Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Mushroom Dress

  I've heard for years about how fantastic Oliver + S patterns are. For a very long time, I didn't sew any of them, because they are definitely on the pricier side and the size ranges are generally smaller. However, when they ran a sale on digital patterns a while back, I finally bought three. I had the chance to sew one of them in May, and here it is!

  This is the Family Reunion dress, in the smaller size range and the PDF version. Becker's chest measurement put her in a size 18-24 months, and a 3T for height. I decided to allow for growing room, so I sewed a size 2T and added 3" to the hem.

  I wasn't particularly impressed with the PDF... in some places the background grid wasn't where it was supposed to be, and there were an awful lot of pages to print for the size range and style! It was also assembled a bit oddly... parts of some of the pages are cut off and rotated around to connect with other pages. In spite of that space-conserving measure, there were several ways the PDF could have been laid out better to reduce the number of pages to print.

  Once I got past the printing and assembling though, the pattern was impeccable!

  Seriously, it has notches in all the right places, the pieces are all trued perfectly and fit together beautifully, and the curves are nicely shaped. And you can see that, even though it's a little loose on Beckers, the drafting is excellent.

  I liked the instructions too... they are very well written and illustrated, and some of the steps were done in new-to-me ways that produce a nice garment.

  For example, the shoulder seams are sewn in two parts so the seam edges don't peek out at the neckline. It does leave a small raw edge though, as shown below.

  I like the 5 rows of stitching at the hem too. These were supposed to be sewn all the way to the edge but I stopped at the inner edge of the placket.

  I sewed actual buttons and buttonholes too!

  After searching through all my buttons, I couldn't find anything that, 1. worked with the cam sizes for my buttonholer, 2. was a good color for this fabric, and 3. I had six of! Finally I had the idea to use some fun vinyl-printed wooden buttons, and just put the plain back facing out! I just used the ones that I didn't love the print on as much. ;-) And the buttonholes are done with a vintage Singer buttonholer.

  There are also a couple of buttons one the front... I only had a few of these carved wooden buttons. The color wasn't quite right so I colored them with a brown Sharpie and ended up really liking it. As expected, the marker has already slightly worn off the high points since I took these photos, but I think they still work.

  I'm delighted with my edge-stitching on this one! Here's the inside of the hem:

  And my favorite, the external facing edges:

  The fabric is a mushroom-print quilting cotton that I found at a yard-sale years ago, leftover from making a coin purse, and brown quilting cotton leftover from the girls' Christmas dresses.

  I'm pretty happy that I was able to sew this up without buying anything new except the pattern!

  The only thing I might change about the way this is sewn is the armscye... I think it would sit a little bit better to sew at least the underarm portion after sewing the side seams.

 Overall, aside from the PDF hassle, I enjoyed my first foray into Oliver + S patterns, and there will be more!

Thanks for stopping by,


  1. I don't have any of these patterns, but they are known to fit really well. Your stitching is impeccable on this dress! Great job!!!

    1. They really have a great reputation! Thank you!!

  2. I love the front neckline of that! I guess it's the facing? The solid brown part, hahaha. Cute dress!!!!

    1. Me too, I love that style! I would have probably called it a yoke, but the instructions called it a facing, so I'm going with that. ;-) Thank you!

  3. Ah yes, the Oliver + S pdf patterns are a little bit odd. I don't mind them so much because I started using them early (i.e. I wasn't used to other styles of pdfs yet). The drafting and instructions are great though, aren't they? I've been wanting to make this dress for ages too (don't have the pattern yet). Yours is beautiful!

    1. I think I could get used to the arrangement pretty quickly, but the number of pages (several of them mostly blank) was annoying. ;-) They really are great otherwise though!
      Thank you, I'm really happy with it!