Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sewing Project: Oliver+S Class Picnic Shorts

Fun fact: I thought the name of this pattern was Classic Picnic Shorts, and even wrote that on my traced off pattern pieces. It's not crazy, right, ClassIC PicnIC? I'm just trying to justify not being able to read.

This was my first O+S pattern. I had read Little Things to Sew (from the library) and enjoyed it. Sadly, one of the pattern sheets was missing, so that cut down on actually MAKING something from the book. It seemed like these patterns were perfect for a beginner like me. They claimed that not only would I be able to create an adorable outfit for my child, but that I would be taught a sewing lesson along the way.

Here's the bad part about these patterns. They're expensive. I'm used to buying patterns from the mainstream brands, from Jo-Ann's, when they're on sale for under $5. O+S patterns are $15.95. Ouch. The good news is that they are also carried online on sites like Banberry Place, who sometimes run great sales. The only tough part may be deciding on which one to buy! I went with the Picnic Blouse and Shorts because I thought it would be the most versatile. The top has elastic shoulders, which I desperately needed for AB's big ole noggin. The blouse can be made in many different fabrics for different looks, and I adore 3/4 length sleeves for my messy eater. 

The shorts, let's face it, are just plain adorable. They have an elastic waist in the back, a faux fly and those curved facings! so sweet. It has crossed my mind more than once to try enlarging the pattern to fit myself.

Horrible winter lighting please go away

True to their word, I learned a LOT from making both the blouse and the shorts. It was actually last August when I made two pairs of the shorts (the other pair is all blue), and AB was 6 months at the time. I sized up to the 12-18 month size because she wears cloth diapers and has the big booty to prove it. That size fit her great. I tried them on her the other day when we were having spring in January, and they still went on her body, though I wouldn't say they FIT necessarily. They'll do in a pinch but now that she's a year old, they look more like hoochie shorts. Not a good look.

The fabric is a linen/rayon blend that I found in the remnants bin at JA. I got about a half yard of the purple and a yard of the blue for around $10. From that much fabric I was able to cut 3 pairs of size 12-18 month shorts. As I mentioned, one pair is all blue, and one is picture above in blue with purple facings. The third pair is all purple and it's living in my UFO pile. After sewing up 2 pairs back to back, I was over it and never came back. Poor purple shorts. Maybe I'll have another girl baby someday and you'll see daylight.

The instructions for the shorts are excellent. The reason I got tired of them after two pairs was all the basting and pressing. To apply the facings, the instructions ask you to first baste the edge of the shorts and then press against your basting line to get a nice curve. Yes, it works great, but it became tedious. In order to do it neatly I found myself first marking the basting line, basting, pressing, trimming, etc. and it seemed like a lot just to have a nice curve (yes, okay, it was totally worth it because they're so darn cute).

The only part I found confusing was with the waistband. It did not explicitly say whether to stitch in the ditch after folding the facing in, or whether I was supposed to topstitch the outside. For my first pair I attempted to stitch in the ditch and it went pretty badly. For the second pair I topstitched. This is probably an area where someone with more waistband experience wouldn't have any issues, but this was my first. It was a great stepping stone to learning about waistbands in general, but I guess I would have appreciated a tad more hand-holding.

All in all, a fantastic pattern and worth the price to me. I had never sewn facings and I learned all I needed to know here. Highly recommend!


  1. Nice work. I've been sewing for quite a while but I still buy Oliver and S patterns bc the directions are so well done I think they are relaxing to sew. You did a great job.

  2. Thank you! You're right, their patterns do take the worry out of sewing, it's much more relaxing when you're confident you're doing the steps correctly.


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