Using Ottobre Patterns

Ottobre Design is a sewing magazine based out of Finland. The designs are mainly clothes, and there are issues with children, women or family patterns.  Each magazine has many projects and includes full-sized patterns for each one and it is available in different languages.  The designs are fun and different.  Sounds great, right?  It is great, sort of.

blankWhen I first discovered Ottobre, the price was prohibitive, especially when I added the shipping. There are twenty to sometimes forty! patterns included, so they are reasonably priced for what you are getting. But compared to something on the shelf at the bookstore, it was more.  The price was fine if I was going to sew a lot of items from one issue, but one or two wouldn’t make it worth it.  It just wasn’t in my budget at that time.

Then our family moved to Korea.  There, almost anything I ordered had international shipping, so North American products no longer had an advantage.  Also, I didn’t have access to regular sewing patterns in stores and electronic patterns were still in early days, so there wasn’t a whole lot of selection for clothing patterns.  So I ordered a few issues.  I loved them.  I still have them and look through them regularly.  I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to fashion trends, so if I have a pattern that I like, I will use it even if it isn’t current.

So when I wanted to make my daughter a jumper, I checked my Ottobre magazines first.  I found this cute option in an old issue from 2009.


I like the jacket too, but it looks like it will take up more time than I have in my schedule right now.  So I plunged in with the jumper.  I got my moneys worth from this issue, since I made this same daughter toddler clothes from it.

The other down side to Ottobre Designs is the patterns.  They are full-sized and they are included, but you have to work to get them.  They are printed on large fold-out sheets like this.


Everything is clearly labeled and in multiple sizes, but it is a big job to trace the ones you need.  If you were colour blind, it would probably be impossible.  Even if you wanted to sacrifice the rest to cut one out, that isn’t an option since often pattern pieces for the same item overlap.  You could theoretically get the page copied, but I haven’t priced that out.  I think you would have to copy in colour to be able to keep the lines straight.


Also, measurements are all given in centimetres.  This isn’t a big deal, but it might scare some people who aren’t used to working with metric.


The magazine does include instructions for assembling the patterns, but as a visual learner, I miss pictures and diagrams. I would not recommend this for a beginner.  These are not simple, basic patterns.  They have many pieces and finishing techniques.  That is part of what makes them so unique, but you should have a basic understanding of how garments go together before trying one.

If you love sewing clothes, you will probably love Ottobre Designs.  Tracing the patterns is worth it to get so many great patterns in one place.


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