Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Building Block Dress book tour

I was so, so excited when Liesl asked me to join in on her virtual book tour.  From the minute she explained what the book was about and included a little preview, I knew it would be love.  It's no secret I am a huge fan of customizing patterns; in fact check out the tutorial section on the blog, I have written a few posts over there.  I was so excited to learn the correct way to alter patterns, because let's be honest, I was just guessing and hoping it all worked out correctly.

As soon as I opened the first few pages, I was hooked- look at all the eye candy!  The book is beautifully executed and photographed.

There are quite a few pages just of inspiration. I waited until the kids were in bed then pored over every detail slowly and carefully before moving on to the next page, I wanted to take my time and take it all in.

It includes the layout of instructions that we all know and love about Oliver and S.  I love that it was a familiar look, because honestly I was a little nervous at first.

But then I quickly realized, if anyone was going to be able to teach me the correct ways to customize and then sew my customized pattern, it was Liesl.

Each element is broke down in to it's own chapter; sleeves, silhouettes, pockets, collars and necklines, finishes: hems, closures and linings.

There is so much information packed in to this book.  Even if you don't have a little girl to sew for, this book would still be very useful in altering other patterns, I love that I know it will work for me long after the twins outgrow the patterns (hopefully a very long time from now, ha!)

I decided first to sew just the absolute basic dress, no alterations to the pattern.  Well, aside from doing elbow length sleeves, but that is so simple that I hardly can call it an alteration.  I wanted to make sure the fit was what I expected (it was) and that I was familiar with the steps before moving on to more challenging details.

This is the size 5 for reference, I currently make a size 5 for the twins in all my other Oliver and S patterns, also.

Once I had a feel for the pattern and the layout of the book, I moved on.

Normally when I make something, I pick out the pattern and then the fabric.  This time I used the worksheet layout included in the book to really think it through, I picked out my fabrics first and then read through each chapter, picking each element carefully trying to decide which would work best to highlight my fabrics.

Abby is on the high end of the size 12, but as soon as she saw the book she begged for me to make her something, too.  She currently isn't a huge fan of dresses, so she and I chose a sleeveless tunic length, swingy top made from rayon challis.  I followed the instructions on page 82 for an a-line dress but added a bit more width between the slices for even more swing, knowing my rayon challis would lay and hang nicely.

It isn't easy to see in the pictures, but I actually added a half inch to the front center and cut two fronts, sewed together and then topstitched down each side to give it a fun little detail.

I went to page 135 and added a key hole back opening since she isn't generally a fan of button backs, but doesn't mind a single button.

For Elizabeth's dress, I used the basic bodice, collar and the flared gathered a-line skirt found on page 73.  I love the fullness of the skirt and so does she.

For the hem, I used a gorgeous crochet edge bias tape I found on etsy.

I used the bell sleeve found on page 57 and added an elastic casing to the hem, I love the look it gives.

The back is a button down, per the basic building block dress.

For Georgia's dress I used the empire waist found on page 57 with the flared a-line skit on page 72.

I again used the keyhole opening on the back, found on page 135, and added lace to the hem of the skirt.

I actually really like the bias binding for necklines lately, so that is the method I used for all three makes.

I chose elbow length sleeves for this dress also, I find that my girls like to wear them year round, so I figured I get to use the cute elements like an elastic casing or a sleeve cuff (it's hard to see on this one, but it's there) and they will get loads of use.

I also cut a piece a couple inches wide and added a narrow white bias tape to the edges to tie in the tiny bit of white in the print and the lace on the hem.

So basically to sum this all up, I really, really love this book.  I have a stack of papers already filled out waiting to be sewn in to reality and that is just touching the surface of the possibility that comes from the book.  The book is so well written, not that I would expect anything less from Liesl and O+S, but I feel it will become a very valuable tool in any sewing library whether you sew for a little girl or yourself.


  1. Thanks so much for joining the book tour. You sure have been busy sewing!!! Lovely makes!

  2. Your dresses are all beautiful! I especially love the swing top, my 13 year old would love that. I've ordered my book and can't wait to get it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Love the dresses B - they look so sweet on the girls. I really like the swing top on A - perfect teen wear. Ack, maybe I do really NEED this book after all!

  4. Ahhhhhhh!!!! So good! I am freaking out now - can't wait for my copy!

  5. I love that you showed us the basic dress to ;o)

  6. Absolutely fantastic!! Can't wait to see what else you have in store with the Building Block Dress {from that "stack of papers" waiting to be sewn} . . . .