Bronte top by Jennifer Lauren

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Well this was a fun little make – I could rustle it up in no time. When I saw this, I immediately knew that I wanted to make something where the back and the sleeves were of one colour, and then the front was another, so if you’re looking at it from the front, it looks like I’m wearing a little bolero top over something else. Obviously once I turn slightly, then I give the game away, but that’s ok. I’ve achieved the look I wanted.

The other part of the appeal was to make use of some of the leftovers from my other recent makes. I don’t like throwing too much away, only the little strips. Even mid sized triangles I tend to hang onto, in case they might become a pocket lining or something. So I still have another bit of white arrow jersey left – might be enough for a little vest top or something – I’ll have to lay it out and see how much is there. I’m also halfway through making a second of these with remnants of the grey polka dot that I used on my 50s rockabilly top. It’s a slightly different jersey, and doesn’t have the stretch/recovery of the white arrows, so I’m hoping it’ll still be ok – might make it not too figure hugging perhaps…

The black jersey is from minerva crafts and I sent off for a bunch of swatches for this. I’m glad I did, because the range is quite something. From the really thin and see through to the not-good-recovery, to this, which is spot on. A real range of prices too, so it’s worth knowing you’re getting what you’re hoping for. Minerva are great for this kind of customer service though.

I did have just one hiccup with making the top. We think I had an old version of the pattern, as it was missing the single notch on the back bodice. There’s a double notch further round, but I didn’t have the single one.

At first, I’d lined up the front binding to the double notch at the back, but that didn’t give me anywhere near enough room in the armscye for the whole sleeve. So I knew it was off. So what I did was kinda backwards engineered it by pinning the sleeve to the back bodice first, from the armpit and round, then getting the other end of the sleeve armpit and, working back the other way, pinned it to the front bodice, until the front and back were overlapping. Lo and behold, the sleeve and the front bodice had a matching notch, which the back bodice missed. So I clipped a notch there, marked it out on the pattern piece, for next time, and let Jen know too. She’s been lovely about it, and has sent me the correct version since. It all lined up beautifully after that, so I was really pleased. This added a good hour or so while I pinned and re-pinned, double and triple checking before I did any more stitching, but I thought it best to just be thorough. Once it went together though, it went together like a dream. If you have the notch there, this slots into place so so nicely. 🙂 (pics of pinning backwards).

I hemmed sleeve and bodice slightly narrower than the instructions, just to give myself slightly longer sleeves and body. It’s only about half a centimetre or something, but I do like an over-long sleeve. The sleeves on these would be absolutely fine, even for my long-ish arms, but I just like my me-made sleeves to cover my wrists a bit. I always had ill-fitting clothes when I was young, and short sleeves was always an issue. Plus the older I get, the more affected by the weather my joints get, so keeping those wrists warm is very nice, thank you. 🙂

One step that Jen makes in the instructions I really do recommend heeding. I tried on the top, midway through making it, and the little cap section that comes from the back, over the front on the shoulders was looking really puckered and bunched up. I thought I must have had odd shaped shoulders or something. But I got to the last step which said to put in some hidden stitches across where the back cap section flows over the front, just to hold it in place, and she recommends not skipping this step, for that reason. I just did some straight stitches over the ones I’d fitted the binding with, and it sits SO neatly on my shoulders now. I have these tiny shoulders that things don’t always fit nicely on, but if you do just take a few seconds to sew along that row and hold that shoulder down, it’s really worth it.

This is such a sweet top and there are just a hundred different ways you can be creative with colour and added notions, to make it your own, and in fact to make it look like a totally different top. I can’t wait to think up a few other ways to express myself with this little cutie. Thank you Jen. x