Saturday, 21 March 2015

1960's Breton Top: The Best Thing I Have Ever Sewn, Maybe


A bold title, non?! This top may not look super-exciting, but by making it, I have managed to make EXACTLY the garment I wanted in my wardrobe. So, some back story... 

You know me, I usually prefer to make/wear vaguely retro style clothing, and I've been thinking about moving in a slightly different direction from my usual inspiration points. For a couple of years now I've been inspired by looser, boxier fitting tops from the 1960's, like the garment on the right of the pattern illustration pictured below, but haven't done anything about it. Until now, that is. 


This style top looks excellent with skinny jeans and capri pants, and seeing as I already live in the former and would like to wear more of the latter, I knew this type of top would fit in with what I've already got going on. 

Pattern:

I've had Simplicity 7023 (pictured below) lurking in my stash for yonks. In fact, I can't remember when or where I bought it, but I wouldn't be surprised if eBay was involved. The overblouse design has got the right silhouette for my needs: boxy but not baggy. Plus I love the bateau neckline and extended/dropped armhole seam.  


I toyed with the idea of making a roll collar to create more of a look like this or this. But to make a garment with maximum usefulness, I knew it needed to fit easily under a cardigan, jacket or a coat so I went with the pattern's original neckline. 


I made a few modifications to the original pattern. The major change I made was to eliminate the centre back seam and fastening. I measured the neck hole on the pattern first to make sure I wouldn't have any trouble in getting it on and off, then cut the back piece on the fold instead. I also made the hem a bit wider to accommodate my hippage, plus added side splits because I really like that detail on these kinds of tops. I altered the sleeves too, but I can't remember exactly in what way, perhaps making them a bit narrower and shorter at the hem? And of course I drafted some simple patch pockets that would allow me to alter the direction of the fabric for a bit of interest. One more thing I did that turned out to be completely pointless was to drop the bust darts by about 2 cm to reflect my shoulder-to-bust point measurement.



Fabric:

This navy and white stripy, synthetic double-knit-type-stuff has been burning a hole in my stash for a few years. I've had so many ideas for it that I was kind of paralysed by indecision and it languished in there unused. When I first acquired it (I got it second hand, it could well be from around the same time as the pattern!) I was erring towards making a dress, perhaps something fit and flare like this, or more of a shift dress shape like this. Then, I started imagining spring coats and jackets, perhaps along the lines of this. Eventually reality kicked in and I figured out that I probably didn't have sufficient quantity for any of those plans, and a top would be far more practical and useful for me anyhow. 


The navy stripes in the fabric have a raised texture which made pattern-matching at the side seams a nightmare/impossible, so I brushed my shoulders off and moved on. The fabric doesn't fray so I stitched it using my regular sewing machine and left the edges raw. Not much else to report I don't think.

Thoughts:

Umm, I've not exactly been subtle so far about my thoughts and feelings towards this top! I freaking love it and that's all I can say. As soon as it comes out of the wash it gets put on again. I'm not sure quite what I'm going to do during Me-Made-May, because I keep wearing it with the charity-shopped skinny jeans as seen in these pictures, and I'm not sure I'm going to get a chance to make some myself before then. Hmm... just one of the many challenges to figure out during May I guess!   

So, what's the best garment you've made to date? 

27 comments:

badmomgoodmom said...

Thank-you for running MMM. It gave me the impetus to go through my closet and revisit all of my makes. Some were just forgotten. Some were best forgotten. And some have become new faves.

For me, the best part of MMM--aside from the worldwide community--is forcing myself to sew for my realistic lifestyle and body.

MMM helped me rediscover a top that I should blog this MMM. I purchased remnants for the shell and lining in college and grad school respectively, but did not sew it until 25 years later.

Meanwhile, how will you celebrate world water day?

A reason to sew with recycled textiles:
http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/mar/20/cost-cotton-water-challenged-india-world-water-day

My world water day series:
http://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/2014/03/belated-world-water-day.html

Julia said...

Love your top! One can never have to many striped tops and the pockets give it a special detail. I'm wearing my striped tops all the time as well but should probably replace some of them as I'm not totally happy with their fit and the neckline sometimes does not work under a cardigan.

My favourite piece I have sewn so far is a tweed biker jacket (http://www.sewionista.com/2014/01/3-x-diy-1-tweedjacke-3x-anders.html). It just fits many different styles and I wear it all the time. Even though it's wool, I can wash it without problems in the wool cycle.

tialys said...

I love stripes too but looking at them on my screen this morning has given me the start of a migraine! I don't know what my favourite make so far has been but my Deer & Doe 'Reglisse' dress is probably the one that gets most compliments. Off to take a paracetemol ;)

Shirley Ann said...

Love the top! I like working with stripes. I try not to stress too much with matching them up but do try. When I see someone in a RTW striped top, I always look at the side seams to see if they match. ha ha ALOT of times they don't! My favorite outfit so far I think was my Lola dress. http://sewingbyshirley.blogspot.de/2014/12/victory-pattern-lola-dress.html

Helen Made said...

What a great pattern love those kinds of styles too. Completely practical.

Marilla Walker said...

Totally love it and have this exact pattern so don't be surprised if you see a copy cat popping up soon!!! Basically boat neck + stripes = winner! Xxxx

Frankie Carson said...

I really wish I had the balls to sew with knits! They terrify me ! The top is lovely! X

cucicucicoo: ecological living said...

Very nice! This fabric is perfect for this pattern and looks great on you. If I had to choose a favorite piece of clothing I've sewn, it would have to be one of the gazillion pairs of leggings I've sewn, because I wear them all year round and love layering with them. Also, they're super useful when going out in the evening in the summer, so that when it gets chilly, you can just slip them on under a skirt or dress. I've also started using them when flying in the summer. I put them on under a skirt when I'm in the freezing A/C of the airport and plane, and strip them off when I get back outside in the heat! :) Lisa

Eimear Greaney said...

its gorgeous - i did one overblouse last year and think they are the biz and am to sew some more. these tops really work with everything, they can be layered under (did you try any colour baselayers on yours?)

Louise Perry said...

perfect top. It will go with so much. My best make so far was so far for someone else!!!

Robin said...

Love those type of knit tops--simple, stylish, and wash-n-go. I smiled when I read you put it on as soon as it comes out of the wash. I'm like that about my favorites too.

Jen Forsythe said...

Ah brilliant, it's great when you find something that's exactly 'you', lovely to get a vintage slant on the Breton top. Enjoy wearing & I look forward to MMM 15.

brooke said...

You know, ever since you had a baby your face has had a glow to it that I had never noticed before!
I just finished my third washi maxi dress and I think it's my favourite make. I've had the idea and the fabric for over 4 years but never knew what pattern to execute it with. Then washi came along...

Fabric Tragic said...

Oh yeah how I love some stripes so I totally get your love for this! I've got something similar planned with some stripey squishy cotton Ponte knit from miss matatabi..... I think my favourite ever make is a toss up between a simple Breton tee I made with a curved split hemline (sadly in a very nasty poly - must make one in a cotton), or my denim shift dress with curved inseam pockets or a vintage midi skirt with fabulous offset pockets All worn to death, all loved so so much!

Hana said...

I totally in love with your striped top. The pockets are so cute :)

Mother of Reinvention said...

Breton tops are such a classic. They just remind me so much of Bridget Bardot or Audrey Hepburn. Such a cool Riviera vibe. Love this and how cool is your top. Xx

Kathryn said...

No wonder this is your favourite make - it looks so stylish and totally you. It looks like lovely fabric too. It's funny, my 2 favourite makes are also 2 of my least perfect makes, but they're made in good quality fabric in colours I love - makes me realise how important fabric choice is.

gingermakes.com said...

This is super cute and SO you!

Christals Creations said...

Love the top. Got me thinking about my favourite item. I'm just not sure. :)

englishgirlathome.com said...

Love this & it looks perfect on you. Great bit of stash busting too:)

Minnado said...

Stripes, pockets And boxy? What more could you ask for in a top?? Looks fab.x

Minnado said...

Stripes, pockets And boxy? What more could you ask for in a top?? Looks fab.x

Sewing Sveta said...

So nice top! I like stripes tops too. As about the best make - it is not easy to choose one!
Maybe green sweater and black skirt, I wear them very-very often and plan to repeat pattern(for me this is sign!)

BLD in MT said...

I like that a lot! Plus, the pockets not only add interest (which they do), but also, who doesn't love having a pocket handy?!

Boudica Andred said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Boudica Andred said...

This! This is the top I keep looking for a pattern for! Boxy but not frumpy. Sophisticated but casual. Yes! It looks fabulous on you, too.

Zoe said...

@Boudica, I'd be happy to send you the whole pattern if you wish. Please email me your postal address to sozoblog (at) g mail (dot) com

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