Monday, August 30, 2010

The surprisingly amazing Ottobre

Let's talk about a great European magazine: Ottobre!

Ottobre comes from Finland. It used to be a children patterns magazine but a few years ago, they have started women clothing! My story with it is very different then with Burda or Vogue. Ottobre spring/summer 2010 was in the shops for a long while before I felt like giving it a try. I already had a few Burdas on my shelves. One day, I just splurged and went for it! I really liked a few patterns and used one for a dress I wore to a wedding: "The Lovely".  It was a very easy pattern that fitted with very few alterations (compared to all my other Burda projects).

On Saturday, I have purchased the fall/winter issue and I have decided to use a few of their patterns, first, a jacket. Then, I started thinking about their concept... They do patterns for EVERY woman. Big, tiny, young, old, classic, funky, corporate, mother, sportive, relax, etc. And it is not only something they say. It is something THEY DO! The women in their catalogues are true women, with flows that Burda or Vogue wouldn't show. But, they also have an authenticity that the models from other brands don't have. When you see the pictures or the technical drawings, it is way easier to project yourself into them.

Some people, and it has been proven, tend to pass pictures promoted with normal women, slightly older, slightly bigger, or with a non Caucasian looking ethnicity. I must say that it is also partly true for me. I tend to have a biased first impression. However, I am conscious about it, and it helps me getting over it. For example, they have a very pretty top, the Nora, that is showcased on an older woman with wobbly bits. It wasn't love at first sight. But then I saw the technical drawing, and I came back to the picture and my point of view had dramatically changed.

There is also a little thing that made me love them even more. To make it a short story, I live in a Dutch speaking country but I am a native French speaker, and fluent English speaker. Therefore, my Dutch (intermediary) is sometimes good enough for patterns instructions, sometimes not. The jacket that I am planning to make had a very long and complicated explanation in Dutch that I didn't see myself completely understand. So I tried my luck... I e-mailed Ottobre, and they helped me very nicely! That really made my day, and I decided writing this note.

I also felt like making a table that would help you visualize what Ottobre is, and how different or not it is from other magazines or pattern makers. Of course, I have only started sewing this year, so I am no encyclopedia. These are just a few observations...






12 burdastyle/year + 2 easy/year + 2/plus size/year
New patterns 6/year

2/year for women + 4/year for children


around 6 $
around 20 $ (special offers around 5 $)
around 8 $

Karl Lagerfeld in 10/2010
A lot!!!


patterns download, sewing community, articles,...  patterns download, articles,...
previews, blog,

Pattern fit 


Pattern type 

Novice to expert
Intermediate to expert Novice to expert

Pattern readability


not mixed



Technical & clear
Technical & clear & illustrations Technical & clear

One garment as a lesson; Added featurettes (same
every time)
NA Featurettes (change often)

size 34/36, young + size
42/44 for plus size, young

size 34/36, young (sometimes older for
a few)

34 to 52, pluri-age, pluri-ethnicity

Size range
34-44 + petite + plus size feature 44-52

32-44 + petite + little plus size

34-52 for almost every pattern

Plus size 

7/10 ( not every issue is
as good)
5/10 (not cute) 9/10 (cute and fitted)

I really hope this interested you. Don't hesitate to check out their website or their blog!


  1. I totally agree about the Ottobre magazine! Hooray for Ottobre!!
    (For the comparison of the three pattern companies, I think that in the Burda magazine the plus size models are sizes 38 (maximum), which is quite annoying. I like the everysize models of Ottobre much more!)

  2. That is true about the Burdastyle models. They must downgrade the patterns...

  3. Could you help an American woman find copies of the magazine Ottobre here? I'm particularly interested in children's patterns because its so hard to find them that don't suck.

  4. You could try e-mailing them maybe? I am sure that they would ship internationally. Try

    Tell me if it works or not, If it doesn't, I could try and figure out something...

  5. I agree. Ottobre is a wonderful magazine, both womens and kids. The staff are also wonderful - I fell in love with a fabric they used for a little girl's tunic, so I emailed them and they organised a package for me of everything I would need to make the outfit, including matching thread, buttons and elastic! Very, very helpful staff.

    You can subscribe tans order back issues via their online shop.

  6. I know, they are great! It completely makes me like them even more!


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