Fabric 101 with Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S

If you don’t yet know about Oliver + S, you’re definitely out of the loop when it comes to great children’s clothing patterns. Designer Liesl Gibson, the founder and designer behind Oliver + S, is a true talent in our eyes when it comes to fresh styles for kids. With a degree in fashion design from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Liesl’s resume includes work for Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren. After the birth of her daughter in 2005, Oliver + S was launched, filling a hole in the pattern industry with contemporary clothing designs for children. 

In addition to a feature on Oliver + S patterns in Sew Beautiful Issue #126, we have published several fantastic garments made from Liesl’s lines in other articles and pictorials — in fact, check out the current issue of SB (#129) where designer Ivey Crenshaw of Sew Blessed shows off the Tea Party Sundress pattern in Amy Butler prints (above left) for her pictorial, “Spring in Full Bloom”. (Garment pictured on right is “Marcy” by Bonnie Blue Designs; fabric print is also from Amy Butler.)

Oliver + S patterns are full of possibilities when it comes to creating a unique garment, and there are so many choices to make when deciding what look you’d like to create. Fabric choice is, of course, one of the most important (and most fun!) of these decisions; and who better to learn about fabric selection than from Liesl herself? Of its importance, she says:

As you know, Oliver + S patterns are designed with a sophisticated aesthetic in mind, and we wanted to share with our retailers how we go about selecting fabrics that highlight that fact. After all, the right design made up in the wrong fabric doesn’t, in the end, turn into a successful garment.

In January of this year, Liesl wrapped up a blog series on the Principles of Fabric Selection, using samples made from Oliver + S patterns to illustrate her points throughout. We found it to be an invaluable resource for anyone who sews for children. These series topics are freely published on the Oliver + S blog for you to learn from and study:

And because you can never know too much about your materials, you might also check out Liesl’s new guest column about fabric over at the BurdaStyle blog. Over the course of 2010, you can find Liesl’s guest blogs on the last Tuesday of each month. Of her series, she says, “In upcoming months, I’ll be covering topics such as the different types of natural and man-made fibers, uncommon fabric types, how to shop for interesting apparel-sewing fabrics, and how a designer puts together a fabric collection.” Check out her first two posts: Basic Fabric Terminology and Natural Fibers Used for Manufacturing Fabric. And as always, the Oliver + S blog is an excellent resource for techniques, ideas and inspiration.

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