This was another great test for Jennifer Lauren, who has a real knack of bringing out patterns just as I say to myself, “Hey… you know what I wouldn’t mind making…” and in this case it was a few more knit tops but with an interesting neckline. I have collected quite a few knits now, mostly intended for kids wear, but I wanted to use the more adult ones too and this top has my favourite kind of neckline, which is a deep squarish scoop.
There are actually two necklines for the Ostara Top: the square scoop and the sweetheart, the latter of which is achieved by sewing a little concertina tailor’s tack to the square neckline. There are also two sleeve lengths: elbow and full-length and Jennifer has retained that characteristic vintage touch by making both the length of the sleeves and the body just a tad longer than the average knit top. I love the extra coverage I must say and I made several versions.
First up were my test tops: numero uno – a sweetheart neckline with the elbow sleeves in a cotton/poly/lycra mix that was actually quite stable to sew. Now, I must point out that my sweetheart neckline is slightly less sweetheart-like after a couple of washes. I wasn’t entirely sure if I was putting the tailor’s tack in correctly during testing and I basically didn’t fix it firmly enough.
Jennifer has added more instructions and even a little video to the final instructions, so I think it would be very straightforward. Be assured it’s a lovely little neckline and I will use it again – you can check out how it did look by viewing the official samples here – it’s cute! I sewed this up in an 18, which corresponded to my measurements at the time (I’ve lost just a few pounds since testing) and this is a very comfortable top, albeit with slightly broad shoulders.
Secondly, I made the square necklined top with the full-length sleeves, in a smaller size 16. I took an inch off the sleeves to get them to fall mid-wrist, but that’s not an unusual adjustment for me (and Jennifer has since shortened them by 1cm anyway).
I made this in a stripey rayon knit and so it was actually still fairly loose-fitting (in a nice way). Rayon knits are affected somewhat more by gravity, so this top is slightly longer than it would be in a comparable cotton-lycra or cotton knit. I made no attempt to pattern match which means the neckband is kind of weird and the back – well, see for yourself.
Nevertheless, this actually makes a great running top for me – it’s very similar to a RTW one I own – so it will be used plenty. The fit is great – very comfortable – and I LOVE that neckline. Really, it’s great, and it’s worth mentioning that the neckband piece fit the neckline perfectly in every version I made with no adjustments. Marvellous!
For the final top I used a proper cotton lycra and the final version of the pattern, which didn’t change too much, but has a slightly shortened bodice and sleeves in the long-sleeved version. I made this one in a 14 which is rather more body-fitting, as you can see. This is partly because of the fibre content, but is compounded by the fact that my serger decided to flip out and do some weird stitch that I think took the side seams in slightly more than planned, so it wouldn’t be quite so tight normally. My husband rather liked this version (of course) but I think for the future I would make a 14 at the shoulders and then grade out to 16 or so.
Overall, my advice to other busty ladies would be to consider using your high bust measurement when choosing a size and going from there, as the knit fabric is, of course, very accommodating. Construction-wise the top is very straightforward and standard if you’ve ever made a knit tee or top before, but in any case the instructions are thorough, as with all Jennifer’s patterns. The only adjustment I made to every top was to hem the sleeves and the hem at 1/2″ rather than the 1″ in the instructions. I really like the extra length of the sleeves and bodice on the Ostara and the necklines are right up my street. It’s a great addition to my staples roster!
Bye for now and I’ll leave you with a picture of what mostly goes on when I’m trying to take photos for these posts ( we are dinosaurs; I’m not trying to throttle him btw).
3 thoughts on “New test: Ostara knit top for Jennifer Lauren”
Great job on this review! I am newish to knits and always need some hand holding with patterns and fabric! Loved your explanations for the differences in the shapes and why that happened. Oh, and the last pic was…priceless!!! Thanks for this post!!! 🙂
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Ah, thanks so much! I do love knits – so fast and zippy! And flexible fitting, which is nice. But yes, I really like to mix up my projects and do a little woven, a little knit, a little complex, a little easy. It keeps it all fresh. 😀