Friday, 13 February 2015

Completed: Charley Harper Print Bronte Top

Can I just start by saying how much I LOVE this fabric? It really makes the top! The print looks like a quilting cotton (which I love), but it's actually the softest most wonderful organic cotton interlock knit. It's a complete DREAM to sew with, and so comfortable to wear. The print is by Charley Harper, and I bought the last of the bolt at Spool of Thread last summer - it was a little pricey for cotton knit (around $20 a metre), but sooooo worth it.

I mean, polka dots and birds. Come on. 

This print makes my day every time I wear it. I didn't exactly have the greatest week - my foot was inexplicably sore and swollen to the point that I missed quite a few classes because it hurt to walk to them, and I was seriously struggling to finish some choreography for my dance group. It didn't help that I had my first midterm this semester on Thursday, and a couple of stressful labs this week. Wednesday was probably the low point - I barely slept because of my foot, I couldn't make it to any of my classes, I wasn't feeling very good about my impending midterm, and I hadn't finished a dance that I was supposed to teach later that evening. 

BUT, I wore this top, and it cheered me up. That's the power of great fabric.

I'm now taking a short, but well-deserved break. My midterm went well, I managed to finish all the assignments that I put off when I was studying for it, and I'm catching up on my missed classes. My foot is feeling much better, and despite whatever was wrong with it, I managed to finish teaching my dance, and I'm really, really happy with it! I'm really enjoying having the chance to do my own choreography - seeing it come together is so satisfying!

Speaking of my dance group, we are in the midst of fundraising to pay for the theatre that we're renting for our spring show! We have to pay a certain amount upfront, and then the rest we pay for with ticket sales. Since we're a new dance company at McGill this year, our funds are pretty limited! We've been busy with bake sales and plenty of other fundraisers, but we've also set up a crowdfunding site for anyone who wants to support us from afar. If you're interested in helping us out, every little bit counts, and I would appreciate it SO much! (You can also check out our YouTube channel for videos from our winter showcase if you want to see the kind of things that we do!)

Anyways, enough about dance and my stressful week - on to this shirt!

This is actually my third version of this pattern, the Bronte Top by Jennifer Lauren. I made two short-sleeved versions last summer and haven't blogged about them yet! (I'm terrible, I know.) I really love the pattern - it fit me quite well right out of the (digital) envelope, and it's so quick and easy to make. The yoke detail stops it from being a boring knit top, though! 

I cut a size 8, like my second version. According to the sizing charts, I'm a size 6, but I found it to be a little tight around the armholes. I don't like my knit tops super snug anyways, so I just sized up, and the fit is pretty near perfect! The only change I made to the fit of this one is that I graded out a little at the hips - I find that my first two tops ride up just slightly. I added on about 2" total at the bottom, and this gives it almost more of a bell shape when it's untucked, because the fabric is pretty sturdy. Although I'll wear it tucked in most of the time, I love the shape of it! I would probably not grade out quite as much if I made it in a drapier fabric, though.

While writing that, I realized that I completely forgot to get pictures of it untucked... you'll have to take my word for it!

I thought that long sleeves would be too overwhelming for this print, but I didn't want short sleeves, so I made 3/4 sleeves by folding up the pattern where two pieces of paper were taped together, and this ended up being the perfect length!

I hesitated about the contrasting binding, because I thought it might be too much, but I'm glad I went for it - I really love it! It was just some cream-coloured bamboo jersey that I had in my stash - the same stuff I use to line my Moneta dresses. It really highlights the style lines!

Since I've made this before, it came together really quickly. I won't go much into detail about the construction, since it's pretty much the same as my other knit tops and dresses - I sewed all the seams on my serger, and I hemmed using a twin needle and Stitch Witchery. Like with my previous two versions, I took a 1 1/2" hem, turned up once, rather than a 3/4" hem turned up twice. I just used a simple straight stitch for the topstitching, which is what I did on my other two, and I haven't had any problems with broken stitches. 

That's about it for this top! It's a pretty simple make, but the fabric is fantastic, so it's probably one of my favourite me-made tops ever. I got an email a while back from Spool of Thread saying that they have more Charlie Harper knits in stock - I might try to pick some up (if there are any left) when I'm home for reading week!

By the way, I also made the pants I'm wearing in these photos! They are another project I finished last summer, but haven't had a chance to blog about yet. They were my last project before leaving for Montreal, so I never managed to get photos of them until I visited home for Christmas. They should be up on the blog soon!

Thanks for reading!

Top: Me-made (Jennifer Lauren Bronte Top)

Pants: Me-made (soon to be blogged)
Belt: bought from a craft market


  1. Love thus on you it's such fun".

  2. Sorry to hear you had such bad week. But glad this top cheered you up, it is beautiful. Lovely print.

  3. I love those Charley Harper prints, looks good in Bronte ;o)