Monthly Archives: December 2012

Otto 5/2012 011

It was only a matter of time before I worked around to creating a garment from a current issue of Ottobre.  Funny thing though, the pattern pieces for this style

are exactly the same as the Basic T Shirt Issue 2/2006 #1. Well almost. I compared my Basic T tissue to the pattern sheet and found that the differences were limited to the marks indicating where pleats should be formed on the front.   I didn’t form pleats. Nope I marked the front and then applied clear elastic on the inside.  I stretch a 4″ length to about 6″.  Then I cut a 1.75″ strip and turned it into a tube.   I stitched the tube over the gathers which developed on the front from the elastic popping back into place.

I did miss one step.The neckline binding should be stitched to form a V.

I didn’t do that. Not that I didn’t want to; I just forgot. Oh well it gives me another option for future versions.
I do think that I made my gathering too long. 3″ and maybe the inch right below the neckline should not have been gathers. Ah well options for another time. Right?

My fabric is an interesting matelasse formed of two light-weight knit fabrics.  I’d wear neither of these on their own but together they form a medium-weight warm fabric.  The matelasse appears as little holes on the top layer of the knit. Very interesting.  When I first purchased it, I was thinking summer and purchased 1.5 yards.  I realized while handling the fabric that I would be too warm.  By being very careful I was able to eek out this long sleeve T.  This fabric, despite being knit, does not have as much stretch. So in all honesty I can say, I should have added a bit more ease and would have if there had been more that 1.5 yards of fabric.  I don’t think the back

or side view

is all that terrible. It’s just that it could be better.

I’m really pleased about the pattern itself.  I”m really pleased that Otto took the basic pattern and added a change which makes a huge difference in the final appearance.  Kudos Otto.  Keep doing this kind of thing.


Otto 2/2009 Style 2

Originally published Dec 7, 2012


…admittedly, my way.  I was inspired by a recent catalog arrival:

I was surprised to see this hem style still popular but it had been updated with a large cowl-ish collar.  I recognized the basic lines immediately as being achievable with Ottobre Design 2/2009 Style #2

I changed the length, taking out 2″, one above the waist and one below.  Otto tops are usually pretty shapely and I need the waist and hip shaping to fall 1″ higher than designed.

I selected a 1X1 rib knit fabric in the peach color that I love the best.  This was a Walmart purchase.  I purchased yards and yards many years ago (at least 12) so I could keep the color in my wardrobe.  Unfortunately it’s mostly cotton. It stains, pills and generally looks bad in a season or two.  This is the last, for which I’m almost grateful, because now I can purchase more modern fiber mixes that do last longer.

I traced the pattern in my usual sizes: 38 neck/shoulder; 40 armscye; 46 side seam.  I shortened as noted above and added 1″ ease to the sleeve–Otto likes narrower sleeves than I do.  I’m not sure why my sleeve is 3/4 and Otto shows a full length sleeve.  I did note on my pattern that this is a 3/4″ sleeve.  I can grab this sleeve for use on other Otto knit patterns or easily add length.  I’m surprised by not unhappy at the sleeve length.  I also filled in the neckline by 1″.  I’m very narrow shouldered and when I held the pattern up, the neckline ended right before my shoulder point.  I’m never comfortable with a neckline that wide and for winter I want a little coverage.  For my collar, I cut from fold to fold and 6″ wide.

I stabilised the shoulder and back neckline with fusible bias.  I stitch the shoulders and then draped the collar onto the neckline.  I first serged the collar to the neckline and then top stitched using my cover stitch machine.  I’m so looking forward the Christmas.  One of my “gifts” is the clear foot  which will help me align the beginning and end stitching as well as actually stitch in the ditch. But the cover stitching, however imperfect, will keep the seam to the inside which is needed with this large floppy collar.

The entire garment was either serged or cover stitched.  It’s amazing at how fast a garment can be created with these two machines.  Of course it really does help to have a pattern which fits.  I spent no time struggling with fit.  I did drape the collar but only because previous attempts at measuring a neckline and cutting collars/facings/bindings have not been successful.

Critiques: This is not a slimming style for me. It does in fact reveal my tummy and hip to be quite large. I will always wear it similarly to the first picture with vest.  Whereas most Otto tops are shapely and suggest that I’m busty as well as possessing a waist (both are not true) this pattern shows my true shape.  The proportions might be better if I had not shortened the 2nd inch and because I can always cover that up, I think I will make this pattern a 2nd time just to check.  I also wish I’d made that collar wider. It doesn’t lie as well as the inspiration. In fact I had to work with it for several minutes just to get this.  I didn’t realize at the time that the neckline needed to be deeper, if I’m copying the inspiration.  That’s something to remember for future copying.

I’m not wild about this style but will wear the garment because I love the color.  I can see potential changes if I want to make the pattern again without making the exact same top.   And yes, I would recommend it for others.  My advice is to compare your measurments to the Ottobre chart and trace the size that corresponds to your measurements.  Most likely you’ll find yourself tracing multiple sizes.  That’s OK. It works for me.

OttobreDesign’s Classic Turtle Neck 5/2011-8

Orignally published Dec 5/2012
from issue 5/2011 Style 8.  By now I simply zipped through tracing using “my” standard sizing i.e. 38 neck/shoulder; 40 armscye; 46 side seam. I did stop and ask for advice from Stitchers Guild.  I had a rash of both purchased and sewn turtle necks which choked me during wear.  Oddly, I didn’t notice it when trying on the garment or during the first hour or so of wear.  It’s as the day goes along that I find myself pulling at the neck trying to loosen it’s choke hold. The suggestion was to cut the turtle neck with 1″ seam allowances and baste it in place. Followed by adjust as needed through trimming the front neckline.  Since I have problems initially telling that the neckline is too tight, I opted to trim the front neckline 3/8″ lower and use the 1″ seam allowances.

Unfolded, the turtle neck is really high.

Once again, Otto provides a shapely top for a knit fabric.  The 3″ cuffs may be dated but I decided to use them for the first garment. The sleeves are the perfect length but I did add 1″ ease.  Once again, I prefer a little more ease in my sleeves than Otto likes to provide.

Once the collar is folded into place, it is perfect.  I would not remove the extra seam allowance or raise the neckline.  I did use the 3-step zig-zag stitch the finish the neckline. It’s an interesting finish, but I think in the future I will use my cover stitch  just as I did with the hem.  The cuffs are serged at the side seams, folded and serged to the end of the sleeve.  It’s an excellent finish on it’s own but for decorative purposes could also be top stitched with the cover stitch.

My “Missoni” fabric was purchased at  Walmart about a year ago along with a second colorway.  I felt it was an excellent choice for testing this pattern because it is very lovely but not long lasting.  It seems to catch on everything and hardly survives a season. I’ve forgotten the fiber content and didn’t make a burn test.  Something man made is my best guess as it doesn’t wrinkle or fade.

I think the wrinkle seen across the back is of the velcro-butt type.  This is the same corduroy pants made with Burda 2012=12=148.  The corduroy is grabby.

I confess to having already worn this top for an entire day.  I was very anxious to know whether I had a “good” turtle neck pattern.  I like to wear turtle neck tops especially in the dead of winter.  Honestly, I think this is a winner.  Future changes will be changing the sleeve/cuff and playing with the ease within the turtleneck.

WaterFall Knit Top 2/2009-5

Originally published Dec 2, 2012
I admit to going bonkers over OttobreDesign. Partly this is because fitting is easy.  Fitting is easy because instead of altering tissue, basting the garment, and making more alterations, all fitting changes are made at the time I trace the garment.  I’ve found that by tracing size 38 neck and shoulders, 40 armscye and 46 side seams OttobreDesigns work.  I still need to make my 1″ back waist length adjustment after the tissue is traced and before cutting fabric.  This brings the waist and hip shaping of the pattern, designed for someone 5’5″, in line with my shaping, a person 5’3″.  With no more than that, I cut and started sewing Ottobre Design  2-2009 Style #5.

I’m really pretty pleased with the final result.

I’m using an old fabric.  It’s been in my stash for so long I can’t remember when purchased only that it was a Walmart find.  It is a very light weight waffle cloth in a synthetic fiber.  but not transparent.  It might be better for summer wear.  I used it now for 2 reasons.  1) I have so much of it.  2) it matches very well with the grouping of blues I removed from the stash about 2 weeks ago.   To be honest, as a flat fold fabric it looks rather cheap. But once sewn it made a terrific top.  It has the required stretch for this fitted top. Yes this Water Fall top is not a big shapeless bag.  The sides and back are shaped for the womanly figure.  Only the front drape contains extra ease.

I did have issues with the back neck facing.  It’s not a pattern issue but a fabric issue.  Even though the facing was interfaced, pressed and understitched it did not want to lie flat.  I twiddled with it some and decided that I needed to fix this.  It was a wonderful opportunity to use my new cover stitch machine.  I cover stitched from the top along the edge of the facing.  To do this, I fused the facing to the back first at the ironing board.  At the machine I felt the edge of the facing with my fingers and guided the foot so that it would stitch along the outside edge of the facing.  I confess I was not entirely successful on the inside but the outside looks rather nice.

Unfortunately I’m experiencing a little velcro butt in the photo.   The pants, Burda 2012-12-148 shared here  were constructed from a soft as velvet corduroy.  Yes the pants still need tweaking.  In this post I’m concerned about how the top was sewn and looks.

I compared the sleeve to Otto’s basic T and decided to add 1″ of ease.  I like how this feels on me but admit had this been slinky I would have kept the original draft.  It’s a matter of how comfortable I am NOT with a tight sleeve.

Otto 5/2008#8, Ver 2 and Muley Brown Collection

Originally published Oct 18, 2012
I traced a new copy of the pattern. I traced the necks at 38, shoulder/armscye 40 the front side seam at the 50 and the back side seam at a 52.   Having had issues with matching/stitching the armscyes on the first version, I walked all the seams.  The front and back needed minor 1/8″ trims. I probably could have ignored that difference. The sleeve however was really off.  The front armscye was 1/2″ shorter and the back armscye was a good 1.5″ shorter!  I pondered only briefly.  I’m fairly sure the issue is not the basic draft but rather the fact I’m crossing so many sizes to develop a pattern which fits me. I’m making a lot of calls and decisions it’s quite ease to make errors.  If it had been 1/8″ even 1/4″ I would have assumed all is well. But the 1.5″ is so surprising to me that I decided to alter the sleeve.  I slashed vertically from armscye almost to hem about 3/4″ in from the underarm seam and on both back and front  armscyes. I spread the seams apart the needed amount, taped in a strip of tissue and retrued the armscye curve.

Then I started looking for fabric.  I knew I wanted a light brown knit fabric.  Knit fabric because the pattern calls for “viscose jersey”. Light colored because dark fabrics are hard to read especially during fitting. Brown because I’m trying to reduce the sheer number of brown fabrics on hand.  DH says I get a special thrill from handling my fabrics. There is a certain truth to that but I also rearrange my fabrics for a few other good reasons.  Sometimes I arrange my fabrics into wardrobe collections which involve multiple colors, styles and fabric types.  Other times I organize just by color.  This time I organized only the browns and separated the knit/stretch fabrics from the non-stretch fabrics.  I was surprised to see that of 8 stacks, 6 were woven non-stretch fabrics.  I seem to be buying great non-stretch fabrics but not sewing them.  I also noted a number of “aged” fabrics which I wonder if they will ever be anything more than place holders on the shelf.  I acquired lots of suit fabrics which are rarely needed in my current lifestyle. During the reorg, a groups of fabrics just came together. These are a muted cool brown. Not cinnamon or even milk chocolate. More the color of a dead mule deer. Mule deer (someone please tell me the correct color name) is a color which can be a great basic.  It’s not the most flattering brown for me and I don’t have many pieces.  What I do have is a nice sueded moleskin for pants and dashes of this muley-brown color in 4 other fabrics. I have a small collection.  It will consist of pants (TJ906) and a vest (pattern undecided). Then for tops I have my choice of two knits and a woven — all containing significant amounts of Muley brown.

And then I may have made a mistake. I chose for the knit fabric in this collection a white/muley-brown printed interlock knit. I’m pretty particular about using the recommended fabrics. I know from experience  that a draft for woven fabrics is very different from a knit draft.  Most people note that a knit draft contains less ease. That’s because a knit moves with you much better than a woven thereby reducing the amount of wearing ease needed.  But also knit patterns have shallower curves and tend to be slightly shorter in length with that difference distributed throughout the body.  IOW if drafting for a knit fabric, they don’t just whack the excess length off the bottom but take a little from the armscye length, maybe the neckline depth, shoulder slope and midriff.  So I’m careful to use a pattern drafted for knit with knits and avoid using a pattern drafted for woven with a knit fabric (and vice versa).  I’m not as careful when it comes to checking the amount of stretch.  Herein, my problem. I chose an interlock fabric with 100% stretch. My previous fabric, the one on which I based the sizing adjustments,  was a rayon (viscose) single knit jersey with 20-25% stretch.

The first fitting shows that this interlock does not fit anywhere near as close as the last two rayon jersey fabrics that were sewn by me.

First Basting

It’s too big.  I’m swimming in the body and hitching up the shoulders to keep them in place. I’m pretty sure we’ve got a case of Velcro Butt on the back and the drag lines are folds of excess fabric. The length of the hemmed body seems about right. But when I hem that sleeve, I’m going to feel it’s slightly too short.

One of the things I like about tracing Burda and Otto patterns Is that I get to choose the width of the seam allowance.  On knits I prefer a 1/4″ SA.  I used a 3/8″ SA to give me a little leeway in fitting because the rayon jersey had been surprisingly too small at one size smaller.  But with the interlock knit this draft has too much ease and that 3/8″ SA is not nearly deep enough.  I changed to 3/4″ seam allowance and took a second set of pictures.

Basted at 3/4″

In both views the seams are basted together using Water Soluble Thread (I plan ahead for easy removal).  The bottom hem has been roughly pressed into shape and stitched with Ruby’s gigantic basting stitch.  The hem crawled and so is uneven from the stitching.  This time I’m seeing hints of the sway back and more wrinkles along the underarm sleeve seam.  The entire garment feels better to me but I wonder if I could take it in just a bit further?

On thing I like to check is the slant of the side seam.

Raising the arm does affect how the side seam slants, so I have to make allowances. I’m not sure if I am positioned exactly perpendicular to the camera.  The back of the this version looks larger than the front.  In previous versions, of nearly every pattern, the back had seemed a bit too narrow.  The side seam is basically straight. The bulge in front is again my belt.  I think since I nearly always leave my shirt untucked, I should find new belts with flat buckles.

Overall, I like this version of 5/2008-8 with the 3/4″ seam allowances.  The Raglan is shaped such that I’m not made to look narrower on top than I already am, a common problem for me with Raglan sleeves.  I’m sure the colors and pattern help with this impression. With the retracing, the neckline sits a nice comfortable depth for me. Adding the neckline band will only make it better.  One of the things I really like about Otto, especially in comparison with Burda, is that the necklines are home and work appropriate.  –@Burda it’s not all date night. Women have many activities they need to dress appropriately for.  — I’m so glad that I didn’t have to raise the neckline!

The Ottobre 2/2009 #2

Originally published Nov 26, 2012
My two WIPS, take thought and time.  While I mentally work through the issues and then execute solutions, I need something else to do.  My thoughts have returned to the OttobreDesign magazines.  I’ve now ordered and received all back issues.  I had to order one issue through Ebay.  That one issue was 3 times the cost of a back issue from EU. I confess to feeling like the newest Hari Krisna (I’ve forgotten how to spell that) or the newest Christian Convert.  I’m filled with zeal and enthusiasm for this magazine.  I think with good reason.  Just this week I was looking at a RTW catalog and realized that for all the garments which I would have purchased, I already had a pattern; an OttobreDesign pattern.  I’ve therefore decided to continue sewing with my OttobreDesign patterns for at least the next month.  I’m starting with Style # 2 From 2/2009

Sorry that’s bit small.  Something to do with scanning, cropping and uploading <shrug>.   I’ve seen similar designs in many places.  Just this week a catalog came to my house showcasing this version:

I definitely can see myself wearing it but I’ll need to make some minor changes to the pattern.  First the schematic above doesn’t show you how long the Ottobre style is.  I wear my T-shirts about mid-hip.  Just enough to completely skim past the tummy and bu tt bumps and about 2″ shorter than the catalog version.  The Ottobre is 4″ longer (5 including hem). I don’t like to wear my tops any longer than my vests.  I find the uneven hem lengths to be conflicting and objectionable rather than edgy.  Each to their own, so I will shorten my pattern.  I also know that the Ottobre neckline is slightly wider and of course does not include the collar piece at all.  I’ll fill the neckline in a little. I will not expect the collar to do the same.  Looking closely, I think the collar on the catalog version is supposed to fill in the neckline slightly.  To do so would require some interfacing and I’m not sure what else.  I don’t really want to invest a lot of thought and trial–my WIPS are still messing with my mind.  So I’ll change the neckline and collar.  My collar will lie a bit flatter.  Last issue I can see in advance is the sleeve.  Both the catalog and the Ottobre sleeve are very slim fitting.  I’m too uncomfortable with such a sleeve unless the fabric is slinky (4 way stretch).  I’ll be adding 1″ width to the sleeve pattern.  I haven’t selected my fabric, but I can always fold out the extra in the pattern.  It’s a bit more challenging to add extra once I’ve cut the sleeve.

Pile of Pan ties 5/2009-2

Originally published Nov 9, 2012

Ottobre 2/2011

and Ottober 5/2009

both contain patterns suitable for pan ties. I chose to use Otto 5/2009 because I already have the magazine and I wanted to compare it with KS2200.  I’m using the bikini view in the upper left corner of the pic.   I was in the process of making pan ties from the KS2200 patterns and thumbing through my Otto magazines to see what I wanted to make next when I spied the briefs pattern.  What really caught my eye is that the pattern is drafted for knits with 30% stretch.  MMMmmm I says. I’d altered the KS2200 pattern the best I could so that it would work with knits of lessor stretch.  (KS2200 calls for 75% stretch fabrics).  I wondered what the differences would be.  I traced the pattern pieces and ADDED SEAM ALLOWANCES.  (I made that in big letters because I want you to remember it.) I compared the two patterns.  The fronts and crotches were pretty much the same.  The join between the front and crotch is more curved in the KS pattern but not enough that I would think it was a big deal. The Otto back was 3″ wider, 1.5 ” on each side.  I was anticipating having to slash and spread the KS pattern one more time for those 25% knits so I decided to try the Otto pattern.

Wouldn’t you know it, I had only enough scraps of 25% knits to make 1 pair of panties.  I also have a 30% stretch, again only enough for 1 pantie.  But I had numerous 75% stretch interlocks.  I need panties and decided to use the interlocks anyway.  After 3 pairs of panties, I ran out of the elastic I was using during the first trials, and so began using from a 2nd card. I sewed the 30% stretch knits exactly as cut, but the interlocks I stitched the side seams with a 5/8″ SA (1/4″ SA is the standard for pant ies).

I just zoomed through sewing them.  Ended up with a whole pile.  I have to say it. If I have to make panties, this is the way: Assembly Line Style.  I serged all crotches to front and back; serged up the side seams. Converted to Coverstitch and added elastic to all legs and waistband. I made 7 pairs in about two hours which includes futzing around with pattern and pattern comparisons.  Good Deal in my mind.

But wearing is the true test and I can already tell that several of these are going directly into the waste bin.  Why?  Well remember the “added seam allowances” ?  I don’t think I read the instructions carefully enough.  I don’t think I needed to add seam allowance.  First the crotch is bunched up between my legs. Not the kind of thing you want to wear all day.  Next that 2nd elastic is a bummer.  It recovered fine when just stretched between my hands. But when applied to the fabric it stays stretched.  I’m not sure if this is the type elastic it is or if the elastic is so old it’s no longer viable.  Whatever the reason, I’ glad all of it is gone because I hate pant ies that won’t stay up.

I’ve marked my patterns carefully as to the pattern number and the stretch for which they are drafted. Normally I file all my patterns by pattern number. But I’ve filed these 3 all together (KS2200 for 75% stretch, KS 2200 for 50% stretch and Otto 5/2009 for 30% stretch).  I want to be able to grab them and use the correct pattern with the correct stretch no matter what knit I’m facing at the time. I also removed the 3/8″ seam allowance from the Otto pattern.  I’m ready to make pant ies anytime!

Oh one word of caution the bikini view, is not really bikini. It fits the same as the KS2200 which is;  the waistline sits just below the natural waistline (which reduces bulk at the waistline and works really well with medium-rise jeans).  The leg is like the commercial thigh high.  It’s a very slimming look but still holds all of you inside  KWIM?



Otto 5/2007 Style 2

Originally published Oct 29, 2012
Officially the Muley Brown Collection is complete with this my 4th garment and 2nd top

My fabric is a stretch cotton I think from  I made slight modifications to Style 2 in Otto 5/2007


The pattern for Style 2 is itself a slight change from Style 1. It uses the front, back, collar and facing from Style 1 but a different sleeve.  The sleeve as given is 3/4 length.  I intended this to be a winter blouse and wanted a full length sleeve.  I traced the sleeve pattern (40 armscye 46 width) and added 3″ in length.   I’m surprised that the sleeve fits closely.  I shouldn’t be.  I’m learning that a slim/close-fitting sleeve is Otto-normal.

I did not use the ties at the waist nor the hidden button placket.  I must have missed something because I wasn’t sure how to finish with the hidden button placket without having the same issues as Burda 2010-08-130.  I’ve worn that blouse a few times. Although I love it, buttoning is awkward.  I didn’t want to repeat the Burda experience so I completed the collar and front facing my way and stitched out 5 buttonholes.

I had a problem finding buttons. 5 buttons in the right color were the wrong size.  Of course I had large groups in the right size but wrong color. I settled upon a silver top button and 4 in a matching color but otherwise nondescript.  To tell the truth, I prefer the silver button and the next time I’m near buttons, I will be looking for replacements.

I didn’t do any basting or fitting. I took a leap of faith that the blouse would fit me since I had so recently completed Style 1 the Vintage Blouse on which this is based. It was a leap of faith, because I’ve somehow lost the pieces to the Vintage Blouse and had to retrace all.  I traced 38 shoulde,r 40 armscye and 46 side seam. For once I feel like I won. The blouse fits wonderfully.

The sleeve ties create a ruching effect on the center of the sleeve at the hem.  I don’t think of Ottobre magazine as being fashion forward. Yet this blouse with this detail was available somewhere around May of 2007.  Ruching is now the rage. It wasn’t then.  Ruching is added sometimes to the most horrible places.  But ruching along the center of the sleeve is very tasteful.  The way it is achieved with an inside facing/channel and cording is a nice change.  Those ties (cording) just begged me for some kind of doodad on the end.  However, the ties would not insert into most of my doodads.  The ties were formed by cutting a 1.5″ strip of moleskin fabric (left over from the coordinating pants) and folding it vertically as if it were bias tape. I really struggled to insert the ties.  I finally used a large beader, inserted into the bead (which BTW had a very large opening) and then grabbing just the tip of the tie and pulling both through.  Even then it was a struggle.

But I got it done.  I knew when selecting the beads, I wanted beads with a large opening.   I collect these when I can find them, right now there is quite a few on the market.  They are not exactly cheap.  The last 9 beads I bought cost $8 on close-out.  I had several to choose from, but not 4 matching beads in colors which coordinated with my blouse.  I choose a wooden bead in a dark finish and a black ceramic bead.  I’m praying these make it through the wash because I’m not removing and replacing them at each laundering.

Although the beads are tight on the tie, I was concerned that they would gradually slid downwards and eventually off.  I started to knot the end of the tie below the bead, but frankly, that was large and rather gross looking.  I chose instead to stitch 4 matching silver doodads, one on each end of the tie.

The white dots are straight pins holding the ties into position for the picture.

I think this will hold. I also wanted to share a picture of the back

I stitched all the darts (shoulder and vertical) in the back but only stitched the horizontal front darts. My tummy needs the room. Conversely the back view is the only view from which I have an actual waist. I thought it a good idea to highlight.


One last comment on those ties.  I like the ruching. I like the ties. I like the beads and doodads.  But the first time they are dipped into the toilet, they’ll be replaced. Sometimes fashion has details that look great but just aren’t real life wearable.

Finished Otto 5/2008 #8

Originally published October 23, 2012
I apologize for the dressform/hanger shots.  Just like you, I prefer to see clothing on real bodies.  I’ve been investing a lot of time in my new toy, the Silhouette Cameo.  Typical for me, I spent some time researching before purchase and then afterwards thought to join a Yahoo Group.  The group, silhouetteusers, puts me in contact with other users of my particular device.  I find that my issues with any device are usually of my own making IOW user error. I’ve also noticed that a manufacturer will provide minimal information and generally warn against some of the things the machines can easily do.  I’m thinking specifically of embroidery machines.  All the techniques we have now, cutwork, free standing lace, applique etc were developed by users who said “what if I do this?” At any time had they asked the manufacture, they would have been told “this” violates their warranty. So I joined the silouetteusers groups and I’ve been reading their messages to see what “this” things they are doing.  I have 56,000+ messages to read before catching up…


I am again very happy with Otto. My sizing up worked well even if I did have to “size down” for this fabric.  I’ve noted on my pattern where to cut for interlock or slinky knits.  Mimie and I are no longer the same size.  I probably need to fix that. But where you see a fluting hem and some drag lines on Mimie, are filled out by my tummy and hip.  I needed to leave the sleeve at the same size. It looks OK a size smaller but I don’t like my clothes to fit that closely.  IMO only the undergarments should be skin-tight.

I learned several years ago if I wanted a perfect neckline like this:

Click for larger view.

I needed to baste first. I cut the ribbing  75% the length of the neckline.  It wouldn’t lie flat.  Resisting the urging of the iron and steam, the ribbing buckled and bowed. I ripped all but the front 3 inches, very easy to do since I used water-soluble thread in the bobbin, cut 1/2″ off both ends and basted the neckline a second time. Before I even got to the ironing board I could tell I had done the right thing.  I gave it a few light puffs of steam, then permanently serged the ribbing to the neckline.  A few more puffs of steam and then topstitched the neckline seam allowance to the bodice front. Beautiful and professional result which lies on my body even better than what you can see in the photo.

The raglan T above is garment 1 in the Muley Brown collection.  I’ve also completed pants for that collection using a moleskin fabric in the same brown. Together they make a lovely couple:

I’m cutting the vest and a blouse to complete this collection. I don’t have a purse which harmonizes well, so I’m considering making a purse too.  Problem for me is that I don’t acquire many fabrics in this color.  While it’s OK, there are browns which are more flattering and those are the ones I collect.  Most of the fabrics I”m using in the collection are several years old and were purchased over the Internet.  Monitors have gotten much better at displaying actual colors but there is still room for errors and I make them. My solution to these almost-my-colors is to stack them in the stash until I have enough to make an outfit and that’s the real reason for this Muley Brown collection.


A Raglan T Shirt 5/2008-08

Originally published Oct 17, 2012

from Otto 5/2008 Style #8.  I”m really loving the Ottobre magazines.  As I look through the women’s issues, I see garments I’ll actually wear. On top of that, once a style is fit there are tons of repeats with different styling details!  I started by fitting the classic blouse, next the classic jean and then everybody’s favorite, the T Shirt.  Yes the classic jean took 3 tries to get a TNT pattern. But compare that with the Kwik Sew pants patterns which have been banished because I could never fit them or the Big4 with so many wrinkles I don’t know where to start (not to mention a crotch shape that doesn’t fit anyone over the age of 12). I mean, 3 tries can be forgiven when it results in perfection.

I was ready to try some of the variations on the T-shirt which Otto seems to show in nearly every issue.  The long-sleeve T-shirt paired with warm pants and a vest is my go-to outfit for the winter. OK I wear long sleeve T-shirts year round.  If the temps drop in the summer, I grab a long-sleeve T-shirt and slip it on top.   Many of my T-shirts are looking sad or no longer fit–that weight gain thing again. So I’m ready to ramp up the T-shirts when I spy  a raglan T-shirt in the 5/2008 issue.  I thought I should go ahead and refit this basic style now.  I have to be careful with the raglan styling.  I have narrow shoulders and some raglan sleeves, some color combinations make me look like child’s toy spinning top.  So I have to be careful in how I use the raglan design on me.

2008/5 Style 8

I chose the 5/2008 because it was the simplest with only a single band at the neckline.  I traced the 3 pieces using the same sizing as the T-shirt i.e. 38 neck, 40 shoulder/armscye (since they are combined in a Raglan, I chose the larger size), 46 side. One of the wonderful uses of a TNT is to quickly compare with a new unknown pattern.  You just use corresponding pieces i.e. back with back, front with front, etc and place one on top of the other.  I placed the back raglan on top of the back T-shirt and said “WHOA!”. I did the same with the front and sleeves. The sleeves had about the same width (as the unaltered T-shirt sleeve) but the back and the front were obviously much smaller.  I knew at a glance that 1.5 to 2 inches of width would need to be added. My first thought, I didn’t trace the right sizes. So take out the master pattern sheet, smooth it out again and put the traced patterns on top. Holey Moley, I traced the right sizes. So then I thought “even though the schematics look the same, this version must be using lycra”. Nope the pattern guide calls for “150 cm viscose jersey”.  So then I think I must not be understanding the directions because this raglan does not even come close to the same amount of ease contained in the T-shirt.  I take my problem to like-minded souls at Stitchers Guild. A days worth of conversation and I now know:

Jersey knit is the same single knit cotton that I normally use in summer T-shirts

Interlock is that great double knit, usually cotton, that I like for winter T-shirts

Elastane is Lycra

Viscose is rayon not polyester.

And most importantly of all :

from Lisanne: “There are two issues I know of that each have a suite of T-shirts with interchangeable parts. I read somewhere – maybe in one of Sherril’s reviews – that one set has a closer fit than the other. Maybe you’re working from the issue with the more fitted T’s,….”

I re-traced my pattern size 40 neck, 42 shoulder/armscye and 50 side seams.

I’m using a rayon knit for the first version.  I bought it when I was looking for interesting knits in basic colors (dark brown, navy and black).  I wasn’t sure I liked it when viewing on the internet.  It has a 60’s vibe that I didn’t like in the 60’s. But dark brown knits were in short supply and put it on sale, so I bought. I disliked it a bit more upon receipt but it survived the wash with nary an issue and so occupied a place on the Brown Shelf (I group my stash fabrics by color) for a few months.  I wasn’t really enthused about it now but thought if this first version didn’t work out this was the best fabric to sacrifice.

Unedited photos.

It didn’t work out. I grouped 3 shots together so you can see the fabric well. I think the dark fabric “hides” some of the issues, so I also lightened each photo for discussion.

The neck and shoulder are too wide and the neckline too deep for me. I cut but didn’t apply a 1″ front band. I can see that it will really be needed and probably needs to be 1.25 to 1.50″ wide. Not really shown  here is that I had problems sewing the armscye/shoulder seam. They didn’t match. The body feels comfortable and for that reason I’m surprised to see a tummy bulge. No it’s not a belt buckle this time. That’s definitely my belly. The arms were tight while going on, but was comfortable once in place. I’m surprised again at the wrinkles all up and down the underarm seams. The seam is flat when lying on the ironing board. If it feels comfortable, why is it wrinkling? Is it because the neckline is too wide and the garment is falling off my shoulders?

I made the 1″ BWL on both front and back. The garment is unhemmed.

Boy this fabric really make my shoulders look round!

Still I sort of expected the sway-back appearance. I’ve been seeing hints of this in all the blouses I’ve been making for my larger size. As little as 2 years ago I asked my doctor if I was developing a sway back. My back hurts more and more often.  She insists that my back is fine, my weight is still to blame. She may be right because from the side

especially if I raise my arm

you see the ol’ booty sticking out, the hem is uneven (creeping upwards in center back) and the side seam veers towards the back on the lower half.  I’m thinking that this pattern  needs a size-52, back, side-seam.

I traced and dotted. Dithered. Retraced and dashed. Trying to decide what size to trace the raglan seam itself. My neck and shoulder really need the narrower size 38 but that’s just a bit tight in the armscye. The combined shoulder-armscye of the raglan had me confused. I think the upper issues are due to a combination of wrong size and tracing/veering-to the wrong lines.  Now that I’ve decided what sizes would be best, I think I should retrace on completely fresh paper size 38 neck and 40 armscye.

Yes, there will be another version.