Monday, April 18, 2011


"I cannot imagine myself as a designer of clothes that imitate catwalk trends. It would probably also be boring: who wants to design clothes only for young, slim and beautiful people - anything suits them."

I'm quoting from the head designer from Ottobre magazine. It makes me laugh at her design philosophy because what she's saying - in effect - is that she enjoys designing for old, fat and ugly people. Hey and I applaud her for it.

I didn't go to too much effort with these jeans (05-2007-10) - because I was pretty sure, this being my first run through them and my first real attempt at Ottobre trousers, that they would fit badly and end up in the recycle bin. I absolutely prefer to make test garments to muslins, because the proof of the fit is in the wearing. I have twice made jeans that look fantastic (standing up) but by the end of the day I have tingly lady bits. And you know, that can become a real hygiene issue in a humid climate. Just saying.

I have since developed the philosophy that the perfect fit is not that perfect. Without back baggies you don't have enough ease to bend, and without a little sag there is not enough length to enable you to sit in comfort. Some wrinkles are definitely worth having.

Having said that, these are too big. Comfy yes, flattering, not really.

So from this, I know that Ottobre jeans have more ease than Burda ones and that I can probably go down a size in Ottobre, something I wouldn't dare in Burda. I think my fabric choice had a bit to play in this as well - I used a medium denim with 2% elastane. A sturdier fabric would look and feel quite different.

I used a lining fabric on the pockets and rolled it slightly to the outside to create a piping finish:

I'm a little unsure where to go next - down to Jeans West for the "curve embracer" or another crack at this pattern, a size smaller.


  1. Very funny post. I'm lucky that I can buy very good second hand jeans for Vinnies for $9-$12 a pair (depending on the designer).

  2. Don’t’ toss them! They look great and I bet there will be many activities where a relaxed, comfortable jean is best. How do the pattern pieces compare to your favorite jeans pattern?

  3. Y'know, they are big, but they don't look too bad. I suspect that in the right size, or perhaps just with the side seams taken in, they would be really flattering. But then, I do like the trouser cut jeans, where they are fitted through the hipos but hang off the back of the butt. When I compare my sewing patterns to RTW jeans, I find that the RTW curve in a lot more at the upper, inner thigh. I suspect this is so that the denim stretches across the back of the thigh, removing all those baggy wrinkles that we sewers fret over.

    So, have another go! You know you don't want to buy a pair.

  4. These may be good gardening or work jeans because they are a bit too big. I think the pattern is worth another try if you like the design. Heavier denim would change the equation too. Otherwise don't you have another excellent jean pattern that you did in white denim?

  5. Seems like a size smaller will be just right! But I completely understand what you are talking about with a practical fit. I like the style of these jeans and of course, you have sewn them up beautifully. I have one Ottobre magazine with a pair of capris in it that I have been wanting to make for quite a long time. Glad to hear your thoughts on how this company compares to Burda.

  6. You've done such a lovely job of sewing them up so hold on to them. I find it's sometimes nice to have pants with extra ease for my 'fat' days....also great for long plane flights and road trips.

    Thanks for your coat tips. I've taken your advice and enlisted the help of a more experienced sewer to help with my fitting issues. All my feelings of stress and frustration disappeared instantly. Such relief.

  7. Well, they look good from the front :-). Comfy without being too baggy. I suspect you don't need a whole size smaller, perhaps not even a size smaller in the back. I haven't done Ottobre, but one thing I like about Burda is that they're made for people with, ahem, curves. At that I have to add to butt depth to get the right effect. I wonder whether you could just try the opposite maneuver, where you simply shave a small wedge off the back inseams down to the knees? Makes a world of difference with very little fuss.
    Let me see.. do you have Sandra Betzina's wonderful 'fast fit'??
    Easy and fast... although requiring quite an impressive ripping out of the crotch, if you're in the mood you can do it without affecting any of the difficult parts of the pants.

  8. I love your posts, they make me laugh.
    Go on, make these again. They look pretty comfy. I'm sure you can make them fit. That's a good point about test garments. I have often found that a neckline that looks perfectly respectable at first, droops a bit or works forward on my shoulders to become a tad revealing.

  9. (I don't think I've commented before, so Hi!)

    That comment from Ottobre made me laugh as well, although I'm not sure it came acoss exaclty as she intended. :-D

    As for the jeans: Do you have another pattern that fits more like you want it to, I probably wouldn't bother with making this fit better, if I already had another jeans pattern I liked. I have made several versions of self-drafted trousers and finding exactly the right crotch curve takes _a lot of_ time. Recently I tried the much acclaimed Jalie Jeans pattern, and they fit me surprisingly well. A bit too much flare for my taste perhaps, but that's easy to change. Anyway, you are way more experienced than me on these matters, so I'm sure you'll work this out.

  10. The cut is quite flattering and worth persisting with .. go on... you know you like a challenge!

  11. Your whole outfit looks really good on you. I like these jeans--great detail on the pocket!

  12. I like them, but then I tend to like the comfort of slightly baggy clothes, especially pants:) . Love your sense of humor BTW

  13. I really like the fit/shape of those. The pockets are nice, too. The pattern has been on my list for a while.

    I definitely find Ottobre bottoms to be roomier than Burda's. That may be partly ease (designed for a different demographic, as you noted!) but the charted body measurements are a little different, too.

    From the point of view of the person NOT wearing the jeans, I prefer seeing a little baggy over a little tight (:

  14. I agree, re: test garments rather than muslins. What is good standing in front of the mirror might not be so great after a day at work. I love how you did the piping effect on the pocket, too.

  15. I quite like them. They are more like trouser jeans. Love your blog, it's a fun read.

  16. So when Ottobre is too skinny for me in the bum, this makes me even more old and fat than when Burda does the same thing. ;)
    If I looked this good in my test garments I would give up toiles.

    I am a fan of Mum jeans. The sort where you can sit on the floor and still bend your knees. If I want to dress up, I wear a skirt.
    These might look a bit as if you have been skipping morning tea too often. I would eat chocolate cake and fix the problem.

  17. "tingly lady bits" - that's the best and funniest description I've heard of that problem ever! I really like the pockets on the back, they are really flattering even if the front is a big loose. However this is why I always buy jeans, I have no patience to sew multiple pairs, trying on mulitple pairs is painful enough

  18. For a moment I was trying to guess what you mean by that funny description, then I laughed a lot.
    Pants seem very comfortable, that's what matters ... I am unable to wear jeans comfortably, yet.

  19. I makes sense for jeans to need to be a bit baggy to be comfy- they were invented as work pants after all, and denim used to be what they made tents with! I've found I can only stand tight jeans that are made of very thin denim with a really high (5%) elastane content. Yours look very stylish, not too baggy and I like the back pockets. And tingly ladybits sound dangerous, you don't want to mess around with that.

    If you play memes, I've awarded you one ovver at my blog

  20. Big or not, they look great. I love the back pockets. And it's all about lady bits comfort. I cannot stand tight jeans and always look like I have a load in me drawers. But that's ok.

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