27 June 2013

OUT Chapter 4: Liesl of Oliver + S

I don't know that Liesl needs much of an introduction.  If you've ever used an Oliver + S pattern, you are enjoying the creative fruits of her work!  I'd like to follow her around for a day and see how she does all that she does, from quilt market to fabric design and pattern production, all while enjoying the big apple with her sweet family.  Dream life, right?  She's here today, sharing a collaborative work with the "S" from Oliver + S, her daughter! Welcome, Liesl!
It’s not often that I get asked to participate in something like Once Upon a Thread. It was such a pleasure to sew something just for fun. S and I had a great time working on this project together. Thanks for including us, Katy!
Stuck.  Onto a dress.
We chose the book Stuck, by one of our favorite picture book authors, Oliver Jeffers, whose stories and illustrations are so amusing and quirky. This book doesn’t disappoint! It’s all about Floyd, whose kite gets stuck in a tree, and he has quite an adventure trying to free it again.
At first, he thinks that if he throws something else at the kite maybe he’ll dislodge it. He tries his cat. No luck.
He moves on, tossing increasingly crazy things into the tree, like the kitchen sink, a neighbor’s door. And just when you think he’s going to use a ladder to retrieve the kite, no! The ladder goes into the tree.  And that’s just the start.
We love how the book goes from completely plausible to ridiculous and hilarious. Floyd tosses increasing larger and more outrageous items into the tree in an attempt to free his kite, including an orangutan, a house, a whale and even a ship.
And then they’re all stuck.
I don’t want to give away the ending, because it’s so adorable and funny that you should read this book
for yourself (and share it with someone little who can appreciate the silliness and giggle along with you). We enjoyed the totally silly aspect of this story SO much that we thought a very silly dress was in order.
So I set about constructing a tree on the front of an Oliver + S Roller Skate Dress. S and I chose a men’s shirting fabric with a subtle light blue houndstooth pattern, and I fused fabric to the dress to make a tree trunk as well as several layers of silk chiffon and a few cotton leaf shapes for the tree leaves themselves. I wanted to achieve some depth to the leaves, to imitate the painterly effect of the book’s illustrations. I added free motion embroidery in two different thread colors for the tree leaves as well. Then I fused two layers of cotton fabric together and cut out the leaves that hide snaps for all the “additions” to the tree. They were hand stitched to the dress, on top of the applique. (If you try something like this, I highly recommend Mistyfuse for the fusible adhesive
because it doesn’t make your fabric thick or stiff. The multiple layers of fabrics that comprise this tree
aren’t stiff at all!
Meanwhile, S used fabric markers to draw some of her favorite items from the book. We fused several
layers of fabric together (including a heavy canvas backing) to add stiffness to her drawings and attached a snap to the back of each piece so they could be snapped onto the dress in a very literal (and silly) retelling of the story. To add the kite, we simply lifted a leaf and snapped the kite to the dress.
Oh, and one more thing before we show you the full effect: we needed something to store and carry all
those things that get stuck in the tree. A kite-shaped bag seemed appropriate.

And so, as we tell the story, S can add those items to her own tree, making an increasingly ridiculous dress. Somewhat silly dress:
Really silly dress:
And just like in the story, the kite bag sometimes escapes and gets itself stuck in a nearby tree.
I just hope she’s not contemplating what I think she might be…

I think my girls would like a whole forest of these dresses! Thank you so much, Liesl!


  1. that's fabulous! I love that S. did the drawings. And the kite bag is gorgeous. I have to add that book to my list for the next trip to the library . . .

  2. Oh my goodness this is so fantastic!! I love S's drawings. And the kite bag is amazing as well. What a fun project.

  3. A kite bag!!!! I'm dying here. And I've never seen this series before - I'll start looking at my kids' books in a whole new way now! Love!

  4. What a fun book! I will have to check that out. And I love that you collaborated with your daughter on this. The kite purse...super fantastic and my favorite piece! :)

  5. Too fun Liesl! What a clever idea! And your daughter is darling :)

  6. I've been waiting all week for this one and it did not disappoint! I love that S was involved in the process and that her hand is in the finished product. Adorable and perfect!

  7. What a fun dress and kite bag! and how fun that both of did this together!

  8. My girls also love this book, and they would love snapping fire trucks and whales to their dresses I am sure! Cute idea Liesl!

  9. So fun! The kite bag really puts the outfit over the top!

  10. oh my, that kite bag is perfect!

  11. So charming! This idea lends itself to a lot of stories (thinking like a kindergarten teacher here!). Love it!

  12. Such creativity! I love it. And so fun for your daughter.

  13. so fun to see a post from Liesl! We too love this book, and this dress is a fabulous spin on it. So creative with the interactive pieces, and love it that S got to have a part in creating it as well.

  14. So fun! What a cute and creative dress!! The kite bag is so great.

  15. Oh my goodness....WE LOVE THIS BOOK!
    Your project is brilliant.

  16. Love the kite bag! What a great version of the book. :)

  17. The dress is adorable! I love the kite bag for keeping the pieces together.:)

  18. This is SO cute! And that kite shaped bag is genius!
    - Elisa from CharmingDoodle.com

  19. Liesl does guest posts now...??? Awesome!!! ;) I love this dress, such a fun inspiration.

  20. That's adorable! I'm such a huge fan of Liesl's work, too. Brava!

  21. This is awesome, and I think it's so great that you worked on this with your daughter! The pictures she drew and the way the snap on the tree--so cool!


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