FINALLY, I’ve made something from my #makenine list. Yeehoo!! I hadn’t really thought about it and then suddenly realised it was May! Oh well – I’m going to try and knock off a couple this month if possible and see how we go.
I’ve been wanting to make the Liesl & Co. Bento Tee, and have had the pattern, for quite some time. I’ve made a few Liesl & Co/Oliver + S/Lisette patterns now and they’ve always been satisfying. I find Liesl Gibson’s patterns suit my shape pretty well and have a really nice level of ease built in. Her instructions are always great too, and the garments seem to go together nicely. I’m happy to say that the Bento top is no exception!
To all intents and purposes, the top is a straightforward tee, with the standout feature being the little pockets in front. These are made by attaching a bottom band to the front and back with a stepped design. You need to run this part up on the machine and can then finish the seams as you like, but I didn’t finish these ones to be honest – it didn’t seem too necessary. The pockets are quite small to be immensely practical, but, in my case, they are the perfect size for a Matchbox car or too, or perhaps a ticket/note, so I know they will be used!
As you can see, I took inspiration directly from the pattern cover (which is quite unusual for me), but had to make a bit of a poor man’s version as I had barely enough fabric (1 yd!) to squeeze out the main parts, and ended up using a plain white cotton knit for the cuffs. This meant there was no chance of a reverse stripes piece on the bottom as the pattern cover shows – and this was the interesting part! Boo. Never mind, I like the tee anyway and next time I’ll go for something more dramatic. Speaking of fabric, I made this top with a lovely quality jersey knit called Painted Stripes, that I bought from L’oiseau fabrics, based out of Canada. They seem to have sold out of this particular fabric, but I really like their stock – they have lots of lovely knits.
After the pockets are sewn, it’s fairly standard t-shirt construction. I chose to add the little sleeve cuffs rather than the full-length sleeve option, and this was very easy to do, taking place after the side seams are sewn. With the full-length sleeve, you would add them on before finishing the sides.
I was also very happy with the neckband piece. This is the first neckband I have sewn in a while that was the right length and fit, first time. Now I know that has a lot to do with the fabric you choose, the stretch percentage and so on, but I had the same experience with the Metro tees I made for my husband and they were completely different fabrics. Go Liesl!
What else? Oh, there are several options for the top: with and without the pocket piece, and also long sleeves or the short cuff which I used. I made the whole garment on the serger, with the exception of the pockets, in around an hour and a half. Very nice. I made an XL, but would consider going down to an L for a closer fit another time. I do, however, like the fit here as it’s a little looser and very practical for moving around freely with a toddler, without me swimming in it. All in all – a pleasing make, and just in time for summer!