You may remember a while ago I was bemoaning the lack of hoodie patterns for boys. Well, a couple of months later I came across a couple of great kids hoodies on the Sew Write blog that had been made with an Ottobre pattern. Ottobre is a Finnish company that publish 4 magazines of childrens clothing patterns a year and they’ve also branched out and now do two womens clothing pattern magazine’s per year too. I first came across them when I saw this cool fleece coat that Philippa put on her Gloria and Me blog and I immediately bought that issue (5/2012) of the magazine intending to shamelessly make a carbon copy of her coat. (Needless to say, the magazine is still languishing in my sewing pile, I’ve not made anything from it yet, but I did flick through it the other day and there are a couple of possibilities, aside from the coat. I particularly like the fact they use models with a range of body shapes. But I digress….)
Anyway, Juliann kindly told me what edition of the magazine she’d used for the hoodies, but not before impatient pre Christmas me went ahead and bought Autumn 4 / 2014 which also has hoodies in. And may I say that I am very impressed with the range of patterns in these magazines. There is actually stuff for boys, not just a token unisex pattern and there is even stuff for boys over 5 – golddust I tell you. E.g. I read somewhere that the Japanese kids sewing book Sew Chic would be good for boys, but I would not have bought it for that alone as the number of boys/unisex patterns is definitely less than the girls patterns in it. (Luckily for me I need both). Also, my soon to be 7 year old daughter is right at the top of their size range. However, these Ottobre magazines would (in my humble opinion) be very useful for someone sewing just for boys and they have a wide range of sizes. Just check out the pattern for a fake leather jacket made in denim (how cool is that).
However, I have yet to make a hoodie, as in actual fact the boy has loads of jumpers and also we had entered the Great Trouser Crisis. I thought about using this mag to make trousers with the khaki fabric I found but the trouser patterns included are for some jeans made with stretch corduroy (which I didn’t have) or for some sweatpant/jogging bottom style trousers made in a knit. Hence I bought the Art Museum Pants pattern, which was a little dressy for what I actually needed but hey, it also includes a waistcoat pattern. However when I saw
this sweatshirt fabric on the My Fabric website I had a plan….
and in one evening these were born. Result.
They are pattern number 31 from the magazine, “Mock Denim Sweatpants” made in size 134 – the largest size this particular pattern comes in, for my fairly tall 8 year old and they fit well with a bit of growing room. (The sizing based on height is a sensible idea, but I’m still getting my head aroudn this as I’m not used to this system and don’t know my kids heights, let alone in cm). I wasn’t sure about the pattern, the model in the magazine has tight fitting cuffs up the bottom half of his legs with the rest of the trouser baggy above them – I’m vaguely aware this has been trendy but it’s not a look I like. Luckily these didn’t come out like that – I think a lot is to do with my fabric choice of a more rigid sweatshirt fabric (with lovely soft snuggly brushed wrong side) than the jersey knit recommended – it also has very little stretch.
The patterns in the magazine need tracing, they’re on 3 double sided pattern sheets, with many overlapping pattern pieces each with nested sizes. Luckily the different pattern pieces are colour coded, which helps, and this pattern only needed 4 – a leg (front and back with cut out for pocket), pocket piece, cuff and waistband. As well as tracing you have to add seam allowance. It was a bit of a faff but to be honest much easier than fighting my printer to sort a pdf pattern out.
The instructions are rather minimal, a few paragraphs of dense text, but it’s all there, you just need to read carefully. A bit like the Japanese instructions, but without the numbered diagrams, although there is a line drawing of the finished garment. I only went wrong with which edges to sew together at a particular point on my pocket bag (as I discovered further through the instructions, there was no harm done), but I did have to look up a couple of terms such as understitching, which were used with no explanation (I knew it involved sewing close to the seamline to keep facings on the inside, but I couldn’t work out which bits to sew, doh! Thanks internet). I think most beginners would struggle with this as well as visual learners. A sewalong with lots of photo’s it definitely isn’t!
The finish on the garment was great – I was very impressed. I think it was comparable to that on say an Oliver and S garment (I was sort of comparing these with the Art Museum trouser make in my head as I went along, which isn’t entirely fair as they’re such a different kind of trouser, but I think the finish is a similar high quality. Unlike my experience of Japanese patterns). The “inseam” side/front pockets on a 2 piece pair of trousers without a side seam worked really well – I would never have thought of attempting that let alone where to start it, or thought of the bartacks which help to help hold it in place (which I just winged as a zig zag stitch with zero length).
I did change the construciton order round, sewing the crotch seams before the inseam, thus negating the need to put one trouser leg inside the other, a minor detail. I also attached the elastic to the inside of the waistband (with 4 evenly spaced verticle lines of stitching) before folding it in place and stitching it down, a tip I picked up somewhere recently (she says vaguely).
The cuff has a stripe of a different coloured rib, which luckily worked ok despite the red being much better quality and less stretchy than the navy. Phew. I left out the drawstring on the waistband as I didn’t have the eyelets called for, I wanted to get them done and I wasn’t sure they were needed. There is a channel sized space below the elastic where they could have done.
Oh and as the instructions blithely called for a “flatlock stitch” I had a bit of a play with my machine and got something that I thought would do and used it on the waistband and cuffs. I quite like the look of it. Lets see if it holds up any better than when I’ve tried a twin needle for topstiching knits (some stitches invariable pop open as it’s not stretchy enough).
So, all in all a nice bright pair of warm trousers that he wore all day and are now in the wash as they got a bit muddy. Thumbs up for them and Ottobre patterns.