This was my second make from the Ottobre Family 07/2017 magazine after my men’s briefs and was also a Christmas present for my other half. And you know what? This was such a satisfying sew.
In essence it’s a fairly straightforward men’s raglan sweatshirt, but it had a few small details that made it a lot of fun. Firstly, it has an open shoulder dart to reduce bulk and add shaping, which I haven’t come across in the raglans I’ve made so far. Secondly, to cover up the dart seamline and just generally to embellish the sweatshirt, you’re instructed to use an embroidery stitch when you topstitch the seams.
This was so much fun! And used quite a lot of thread! In fact, I had to put in an emergency call to the local quilting shop since I ran out of my small spool halfway through. Argh! Luckily they had the requisite color in stock and I nipped over quickly and my Xmas pressie was saved.
I am, however, getting ahead of myself slightly. Firstly, DON’T do what I did and forget to add the damn seam allowances. I didn’t realise until I had already cut out the fabric. Gah! Luckily I had opted to make the largest size (EUR 60) and was slightly worried it would be too large, so I managed to get away with it. It was just sheer idiocy, but compounded by the fact that I’ve made a few raglans, so confidently set off about cutting with only a mere glance at the instructions… until I noticed my mistake.
I used a very nice indigo sweatshirt fleece I got from Thread Theory in Canada (they appear to have more) and matching ribbing. I’d actually been perusing their clearance sale and spotted the ribbing for only CAD $5 for half a metre or so, and then figured I might as well buy the matching fleece. It has a tight knit face on the right side, which funnily enough seems a little prone to crushing, although I think it’ll be negligible when worn on the body, and a deep cosy double-brushed fleece on the wrong side. It was about CAD $22 per metre (around USD 17/m) so not very cheap, but it is good quality and quite “manly” I think. I bought 1.5m and have enough left for a small sweatshirt for Joe or similar, so you don’t need too much.
If you haven’t used Ottobre before, the patterns come in a multi-drawn Burda-style pattern pack, where it’s a good idea to outline your chosen pattern and size in a highlighter before tracing. And add the seam allowance! This can also vary depending on the pattern piece, so be sure to read the instructions carefully. Another thing worth mentioning is that the instructions are pretty brief. They have everything you need, but they do assume a certain amount of knowledge/experience, so be prepared to look things up if you’re a beginner.
The construction was fairly standard for a raglan, but Ottobre does like to add the cuffs on flat in a single layer and then fold back and topstitch. I find it a little difficult to catch it well with the topstitch, so I’m not sure it’s my favourite method of attaching cuffs (I prefer in the round), but it does speed things up a little. They suggesting adding the neckband in the same way, but I declined to follow their instructions and did it the way I usually do: Fold over and press wrong sides together, attach raw edge to raw edges at quarter points and serge away. It worked just fine!
And finally the embroidery! I used stitch No. 26 on the Brother CS6000i if you have it. I thought it was fairly gender-neutral and it didn’t make as large piercing holes as some of the other stitches. Two tips:
- Kind of obvious, but practice a few times on a scrap of the same material. I had to go up a needle size, down in speed and change stitch to get a good thing going.
- I started at the middle of the garment and embroidered to the edge of the seamline. This stopped my edges getting swallowed in the intricate needle work, which happened a few times to begin with.
I decided to embroider shorter lines on the raglan arm seamlines than illustrated in the Ottobre instructions, but I think they work quite well. I’m rather proud of the embroidery! I reckon it gives the garment much more of a professional edge. I decided not to use the fancy topstitching on the neckline, cuffs and hemband as I felt that would be overkill, and just used a regular straight stitch instead.
All in all, this is a solid pattern and my husband really likes the sweatshirt. I would say it errs on the side of large if you’re trying to work out sizing. I’m looking forward to trying some more Ottobre Family patterns if these first two are anything to go by! Hope you had a successful holiday season and a Happy New Year!
PS. Yes, my husband is wearing flip flops in the snow. I don’t know why either.