Monday, 27 October 2014

A Basic Bronte Top and Perfect Pattern Parcel 6!

Looking at all the gorgeous garments that have been popping up in my reader over the last week or so I'm fairly sure most of you are already aware that the sixth Perfect Pattern Parcel is now available. This parcel features women's apparel patterns from many popular independent pattern designers and I was delighted to once again be asked to sew up one of the patterns to spread the word and get behind the worthy cause that Perfect Pattern Parcel supports.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top

After expenses, the proceeds from each parcel go to Donors Choose. Donors Choose is a charitable organisation that matches up the needs of teachers and their students for specific projects with willing donors. The funds raised from each Pattern Parcel sale go to help K-12 students in minimising educational inequality and encourage a community where children have the tools and experiences necessary for an excellent education. It's a fantastic way for the sewing community to contribute to charity and support the development and education of the next generation. My sister is a teacher so it's a need close to my own heart as I have watched and heard about the difference good resources and teaching can make. To date Perfect Pattern Parcel has raised over $13,000 for the cause!


The fantastic thing about the pattern parcels is that you can name your own price for the whole bundle! This parcel includes:
And if you choose a price of over $32 you will receive the bonus pattern, which this time is the Odette Dress from Blue Ginger Doll. Considering that the total retail value of all these patterns is $85.75 that's quite a bargain!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top

Anyway, on to what I chose to make this time. After the frippery of my silk chiffon dress I've been trying to focus on sewing some more practical garments, which I still feel stylish in but which i'll get a lot of wear out of as they can be worn as part of a variety of outfits. The Bronte Top from Jennifer Lauren fits this bill exactly. I've long had my eye on all of Jennifer's patterns as she has a knack for designing basic, wearable garments with interesting vintage inspired details.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top

Thinking about my aim to make basics I chose to use this plain white bamboo stretch knit which I picked up as a remnant from Ray Stitch when I visited to meet Christine Haynes in the summer. I'm so used to thinking about what I can do to make a project more unique (I mean when you can sew and are not restricted to the designs in the shops it's all about using your creativity right?!) that it was really hard to restrain myself from using a contrast binding or adding buttons to the neckline as the instructions suggest as an option. I had to remind myself that adding in some colour would restrict the garments I could pair it with. I'm so pleased I kept it simple as it's resulted in a great wardrobe staple and let me tell you when you are working with a fabric this lovely it doesn't need any extras!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top

It isn't cheap for jersey (this is coming from a girl who tends to buy her knits for less than £5/m on Goldhawk Road) but it's totally worth the money in my opinion and any cash that I have for fabric splurges I'll definitely be using to make myself some lovely snuggly tees. I'd also love to make another Coppelia Cardigan in the mustard colour way! It's a super duper soft knit that's the perfect weight for tops and feels so nice against the skin. It's got a good stretch and recovery in both directions (I initially picked it up with a Nettie in mind but didn't have enough for the length of the bodysuit) and was the best knit to sew with that I've tried yet. I still consider myself quite the novice with knits but I could tell I had the good stuff here, it pressed and sewed beautifully.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top
I really like how high the design comes up under the arm

Pattern wise I loved the way the PDF was tiled in separate sections so there were only one or two pattern pieces on each assembled sheet. It meant less time trimming and sticking and also took up a lot less room! I cut a size 8 and have got the nice snug fit I wanted. I only needed 0.8m of the 150cm wide jersey and reckon I could have just about squeezed the long sleeves out of that much too. The assembly was really straightforward and with the thorough instructions and explanation of knits included is definitely suitable for a beginner. Everything is sewn flat with the exception of the hem. The only thing I had a little trouble with was getting the shoulders/sleeve heads to sit nicely as my fabric was so soft and that seam is quite bulky with all the layers of front, back, sleeve and binding. I think I'd grade it more vigorously next time.

I took a different approach with this knit project and sewed it all up using a narrow zig zag stitch on my machine, just using the overlocker to finish the side seams and armholes as I like the professional look it gives. I really like how robust the seams feel with the zig zag stitch compared to my previous overlocked projects and felt I was able to be more accurate when sewing.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top

I actually had some straightforward success with my twin needle! I'm still not all that confident with it as it feels a bit of a fluke but I'm looking forward to trying it again. I'm not sure what made the difference, the lovely fabric, a different make of stretch twin needle or the thread but the combo of all three certainly did the trick on both the neckline and hem. To get it to work this time I:
  • sewed slowly
  • threaded the right needle with the standard spool as normal
  • threaded the left needle with the extra spool, threading as normal but missing the thread guide above the needle
  • used a normal stitch length (of about 2 on my machine) 

Just to clarify I was sent all the patterns included in this bundle in return for my review and promotion of the project. I'm wearing the top here with my wool crepe Charlotte Skirt, it's a great top for tucking into high waisted skirts and trousers. This Pattern Parcel is only available until Friday 31st October so make sure to decide on your price and snap it up quickly if any of the patterns have caught your eye!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top

18 comments:

  1. This top is so simple but looks so elegant. Goes so well with your pencil skirt

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    1. Thanks Kaitlyn! I've been needing some more tops like this which I can wear tucked into skirts so I'm really delighted with it!

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  2. Sometimes simple really is the best ;-) Looks great! I bought the pattern parcel the other day and this pattern is top of my list (also in a 'boring' plain grey). I'm just being held back by an out of ink printer!

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    1. I don't think a plain grey is boring at all, sounds lovely! Grey or black was actually next on my list! Hope you get your printer up and running again soon

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  3. Fiona! You look so cute! <3 Making the Bronte in white was so smart. And your bamboo fabric is very nice looking. I need to remember to not be so cheap about fabric sometimes too. Thanks for all you do!

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    1. You are so welcome Jill. The bamboo was a bit of a revelation, I hadn't really properly enjoyed sewing with knits before until I was dealing with this stuff!

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  4. This is beautiful! I was eyeing the Bronte top for similar reasons; so glad it works as an elegant staple. I think it'd be pretty with similar color buttons that would add interest but keep it versatile.

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    1. Yes I did think about adding some white buttons but decided to go really simple. I might get a bit more creative with my next one! I hope you do try it out

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  5. Bamboo knit sound heavenly! It's difficult to choose basic colors when there's so much prettyness going on in a fabric store, so good job on staying strong :D I also struggle with my twin needle, sometimes the stitches rip in no time and sometimes they don't. I don't know what's going on...

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    1. It IS heavenly, so soft! Yes I'm not totally sure about the twin needle yet, there doesn't seem to be much logic to what makes it work and what doesn't. If I discover the key I'll let you know!

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  6. Fiona, you're so amazing. your finishing is beautiful. That silk chiffon was a marvel and so is this, in a obviously different way. I have this pattern and now you are pushing me to try it out:).... it's a pity that I have most of the patterns in this parcel - except one I am totally not interested in :(.....
    Thanks for yet another detailed and beautifully shot post. I know what a lot of work goes into these effortless looking shots!

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    1. Thank you so much Francesca! I finally feel like I might be mastering how to handle knits. Yes blog posts and photographs can take more time than you imagine, but at least it's an enjoyable task! Definitely try out the Bronte, I've been seeing so many lovely versions from this parcel.

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  7. Bamboo...oh dear, there's a fabric to obsess over! It is lovely to work with and presses and sews wonderfully. I totally agree with all your comments about it. I made a cream dolman sleeved top recently and I'm rushing back to the fabric shop this weekend to buy up other colours.

    I love your top but what I want to know is, as a novice sewer of knitted fabrics, how did you get the inside of the neck binding to look so neatly finished? I followed my pattern and although it sits beautifully I'd love to improve on the finish.

    Love reading your blog!

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    1. O yes I've definitely become a bit obsessed with the bamboo! It's so lovely both to work with a wear and it's funny you should say about going back to buy all the colours...when I finished this top I was straight on the Ray Stitch website to see what other colours it came in!

      With the neck binding I actually didn't finish it at all! I was tempted to serge it but am still not all that confident on my overlocker so didn't attempt it! I just trimmed the raw edge of the binding down slightly, taking my time to get a nice smooth edge and then gave it a good press. In this gorgeous fabric that seemed to be enough! Good luck!

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    1. Thanks Gail, it's just what my wardrobe needed!

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  9. Love the t-shirt, and Bronte definitely near the top of my to do list. I am wondering about stitching with the overlocker vs. sewing machine too. Overlocker is so fast and neat, but sometimes too fast, leading to inaccuracies if not careful...

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    1. Yes as my overlocker is pretty new I ploughed straight on in with it but am no where near practiced enough to be all that accurate with it. I've sewn a couple of knit garments with my machine recently, just using the overlocker to finish, and I have noticed a difference in how well they fit. I'm scared of cutting off too much with the overlocker so think I am too careful and everything therefore ends up too big!

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!