As a working mom of a very active 5-year-old, I don’t have as much time to sew as I used to have. When I do get time to sew, I tend to go for instant gratification projects–either sewing things for my standard sized daughter or reusing patterns that I’ve previously made. Husband and I had heart-to-heart about this a few months back, where he encouraged me to pick a project that I could take my time with–preferably a pattern that I’d been wanting to make for a while but had been intimidated by the amount of time/effort involved–something that I could really sink my sewing teeth into.
With that in mind, I decided to tackle this moto jacket from Ottobre Woman magazine, which is a pattern that I’ve had my eye on since this issue came out last August. I sew from the kids’ Ottobre magazine for my daughter all the time, but I rarely take the time to sew things from Ottobre Woman for myself (tracing kids’ patterns goes so much faster than tracing plus-sized women’s patterns!), but I loved that this was a princess seamed jacket and a different twist on a moto jacket (no asymmetrical zipper), but with traditional moto details, like lots of zippers.
This is the “Iconic Black, #6” moto jacket from the 05/2017 issue of Ottobre Woman magazine.
Size range (with measurements)
Whereas most Ottobre Woman patterns come in their full size range of EU 34-52, this particular jacket pattern is available ONLY in their plus size range (EU sizes 44-52). This size range covers the following bust and hip measurements:
- Size 44: 39 3/8″ (100 cm) bust, 41 3/4″ (106 cm) hip
- Size 52: 48″ bust (123 cm), 49 1/4″ (135 cm) hip
What size did you make?
I started with a size 48. Size 48 corresponds to a 43 1/4″ or 110 cm bust size. Ottobre Woman patterns are drafted for a B/C cup, so I chose a size that was slightly larger than my high bust measurement.
What are your measurements, height, and body type? (If reviewing a top or dress, bra size is very helpful for our readers.)
My current measurements are as follows:
- High bust: 42″ (106.7 cm)
- Full bust: 49″ (124.5 cm)
- Waist: 42.5″ (108 cm)
- Hip: 46.5″ (118 cm)
- Height: 5’2″ (157.5 cm)
- Bra Size: 40J or 40GG, depending on the brand
My body type is somewhere between a busty hourglass and busty rectangle from the front, but more of a busty apple from the side.
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?
My final adjustments ended up being a 2.5″ FBA and a broad back adjustment done by adding 1/2″ to the vertical seam allowances on the back pattern piece. HOWEVER, it took a muslin and analyzing some wrinkles/pulling to arrive at these. A few things to note:
- I nearly ALWAYS need to lower the bust point on darts and princess seams. As this is a normal alteration for me, I did this to my traced pattern before I made my muslin; however, trying on my muslin showed that my bust point was now too low. I ended up reversing this alteration on my traced pattern.
- My FBA actually added too much length over the bust. (I usually need a lot of additional length over my bust.) My muslin had an extra “bubble” of bust room below my bust point. I ended up needing to remove this extra length from my traced pattern.
- My muslin showed pulling at/towards the back. Normally, I do a broad back adjustment by slashing halfway through the shoulder and adding a shoulder dart; however, given the design of this jacket, I didn’t want to add a dart there, which is why I just ended up adding to the seam allowances in back. I think this method worked fine.
The takeway message from my experience with my muslin alterations is that if you have a large, low bust where you typically need to alter or add length, you might not need those alterations with this pattern.
What fabric did you use?
I used a wool suiting from Fabric Mart. As is typically the case with wool, it pressed and generally behaved like a dream:
For the lining, I used a a remnant of poly charmeuse, originally purchased from the old Gorgeous Fabrics store, and which I’d part of to line another jacket a few years ago.
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?
The construction process of the jacket is fairly straight-forward, if you’ve made a lined and/or zippered jacket before.
Ottobre instructions are very concise and direct; they tend to lack the translation issues that some of the other foreign language (to English speakers) pattern magazines have. The following picture gives an idea of what to expect from Ottobre instructions:
That said, the instructions for the zippered sleeve gusset took several read-throughs (and one bout with my seam ripper) to figure out. The other tricky spot is that you’re supposed to bag the lining, but the instructions never come straight out and explicitly say “bag the lining”, and I stupidly tried to bag my lining from memory when I hadn’t bagged a lining in 18 months, so fixing my mistakes there required a second bout with the seam ripper.
How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape?
I’m very happy with the fit. I think this jacket shape with the princess seams should work well on a lot of curvy body types. I will note that I am very glad that I made a muslin before cutting my good fabric and investing a lot of time into this; I was very surprised that I had to un-lower the bust point and remove FBA’ed length over the bust curve–those alterations made a big difference in the final fit of the jacket.
Will you make the pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make?
This jacket was a lot of work and took a lot of sewing hours. That said, given that the pattern pieces are already cut out and altered, and I’ve already gone through the construction process once, it kind of makes sense to make it again. I do have a wine-colored faux suede that I think would be a lovely choice for another one of these jackets and would also be a completely different look from the wool tweed.
If I make any changes to future versions, I might bring the hip flare in a little bit by taking in the lower portions of the princess seams slightly, but I really don’t think any other changes are needed.
Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? Are there any resources (blog posts, fitting books, tutorials) that helped you sew this piece up?
If you like the idea of this jacket but aren’t comfortable with non-illustrated sewing instructions for construction, it might be worth checking out the pattern instructions for some of the Big 4 moto jacket patterns; most of the same techniques/concepts should apply.
Also remember that you’re supposed to bag the lining, even though the instructions don’t give details or explicitly say that’s what you’re supposed to do. I like the Closet Case Patterns tutorial for the Clare Coat for bagging a lining; you can use the same technique for the Ottobre jacket:
Overall pattern rating
Size Range (1-5): 4 — While this pattern is drafted for plus sized women, the largest size is still only for a 48″ bust.
Instructions (1-5): 4 — I’m not going to ding Ottobre too hard for having text-only instructions in a magazine that’s pressed for space; any of us who sew from magazine patterns
Construction Process (1-5): 5 — The pattern is well-drafted with straightforward construction. Everything lines up as expected, and I did not encounter any other construction issues.
Final Fit (1-5): 5 — The pattern is true-to-size. I am very happy with the final fit of my jacket.
Overall Rating (1-5) + Explanation: 4.5 — Average score of other scores. This was a very fulfilling project; this pattern is definitely worth tackling if you want a more complex, yet very wearable sewing project. I know that I’ll be wearing mine a ton in our upcoming transitional weather!