Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fabric 101 with Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S

If you don't yet know about Oliver + S, you're definitely out of the loop when it comes to great children's clothing patterns. Designer Liesl Gibson, the founder and designer behind Oliver + S, is a true talent in our eyes when it comes to fresh styles for kids. With a degree in fashion design from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Liesl's resume includes work for Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren. After the birth of her daughter in 2005, Oliver + S was launched, filling a hole in the pattern industry with contemporary clothing designs for children. 

In addition to a feature on Oliver + S patterns in Sew Beautiful Issue #126, we have published several fantastic garments made from Liesl's lines in other articles and pictorials -- in fact, check out the current issue of SB (#129) where designer Ivey Crenshaw of Sew Blessed shows off the Tea Party Sundress pattern in Amy Butler prints (above left) for her pictorial, "Spring in Full Bloom". (Garment pictured on right is "Marcy" by Bonnie Blue Designs; fabric print is also from Amy Butler.)
Oliver + S patterns are full of possibilities when it comes to creating a unique garment, and there are so many choices to make when deciding what look you'd like to create. Fabric choice is, of course, one of the most important (and most fun!) of these decisions; and who better to learn about fabric selection than from Liesl herself? Of its importance, she says:
As you know, Oliver + S patterns are designed with a sophisticated aesthetic in mind, and we wanted to share with our retailers how we go about selecting fabrics that highlight that fact. After all, the right design made up in the wrong fabric doesn’t, in the end, turn into a successful garment.
In January of this year, Liesl wrapped up a blog series on the Principles of Fabric Selection, using samples made from Oliver + S patterns to illustrate her points throughout. We found it to be an invaluable resource for anyone who sews for children. These series topics are freely published on the Oliver + S blog for you to learn from and study:
And because you can never know too much about your materials, you might also check out Liesl's new guest column about fabric over at the BurdaStyle blog. Over the course of 2010, you can find Liesl's guest blogs on the last Tuesday of each month. Of her series, she says, "In upcoming months, I’ll be covering topics such as the different types of natural and man-made fibers, uncommon fabric types, how to shop for interesting apparel-sewing fabrics, and how a designer puts together a fabric collection." Check out her first two posts: Basic Fabric Terminology and Natural Fibers Used for Manufacturing Fabric. And as always, the Oliver + S blog is an excellent resource for techniques, ideas and inspiration.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

SB Wrap Dress Pattern: A Valentine's Day Blouse

When SB reader Lynette Marxuach posted a picture on our Facebook page of this blouse she made for her daughter as a Valentine's Day school outfit, I just had to share it on our blog. Stitched up in a cotton print fabric from the Michael Miller Andalucia Collection by Patty Young, the sleeveless top is from our Sew Beautiful Collection Girls' Wrap pattern

Lynette tells us, "I live in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico (a suburb of San Juan). I've been sewing for over 30 years but it wasn't till my daughter was born in 1999 that I began sewing for babies/toddlers/children/tweens. I learned to smock when she was born and ten years later it still is my favorite thing to do after she goes to sleep. I recently opened a fan page in Facebook - El ropero de Daniela (Daniela's Closet) where I display my creations and once in a while sell a piece. I've been reading/collecting Sew Beautiful Magazine for nearly all these years really enjoying the heirloom sewing tips and smocking plates."

Have you made a project from Sew Beautiful or SB Collection Patterns? Share it with us! Send your creations to

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sew Beautiful Magazine: The Blog!

Hello to all of our readers, fans, and fans-to-be! Welcome to our new Sew Beautiful blog, where our team is excited to engage with all of you in this new way over the coming months.

Expounding upon our 20+ year history of fine and heirloom sewing, we are excited to have ventured into the online community this year with our Facebook page, Twitter account and, as always, our website and message board. While a brand new website and revamped webstore are also in the works, we thought: what better time than for us to jump into the blogosphere with both feet?

Here on our blog, we hope to quench your thirst for Sew Beautiful and sewing inspiration between issues. From behind-the-scenes videos to tips and techniques; designer guest blogs to industry profiles; and giveaway contests to creative resources, the SB blog will be a must-read for any fan. We hope you'll check in with us often!