Ottobre Crispy Texture

Otto Crispy Texture 1On an Ottobre kick. My MO for this project was to pick a stash fabric that I really wanted to make up – in this case a coarsely woven ikat – and pick a pattern that would make the best use of it.

For the ikat, I was reaching for my usual minimalist-type jacket design, Anything But Ordinary. And while I have made that pattern many times and certainly appreciate the aesthetic, I’ve been wanting a little more refinement in the fit of the shoulders. This pattern from the 2-2019 issue had the bones to test as a substitute. The original in the magazine is a longer zip-front linen jacket with patch pockets and a drawstring split hem in the back, but it looked like it would be easy to adapt to a button-front, and shorten up.

Attractive features that made me want to try it as an ABO substitute: shoulder slope that is a closer match to my own, shoulder darts for additional fit, and an armscye and sleeve cap that differ from back to front.

This should have all been easy-peasy, but I have been really, really easy to confuse lately and got the center front mixed up with the front fold. At least I thought I did. I might have been confused about that, too.

Anyway, in order to fix my mistake, I added an extra strip of the fabric border on both sides of the front and took the opportunity to make in-seam buttonholes.

Otto Crispy Texture 2Not crazy about the buttons. JoAnns used to have a pretty good selection, but not any more. For shirts, that’s no problem. I go to the thrift store and for $1 buy a shirt with buttons I like. It’s not so easy with jacket buttons. So I bought some plain white ones at JA, even though they were shiny. Before sewing them on, I scuffed them up with sandpaper to remove the shine, because it just didn’t go well with the rustic weave. They are still too white, and one day when I have a better button selection I will replace them.

Other details about the construction…the ikat is a little loosely woven and I stabilized it by underlining with cotton batiste. The jacket still has a nice soft feel, but just a little more structure than it would have had with out the extra support. Narrowed the sleeve at the wrist.

Next time I will get the ABO out to copy the center front and neck opening onto this pattern, so I can get the front right and also copy the very cute collar it has. The Otto original was sized to be outerwear, so I might also size it down just a little still keeping it loose.

All in all I’m really pleased. I like the fit so much better and am really pleased to be able to refine a style that I use so much.

This will work just fine with a white top and my blue jeans or natural linen pants. The color is a little strong for me, but it won’t be a total wardrobe outlier.


Ottobre Elaine

“Elaine” is from the 2-2018 issue of Ottobre Woman, model #7.

This simple pattern has gotten me on an Ottobre kick. Otto tops fit me really, really well. The only adjustments I need to make are length (they are very long) and depending on the style, I add width at the hip. Some people find the fit in the shoulder and around the armholes wonky, but as always, one person’s wonky is another person’s perfect.

Otto Elaine 1I’m so pleased with this easy basic. The neckline is just right. The shoulders are just right and they stay put so that the loose tee can hang nicely without sliding all over the place. One of the reasons that I’m so happy with it is probably because I just came off a more complicated project very dissatisfied with the pattern. Enough that I’ve sworn off that pattern company, cute as their designs are. It would make a lot of sense for me to forget about messing with any other pattern companies and just transfer details I see in them to a similar Otto design, except for really unusual cuts. Those I probably wouldn’t be up to adapting.

Anyway, this pattern is for a drop shoulder knit top, meant to be made in linen knit. I used a hemp knit and really love the feel of the fabric. It has very little stretch, but this pattern doesn’t need much stretch. The top has a high/low hem with angled vents that are finished with a binding.

I didn’t make the top up exactly as designed. I left off the long sleeves and extended the shoulder and underarm seams of the front and back to lengthen the dolman part about two inches. Also, the binding on the vents looked a little sticky-outy to me, so I just cut a wider seam allowance there and constructed them like you would for a woven top. This is the method I used for the neck binding: sewaholic dunbar.

Otto Elaine 2Here’s how those angled vents open up.

After this I went on to another Otto project. Their spring issue this year was a very good one, IMO. It’s full of things that were right up my alley, and I hadn’t made any of them. Now one is almost finished, and another is being traced out. I’ll be blogging and reviewing them when they are complete.

Happy sewing!

Cutting Line Designs – Relax A Little

CLD RALNot long ago Fabricmart had some cottons that they listed as “Hawaiian Designer” goods. I bought a piece to make a shirt for the spouse and when it came, I was so impressed with the quality of the fabric that I bought three other prints – another one for him and two for me.

I sewed his shirt first (no picture) and the material was such a joy to work with. Lightweight, smooth, and cool, he has enjoyed wearing it this summer. It was incredibly selfless of me to make his first. At last, here is a shirt for me from the same material, different print.

The pattern is one I made once before, the little boxy shirt from Cutting Line Design’s Relax A Little pattern. The pattern also includes a skirt, something I am never likely to make.

I enjoyed making the previous version, and always meant to make it again. I like it in the Hawaiian print, even though the design details and topstitching really don’t show. This time I decided I also wanted it a little bigger. Previous version did fit, but I wanted it a little roomier this time, so I made a new tracing between the medium and large size. In this pattern, there is a big difference between the sizes.

The top as drafted is really, really short. I needed to lengthen it just to get it to cover my waistbands. This one I lengthened a total of 2-3/4 inches so that it is more of a high hip length. Other than leaving off the pockets, which are nowhere near the size they are shown on the envelope illustration, I made no other changes to the pattern.

This top sits nice and securely on my shoulders, with the neckband snug up to the back of my neck. it doesn’t seem to pull or ride backwards.

I might make another one of these in a solid fabric while these cut-on sleeves are still in style. A solid would show off the deep yoke and pockets, as well as all the top and edge stitching.

Vogue 8089

The endless chain is progressing. After two tops and a cardigan, I bought a pair of jeans. I ended up getting mom jeans from Lee because I do like a really relaxed fit.

The next item is a topper from V 8089, an old out of print Sandra Betzina pattern from Vogue. I found it at Half Price Books years ago and it has been in the “make soon” pile ever since. The fabric is a double gauze ticked with tiny squares: light blue on dark on one side, dark on light on the other. This is the second thing I’ve made with double gauze, and it is both nice to sew and to wear. It rumples up in a charming way when washed.


The artwork on the front of the Vogue pattern is really uninspiring. What was attractive to me is that there was one of those diagonal “French” bust darts incorporated into a kimono-ish type style. The pattern description makes reference to a unique lining technique that I did not use, but may try on another simple jacket sometime. What I don’t see in the photo, line drawing, or description is that there are pattern pieces and instructions for some nifty trapezoidal double welt pockets in the pattern. Hidden treasures.

There are the aforementioned bust darts plus a couple of back vertical darts that keep this boxy shape from being really, really boxy. The sleeve cap was unexpectedly high, so there is the potential there for a fitted, not extended, shoulder. Shoulder pads were called for but I left them out and the result is not too sloppy. I flat felled all the seams except the armscye. The sleeve hem is faced, so the contrast side shows when they are turned up.

This will be a great little casual air-conditioner fighter in a few months, but I doubt I will make it up exactly this way again. Instead, I plan on turning the body with those diagonal darts into a button front top, and will probably size down when I do. I also want to use the cool welt pocket sometime, as well as the lining technique.

endless chain 2

Here’s the state of the endless chain so far. Next item TBA! The new Ottobre Woman has arrived, and there are several things in it I want to make. Now to consider what would work under this little jacket.


Part two of my endless chain happened more quickly than expected. This Jalie cardigan was really quick to sew.

This piece started with a fabric that was thinner and drapier than I thought it would be. That seems to happen a lot with knits. However it was still very nice, and I went pattern hunting to find a cardigan that would work for this fabric and be a good base for other garments I might make in the future. The Jalie line got more attention because I liked their Rose top so much that it made me want to sew another of their patterns.

Hélène (Jalie 3677) probably would have won anyway, because there are a few features that I really liked. First, the fullness in the front results from a raised neck in the back, and hangs in nice vertical folds. I like these lines on me better than the cuts that cascade in diagonals down the front.  The raised neck helps actually keep one warm, too. Second, Hélène has a slightly flared lower back panel. The pattern description talks about how this gives the back a nice swing. I was more interested in how it gives me extra room.

It also has some cleverly constructed pockets on the front. I decided that my fabric didn’t have enough body to support the pockets, so I left them off. I also extended the neck and center front edge two inches for a little more drape, because my fabric was so thin. I cut one size up from Jalie’s recommendation. In future, I’ll cut the shoulder area at the correct size, and leave the rest as is.

Jalie 3677 AJalie 3677 B

This only took a couple of hours to sew, and most of the time was spent turning up the hem and figuring the best way to sew it. Steam-a-Seam came to my rescue. Don’t know how I would have gotten an acceptable result without it.

I’ve already worn the cardi styled like it is in the photo, with the tank top from my last post. I like it a lot and am pretty sure that I will use this pattern again next time I want a cardigan. With pockets next time.

The next item in the chain may not be sewn. I’m thinking I will go out and buy a nice pair of jeans. They will pair with the items I’ve sewn so far, and it is always good to have jeans that fit on hand.

start of an endless chain

There’s a conversation on PatternReview related to a no-contest-no-rules-no-deadline wardrobe sewalong. That is just about my speed. I want to move into some lighter colored neutrals and move away from the black but don’t want to come up with a big plan, so the endless chain approach seemed suitable. The idea is that each piece sewn goes with the previous one (at a minimum). That way, you never end up with orphans.

My first piece was going to be a pearl gray knit tunic that would go with some existing jackets. I used a piece of ITY because it is so light and fluid, and it should layer easily.

After stitching it up, I decided I didn’t like the tunic length, and cut it off so it is just a regular top. That’s the one on the left in the photo. The pattern is a morph between the body of an Ottobre tunic I made before, and the neck from Jalie’s Yoko top. I didn’t just use the Yoko because it has a rectangle for a body — no shoulder slope at all. The Otto pattern has more fitted shoulders and shaped sleeve caps. It’s still plenty loose.

endless chain 1

I might make the Yoko as intended sometime, if I ever have the right fabric….but I am starting to reconsider messing with knits, so that might never happen.

There was enough of the ITY left over to cut a little tank top. It was cut from an old Marcy Tilton Vogue pattern, V8559. I first made that tank ages ago, liked it, and have never felt the need to try another.

Neither of these ITY things will ever be worn without a jacket or cardigan. Without the camouflage of a print, the fabric is too revealing. They’ll only appear with something like one of my old Tabula Rasa jackets, like the photo on the right.

Next up, next link in the chain, is a cardi that could be worn with either of the two tops.

pants mysteries

Happy New Year!

I have been working at perfecting a pants pattern, even though I have one that magically fit with very few alterations. But I’ve been using that one pattern for over 10 years and wanted the educational experience of working through the fitting of a new one.

My old nearly perfect pants pattern was from a very old Burda Plus issue. In order to be able to compare, I chose another Burda pattern for my experiments. The new one is from the first issue of Burda Classics, and it is indeed a classic. Single pleat, with medium legs – not skinny, not too wide.

I got out my issue of Threads #195, the one with Sarah Veblen’s in depth article on fitting pants, and resolved to work through the process. I’ve always appreciated this article because she actually spells out how to use the grain line and balance lines to determine whether extra fabric or scooping is needed.

So, three muslins later, I thought I had done a pretty good job in fitting and the rear hung  pretty darn straight, like trousers should, and it was time to make a real pair. Some cotton/poly twill was waiting and ready.

When the pants were done, I was pleased with the fit. I was even more pleased that I had gone through all the fitting and thought I finally understood something about the mysteries of fitting pants!

The only quibble I had was with the front thigh binding just a bit when I walked. That is something I’ve experienced before, but only with certain patterns, and didn’t seem to have anything to do with leg circumference or full front thighs or anything like that. Googling for answers, I kept reading references to “the fork”, but nowhere could I find a definition of what this fork was that I could understand.

So, the question was posted on PatternReview and several helpful members responded. Kayl suggested taking a tuck across the front to see if that helped, and what do you know, it did. But taking the tuck messed up my nice fit in the back.

Finally I got the bright idea to compare my new fitted pattern to the old TNT and here are the results. New pattern is on the bottom, old is on the top.

pants draft

What the hey? All that length I kept adding to make my horizontal balance lines actually horizontal…the humongous crotch extension I added…all so much more extreme than in my TNT.  Maybe I didn’t do such a good job with all the fitting after all. The comparison did make me try taking a tuck all around , about 3 inches above the crotch level. Even removing all that length, that I thought I needed, the pants seem to hang nicely.

The one encouraging thing is that the fitting yielded a crotch curve nearly identical to the TNT. The angle of the center back seam is the same, the scoop of the curve is the same, there is just more crotch extension. There is more difference in the front, where it looks like a little scoop is in order.

My twills are absolutely wearable, but now instead of cutting into the good fabric which is all ready to go, I need to go find some more test fabric.

Mystery…still not solved…