When Oliver +S founder, Liesl Gibson, began searching for clothing patterns for her new daughter she was disappointed by the lack of contemporary design and the outdated fit specifications she encountered across the market. Ultimately, she began creating her own patterns. “The potential for sewing unique and wonderful children’s clothing is limitless,” says Gibson. “But I couldn’t find patterns that inspired me to sew. So I created my own.”
Launched in spring 2008 with four styles for little girls, Oliver + S refreshed a product category that had been dormant for over a decade. Mothers and grandmothers immediately responded by snapping up the new patterns and starting to sew again for their daughters and granddaughters. Responding to customers’ requests, Gibson debuted her first patterns for boys in the fall of 2008. Oliver + S continues releasing two new collections of patterns for girls and boys up to age 12 each year.
A native of Wisconsin, Gibson grew up around the sewing machine. Both her mother and grandmother are accomplished seamstresses and practitioners of needle arts, and her mother sewed much of
Gibson’s clothing when she was young.
Gibson started sketching clothing designs at age nine, joking that someday she would design her own lines. She eventually taught herself to sew in one afternoon, producing a jumper that she wore the same day. “Sewing is just something that seems to come naturally for me,” says Gibson.
After working in publishing and finance early in her career, Gibson returned to school and earned
a degree in fashion design from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Before having her daughter in 2005, she worked as a designer for such high-profile fashion brands as Tommy Hilfiger and
In addition to running her own company and chasing after a child, Gibson teaches sewing classes featuring Oliver + S designs at independent fabric stores around the country.
Liesl Gibson has lived in Manhattan since 1991 and since 2005 has authored her popular personal blog, Disdressed (disdressed.blogspot.com), which covers sewing and design issues combined with observations about daily life as an entrepreneur, parent, crafter, and New Yorker.
Gibson’s first Oliver + S line of fabric, called City Weekend, will be released by Moda in the fall of 2010.