Reviewed: Ottobre Woman Spring/ Summer 2/2007

Magazine Review: Ottobre Spring/ Summer 2/2007

Ottobre Magazine 02/2007

First thoughts- Giving your pattern an actual name rather than a number seems to be the hallmark of indie pattern design today-Ottobre have had this base covered (like whatever it is the Great Sphinx at Giza sits on) since 2005. Is the plus-sized model the magazine editor? There’s a ‘polaroid’ of her next to the editorial section..

The Real Ladies of Ottobre
The Real Ladies of Ottobre

On to the actual review- This magazine has 20 different garment patterns in a wider range of sizes (pretty much every pattern goes up to size 52*) than is usually found in pattern magazines. Ottobre have an awesome multilingual website (HEPI Press, Sanoma and Rbarevistas take note) with photo browse-throughs and line diagrams for every magazine they have ever put out. Here’s the best part-you can buy all the back issues (its like every nice dream you ever had plus Christmas).

This is one of their best issues in that it covers 7 t-shirts (in all sizes)- from scoop/v-neck to puff sleeved, singlet and cross over or wrap over, a knit wear wrap tunic and a women fabric wrap dress, a 10 gored skirt (very pretty, very vintage looking) and stretch and linen pants. If that wasn’t enough it also has (woven) skirts, one with  a really cool diagonal seam skirt that can be used for colur blocking, a knit wear maternity top and maternity pants and a sun hat. Last but not least a parka-style (but not like Burda/ La Mia Boutique’s Parkas on Acid) hooded casual coat that looks similar to Sewaholic’s Minoru and would be great for use while riding a bicycle (thanks to the double ended zip and slightly flared silhouette).

Knitwear and woven patterns
I’m taller than the first one. Don’t argue, just let me have my cake.

Pros

  • The large size range for all patterns means you can pick something and start tracing rather than spending half the day grading up/down to your size. Also good for people with different sized upper and lower bodies because the size range makes it easier to blend between sizes.
  • Models are recognisably human women of varying shapes, sizes and colours.
  • The instructions are clear and concise, easy to follow. Special techniques (in this issue, welt pockets, bellows pockets, zipper plackets and front-hip pockets for pants) are in a separate, colour illustrated section. Best hip pocket sewing description I’ve ever seen.
  • If you’re looking to wean yourself off store-bought ready to wear Ottobre is the best way to go- they’ve got a whole bunch of solid basics that you can mix and match or layer to make a good capsule wardrobe. You’ll end up using these things a lot more often that that La Mia Boutique jumpsuit with hip ruffles.
  • Unlike Burda (and now Knipmode) where you see a model wearing an awesome top/ jacket/ skirt and rush to the description only to find its a ready to wear garment being used for styling purposes (and not a pattern in the magazine) all of Otto’s models wear Otto pattern garments. Translation: if you see something you like in this magazine you will be able to make it (the one exception to this is when they refer you to their envelope patterns for tops/ shirts).

Cons

  • It can be hard to visualise yourself in clothes not modelled by supermodels (I may be an ant but I like to visualise myself as a stick insect), I initially avoided this magazine because of this (its pretty but it makes her look like a dwarf. It took me a while to realise that the case was actually- its so pretty even dwarfs look good in it).
  • If you’re looking for over the top designer style uniqueness in your patterns you’re better off with Patrones or La Mia Boutique.
  • They only publish two women’s issues a year. But if you’re one of those (rare) sewists that actually sew something from each magazine you buy, by the time you are done sewing from one magazine the next one should be out.

Asides

  • They also have some envelope style patterns-a good one to buy if you’re not into tracing is their  303 Best Tops set.
  • I haven’t made any of the t-shirts from this issue but I have sewn up the Nora jersey top and Lana knit dress from their Autumn/ Winter  05/2010 issue (which is their best issue to date it has some awesome coats-a cocoon-like one for mid to plus-sizes and a Lady-Grey style one for sizes 34-47 go their website and check it out) which fit pretty well apart from needing back height reduction which I need for all regular patterns.
  • Have a good look their various (women’s) issues (they have separate children’s issues of which I bought one of for any sewing-for-others emergencies that might occur) over the years Ottobre has covered underwear, work out clothes,  lingerie (knit wear camisoles and wraps) and sleep wear (very cute pair of pyjama shorts in the Autumn/ Winter 05/2011 issue which methinks would make an excellent half-slip substitute for wearing inside tunics and short dresses especially for cycling/ riding my scooter).

Conclusion

Well drafted, usable, wardrobe basics with a good number of knit-specific patterns. Go for it.

 *This is mana for homunculi** such as myself in that we can potentially sew everything instead of being restricted to the petite zone with Burda.

**Homunculus=small person (not the monkey or the D&D monster)

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