Friday, December 24, 2010

Alternative Gift - Vaihtoehtoinen Lahja

Hyvät Ystävät ja Yhteistyökumppanit

Tänä Jouluna käytimme joululahjoihinne tarkoitetut varat Vaihtoehtoisiin Lahjoihin. Antamalla lahjaksi ammatin tuemme naisten aseman parantamista kehitysmaissa.

Naiset ja tytöt ovat yhteiskunnallisen kehityksen hyödyntämätön voimavara. Naisten aseman ja toimeentulon parantaminen on keskeistä köyhyyden poistamisessa ja elintason parantamisessa. Tukemalla naisia, autamme myös heidän perheitään ja usein koko kyläyhteisöä.

Alternative Gift - Bringing joy to many

This year we have bought ethical gifts that helps people in developing countries. Finn Church Aid aims to change the world through actions for human dignity. We dream of a world where everybody can enjoy human rights and have the opportunity to live a dignified life.

This donation that has been made on your behalf helps us to make that dream come true.

+ + +
Finn Church Aid is one of Finland’s biggest humanitarian and development organizations. We work with people in the weakest positions in society, regardless of their religious beliefs, ethnicity, political convictions or gender.

For more information:

+ + + +
Hyvää ja armorikasta Joulua!
Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Greetings

Wishing you all a merry holiday season. May peace, love and prosperity follow you always.

Greetings, your Ottobre team

Ps.  On this video  Hans On The Bass from Porvoo, Southern Finland is performing  The day we're calling Christmas. You can buy their new album Scandinavian Breakfast from iTunes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

You can't live without our new OTTOBRE calendar 2011

As every year we have published a new Ottobre diary for coming year 2011. Our fabulous calendar is a two part A5-size spiral-bound book including a diary section and a 40-page notebook section. The recycled-card cover has a lovely OTTOBRE print on it. This time our illustrator is young and talented graphic designer student Suvi Suitiala from Lapland University's art faculty. More Suvi's cute illustrations were seen on our latest issue's baby theme.

Order now the distinctive OTTOBRE calendar -handy for whole year! 

You can choose your diary either with English or Finnish/Swedish text. The calendar is available to our subscribers for 28.50 Euros (incl. postage all over the world / normal price 32.00 Euros).


- a weekly planner 2011
- a monthly planner 2011
- a yearly calendar 2011/2012 (begins from November 18th 2010)
- international festivals and public holidays
- a page for personal data
- space for your personal notes
- plastic pockets for business cards and documents
+ a 40-page notebook section

Tilaa nyt upea kalenterimme – siitä riittää iloa koko vuodeksi! 
Voit valita joko englanninkielisen tai suomen- ja ruotsinkielisen kalenterin. OTTOBRE kalenterissa on varsinaisen kalenteriosan lisäksi 40-sivuinen vihko-osa muistiinpanoille ja muovitaskuja käyntikorteille. Perinteisten nimipäivien lisäksi kalenterissa on runsaasti muuta hyödyllistä tietoa! Sisältää mm. viikkokalenterin, kuukausikalenterin, vuosisuunnitelmaosan, infosivuja, tehtäväluettelon ja muistiinpanotilaa. Kestotilaajan hinta 28.50 euroa (sis. postikulut, norm. hinta 32.00)

Beställ en unik OTTOBRE 2011 årskalender -till glädje för hela året! 
Kalendern i A5-storlek har spiralrygg samt en tjock anteckningsdel på 40 sidor. Pärmen är av returkartong och har ett kul OTTOBRE tryck. På svenska/finska eller på engelska! Som prenumerant får du kalendern till priset 28.50 EUR. Pristet inkluderar postkostnader, norm. pris 32.00 EUR)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Games to Fight Boredom on Winter Days

In my childhood we used to play a game where you had to balance a bean bag on your head and walk along a line that we had drawn on the ground. If you dropped the bag you were out. The lucky one whose bean bag stayed on the head until the end of the game was the winner. When we were a little older, we used to sit in a circle, taking turns to toss a bean bag randomly to each other and ask funny questions. I also remember those happy afternoons when the whole family played bean bag tag!

Such games are real fun and cost hardly anything even today. Therefore we would like to encourage families to spend time together and play. You can start off by making cheerful bean bags. Our bean bag takes the shape of a frog. Bean bag frogs are suitable as toys and playthings for all children over three years of age.

You can fill the frog with dried beans, peas or rice. If you wish to make a washable toy, use plastic granules for filling. If the toy is intended for a baby, fill it with polyester batting for safety and

Friday, October 22, 2010

Design Contest for Our Readers

Participate and win a Janome Cover Pro 1000CPX coverstitch machine!
Janome Cover Pro 1000CPX coverstitch machine Our contest has three categories for readers of various ages so that everybody can take part. We invite readers to design an outfit for a child or teenager, and we will publish all winning entries and patterns for them in Ottobre design issues of year 2011.

Get started! 

Print out the entry form, contest instructions and evaluation criteria from a link below:


Be quick! 

All entries mailed to us as and postmarked by December 10, 2010 will take part in the contest. The jury comprises, in addition to our own design team, representatives of our readers and of a local vocational school.

The winners will be announced on January 12, 2011 in our blog. All winners will also be contacted personally.

Good luck for the contest!

We wish to thank our generous sponsor Janome. OTTOBRE has cooperated with Janome quite a while now and we have always been very satisfied with Janome's sewing machines and coverlocks.

For further information and international distributors, please visit Janome 's International Website.

We would also like thank ZNOK DESIGN for the fresh and cheerful knit fabrics. Patterns used for the pictured clothes are designs number 17 and 18 from the recent issue of OTTOBRE kids 6/2010.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sneak Peek OTTOBRE kids 6/2010 Winter Issue

Our magazine has been coming out for ten years already, so this is a perfect time to pause for a moment and celebrate! 

OTTOBRE design® kids fashion Winter issue 6/2010 came from printing house today! Our staff is working intensively to get all big white envelopes sent during the weekend. The official publishing date is on October 22, 2010.
This issue includes forty (40) designs for kids in sizes 56-170 cm.

The themes are:

Bright materials and straightforward designs tempt even novice sewers. Comfortable underwear, soft and cozy playwear plus lots of attractive gift ideas. 
Sizes 86–170 cm

In celebration of our 10th anniversary, we designed a funny yet sweet collection of special-occasion outfits. Dresses, a tunic, pants and a blouse for girls. Skinny corduroys, a gingham-checked shirt, two vests and a sweater-knit jacket for boys.
Sizes 86–170 cm

A cute penguin coverall, bootees, a hat, mittens, a footed one-piece and a warm baby bunting. In response to our readers’ request: a bamboo-knit fitted cloth diaper and a diaper cover sewn from recycled materials. Sizes 56–92 cm

Winter outerwear displays the magic of a fairytale forest. A beautiful tulip-shaped coat and a velour knit dress for girls. A classic double-breasted wool jacket for boys. An easy reversible coat and a scarf for little girls.
Sizes 86–170 cm

We wish you nice sewing sessions with us!

OTTOBRE Sewing Stories: Alexandra R.

OTTOBRE Sewing Stories is a series introducing our readers from around the world to each other.  We aim to give you interesting ideas and insights about sewing, fashion and everyday life. Be inspired by others and inspire your fellow readers.


Our third storyteller is a truly inspiring artist. Alexandra Rasmussen is a stay at home mother from Germany, living in Japan. Apart from her own sewings, knittings, crochetings and quiltings, she still finds time to teach these skills in her 7 year old daughter's elementary school.

"I do all kind of crafts but usually I am making things we actually need. So, although seriously bitten by the knitting bug I am always returning to sewing, to make new dresses when my daughter has outgrown the old ones. Also I do patchwork and like to make little whimsy things for playing or decorating the house. Or it could useful things like coasters, luncheon mats or bags. I love to surround my family with handmade items to make every moment in life special."

And Alexandra's work seems to be special. Her blog Moonstitches has lots and lots of followers. Our readers also fell in love with a dress she made for a strawberry themed sew-along a couple of years ago.

             Strawberry dress is a perfect example of creative way of choosing fabrics.
             Pattern: OTTOBRE 1/2001

"I remembered that pattern from one of my OTTOBRE magazines and thought it was looking just like one giant strawberry if the fabrics were chosen in a certain way.The dress was never meant to be worn - and it has not, for about a year or so after I made it. It was only when a Halloween party was coming up and we were in need for a costume.The following year it got a second outing, but for the rest of its time it was only sitting in the closet, occasionally worn for dressing up when playing. It's so funny that this dress became so popular over on Flickr while almost never being worn.

Slow and simple

As Alexandra does so many different kinds of crafts, it is hard to name the favourite.

"There are times to knit, times to stitch and times to sew. I like to get my sewing machines out when there is the need for new dresses for my daughter. Then the sweaters get too small or worn and I must knit again. Whatever I am making at a time I do enjoy most because there is a purpose for what I am making."

Alexandra tells that also her favourite projects have been the ones most loved.

"My daughter plays with these owls all the time, arrangin and re-arrangin them constantly. You can spell the words with them."

     The owls are made to play with all woolen scraps Alexandra had been collecting.

To find best parts of crafting might come in time. And sometimes less really is more.

"When I started crafting I did too many items of one kind, simply because it was so addictive and fun trying out new techniques and crafts. Now I slowed down and make only things we actually need. I do like the slow and simple life and love getting lost in slow crafting projects."

Inspiring Japan

Nowadays there are loads of wonderful blogs, online photo albums and sites where to look for inspiration. Alexandra also has some ways to inspire herself.

"I think that inspiration is to be found everywhere. In nature, the different seasons, materials, patterns or textures I encounter. Movies I see, French ones or old ones. And Astrid Lindgren movies constantly make me want to sew or knit."

The cutest details are being born when you don't have enough material to sew or knit exactly according to a pattern. Pattern: OTTOBRE Autumn 2005

Living in Japan is inspiring for German-born Alexandra as well.

"Japan really is the country if you are a fabric lover. Japanese pattern books are to my liking too. The Japanese clothes never overwhelm the child wearing the clothes. I love when the children's rosy cheeks are still to be seen and not vanishing behind a festival of colours and patterns. Less is more and simple is the best. I think my perception has become quite Japanese over the years and I prefer simple design for children now more than ever."

Alexandra's blog:

Alexandra's favourite sites:
Bloesem Kids:


This series is written by our long-term editorial assistant, Anni Kokko. If you feel like you or someone you know could inspire fellow readers, please send an e-mail to and include links to your recent work. Our storytellers will be rewarded!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Can you keep a secret....

It is coming soon...
our winter issue 6/2010 with a great design contest!

Friday, September 10, 2010

And the Mildred Wrap Winners Are…

Our Mildred wrap prize draw proved to be extremely popular. We wish to express our warmest thanks for your comments and new ideas! Thank you all also for participating in the draw.

We worked out the winners by first printing out all the comments and then numbering them as draw tickets. Those who had linked the draw to their own blog received two numbered tickets. And the lucky winners are:

- Dana (August 27, 2010 9:24 PM): Congratulations! You have won a tunic made to your own measurements plus a matching wrap.

- ett tu tre (August 30, 2010 1:00 PM) and Christie (August 31, 2010 5:02 AM): Congratulations to you both! You have each won a wrap made to your own measurements.

All winners, please let us know your favorite color as well as your size and address by emailing to ottobre [at] and we will send your prizes to you. You can choose from the following colors: black, blueberry blue, lilac, beige, dark brown and deep red.

And your favorite wrap is…

The wrap style displayed in picture 7, with two wraps of different colors worn together, proved to be the most popular. The first wrap is draped diagonally over one shoulder. The second is twisted into a figure of eight. One arm is pushed through one of the loops and the other loop is pulled onto the shoulder.

The wrap in picture 4, sewn from the same knit as the tunic that is worn under it, came in a strong second. The wrap adds a luxurious touch to a straightforward outfit. If the wrap tends to slip off your shoulder, you can pin and stitch a few soft pleats along its longer side seam, or secure it in place with a striking brooch. The choice of the knit also plays a central role: a wrap sewn from heavy viscose/wool jersey drapes well and also stays in place well.

The third popular wrap style was the one displayed in picture 8. Two wraps of the same color are worn together, one round the neck and the other round the shoulders. This is a wonderful idea for the autumn when you start feeling the chill in the air!

Best regards from Lapland with its glorious riot of autumn colors!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Shaping Pants by Pressing

The purpose of shaping the pants panels by pressing is to create a fit that follows the contours of the body. You can download and print out detailed instructions for shaping pants from the link below.

Download Shaping Pants by Pressing in PDF format (500kb)

Autumn/Winter Tunic

The pattern for the black knit tunic was modified from the popular Women’s Best Tops pattern (Creative Workshop 303). We sewed the tunic from lovely viscose/wool jersey (available for example in the autumn collections of Hilco and Toptex). To make the tunic warm and versatile, we added length both to the sleeves and bottom hem. The front and back panels were made 25 cm longer and cut in a slightly A-line style. The 5 cm of extra length on the sleeves makes the sleeve edges fall into soft gathers at the wrists.

The black tunic's neck edge is turned a good 1 cm under and the hem is stitched with a serger coverstitch or with a decorative overedge stitch (e.g. honeycomb) on a regular sewing machine. Sewn from printed viscose jersey, the tunic goes well with jeans or corduroy pants. We made the neckline deeper and finished it with a narrow strip of self fabric.

We used the pattern for design no. 13 in issue 5/2010 to sew this stripy tunic. Switching the material from wool knit to cozy viscose jersey gave the tunic a totally different look. This stripy double-face knit is from Toptex's collection and available in our fabric shop in four different mélange colors: fuchsia/grey, moss-green/grey, off-white/grey and light-grey/dark-grey.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Gorgeous Autumn Prize Draw! Mildred Multi-Use Wrap

 As the autumn draws in and the days get cooler, nice and warm accessories come in handy again. This autumn we are especially proud of our simplest item, a knit wrap. In addition to only requiring one pattern piece, it is easy to sew and fun to wear. And what’s more, it suits any figure!

The wrap can be worn as a short cape, folded in a double loop for a neck scarf, or pulled over the head as a hood. You can even slip two wraps on at the same time. Worn as a pelerine round the shoulders, the wrap keeps the chill off on cool days. It also transforms a basic top or tunic into elegant office wear.

You can secure the wrap in position with a large kilt pin or a striking brooch. For a truly distinctive effect, you can drop the wrap down to the hips for a miniskirt, or wear it over just one shoulder like a toga. Your imagination is the only limit!

The best material for the wrap is soft, lightweight and well-draping single jersey – either in viscose, cotton or a warm viscose/wool blend.
You can order viscose/wool single jersey from our online shop.

Take part in a draw for lovely prizes! Tell us which of the wraps displayed in the photos, or which of the ways it is worn, appeals to you most. Post your opinion by writing it in the Comment field and you will be entered in a draw for a wrap and tunic made to your own measurements as well as for two viscose/wool wraps. All winners can choose the size of the wrap as well as its color from the range of the knits stocked in our shop.

The draw will take place September 8, 2010.

If you wish to enter with two draw tickets, publish the front cover of our latest issue on your blog and link it to our draw. Remember to include your blog address in the comment!

UPDATE: The draw has ended and the winners will be published shortly.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sneak Peek OTTOBRE woman 5/2010 Autumn/Winter Issue

OTTOBRE design® woman Autumn/Winter issue 5/2010 will be published on August 27, 2010.
This issue includes 20 designs for women in sizes 34-52.

The themes are:

The delicious wool fabrics and knits of this season give inspiration to new sewing projects. We designed stylish wool coats, jersey tops, a lovely wool-knit dress and elegant pants for professional women. The fabulous multi-use knit wrap is easy to make and can be used to create a different look for your outfit on every day of the week.
Sizes 34-46, 44-52 and 34-52

Meeting up with a friend for a cup of coffee brightens up the daily routine. Besides practical jersey tops and tunics, you can complement your wardrobe with a luxurious silk blouse, a folklore-style skirt and various pants. For sporty women we designed a softshell hoodie, a double-layer sports top and gym pants.
Sizes 34-46, 40-52 and 34-52

We wish you nice sewing sessions with us!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Paris Scarf from Velour Knit and Striped Knit

Enthusiastic sewers accumulate lots of fabric scraps in various colors and sizes in their stash. Don’t throw them away as they can be made use of in various easy projects.

The cheerful scarf is sewn from scraps of velour knit and striped jersey. Really easy to make, it is also perfect as a child’s first sewing project!

Preshrink the knits before starting by washing. Choose scraps in delicious autumn colors or go for a black and white combination. The pattern for this scarf fits a child aged 4–12 but the pattern pieces can easily be made longer and wider for an adult’s scarf.

Cord pants from OTTOBRE design 4/2010 in sizes 110-146 cm and T-shirt from Creative Workshop 301 in sizes 92-170 cm.

Download Paris Scarf from Velour Knit and Striped Knit in PDF format (428kb)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Frilled Neckline and “Love” Embroidery

A girly version of the basic T-shirt

The T-shirt is a great invention from the early 20th century. A T-shirt is usually a jersey shirt with no collar or buttons that is put on by pulling it over the head. A T-shirt has short or long sleeves. Its neckline is round or V-shaped.

Originally worn as underwear, the T-shirt is today a popular garment among people of all ages and sizes. Since 2000, we have published various T-shirt patterns for children and women in our magazines. We have even included a couple of patterns for men’s T-shirts (Ottobre design issues 3/2005 and 4/2005).

The basic pattern for a T-shirt is relatively timeless, with the fit varying from snug to loose depending on the fashion trends. The length of the T-shirt as well as the width of its sleeves may also vary. In order to save space on the pattern sheets in the magazine for entirely new designs, we decided in 2006 to publish the best basic T-shirt patterns for children and women as two separate Creative Workshop pattern sheets.


The Creative Workshop 301 package includes patterns for children’s T-shirts in sizes 92–170 cm. The girls’ design is slightly fitted whereas the boys’ design is straight-cut. The best tops for women can be found on the Creative Workshop 303 pattern sheet. The women’s patterns are in sizes 34–52 (US 4–22 / UK 6–24). You can order both pattern packages on our website at

Frilled neckline for T-shirt

We modified the CW 301 T-shirt pattern into two new and fresh girly versions for issue 4/2010. The lovely old-rose-pink viscose jersey T-shirt is detailed with a frilled neckline and a keyhole slit at the back neckline.

Download Frilled Neckline for T-Shirt in PDF format (512kb)

"Love" appliqué for T-shirt

The striped T-shirt is generously long and its front is embellished with the embroidered word “Love”. It has contrast-color coverstitching at the neckline, bottom hem and sleeve edges. You can use the same instructions for modifying the basic women’s T-shirt pattern.

Download "Love" Appliqué for T-Shirt in PDF format (1.1Mb)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Soft Bunnies and Letters

Cute baby toys

Soft toys are easy to make and you can usually find suitable materials for them at home. Babies are attracted by bright colors and interesting shapes such as familiar animals or letters that make up the baby’s name.

In issue 4/2010 we promised to provide the patterns and instructions for soft bunnies as well as for soft letters that can be hung across the front of a baby carriage hood. Use safe, clean and colorfast materials for the toys because they often end up in the baby’s mouth.

You can use various scraps of fabric that have been left over from other sewing projects for these toys. Before starting, it’s worth preshrinking the fabrics by washing them.

Download and print out the instructions for the SOFT BUNNIES and for the SOFT LETTERS (edit: Added the missing link) from the links below. Note that you only need to print out the section of the instructions document that is in your desired language (Dutch, English, Finnish, German or Swedish) plus the pattern sheet. 

Download Soft Bunnies in PDF format (780kb)

Download Soft Letters in PDF format (308kb)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ottilia Sews! Hooded Sweat Jacket Tutorial

As another installment of "Ottilia Sews!" series for novice sewers, we created this photo tutorial to supplement the cutting layout and especially detailed instructions for "Montparnasse" Hooded Sweat Jacket.

You will find the patterns for this hooded sweat jacket in our autumn issue 4/2010 in sizes 116-122-128-134-140-146 cm. Take a look at pages 14-15, 60-61 and 39 for detailed instructions!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

OTTOBRE Sewing Stories: Katja M

OTTOBRE Sewing Stories is a new series introducing our readers from around the world to each other.  We aim to give you interesting ideas and insights about sewing, fashion and everyday life. Be inspired by others and inspire your fellow readers.


Our second storyteller is Katja M, who is 30 years old, was born in Minnesota and lives in Washington state. She is a stay-at-home mother of three boys, aged 7, 4 and 2. She sews for her whole family: herself, her sons and occasionally for her husband.

 Bat T-shirt, Summer short sweatpants and Turtle romper from OTTOBRE design 3/2008

"Also, we make most of our birthday and Christmas gifts and items for around the house. I love to make something special for a child that they may not have otherwise, a wool coat in their favorite color with a dragon lining or a Luke Skywalker costume in black linen for a boy who wanted a very 'authentic' costume."

Early projects

Katja started her career in sewing by cross-stitching when she was just 4 years old. As many of our readers she was taught by her mother, who first of all let her take pins out while sewing. She also has scars from her first sewing projects.

"I remember ironing doll clothes on a chair because I couldn't reach the ironing board, and I still have a burn across my fingers from spreading out dolly dress pleats to iron them flat!"

Also Katja's mother remembers well their moments together, while her little girl was sitting on her lap testing a sewing machine for the first time.

"My mother said I made a little soft heart pillow for my new baby brother when I was five that said 'I love you' in embroidery stitches. She thinks that was my first finished project."

Her mother used to be also a very keen sewer, who even entered competitions with self-made garments.

"My favorite was the 'Little House on the Prairie' set my mother made for me at nine with calico dress, white pantaloons and apron. I wore it constantly and by the time she entered it in the county fair, I had almost worn out the seams. She won the Grand Prize purple ribbon that year! Later as a teenager I also entered a dress I had made for myself at the county fair and won a red ribbon for finishing the seams using French seams."

Casual coat from OTTOBRE woman 2/2007 – now a raincoat, made with cotton laminate and lined with green stretch poplin!

Time to sew!

Katja is kept very busy by her three sons. In her everyday life there are special things she wants to share with other sewers.

"Today my oldest son received a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. He is very high functioning and I think knowing what's behind the behavior will help us get the help he needs both in school and the world. But it is tough to hear it, instead of just wondering. On the other hand summer break just started for my first born and I am looking forward to a summer of laidback days and no hustle and bustle! Plenty of time for all of us to craft and play and read!"

Like other busy mothers, she tries to find at least a little time for sewing almost every day.

"It gives me something to look forward to each day in the small snippets of time that I carve out for sewing. I like waking up each morning, thinking: What will I sew today?"

What will she sew?

Katja often user our more basic patterns as she is a relatively new OTTOBRE reader.

"I found OTTOBRE a year ago and I especially like patterns which use the same basic pattern pieces to make different styles. You could make a little boy a whole set of school pants with just one pattern set. Even though I love tracing patterns, I only choose ones which I can use at least twice. This saves me time and money."

 Ottobre tank top (free pattern, pdf), 
shorts and hat from OTTOBRE design 3/2009 

These days Katja sews almost all of the garments in her household.

"I love that I haven't had to go to the shopping mall for over 1 year. 'We only go for shoes' my husband says!"


Katja's favorite blogs and sites:

Katja's favorite fabric shops:

All photos used in this article are ©violetvata (aka Katja M), all rights reserved. Used with permission. You can view more of Katja's OTTOBRE projects on her Flickr set:


This series is written by our long-term editorial assistant, Anni Kokko. If you feel like you or someone you know could inspire fellow readers, please send an e-mail to and include links to your recent work. Our storytellers will be rewarded!