jumping on the Ottobre bandwagon

Sunday, 17 May 2009
As if I don't have enough expensive European sewing magazines laying around the house unused (well read and thumbed through but still unused) I ponied up $23 (eek!) to buy the 2/2009 issue of Ottobre Woman from the crafty mamas website (fantastic customer service from them by the way). After seeing the great creations that Belinda over at Sew 4 Fun has been making for ages, and the fact that this issue had a nursing top pattern I was convinced to try it out.

At first I have to say I was a little undewhelmed by the magzine. It has far less patterns than BWOF, and look at these two patterns:

Hmmm, it's a little bizarre and if you want to put on as many layers of bulky and unflattering clothes then this is for you. But if it's not your style, thankfully the magazine does have some other lovely patterns, such as these two dresses:

I'll be putting these two on my sewing wishlist, but since I did buy this principally to make the nursing top, I thought I should make it first so I could wear it whilst I am still breastfeeding. The top has a cross over front and a modesty panel underneath the lapped portions that has the sides cut out so you can access your "girls" without exposing your bra too much. The pattern looks like this:
It was very easy to sew, but I wasn't too happy with the outcome. First up it was really long on me, almost tunic length which I don't really like in a clingy jersey type fabric over jeans. But reducing the length of the bottom half of the top made the proportions look all wrong, so instead I took the midriff band off completely which made it a much better length. I'm also not too happy with the self fabric binding to the neckline because it made the top much less stretchy and actually quite difficult to push the top aside to get access for nursing. The pattern suggests using clear elastic and self fabric binding, but I think I shall take the binding off and just turn and topstitch the edge over the clear elastic. And here's my version before I have taken the binding off (I'm a little hesitant at doing more unpicking as you can imagine!):

The fabric I used is a deep red jersey that I thought I had prewashed, but soon realised I hadn't when my fingers turned pink and stayed pink for several days, my white plastic sewing machine turned pink, the bathroom towel turned pink after I washed my hands trying to get the dye off, and even the next load of washing I did after washing this fabric came out with a pink tinge. My husband isn't too impressed with the now pink trim on his black shorts and navy blue t-shirt...

I vow to finish this off this week so I can start wearing it soon, although honestly Anna doesn't often want to feed when we're out and about in public because she's far too distracted by what's going on around her. In fact she is so interested in everything these days that she has practically stopped having daytime naps altogether. She was always a short napper during the day, but now she barely has one 30 minute nap a day which is driving me crazy! I seem to spend all day singing Twinkle Twinkle little star to get her to have a nap..... It makes me a bit angry actually, because not only can I not get anything done all day it is frustrating wasting so much time trying to get her to sleep but when she looks like this I can't stay mad for too long:


  1. Is this little lady cranky if she does not sleep? If so, I understand you want her to sleep in the day, but otherwise, let her play in her crib or on her seat. She'll watch you, or listen to you if you just comment on what you are doing. It worked well with mine...

  2. What a cute girl! I always found that I got a lot more tired singing the kids to sleep than they did... So I stopped and let them take the lead (in daytime, anyway). I hope she lets you get some sewing done at night!

  3. Oh you poor thing! Baby needs to take those naps so Mama can have a break.

  4. Kristy, hate to say it and others may disagree, but don't let her do that to you... You may have to put her down for a nap anyways and let her work it out. My #2 and youngest were bad nappers under a year old and it will make you so crazy, esp. if you have things to take care of. #2 has CP and was a preemie and had long-term colic, #4 also had colic really bad. Now at 16 mos she takes a 3 hour nap, and has for about 5 months but we had about 6 months of no daytime sleeping to speak of and relatively no night-time sleep either. Last resort, use the swing or bouncy seat or playpen with toys and maybe she can lull herself to sleep, but you both need the break. I have been there & done that, I apologize for any frankness, but I have been there & done that. She is a cutie.

  5. Aw, she is cute!!

    I only wore one nursing top, it was a maternity/nursing top from H&M and it was useless as a nursing top (but OK for maternity). I found it easier to manage a loose t-shirt with a cardigan over it. Once the baby was latched on, the t-shirt rolled down to just on the babies head, there was nothing to see. I found getting at my bra with a tight nursing top was impossible to do discretely, and I didn't feel there was enough coverage in the fairly tight flaps (it was a jersey sort of cross over top). Mind you, from about four months onwards I found it difficult to feed them out and about, they got waaaay too distractable!

    On the sleep thing, if mine didn't nap during the day, they were overtired and didn't sleep too well at night either and they were unhappy and cranky. But if Anna is happy, let her be.

    Congrats on making it this far, and best of luck with the sewing and the cute baby!!

  6. Just the first of many times in your life as a parent that this adorable little lady isn't going to do what you want her to do?! *LOL* You will adjust and find a new way to accomplish what you need to do! I have faith in you!

    As for the top, not only is it cute but it is a cautionary tale in making sure you prewash your fabric!

    I hope the top works out for you and please keep sharing pictures of your beautiful little girl!

  7. What a gorgeous top. I love that colour!

    Not to be an enabler or anything, but Jalie 2787 is a great nursing top too. I've made that one 5 times, and since the Ottobre one came out I've made that twice as well since I had my twins almost a year ago.

    I personally find them both brilliant for nursing, but I think fabric choice plays a very big part in how well the opening works. Mine are both synthetic, with a good dollop of lycra, so they easily stretch out of the way and pop back afterwards.

    Good luck with the naps. If mine don't have a sleep, I don't get a lot of stuff done!

  8. The top looks great! I hope you can make it functional without much effort.

    I know all about no daytime naps too. My daughter (first born) was a non-daytime sleeper from about the same age. It was hard!!! My son was a sleeper and what a difference! Both to this day still have the same sleep patterns so with mine it was genetic and nothing I did could change it.

    I came up with "rest time" where my daughter would rest, never sleep, but rest in her bed. (Meaning lay or play quietly.) It took a *lot* of hard work to get her into this routine, but it saved my sanity! Like you I was spneding all my time trying to get her to sleep, which rarely worked and only made me tired and cranky too. {hugs}

  9. Some babied just don't want (or need?) as much sleep. My eldest never slept much and now at 18 still doesn't. I don't know how she does it - always has heaps of energy too. Sigh....
    As for Ottobre - I am very underwhelmed of late too. And must get around to cancelling my sub.

  10. Hi - I've always found the Ottobre Women clothing kind of odd, but I definitely recommend the Ottobre Childrens. I have brought 4 of them over the years and recommend Spring 1/2008 for a wee girl. Even though it works out to around NZ$25 for the magazine there are tons of patterns in multiple sizes so they are good value (unlike Ottobre Women).
    I have made quite a few clothes from them so please feel free to check out my blog to see if they take your fancy.

  11. Hello,

    I'm a nursing mom, too, and use a "hooter hider" nursing cover when I'm nursing in public. It keeps me covered up, and keeps the baby from getting distracted.

    You can make one pretty easily; there are lots of tutorials online.

    Best wishes to you and your family,

  12. We went to sleep school "tresillian" with our bubby (who is now 1) and it didn't really help... he wouldn't sleep during the day... but one thing i learnt is to not get too worried by things... children are constantly changing and just because they don't sleep today doesn't mean they won't sleep tomorrow or next week... my little boy goes through phases where he will have 2 hour naps during the or barely a few minutes... the one thing i learnt it to always put him down (at the same time each day) to try and help him to sleep (routine, routine, routine) and it seems to have helped! best of luck and remember she is growing up so fast, none of these stages last long!

  13. Don't knock it if she sleeps at night! That's far more important than sleeping during the day. My son was very alert during the day, always watching everything. I told myself he was obviously smarter than a sleepy baby would be; he wanted input to try and figure out the whole world. Of course, when he wouldn't sleep at night either, that theory fell apart...

  14. I have that same issue of Ottobre. You're right, it is underwelming, but I do plan to try some things. I love the kids issue though. As for your red top -- next time you run it through the wash, add a little vinegar to the water -- it will help to set that dye.

  15. Hi Kristy, Both my children were non-day time sleepers at Anna's age. It was hard work! My son started taking naps after about 6 months of age, though. My daughter, regretfully, stayed a non-daytime sleeper and was a bit of nighttime insomniac. Even now she copes just fine on minimal sleep. I put her in her cot though, just so I could get things done, as she also insisted on being held!
    Hang in there and do whatever necessary to float your boat!

  16. Hello Kristy,

    I love that colour and I sincerely hope that it stops running soon...red washes are not fun. I am still lamenting the ruin of a blouse about 6 months ago from a foreign-bought, over-dyed t-shirt.

    Waiting for babies to sleep, waiting for them to wake...and sometimes getting angry about it. Sometimes I think that parenthood is just a huge exercise in anger management....or perhaps that is just when I am tired. Best wishes.

  17. I love Dress No. 16. Your top turned out very nice.

    Even when my baby doesn't want to nap, I put him down; and he has learned to fall asleep and nap anyway. Sometimes he cries a bit but not for long. They can adjust and learn with a little training.


  18. Hi Kristy... sounds like mama needs some quality quiet time...
    Some of our kids napped quite well, the others, not so much! But, they were still in their rooms (as they got older) to have a quiet time, as the younger ones had to nap. That way, mom could actually get something done! Is she sitting up on her own? Play pens really are fine... they give them a safe place to play and give you the feeling that you don't have to keep an eye on her every single second to make sure she is safe! Plus you can give her different things to play with and they won't get thrown too far outside of her re-capture range. If she is starting to crawl (or at least do the military crawl/roll) she is pretty well safe there too. If you don't have/don't want to purchase a play pen... find a way to close off an area for a play zone! Somewhere that she can see you... or at least hear you... and she will start to feel comfortable learning to play and entertain herself... And then you won't go crazy wondering when on earth you will ever get anything done!
    Good Luck Mom... I say this after babysitting two of the grandkids... the youngest and the oldest! I will put pic's on soon... the dog was having a field day! She figured that the baby was fair game and he (the baby) seemed to enjoy all the attention from the dog! Too funny... they kept each other entertained! Such a good helper our little 4 legged friend!

  19. Hi,

    I was flicking through my 1985 edition of Sandra Betzina's 'Power Sewing' and she has advice you might be interested in. She suggests setting aside a four hour block of time for sewing, then gather everything you and Anna will need for those four hours (nappies, etc). Head up to your sewing room, set Anna somewhere safe with some toys which will stay in this room, and get on with sewing for 30 minutes. Have a 10 minute play-time together, then sew for another 30 minute block. Sandra used this technique with 7 month old twins, a toddler, and an older child!
    I don't have children so can't comment any further, but I thought I'd pass on the information.

    Good luck, I really enjoy reading your blog and am amazed at how fast you complete your projects, and with such professional results!


  20. As the mother of an 18-month old girl, I can only say Hah! to Sandra B. She simply wouldn't stand for being in one room that long, no matter what the toys were!

    Re Ottobre, they hire anti-stylists to display their women's clothes, which are often nice if you look at the drawings. I was extremely skeptical of the rectangle dress you show but I have now actually seen several women wearing that style. How? Why? The kid's clothes are awesome and I've made many.