Today we’re excited to share this guest post from Liesl Gibson, Oliver + S founder and chief designer. Liesl has been a longtime favorite here at Sew,Mama,Sew! and we eagerly anticipate each new group of Oliver + S patterns! Liesl gives us a sneak peek at the Oliver + S fall patterns and shows how many of the designs are perfectly suited for Back to School uniforms. You can also find a full Fall 2010 pattern preview on the Oliver + S blog. The Music Box Jumper and School Photo Dress patterns mentioned below are available for pre-order in our shop, in addition to the new Hopscotch Skirt, Knit Top & Dress and Nature Walk Pullover & Knit Pants patterns.

From Liesl: Now that it’s the middle of August, I’m thinking about back-to-school sewing and school uniforms. My daughter, the S of Oliver + S, will be starting Kindergarten this year, and her new school has a dress code. It’s a relatively relaxed dress code as far as school uniforms go (she can wear navy or khaki pants, skirts, or jumpers along with navy, white, khaki, or light blue shirts and sweaters), and it gives me lots of opportunity to sew for her. This month I’ve been making her a few things from our new Fall 2010 patterns, which go on sale September 7.

I thought it would be fun to show you what I’ve been sewing her for school. We’ll be sharing more photos of these garments, and providing more detail on all the new patterns, for the rest of the month on the Oliver + S blog.

Music Box Jumper
The school uniform staple from this fall’s line is the Music Box Jumper. This is one of the easiest patterns to sew that I’ve written, and I’ve already made S a couple dresses from it. They come together very quickly, and I imagine I’ll sew her a few more before the year is out.

All summer, S has been wearing a version of this dress (View A) that I made in chambray linen. I’m planning to move this into the school wardrobe rotation come September.

Music Box Jumper, View A.

Once school starts, and the fall air starts to become crisp, we’ll layer a light blue or white Music Class Blouse or a polo shirt under it.

I also made her a dress from View B of the pattern. This version is done in navy herringbone twill.

Music Box Jumper, View B.

This will be great over a blouse or polo shirt come fall. I also like it with bobby socks on warm days or with tights when the weather turns cooler.

The School Photo Dress
To give S something a little more dressy to wear on special days at school, I made View A of the School Photo Dress in a navy wool suiting. The dress looks quite elegant, but not so fancy that she can’t have fun on the playground at recess while she’s wearing it.

The School Photo Dress, View A.

As a little surprise, I included a hot pink lining because I’m sure she’ll enjoy wearing something pink every once in a while. On first view, this pattern comes across as a formal, special-occasion dress. There’s definitely that aspect to it, and it looks beautiful made up in a silk dupioni for dressy occasions. But it’s actually a very versatile pattern and looks great in subtle prints as well. I’m planning to make S another version of this dress using View B, which has a ruffled collar, in a subtle blue plaid.

Older Patterns
Over the last couple years, I’ve watched two of our customers (April Henry of April 1930’s, and Jeanne Po of Night Knitter) sew and blog a host of beautiful school uniforms made from our patterns. Here’s a little more uniform sewing inspiration for you, courtesy of them.

For the girls, the Tea Party Sundress makes a great jumper (in both light and dark fabrics) with a blouse or polo shirt underneath.

Both View A and View B of the Jump Rope Dress can be made into perfect school dresses. And why not consider adding a fun lining?

Jump Rope Dress

The classic A-line skirt with handy pockets and a little kick pleat featured in our Sunday Brunch Jacket and Skirt pattern makes a nice uniform skirt. And the Jacket would look great in navy or khaki twill.

The blouse in our Music Class Blouse and Skirt pattern is an ideal school uniform piece. It pairs well with skirts or pants, and it can be worn under jumpers and dresses. It can also be sew with long or short sleeves for warm or cold weather.

The Birthday Party Dress makes a nice first-day-of-school outfit over a blouse or polo shirt.

Birthday Party Dress

For the boys (as well as the girls), the Sailboat Pants are easy to sew and look cute with the button details.

The Sandbox Pants are also very easy to sew, and the drawstring waist is a nice, yet uniform-appropriate subtle, decorative detail.

Sandbox Pants

And, finally, the Sketchbook Shirt and Shorts (which could also be lengthened to pants) provides a classic tailored shirt that’s for school (and concert) wear.

(Note: While these pattern links take you to the larger size range for each pattern, all are available in a smaller size range too.)

BY THE WAY, Oliver + S is giving away a $40 gift certificate to Sew,Mama,Sew! so head on over there for a chance to win!

You have a chance to win the Music Box Jumper pattern courtesy of Sew,Mama,Sew! Comment on today’s Back to School Featured Pattern to win.

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