oh oliver + s, how I love thee!

I have been seeing some absolutely adorable clothing being made from these quirky paper-doll-looking kids patterns around the blog world for quite some time now, but since they were kind of pricey and not available locally, they weren’t really on my ‘must-buy’ radar. I really try to spread out my sewing dollar and have grown accustomed to the $1.99 big 4 pattern sale…also I avoid online boutique buying sometimes because I *loathe* paying shipping charges.

However, after falling in love with the Class Picnic Shorts/Blouse pattern and musing over it for a month, I really couldn’t resist any longer!  I found an ebay seller who had a small selection of O+S patterns for slightly less than retail price and pulled the trigger.  And why buy just one when I can get three and pay virtually the same shipping charge??  These were my first three Oliver + S pattern acquisitions:

I bought my much-drooled over Class Picnic pattern along with the Ice Cream Dress (what a cute baby gift this will make!) and the Sailboat top/pants/shirt pattern.  I had seen some adorable sailboat pants on one of the sewing blogs I read (sorry but my memory fails just now as to whose blog I saw those on), and figured it would be a good staple to have around.

Okay, three patterns, thats a pretty reasonable purchase and within the budget I allow myself for craft/hobby spending.  No guilt on that one.  Fast forward a week, I trace, cut and sew a pair of the class picnic shorts, and discover this pattern is AWESOME.  Not only is it a cute, inventive style, but the directions are fabulous–just the right balance of wordy and picture-y with some incredibly helpful hints and some techniques that I’d never really considered but that worked great.  Within an hour of finishing my first pair, I had another pair cut out, along with a class picnic top to match (those will be a birthday gift for my niece).  Also, I’d devoured the instruction sheets for both other patterns I bought, confirming that this awesomeness was really an across-the-board thing….and I’d hit up patternreview and pretty much read every oliver+s review there…oh, AND decided I *must* have the Sunday Brunch pattern, the Jumprope Dress pattern, and the Schooldays Jacket pattern.

This took a little searching, as both the jumprope and sunday brunch are out of print in the 4-8 size (which, based on the girls I had in mind to sew this for, seemed like the better choice).  I finally found both at an online boutique (I won’t post where because they are out of them at this point).  But really, three more patterns?  That’s six…okay, pushing it, I didn’t really **need** three more patterns, I don’t even have kids!  Too bad reasonable, financially responsible part of my brain, I am hooked by these adorable excellently crafted patterns. Impulse shopping trumps you again!!

As I was now going to be sewing these lovely o+s patterns, I thought I’d check out the forums on the Oliver + S website to see if there were any good tips/tricks/sewalongs available.  It is actually a great resource and you can sort the posts by pattern, which is a great way to find or post issues for a specific project–but I also found some lovely enablers who had posted places to find oliver + s pattern sales, and how could I resist rounding out my collection for $11/pattern?  That is the special introductory price currently being offered over at fabricdepot.  I was also pleased to note that their shipping charges were quite reasonable.

So I added the 2 + 2 Blouse/Skirt, the School Photo Dress and the Hopscotch Skirt/Top/Dress pattern to my stash.  Yes, we are in full-on awesome-pattern-induced shopping craziness at this point.  NINE patterns??  Will I even make all these lovely clothes up?  Well, maybe not right away, but I firmly believe these styles will stand the test of time. Also, as is probably reasonable for a small company, patterns go out of print fairly routinely–in fact a few days after making this last purchase, I see O+S announced they are retiring the 2+2 pattern.  On the flip side of that, they announce new patterns fairly routinely as well; hopefully there will be 2-3 new patterns released for fall.

The point of this post I (besides the fact that I apparently have no self-control once I get really excited about something), it that  Oliver + S patterns were really a nice surprise in both the quality of the instructions and the versatility of the styles.  If you do any sewing for children, I would encourage you to check these out; I enjoyed the actual sewing experience using an O+S pattern SO MUCH MORE than the last Big4 kids pattern I made. And at the end of the day, what do I want from my sewing–a fantastic finished product and a frustration-free (hmm, that might be impossible, so lets say ‘frustration-light’) sewing experience, and my Oliver+S pattern delivered!