November 11, 2008

Ottobre anyone?

Ottobre. It sounds like an expensive cheese. But its a great magazine full of gorgeous children's clothing patterns.

I discovered them on a sewing forum, while trying to find information about good patterns for boys. I followed the link to their site and was hooked. I carefully went through their back issues before selecting a few to buy.

Ottobre is designed in Finland. The magazine is available in several languages as well as English. And for what it is, it's very reasonably priced. One back issue is about 8.70 Euro which is about $20 Aus (depending on the exchange rate which is going a bit crazy at the moment). That is actually amazing value considering each magazine has about 40 patterns for children between new born to 15 years, and I can pay up to $15 for a single pattern at Spotlight.

On their website you can see a preview of each pattern in each issue [just click on the magazine cover and they pop up in a new window], so if you are after something in particular you could go through the back issues and buy the one you want.

The designs are just lovely - and because they are European it has that stylishness about it which is missing from a lot of USA and Australian clothes patterns. A lot of the patterns are classic, and won't really go out of style (this includes a lot of their baby clothes, the boys pants, girls dresses and an array of coats). And the kids actually dress like kids - not mini adults (i.e. there are no crop tops or mini skirts. Everything is pretty and fun)

When my back issues finally came in the mail (I waited as long as I could after ordering them before I started to check our mail box every single day, some times twice a day) it was so exciting. I sat on the lounge and leafed through the magazines for hours (yes I love patterns). Most of the magazine is beautiful photos of children wearing the clothes made from the patterns in that issue.

I haven't made anything from them yet (but just wait - I'm so itching to get into it) but these are my first impressions;

  • There is a wide range of patterns in each issue. By getting a summer issue and a winter issue you have more than enough patterns to clothe your whole family that year.

  • The patterns lend themselves to adapting - I can easily see how I could make a few quite different dresses from the same pattern by adding to the pattern, changing a pocket or even just using different fabric.

  • Each pattern is available in quite a few sizes. The sizes are European which goes by height rather than age (which actually makes more sense because children develop so differently) but a quick google search showed a general comparison between the height sizes and age. Many of the baby patterns are from newborn/3months to 2 years, most other patterns cover at least 7 ages (4-11, 8-15).

  • There seems to be a wide range of sewing levels catered for in each magazine - you could make a lot of the patterns easier by just leaving off the extra decorations like pockets or embellishments.

  • That said I wouldn't recommend the magazine for beginning sewers, unless they had an experience seamstress with them to help them out. Just looking at the pattern sheet is a bit overwhelming - all the sizes are printed on each page and several patterns overlap each other on the same page. Each one is colour coded, but it does take a bit of concentration to try and work out exactly which line you should be tracing (I've traced a few patterns so I can get sewing as soon as my last assessment is handed in).

  • Also while each pattern has instructions included in the magazine they are basic and to the point. I've been sewing for a quite a while and I had to look up a few terms they used to work out what it meant. But I imagine if you make each pattern in cheap fabric first you will work out most of the kinks quite easily.

All in all I am so excited to have found this magazine. For someone who loves sewing and children's clothes as much as I do it really is so much fun. My friends kids are going to be so well dress this summer :).


Elouise82 said...

Oh my, I am drooling already. I have been searching for a cute (but not cutesy) jumper pattern for my one-year-old. I might have to see about ordering a back issue of the magazine now!

(By the way, I found your blog through your Etsy site, in case you are wondering who I am)

Erin said...

I say go for it - but watch out, the site can be very addictive :). I love looking through all the back issues. There are quite a few with nice jumpers (or 'pinafores' to all non-USA).

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