I chronicle the progress made on the "swingset tunic and skirt" by Oliver+S and thank you, Leisl for making these great new patterns!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Look WHOT I did...

(That post title is an inside joke for all those of you who like SNL's imitation of Sean Connery on celebrity Jeopardy. For those of you who have NO CLUE what I'm talking about, just take it at face value and pay me no mind...)

So, I actually finished a project yesterday. Ta-Da! But seriously, the sewing: soooo much fun. At the store I'm always waiting on people and running errands and checking e-mails and all that jazz and sometimes it seems like years before I get to actually sit down and sew something. When I do get to sew, the reaction is always the same: "Hey, this is really FUN!!!"

To that end, yesterday I finished my very own Amy Butler "Anna Tunic." I made the mini-dress version as I am very fond of wearing dresses OVER my jeans. Big fan of that look. It's funky, feminine, practical AND comfortable. What more could you ask for in an outfit? So I was very excited to make up this pattern, especially when the new Amy Butler "Midwest Modern" fabrics came in.

Imagine my delight when the pattern turned out to be VERY EASY and fun. I already have plans in the works for making MORE "Anna Tunics" because I'm thinking I need one for every day of the week. Summer is oh,so upon us and I can't think of a better ensemble for a fabric-store kind of gal like me. I used the "Trailing Cherry" fabric with the "Happy Dots" for the lining (I'm a details, funky-lining kind of gal, too) and did I mention there are NO zippers or button holes to put in? Just some lovely loops and shank buttons- nice touch!

Here are some pics: It's very hard to take pictures of yourself and I'm waay too shy to enlist the help of somebody else (Tyra Banks I am not!) so these'll have to do.