Some Leftovers for Ben (Ottobre 06-2011-129)

The whole time I was working on my plaid cape, Ben kept asking if it was for him. So, with the leftover fabric I had just enough to make him a pair of pants. Of course, as soon as they were finished he was asking about the matching shirt. (Not gonna happen!)

Working on these pants reminded me how much I enjoy Ottobre Magazine patterns. Then, I got an email from Ottobre about their new magazines and no shipping so of course I subscribed to a year! Yay! More sewing to come.

He is loving the pants! Check out his jack-o-lantern smile!

He is loving the pants! Check out his jack-o-lantern smile!

::: Pattern Review ::: Ottobre 06-2011-129

Pattern Description:
From the magazine description: “Pants in cargo style with narrow legs. The diagonal panel seams on the pants back meet the side seams at the bottom edges of the front-hip pockets. The large leg pockets, as well as the front pocket pieces and back insert panels cut on the crosswise grain, add to the cool look of the pants.”

Pattern Sizing:
128-170 cm. I selected size 140 which is one (and a half) size larger than my son measured. I figured he could wear them longer if they were bigger and decided I’d add buttonhole elastic to the waistband to allow for that growth.



Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes-ish. They are slim fitting but I made some modifications on the style by removing the cargo pockets and back panels. I also ended up trimming about 3″ off the length but think that had more to do with going up a size then a problem with the pattern (plus there was more pooling in the magazine photo).

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes. Although concise, I do think Ottobre instructions in general are good. But, it does help to have some sewing experience.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Love the European aesthetic of it with the slip legs and design features.


Love pattern matching!

Fabric Used:
Left over cotton flannel from my cape. Ben fell in love with the fabric and kept asking if it was for him, so I just used the last almost yard for him.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Since I didn’t have much fabric and since the fabric was quite “loud” on its own I decided to not add the cargo pockets and to not do the back insert panels. I really like the style of these pants so I’ll probably make him some more in the future and keep those design elements.

Another think I did was, since I went up a size and the waistband was a bit large, I added some buttonhole elastic. Well, sort of ghetto home-made buttonhole elastic — I just took some elastic I had and cut slits along the center to act as buttonholes. I also sewed buttonholes to the inside of the waistband on both sides and added buttons for the elastic to attach to.


I only had an orange zipper in my stash…I’m kinda diggin’ the “secret” contrast.


Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes! I love the style and it was quite easy to construct. I’ll likely make another pair with more casual fabric and add in the extra details.


A happy boy = a happy mom!


A Blast from the Past – Rue by Colette

Well, I made it to round 3 of the Sewing Bee! For this round we were all gifted the Rue Dress by Colette Patterns and had to make a garment that can be recognized as a Rue (although we could make changes to it).

{See my full entry here, and the contest gallery here.}

This one was tough for me since the original design wasn’t really speaking to me but once I embraced the challenge of the pattern and decided to go full 1940s on it, it was fun! (I even did the hair and makeup for the photos!)


Pattern Review –>

Did you tweak the Rue Pattern for Fit or Design?
Yes, and Yes! I actually ended up making 4 total bodice muslins before I felt the fit was right. No pattern ever fits me straight off and I usually end up doing an FBA or otherwise adjusting the pattern so this wasn’t unexpected – especially with the unique design lines. At least that means I am now a pro at installing invisible zips and the final dress was easy to assemble since I had so much practice.


Muslin 1: I decided to really “test” this pattern, so based solely on the body measurements I first made up a bodice muslin in size 10. It was huge!

Muslin 2: Next I went by finished measurements which was a size 6. Again, it was large but much closer in size. I ended up taking it in about 1/2″ on each side seam (total of 2″) which got me the right width but I wasn’t super happy with the placement of the design line and tucks. They did fall exactly where the sew-along blog suggested (5/8″ below the bust point) so it wasn’t a pattern issue, just personal preference. Also, the waistline was very high on me.

Muslin 3: On this one I started with modified version 2 and dropped the upper bust by 2″, added another 1″ to the waist band, increased the height of the back darts, scooted the tucks about 5/8″ to the sides, and added about 1/2″ to the front neckline grading down in the back. This got me a much better fit all around but I realized the band was too tall this way, I needed more length in the upper bodice, and I still needed to tweak the armholes.

Muslin 4: Finally this version came out how I wanted. I ended up sliding the entire upper armband area 5/8″ toward the center and grading them out. The waistband returned to the same height as the original pattern but I did end up shaving the curve down just a bit as well as arching the upper bodice a bit so it fit more snuggly along the ribcage under the bust.

Final Dress: On the final dress I did have to scoop the front armhole out a bit just to make sure the original sleeve fit. I also cut about 5″ off the length of the skirt. Finally I created a 1 1/2″ wide tie to use around the waistband.

One note of caution: Since I lengthened the bodice by a total of 3″ (moving the bust shaping line which also dropped the waistline) I should have moved the pockets up on the skirt. I didn’t realize my error until I tried on the finished dress because I didn’t muslin the skirt portion. Obviously it makes sense now but I wasn’t thinking about it at the time. Also, since I used French seams on the pockets and side seams I wasn’t able to easily move the pockets without completely redoing the skirt, but of course I neither had enough fabric nor stamina to do so.

Describe any trims, embellishments, linings, etc. used to construct your dress
Since I was going for a retro vibe, I used high quality quilting cotton in a light yellow with small flowers for the fashion fabric. I was concerned that the fabric would not be opaque enough for my preference on its own so I fully lined it with polyester lining I already had stashed. I used a cream invisible zipper that was also in my stash. I also created a waist tie using the fashion fabric.


Share your sewing process on this garment. Details please!
After watching “The Couture Dress” class on Craftsy it’s hard for me to let go of the idea of beautifully finished interiors on my clothes. Of course, everything takes longer this way, but boy is it satisfying. Since I was lining my dress differently (line as you go on the bodice), the construction process also changed.

Construction Order:
* Darts on Backs – fabric/lining
* Front to back at shoulder seams (same for linings)
* Front to back at neckline and under-stitch
* Front tucks both fashion and lining together
* “Sandwich” the upper front bodice with the lower front bodice pieces.
* Front to back at side seams, “sandwiching”
* Complete skirt as written
* “Sandwich” skirt to waistband leaving last 2″ on each side. Then stitch those 2″ just the linings together and fashion fabric together. (This way the zipper is only attached to the fashion fabric and I can turn under the lining at the zip.)
* Install Zipper and complete back seams
* Sew sleeves at hem edge and under-stitch. Sew up the underarm seam on sleeve. Ease in the outer sleeve cap to the dress through all layers.
* Turn under inner sleeve cap and hand stitch to lining at armhole.
* Hand stitch lining at zipper tape
* Hem skirt and skirt lining.
* Sew tie band.
* Add 40s style hair and makeup. Enjoy!

Did you use any “new to you” techniques or methods of construction?
I read every book I have on pattern design and fitting to make the changes to the bodice. I also used the line as you go technique (which I used for the first time in round 2 and loved!) and also used hand finishing techniques from “The Couture Dress” class on Craftsy. I also had to completely reinvent the construction order for the bodice so that was fun!


Tell us why this dress should get you to the final round.
I feel like I stayed true to the design of the original Rue dress while tweaking the fit for me. I also embraced the 1940s vibe to really show off the style of the pattern. Finally, the dress is well made and finished.

And one in black and white just to truly embrace the 40s style:



The Great Cape Caper

Hello, from your friendly neighborhood 1960’s Sherlock Holmes!


Every gal needs a plaid cape…amirite?


The flash of lining is my favorite!

It began with a challenge: “You will have one week (starting 9/14/2016) to cut, sew and photograph a garment made using fabric cut on the bias (45 degree angle).” And so I started with a research visit to my friend theGoogle.

Inspiration: 1960s Cape | Burda Style 08-2011-112 | Simplicity 9669 (oop)

Inspiration: 1960s Cape | Burda Style 08-2011-112 | Simplicity 9669 (oop)

My goal with this garment was to show off the bias as dramatically as possible. In my research I found a photo of a vintage 60s cape on Ebay that was awesome, but of course had no pattern. So I based this cape on Burda Style 08-2011-112, which I own, and redrafted the pieces for fit and style to more closely match Simplicity 9669 (oop) which I don’t own but looked at the pattern piece shapes on the envelope back online. 2016 Sewing Bee Round 2 Entry:::

{See my full entry, or the gallery of all entries.}

Fabric used – material and yardage:
100% cotton flannel from JoAnn’s. This is heavier than their standard shirting, but not quite coating weight, and with the polyester lining it is just the right weight for a transitional outerwear jacket (cape). I used 3 yards of the plaid and 2.5 yards of the lining.

What other components did you use in your garment (closures, pockets, trim, etc):
I used 1.25″ buttons on the placket along the left raglan line and a sew-in snap on the collar. I also used bias binding along the hems for a clean finish.

Button Placket Detail | Front laid flat.

Button Placket Detail | Front laid flat.

Describe how the bias grain was used in your entry, and why:
As mentioned above, I really wanted to show off the pattern so I used the bias on the front and back panels. I kept the side fronts on grain so it would contrast with the front and really show it off. Also, when re-drafting the pattern from what I had to what I wanted I combined what would have been 4 back pieces into one large piece with darts at the neckline instead of a princess seam so I could use one large piece of fabric. I didn’t want to break up the pattern or have to try to match which would have taken more yardage, time, and effort, for what would have been a less dramatic look.


Back combined into one piece with darts at the neckline to maintain the lines of the plaid.

Describe the fitting technique(s) you used to achieve shaping:
I made two muslins for this pattern. My first muslin was the exact Burda Style 08-2011-112 pattern. I didn’t like the closed armholes and all the vertical lines that would cut through my plaid. Also, the shoulders were quite wide so I had to narrow that a bit, straighten out the front raglan line to pull that shaping in a bit tighter, and rework the collar to be a separate collar that went all the way around the neck. Finally, after working a second muslin with my new changes I decided to add another 1.25″ to the hem of the front piece. This will only ever be worn with a belt which cinches the fabric up so that the hems don’t line up. Now with the extra length all the hems line up (easy fake FBA!).

Original Muslin

Original Muslin

Describe what you like most about your entry:
Everything! I love the drama of the bias pattern along with the unique shape of a cape (I mean really, who else will have a cape?). I am also very happy with my finishing work on this garment. I took the time to line as I went so all the interior seams are encased, and I used bias binding along the hems and hand stitched them using a catch stitch. I also really like the contrast of the bright lining and the more “serious” outer fabric. Really, I love everything!

Hand stitching the hems.

Hand stitching the hems.

Describe your biggest challenge in sewing this bias garment:
My biggest challenge was in the planning stages. Since I was making this up and not really following a pattern, I had to figure out my own construction order (and with the lining as I went I had to also consider how to finish all the edges). I thought about this for a long time and considered lots of different options. In the end, I think all that planning really helped me execute a garment I am proud of!


Interior detail shots. I love the contrast!

What other information would you like to share about this project and your process?
I laid my fabric out on the floor so I could cut it as one layer, particularly with the bias pieces. On the side fronts I cut one piece and then flipped it over and just lined the pattern up so that it “disappeared” then cut out the second piece, then ensuring they both matched exactly. Also, I found it helpful to make lists for which pattern pieces I needed and the order of assembly so I wouldn’t get confused about what came next.

Laid the fabric out on the floor so I could cut single layer.

Laid the fabric out on the floor so I could cut single layer.

I can’t wait to find if I make the cut to the next round (I sure hope so) and what the next challenge will be!

Ep. 83 – Ruthlessly Culled


  • Finally able to have some fun outside!
  • PECS food binders for the boys.
  • Bullet Journal!





  • Chambray Shirtdress – McCall’s 7351 – had to get creative with fabric cutting and added contrast fabric to the inner yoke, under collar and inner collar stand.


  • “Sewing Swimsuits” class on Craftsy. So far, I think it will be helpful!
  • Floral cotton stretch fabric to make a 50’s style sheath dress.