Sewing from Ottobre Design: First Time Ever!

Our little, three-person family hangs three stockings every year at Christmas. And every year Santa Claus generously fills all three. Among the goodies, we each get a magazine. Santa knows me well, and this year he hooked me up with my very first issue of Ottobre Design! I may have actually squealed when it arrived. Issue 2013/4, Kids Autumn, is filled with so many amazing patterns I want to sew them all. But I started with #14, The Princess Castle Tunic.

Sewing the Princess Castle Tunic from Ottobre Design 4/2013 | The Inspired Wren

After dutifully measuring The Peanut and learning she's currently 103.5 cm tall, I decided to begin with a size 104. I had no problems tracing the pattern, adding my seam allowance where necessary, and following the directions. I sewed it up all in one day, and if you followed along on Instagram you would have seen my growing excitement with each step. I love the way the knit-bound edging works, and the elastic on the sleeve edges. I adore the circle pockets. I even had this momentary thrill when the flower in the pattern lined up where the bodice overlaps—I couldn't have done that if I tried! I was ready to marry Ottobre, I was loving it so much.

Sewing the Princess Castle Tunic from Ottobre Design 4/2013 | The Inspired Wren
Note the white flower next to the side seam that magically aligned from separate bodice pieces.

Sewing the Princess Castle Tunic from Ottobre Design 4/2013 | The Inspired Wren
Love those circle pockets!

And then The Peanut came home from school and I eagerly put it on her...and she swam in it. It was so large. I was so deflated. I'm instant-gratification girl. Sure, she'll grow into and it's better than too small, but ugh. What a disappointment.

Sewing the Princess Castle Tunic from Ottobre Design 4/2013 | The Inspired Wren
Sad face because it would slide off her shoulders if she didn't shrug them up like that.
And because there's no chocolate in that pocket. But mostly because it's too big.

But I re-grouped! Basically because I didn't want the only pictures on today's post to be of a too-large tunic. I went back to the full list of measurements. I noted that while she is almost a size 104 tall (height that skews so there's a bit more above her waist than below), the rest of her measures TWO sizes smaller, size 92. That explains why the size 104 is practically falling off her shoulders, looks like a dress instead of a tunic, and has above-the-wrist sleeves that appear full-length. 

I made a decision to attempt my first alteration of a pattern for fit. I traced a size 92 for the width, but extended the length to a size 98. I labelled my pattern pieces "Size: 92w x 98h". [This reminds me, anyone know a good source for sew-in size labels?]

Sewing the Princess Castle Tunic from Ottobre Design 4/2013 | The Inspired Wren
She buzzes with excitement when trying on new things I make for her. It's the best feed-back ever! But it means a lot of blurred-motion photos.

My original plan was to sew two tunics and two pairs of leggings for this post. I had purchased an expensive-for-me Ponte knit for one of the tunics. But I could not bring myself to cut into that for this grand size experiment. Instead I dug through my stash of large scraps left-over from old projects and found this stripe knit and some matching ribbing. I didn't have the same, giddy rush of excitement sewing Tunic Take 2 as I did the first time 'round, but I did get one little thrill when I noticed the stripes lined up at the side seams without my making any effort for that to happen.  

Sewing the Princess Castle Tunic from Ottobre Design 4/2013 | The Inspired Wren
Still blurred with buzzy-excitement but at least you get a good view of the tunic length.
And that smile.

THIS one fits as I expected the first to fit! Huzzah! The sleeves are designed (or at least photographed in Ottobre) as above-the-wrist length, and that's exactly where it hits. The tunic-length is darling with (store-brought) leggings. And it fits across her shoulders perfectly. Despite my momentary disappintment, I am once again in love with Ottobre.


Ottobre Design, Issue 4/2013, #14 Princess Tunic, Design A 


Tunic Too-Large: Doodles Collection, Knit Floral Gray Cotton; Sew Classic Knits, Tile Blue Interlock; unknown gray (Ponte?) knit from my stash; all from Joann Fabrics.
Tunic Just-Right: Sew Classic Knit, Pique Knit Stripe in Blue & Green; unknown knit rib from my stash; all from Joann Fabrics. 


Everything about this pattern. I found it easy to sew, I love the details. And I find it darling on my model. 


Measure twice, cut once. I struggled over what size to make from the get-go. I originally traced a size 98. Then second-guessed myself because I feared it would be too small, re-measured The Peanut, and chose the size 104 only to have it be too large to yet wear. In the end I traced this pattern onto my freezer paper three separate times, in three separate sizes. And with all that careful tracing I ran out of time to sew #15, Uncomplicated Leggings. 

You should really see all that goes into each project!
From my model preferring to wear washi tape on her navel instead of the clothes I've sewn for her, to the ingenious way that I’ve re-purposed my favorite sewing tool, a chopstick, into a spool pin for double needle sewing on my machine. Daily updates on Instagram (and Flickr) of works-in-progress will give you that behind the scenes view you’re looking for, and sneak peeks of First Tuesday Tutorials, too.