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!

  24 Responses to “Introducing the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along!”

  1. Hopefully I’m in. I get a discount at my local shop on the 15th so if the pattern is not sold out there I will buy it then.

  2. Awesome! I absolutely love this!!!

  3. I’m in too! How fun :)

  4. I’m in! I’ve already got the pattern, I’ll choose my fabric in the coming days ;-)

  5. I’d love to participate! I’ve had my pattern for a while but haven’t done anything with it.

  6. How fun, I’m in! My daughter loves your Sherbet Pips puppy dog idea, but we’ll be doing it in pink.

  7. I’m very excited about this sew along! I’m thinking of fabric now!

  8. I have everything already to make this dress but jsut haven’t yet, what a great time to make it!! :)

  9. I’m so excited to find this! My pattern and fabric are on the way. Do you think we will be done by July 3rd or is that pushing it? I’m hoping my baby can wear this to a wedding that day,

  10. […] My absolute favorite is the little floral paired with the plaid. After much consideration, I decided to use this for my family reunion dress during the Sew Along! […]

  11. Hi all, this will be my first sew along and I’m so excited to try my first Oliver +S pattern! is there anywhere else I’m supposed to sign up?

  12. […] drawing from! If you are just joining in, go back and take a peek at the Introduction […]

  13. […] you are running a bit behind, take a peek at the Introduction and Day 1 posts! You have until July 15, 2011 to complete your Family Reunion Dress and post your […]

  14. […] you are running a bit behind, take a peek at the Introduction, Day 1 and Day 2 posts! You have until July 15, 2011 to complete your Family Reunion Dress and […]

  15. […] you are running a bit behind, take a peek at the Introduction,  Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 posts! You have until July 15, 2011 to complete your Family Reunion […]

  16. […] you are running a bit behind, take a peek at the Introduction, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4 posts! You have until July 15, 2011 to complete your Family […]

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