Monday 17 December 2018

Great ideas poorly executed...

Little things can turn what should be an awesome project into something that's a bit meh...

Take my laundry skills for example. I found this bright white lycra with metallic rainbow print and thought it would make a cool leotard for A's gymnastics. I threw the new fabric in the wash with something much darker (stupid, yep) and it turned not exactly grey, but dull white.

A crazy print leotard that is less crazy by virtue of it being a bit grey and a bit faded (in trying to get the grey out) is just an ugly leotard IMO.

I also foolishly mis-remembered the seam allowances as being 1cm and didn't check the pattern. Of course they weren't. Jalie seam allowances are pretty much always 6mm for these type of patterns. So it's come out a touch small - which, when the off white fabric is stretched isn't doing it any favours. It's not see through thank heavens, just less flash than it should be.

The pattern, Jalie 3466 - Anne, has lots of bits where you can add colour blocking bands. I simply overlapped some of the front and back pattern pieces so I could cut them as single pieces, simplifying it all somewhat.

I put some gold flat piping in the front seams though, as I thought it was needing something to highlight the pattern lines.

The sleeve length was at her request as she stipulated elbow length. The pattern seems to have very long sleeves as when she tried the full length sleeve on without the cuffs that are intended to be added, they were already below her wrist.

As per her measurements, it's size L in width with the torso lengthened to size M. But for my seam allowance error I think it would be perfect.

It will be a fun pattern to use up solid colour lycra scraps and I'll definitely try it again. What to do with the rest of the tainted rainbow lycra is the question I just can't bear to think about.

Something else I can't bear to think about is a pair of Ottobre pants that need a major overhaul to be of any use to anyone (except a very heavily pregnant woman with the hips of a small boy - if that sounds like you, please apply in writing...)

These should have been so good:

The pattern is number 37: Forest Bermuda pants from Ottobre 3/2009. In typical Ottobre style there are no illustrations to accompany the sewing instructions, and infuriatingly the photos of the finished garments don't show what 's really happening at the waistband...

And one line drawing of what it might look like when finished....

I was on board with the idea of pants that were essentially pull on pants with a rib waistband and a mock jeans style outer that was relatively low slung.

And I really enjoyed sewing the cute welt back pockets. 

But I certainly wasn't expecting that to be a real functional zipper fly and waistband. How on earth then would the ribbing "open" up? More to the point, what was the point? Why not just have pull on pants that you, you know, pull on? I dutifully followed the zipper instructions and sewed my functional zipper fly then became completely baffled by the facing that the ribbing attaches to and how it should all work...

I searched the internet but couldn't find any mention of anyone having sewn this pattern. I scoured the Ottobre blog in the hope of more pictures or maybe even a tutorial. I also emailed them directly with a plea for help (sounds of crickets).

The sewing brains trust on Instagram was mostly out of ideas... Except for Inder who was quite sure the facing, which is seen in the picture above between the trousers and the ribbing, should be tucked inside the pants, pointing downwards.

And that kind of worked. The gap in the ribbing and the weird triangular hole in the facing made more sense when it was inverted the other way.

Only there were no clues as to what would keep the facing in place down there. It couldn't be stitched all the way around to the pants as that would close up every pocket and the facing is smaller than the pants at that point anyway. It seemed it could only be through the stitching on of the belt loops.

Here you can see some belt loop stitching holding the facing in place at a rather arbitrary height:

Eventually I figured I had got there. I had created some low slung, fully open-able rib waistband pants for the boy - obviously I wasn't going to use the phrase "maternity pants" but it's quite evident that's what the pattern was based on.

My only adjustment to the pattern, apart from possibly completely misunderstanding it and screwing it up in it's entirety, was to add a loop of waistband elastic inside the ribbing. Neither P nor I were convinced the ribbing would keep them up on it's own.

I was so excited for him to try them on... and then so deflated :(


The waistband is ridiculous. I know my kids are pretty normal sized, so it really must be the pattern*. No late term pregnancy, or giant tapeworm cyst is going to happen to the child of someone sewing from an Ottobre magazine so what on earth is expected to fill that waistband???!!

And the whole weight of the pants is hanging from those belt loop tacks so it just looks dreadful.

When I can muster the energy I will take the waistband off, thrown some darts in the back and take in the side seams, reduce the waistband then put it back on. It may be passable but gee what a turd of a project it turned out to be.

I put it in the naughty corner and did the sewing equivalent of washing my mouth to get ride of a bad taste - I sewed a lovely, new to me, Oliver + S pattern. Aaah. Much better.

*If you have sewn this pattern and I am completely wrong and bang out of line, please, please tell me.


  1. Frustration plus - so annoying when sewing projects don't work out.

    Could the pants be kept for several years hence and be called shorts?

    1. I wish it could be as simple as that, but the fit through the upper leg and hips is actually quite good. No healthy child (in my non expert opinion) would ever have the belly to hip ratio of those pants. Just weird.

  2. CRYYYYYYYYY. Those pants should've been so cute!! WTF Ottobre? What a mess.

    1. I know, they were so promising. The happy butt pockets are just adorable. I'm sure they can be fixed but look, a shiny new thing to sew over there... :)

  3. OMG my I tried so hard not to choke on my water at that last picture, what a nightmare what was Ottobre thinking. Now for the leotard, the dull fabric is redeemable with some bright piping I think and hopefully there is a smaller child at gymnastics that would love this.

    1. Oh please laugh, cause otherwise we'd cry. There's no amount of cajoling a kid to hold themselves differently or correct their posture to make those pants fit!
      I think there are a few smaller kids envious of her extensive leotard collection, but it's hard to tell if everyone else wears the club uniform leotard out of necessity or a sense of not wanting to stand out. Certainly not my kid.

  4. Giant tapeworm cyst! Bahahaha Your sewing on those pockets is just so good and it's so sad for it to go to waste. Put it in the naughty pile and maybe come back when you've recovered from the trauma. Bad projects make great blog posts though, so there's always that.

    1. Thanks Barb. I absolutely agree that blogging about the fails is almost more important than the successes. Can I really be the only internet connected person in the world to have sewn this pattern? Where are all the other versions? Possibly all in naughty corners. That's where it's going alright and I'll see what some time apart does for my feelings. :)

  5. I think it's entirely possible that a disgruntled Ottobre designer snuck that pattern in there to frustrate users (and I think BurdaStyle does the same thing!). How aggravating. If it's any consolation, my last make was a really cute shorts-overalls thing, which I carefully sewed up in beautiful grey linen, then discovered (upon 'completion') that I had left off the front (bib) section. So they were just shorts with long straps leading to nowhere. I then unpicked and re-sewed, only to discover (once again, upon completion) that the crotch is too high for R and they are COMPLETELY USELESS. I say chuck out the pants of frustration and sew something pleasant! Which I see you've done, in your more recent post. Happy holidays, and happier sewing!


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