May 232011

I’m Sarah and I’ll be leading the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along right here starting on June 13th! This introductory post is to make sure you have your Family Reunion Dress pattern, fabric and supplies ready to start sewing by then! :-)

The Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress is an instant classic! You can achieve so many different looks simply by changing the fabric (or fabrics!) you use.

The most straightforward plan is to use one fabric for your entire dress.  You can choose a solid or a print fabric; both will turn out lovely!

Liesl Gibson, creator of Oliver and S, showcased several versions of the Family Reunion dress on her blog.  Liesl said in her blog post regarding the fabric choices:

“The Family Reunion Dress is one of those dress patterns that can take on a wide variety of personalities depending on the fabric and embellishments you choose for the children you’re sewing for. The silhouette is clean and simple yet traditional and classic. For example, let’s say you make the dress in a solid-colored linen. Without any additional embellishment it can look minimalist and contemporary, relying exclusively on the structural elements of the pattern itself. But if you add a little contrast topstitching, some lace, or a little embroidery it will start to look like a classic heirloom that’s been handed down for generations. You’ll achieve an even wider variety of looks once you start thinking about prints and patterns. A small floral will look sweet and delicate. A bold geometric print would give it a a more playful or casual feel.”

Here’s a sample from Liesl of the Family Reunion dress is in a subtle print.

Here’s a mock up of the Family Reunion dress in a tone-on-tone Hulabuloo print!

A small scale floral also works beautifully with this pattern! Here is another sample from Oliver + S’s blog.

For the Family Reunion Dress I sewed for the Sew-Along photos, I chose a cute, bolder print from the Riley Blake Sugar & Spice line!  I think it still works well because it’s scale isn’t too large and the geometric repeat doesn’t overwhelm the fine details of the dress pattern.

If you want to add just a bit of contrast at the tab feature, consider adding a bit of trim such as rickrack, narrow lace or cording, or bias trim. I chose to add bias trim I made from a fabric I pulled from my stash. You will need 7″ of trim.

Or you can choose to use the ruffle option rather than the button tab, as in this shirt sample from Oliver + S!

Another option to really change the look of your Family Reunion dress is to use a different fabric for the neckline, button tab and/or hem facing.

In this beautiful dress by bon*bons posted on Flickr, a solid neckline facing creates a beautiful contrast against the busy print used in the rest of the print.

In this Family Reunion dress by IsabelDecibel, she used a coordinating print for the hem facing. What a lovely surprise!  You can also nicely see the how the main fabric is slightly turned under so the seam and facing aren’t visible when the dress is worn. I love Lotta’s contrast stitching too!

I think the Sherbet Pips Puppy Dog Tails would also make an adorable Family Reunion Dress! How about adding a contrasting neckline and button tab in either red or light blue? (I decided I just had to make this one! My younger daughter picked the light blue version.)

I used a coordinating thread for my dress, but a contrasting thread makes a great statement too! I think the Family Reunion Dress would be especially beautiful in linen with contrast stitching and a fun print used only as the hidden hem facing! That’s definitely on my someday list!

So…Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along Step 1: Go Shopping! :)

SUGGESTED FABRIC: Light- to medium-weight woven fabrics like quilting cotton, voile, lawn, shirting, poplin, broadcloth, and linen.

NOTIONS: Coordinating thread, lightweight fusible interfacing, 5/8″ buttons or snaps for back closure (five for View A sizes 6M–2T, six for View A sizes 3T–4, seven for View A sizes 5-12, four for all sizes View B), four 1/4–3/8″ decorative buttons for View A. (View A is the dress, View B is the shirt.)

DIFFICULTY: 2 out of 4 scissors ADVANCED BEGINNER: Suitable for someone who has sewn from a pattern before or has taken a few classes and completed several projects.

If you wish to purchase a different fabric for a contrast hem facing and neckline, you will need just 1/4 yard of additional yardage (not a fat quarter). I would still purchase the full amount of the main fabric, and purchase the contrast fabric in addition to ensure there is enough room to cut the body of the dress.

When you have your fabric, be sure to post a photo in the Family Reunion Dress Sew Along Flickr group! I can’t wait to see all the great little dresses coming together!


Hey everyone!  (This is Melanie)  I am REALLY excited about this Sew Along. A lof of people are intimidated by Oliver + S patterns – because, I’ll be honest, they are not “throw together in less than an hour” patterns.  I will also be honest, however, and tell you that they give you THE BEST finished results, bar none.  The construction gives you an extreemly professional finish and something of which you will really really be proud.  The details on each pattern just take it that extra mile to make it really special.  I highly encourage you to do this sew along with Sarah!  Her work is phenomial and there is no one better to lead you step by step!!!!

PS.  I expect a shipment of more patterns to arrive any minute now so sign up to be notified as soon as they land on the doorstep!

Mar 082011

If that isn’t the world’s oddest blog title, well….truthfully it’s probably not. And please don’t go sending me links to oddly titled blog posts.  😉

New Solids from Moda

More Colors!

Oh I was so excited when I saw that Moda is bringing out TWENTY new colors in solids!  If you haven’t noticed the trend in solid colors…well then maybe you’re new (and if so, WELCOME to the wonderful world of sewing) or you’ve been asleep.  After hearing Cherri House speak at quilt market and then devouring her book, I was hooked on solids and knew I needed to beef up my selection.  SO I will have all 20 new colors, in addition to continually adding more of their colors to my solids selection.

In any case, I’m excited for the colors – all of them.  I particularly am anxious to see the new grays and I am pathetically lacking oranges, so those will be good too!  Oh and purples.  (and I could go on, blues, greens, etc.)  They will arrive sometime in April.  I will also have Fat Quarter and charm sample packs so you can test drive the new colors.  You can find all of Moda’s Bella Basics here, both what I currently have in stock as well as what is coming.

Moda Bella Basics

Solid Fabrics

I very proudly and very deliberately stock Moda’s solids.  The quality is definitely one of the things that won me over to Bella.  It really is beautiful.  I do like it better than Kona.  Also the fact that Moda sells only to independent retailers and not chain stores was a huge decision in my buying.  While I don’t have huge buying power in the fabric world, I can use what money I do have support manufacturers that support me by not selling to chains. (Moda stands out and supports independents in many other wonderful ways as well.)  So if you haven’t given Bella a chance yet, I urge you to do so. 😀

Some of Moda's Blue Basics

Some of Moda's Blue Basics

I will also be bringing back my color stacks so you can add variety to your stash and work on monochromatic projects with ease.  They should be up by the end of the week, and I’ll be sure to post a link for you. (On Twitter and Facebook too!)  I just have to find daylight hours to photograph them!

Have you worked with Bella Basics before? What are your thoughts?

Feb 282011

Sugar & Spice from Riley Blake will arrive soon.  I am loving this fabric.  I have so many ideas swirling around in my head for ways to use it….and I’m trying to be better in planning out those ideas so we can all benefit. :-)

Red Colorway of Sugar & Spice

With this collection, Riley Blake is also releasing some Laminated fabrics. SO – I thought we’d look at some ideas for laminated fabric. Laminates are coated with plastic.  I have heard that these are so supple.  They will be great for rain coats.

Little Splashes by Amy Butle

Amy Butler has a couple patterns– one for kids one for grown ups. :-)  I can see a sweet coat made up for a sugar coated little girl.

Raindrops by Fig Tree & Co.

And then there is this poncho pattern from Fig Tree – G.R.E.A.T for Spring!  And great news, it goes up to a size 10.  I also love it because it is simple! You can conquer your fear of laminates with this one!

And at the booth in Phoenix, I saw Liz and Beth’s sample of an umbrella with their laminated fabric.  Brilliant!  You can find the free tutorial here.

Heather Bailey's Jack & Jill Lunch Bag Pattern

Gosh, there really is so much to do with laminates!  I love Heather Bailey’s lunch bag pattern.

Of course, I will also ship the laminated fabric to you, where ever you may be.  I have been told that they can be folded, but I am also prepared with tubes to send them rolled rather than folded if needed.  (Will make that call once I have them here and can see how they handle folds.)

You can sign up to be notified as soon as the Sugar & Spice fabrics arrives.  Find them all here!  And more ideas for the traditional cotton fabrics coming soon.

Feb 142011

Just wanted to give you a heads up that Lizzy House‘s new collection – 1001 Peeps has been added to the coming soon section. :-)  You can now sign up to be notified as soon as it arrives! There is also a Magic Carpet Ride pattern & kit there too! Fun fun!

I actually love the “secondary” prints in this collection – with visits from old friends like Pearl Bracelet and new friends like Scheherazade.

And of course, the main prints – like the Peeps – are Lizzy-fabulous too. :-)

This collection takes you through the day, evening and night with Arabian characters.  Lizzy will tell us the stories of the crane and other characters on her blog!  There are 3 colorways in this new collection:

Persian Purple

Basra Blue

Jinnee Orange

Find them all in the Coming Soon Section!

Jan 012011

Happy 2011!!!!  This year is going to rock. 😀  I’d like to keep you better informed about what is arriving to the shop this year.  So to start the year off right – here are some things to expect in January!  And you can always go browse the Coming Soon section of the website, and be signed up to be notified when an item arrives!

January will bring a new edition of Stitch.  My favorite magazine! Always filled with such great info and tons of projects.  Do you see the cover? Sewing Knits!!!  This is the technique issue, so it’s sure to be a great buy to keep on your reference shelf.  I’d also like to note that this has free world-wide shipping! (first class)  I can’t wait to see this issue!  Find it here.

Moda has really stepped it up with their collections (in my opinion).  I’m super excited about the two collections that will be arriving from them this month.  There is Sunkissed by the Sweetwater gals.

As a clothing sewist, I’m excited about the super cute picnic plaid prints. I can see it as a super cute hem band, or how about the underskirts on Jona’s patterns.  It’s going to be a fresh line to get you in the mood for Spring!  And if you’re quilting, there are 18 bloggers doing a Block-A-Palooza quilt along. That is going to rock!  Find out more info on Quilt Dad’s blog. (I’ve also ordered the solid prints that are required – so you’ll be able to find those here as well!)

Quilt Dad
Find Sunkissed pre-cuts and yardage here.

Central Park pre-cuts arrived in December.  And they are SO lovely.  The yardage from designer Kate Spain‘s newest line will be here in January.  I also have a couple wonderful quilt kits in the store ready to go!  And you’re going to love a skirt I’m making with fat quarters!  (YES! Fat quarters can be used for clothing too!)

I’m also hoping that the linen solids from Free Spirit arrive this month. I seriously LOVE the prints from Jenaveve.  And as Elena commented, they’ll be perfect for making bags as part of the Style Stitches challenge!

Happy New Year everyone!!!!  Let the fun begin!

Nov 232010

Patty’s new Sanctuary fabric will be here soon!!!!

This is another great photo from our session with Michelle.  I made the Oliver + S 2+2 Blouse pattern with Patty’s Aromatherapy with Zen Garden (in Pear) for the details.  I really really love this shirt.  I made sure to read through all the directions (twice) so that I understood each step…and let me tell you, Liesl’s finishing methods are so simple.  No bulky extra pieces to worry about.  And it turns out so professional!  I look forward to making more for Haley.

For the skirt, I wanted to make the adorable pleated skirt that is included with the shirt pattern – but I just ran out of time.  So instead, I made a yoga waistband skirt with the turquoise corduroy.  These comfy skirts are SO simple, I know Haley will get many many more!

I simply can’t wait to sew with the new knits too!  So much fun! Find Patty’s line here!

Sep 142010

I can’t believe the month is half over already!  Someone slow it down!!!!  There are at least 2 brand new collections arriving this month that I want to make sure you know about!  I’ll do one today – and maybe one later this week!

City Weekend from Liesl of Oliver + S will arrive this month. It’s available in cottons and select prints are also knits.  Liesl lives in New York City, which obviously influences her great style.  She is also a mom and that means her styles really can be worn by children.  I’m not sure how to approach this – but I think some of us might overlook her designs because they are not flashy and that means they don’t “show” as well online.  I’m not trying to underestimate you guys (or rather, gals!) but I want to make sure you don’t overlook this line!

Her patterns are not fussy and really focus on great design details.  She has designed for well known fashion leaders (like Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger among others) so you know you’re getting high end design when it comes to City Weekend and Oliver + S.  Please have a look at her blog! (what’s that? a link to click on?!?!?) You won’t be disappointed…plus it’ll show you the fabrics in use!  Yay!

The yardage of cottons and knits are to arrive sometime this month – and the newest patterns are in transit to me!  See all the fabrics here (yep…that’s a link…you can click on it!) and sign up to be notified as soon as they arrive!  You definitely won’t want to miss out!