A couple of months ago, one of my favorite kids’ clothing pattern designer, Liesl Gibson, contacted me to tell me about her new book and ask if I wanted to be part of her blog tour. Blog tours aren’t usually our thing, plus I was in the middle of a cross-state move with multiple stops along the way. (I still have no idea where most of my sewing supplies are, except to say that they are “in a box in the garage.”) But Oliver + S patterns are my very favorite patterns for kids; I made several wonderful projects out of Liesl’s first book; plus I know Liesl and Todd, and their graphic designer, Lindsie Bergervin, only deliver top quality, reliable material. So this is a project I knew I could get behind, site unseen.

The book is Building Block Dress: A Sewing Pattern Alteration Guide (one pattern, thousands of dresses!) The wonderful concept behind this book is that you can design a unique dress for a child based on their preferences. Each element of the pattern has multiple variations. Pick your skirt, pick your sleeves, pick your collar, pick your hem, pick your neckline, pick your pockets.

It sounds confusing, but it’s not. It’s just a super fun idea that both kids and their creative wardrobe consultants (sewing machine operators) will enjoy.

The book comes with a pocket on the back cover for the pattern pieces. In order to preserve the original pattern pieces and sizes so you can continue to mix and match the different elements for years to come, it’s important to trace the pattern pieces, in the right size, onto another surface.

Our favorite product for transferring patterns is Swedish tracing paper. To use, simply tape your pattern onto a flat surface (we use washi ), then tape a cut of Swedish tracing paper over the pattern. Use a pen or pencil to trace the proper size lines and pattern markings (such as notches and grain direction lines.) No light box necessary! 

It’s hard to describe Swedish tracing paper in words–you have to see it to love it. Check out our quick look at the product and it’s great qualities in this video.

If you’d like to win your own copy of Building Block Dress: A Sewing Pattern Alteration Guide, comment below with your thoughts about storing, tracing, or cutting garment patterns. We really do read the comments and want to learn from your experiences–please share what you hate, what you love, best practices, etc.