Sunday, February 19, 2017

Ottobre Mini-Wardrobe.

Hello, readers! Did you know that this coming week is Kid's Clothes Week, and the theme this time around is "capsule wardrobe"?

Uh, I didn't.

But a couple of weeks ago, reminded of how much I love Ottobre and inspired by the latest issue (which is totally killer), I traced and cut out a big pile of items for Maggie from my Ottobre magazines.

Okay, time for some honest talk: My knits stash has gotten so big it won't fit in the two designated bins in my Ikea Kallax unit anymore. I had to move part (ahem) of it into large, laundry basket sized, plastic bins, and those bins have been piled in my living room (remember, I have no garage or closets) for the past four months. Toys got piled on top of them, other bins were shifted in front of them, and they became, literally, pieces of furniture that no one even saw anymore (except our guests, who were probably thinking "um, you have a problem," but were too polite to say anything about it, which is why we like them)  Except that when I look at them, I do feel a bit ashamed and disgusted with myself. I mean, seriously, my fabric stash is taking over the living room, people. This is not good. Plus it undermines my authority with my kids and husband:

Me: Toys don't belong in the living room. Neither do golf clubs.
Kids: Mom, you have three giant bins of fabric in the living room.
Steve: *shrugs, raises his eyebrows meaningfully, and walks away*

On top of that, I've been embarrassed to see Maggie wearing clothes that are too small or completely tattered with holes. We have been operating under a chronic leggings-shortage. (We are also operating under a sweatpants shortage with Joe, so that's next on the list.)

Time to stop feeling bad about the piles of fabric and sew some things!

It was really fun to comb through my Ottobre Magazines after long days at work, and pick out some things to sew. I ended up focusing on two issues: 4/2015 and 1/2017.

The latest issue, 1/2017 is excellent. So many patterns I want to try! I fell in love with this long-sleeved t-shirt with shoulder ruffles, #9 "Sun Ruffle." You know me - I'm a sucker for shoulder ruffles! This pattern intrigued me because the ruffles are inserted into slashes in the shoulder of the t-shirt. I've never inserted ruffles that way - they are almost like little darts. I had to use navy thread for the rolled edges of the ruffles and it doesn't match the purple binding, but as an awesome online sewing friend recently said, "you wouldn't notice it on a galloping horse." All I can say to that is: AMEN!

I made the top up in a pretty pink and purple lace-print cotton lycra that I bought at Stonemountain with Maggie in mind a while back, and just so happened to have the perfect purple contrast ribbing on hand (advantages of a giant stash, yo).  This is a size 98 (basically a size 3), and I added a little bit of length to the top, since Maggie often ends up wearing tops with only leggings. I used the coverstitch to sew the binding on the neckline and sleeves and to hem the top. Lots of coverstitch action in this post!

The leggings are also from 1/2017 - #3, "Baggy." These are described as having "narrow leg bottoms and added ease around the seat." Basically, these are comfortable, basic, one pattern piece leggings. I made three pairs! Easy peasy. The size 98 is a big long on Maggie, but I'm pleased there is some room to grow.

The other issue of Ottobre, 4/2015, attracted me with some great tunics/knitwear which you'll see below. On a whim, I cut out this cute mini skirt as well. This is #8 "Mini Dots," made from a small piece of purple corduroy I found at the East Bay Center for Creative Reuse. This pattern is great for using a teeny-tiny piece bottom-weight! I admit that the final product--a tiny miniskirt for my four-year-old--is probably one of those articles of clothing that is more cute than useful, but it's sure cute! It might come in handy on those days when Maggie wants to pair a cropped tee with too-small leggings. And it took less than a half-yard of fabric to make!

So I asked Maggie what she liked best about this outfit, and she said "the shoulder ruffles!" She is my child!

 Next up is a make that is not exactly from my stash (cough cough) because I bought the fabric only a couple of weeks ago. This is Sarah Jane's "Magic Folks" knit in navy. Maggie fell in love with it at the fabric store on our last visit, because ... pink unicorns, duh!! 

Me: Because everyone needs more unicorns in their wardrobe, right?
Maggie: Well, I need them.
Me: Here, just take my credit card.

Yeah, so I actually bought the same print in flannel, in the white colorway, to make Maggie a nightgown? Because my girl needs unicorns.

With the navy knit, I made Ottobre 4/2015 #13, the "Busy Forest" tunic. This is an A-line tunic with raglan sleeves, a center-front pleat and patch pockets (that extend across the side seams), which is is intended to be made in a sweatshirt fleece or french terry. It worked great in this single jersey, though I could see it looking great in a heavier fabric too. This busy print doesn't show off the details at all, plus I couldn't get Maggie to stop spinning and being super happy/blurry in her new tunic, but this is the kind of simple dress/tunic that Maggie all the time. The front pleat adds a little shape and interest, and the pockets, as always, are a hit! The neckline and cuffs could be done in a contrast ribbing, but I used self-fabric on this tunic.

The leggings are the "Baggy" leggings again, but in a pink Kaufman Laguna knit. I have already made a top and leggings with this fabric, and even after this second pair of leggings, I still have tons of this stuff! So much for putting a noticeable dent in my stash, right? (Note to self: 2 yard of 60" wide knit goes a LOOOOOOONG way.)

But I am addressing the leggings-shortage, so that part is good.

Finally, I made this cardigan from 4/2015. It's #11, "Super Sweet" and is intended to be made with merino wool, with exposed raw edges down the front. That didn't work with this cotton blend french terry I grabbed out of one of the designer sale bins at Stonemountain. This fabric feels like it has some poly content, and is dark pink on the inside, and this lovely mottled peach on the outside. To avoid any raw edges showing and give the collar the body it needs, I cut the collar pieces out on the fold (with the stripey texture going lengthwise) and serged the folded piece onto the front of the cardigan. 

This is the type of garment that I wear all the time. Now Maggie has a cozy cardigan like the ones that Mama loves to wear!

Okay! So here's the full mini-wardrobe!  One pair of leggings went unmodeled - it's a purply blue Laguna knit.

It's a little funny to me that Maggie's "capsule wardrobe" is all pink and purple, but hey, that's what Maggie loves, right? Either way you look at it - (1) Who needs neutrals when you can have pink and purple? or (2) Pink is the new neutral! - this is the perfect Maggie mini-wardrobe! Not bad for a couple weeks (intermittent) work. All of these were very fast, fun sews, and I got a lot of time working with my coverstitch and learning the ropes with my new machine.

This was so much fun that I'm now back to the Ottobres, planning a mini-wardrobe for Joe (keep in mind this is basically all sweat pants and t-shirts!). I probably won't be participating in KCW this time around in the formal sense of an hour a day, since I have two - count them, two - freaking night meetings this week, but I do plan to sew! We'll see how far I get! Maybe I can consolidate my three living room fabric bins into two? A girl can dream!

Two prompts for the comments:

(1) Please tell me I'm not the only sewist with fabric in the living room.

(2) Are you working on a capsule wardrobe? Does the idea appeal to you? Dish!


  1. This is delightfully inspirational! I too have a stash problem - recent basement flooding (goodbye California drought!) made me try to move it all into waterproof bins (sewing stuff lives in the basement). Only I needed more bins than I could fit in the car. It is a small car, and there were two children in it...but still.

    So thank you for the reminder than I can burn through lots of it making easy things for my kids (who really do need clothes) instead of complicated things for myself (who does not). It's fun to see the variety of little girl clothes too - my eldest (a boy) only ever wears t-shirts and one of two styles of pants, so that's getting a bit boring to sew! Maybe my daughter will branch out a bit more (once she's old enough to have opinions).

    1. Goodbye California drought is right! We've been pumping water out of our crawl space all winter (you are lucky to have a basement in CA, but maybe not so much this year, eh?). It turns out we live in a historic creekbed. Awesome.

      I am so glad that you found this post inspirational! I sometimes bog myself down with complex plans for myself, and forget how fun and easy it is to whip up some knitwear for my kids. I feel you on boy style - my son won't wear woven fabrics, largely, he only wears sweats and t-shirts. I think with boy sewing, the main struggle is boredom for the sewist. Ottobre is good because they have lots of variations on the basic t-shirt and sweats themes that make me feel like I'm trying something new, but I know he'll love them. Maggie is much easier - she is picky about colors (PINK!) but not so much about fabrics.

  2. That teeny corduroy mini skirt is everything!! The pockets! Eep! And uh yes, my 'sewing area' is in our living room so there is a permanent pile of WIPs, at least one machine, etc etc out for all to see, all the time. Also vacuum cleaner probably spends more time sitting in the middle of the living room than in its cupboard.

    1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one!!! And yes, I love the skirt, it's just too ridiculously adorable with those back pockets. And it was so fast to make. We'll see if she actually wears it much?

  3. So for some reason, this post is not showing up on my Bloglovin' feed. I'm glad you Instagrammed it. I love all of the pieces, especially the purple skirt. I had a similarly adorable yet not at all practical piece for my girls (when they were a year old) and they wore it all the time.

    As for knits in the living room - I don't have that problem currently as I have a dedicated sewing space. But we are moving in a month and I will be sewing in my bedroom. I recently Marie Kondo'd my house (well, I'm almost done) and donated more than half my stash. But not the knits. Knits with good recovery are guaranteed to get used in my house! Knits forever.

    1. I find it takes 12 hours or so for my posts to show up on Bloglovin' - it's on there now! Good luck with your move, Masha! I would love to hear more about your Konmarie process! Good for you donating so much of your stash; I have such a hard time letting pieces go even when I've totally fallen out of love with them. Knits are super useful, but I probably need to get rid of the pile of scraps intended for making undies - or make some undies! Because keeping them for years is just ridiculous.

  4. OH Inder I snort laughed too many times to keep count. You have a problem but you have such a wonderful, humorous grasp of your weakness that no one could fault you!
    I take my hat off to you dealing with Ottobre. I often like their designs but just can't be bothered with the tracing and adding seam allowances. But it's all worked so well here. Brava!

  5. I love Maggie's capsule. I am completely embracing this with my girls.
    Both your choices are pretty, fun and practical. Bravo Mummy!
    xx N

  6. PS, your house can be quite cold, correct? Those tubs are insulation.


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