I've been trying to perfect a Breton style knit top. It's a Goldilocks style project, I want to get it just right:a high neck, but not too high; a narrowish fit, but not too tight, you get the picture. I've made the Liesl+Co Marine top and I liked it so much I made three variations. It has a slightly dropped shoulder and the neckline is gently curved but I wanted an alternative so when I saw the Frankie top by Australian sewing/pattern business Tessuti Fabrics, I thought I'd give it a try.
Pattern Details: This is my first Tessuti pattern. They are good value and it's relatively straightforward to find other bloggers versions and assess the style on a real living person. Their digital patterns are good value- $10 AUD is £5 in GBP. The instructions are detailed but I can't say they are easy on the eye with the layout, it's pretty busy and whilst the photos are helpful I think they could've been a little leaner and more efficient. The pattern has a dress option so the PDF print out is large as the dress and top come together which took a long while to stick together and there are a lot of variations in seam allowance so you do need to pay attention. All said, I love the neck edge treatment and I got a good fit with modifications. I chose the three-quarter sleeve option.
Neck treatment: The neck is achieved by a woven facing at the back- I used Liberty lawn- plus some stabilising clear elastic. Maybe you could use a standard narrow elastic instead but clear elastic has the advantage that it can be trimmed back to the seam and still retain it's stretch. I've bought mine from eBay sellers. It' not next to the skin so there's no irritation worries. The front neck is a turnover hem. I dropped mine down slightly further than the pattern and for my next version, I'm going to retrace and reduce the front and neck areas by ½".
Construction: There's a mix of machine sewing and serger/overlocker and the order of construction did necessitate a lot of changes- straight stitch to double needle, back to straight stitch etc. so needle and thread changes (I use wooly nylon for double stitched hems and Gutermann sew-all for everything else) so it is a faff, but relatively quick and easy to sew and could be done on a sewing machine only but the finish would likely not be as good.
Sizing/Fabric: I cut an XS front and back with S sleeves, the armscye/armhole was between XS and S. I read a couple of bloggers commenting that the sleeves are quite narrow and this knit is not very stretchy. On a cotton lycra knit, I would go XS throughout. Stripes are total PITA to cut out and I did come a bit of a cropper and had to retrim as my pieces needed up a little uneven so the top is shorter than it could've been. I also took in the side seams as this top naturally flares out in a way that can border on maternity for me although works much better on the dress version. The fabric is this wonderful Japanese cotton knit which is quite thick and washes brilliantly- see the Maritime top in a goldcolour way. The colour ways I used are now sold out. I squeezed the pattern into 1.25metres - this is a narrow jersey fabric.
Verdict: Highly wearable, great mixer with the many chambray and denim and corduroy garments in my wardrobe. There are four sleeve option and the dress variation too. Next time I'll retrace drop the neckline as mentioned above but otherwise I know it will get lots of wear before I need full length sleeves to cope with winter chill on my witch-like cold, cold hands.
Alternatives: If you are on a similar quest, these are the other patterns I've been tempted by:
All these patterns have print and digital option.