My Son’s Jean Jacket and Tips for Working With Ottobre Patterns

Hello! I hope you’ve had a lovely holiday season. Today I’d like to share something that I made for my rambunctious four year old. You might recall that I made a Hampton Jean Jacket (here) back in October. My son almost immediately requested one of his own asking for “shiny buttons” just like mine. The boy was in luck because I had just a little over a yard of  Cone Mills denim (purchased from Threadbare Fabrics) left over from my jacket. Since my sewing queue was a bit full of Halloween sewing at the time, I promised him  a custom jacket for Christmas. I was able to pull it off just in time as I hammered the jeans buttons in place on Christmas Eve.

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I attempted convincing my son  to select some unique details for his jacket, (a different color of topstitching thread, different embroidery on the back, etc.) but he insisted that it be exactly like mine. I’m soaking in all these moments when he still thinks my style is cool because I’m sure those feelings are somewhat fleeting.

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You may notice, however, that there are a few details that vary from my jacket. These are all small details such as the absence of welt pockets, the jacket front pockets being sewn to the outside instead of the inside, and bias tape on the inside of the collar. These are all differences between Alina’s  Hampton Jean Jacket pattern and the Ottobre pattern used for my son’s jacket.

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Coming across the Ottobre pattern for my son’s jacket involves a bit of serendipity. I had been searching for a children’s jean jacket pattern, but hadn’t quite settled on one when my friend Lisa asked if I would like to have some of her old Ottobre magazines. I said yes and she brought them to our Modern Quilt Guild meeting the next day. I started to flip through them when I saw the back cover for issue 1/2011. This was exactly the pattern for which I had been searching.

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Ottobre is a well-known name in the sewing community so you may have heard of them. Ottobre is a Finnish company specializing in children’s wear patterns. They produce 5 magazines a year containing children’s clothing patterns as well as a special Ottobre Woman issue. In 2017 they also added an Ottobre Family issue bringing their grand total of issues to 7 each year. You can order both subscriptions or individual issues, although I’m not sure how easy it is to come by the older issues. Each issue is jam-packed with fun and stylish patterns. The specific one I’ve used here contains 40 different patterns. As you may have guessed, the sheer volume of patterns included comes with a few drawbacks.

First, in order to fit all the patterns on just a few pieces of paper, they are printed overlapping and on both  sides of each paper (see first photo below). I managed to make tracing bit more manageable by grabbing a permanent marker and my trusty Pattern-Ease (more about that here). I used the permanent marker to outline the correct size pattern pieces (see second photo below). This made tracing a bit easier on my eyes.

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Second, you have to add your own 3/8″ or 1 cm seam allowances. This isn’t a difficult step, just takes a bit of time.

Third, the instructions can be a bit sparse as each pattern only gets half a page of instructions. This specific limitation might be the most intimidating of the three. My recommendation for this is to select a project with techniques you have previously used. In my specific case, this worked out well because I had already made a jean jacket and was familiar with the top stitching, and other details associated with one. I actually used Alina’s Hampton Jean Jacket sewalong to help me clarify and understand some of the Ottobre instructions.

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Overall, these drawbacks added a bit more time to the project, but none of them would keep me from using another Ottobre pattern. The interesting style lines and endless variations on children’s basics mean I will likely turn to them again and again. I also love the fact that Ottobre makes a decent amount of patterns for boys. I’m sometimes discouraged when it comes to sewing for my son because the indie pattern world is largely dominated by patterns for women and girls.

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I’ll leave you with few more notes about my construction process. Every bit of my leftover yard of denim was used to make this jacket. This resulted in a serious game of pattern tetris as I worked to fit each and every piece. Cost-wise this was a relatively inexpensive project (less than $10) as I only purchased buttons and topstitching thread.  I sized up a couple of sizes in the hopes that my son will be able to get lots of wear out of this jacket. Another concession I made was to use mock flat-fell seams in order to save a bit of seam ripping and time.

I thoroughly enjoyed making this jacket as a present for my boy.  I do however, plan to wait a year or two before making another jean jacket because two within few months was a lot of work. Thanks for reading! Did you gift any handmade items this year? What did you make for the holidays?

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Named Clothing Gemma Dress

Today I’d like to introduce you to my Named Clothing Gemma Dress. My inner 90’s girl jumped for joy when stretch velvet started making a comeback a couple of years ago. I first fell in love with the sweatshirt version of the Gemma pattern, but have yet to find the perfect fabric combination for it. When my cousin got engaged earlier this year and announced that she’d be married in December, I knew this was the perfect excuse for making a new winter appropriate dress.

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I snagged this olive colored stretch velvet and the Gemma printed pattern from Stylemaker Fabrics during their Black Friday Sale. I ordered on Thursday and had the goods in my hands by the following Monday. Michelle currently has a great selection of stretch velvet available and I’m doing my best to convince myself that I don’t need it in every color of the rainbow.

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Styling this dress presented me with a bit of a conundrum.  You may have noticed that I always wear the same few pairs of shoes. Almost two years ago, I decided to purge and scale back my shoe wardrobe. I had nearly 30 pairs of shoes that were rarely worn or falling apart because they were poorly made. I love a good pair of shoes, but these were just feeling like a waste of my space and money. I made a list of shoes that were necessary in my wardrobe (snow boots, athletic shoes, a pair of dress shoes, etc.) Eventually I whittled my collection down to 8 pairs of shoes. This system has worked quite well for me over the last few years. It’s encouraged me to be more intentional about shoe purchases and creative with my styling. I’m not great at scaling back in many areas of my life, but this one has brought me a little peace of mind. Here’s my little soapbox of the day: You don’t have to Marie Kondo your entire life to feel peace of mind. Find one thing that you can live with less of  (decorations, shoes, pants, t-shirts, pens, etc.) and start there. Maybe you’ll be surprised with what you can live without, or maybe not. I’m really no expert here.

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Now that I’ve presented my little soapbox, let’s get back to my styling conundrum. After seriously considering purchasing a new pair of shoes, I decided to dress the outfit down a bit by wearing my Teva ankle boots. While not the prettiest option, they were certainly my most practical when presented with the thought of walking on ice and winter slush. In order to make it work, I decided on a slightly boho vibe. I selected a pair of simple dangle earrings, patterned tights, and decided on a crown braid for my hair styling. The thought of a crown braid presented me with another issue: I cannot braid to save my life. Enter Vienna: My kind and beautiful friend Vienna of The Late Sew offered to braid my hair and assist me in taking photos. Sewing friends are some of the freaking best, seriously.

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Overall I couldn’t be more pleased with this dress and can’t wait to invent a million occasions to which I can wear such a lovely thing. Who am I kidding? I totally wore this to the grocery store, cooked dinner, and while sewing last night. I might never take it off.

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As always, I’ll leave you with a little note on sizing: I sewed a 38 graded to a 40 at the hips. My only other modifications were adding 2 inches to the length and sewing the slit closed an extra 4 inches for a bit more coverage on the back.

Want to see another Named pattern sewn up? Check out my Ronja Dungarees here.

Need a some more Gemma Dress inspiration? Check out Sara’s gorgeous maternity version here.

 

 

 

True Bias Roscoe Blouse

Hello and Happy Monday! My family and I took a mini vacation this weekend and decided to escape to the cabin owned by my husband’s grandparents. I used our weekend plans as motivation to finally finish sewing my True Bias Roscoe Blouse (purchase here). This Mountain Mirror rayon by April Rhodes (purchased from Imagine Gnats) was basically begging to be photographed in front of the mountains. Perhaps I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to photograph a mountain print top in front of all this beautiful scenery.

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We love spending weekends at the cabin because it always gives us time to reconnect as a family. There’s no internet and minimal to no cell service depending on where you stand on the property. We always come back home feeling refreshed and happy to have a break from our work and devices. Our four year old loves exploring and fighting imaginary monsters so that’s pretty much the only item on the itinerary when we visit. This last weekend we were greeted by snow covered mountains and frost dusting the ground. Once we got a fire started, we played my son’s version of Monopoly and cuddled while watching Spongebob. Not a bad evening if you ask me.

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We woke up the next morning, got ready for the day, and headed outside to snap these photos. As evidenced by the snow and frost on the ground, it was freezing outside. My son was bundled in his winter coat and having the time of his life chasing monsters. My husband and I, on the other hand, didn’t pack the appropriate outerwear and were a bit cold. If you look closely at the photos you may see my fingers turning red from the cold and goosebumps on my arms and neck. I did bring this rtw cardigan along and it made finishing this 15 minute photo session a lot more cozy. I love having items like this Roscoe Blouse in my wardrobe that are easily made cold-weather appropriate with the addition of a cozy cardigan or stylish jacket.

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While layering over the Roscoe to make it more winter appropriate was rather easy, I may have had more time to wear this sans layers had I finished it back when I originally started. I purchased this fabric and pattern sometime around the end of August as I intended to finish it before my early September trip to Colorado. Clearly, that did not happen. I had just started to sew my blouse and was on step 2 of the pattern when I made a HUGE mistake. I had attached the neckline facing and was cutting the neck slit. Feeling pretty accomplished, I lifted the fabric to realize that I had unwittingly cut a large hole into the middle of my blouse front. I pulled out my extra fabric and found that it was about 3 inches too short to cut a new front. I was frustrated to realize that I would need to purchase another yard to finish the blouse. I set the fabric and pattern aside and decided to revisit it at a later date.

IMG_2232IMG_2229  When I returned from Colorado, I hit the ground running and finished my Highlands Wrap Dress (here), Hampton Jean Jacket (here), and family Halloween costumes (here). I had all but forgotten about my Roscoe Blouse fail until a few weeks ago when Imagine Gnats announced a great sale on their rayons. I searched through their sale section and found this Mountain Mirror rayon which reminded me of my unfinished project. I quickly ordered a yard and waited for it to arrive.

I almost immediately cut out a new blouse front and waited for an opportunity to sew it up. This time I paid careful attention when cutting the neck slit and avoided my earlier mistake. I sewed this up in a time frame of about 3 days. I didn’t keep track of my actual sewing time, but I would estimate this took me somewhere around 3 hours total. It was a quick, easy sew and I love its relaxed, flowy fit. The voluminous raglan sleeves are one of my favorite design features and will make it perfectly breezy for eventual summer wear.

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I’ll leave you with a quick note on sizing. I sewed up a size 4 with the only alte,ration being 1″ added to the sleeve length and blouse length. I’ve sewn several True Bias patterns over the last year ( Lodo Dress, Hudson Pants, and Lander Pants) and have found the sizing on each pattern to be accurate according the measurements included. I’ve only made minimal length alterations to each and would highly recommend Kelly’s patterns.

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Thanks so much for reading!

 

Highlands Wrap Dress by Allie Olson

Last weekend, I was finally able to finish this maxi length Highlands Wrap Dress. I originally intended to finish it back in June but moving and life in general just got in the way. Way back in late winter/early spring, I had the opportunity to test this pattern for Allie. I ended up making a midi length version using gray rayon chambray. I loved the fit of the dress, but the fabric just wasn’t my favorite. I knew I needed to make a second wrap dress in fabric more suited to my style (aka: more color/print).

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I’ve literally been in love with this Anna Maria Horner rayon challis print for years. This fabric was originally printed back in 2014 so I thought I’d missed my chance to buy more until a bolt showed up at Suppose. I immediately knew it was meant for a Highlands Wrap Dress and purchased a few yards.

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When tracing the pattern I selected a size 4 and graded to a 6 in the hips. I added a total of 4 inches to the length to accommodate my height (2″ at the hips and 2″ below the slit). In retrospect, I probably should’ve added all 4 of those inches above the slit because it is cut just a bit high for my personal preference. I plan to unpick a bit of the side slits and resew them to hit right above my knee. The high slits are a lovely design feature, just not quite as practical for my lifestyle.

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Back when I made my original test version, I didn’t add interfacing to the front facings. That was a terrible mistake and made top-stitching the facings a real pain in the you know what. This time, I decided to make a better choice and chose to interface them. I chose a tricot knit interfacing and it worked like a dream. Stitching the facings in place was about 100 times easier and I totally kicked myself for not using it on my first Highlands. I was originally introduced to knit interfacing when sewing a pattern by Gabriela of Chalk and Notch. She recommends it in many of her patterns, and that chick really knows her stuff. I know it’s going to be good if it’s recommended by Gabriela.

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Saying that I’m happy with this dress would be an understatement. There’s just something about a flowy, floral print dress that makes me feel put together and pretty. Now excuse me while I go experiment with ways to style this dress for fall and winter. It’s far too lovely to wear only during the summer months.

Note: You might notice that the darts are looking a bit high in these photos. I noticed this when I got home and started editing these. I made the mistake of wearing a different bra when fitting the dress than I was wearing the day I took these photos. Until I started sewing my own clothing, I never realized how much wearing the right undergarments matters (it matters a lot). Now that I’ve made this mistake, I’ll hopefully remember which bra to wear when taking photos in the future.

Noodlehead Range Backpack or My Weekend at the Church of Sewing

Last weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to Denver to spend the weekend with some amazing sewing friends old and new. Gabriela of Chalk and Notch found this beautiful AirBnB and I was lucky enough to stay there with Sara of The Sara Project, Michelle of SewJourners, Leslie of Threadbear Garments, Emily of Enjoyful Makes, my project twin Fleurine of Sew MarieFleur and honorary house guest Adrianna of Hey June Handmade. We also got to spend time hanging out with Kelli of True Bias, Erin of SewBon, and Allie of IndieSew. Basically, I spent last weekend feeling like a fan girl hanging out with her sewing idols.
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Ok, sorry, I’ll stop name dropping and “fan girling” now and get back to talking about sewing. Several of the girls decided to sew the Range Backpack during the weekend and I hopped on the bandwagon because it seemed like the perfect retreat project. Besides the thread and notions listed on the pattern, I only needed a rotary cutter, mat, ruler, and my sewing machine to complete the project. The mats and rulers were thankfully provided by local ladies so we didn’t have to figure out how to get those on a plane. When we arrived in Denver, Fleurine and I realized that we’d both chosen the same Rifle Paper Co. canvas for our exteriors. I used an Essex Linen for my straps, lining, and contrast bottom, while Fleurine used a lovely waxed canvas for the contrast bottom and straps. Once we realized that our bags would match, we decided we had to finish our backpacks in order to take photos together.

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In the beginning, we only had one ruler and mat, so I woke up early on Friday morning to cut out my bag. There are plenty of pieces, but cutting went pretty quick and I was able to cut out everything in about an hour. This included the time it took to soak in the beauty of the morning in our light filled AirBnB.

I’ve sewn a handful of bags in my years of sewing and always wonder why I don’t sew them more often. They’re a great middle ground for quilters and apparel sewists alike. They provide the quick satisfaction of an apparel project with the simpler seaming of a beginner to intermediate quilt. They’re also great for building skills like zipper insertion without the stress of garment fitting. If you’re looking to learn some bag making skills, I would highly recommend Noodlehead patterns because Anna’s instructions are clear and detailed.

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Once I began sewing the Range Backpack, it came together fairly quickly. I can’t give you an exact estimate of time, because I sewed intermittently throughout the day and evening on Friday. Sewing time was broken up by outings for brunch, a visit to Fancy Tiger Crafts, and just general chatting. I finished the exterior of my backpack on Friday and completed and inserted the lining on Saturday morning.

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I’ll leave you with a quick note about my fabric and notions. My fabric was purchased from (no surprise here) Suppose. I ordered the Range Backpack hardware kit from Noodlehead. My zipper was purchased from Zipit on Etsy. The zippers had to be purchased in a pack of five (only $5 for all five), which turned out to be advantageous when both Fleurine and Adrianna, were in need of zippers to match their bags and hardware.

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Thanks for reading! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Fleurine’s post about our bags here. For more Range Backpack inspiration check out Adrianna’s leather version (here) or Leslie’s made from Pendleton Wool (here)

 

 

 

A Dress for Date Night: Lodo Dress by True Bias

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I fell in love with the Lodo Dress almost immediately after it was introduced (here) in April. I quickly purchased the pattern and ordered some fabric to make my first Lodo Dress. You can check out my first one here. I’ve gotten so much wear out of that first Lodo Dress and knew I needed another. My first dress is a bit more casual so I wanted my next one to look a bit dressier. I selected this red scuba knit from Indie Sew after seeing Allie’s blue version. The solid red was a bit of a bold choice, but I think it was the right one.

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My husband and I got the rare opportunity to go out on a date last week and I had him snap a few photos in my parents’ backyard before we left. Never thought I’d love sage brush, but I’ve started to see the beauty in it after living in Utah most of my life. The promise of a date was all the motivation needed for me to get working on my Lodo Dress. Our date was on Wednesday so naturally, I started cutting out my project on Monday. Tuesday night I sewed a few hours after bedtime and was able to complete the dress. There’s just something satisfying about finishing a project that is both quick and stylish. It never gets old and I see another Lodo or two in my future.

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This was my first time working with scuba and I was a bit nervous to use a new fabric. It was surprisingly easy. The only difficulty I had was when sewing the back slit. The fabric shifted a bit more than expected, so my stitching isn’t quite as perfect as I’d like. It is, however, such a small imperfection that I decided it was not worth the time it would take to fix it. I made one small modification to the instructions and sewed bar tacks at the top of the back slit and at the underarms. Hoping that the bar tacks will further secure the seams in areas where they’ll experience the most strain. So far, so good.

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My red scuba Lodo Dress turned out to be the perfect date night dress. It’s stylish enough for a night out, but simple enough to wear to the local dive. This dress feels like wearing a light, soft sponge. It’s also got plenty of room for indulging in the large amounts of food I  may or may not consume. What I’m trying to tell you is that it checks all boxes for an essential date night dress. Do you have anything specific you love wearing for date night? What do you require in clothing for a night out?

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Just a quick note on sizing: My dress is a size 2 graded to a 4 in the hips. I made the midi length and added just 1″ to the length.

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Named Clothing Ronja Dungarees

I’ve loved overalls for as long as I can remember. In fact, last time I was at my parents’ house, I looked through old photo albums and found two first day of school pictures in which I’m wearing overalls. I even brought my newborn son home from the hospital in a tiny pair of overalls because teeny tiny overalls will always win my heart. Every time overalls come back in style I find myself poring over photos and planning all the possible outfits. Basically, I have a love affair with overalls and will likely continue to wear them long after they’re no longer “in style.” With that said, I’d like to introduce you to my Named Clothing Ronja Dungarees (find them here). The Ronja Dungarees feature front and back pockets, button closures, a cropped ankle-length, plenty of top-stitching, and tie straps. There’s no shortage of details and I love that about this pattern.

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I added these lovely flower buttons (purchase here) from Arrow Mountain. I’ve almost exclusively used Arrow Mountain buttons since discovering them over a year ago. Good quality, stylish buttons are sometimes hard to find, but I find myself wanting to buy ALL the Arrow Mountain buttons (see more ways I’ve used them here, here, and here).

IMG_1648IMG_1676 When choosing my fabric, I was presented with the dilemma of whether to use a print or a solid. I waffled back and forth between the two until I remembered that I had some of this Euclid fabric in my stash. This is a print designed by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman Fabrics. It is printed on their Essex Linen which is a cotton/linen blend. The weight of the fabric is somewhere between a canvas and a quilting cotton. It doesn’t have much drape which makes it great for a bit more structured pants and skirts. As per usual, I purchased the fabric from Suppose.

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These are constructed in a way that makes it a bit difficult to test garment fit as you sew, because of this I would highly recommend sewing a muslin first. Sometimes, out of pure laziness, I ignore my own advice.  This was one of those times.  I pretty much just held my breath and hoped the overalls would fit in the end. I was expecting my Ronja Dungarees to be fun but; I did not expect that they would actually flatter my back side. This was a pleasant surprise. My husband even remarked that these overalls were “very flattering.” I’m almost certain that the words “overalls” and “flattering” are rarely used in the same sentence. I mean, I definitely don’t usually reach for overalls and think “Man, I look good in these.” These Ronjas make me feel that way and it’s a fun change from my regular momiform of loose flowy dresses.

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The challenge of sewing something a bit more advanced after many simple projects, was a great refresher for me. It’s sometimes nice to change the pace and sew something one small step at a time instead of all at once. This pattern reignited my love of overalls, and I’ve already purchased the Burnside Bibs pattern by Sew House Seven. How do you feel about overalls? Are you over them?

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I’ll leave you with a few notes on my sizing and alterations: I am close to 5’10” and sewed a size 38 with few length modifications. Named Clothing drafts for a height of 5’8″ so I decided not to add any length to the rise and add elsewhere instead. I added 1/2″ of length at the bust, 1″ of length at the thigh, and 1″ of length at the knee. I’m really happy with the length and think it will be great for late summer and transition well into early fall.