11.23.2014

Ottobre Wood Mouse Dress and Meadow Green Top

When I received the winter edition of Ottobre in the mail, I was so excited to see a dress that looked exactly like the Hanna Anderssen playdress.  I immediately called my best friend in Madison (Wisconsin) who got me hooked on these dresses back when Indigo was a baby.  She also sews and I couldn't wait to share the news with her.

wood mouse dress and  meadow green top (ottobre) 

 Each year, I'd wait for the dress to go on sale and then buy one, and only one, with the coordinating leggings for my girl(s).  They would wear the dress weekly and I always thought they looked so cute in them.

wood mouse dress and  meadow green top (ottobre) 

 I was thrilled to be able to make my own. It's the Wood Mouse dress (#16). The dress is supposed to be long-sleeved with elastic gathering the sleeves, but even though I cut the dress in length according to Tia's measurements, the sleeves were too short on her.  So I made the sleeves 3/4 length. 

tia - wood mouse dress - ottobre 

The dress was easy to sew and I had two light bulb sewing moments recently.  One is that Ottobre patterns use elastic to gather fabric, which is absolutely brilliant.  Gathering is one of my least favorite/most dreaded sewing tasks and this makes it so easy.

meadow green top ottobre 

The second was about stretch thread.  I wrote about stretch thread here.  Using it solved my issues with broken hems, but I don't love the large cones it comes on.  Also, I would really prefer to match my thread to my fabric yet I don't want to buy so many cones of stretch thread.  Finally, it's so thick and bulky, almost like thread you would see on the hem of your jeans and it gets tangled in my machine.

ottobre meadow green top 

When I made the peplum tops, Abby's pattern suggested using wooly nylon thread in the bobbin.  I decided to try stretch thread instead and it is amazing.  In the bobbin only.  Many of my knits are white on the wrong side, so I use white or beige in the bobbin and then my regular thread in the needle.  This has been working so well for me.  I really couldn't be happier with the results!  It makes sewing knits so easy and solves all of the aforementioned issues I was having.

I had enough fabric left over to make Iris the Meadow Green (#4) top from the Ottobre Autumn 2014 edition.  It's gently gathered in the neckline and at the sleeves. 

iris - meadow green top - ottobre 

The kids and I joked that Iris looked like a college kid in this outfit.   Or as Erin said, a slouchy teenager.

Iris - Meadow Green top - Ottobre 

This fabric really was amazing to work with.  In my post about the peplum tops, I mentioned the difference in working with the Birch vs Kaufman knits.  Toni from Make it Perfect graciously explained to me that Birch knits are interlock whereas Kaufman's are jersey.  She said interlock is easier to work with because it doesn't curl, but that it also doesn't have the same recovery as jersey.  Jersey curls but keeps its shape.  This fabric did curl, but I love the way it retains its shape.

iris lucia 

These two girls really are the best of friends... and the worst of enemies.

pals 

Iris bumped her head this afternoon and exclaimed, "Tia!!!"  I said, "Iris, Tia is nowhere near you.  You hit yourself."  She said, "Yeah, but Tia will hit me next time!"  A preemptive scolding!

iris lucia 

Yup, they fight and sometimes it even turns physical.  And yet they're virtually inseparable.   So tonight I read them Hands Are Not for Hitting  (a great book!)...  and then reminded them hands are not for pinching either.  :)

the girls

20 comments:

  1. These are both so sweet (and comfy-looking!)
    When you wind a bobbin of the stretch thread (I recently purchased some from wawak at your recommendation - thank you) do you run it through the tension disks? Or would that take some of the stretch out of it?

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    1. That’s a really great question! So, I am not an expert - just experimenting and sharing what I’m learning along the way. :) I’ve read with wooly nylon, you are supposed to hand wind the bobbin. But, I do wind my stretch thread like a regular bobbin on my machine, wrapping the thread around the tension disk, the only difference being that because the cone is so large, I generally place it on the table next to my machine while winding it. Then I follow all of the standard rules for sewing knits. I use polyester thread in my needle/double needle, I use a stretch stitch or a double needle straight stitch, and I use a ballpoint or stretch needle. This has been working magnificently for me!

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  2. love those sweet dress and top! funny: I have Ottobre and this dress caught my eye at once too! so simple but lovely and comfy.
    I have searched for stretch thread here in France but Can't find any. I read on Made by Rae's blog that it makes things easier indeed. I was thinking about asking for a serger for Christmas. Do you have one of these?
    yes kids do fight! mine don't actually use their hands but my Blandine has been jealous of her brother since the first day. She loves him to pieces and they play a lot together but she can sometimes be quite mean to him. We work on that (too!!)
    have a great day!

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    1. I do have a serger but I only use it for finishing my seams on wovens and occasionally for rolled hems. I do not sew knits on my serger. I think it’s a great investment. It makes finishing seams a breeze and results in a very professional finish that does not fray. Sometimes my kids have worn their clothes through the stitches, down to the serged edges and that is what holds the fabric together! I have the Brother 1034D and I got it on Amazon for under $200. That was 6 years ago now and it’s been worth its weight in gold!

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  3. As long as they don't eat each other, you know... Ottobre is really a wonderful pattern brand, love your comfy clothes.

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  4. Such cute, comfy clothes!! *We've not sewn an Ottobre pattern yet.....but are always intrigued by others' creations using them! Love the stories of the girls...too, too cute!

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    1. You guys should definitely try it! But definitely measure your nieces first. My girls wore three size down in width compared to height. But then the fit was perfect (except for the sleeve on this one dress, but I've since made a couple of other pieces and the fit has been great!).

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  5. Lovely tops Rachel. The fabric looks divine. I'm so happy seeing you getting into sewing with knits. They make kid's clothes sewing just so much more practical.
    I use woolly nylon in the bobbin for hemming knits and just wind it on the bobbin winder as per any other thread. Never knew there was advice to the contrary :). It works for me. I have white, grey, brown and black and that covers pretty much everything I sew and need to hem!

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  6. I love those Hannah Anderson dresses too! Maggie got a couple as hand-me-downs and wore them practically to bits (but the thing is, they weren't worn to bits, those dresses hold up extremely well and got passed down to my baby niece!). I have this issue of Ottobre, and I love the simple knit dresses. I really really must try this stretch thread concept ...

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  7. They are so sweet! The dress looks great, so does the shirt. Loved reading about your girls. My two middle kids are partners in crime but turn on each other when they are caught in the act. LOL. Thank you for the book recommendation!

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  8. Rachel, I love reading stories about your kids :) Their new dress and a top are so cute, and they look very comfy! I am dipping my toe into sewing with knits, and I think I need to learn different types of knit!

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  9. Your children. Oh. My. Word. The clothes are lovely, but your CHILDREN !

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  10. Oh, I laughed out loud to read Iris' pre-emptive scolding! That is just classic, and I"m so glad you have it captured for posterity - amazing what we think we'll always remember but then don't!
    Two years ago for my birthday my mom gave me a year subscription to Ottobre, and what fun mail days those were! I'm trying to push myself to sew more from them, as they are not the easiest to trace off (even harder than Japanese patterns, in my opinion). And the directions are a bit sparse - I'm learning that I am a visual learner as I often re-read their directions multiple times before comprehending what they're trying to say. I love your new "Hanna" dresses! I recently got a part-time job at a fabric store and they carry this exact fabric. It looks so cute sewn up! And thanks too for all the sewing with knit tips! If I may ask, why do you not use your serger for knit sewing? Have you found it to not have as good results?

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    1. Hey Lucinda! Yeah, I would say that Ottobre patterns are not for beginners, but I think you will get the hang of them in no time, with all of your sewing prowess! You know, I did not have good experiences using my serger for knits. I do sew on a bernina (sewing machine, not serger) and my bernina has a stretch stitch, so I guess I just feel my machine handles knits so beautifully, why mess with it. Also, I still sew with wovens a lot and, I believe you sew knits with three threads and wovens with fours, which means removing a needle for knits. So I just haven't wanted to bother with that. Also, I often baste my seam in place first to be sure there are no puckers, etc before using my machine's stretch stitch, because it's very difficult to get out. I would do the same with a serger at this point, so it would be a lot of back and forth - I guess it's just not worth the hassle to me, being my machine handles them so well. :)

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    2. Makes total sense:) And I have to say, I have a bit of Bernina envy! The store where I work is a Bernina dealer, and previously I had never sewn on one. Now I know what I've been missing - what amazing machines!

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    3. I never dreamed I would ever sew on a Bernina and would not have bought one for myself. But lucky for me, my mother-in-law is a Bernina devotee and has been since her kids were small (so for over 40 years!). So my husband surprised me the Christmas after Iris was born with my own Bernina! I could not believe it. I was so surprised I cried! And can you believe, I waited 6 months to sew on it? I was just really intimidated, I guess. But it was a match made in heaven and now I think it was worth every penny!

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  11. I've been meaning to comment on this post for a while - such cute knit makes (look at you, you're a pro now!) and i also need to get my hands on some wooly nylon / stretch thread. I've been having popped hem issues with my double needle, something needs to be done. Do you just get it at JoAnns?

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  12. I want to try this stretch thread, too! i feel like i still have sooooo much to learn about sewing with knits. i love these stripes as well, and your photos....and your girls :)

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  13. The dress is supposed to be long-sleeved with elastic gathering the sleeves, but even though I cut the dress in length according to Tia's measurements, the sleeves were too short on her. remalladora

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