Back to School with Oliver + S

on August 19 | in Products | by | with 95 Comments

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.

WIN A SERGER! Enter our contest for your chance to win a Husqvarna Viking s21 Serger (retail value $1199)!

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95 Responses to Back to School with Oliver + S

  1. recepti says:

    Your blog is so informative รขโ‚ฌยฆ keep up the good work!!!!

  2. Beth says:

    My daughter actually wears a uniform to school. But I think I know where the rest of her wardrobe is coming from!

  3. Catherine says:

    I’m imagining the music box jumper in fabric from my stash…

  4. jill says:

    I love the oliver + s patterns! Can’t wait to try the new ones!

  5. Shari says:

    I like the music box jumper the best. So cute!

  6. I’m crazy for oliver+s patterns and when I see dear S wearing the garments made up by the designer herself, I swoon! Love the post with all the ideas + piccies. xoxo

  7. Laura W says:


  8. Christine says:

    So cute.

  9. Katrina says:

    Cute but not my style, but I love the variety in the pattern choices.

  10. Alyssa says:

    Love them! To be honest I have always thought that uniforms are great!! I wouldn’t have minded them as a kid & wouldn’t mind them for my kids (when they get to that age).

  11. Rebekah says:

    I love this pattern!

  12. mjb says:

    It’s great to see these simple variations

  13. Rosa in the Antipodes says:

    They all amazing but this School Photo Dress is gorgeous! I loved it!

  14. ~Helena~ says:

    Everything is so cute.

  15. stacey says:


  16. kathy says:

    These remind me of the clothes my mom made me when I was little. Love.

  17. maryellen says:

    Great, classic patterns that will never go out of style. I’m inspired!

  18. Marla says:

    Those school jumpers are so cute. I don’t know which I like best. I would like the School Photo Dress view A for myself!–too bad its not in women’s sizes. They are all adorable.

  19. Gail says:

    All of the patterns are so versatile! I love the back to school looks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. heather b says:

    Love them all – I have the jump rope dress, and hope to send a jumping girl off to school this year!

  21. I adore O+S patterns, and this write up by Liesl is just awesome.

  22. stacy says:

    These designs are adorable, thanks for a chance to win.

  23. Marcia W. says:

    Really nice children’s patterns at O&S

  24. darci says:

    what a great model! i love seeing the same garment made up in different fabrics. A pattern i wasnt so fond of in one fabric suddenly looks great in another.

  25. Jeanne says:

    I have really enjoyed making my daughter’s school uniforms from Oliver and S patterns. And better yet, she loves wearing them to school.

  26. stephanie says:

    i always love their patterns….and i love the outfits that are made with it….what a difference the fabric makes! i need to break away from prints!

  27. WandaFish says:

    So many ideas, not enough hours! Thanks for the inspiration Liesl.

  28. angelina says:

    awww i love this tsia!

  29. Jessica says:

    These are clever ways to use the patterns. I would love to make my daughter the music box jumper for school! Thanks!

  30. Such a versatile pattern! Love it!

  31. delitealex says:

    Love the sandbox pants.

  32. Wendy says:

    I love the music box dress, view B!

  33. Danielle says:

    love! love! love oliver + s everything

  34. Can not wait for this release. I am ready to go to the fabric store right now

  35. Amy says:

    Too bad my girls wear the plaid school jumpers. I’m going to have to make this for after school fun.

  36. Samantha says:

    What great ideas! I love the new patterns. Can’t wait until they are released!

  37. Denise says:

    Can’t wait for the fall O+S patterns – really can’t wait!!!

  38. sy says:

    so simple and pretty.

  39. Christi says:

    I’m so looking forward to these new oliver + s patterns! Thanks for the great article!

  40. Frances says:

    So super sweet! I love all the dresses!

  41. Leslie says:


  42. Valerie says:

    They’re all nice. I love the simple, elegant style!

  43. mamabird says:

    I’ve been very curious about these patterns!

  44. Crystelle says:

    This is sooo cute! I love the old school look on the school photo dress. So adorable! The girl is pretty cute too.

  45. Barb says:

    Wow, all of those patterns are perfect for back to school. Thanks for sharing.

  46. Krystina says:

    Cute overload! Wow. Faints. Wow. So cute!

  47. Charity says:

    These are soooo sweet!!

  48. Zura says:

    I’m a huge fan of Oliver + S patterns! They are all so classy yet practical. The Fall line is just so beautiful!

  49. Liz says:

    These are all great ideas!

  50. Judy says:

    What cute dresses and what versatility.

    Judy in MO

  51. Steph W says:


  52. shisomama says:

    Oh, I love all these dresses! I especially love how fancy the school picture dress is. I definitely need to get to work sewing some clothes for my son, who is also starting kindergarten!

  53. Tracey says:

    Beautiful and thanks for sharing!

  54. bruinbr says:

    Miss S is always so stylish ๐Ÿ™‚ I would love to sew a few of these for my daughter!

  55. Cricket says:

    I never would have thought to use the Birthday Party Dress for a uniform, but it is adorable.

  56. S. Bird says:

    I love this jumper! So classic!

  57. christina says:

    The Music Box pattern has so much potential.

  58. amber says:

    I really love that the dresses are both classic and fun. Such great examples here. ๐Ÿ™‚

  59. Mama Lusco says:

    Sweet! I really like the classic looks.

  60. Alice S says:

    Oliver + S is my favorite pattern company. I love the classic clothing. The music box jumper seems so versatile.

  61. Shirley Clark says:

    She is the perfect model, and I love this little jumper. It could be so versitile being able to wear or not wear blouses and shirts with it.
    Thanks for a chance to win.

  62. meg says:

    I can see great possibilities for my daughter and nieces in these designs. They’re classic and fun, a great combo!

  63. Julie W says:

    They are all so cute!! I really like all the different variations of this pattern!

  64. jes says:

    I love all of these dresses. super crush on the patterns

  65. Kadybug says:

    That Music Box Jumper is so beautiful!

  66. nopinkhere says:

    I have to admit that I hadn’t really thought of sewing kids clothing in more “adult” fabric, but I sure that makes them that much more durable. Love all the examples!

  67. DianeY says:

    Just love these patterns!

  68. miktha says:

    Lovely dresses, i just want to be a school girl again and wear those dresses. Thank you for sharing, and for the giveaway pattern.

  69. Sara says:

    Very cute assortment and with a cute pair of shoes and away she goes!

  70. PeachRainbow says:

    All of Oliver+S patterns are amazing!

  71. silver says:

    Thanks for sharing all these adorable patterns!

  72. Kristin says:

    That’s pretty cute! I love navy blue on children ๐Ÿ™‚

  73. Karen says:

    O+S are my ultimate go-to patterns always. They always turn out nice and never disappoint.

  74. JenR says:

    I’m loving the Music Box Dress!!

  75. Jasmine says:

    View B is so cute! Love the little pockets…

  76. cate says:

    love all of these. miss S looks so great in the one with the pink lining. i like that you’re working the system through the lining!!!

    and, well, that fancy dress is the one i am salivating over. cannot wait to get that pattern in my hot little hands.

  77. Andria says:

    These dresses make me want to have a baby girl so I can dress her in these!

  78. I am loving the versatility of that dress! Also, I am needing those shoes for my daughter in the jump rope dress picture.

  79. Oh my gosh, these are absolutely darling!!

  80. Em says:

    I love all of these cute patterns!

  81. Papgena says:

    I especially like the birthday party dress!!

  82. Mary Margaret says:

    Another hit from Oliver+S! I can see a closet full of these jumpers, even for girls who don’t wear uniforms!

  83. Emily says:

    Oliver+S makes such great patterns!

  84. katie says:

    I love being able to see these patterns in real form. i love the design of the O+S packaging but one of the reasons I haven’t bought one is the lack of actual photos of the garment on a child. This really helps. Thanks! Lots of great clothes here.

  85. Beth B says:


  86. Claire says:

    too cute!!!!!!

  87. SuBoo says:

    I totally ADORE the School Photo dress – it’s gorgeous!

  88. Trisha says:

    I love view B of the dress….Thanks for sharing!

  89. Karen says:

    Love this jumper pattern, and my daughter just started school where they have to wear uniforms.

  90. indywriter says:

    I love the music box jumper! It’s such a sweet, simple style. Very cute!

  91. Tong says:

    Love these patterns, preppy and fun!! Oliver + S never disappoints!

  92. pia says:

    I want it so much!!!! It is gorgeous!

  93. Cherie says:

    Thanks for the guest post from Liesel. She is such an inspiration.

  94. Heidi says:

    I’m sure that these outfits could be used as uniforms or with colourful fabric for fun outfits. Great versatility.

  95. Sarah E. says:

    Cute!! thanks for sharing! And she’s adorable!

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