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Birthday Week: Oliver+S dress

At some point this spring, I decided that I wanted to make Eleanor a dress for her birthday party. Not just any old dress, mind you. One that was simple, but stylish. One without 17 layers of fabric or multiple ruffles. One where she didn’t become lost in the dress. One that I could see her passing down to her own daughter and still have it be “in style.” Enter the (aptly named) Birthday Party Dress from Oliver+S.

I cannot even begin to describe how I loved making this dress. Buying the pattern truly is like paying for a sewing lesson at the same time. Would you believe me if I told you this was the first true article of clothing I’ve ever really made? It is! Promise! Liesl’s instructions are super and I think her illustrations for tricky steps make them not-so-tricky. Plus, you can’t beat the handiness that is the Oliver+S forum on the website. One step had me slightly stumped, but a quick check on the form and I had my answer (and then some).

Three things I was glad I did:

1) Prewashed the shot cotton. Seems like a “duh!” statement, but I am not a pre-washing kind of girl when I make quilts. I had to stop and remember that clothing would not be a good place for the “crinkle after drying” look I get with quilts. It shrunk a decent amount, so score one for me remembering to do that!

2) This pattern doesn’t come with instructions/pieces to make a set of bloomers. However, Eleanor is a tall one and needed some. I ended up using the bloomer section of the Tea Party dress pattern. Worked perfectly.

3) I liked this pattern a lot and knew that I’d want to make it again. However, Eleanor will not be a 2T forever. So, I traced the pattern on freezer paper and pressed the freezer paper onto the fabric for cutting. My pattern pieces are still in perfect condition!

I scored the pattern from Pink Chalk Fabrics and the deep purple Kaffe Fassett shot cotton at Bon Bon Atelier here in Kansas City/Westport. Betsy is a member of the KCMQG, too. And she has the coolest red hair. Ever. (After you, of course, darling husband.)

The front:

The back, in its pre-party pressed beauty. First ever attempt at a buttonhole, thankyouverymuch. And my love for binding a quilt paid off when I got to hand sew the hem facing down.

And after some serious partying:

I have definite plans to make the Playdate Dress. I even have the fabric ready to go! One of the things I loved most about making this was hearing my husband talk about how much he liked the finished dress. Eleanor’s not old enough to tell me how much she appreciates having a dress made for her, so it felt incredibly cool to hear compliments from my husband about a little girl’s dress. I think a new birthday tradition has been born!

I made a point to stop by the Oliver+S booth at Market to tell Liesl how much I enjoyed making this dress. I firmly believe that if you like a pattern, you should tell the designer. Positive feedback is always in good taste, right?

I love the Oliver+S dresses so much and think you should make one, too! Just check out the awesomeness that is in the flickr pool! Ready….. set….


12 Responses to Birthday Week: Oliver+S dress

  1. Stacey June 1, 2010 at 11:11 pm #

    A. Dor. A. Ble.

    Love it!

  2. toggpine June 2, 2010 at 12:25 am #

    That is a super cute dress! The recipient is a doll too!
    I wish all dress patterns came with a set of “unders”. Or better yet, make a pattern of nothing but diaper covers & bloomers. Then I could make them for the store bought dresses too.
    My girl is not the prissy, sit-still type, and she needs bloomers under all of her dresses. My sister teaches high school and she thinks ALL skirts should come with attached bloomers!

  3. Liesl June 2, 2010 at 7:32 am #

    Beautiful! I can’t believe this is your first dress.

    It was great to meet you at Market. Thanks so much for introducing yourself, and please stay in touch.


  4. Rebekah June 2, 2010 at 7:57 am #

    This dress is just adorable! I don’t think I’ve ever heard a complaint about any of Liesl’s patterns. I want to try one out some day.

  5. alex June 2, 2010 at 8:05 am #

    This is soooooo cute. It looks perfectly made, just like evertyhing you do.

  6. Elexis Brack June 2, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    You are so creative! I LOVE, love, love the dress!

  7. Anna L June 2, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    Love it! The dress turned out wonderfully and is absolutely adorable.

  8. giselle June 3, 2010 at 7:19 am #

    So cute! The colors are amazing! I started one of the other Oliver+S dresses, but put it aside awhile back. I’m super excited to get back to work now. And I didn’t know about the forum… thank you!

  9. Melissa June 4, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    The dress turned out beautifully Shea! Isn’t it great to hear your husband’s praise too. I might have to try one of those patterns someday.

  10. Kelly January 27, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    thanks so much for directing me here. this is a first for me in many respects, too – first article of clothing, first buttonhole, etc. so i’m glad to hear that someone else started out with this dress successfully! it turned out ADORABLE, and i LOVE the shot cotton you used! i was actually considering using some, but ended up not getting any.

    and i’m with you, too…i don’t prewash for my quilting, either, but i definitely will prewash before i make this. :)

  11. sarah November 30, 2011 at 3:47 am #

    Oh I do love Oliver + S patterns too, and I also feel like I’m a better sewer afterwards! I love the shot cotton you’ve used. I’ve got the music box pattern but I haven’t been able to find the ‘right’ fabric. After seeing your little dress I think I should be looking at a solid rather than a print. Thanks for sharing!


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