Comparing three Bronte tops

I was a bit late to join the Bronte top brigade, but am I glad that I did?

The Bronte top by Jennifer Lauren, as you may be aware,is designed for knits, and its most defining characteristic is the cutest envelope neck – well that’s what I call it, reminiscent of baby vests. This neckline is so flattering!  But it is also a joy to sew (but more of that later).   The top is designed to enhance your natural assets, & is shaped to accentuate your waist, rather than a straight down tshirt.  Narrowish sleeves – I made the long sleeved version as this is a winter top for me, it was destined to provide some good solids for wearing throughout the season, and allow me to keep my print skirts in rotation.

Bronte topBronte topBronte top

I have made this three times, out of three different jerseys and what I found intriguing is how they all behaved differently.  Well of course that is not rocket science, but when I was choosing my fabrics online, I did not think about performance, I just assumed they would all fit the bill.   [Hint, they did not!!!]   I chose them all from Minerva, having made things previously out of Minerva jersey, which can be incredibly reasonably priced, the scrooge in me hunted out some more interesting looking jersey bargains.

I used this blue viscose jersey, a red jersey, and an ecru jersey with an interesting texture.

Bronte top

My first Bronte top was made using the blue & was a huge success.  The neckline is such a clever feature – not only looking darn cute but also if you are a tshirt newb, it’s a great way to get the neckband on without the hassle of “how much stretch” as the neck band is attached as one of the first steps – to the front & back separately.  My only frustration in sewing it, was in using my Coverstitch machine to top stitch the seam allowance down – my machine (OK, I shouldn’t blame my machine, but the person steering it!) did not want to keep straight & neat, so I have to say I avoided this step in my next versions, no topstitching at all, just a hearty press with the iron.

Bronte top

 

If it wasn’t for my Coverstitch issues, my blue Bronte top would have been a very quick make.  The sleeves are inserted flat, then sewn closed with the side seams.  I forgave my Coverstitch machine enough to allow it to hem the sleeves and top itself, and it did that without fuss (thank goodness).    Apart from hems, I sewed all of it with my overlocker.

The neckline is secured using invisible stitches or buttons.  Any opportunity to add a pop of button would not be avoided by me.  Red in the case of the blue top, seeking suitable candidates from my button jar.

Bronte top

So feeling plumped up on how well the Bronte goes together, and how well it fits (nice length too, both sleeves and body will certainly keep me sung this winter), I cut out two more, the red and the ecru.  If they were closer in colour, I would have sewn them in parallel, such was the confidence I had in blasting through their construction quickly.  But overlocker threads were from two extreme colour groups, I had to sew in series.  The red was the next one to be made, and without the Coverstitch fuss proved that this really is a quick make – an hour and a half tops.    The fabric had a dense quality to it – I thought it would be nice & cosy as I was making it.

Bronte top

I then made the ecru version, and was really loving the fabric.  I used the wrong side as the right side, so that it’s got more nubbly texture on show.  Attaching buttons was the last step, and something I hadn’t quite got to when I took these photos (it was pre hem too).

So what I found was that the red Bronte top is like a straight jacket!

Bronte top

The sleeves are like plastercasts !  hahaha!

Bronte top

You see I made no reference to its stretch factor.  This fabric is pretty stable, or certainly stable enough to not want to give in the right places for a body flattering top like the Bronte top.

Bronte top

How I chuckled when I realised my mistake.  I have only tried to wear it for an afternoon, and then couldn’t wait to change out of it.  Maybe it’ll be better with short sleeves.

Bronte top

The ecru version though has loads of room & is very comfy to wear.

Bronte top

If anything it has come out slightly larger than the blue one.   It just goes to show that this thing I have about not all fabric behaves the same,  is something that I continue to fall foul of!!  I’m not the only one am I?

31 thoughts on “Comparing three Bronte tops

  1. Eileen

    Ooooooh I love this pattern too! I’ve only made one so far but I’ve got a lovely red, white and blue anchor print jersey coming in the mail with Bronte’s name on it. I can’t wait!

    Reply
  2. Gill

    Pity about the red fabric – it’s my favourite of the three colour-wise, but they are all great and it’s convinced me that it’s yet another pattern I need. I’ll have to remember to be choosy about fabric. Gill x

    Reply
  3. Jennifer Hill

    All three look lovely on you; shame the red’s not comfy. I’m sure you’ll think of a way round it, though. As a sewing newb and someone who’s already built up a large stash of knits (well, not that large, really; nah, not very large at all – just in case other half sees this), though never sewn with them yet, I’ll def bear this is mind ; ) Though I don’t have your enviable figure, I do love a well fitting top; straight downs don’t do much for me in the flattering dept. I’m loving the ecru and would love to find a regular supply of pointelles but am finding them distinctly hard to track down. Love the skirt, too! Jen

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thank you Jen- sounds like you need to crack your knit sewing seal & get into your (perfectly sized) stash! This is a lovely curvy top, so if you do wish to start somewhere this would be a good one, also SoZo Dolores is another top that it very easy to sew for a novice. Hopefully you’ll take a first step and see that there is nothing to it! Especially when warned about never being too complacent about fabric behaviour! 😉

      Reply
  4. Sue

    No, you are not the only one! I have three (or is it four?) versions of this top and they are all different. Like you, my first was brilliant and so I blithely made more and have now decided that the next time I will either go up a size or buy really stretchy fabric.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thank you – yes, knit fabric has so many characters…..unless you order samples you can never really be sure what you are getting I think. It’s why descriptions on websites can be really helpful

      Reply
  5. Hélène

    Too bad that the red one feels so stiff because the vivid colour really suits you. Anyway, the two others are just great. Just as you did, I wouldn’t have care for the stretch factor, but it is good to be reminded of that important point when choosing jersey!

    Reply
  6. Vicki

    All three are just lovely! So sad about the red fabric…..I recently made an Audry dress with the same results. So tight and I was heartbroken over the lost of fabric! It was such a pretty dress so I tried to give it to my daughter but it was even tight on her. At least, you ended up with two really cute tops that you can wear!!!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Oh no! Even too tight for your daughter! I feel OK about the red one as the fabric really was pretty cheap – I would have been much more upset if I’d paid out a lot for it. So it is good that the mistake has been made this way, and I am prepared for when I make up my more expensive jerseys, like my Liberty & my wool jersey. All good practice 🙂

      Reply
  7. Carolyn

    To chime in with other commenters, you just never know with knit fabric! I’ve had wildly different results with different knits, even when cutting out the exact same pattern pieces (Renfrew tops). It’s easier to predict their behavior when you buy in person than online, but even then, it’s hard to know how much the fabric will *just keep shrinking* over time. I guess it’ll always be an adventure!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Yes, I agree – at least in person you can test out the amount of stretch & drape, but online the only way to be sure, would be to order samples, but I am clearly too much in a rush to do that!! And the wash factor….yet another variable!! But fingers crossed I have only been at the wrong end of that one, once.

      Reply
  8. Nikki

    They all look great to me! I’ve made 6 over the past couple of months (I was in desperate need of winter tops), all from ponte knit fabric. Mine are very fitted but I can still move comfortably in them. I’m glad the viscose jersey works well as I wanted to make some short sleeved brontes with it.

    Reply
  9. Lynne

    Ooo, this is very interesting for me, because I bought this pattern recently. Jersey is such an unpredictable beast, which is why I’m still a bit scared of it! All of your Brontes are lovely.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      I think the good thing about jersey is that it can be quite cheap, so don’t be scared of it, just be prepared to consider some of the tops as practice! There are likely to be more hits than misses, but even when not being scared of knits, like me, you still get mistakes!

      Reply
  10. Kat @ House of Lane

    Pity about the red one because that colour is gorgeous on you! I am yet to try out the bromate pattern but I’ve seen some great versions. I’m glad to hear the neckband is easy because I’m a knit fabric newbie. Maybe this is the perfect pattern for me to try!

    Reply
  11. TamsinW-P

    I have had the same problem with jerseys, when I have made the Burda raglan tops – I have made 4 and they are all completely different. Thankfully it hasen’t really affected the fit in general just the neckline on each. Such a shame the red top is too small 🙁

    Reply
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  13. Alessa

    Those tops look really cute. 🙂 Too bad that the red one doesn’t fit well. Most of my fails tend to be caused by not-quite-right fabric, as well…

    Reply
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