Hold on to your hats, folks. Today’s Sistershare (in combo with my sister’s sewing skills) is about to blow your mind.


Has anyone heard of Oliver + S, only one of the most awesome pattern companies around? Of course you have. The company published a stellar book, called Little Things to Sew chock full of children’s patterns. The end result from their messenger bag pattern? A grown woman coveting a child’s accessory. It’s totally normal.

I want one. You can have one!

The facts, straight up:
Pattern: Oliver+S Messenger Bag from Little Things to Sew
Size: child (the book includes an adult size as well)
Fabric: Ikea Tidny canvas, purple Jo-Ann bottomweight cotton/poly blend
Notions: two strap adjusters (look for these in the purse aisle, not the notions aisle), bias tape maker
Difficulty:  3 out of 4 scissors (Intermediate)
Model:  The ever lovely Ms. Madeleine (thanks M!)
Make it again?:  I cut out two, so I’m guessing another is in my future.

Her words:

“If you haven’t perused the offerings in Little Things to Sew, do yourself a favor and head on down to Barnes and Noble just to flip through this book.  There are twenty different projects, great instructions, and gorgeous photographs to look at.  Pair that with your favorite Starbucks seasonal beverage, and I say you’ve got yourself a Saturday morning outing.

Oliver+S patterns are expensive, but this book is a great way to pick up a bunch at a relatively low cost.  If your Jo-Ann store carries it, I suggest using a 50% off coupon to bring the cost down to less than a buck a pattern.  While you’re at Jo-Ann, head over to the purse notion aisle and get your strap adjusters.  They didn’t have the simple metal loops, so I bought a two pack of their strap adjusters and pried off the little slider bar from the middle of one.

The first thing you’ll notice about the patterns in this book is the need to trace each one.  I spent the evening cross-legged on the floor with my big acrylic ruler, a roll of tracing paper and the third season of Glee on streaming Netflix.  It didn’t take more than an episode to trace the Messenger Bag, Explorer Vest,  Reversible Bucket Hat and Messy Kid Bib (to be featured in the near future). 

The bag itself is easy to construct and surprisingly simple to line compared to say, a child’s backpack. I made the bias tape (best tute here) and strap from the lining fabric and I’m really pleased with the contrast between the graphic canvas and the solid purple accents.  Only thing I’d change?  I’m thinking if you added another two inches to the length of the large panel, it might be visually more appealing. 

Love the bag, but don’t want to make it yourself?  Here’s your opportunity to own it. My little messenger bag is featured in an auction to benefit a sweet kiddo looking for her family.  Your tax deductible bid goes to offset the costs of her future adoption.  Didn’t realize overseas Down syndrome adoption even existed?  Take a look here.

It has come to my attention that my sister, Whitney, should be writing this blog for me. These Sistershare posts are kicking my post’s butt, in a good way. In fact, I love that she’s letting me share them, because otherwise there’d be a whole lotta nothing on this blog for the next two weeks. And this Sistershare is just in time for Halloween!

The Charlie Tunic, from Made by Rae is totally cute, and such a versatile pattern to showcase contrasting holiday fabrics. Whitney went Halloween with this one, and can I just say? those little orange triangular buttons are perfect. Also, they strangely have me craving candy corn.
The facts, straight up:
Pattern:  Made by Rae Charlie Tunic
Size:  3T
Fabric:  Orange Jo-Ann broadcloth (too thin in retrospect), Jo-Ann holiday print
Notions:  Orange Jo-Ann buttons, black elastic cord
Difficulty:  Advanced beginner
Make it again?:  Already have.  Wait until you see the follow-up!

Her words, not mine:

“So this was my very first attempt at the Charlie Tunic, and I’m not going to lie, it was a bit of a stretch for me.  The epattern is great and the instructions are thorough, but it’s a tricky little bugger with a lot of steps.  Give yourself an entire afternoon on this one, ladies.

 Problems arose because I tend to do this thing when I’m sewing where I get frustrated by not understanding a specific step, think the pattern would come together easier if I did it a different way and then just start to wing it.  Hence the reason the sleeve facings are not the same as Rae’s and the addition of the big band along the bottom versus side vents.  In the end, it created a perfectly cute little shirt, but I can definitely tell it’s my first attempt at this pattern.

 Basically, if you’re a new sewist (sewer, whatever), I would advise using some cheap fabric for your first Charlie Tunic.  The half-price holiday fabric at Jo-Ann was clearly calling my name.  Once you’ve whipped  struggled through one, you’ll be on a roll.  The one piece of advice I have to impart:  if ironing the seam allowance (a scant ¼”) on the neck facing (step 7) is giving you fits, sew the seam allowance on the flat fabric first and follow that line to turn the fabric under and then iron.  This is especially useful on the curves.

Stay tuned for my elephant themed Charlie.  You won’t be disappointed.”