It’s been a while since we did a Wear Your Style Friday. Sorry about that. I think you’ll agree that this week’s is really good. I’d like to introduce you to Dorie of Tumbling Blocks. I’ve been following Dorie for a while now, so I sort of feel like I know her, and when she posted her adorable version of the Portfolio Tunic to the Flickr group the other day I was really excited to see it.

Here is what Dorie has to say about her tunic:

I chose the portfolio tunic because I loved its modern shape, and the interesting construction of the sleeves and pockets.  I’m on the short side (5′-2″), and I know that the lengths of most dress patterns are way too long for me, which made me think that the tunic length could probably even work well for me as a dress.  I used an egg blue linen fabric.  I had thought about using a voile print, but decided that the unique shape and details of the tunic would be more visible in a solid.  The linen feels good over leggings for spring, and if our spring ever stops acting like summer, I’ll wear the tunic styled with the leggings, boots, and a bright scarf.  I think the tunic will work well on its own for those really hot days when you don’t event want to think about how you used to wear an extra piece of fabric around your neck.

Dorie also styled her tunic for summer, and you can see it over on her blog post.

This tear sheet has been bouncing around in my design files for a while now, and recently I’ve started thinking about how I might make a similar style using the Diplomat Dress pattern and a soft-colored silk taffeta. Wouldn’t it be beautiful?



This dress is a dove-gray color, and I might look for something similar next time I’m at the fabric store. I plan to play up the seams with heavy top-stitching in a lighter shade. It could make a nice Easter dress, although I’ll certainly wear it for lots of other events as well.

What are your sewing plans for this spring? Are you starting to think about Easter sewing?

This bag has been on my mind for a while now. I’m glad I finally get to share the new Lisette Foreign Exchange Bag with you!



The idea for this bag started long before I launched Oliver + S or Lisette. It was the second pattern I developed for a sewing class at Purl, back when I was teaching beginning sewing and wanted a good pattern we could use for the class. I wasn’t really inspired by the patterns that were available, so Joelle encouraged me to develop one of my own. The result was actually two patterns: the Day in the Park Convertible Backpack (a few copies of the pattern are still available at Purl; once they’re gone, that’s it!) and this one, which we never published.

Over the years I’ve thought about it now and then, and I’ve come up with ideas to improve on the bag and to add to it. So when it came time to develop our first Lisette bag pattern, this was my chance to finish the pattern the way I had envisioned it.



The pattern includes two different sizes and shapes. There’s the really big version, which is the one I’m carrying in this photo (because New Yorkers don’t have cars and need to carry everything they need for the entire day along with them, we like big bags) and the smaller size (for those of you who don’t carry as much, or who can leave some of your stuff in the car).

Each size has two different styles. The first (the one I’m carrying, above) is the sweet, feminine style with a big tie that cinches up the top and makes a big bow. The straps become the “belt loops” for the tie, but since the tie is removable you could always take it off and use the bag by itself, without the tie, if you wanted.



Then there’s the more tailored version, which features a pocket on the front. It has a clean look, but you can use a contrast fabric for the binding at the pocket edge, and of course you can have lots of fun with the button. So you can make this version as fancy or as minimalist as you like.



Anyway, inside each bag we’ve included a nice zippered security pocket for your valuables as well as a divided patch pocket for your cell phone, etc. Both pockets are easy to sew and add a lot of nice details to the bag. And the lining itself can, of course, be a fun fabric. I used the Little Lisette firefly print inside mine and love it.



Oh, I nearly forgot to mention the cosmetic case/pencil case! It’s really cute because it sort of mimics the shape of the bags, and it comes with the bag pattern. I especially like the tabs at the ends. They sort of hide the zipper and make it easy to open and close.

So which bag are you going to make, and which fabrics will you use?

To be perfectly honest with you, the Diplomat Dress is my favorite dress. Ever.



I was inspired to design this dress when I found myself collecting all sorts of images of dresses with a similar silhouette. All those images, both vintage and contemporary, went up on my inspiration boards so I could spend some time studying them to determine what it was about them that I liked.

There were several features that were especially compelling. First of all, I think the silhouette is flattering to a variety of figures because its gentle, flattering lines skim the body but still gives you a nice shape. In other words, it’s a feminine, figure-flattering dress. The bodice is fitted and slim through the waist, while the A-line skirt can camouflage hips or give the illusion of curves, depending on your figure type.  This dress actually emphasizes and enhances an hourglass shape.



My favorite part of this style is the yoke seam. We constructed the pattern so that the lines are very clean and simple, and to do that we moved all of the shaping, including the bust darts, into the seams. This gives the dress a contemporary look, and it also gives you a great opportunity to play with the topstitching along the seams. I emphasized the seams on my navy linen version, above, by topstitching them in a turquoise thread to match my favorite shoes and turquoise necklace. When I made the maxi-dress version, below, I downplayed the topstitching by stitching it in a matching thread so it didn’t detract from the dramatic print.



I also like the neckline on this dress. It’s a nice, open shape with a little notch detail that deepens it a bit while still remaining demure and sweet.

The pattern comes with three different views, so you can mix and match them to sew your own style. Choose from sleeveless, short sleeves, or three-quarter sleeves. And select the length you prefer: from a mini-dress, just above the knee, or the more dramatic maxi-dress length. For my Palm Springs version (the maxi-dress, above) I added the three-quarter sleeves to the maxi dress length because I wanted a caftan look.

I hope you’ll like this dress as much as I do. I’d love to see how you wear it!

I’ve been looking forward to introducing you to this style, the Souvenir Dress, Blouse and Shorts.  This style came from two sources. It was initially inspired by a favorite blouse I own, and that design inspired the Oliver + S Class Picnic blouse, which in turn inspired this pattern.



The dress and top are a relaxed, pull-on style with no closures. The raglan sleeves, square neckline and yoke are all fun details. I love the way we clean-finished the yoke. It’s a fun, easy style to sew, and I’m a big fan of the dropped-waist dress style, which I’m happy to report has been making its way back into fashion. (I’m planning to wear this dress at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, Washington, tomorrow where it’s expected to snow. Here’s hoping I don’t freeze!)



The shortened top version of this pattern is my “go-to” blouse pattern this summer. It sews together quickly, and the relaxed fit is perfect for our ridiculously hot, humid summers here in New York. I’ll be making it in our printed lawns so I’ll have a variety of comfortable tops to choose from. I made sure the hem at the sleeves was really wide to give it a little weight and so it would be a visible detail when made up in semi-sheer fabrics like this, too. You’ll see what I mean when you make it yourself.

And of course the shorts. They’re short, but not too short. I think they have a little bit of a vintage appeal, don’t you? But they’re completely modern, too. The waistband sits below the waist, a little lower than most of our other styles so far, and the wide yoke is flattering to your backside, if you know what I mean. (It’s a little like well-placed back pockets on jeans. Have you read this blog post about “Mom jeans”?) The front pleats give a little extra room through the hips and thigh, and the side zipper keeps the silhouette looking clean (and makes the shorts much easier to sew than a traditional fly). See? I never dreamed I’d be posting photos of myself wearing shorts on the internet. Goodness.



And one last thing: While I was sewing my Souvenir Dress a couple of weeks ago it occurred to me that I could make a similar dress for S by lengthening the Oliver + S Class Picnic Blouse by a couple of inches and adding a ruffle for the hem. We even took a photo together for you. (See? Mother-daughter dressing? I’m finally there.)



So there you have it: two mother-daughter designs, in one season.

One request I get all the time is for mother-daughter matching styles. I’ve never been too excited about the idea, but lately it’s been growing on me, especially now that I’ve seen how thrilled my own daughter is when we dress alike, or nearly alike. (I’ll talk more about this soon.)

This new Little Lisette style, Simplicity 1892, is my version of a mother-daughter dress.


Little Lisette 1892

This design idea came to me a while ago as I was thinking about styles that would be appropriate for women and girls alike.


Little Lisette 1892

I think the high-low hem is a fun detail that keeps the style lighthearted and not too serious. I love this style with ballet shoes or little flat sandals.


Little Lisette 1892

This is a casual summer dress, and the little pants for the girl help to pull the style back from being too matchy-matchy.


Little Lisette 1892

It’s a very quick, easy style to sew and is perfect for highlighting a fun print because the lines are so simple. The Lisette and Little Lisette fabrics were at the top of my mind when I designed this style. I thought it best to let the fun florals and prints talk for themselves and keep the details to a minimum.

As always, I can’t wait to see what you make with these patterns! I hope you’ll post your photos to the Lisette Flickr group.

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