Wednesday, 28 February 2018

February wrap-up + March plans

We're in the grip of a particularly cold spell of weather here in the UK so obviously I finished up February by making a short-sleeved, light-weight top. Nothing like a bit of totally unseasonal sewing!

Ottobre 02-2018-01 "Valentine" blouse (Images from Ottobre magazine)

This is Ottobre 02-2018-01, from the Spring/Summer issue that dropped on my doorstep earlier this month. The issue has a bit of a vintage feel to it and I like it a lot. I definitely also want to make a couple of the knit dresses in this issue at some point and I plan to make one of the blouse patterns from this issue for my March magazine challenge. This top was just a bonus that I snuck in to my sewing queue for a couple of reasons: I wanted to make a simple pattern to see what I could transfer from what I've learned about fitting Burda patterns to Ottobre; and I was in desperate need of something quick and easy to make after sewing two more complicated items this month and having more of the same on the horizon in March.

My version of Ottobre 02-2018-01 -- the shoulders do not look too poofy here but...

My top is made in one of the oldest garment fabrics I had in stash -- in fact, I used the other half of the piece I bought back in 2012 for the first top I ever made (which was a disaster that I was insanely proud of at the time but never actually wore). I showed the photo of this new finished garment to a friend of mine and she was like "Your fabric has the screaming faces of the damned on it!" which I can't decide how to take, really. Maybe I should have turned the fabric the other way up.

This is my first Ottobre pattern since I've embarked on my recent "make my tops fit better!" campaign, so there was some trial (and error) involved in choosing the size. I went with a size 40 neck and shoulder, and size 44 through the body. I think I might have been better off with a size 42 through the neck and shoulder, and that is what I will try with my next Ottobre top pattern in March. Other than that, I adjusted for square shoulders (about 0.8cm), high round back (with shoulder darts) and lowered the bust point. I lowered the bust point a LOT, actually, Ottobre seem to draft for a woman whose bust is right up around her armpit.

On me, with visible shoulder poofiness

I made one change to the design of the pattern, which is that having eyeballed the neckline I decided I didn't need to cut the back in two pieces and have the button closure -- I just cut it on the fold so I could pull it over my head. This works fine, although I wish I had cut the neckline in a slightly lower scoop because I find that more flattering to my body shape. However, the biggest problem is that I just don't like gathered shoulders. I knew that going in, of course, but the modelled garment didn't seem to have the poofy shoulders that gathered shoulder garments often have and so I decided to risk it. Alas, my version does have poofy shoulders, and I am not a huge fan. I do like the full, floaty short-sleeve that you get as a result of the wide sleeve, but I probably won't make this pattern -- or anything else with a gathered sleeve head -- again.

And that's it for me for February. I am very pleased with my sewing output this month, even if some of it felt like very hard work at the time. :D

I am also calling an end to my winter sewing. It's actually still very cold right now and spring therefore seems very far off, but I like to have my wardrobe mostly waiting for me to start wearing when the change in season rolls around. For that to happen, I have to start sewing a few weeks ahead. That said, I don't actually have a spring specific wardrobe. In spring and autumn I typically just take out the heaviest clothes from my winter wardrobe, and substitute in a few transitional, mid-weight pieces and layering items. I usually add in a couple of warmer weather garments just in case we have a couple of days of more warmer, sunnier weather.

Here are my plans for March:

Planned raincoat pattern: Burda 08-2004-109 (images from

- My most urgent spring/autumn/transition wardrobe gap is another raincoat. I did make a red raincoat in 2016 that I like a lot. It is still in my wardrobe and I've worn it quite often, but to be honest it's not the most useful colour coat when the rest of my wardrobe is so very heavy on blue, green and turquoise. I'm planning to make one in navy this month. I did consider making a classic trenchcoat, until I tried one on in a shop and remembered that actually, double-breasted, boxy cut, raglan sleeved coats are not my favourite look on me AT ALL, and I would be much better off with a different sort of pattern. The front-runner at the moment is Burda 08-2004-109. Is it weird to make such an old pattern? I feel like it's a pretty classic style but there's a part of me wonders whether it wouldn't be better to find something more recent.

- Long-sleeved cotton button-front shirts are a favourite layering item that I wear year round, so the "Make All The Shirts" plan continues (hopefully less painfully this month). I'd like to get at least one more finished before the end of the month, two if possible.

- My Magazine Challenge for the month is also a collared shirt -- Ottobre 02-2018-10. I don't dislike the March issue of Burda at all, but nothing really jumped out at me that I instantly wanted to make, nor from Knipmode March, whereas I am very taken with the slightly vintage-y look of this blouse. The personal/skill challenge for this one is that I have some doubts about the fisheye darts at the front, as that's a bust fitting method I've never quite managed to sew successfully.


  1. I think your top is really cute. I'm not sure how I would take your friend's comment either - I certainly did not have that thought when I saw it. About the puffy/gathers from the sleeve on the shoulder. This may be as simple a fix, for this top, as turning the sleeve seam allowance towards the neck rather than the sleeve. Read this blog post from Pam Erny with Fashion Sewing Supply. She explains it quite well. She uses a different pattern but it would apply to any sleeve. The blog post is from 10/06/2014. Another time maybe you could fold out the fullness into an inverted box pleat at the very top of the sleeve cap or small pleats that could be stitched partially or left loose. Anyway, I think your top is really nice.

  2. I really can not see screaming faces of the damned. Black and white swirly prints are classic so I hope you get to enjoy your oldest stash fabric finally. I am with you on gathered shoulders. A tiny bit of gathering is OK but a large amount is reminiscent of the 80s and for some reason that I can't fathom suits younger women.