One lazy, rainy Saturday afternoon way back in September, I grew stark raving bored because I had nothing to work on. I had been admiring the Oliver + S patterns and decided to give one a whirl, even though I have no children of my own to sew for. I do, however, have a friend with a wee little girl who I knew would appreciate a handmade garment. So, off to the fabric shop we went where I picked up my pattern- the Birthday Party Dress by Oliver + S and my fabrics and notions. As soon as I got home I got straight to work, confident that I would have a dress completed by the end of the weekend. Silly me, I was a bit over ambitious as I did not finish the dress that weekend. Nor the next. Or the next after that. Life got in the way- that lazy weekend in September was a thing of the past- we adopted our little Heidi, Halloween arrived, and then Thanksgiving, and finally Christmas and New Year's. Each weekend busier than the next. I did not finish the dress until last week- approximately 3 months later. Life does that to you sometimes.
It was well worth the wait and the time spent because I am so proud of the finished piece. I don't mean to lead you in to believing that this dress took me 3 months to sew- I just spanned it out that long. It probably would have taken me a week to work on if I stuck with it every night. (I am a very slow and cautious sewist- often staring at the pattern and searching online for examples before I make the plunge into the next step.)
One of the reasons I chose an Oliver + S pattern was because all of my previous attempts in sewing garments (all for myself) have ended up as disasters. Perhaps disaster is a bit harsh, but I can say that I am not very proud of them. The fit has always been wrong and I think I psyche myself out and get overwhelmed. I thought working small scale would allow me to really focus on the garment construction and worry less about trying to fit the garment to my measurements. I made a good choice because Leisl's instructions were superb. It was an absolute pleasure to sew. The pattern is rated intermediate (which I most definitely am not) but I only encountered a few hang ups (when attaching the front facing and lining up the shoulder seams) but nothing I couldn't get past. I am grateful for the forums on the Oliver + S website. Each pattern has a dedicated section that is broken down into topics. When I had questions I just read through others' comments and within no time I had my question answered.
The pattern was so well written I was even confident enough to attempt French seams! The inside of the dress is as pretty as the outside! Above is a detail of the French seams and the back buttons and below is a detail of the hem facing (blind stitched by hand).
When starting a sewing project it always helps to have beautiful materials for inspiration. I am in love with my fabric choices. (Truthfully- Dan picked them out. He has great taste!) The body fabric is Laura Gunn's Poppy Bouquet in Gray and the accent is Kaffe Fassett's Shot Cotton in Terra Cotta. The fabric, thread and the pattern were purchased at Spool Sewing in Philadelphia and the buttons were purchased at their sister store, Loop.
This little wooden flower button perfectly compliments the vintage-like quality of the dress as well as the fabric.
If you haven't sewn up an Oliver + S pattern yet, I encourage you to do so. It was such a great experience for me and I am much more confident in sewing garments for myself now. I can't wait to get started on a frock for me!