Ottobre Design Magazine Class 101. Part 2. Adding Seam Allowances

24 October, 2013 2 comments Leave a comment

Let's look at  Ottobre Design  and adding seam allowance. disclaimer again: no professional here, just a mum sewing at home!



Most European patterns will not include seam allowance. This holds true for Ottobre Design, Farbenmix, etc. A common question on the Crafty Mamas forum, is “ what pattern pieces do I need to add seam allowance to? “

When it comes to Otto, always be sure to read the instructions completely before you begin,  often the cutting instructions for your pattern will list any particular instructions that are extra to the norm. Ottobre Design offer us this on their website...

The patterns include the necessary eases and hem allowances, but you always need to add 1 cm for seams. Any exceptions to this are stated separately.” ( told you so... read your instructions for your pattern ,clearly).

Sounds pretty simple, but it can get a little confusing when working with lots of pattern pieces!

Otto also tell us ( in the Instruction section) that... “ the patterns include hem allowance, button extensions and facing. When cutting out the garment pieces, add seam allowances of approx 1cm (depending on fabric) to each edge of the patterns". So, we need to add a seam allowance to all the edges**, except our hems,. Otto include a small hem, I sometimes like to increase the depth.

**Necklines. When constructing a garment with a neckline that is bound, it is not necessary to add a seam allowance to the neckline OR the neckline binding as it is already included. This  also includes other bound areas ie;  t shirt sleeves, spaghetti straps style tops.  If in doubt, always ask . You can email me with your pattern query and I will check for you. 

So, how to add the Seam Allowance? If you do a search you will find folks are quite inventive when it comes to adding their seam allowance, and at what stage they add their seam allowance. I follow Otto’s advise and prefer to add the seam allowance at the cutting out stage. I prefer this as it allows me scope to adjust when cutting out. ie; some fabrics that are clingier, I might want to add more ease etc. Some methods of adding seam allowance:

1.     Simply draw on with dressmakers chalk/texta/pencil on the fabric , using a ruler all around the edge to measure your preferred seam allowance. 

2.       Just wing it, estimate as you cut- you dare devil you! ( this is my preferred method!)

3.       Using an unthreaded wing tipped sewing machine needle


4.Using two pencils taped together



5.Rotary cutter with seam allowance guide attached.


6. Using carbon paper and a tracing wheel.



I guess it is just a matter of finding your fave method. Adding Seam Allowance in action!

This is a favourite Otto issue , 2/2002. It is an oldie ( Non English) but a goodie. The t shirt pattern I have made before and loved. ( it also has a great spaghetti strap top too). The fabric is one of the very cool ZNOKcotton/lycras.  Here’s the pattern laid out....

Here’s my 1cm seam allowance being measured and added. Note I have not added a seam allowance to the neck front or back.



Here’s my pattern pieces cut, ready to go.


And here is my neckband, cut the recommended 4cm wide as per my pattern. I don’t cut the length yet, until I see how much recovery the fabric has. ( more in next tute).



(and here is my bag of neckband  4cm strips, cut from scraps!)



Next tute we will look at.. *Symbols used in Otto patterns  *T shirt- neckband construction , a simple neckband and neckline binding. We will also have a chat about estimating the length of your neckband piece. 

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  1. JR August 12, 2015

    Very helpful. I am trying a shirt from Ottobre summer 2015 and it was unclear which pieces needed the seam allowance; your post helps.

  2. bon December 31, 2013


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