Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Good Value

The Evil Monkeys attend one of three schools in our entire school district which require a uniform.  Three.  We are just that kind of lucky.

Now, those of you who've been around for a while may remember that last year I wasn't particularly unenthusiastic about the whole uniform concept.  I mean, sure, making polo shirts like an under-aged sweat-shop employee has it's ups and downs.  But considering how flexible our particular policy was, overall I was pretty ok with the requirement of A School Uniform.



How cute is all this stuff?  Cute, right?  Admit it.  It's cute.  And not one thing can be worn to school.  Except the brown leggings.

So now I'm wondering how we managed to get stuck with the one principal who is downright dogmatic about the uniform policy (and there's a reason why all but three schools, and likely next year all but one school, have dropped the uniform policy... namely, that it doesn't work).

The real kicker is that I have patterns and fabric that I could use to make all of that cute stuff.  But since the girls can't wear it to school and they spend most of their day (not surprisingly) at this very same school... is it worth it to make a bunch a clothes that they'll wear for two hours at a time, if at all?  Hmmph.  Not really.

It’s annoying, people.

However, in pondering the many, many, many unusable patterns that I own and the many many many unusable patterns I’m likely to acquire in the next five years or so, I realized that there is one set of patterns that I've gotten true value for money from.

Ottobre Design, issue 4-2006.  I love this issue.

cover 4-2006

I'll bet I've made at least a ¼ of the patterns in this issue, which is quite a lot for me.

And here's the latest:

4-2006-36 lineOttobre 4-2006 #36




At a rock-bottom price of $4.00/yard, FashionFabricClub declared this fabric was “twill”.  Which I guess technically speaking is accurate.  But in fact it is, of all things, a cotton gabardine.  Honest.   Unfortunately, as can be seen from the photo of the back, it still presses poorly like wool gabardine and left shiny press marks on all the seams.  They came out with washing, thank goodness.

I pretty much made this straight out of the box with no changes (a rarity around here, I can tell you).  I cut a 128 and added 1" to the width at the front for some extra hip room.  I was fervently hoping that a "miniskirt" for a child 128 cm tall would work as a "normalskirt" for a cubical midget.  And look!! I was (for once) right!

Cheerleader pleats in the back?  Check!


Good fit in the front?  Check!


(Relatively) flattering fit and conforms to School Uniform Policy?  Check!


Of course, TLo immediately declared her favorite feature was…. pockets.


And the “Chinese button”.  TLo is all about the Chinese stuff.



  1. Applause! Uniform policy subversion through super cute waistband facings! I think there may even be some big girls coveting this skirt. I love it and I'm known to be something of a pleat hater. May have to downgrade that to pleat skeptic?

  2. Super cute! Glad it works for the uniform policy. Love what Big in Japan said. Cracked me up.

  3. Very cute!! That may have to be one of my house hunting qualifiers - we cannot live in a school uniform zone! There is just too much cuteness out there to waste time with boring clothes.
    Love this skirt though. I've been thinking about getting a couple more Otto back issues. Sounds like this would be a good addition to the collection. Any other favorites?

  4. You mean your kids DON'T change clothes immediately after walking in the door after school? (and mine don't have a uniform to give them an excuse)

    So very glad we don't have one here. My ten-year-old would go all the way from "slightly grumpy alternative kid" to "sullen delinquent kid" overnight if someone told her what to wear to school.

    That's a gorgeous skirt, though. So many cute kids' patterns...

  5. Ha! I fear The Big One will very shortly fall into that category. She already wanted me to make all her new uniform skirts black. Except that she still hasn't outgrown last year's (!), which is why it appears from this blog that I never ever sew anything for her and in fact don't even have an older child. Poor thing... But fortunately for Goth Girl, the styling is relatively open, and there's nothing that says you can't wear All Black Clothes, as long as the shirts have a collar and sleeves and the bottoms are too short. So she should be good to go if she decides that she simply must mope around the house all day and listen only to the Smiths (lord help us all).

    And KidMD, I'm going to mull over your question tonight (yay, magazine perusal) and see what answers I come up with.

  6. They instituted uniforms last year at the DC high school I pass by on the way to work. I am sure the kids are bored stiff of their black, red, or white polo shirts but I will say they look neat and ready to learn. Just glad it's not me.

  7. I love that Otto issue, too. The skirt's terribly cute, even if it is a uniform. There must be some good benefits to uniforms, but like commercial patterns, they're bound to look good on some and terrible on others. No uniforms here; in fact many days my kids don't even match - one dubious "benefit" of not having to leave the house to go to school.

  8. I don't have that issue, (but my BFF does, and is far too busy with post grad studies to sew, hehehe). Your version looks great - I think I need one for me. My 10 year old daughter (who would fit this) goes to Intermediate school next year and from there on it's uniform all the way - and we know what that means don't we - ONE uniform. Sigh......


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