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...
|Burda ||Vogue ||Ottobre|
|Frequency ||12 burdastyle/year + 2 easy/year + 2/plus size/year||New patterns 6/year||2/year for women + 4/year for children|
|Price ||around 6 $||around 20 $ (special offers around 5 $)||around 8 $|
|Designers ||Karl Lagerfeld in 10/2010||A lot!!!||None|
|Web ||patterns download, sewing community, articles,...||patterns download, articles,...||previews, blog,|
|Pattern fit ||Good||Good||Good|
|Pattern type ||Novice to expert||Intermediate to expert||Novice to expert|
|Pattern readability||Mixed||not mixed||Mixed|
|Instructions||Technical & clear||Technical & clear & illustrations||Technical & clear|
One garment as a lesson; Added featurettes (same
|NA||Featurettes (change often)|
size 34/36, young + size
42/44 for plus size, young
size 34/36, young (sometimes older for
34 to 52, pluri-age, pluri-ethnicity
34-44 + petite + plus size feature 44-52
32-44 + petite + little plus size
34-52 for almost every pattern
7/10 ( not every issue is
|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!