Maybe it’s the warm residual glow I’m still feeling from last night’s fitting session, but the Ottobre love is very strong today. The fitting session, you see, was short. I put on the jacket shell, looked in the mirror, saw that it was good. End of session. Still feeling blissed-out.
At least a year ago, I traced the jacket #17 that was in the 02/2006 issue. It’s a basic shortish blazerish jacket, fitted with a multitude of darts. The back has a center back seam and shoulder darts that you could convert to ease in the right kind of fabric. The front has a horizontal bust dart and two vertical darts, one extending all the way to the hem. Classic collar and lapel, two piece sleeve. It’s cut to accommodate a small shoulder pad. There are two patterns for this jacket in the magazine, one for regular sizes and one for plus. I used the plus, tracing one size for shoulders and merging out to the next size for the bust on down. Then the tracing got put away until I felt like making a boring basic jacket. That’s the pattern story.
The fabric story…I bought some heavier-weight cottons from Michael’s awhile back and have been happily using them up. This particular fabric, though, was something new. After washing (dry-cleaning was probably recommended….and ignored…..) it was incredibly stiff and wrinkly. The wrinkles were tough to press out. Several more washings did not improve the situation. I had no idea what to do with it.
This was the fabric that got the long Coke soak. On Stitcher’s Guild there was a discussion about adding Coca Cola to wash water to soften stiff denim, and people were having some dramatic results. I bought a liter of Coke (no one else was using that much, but I had a tougher beast to tame) and added half to a wash. The fabric was still very stiff but I thought I detected some improvement. So the fabric and the rest of the Coke went into the laundry sink, along with enough water to cover everything. It soaked for about half a day, and then got washed and dried again. This time it was still stiff, but had lost a good bit of crunchiness and seemed like a good candidate for a maybe-wearable muslin. How about that Ottobre jacket? Made up in this fabric, which is indigo-based with some black and brown stripes, it could would have a jeans-y look if it made it to the wearable stage. Topstitching might help keep it under control.
Back to the pattern for some measurements. Back waist length – right on. Shoulder width – shaved off a scant quarter of an inch. Pinned the tracing on to check for the bust dart placement – seemed pretty close. Sleeve width – okey dokey. So the only alteration I’ve really made is the shoulder, which was traced one size smaller to start with and then got shortened just a little more. I figured any other adjustments could be made with the side seams and darts, and cut. More evidence of how unusual this fabric is – it resisted the pins, and several got bent into L shapes when I tried to push them through.
Last night I stitched up all the darts (I did make the major front vertical dart a bit narrower just for insurance) and sewed the shoulder seams together. Pin basted the sides and tried it on. My gosh, it was nice, and didn’t seem like it needed any other adjustment. No sway back, no forward shoulder, no FBA, no funny upper chest wrinkles.
I can’t wait to get the sleeves in and see if more success awaits. This fabric is going to be tough to ease. They’ll have to be hand basted for sure….and will probably bend up a bunch of needles.
So, Ottobre, how do I love thee? I’ve had really good success with Ottobre tops – their T and their basic blouse are staples for me. And I like the way they repeat their basic blocks with variations so that if you make the blouse, for example, next issue might have the same block with a different collar and maybe with the darts moved around. You can make a library of pieces to easily mix and match. Their pants require more work for me in fitting, but that’s OK since I don’t need nearly as many patterns for bottoms as tops. Skirts I don’t wear, so can’t comment on them. Ottobre does a lot of knits, and that is the one thing I would change…I’d like to see a few more patterns for wovens. Oh, and they’re harder to trace than Burda, but workhorse patterns are worth the effort.
This is a long post, but it’s nice to share the good times when things are going right. I hope some things are going right for you, too, both in and out of the sewing area.
A post script…I arrived home to find that the Spouse (bless his heart) was working on getting more overhead lights installed in the sewing room. So electricity is off there and I won’t be sewing any sleeves tonight. These old eyes will appreciate a brighter room in the near future!