I was reading Milly's Tin Whistle blog last week and saw she had been playing around with the Ottobre Design Creative Workshop 303 - Women's Best Tops pattern. Funnily enough I had been doing the same thing myself, so I was really interested to see the variations Milly had been trying out. I was then asked about this pattern by two customers in the same week which finally motivated me to blog about my own experience.
As a short introduction, this pattern is published by the Finnish company Ottobre (who do the pattern magazines) and comes in a women's and a children's version. The women's version comes with three different neck options - a V-neck, a low scooped neck, and a higher round neck. It can be made with short or long sleeves, or as a singlet top without sleeves, and is designed to be used with knit fabrics.
I haven't included photo of my first attempt at this pattern, but it was a t-shirt with the high round neck, and I found the neck a bit high, and the size I had chosen a bit big, so when I cut into my good fabric I went for the low neck and a smaller size. This top is made from the 100% wool knit I sell (although I now only have the green in stock).
Although this dress form is technically my size, she and I have very different body shapes, and I personally found this neck too low for me (although I did wear this top all winter with a scarf). I decided to go back to the high neck for my next attempt which was a dress made out of some interlock I'd bought at Spotlight.
Not surprisingly I found this neckline too high, and I also found the fit a bit wide across the shoulders. I was becoming much more confident with sewing the pattern though, so I reached for some Stenzo fabric I had put away (but sadly hadn't put enough away to have sleeves from the same fabric). This time I used the Ottobre pattern as a basis for my own neck and shoulder shaping. And this time I was really happy with the results.
Now that I'm really happy with the pattern I'm looking forward to sewing up a stack of t-shirts and singlet tops ready for summer (it's such a quick pattern to sew - it is very satisfying!).
If you're new to sewing with knits and want to have a go at this pattern I will give a few tips:
1) Sewing with knits takes practice so don't get put off if your first attempt doesn't look like the top you saw in Country Road.
2) It is a good idea to try the pattern out before you cut into your best fabrics, but remember that good quality knits sew much better than cheap knits (keep this in mind if you're using something from Spotlight and things aren't going right).
3) There are several different ways to put neck binding on a t-shirt and my favourite is different to the method used in the Ottobre pattern. I have only discovered this by trial and error though, so by all means follow the Ottobre instructions, but keep in mind there are other ways that might work better for you.