Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress by Isabelle

10 Jan

I have been so excited to try the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress pattern and this weekend I finally did it!  I fawn over pretty much every pattern on their site and I am in love with their book,  Oliver + S Little Things to Sew: 20 Classic Accessories and Toys for Children.  The pattern’s aren’t inexepensive so it was a treat to buy and try this one.

Let me tell you, that the price is worth it for so very many reasons.  First and foremost, the patterns aren’t printed on your typical brown tissue like pattern paper but are instead printed on a much sturdier translucent white paper.  Second the pattern directions are thorough and easy to understand. No detail is left undone and the result is a finished product that is of a boutique quality.  Seriously gorgeous stuff.

That being said, I’m sad to say that I let my wild and crazy 5 year old dresser, select the material that would be used for the dress. Over Christmas, the Fat Quarter Shop ran several awesome sales, and I used it to buy some fun material for me and the girls. I could not resist this Timeless Treasure Retro Candy Dot fabric (Seems to have sold out at the fat Quarter Shop so the link is to an Ebay listing) for the girls as they love dot candy. I really had no idea how to incorporate it into a non costume outfit, but I was ready to try! And a while back a purchased some Sarah Jane for Michael Miller, Children at Play Pink Hopscotch fabric that I used to make the girls their American Girl Doll sleeping bags.

Isabelle decide to combine the two for this dress. And boy is she happy with the finished product!



Do you see those pintucks? There are three on the left and right side of the front AND back of the dress.  There are also 6 buttons up the whole back of the dress, a finished hem and that great circular collar!

I’ve never sewn a pintuck before, but I think I did a decent job. My was it ever so tedious.

The collar was not so hard to sew but it took me several reads of the instructions to really understand how it was going to come together.

The finished hem is still a question to me.  First of all, I had seen the dress constructed with a border at the bottom, like my version has, but there were not instructions as to how to do that so I just kind of figured it out.  But what really through me off was this facing that had to be cut for the hem.  I have always just folded a 1/2″ then folded another 1.5-2″ to make a hem.  This had me fold the facing in 1/2″ and then add the facing like you would on a collar, and then sew it down.  I got it kind of wrong and I don’t see the value in this.  If someone would be so kind as to explain a finished hem made with facing, to me, I would be ever so grateful.

I must be honest and say that I haven’t yet sewn the buttons up that back yet. I really dread sewing buttons on.  Button holing is easy, but hand-stitching buttons is a pain.

When Isabelle asked for these fabrics, I agreed and cut out the same fabrics for this pattern in Lelia’s size too, but after this dress took me something like 7 hours to complete (including cutting out both pattern sizes and materials in each size) I’m a little weary about starting in on Lelia’s version.

I’m happy that Isabelle is happy, but I have to say, if I had known how long it would take me to make this dress, I would have insisted on picking a much prettier fabric, one that would have really shown off the details and finish of the dress.


One Response to “Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress by Isabelle”


  1. Handmade Valentine’s Day | A Lesson in How NOT to Sew - February 14, 2012

    […] Lelia’s doll got a blue dress that matches one of hers, some red undies, and brown shoes because Lelia says she doesn’t like pink.  Her dolly got blonde hair and blue eyes to match Lelia.  While Isabelle’s doll is all pinked up, Pink hair and shoes, pink floral undies, and purple eyes with a dress to match her candy dress. […]

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