Friday, October 31, 2008

Ottobre 05-2008-7 Pinafore Dress

So. It's okay. This is my first Ottobre Women pattern. I am a sick puppy right now so I not wearing my contacts. I'll wear this but I don't love it. I don't think it's the pattern so much as the style. There is certainly something wrong with those side notches though. Here it is with the grey turtleneck I love.

The back looks worse than it really is. The zipper isn't perfect but it this picture makes it look crooked and really bad. The button is a big random one I had in my stash.

I liked the look with the raglan t-shirt from the same issue. I made the size 34 with my shoulder/bust tuck and it is just wrong. This is how the shoulders fit. Hmmmmm, that part is too big it seems but the upper arms are tight. Tight. And the chest area is tight too. Really tight. I was using a stretchy knit so it must be the sizing. With BWOF their 34 is always perfect for my top half. That jumper above is a 34 and it fits just fine.

And check this out. This is before hemming it. These are supposed to be full length sleeves. I did do the measurements. I am clearly in the 34 size range for my upper half according to their chart.
I could make this work but BWOF has a raglan t-shirt dress coming out in the next issue. I almost never have to change their patterns to fit me. I guess I'll just be forced to stick with BWOF for now. I will probably still make a few other things out of Ottobre but now I'm not sure what size to make. I think I'll pass on the Women's Ottobre. I think I will pick up a few of the kids ones so I can have some basics. BWOF does have some basics. I'll have to look and see what I need out of there.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ottobre v. BWOF

For those of you who don't know about Ottobre, I'll give a little run down on differences between it and BWOF.
  1. Both use pattern sheets you pull out of the center of the magazine. The Ottobre ones are smaller which means there are more things you have to piece together. The jumper I'm working on is a sheath dress. There were two pieces to the front that I had to line up and two for the back. Not really annoying but a little more work. There are two pattern sheets for Ottobre and two for BWOF (although you cut them in half and end up with four). BWOF uses that newsprint material and the Ottobre one is glossy magazine paper. The Ottobre pieces are easier to find because they print the numbers BIG.
  2. There are fewer patterns in Ottobre. The May 2008 issue has 19 styles. BWOF usually has 25-ish in my size range.
  3. There are only two Women's issues a year for Ottobre. They also produce four children's magazines per year. BWOF sends out a monthly magazine.
  4. Ottobre is what I would describe as more "real-life" patterns. They have a lot of casual patterns that you could really live in. It seems like the BWOF patterns are more "dream-land-party" styles. Sometimes when I look at BWOF I see really low necklines and high hemlines. Very cute but sometimes not totally practical for my teacher-mom lifestyle. Don't get me wrong. I heart BWOF but sometimes they are a bit too much for my life. Would I like to have a life like that? Sometimes. Is my life like that? Nope.
  5. The Ottobre magazine uses real women for their models. BWOF uses, well, you know, leggy, tall, thin models.
  6. Working on my first Ottobre I have found what I am sure is a drafting error. I am making the jumer pattern #7 and the two notches on the side don't line up. If you line them up, the bottom of the armhole doesn't line up. And there is no way to get 1.5" of fabric to ease in that amount of space. I also traced off #5 (cargo pants) and the tracing sheets were missing the pocket line and the buttonhole on the tracing sheets was different from the placement on the detailed diagram inside the book. Maybe it's just me and my inattention to detail. Maybe just beginner's un-luck at finding a couple of errors? Or, now that I'm calling attention to this, it will probably be my mistake. I did read through some Ottobre reviews and no one mentions drafting errors. We'll see. My jumper should be ready to try on tomorrow. It's on the duct-tape lady now.
Here's the pattern sheet.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trouser Jeans 3 - Done!!

They're doooone. Here's the updated review at I really like them except for the fact that the fly stitching is so close to the right welt pocket. I'll have to remember in case I want to do that again.

I decided to sew in a snap instead of using a button. The original pants had a big blue button but I coulnd't find one that didn't look dorky.

The rear double welt is actually a faux pocket. I didn't stitch it shut but I should have. I almost never put things in rear pockets.

I had to do quite a bit of a swayback/athletic butt adjustment.

I made 1.5" cuffs and hemmed them using the topstitching thread.

This is before I put in the snap, I was trying to decide what to use.

Is it Halloween or What?

I thought I would share these kiddo pictures. They are funny and the last ones are sort of related to sewing.

I was busy cooking in the kitchen and she decided she needed tattoos. With the black and orange, it's perfect for this time of the year.

She's even got it around her mouth. Fortunately these are Crayola and most of it came off with warm water.

This is a 57 year old dress that their great-great grandmother made. It used to be light blue. It faded over time. The inside is pinked in some places and the edges are bound in ribbon in other places. This was my husband's mom's flower girl dress. Baby B loves it. We had to wrestle it away from her so her sister could wear it.

Of course, when we put it on said sister, she wanted it off, off, OFF! This is the same one that tattooed herself the day before. You can still see the greenish hue on her right arm.

My pants are almost done. I'm going to try to get pictures tonight. I've had a bit of trouble with the topstitching so I'm changing a couple of things.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Uh Oh Ottobre . . .

So I had to do it. I just had to see how this compared to BWOF. I haven't made anything yet but I love some of the designs. I bought this off eBay. I'm not convinced I need a subscription. Yet.

Here are all the designs in this magazine. I circled the ones I really like. I'm the same size in Ottobre as in BWOF. My hips are size 36 but everything else is 34. I have traced out the cargo pants at the bottom. I am on a jeans-making kick right now and I think these would make a nice loose cargo-y type of pant. I'll do a muslin seeing as this is my first ever Ottobre pattern.

Here are some of the other patterns I like. The raglan t-shirt has pleated shoulders. I really like the coat too. In a day or two I'll give a full run-down of the major differences between BWOF and Ottobre.

Here are the cargo pants. I am making them without the leg pocket.

I love this pintucked top/tunic/dress.

Trouser Jeans 2

Here's the single welt pocket. I used the directions from The Complete Book of Sewing Shortcuts by Claire B. Shaeffer. My MIL picked it up at a garage sale for $.99!! What a steal. I think I'll be using the real topstitching thread (see this post for the comparison) because it looks so darn nice.

I know this one is just a tad crooked but that is why I wanted to do a demo before I did it on the real pants. I don't think they are bad for my first try. I thought the demos were going to take me all weekend!

Here's the double welt pocket for the back. I used Ann Rowley's great tutorial for the welt pockets. She used the BWOF directions but then added pictures for every step.

I did use orange topstitching thread but I won't on the real pants. Doesn't it look nice?!?? I'm amazed.

Size comparison.

Next Up: Making the welt in the pants.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Trouser Jeans 1

Last week I wrote about the CAbi party jeans I was going to try to knock-off. My fabric from came really fast so I've already cut-out the fabric. Before I actually start sewing I want to experiment with topstitching and making welt pockets. Here are samples of topstitching. The fabric is a dark blue-ish grey. I can't really decide if it is more black or blue. From l-r below: Gutterman upolstery thread in grey, regular weight Gutterman thread, heavy duty Coats and Clark thread, and Gutterman topstitching thread. I really like the two on the right. The Gutterman topstitching thread is so pretty but such a pain in the butt. My sewing machine doesn't like to go through multiple layers with it.

Here's another view. The two that I like are on the bottom.

I want to practice welt pockets before I try it "for real" on my pants. I plan to do a deep, single welt pocket on the front and then double welt pockets with tab on the back. If you look closely at the CAbi photo, you can just see the hint of the single welt pockets. The back has two flap pockets held down by snaps.

Here is the original Jalie 2561 (review from January) line drawing and the modification. No major changes. I'm going to add double welt pockets with tab to the back.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thank You!

I wrote about the CAbi party I attended last week and mentioned how I had just ordered fabric from to try to knock-off some of the trouser jeans. Because I mentioned Crystal left me this little comment:

crystal said...
Hi Dawn,This is Crystal with I have a special gift of thanks for you and your bloggers for mentioning us on your site and for shopping with us. If you would send me an email at, I can send your gift. Thanks, Crystal

I wrote back to Crystal to see what it was and she wrote me back a nice email with a coupon code for me and for you, Faithful Readers.

"Here's one to share withyour fellow bloggers, the code is 'Bloggers' and it will take $5 off of their purchase no minimum."

Thank you !!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Kwik Sew 3578 Pull-over Knit Dress as a Jumper

This is how I'll be wearing this for a while. It's in the teens at night and only going to get worse. January is our coldest month where we can have weeks of sub-zero temperatures; like -20 or -30. Brrrrrr. Turtlenecks, tights, and knee-high boots are my friends.


It's that charcoal grey turtleneck again!! I decided that I need to make another one since I want to wear it every day of the week.

Kwik Sew 3578 Pull-over Knit Dress



I am glad I take photos of clothing to put on and my blog. I was not liking this dress at all before I saw it in the photos. I like the shape now that I see it in the photos.

Coverstitch hem. You want something stretchy because it is narrow at the bottom. ks_3578_6

Here is the button I am planning on using. There is nothing on it yet.

The keyhole back is my favorite part. There is no button on it yet.

The waist has elastic to keep it snug.

Here's the review from
Pattern Description: Misses' pull-over close fitting dresses have cap sleeves, round neckline with tucks at center front, keyhole opening at back with button and loop closure, and slightly dropped waist with gathered skirt. Armholes and neckline are finished with narrow bindings. View A has a tie belt. View B has contrast band at bottom edge, and armhole and neckline bindings are from contrast fabric.

Pattern Sizing: XS-S-M-L-XL. I made the XS.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes it looks very similar to the drawings and the model photo. Although I think the gathers are higher than they show. I'll alter that next time.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Kwik Sew directions are always top notch; super diagrams and easy to understand wording.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really like the tucks at the top of the dress and the keyhole back. I am not such a big fan of the gathers at the hip although I figured that was a concern when I bought this pattern. I may need to add an inch or so in torso length to make it a drop waist. On me, the gathers hit right at my waist level. I don't like the side view much. I'm not crazy about the color of the dress either.

Fabric Used: This is a bright poly-lycra knit with subtle horizontal stripes. I got it from the Fabric Coop run by Ressy. This may be hit with the iDye Poly in black.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I made my standard 1/2" tuck between shoulder and bust. I flared out a bit at the lower waist and hip. This is an extra small and the hip measurements show that being about 32.5". That's not me. I'm more in the S range (35.5").

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I may sew it again with a more subdued color. I will wear it the winter as a jumper and in the summer by itself. Make sure you use a stretchy stitch for the bottom hem because it is quite tight and you need the stretch there to take long strides. I used my coverstitch to hem it.

Conclusion: I love the neck tucks! I think with a bit lower gathers and a color that doesn't shout it will be very cute.

CAbi party

Anyone been to one? It's a lot like a Pampered Chef party or one of the Partylite candle parties. You go to a friends house and the consultant gives you a schpeel about how great the products is and then you get to browse and buy the products. I normally try to avoid these types of parties because I think most of them are a rip-off and then I feel guilty for not buying. CAbi is a clothing line that they bring to your house. So I just had to go and snoop shop. I would say their target audience is the 30-45 year old working woman. The really push the "you're a strong, healthy, fit woman, why shouldn't you look good" reason to buy clothing. I was impressed by their pant fit. They fit my athletic butt but did not gap on my waist. They had vanity sizeing going in spades. I am small but I'm no size 0. The pants I tryed on were either a size 0 or 2. Most of my girlfriends where in a 4, 6, and 8 and felt great about it. Of course they were realistic about it too and realized that the sizing may have been a tad misleading. I tried to find some of the cute clothing on their website but they don't have much up. They want you to book a party to see all the stuff they've got. Of course.

I am so knocking off their trouser jean pants. I just bought 3 different jean fabrics from hoping to get one that is a thinner weight like the trouser jean I saw. They are having a sale on denim that ends tonight!! Here are two out of the three. I just sorta picked because there are so many different kinds.

I scanned these out of my pamphlet. The prices seemed about like Nordstroms to me. I would never pay $89 for their trouser jean but I could see people going to Norstroms and totally paying that much. I'm too cheap. Click for a larger picture with prices. You can see my notes.

I really like this red, black, and yellow blazer too. Top right. The trouser jean is bottom left and I made it bigger in the next picture. Do you see the high-waisted little black skirt? Bottom right? $118. I could make that in an afternoon and $25 in materials.

I love the welt pocket detail on the front. I also love that all their pockets are functional but stitched closed. That way, if you want the smooth fit you can leave them stitched shut but you can open them too.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I may actually wear this.

Readers of my blog may remember this hideous beast. It has been hanging in my closet for six months now waiting for me to do something with it. Here is the original post about it where I tried to love it. I didn't love it. The fabric is one of my favorites; wool crepe. It is a vintage vogue pattern from the 1960's. Love the shape; hate the dress.

Here it is and the other 3 yards of wool crepe that was the same color. Ew. Yuck, it's the same color as my carpet.

Here is the fabric dye I bought from Dharma Trading company. I love the picture on the front of the dye packet too. So simple and so beautiful.

Wow, check it. I might actually wear it now. It shrank in the wash because you have to use hot water. The length may have to come down an inch or two if I want to wear it to work. I'm not really a belt kind of person but I think the waist needs something. The remaining fabric is the same color. I feel kinda like a go-go girl with the boots. But, in some way, I think it's fitting to wear it with the boots.

Soooo, much better, don'tcha think? Some day I'm going to get sick of purple but it's not happening any time soon.