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“Little Things To Sew” by Oliver + S – A Sewing Book Review

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Oliver + S Book Review

Oliver + S has a great reputation for classic, well written patterns and while I haven’t sewn any of their clothing, I swooped up their book after previewing it at my library. I already sewed up and blogged about these juggling balls, they still get regular play in our house! I thought I’d write up a “formal” review and try another project – this time I’m sewing ahead of season with a cozy winter bear hat for my baby.

I’m reviewing one book a month this year, check out my other sewing/craft book reviews on this page!

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hood pattern

It has four sizes, XS-L, and I sewed up the Small since she has been growing quickly since birth (almost tripling her weight before 4 months old, eek!). The pattern does a lovely job with suggested fabrics – I opted for a sweatshirt fleece on the outside and cashmere from a thrifted sweater for the lining.

bear winter hat sewing pattern

The pattern calls for ribbon, but I opted to just make tubes out of cashmere so they were softer against baby’s skin.

Baby in a bear hat

She has some room to grow before winter’s here! The patterns sewed up super easily, the notches made aligning everything a breeze. The pattern suggested hand-tacking the ears so they stick up more but I actually like them floppier, because they remind me  of a hippo. I’ll definitely be making one for my son too!

Judging by the two patterns I’ve sewn thus far, Oliver + S has earned their good reputation. I will definitely be hanging on to this book!

Book: Oliver + S Little Things to Sew: 20 Classic Accessories and Toys for Children* by Liesl Gibson

Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang

oliver + s little things to sew

Focus: As stated in the title, sewing projects to make accessories & toys for kids!

Project List Overview:
Mittens / Tutu / No-tie scarf / Messenger bag / Reversible bucket hat / Bias-trimmed apron / Bento box carrier / Play town / Penguin backpack / Art smock / Cozy winter hood / Messy kid bib / Juggling balls and drawstring bag / Tea party doll dress / Travel quilt / Red riding hood / Explorer vest / Bear carrier / Bear puppet bath mitt / Puppet theater

DIY Puppet Theater

Play Town Softies


  • The pattern pieces are full-size, no enlarging needed!
  • There are two cardstock dolls to cut out at the back of the book, which is a cute idea!
  • They include fabric layout & cutting diagrams, which I haven’t seen in many of the kids sewing books I’ve read/used


  • The pattern pieces don’t have a pocket or storage option, they are glue dotted on but easy to lose once you’ve removed them.
  • Some of the patterns are lackluster, in my opinion. For example, I think an oversized bib is boring to include, and iron-on vinyl isn’t the best suggestion because it can’t be machine washed. Wiping down only goes so far.
  • The clothes for those cardstock dolls are supposed to be cut out of the dust jacket. It makes me cringe to think of cutting the jacket! Couldn’t do it.
  • Some of the pattern overlap and are confusing to trace off – when tracing the hood there were dots also marked S/M etc. that were from another pattern. I wish there were different styles of lines or colors for the patterns that overlap.


Here is a shot of the technical illustration & pattern page to give you an idea of what those look like!

technical drawing

Oliver + S Sewing Book Review

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Pam @Threading My Way

Tuesday 28th of July 2015

From memory there is an art shirt in that book and it sewed up easily with good instructions and a great fit.

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Tuesday 28th of July 2015

There is one in the book! Good to know - might make a great holiday present :)


Sunday 26th of July 2015

That is so cute. Even on a ball lol!!!!

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Sunday 26th of July 2015

Thanks Olu! Haaaaa I know, it's not the ideal photo setting. But it certainly didn't fit MY head, try as I did :)

Katy M.

Thursday 23rd of July 2015

Holy cats, I love your new hat! Oliver + S has some of the sweetest designs. And I adore their illustrations for things as well. I just haven't had the chance to sew anything up by them yet. Maybe one day!

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