Hello. I’ve got a backlog of finished items to show you, so I’m going to combine these two tops into one post. I’m always on the look out for new jersey tops to add to my day-to-day uniform and in the interests of science (ahem) I’ve tested both of these.
Simple Sew Shannon top
This pattern was given away free with Love Sewing magazine around 18 months ago. The feature garment is the sailor-style trousers but the simple top, with its short, grown-on sleeves, caught my eye instead. This is my first experience of a Simple Sew pattern and I was a bit underwhelmed. The pattern paper is really odd, and the size chart uses finished garment measurements only rather than giving any body measurements.
I fell for this very, very lightweight bamboo knit in Rags in Worcester last summer. And then I wished I hadn’t. The print is fun and I love the colours but it was a nightmare to cut and to sew. (The bands are the leftovers from a Girl Charlee cotton/spandex knit that I used for a t-shirt for my sister.)
Fit and construction
Since I was making it up in a very stretchy knit – and because the pattern says it can also be used for wovens – I chose the smaller of the two sizes I fell between, but it still turned out on the small side, and a little tight around the upper arms, which isn’t something I usually need to adjust, for so I’d say it runs a little small there in particular.
Construction is as you’d expect, but even my new overlocker didn’t like the very lightweight jersey much and I could not get rid of the twin needle tunnelling on the hem, whatever I did. I had to add a strip of knit interfacing just to be able to sew the hem at all, which of course means it doesn’t stretch as much as it would otherwise, but at least it’s holding up for now..!
Overall, I’m not sure I’d make this again, although I wouldn’t rule out another version in a woven, in the next size up.
If you looked through my wardrobe over the last 6-7 years (since becoming a parent) this pattern is the RTW garment I buy most often. I must have bought ten or more like this in that time, and I even drafted my own a few years back. Curiosity persuaded me to try out this very similar Burda pattern to compare and contrast.
It’s a very simple, straightforward knit top pattern with sleeve variations from Burda’s paper pattern range. It’s the kind of thing you could easily draft yourself, but if – like me – you just want to pull a paper pattern out of the envelope and sew something quick and easy, then this is perfect. (See also the Grainline Lark tee) The neckline is just turned and stitched, but it would be relatively simple to change this for a band if you wanted to. I chose the long-sleeved version for a winter top.
Two notes on sizing. Burda’s standard draft in its Misses size range (up to size EUR44) is for a C cup bust. The opportunity to do a smaller FBA than usual is one reason I was trawling the Burda catalogue in the first place. Burda’s plus range is drafted for a D cup but sadly I can’t currently find this pattern in their plus range (unless it could be under a different pattern number – does anyone know how the Burda numbering works?)
I don’t know what to call this fabric. It’s a knit with woven stripes so the stripes are perfectly on grain. It’s got a loopback finish but it’s more like an interlock in weight than a French terry. Whatever it’s called, it was a dream to cut, sew and press with good stretch and recovery. It washes well and it feels lovely against the skin. I can’t actually remember where I bought this piece, but I’ve since seen it for sale in several online shops, including Guthrie & Ghani. Snap it up!
Fit and construction
I cut the 42, because I wanted to see if I could get away without an FBA at all, and because I was conscious it’s a fairly heavyweight jersey and after the Shannon top I didn’t want it to end up too tight. Looking at these pictures, perhaps that was the wrong choice, and next time, I should use the size 40 with an FBA.
I added small amount of length to the sleeves, narrowed the width of the sleeves a little, and added my usual inch to the bodice length. I’d also say that the neckline comes up just a tiny bit too high on me but that’s an easy fix next time.
I sewed it up on my overlocker, just using the regular machine to add twill tape to stabilise the shoulders, and to sew the neckline and hems. Yet again, I managed to stretch out the neckline and had real trouble steaming it back into shape. I made an effort to match the stripes at the side seams, but didn’t bother along the sleeves – which really annoys my husband’s sense of completism!
In conclusion, I love the Burda pattern and I’m going to file it next to my self-drafted t-shirt pattern to use again and again. In fact I’m already browsing non-stripey knit fabrics that I could use for my next version.
If you have any tips for ensuring knit necklines stay in shape during sewing but can still stretch to go over your head, I’d love to try them out. Should I be staystitching them somehow, or using some kind of wash-away stabiliser? And have you got a TNT knit top pattern that you’d recommend?