I must admit I was pretty meh about them when they arrived - I received the back issues first, and then the Spring/Summer 2013 issue, and just this week Autumn/Winter 2013 arrived. Looking back through all of them today in preparation for this post I think there has been a bit of a direction change since last year. The 2012 issues are decidedly dull and frumpy, with the occasional glimmer of style, but this year seem to be a lot more stylish.
|Apologies for mediocre photos....|
The nitty gritty of these patterns are this - sizes 34-52 (European sizing), all patterns printed on a couple of crazy sheets in the middle of the mag (like Burdastyle mag) in a big colourful mess. The garments are modelled on a mixture of body shapes and sizes, and ages. There are no seam allowances other than hems, and facings/plackets. There is a good mix of knit and woven patterns, suited to a variety of figures. The winter editions have quite a few coats, and each edition has a couple of tees, jackets, trousers, skirts and dresses. The style is simple, conservative and modern. The patterns seem to have a lot of ease based on the photographs, so reading the finished garment dimensions would be important. They make the assumption you will have an overlocker/serger, so most of the construction instructions for the knit garments are very overlocker oriented. They do some weird things - like designing patterns for very unusual fabrics that would be very hard to find (like fabrics with different weaves in different parts of the fabric to use as alternatives to seams - I have a pic of this later) or having the modeled garment missing some of the design details of the main pattern (like bust darts!) and some of the photos are not that great. The line drawings have most of the back views, but not all them.
I was excited initially with this issue - the cover is lovely, and the first few patterns, whilst not my style, were lovely, but the rest was very beige, bland and blah. There are a couple of slip patterns (a full slip and half slip) but construction is very much reliant on an overlocker.
|Slip pattern, stretch fabric|
Oh and of course I adore the beehive.
The only other pattern out of this issue that I might one day consider are these cropped pants, which (despite the most beige styling ever) are actually a really cute slim fit.
This issue has 6 coats/jackets! The knit tops are a bit more basic but classic with neckline gather details. Again the styling is a bit frumpy though with most of the garments swimming on the models in the photos, and some truly awful fabric choices. I do like the pleated cuff details on this dress:
And this is about the only garment I really would consider making - but its the one designed for a fabric that has 3 different weaves in it! Granted they do have marks on the pattern where you can seam different fabrics together - I just question why they would even bother having this as the demo photograph (its also the version where the bust darts are left out - why??!). I think the funnel neckline is very cute and 60's.
Much more stylish than the previous season! The t-shirt pattern has been used for 3 different designs - kimono sleeves, loose through the body and tighter around the hips to create a sort of blousing effect. I do like the colour blocked version. The drop waist dress is frumpy but the top half could be a very nice basic 3/4 sleeve tee (if you weren't in a monogamous relationship with the Renfrew that is).
This dress is interesting - it has 2 sleeve options, but what is interesting is the darts come from the armscye. This is a good example of too much ease - this dress swims on this girl! Again I do like the colour blocking though.
This shirt is cute with the unusual colour blocking detail - its a bit Ziggy Stardust but I really like it.
These trousers come in 3 lengths including shorts, and have interesting welt pockets closed with zips. I also really like the sleeveless shirt (and the one below) and would consider adapting the pattern to make a pussy-bow blouse.
I think this is my favourite issue. It has a couple of good basic knit t-shirts (set in sleeves and raglan), a couple of cute shirt patterns and a slightly more sensible coat ratio compared to last year!
This knit wrap dress is lovely - the raglan sleeves would make it very easy. I'd definitely like to try this.
I'm just not part of team Peplum, but this is a cute on-trend shirt, and I do like the collar.
This jacket is a knit pattern, from a slightly felted wool crepe knit. It has some interesting seam details and darting, and looks very simple. In a lighter knit it could be a lovely cardi and I think you could experiment and even make it out of a denim that has a reasonable amount of stretch as I think the knit they used is very stable.
This shirt is very sweet and has a concealed placket. I was a bit gutted as this issue arrived about 2 days after I purchased the Named Patterns Tyler shirt to make up, but I'm a bit consoled by the fact the Tyler shirt has raglan sleeves and is very different to any other shirt patterns out there. There is another shirt pattern designed for silk and lightweight fabrics, with bishop sleeves and a gathered shoulder yoke that could be very nice too:
The skirt pictured above is a bit strange. The waistband is made of a knit, with little pleats made to fit the wearer, and the skirt is a woven. The only time I have seen clothes constructed like this is maternity wear!
And finally one of my other favourites - a raglan sleeve knit dress. This lace one actually reminds me a little of the construction of my wedding dress.
I'm yet to make anything from these magazines. I think that I'm only just at the point where I can look beyond the crappy styling of many of the pattern companies, and see the potential of the line drawings. I think this is a big part of why some of the independent pattern companies like Colette and Sewaholic have found such success - you can imagine yourself in the garments they make and so they are so much more inspiring. I doubt whether I will order any more Ottobre Woman magazines - I have a huge number of patterns in these four already - for the number of patterns they are excellent value for money if you are after simple basic designs. I hope this has been useful for anyone wanting an idea on the styling of this pattern company though - they really need to improve their marketing department!