Sewing for my Little Man. Ottobre Vest Review

by Connie on December 31, 2012 · 4 comments

It is so easy to sew for little girls.  Dresses, skirts, tees, more dresses.  Little boys often get the short end of my sewing machine.  Now while part of that reason might be that for many years I had five little blonde females of my own to sew for, now that there is a grandson in the mix is no reason to let him feel left out.

At just barely two years old Master C is a grandpa cardigan kind of kid.  Since his amazingly sweet Nana keeps him pretty well supplied with those, I thought it was  time to introduce my little man to the world of sweater vests!  Enter the ever reliable Ottobre.  Ottobre 4 2009 has a vest pattern in it and that is what I used, but you could realistically use any tee or pullover pattern and adjust the armholes.

The pattern is sized for 104 and larger, and the young man is only about a size 92, so I just graded it a bit smaller.  No biggie on a garment that only has a front and a back!

The first look at the photo had me thinking that  I would have to locate some argyle fabric, but a closer look had me realize (with relief!) that I was actually supposed to MAKE the argyle. How fun!

For the main fabric I visited my fave local thrift store and chose the best looking medium knit sweater I could find.  It is so easy to be able to  scrounge for  “fabric” for little people in thrift stores!

I cut the front and back out placing the lower edge on the lower edge of the “fabric” .  Not only did this cut out any need for a hem, it also makes the vest look more store bought. professionally made.

For the diamonds I used a suiting remnant and a grape wool knit.  I pinned them, handbasted them in place, and machine stitched them down.  This vest won’t be seeing a crazy amount of use, or I might have used Wonder Under to stabilize. (Read…I couldn’t find my stabilizer so I went without.) I placed the diamonds in a different pattern than the magazine has you do it. I decided on three rows instead of 2- I think it makes it look a bit more substantial. 

I chalked the argyle stitching lines on the wrong side, using the pattern picture as  a guide and coverstitched – also on the wrong side.

I bound the sleeve and the v-neck edges and topstitched them. Ugh- poor photo quality here! I used Jalie’s method for doing a V-neck.  You can find the video here. (hint- turn down the sound as it is just music- sorry Emilie, I love you like a sister, but that background music is sad!)

I added a purchased off- white Joe Fresh shirt under and sat back and admired, and admired. and admired.  Truly I admired longer than it took me to sew the vest!

And of course I forgot to take any posed shots.  This is my pathetic photo shoot attempt. “Casey, look here. No HERE! Leave the cat alone. Look here.  No don’t hide!! Here, stand on the couch.  Okay JUMP on the couch.  Watch Aunt Lauren jump on the couch.  Honey, stand still for just a second for Oma”…


Oh the energy of two year old boys! Especially this little  oh-so special little boy whose favourite thing to do right now is magic tricks…and play with little cars- or trains… and to sit with his beloved Oma right beside him!



I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve.  In the next day or two I will show off my “Welcome 2013″ outfit.  We are going out for some dinner and dancing with a group of friends Motown style. Should be fun!



I’m kind of a snob lately when it comes to patterns for kids.  Oliver + S, Ottobre, Jalie or the odd vintage pattern are my go to, never deviate from, can’t go wrong with brands.  I don’t care too much for a lot of the other stuff that is out there. Ill fitting, poorly designed- I’d rather stick to basics from companies that I know and trust.

That was until I had an idea for a skirt for Miss H that involved ruffles, suiting fabric and tulle- all in the same size 3T skirt.  I had thought that I would self draft, but nothing was looking right. Some were too ruffley, others too cute, or just the wrong proportion.  Scouring the interweb for ideas, I came across this website and was instantly smitten.  The Vivienne skirt pattern was in the shopping cart before I could say “Done”.  (The Chloe dress jumped right in alongside it, but that dress will be made in the summer for some flower girl dresses).

The Review – Violette Field Threads Vivienne Skirt


How would you describe this skirt? This is what the company says “The Vivienne is a classy, sophisticated skirt. Peeking from under the front folds are 3 ruffles. The back of the skirt is elastic, allowing for growing room. The flat front and arched row of buttons make for a very polished look. Whether you make this skirt dressy or for play, you’ll be as much in love as we are.” I’d describe it as a sassy little number, just right for impressing adults, with just enough ruffles for that necessary cuteness factor.

Who can I sew this for?  The sizes of this dress range from 2T to 10.  That makes it perfect for any toddler to child.  I cut a 3 for my little “I’m only two, but pretty soon I will be three” person. I wouldn’t sew this for a child in a diaper, as it is a pretty slim fit and the bulk of a diaper would cause it to ride up.

Can anyone sew this garment?  I would say yes.   It is pretty well all straight stitching, and the instructions are  clear and well written.  A beginner with ambition could tackle this, and an advanced sewer would find it a quick diversion from mundane sewing.

Are you pleased with the way it looks?  I am.  The fabric I used didn’t make my task easy, but that was my problem!  It is a cute looking skirt all sewn up.  It looks like the photo from the designer, and my finished product looks like the picture that was in my head. (and if you think THAT happens often, you have another think coming!)

What drew your eye to this pattern?  Oh come on now.  Who wouldn’t want to sew this skirt once you see it?!  It’s like a backwards mullet- business in the back, and a party in the front!  It’s not a twirly party number, but a skirt that is just as great for school as it is for dinner out with Oma!  Oh and this pattern is available as a PDF download as well as a printed pattern.  I used the PDF format for instant “it’s midnight but I need to start this skirt NOW” gratification.

What fabric did you use?  I used some bouncy black houndstooth-y boucle-ey with lurex fabric from Fabricland.  This stuff was expensive as heck.  If you know me and my sewing, you will understand my love of grown-up fabric for little girls!  I got a metre of it on sale, and made two dresses and one skirt from it.  It frayed like the dickens so I serged all cut edges.  I also used some very lurex -y knit from the stash (likely Gorgeous Fabrics, but my fabric organization is no where near the status of my obsessive pattern organization!), some black netting and a bit of silver mesh that was on deep clearance also from Fabricland. The pattern does not call for knit, but I run like that anyways!


Did you stick with the pattern or did you deviate?  The pattern calls for 3 rows of ruffles.  I cut the width of the ruffle down a bit and added a fourth row.  The width of the original is fine, but I thought that a narrower ruffle would be fine for the smaller size.  I changed the way the waistband went together as well.  The boucle I used was pretty thick, and folding over the waistband made for eight layers of fabric (nine?) to be sewn.  That looked bulky, so I added a separate waistband instead made from some black knit.  I think with a lighter fabric the way it tells you to do it is fine though. The elastic in the back is a great idea to allow for fitting.

Any concluding thoughts?  I really like this skirt.  I think in denim and white cotton it would make a sweet summertime casual skirt.  The tee that is pictured with the skirt is Ottobre.  Of course!




Miss H smiling for the camera

There is a bit of puffiness at the back waistband- due entirely to the fabric choice!

What is a party without some Christmas music- they were rocking Jingle Bells – toddler style!



Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2012

All of my reviews are works in progress till after Christmas!  All sewn, all delivered or wrapped. Here instead is a sampling of what I call Christmas on the Farm…. Just so that you know I try NOT to take myself seriously! From us and ours, to your and yours Merry Christmas!  

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To heck with Christmas, I’m sewing ahead to New Year’s Eve!

December 4, 2012

We  are not the type to stay at home on New Year’s Eve.  I am not the type to stay home on New Year’s Eve, MyMike would be more than happy to grab some Vietnamese cuisine and watch a movie!  Actually, we tried staying in once when the girls were little.  By ten pm I […]

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