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).