Ottobre 5/2015 #11 – Pencil shape printed pants

Does anyone have trouble keeping up with sewing challenges? Or sharing them, rather. I made these pants way back in November 2017 for The Monthly Stitch’s pants month, but haven’t been able to photograph them until now. The pattern is pencil shape printed pants, #11 in Ottobre Woman Autumn/Winter 5/2015.

A woman stands in front of a garden fence. She wears sunnies, a white tee and tropical print slim fit pants.
If I can’t wear them out and about, at least I can wear my Lottas for blog photos. That way, when I inevitably monetise my blog, I can claim them on tax.

This pant pattern is, in my humble opinion, the perfect slim pant. They are fitted just enough through the body and leg, but not too tight; the crotch curve is perfect, and the length the ideal crop. Unfortunately my version of this pattern does not sell its virtues well!

A woman stands in front of a garden fence. She wears sunnies, a white tee and tropical print slim fit pants. A cat stretches into frame.
Hello, friend.

This was mostly due to my typical poor fabric choice. I’d had this tropical print sateen sitting around in my wardrobe for at least a year, a leftover from the now-defunct Spotlight $2/m sale. It is far too lightweight with not enough recovery to make a good pant, but I couldn’t get the idea of tropical print, slim fit pants out of my head.

A woman stands in front of a garden fence. She wears sunnies, a white tee and tropical print slim fit pants. A cat is in the frame.

Although I literally put these on for the photos straight out of the wash, you can see there is already some sagging and bagging of fabric. You’ll just have to take my word for it that these pants do have a great fit (based on the 0.5 seconds after I first put them on, before the fabric gave up). I’ve included some close up fitting photos at the end of the post if you want to see the embarrassing fit in full detail.

Line drawing of pants pattern.
The line drawing doesn’t lie.

I also made some minor modifications on the fly, adding about 2.6cm to the rise by letting out the waist seam allowances. Usually I dutifully measure the front rise of the pattern for height, but must have forgot. Next time I would slash and spread the rise of the pants body pattern to add the necessary length (only required because of my height). Oh, and I substituted the fly front zip for a side invisible zip.

A woman stands in front of a garden fence. She wears sunnies, a white tee and tropical print slim fit pants. A cat is in the frame.
You can definitely see the bagging here.

I see a lot of people struggling with sewing pants, and have a simple suggestion. Buy a pattern that gets the basics right – like the shape of the crotch – leaving you more leeway to work on minor fit issues. If the pants are poorly fitted from the start, you have an uphill battle and end up wasting a lot of time and patience trying to fit them to your body.

Companies I have had success with in this regard are Style Arc, Ottobre and Burda. I was also happy with the fit of the Closet Case Ginger Jeans and Grainline Maritime Shorts. I’ve not had luck with any Big 4 pants pattern and other indie companies, but of course my experience is limited and every body is different.

A woman stands in front of a garden fence. She wears sunnies, a white tee and tropical print slim fit pants.

Ottobre in particular is excellent value for money. I was shilling to Naomi that you get about 40 very wearable patterns a year for $30AUD,* so I’d recommend them – and this pattern – if you are after some well-drafted wardrobe basics (in a wide size range). And here’s hoping I come across some more suitable fabric to remake these pants with!

A woman stands in front of a garden fence. She wears sunnies, a white tee and tropical print slim fit pants. Two cats have photobombed her.

Close up of a woman wearing tropical print pants

Close up of a woman wearing tropical print pants

Close up of a woman wearing tropical print pants

The deets:
Pattern: Ottobre 5/2015 #11 – Pencil shape printed pants
Pattern details: “The narrow, snug-fitting pants are cropped at the ankles and sit at the natural waistline. They have front-hip pockets and darts at the front and back waist.” Sizes 34-52.
Fabric: 2.5m x 122cm printed cotton sateen in white tropical from Spotlight.
Other materials: Tessuti lightweight fusible interfacing. Scrap lining fabric from stash & scrap poplin to make bias tape for waistband facing finish. 20cm invisible zip from eBay.
Mods: Size 42.
– Let out waistband and pants waist seam allowances to add 2.6cm to rise
– Substituted fly front zip with side invisible zip


*You can also buy individual issues on their website or Etsy store if you want to give them a crack without committing to a subscription. No, I’m not being paid for this endorsement, though I wish I was!



Author: Siobhan S

20 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic disability advocate.

15 thoughts on “Ottobre 5/2015 #11 – Pencil shape printed pants”

  1. I love these! You did a beautiful job! I’m going to have to find a good pants pattern for me. But then I’m thinking I want to make some nice dress pants for my 14 yr old son first. I saw Burda had a great teen boys dress pants pattern.


  2. Nice! I have a problem with sewing challenges too – getting them done. So I’ve learned to just stay away, the stress effs with my health. I can admire what others do, though. 😉


  3. So great to see more of them. Think I might have to pull the trigger on these at some stage for sure. Annoying when fabric doesn’t do what you want it to, but these still look hella cute x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Ottobre! I’ve had a subscription for… huh, probably four years now. I love them because they are well drafted, on trend but not super trendy, and thave great basics that are good as is or a good base to make changes from. Sometimes I find there’s a magazine that when it comes I think ‘ugh there’s nothing I want to sew in here’ and then six months later I’m looking for a pattern for something and get frustrated at not being able to find the exact thing I’m imagining only to realise there are at least three patterns in my Ottobres that would work.

    I recently bought some kids Ottobres from craftymamas fabric (also not getting paid, also wish I was) because I promised to make some school pants for a small friend of mine who doesn’t fit boughten clothes well. The store is based in Australia so the postage etc is cheaper. The kids clothes look similarly well drafted and useful basics and imagine my joy when some of the kids clothes are THE SAME as some of the women’s ones, but with cooler details (like turning a colour blocked tunic into a bear face). Guess who’s taking her fashion cues from a kids magazine this year? This gal.

    Anyway, I love these pants! I need to work on slim pants but it feels overwhelming. I’m going to a craft weekend in a couple weeks and that will be my project, so this pattern is going on the list! I can definitely see the attraction of tropical pants being strong enough to override other considerations. Fwiw I think they look great, and perfect for summer, and although I can see the bagging, the print makes it not super obvious or weird. Plus people wear RTW pants with more bagging than that and don’t notice.


    1. I’m the same with Ottobre. I get a mag and think, nice but I dunno if I’ll make anything from this issue. Then a few months later I realise I’ve made like five items from it! They’re just so darned useful.

      I’ve ordered from CraftyMamas before, when they used to stock Ottobre Women. Great local company. I had no idea the kids and women’s clothing had parallels!! That just makes me like them even more. Imagine twinning with a child. FANTASTIC.

      Slim pants felt overwhelming for me too, but this project just worked. Don’t you love it when that happens?


  5. No, you are not the only person who has trouble keeping up with actually showing off what you have made for challenges. I even have trouble keeping up with my own blog! I have all kinds of great stuff I’ve made in the last month, plenty of opinions on various patterns I’ve tried, & yet, do the posts get written? They do not.

    I agree that a properly drafted crotch curve is crucial to getting pants right, & unfortunately, an ill-fitting crotch curve can’t really be fudged by just taking in or letting out some seams here or there. I have a LOT to say on this topic regarding the True Bias Lander pants.


    1. Oh boy, the samples of those pants on the True Bias website do not inspire me with confidence. It’s not just the Landers – it seems every model wearing one of her bottoms patterns is exhibiting the most painful looking wedgie or camel toe known to mankind. If this is based on personal experience I’m looking forward to reading your review!


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