It must be love

You guys – I’ve finally found my perfect match. Every sewist knows the struggle with patterns that aren’t quite drafted for their body type – the restrictive arms, the too-wide neckline, and the dress that looks cute on the envelope, but looks more like a muu-muu on your body. Enter European sewing magazines: well-drafted, stylish, and the perfect fit for my body.

A woman wearing a dirndl
And they have a dirndl issue every year. What’s not to love?

Burda won me over first with their drafting for us neglected tall, broad shouldered lasses. My love of their patterns is well-documented on my Burdastyle page (pre-blog). But as my style has become more relaxed of late, I’ve been drawn to Ottobre magazine. Their cool yet casual, on trend patterns have drawn me in.

The first pattern I made was a saddle sleeved jersey top, #8 from the Autumn/Winter 05/2015 issue. My measurements put me in a 42-44 but I cut a 40 after comparing the pattern measurements. I’m glad it did because it fit like a glove! Unfortunately, you’ll have to take my word on this, because the neckline stretched out after the first wash. I can only assume this was due to the fabric used – a beautiful viscose/cotton blend, harvested from two KMart tees. Let’s just assume this bitchin’ model wears it as well as I did and move on.

A page from Ottobre magazine 5-2015.
Those brogues tho.

The next pattern I made was from the same issue: #17 Colourful Concrete jersey tunic. Why anyone would want to make a top that looks like painted concrete, I don’t know. But this pattern proved a winner. Armed with my $3 lot of rayon jersey from the Spotlight remnants bin, I traced another size 40 with a 1/2″ forward head adjustment.

A woman wears a tropical floral print long sleeve top and jeans.

Unfortunately, I thought I would be lazy efficient and cut this pattern out using my small cutting mat on 1/4 of my dining room table. Meaning, I had to pin the pattern down and shift the cutting mat around underneath it. I’m sure you can see where this is going – the pieces ended up horribly off grain. I spent a lot of time recutting and truing them, and the results, as you can see, are still not great. It would have been far less time and effort to cut it flat on my massive cutting mat first time round. Lesson learnt!

A woman wears a tropical floral print long sleeve top and jeans.

After the cutting incident, I made sure to nail that shit down by using stay tape whereever I could: shoulders, neckline, hems. I used a fusible tape cut from lightweight interfacing, with Vilene bias tape where I needed no give at all (like the shoulder seams). It helped keep things in line and made my twin needle topstitching nice and smooth.

A woman wears a tropical floral print long sleeve top and jeans.

This was also my first time applying a binding rather than a neckband or facing. It wasn’t hard to do – after starching the shit out of the fabric strip, I attached it by feel in the flat, sandwiching it in a shoulder seam, then topstitched it down.

A woman wears a tropical floral print long sleeve top and jeans.

So that’s my first (documented!) Ottobre make. I expect there will be many more to come, especially as the weather warms up. And Burda will always have a special place in my heart – namely because they featured this chump in their magazine!

Just me casually being featured in German Burdastyle magazine

A post shared by Siobhan Simper (@chronicallysiobhan) on

Author: Siobhan S

20 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic feminist and disability advocate.

6 thoughts on “It must be love”

  1. You should totally check out the Knip Magazine! It is Dutch and my personal favourite. Burda patterns fit me well too, but I hate hate hate their instructions and that I always have to add the seam allowances myself. That being said I really like both the top and that dress! No wonder it got featured! 🙂

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  2. Your top looks terrific! I love Burda too, the sizing and drafting is usually excellent and I even enjoy the instructions, they make you think! Plus their patterns are such fantastic value. I treat myself to a magazine maybe once or twice a year and always make at least a couple of things 🙂

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