Hoppo Bumpo (n): A children's game. Played by folding one's arms and hopping on one leg. Aim is to bump opponents, so that they lose their balance. Last person standing wins.

September 28, 2009

My weekend sewing diary (or how not to try your first Ottobre Design pattern)

Friday 1.00pm
Leaf through treasured (read: never used; often admired) copy of OTTOBRE design magazine. Take leave of senses. Decide to make lined jacket for nephew's birthday. By Sunday. Have never used an OTTOBRE pattern or made lined jacket before. Reality check idea using Twitter. A wise woman replied; something about staying up til all hours. Fail to heed warning.

Friday 8.00pm
Children cooked, meal cleaned and house put to bed. Try to make head and tail of pattern (see below). Decide early on (wisely) to ditch the pleat and welt pockets and leave jacket plain. Trace pattern pieces. Curse fact that pattern does not include seam allowances. Add allowances to pieces.

Friday 11.00pm
Finish cutting last pattern piece. Wonder what I will use to make jacket? Go to bed.

Saturday 10.00am
Set out to shop for fabric and notions. Find chocolate cotton drill for jacket shell at discount fabric store. Become unreasonably fixated on finding chocolate gingham lining fabric like one in magazine illustration.

Saturday 12.00pm
Talked around by very sensible lady at fancy fabric shop. Purchase smart striped cotton shirting as lining. Rush home to launder, dry and press fabric.

Saturday 2.00pm
Begin to cut and sew. Intersperse frenetic work with viewing of AFL grand final, family responsibilities and emergency trip to buy additional top stitch thread.

Saturday 6.00pm
Household in chaos. Bits of sewing strewn from one end of house to other. What's for dinner? And who took other half of my zipper?

Saturday 8.00pm
Altercation with Mr HB after someone's red wine mysteriously spatters on part of lining fabric.

Sunday 12.00am
Lining stitched together. Most of outer shell completed. Start on cuffs. Have never made cuffs before. Did I mention OTTOBRE design does not include diagrams? Just words. Keep re-reading same paragraph over and over. Tell myself: sleep is for the weak.

Sunday 2.40am
Cuffs completed. Fall into bed.

Sunday 6.30am
Woken by children. Pay dearly for going to bed late. Notice I have effectively trashed house in less than 24 hours. Children run up and down. Cat miaows. Household looks chaotic.

Sunday 8.00am
Attach cuffs to sleeves. Feel excited - looking like a proper jacket now. Ooops. Notice wobbly top stitching. Can't have that. Unpick. Sew again. Notice zipper won't do up. Ooops - that's a show stopper. Unpick, unpick, unpick. Finally start attaching lining and shell.

Sunday 10.00am
Stress levels rising. Start to attach shell and lining. Have trouble understanding instructions. Read. Re-read. Say naughty words out of earshot of children. How do the @#%&$ sleeves join? No prior experience to draw on. Stitch in panic. Attempt to turn garment right side out. Have sewn each sleeve and lining as weird kind of tube. Garment WILL. NOT. TURN. OUT.

Sunday 11.30am
Sob hysterically. Make sort of melodramatic statements one expects after 3.5 hours sleep. Need to leave for birthday party by 1.00pm. Still sitting in pyjamas. Its the end of the woooorlddddd. Employ assistance of Mr HB who sees I have been constructing in reverse. I have been skipping over salient point in instructions. Unpick, unpick. Re-sew and top stitch.

Sunday 12.30pm
Done! And it looks like a jacket. Now wasn't that easy? I wonder if I could ask Mr HB for an OTTOBRE design magazine subscription for Christmas?

Thankfully Mr HB never visits the blog - there would soooo be a divorce.

The pattern I used was for the Keyboard Canvas Jacket (pattern #31) from OTTOBRE design 4/2008. The jacket has a stand-up collar, zip front, elasticised waist band & cuffs and is fully lined. Due to my lack of expertise, I omitted the front welt and pleat pockets. The recommended fabric for the shell is canvas, but I used drill to make a lighter-weight jacket suitable for spring and summer.


  1. Egad! It does look rather wonderful!

    I can relate to the red wine hazard as I use our dining table as a sewing table. Concurrently, of course!

  2. I am a level beyond being thoroughly impressed, could be gobsmacked, not quite sure. You are amazing.

  3. You're hilarious! The jacket turned out fantastic.. I almost want to try making one myself, except I remember the complete lack of instructions with Ottobre. One day when I'm brave maybe...

  4. Oh my! That looks fantastic! Much better than last week's fish cakes :D This is my first time commenting but I so enjoy your, um, antics (I think that's the word I'm looking for) and look forward to your posts.

    Lindsey in Alabama, USA

  5. Oh dear! I knew there was a reason I didn't attmept clothes. It looks quite spectacular though - fantastic job while affected by sleep deprivation and surrounded by chaos.

  6. Oh crikey. Are we twins separated at birth? (Non) comedy of errors or what! (BUT IT LOOKS AMAZING!)

  7. What an awesome result. Worth the pain!(I hope?)
    I know Otto patterns derive pleasure from their minimalistic instructions but it is preferable to using a pattern with German instructions and needing Google Translate- that would drive you to drink- you'll be wanting all that red wine for yourself...

  8. This is great - what a fabulous gift.
    I know that frenzied feeling as party time approaches and also when I made a very similar jacket from Otto (http://and-so-i-sew.blogspot.com/2009/03/swap-revealed.html)
    I also ended up with a tube instead of a lining.
    A few pics wouldn't go astray would they!

  9. Liesl I am impressed. That jacket looks incredibly good. Who cares that you haven't slept? I think you're tops! Even if the house is a mess, and there's tension in the air, I still think you're tops!

  10. I'm giggling over here like a crazy person... well done m'lady! You are a braver (that is the word I'm going to use...!) woman than I!

  11. Oh gosh Liesl. I was nearly crying while I was reading this saga. You did so well to make it through (not I did not add "un scathed"...!!). You need this week to get over last weekend. For what it's worth (aka your sanity), the jacket looks great.

  12. Gorgeous jacket Liesl! Now that's dedication!

  13. Never a dull moment in the sewing adventures of Hoppo Bumpo. Jacket looks fabulous, and that pattern looks terrifying.

  14. Oh you embody the true spirit of what it is to be Australian. Dedication, gutsiness and an overwhelming sense of the power of positive thinking! ;-)

  15. My Lord you know how to give yourself a challenge woman!! The jacket looks fabulous. Congratulations on pulling the seemingly impossible off!

  16. Oh good grief! What a relaxing weekend adventure... I wish I could say that such a scenario was unfamiliar in this house. Sadly, it's very familiar, only my conniptions have occured over much lesser feats that the AMAZING JACKET you produced for your nephew! Think 'tote bag' or 'bib smock'.

  17. Amazing effort! I am thoroughly impressed and in awe! Great post Liesl, hilarious read!

  18. Congratulations!!!!

    What a story. I could feel the tension building, and was hoping HARD for a happy ending - whew!

    Also, a cautionary tale for me. I've been thinking about making a challenging project, but there is a short deadline and many other things that MUST be done. The project can wait...thank you for saving me!

    Lovely jacket, and I think the lining is perfect :)

  19. I had to laugh out loud when I read your report. And had to admit you sounded so much like the way I sound sometimes, when I decide to do a 'little' project, with a deadline. But it turned out great. And about that subscription: I do have one and am very happy with it. Ottobre has some fantastic patterns and when you get used to their way of instructing they are really easy to work with.

    Hope you had a wonderful party. And congrats on your nephew!

  20. well it looks great :D lots of work but totally worth it!

  21. Fantastic jacket - I can see more of these in your future now you have mastered the Ottobre patterns. Love the stripey lining and the clever embellishments on the front.

  22. What a terrific story! And I know exactly what you mean about being woken early after a very late night the night before... but what a wonderful jacket. I have just subscribed and have received my first two issues but haven't been organised enough to try anything yet. Think I might wait til next holidays after reading your post!

  23. ha ha! very entertaining, mostly cause any sewing can empathize with the sentiments exactly!! wonderful outcome!

  24. You, my dear a tiny bit scary ...in a good way of course.... but scary nonetheless...

  25. Excellent end result, despite the stress! I too have a story of an Ottobre pattern and a next-day deadline. Screwed it up so terribly badly, but since it was only for a costume, I fudged it so you can't tell how bad the construction is. One paragraph description is not always enough! On the other hand, the Ottobre designs are really worth it when you get it right. Love 'em!

  26. I just found your blog through Google reader and love it. This post had people at work staring at me because I was laughing out loud so frequently. I love your writing and look forward to reading more.

  27. liesl, there's only one way to say it... I love you!!!


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