An Ode to the Jennifer Lauren Vintage Bronte Top!
This top just about takes the cake as my favourite item I’ve ever made for myself. I think I wore it to work three times in the first week after I made it (sorry not sorry) – once with a suit and the other times just with regular skirt or pants.
It’s made from a very fine merino knit, which I bought on a spur-of-the-moment visit to the tessuti sale this winter. I specifically bought the fabric with this pattern in mind.
Whatever my views about self-published pattern designers, this pattern really impressed me. Maybe other knit patterns are the same and I just haven’t tried enough to be sure, but at each step I thought “Wow – Jennifer has really thought about this”. The size and shape of the neckline binding piece is millimetre perfect, which is very helpful for someone like me who tends to the slapdash when it’s a quick weekend project. I like maths, but the thought of the engineering involved in getting this exactly right, using stretchy fabric, kind of blows my mind. The thought that went into the placement of pattern pieces in the PDF for download is noticeable. The instructions are easy to follow and guide you through the different issues you need to think about when sewing with knits. The whole thing just works.
But most importantly, I love the design. It appealed to me from the first time I laid eyes on it and now I want to make more! I like wearing fitted, stretchy tops in both winter and summer at work, because I can wear them comfortably under suit jackets and they work well with high waisted skirts and pants – I like to tuck in my shirts. And that neckline. So comfortable. And so flattering.
So here she is – the first of many, no doubt. I’m a bit dishevelled after a walk on the beach, but I couldn’t resist using holiday scenery as a backdrop. And I really haven’t mastered the camera, sorry. To borrow from Dolly Clackett, please ignore the derp face. Posing for photos is not one of my mini super powers.
Close up of the best bit – the neckline, with vintage buttons bought (I think) from the Love Vintage Fair at Melbourne Exhibition Building last year. I’m a sucker for buttons.
I don’t own an overlocker, so I made the whole thing with my sewing machine – the old Singer, not the new precious. It went fine. I think I’d like to have slightly more stretch in the sleeve hems, but otherwise fine.
Here you can see the side seams (look, no seam finishings necessary!) and the waist hem, folded under twice and top stitched.
Finally – confession time. Two problems of my own making.
Problem the first: I accidentally nicked the fabric near the shoulder when I was trimming the armhole excess fabric around the seam. I patched from behind with a sliver of fabric and then zig zag stitched tightly in several directions across the snip, to hold the pieces together. Because the thread matches so closely, it’s barely visible on the outside (thank god). Here’s the inside.
Problem the second: the right side of this fabric has a very slight sheen to it. Unfortunately, I realised only after stitching the front binding of the neckline – perfectly! – that I had sewn it onto the wrong side of the fabric, so that the shiny side faced inwards. Doubtless only I would notice it, but I knew it would annoy me if I left it alone. So I had to sacrifice my PERFECT first ever stretch neckline by turning it over, a bit like finishing a neckline with bias binding, and top stitching it onto the correct side of the fabric. It’s a bit bulkier and I don’t like it as much as the way it’s written, but still sits ok. A la view from inside, below:
That’s all folks. If you have been hovering on the edge of making up this pattern, do it immediately. You won’t regret it.