Ottobre 1/2015 No5 and Tips for Sewing with Ottobre Patterns

Last week, things were pretty intense around here when Hazel came down with broncholitis.  She was so, so sick.  By the weekend, however, she was on the mend and I had a little bit of time to sew this simple sweatshirt for Iris... in between trying to catch up on a mountain (a mountain!) of laundry. 

Ottobre 1/2015, No 5 

This is another Ottobre pattern from issue 1/2015, No 5.

ottobre 1/2015 no 5 

I bought the fabric at Land of Oh.  I have been so happy with their fabrics. 

ottobre 1/2015, No 5

This sweatshirt knit is so soft and cozy and squishy.  I love it.  It definitely exceeded my expectations.

ottobre 1/2015, no 5 

Last time I blogged about Ottobre, as few people had some questions.  What is Ottobre anyway?  So I thought I'd do a mini Ottobre tour here, since I'm obviously a huge fan.


 Ottobre (kids) is a quarterly sewing magazine.  Each issue contains around 40 patterns.  You will see all of the patterns modeled in spreads throughout the magazine like this.

(You can click through the entire magazine, issues past and present, online by clicking on the magazine covers here.)

You will also find all of the patterns in diagram form, like this.

Before getting started you will need to take your child's measurements and compare to them to the size chart here.

ottobre measurements 

My girls' chest size is several sizes smaller than their height size.  I trace my patterns based on their chest size and then add length.  So far this has worked out great for us!

ottobre 1/2015, No 5 

All 40(ish) patterns are condensed onto 6 pages.   Here's an example of one of those pages.

ottobre pattern page

Some people are intimidated by the tracing part.  It does take some effort but it's worth it.  One of my readers (Jax) left a helpful comment to trace over the pattern you're tracing using a frixion highlighter to make it more visible.  Afterward you can remove the marks with a warm iron.  Brilliant, right?  I always use Swedish tracing paper for tracing patterns.  It is the best!

(For a more in-depth explanation of tracing Ottobre patterns, this tutorial is helpful.)

The patterns do require you to add a seam allowance.  Once you get the hang of it, it's no big deal at all.  Generally you do not add seam allowances to edges cut on the fold or on the hemline, as the hem allowance is usually included.  To add seam allowances, I just tape two pencils together like this. (Washi tape optional, but recommended!) ;)

seam allowance two pencil trick :) 

This has become my go-to method ever since reading this tutorial.

In the center of the magazine you'll find the instructions for cutting and sewing each of the patterns.  I generally don't pay too much attention to the material requirements, other than whether they are using a knit or a woven fabric.   Here's what that looks like for Iris' top.


I'd say the the patterns assume a foundational knowledge of sewing. For example, they might use a term like "understitch" without explaining what that means.   But it's pretty easy to fill in those gaps by using Google or youtube, which has some great video tutorials on many sewing techniques.  Also, if I am doing something like installing a zipper and it's been awhile since I've last installed one, I look at a previous pattern with good instructions (I love the Hanimi pattern for zippers!).

I actually find that the instructions are great and quite thorough - often times the finishing is more professional than many PDF patterns I've used.  But I read it slowly, line by line.

So, those are my tips for sewing with Ottobre patterns!

ottobre 1/2015, no 5


  1. I hope Hazel is ok by now ? But who is this big girl ? Iris was still a baby not so long ago... Anyway I do agree with you : Ottobre is really great, even though their knit might be very special (hum). Do you know the french pattern brand "La République du Chiffon" ? I am pretty sure that Indigo would love "Marthe", I've made one for Jeanne and she's crazy about it.

    1. Oh, I KNOW! Iris has gone from squishy baby/toddler to lanky little girl overnight! It's really a dramatic difference!

      I have not heard of that pattern but I will definitely check it out. Thank you!

  2. Oh! I hope Hazel is recovering well, Rachel! My kids also had many breathing problems when they were babies and it was so stressful!
    I love the sweater you made. The fabric is gorgeous! I have to check that store (hopefully the shipping to Portugal isn't crazy expensive!)
    And you know what? I am starting to like a lot Ottobre patterns too. Thanks for the good tips on how to work with the magazine! They were all super helpful!

    1. Oh Marta, it is the worst. She kept waking herself up all night long because of her cough. She refused to nurse for a while and when she did she wouldn't drink much milk (I thought my boobs were going to explode - ha!). She often had to sleep on our chest in an upright position. Poor baby.
      Shipping was $17 so I ordered several different fabrics to make it worth it. :)
      Watch out, Ottobre is addictive! ;)

  3. Oh I hope Hazel is doing well! Poor Baby. I just can't stand when my little ones are ill. I am really impressed how you do sewing, taking these wonderful pictures and intense blogging with 5 Kids. Wow!
    Your last post inspired me to use an ottobre pattern. I have the Magazine for years now and I just sewed a few things from ottobre Patterns. But now I did the Home Girl Pattern (issue 1/2015) with Double Gauze (thank you so much to showing me how wonderful double gauze is by using it for the Bohemian Dress!) and I really love it! Great pattern! Thank you for inspiring me - again and again!
    Best wishes to all of you Barbara

    1. You know what's crazy, Barbara - I had plan to make that exact pattern in that same fabric line! You beat me to it! I love it and thank you for your kind words!

  4. I love this sweatshirt (what a simple easy design! and it looks so hip and chic especially with Iris's hair which is super hipster right now if you don't mind me saying) and I love your tips. I would agree that Ottobre patterns assume basic sewing knowledge but contain all of the essentials. It reminds me of reading a math textbook. In those applications, every word and diagram counts; it is not like reading a novel where you can skim and get the gist, you really need to take your time and read each word. It amazes me that they are able to boil down some pretty complicated sewing projects into short descriptions without missing anything major, but so far so good. That said, I would not recommend Ottobre for a beginner sewist, I think you want to have made quite a few garments and have the basic idea of how they go together before tackling these. Or if you are a beginner, find an experienced friend to help you through it!

    1. P.S. So glad to hear Iris is better now. Now my family has been hit by the plague, this has been a miserable winter!

    2. P.P.S. Sorry to keep posting. Have you tried ribbing from Land of Oh? They have great colors, but I've been so disappointed with most ribbing in yardage.

  5. I'm sorry that Iris has been sick :( We've been dealing with croup at our house, and I hate seeing little ones feel so miserable.

    I have this exact pattern cut out and ready to go. I love seeing your finished version! If you don't mind, I just have a couple of questions? What size did you start with? And how tall is Iris? I've been trying to decide how much length to add to the pattern, and I like the length of yours.

  6. Very sweet! Saw your double pencil pic on Flickr . Those patterns look really cute too. So many things to sew! Hope baby is better and you are sleeping again

  7. Oh no! So sorry to hear that Hazel has been sick:( Not only does everyone's sleep suffer, but the not-nursing thing is really tough too. I remember when Lilah had an ear infection and wouldn't nurse . . . so frustrating! I hope by now Hazel is on the mend and sleep (for both of you!) has returned.
    And look at you, continuing to rock the Ottobre patterns! I so, so want to subscribe again as you keep inspiring me. But I have five back issues and have only made three patterns so I'm trying to commit to using the patterns I have more before getting new ones. Not fun:( Thanks for the Frixion highlighter tip - I think that would help tremendously! The tracing does kind've intimidate me, to be honest. Strangely, even more so that tracing Japanese patterns which are in a different language. Love Iris' top - looks cozy and snuggly, and something that would be very loved in our household (and climate!).

  8. That's a great little top and I agree with Inder, how hip is her little kids' hairdo?! Just the coolest!!
    I just know I'd love ottobre for kids but the untouched pattern pile is too big to go adding to it for now...

  9. I am taking a beginning sewing class. Although I can hardly sew on a button straight, I really like the pattern and style you are doing. This blog was really useful in understanding the sewing pattern a little bit more. embroidery

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  11. Last week, things were pretty intense around here when Hazel came down with broncholitis. http://sewingmachinejudge.com/


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