Breton & Bra straps

I embarked on a new challenge for myself in late 2016 – to create a coherent capsule wardrobe. Part of my issue is I had made lots of lovely things for myself but almost none of them could be worn together without damaging the retinas of those around me.

My biggest challenge has been to retrain my brain to consider casual clothes rather than just super fancy clothes that get worn once or twice.

Amazon did a deal on the Great British Sewing Bees latest book – it was £10. I thought that was really good value for money given the number of patterns in it. They’ve also been helpful and for every pattern there is a pattern hack.  This is one of them, a jersey dress that can also be a breton top – a staple casual wardrobe addition as God Wan tells us.

I did mine in a soft stripey jersey from Fabworks. It’s lovely and soft but one of those irritating fabrics that rolls up whenever you cut it. I thought I’d done a reasonable job of pattern matching but clearly the fabric on the lower side of the folded cloth was a bit wibbly since it matches on one side and not the other!

The final result is nice. Nice but not excellent.

I’m getting a little fed up making things too big for myself. I’m being very well behaved and adhering to the measurements which keep telling me I’m a big fat fatty. I make the clothes, try them on and lo and behold they’re too fricking big. In a way that’s nice because it means I’m not a fatty but it still means I’ve got clothes that don’t fit amazingly.

Aside from the fact I feel swamped my main issue with this pattern is the size of the neckhole. Either the model in the book has abnormally large shoulders or the top had some tweaks. If I make this again I’ll make a narrower neckline because I’m not keen on flashing my bra straps. I tend to consider bras as underwear not outerwear- I’m not Erin Brockovitch!

Anyhoo an addition to the wardrobe and all part of my capsule wardrobe plan.

25 thoughts on “Breton & Bra straps

  1. I think knits are challenging to size. Some of them are very stretchy, some are clingy and others are stiff. In any case, I often cut up a size in areas that could be tight (bust and hips) and take things in, which is so much easier than figuring out how to salvage something that is too tight! That suggestion doesn’t help with the shoulders, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I’m at the stage where I tend to know whether their sizes are too big or too small for me based on the brand. It’s when I branch out into new pattern companies I run afoul of their sizes


  2. The colour on that top is beautiful and it suits you so well.

    In the photo it appears that the top is placed pretty precariously on the model’s shoulders so perhaps in a smaller size (which would definitely fit you) it wouldn’t slide as much? I have the same problem tho, narrow shoulders and everything hangs or falls off. Years ago I had a top where there was a triangle of fabric sewn into the shoulder opening of a bateau neckline, and something similar would probably work with a top like this. (PS – I also have this book and love it, but paid beaucoup for it because I’m in the States.)


  3. Hi Lesley! Do you have a reliable knit pattern that you can use to lay against any new brands you try? I always think I need a bigger size to accommodate my curves but I automatically size 1 down now as I’m fed up of so many baggy toiles. Always hard with knits though as each knit type acts so differently. I put the big shoulder problem down to the pattern designers lazily grading EVERYTHING up for larger sizes, when in fact shoulders are pretty average whether you are a 26 or a 12. The Hemlock is quite a good fit at the shoulders/neckline, if you’ve not tried it before? (It’s a one size pattern but can be graded out at bust and hips if desired) Lovely pastel striped top….boo to gapey shooders!


    1. I’ve only been venturing into stretch fabrics this last year since I got my overlocker. Most pattern companies I grade down the neck but not all frustratingly. I’m considering this a toile and will grade down in future


  4. What nice fabric, what a shame the sizing is so off. I’ve been looking for the new sewing bee book for a while but it was out of stock for ages & now it’s £17 so I must have missed the deal, boo!! I wonder if the sizing on the sewing bee patterns runs a bit large as I made the A-line skirt out the last book and it came up a bit big too.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I can recommend the A-line skirt from the last book. I thought mine had come out too big but just remembered that’s because I used bigger seam allowances as I was worried it would come up to small – argh!!


  5. I love the pattern, but honestly, what is up with their sizing??? If using your measurements give you a top that is three sizes too big , there must be something wrong with the book.
    I’m just wondering: couldn’t you add little tabs across the shoulder (where the sides of the neck opening are) so that the bra straps don’t show?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely my point! If I follow their sizes and it’s massive then clearly their sizing runs large. I’m going to wear this as a slouchy top but need to do something about the neckline.


  6. My 10cents worth with knits is to make up the top leaving the side seams open – regardless of instructions of pattern. Then pin side seams closed on right side of fabric and try on with right side out – I hope that makes sense!
    Then you can make changes if you need to, in shoulders, neck hole etc and refit where necessary.
    As other clever commenters have remarked not all knits are created equal so a toile doesn’t necessarily work.
    Fitting as you sew means that you can adjust for fabric ease and you get more used to preempting these types of issues as you play with your fabric.
    Hope that helps!


    1. I totally agree. My issue is its January and I sew in my shed which is waaaaay to cold to strip off so I have to run into the house and up the stairs to do fitting and I was too lazy to do it this time 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ooh, I have this book but have not made anything out of it yet. I loved the stripey dress and your top is lovely. I would second putting in a little bit of fabric to cover your bra straps. I think in a Burda mag that I have they showed a very similar top with a (p)leather insert and it was really nice. Knits are a bit of a law unto themselves. Could you do a flat pattern measurement on the pattern before you cut out your fabric and compare it to your actual measurements? Maybe it would be easier to shave a bit off, or sew a smaller pattern size where you need it, then? Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh sizing issues are so annoying. That’s why I safely (boringly) stick with Burda magazine patterns.
    Lovely fabric. I see a great slouchy top pairing beautifully with one of those retina searing bottoms you’ve made recently.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You look like you have a similar problem to me with fit. Was wondering if you have done a FBA. If you cut a smaller size to fit the majority of your body and then adjust to fit the FB. I have a narrow back which leads to the fit being good around the bust but not anywhere else unless I do the FBA.

    Liked by 1 person

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