Time for another Pattern Whisperer post, for this the category is interesting knit tops. Recently I had a request to recommend some knit tops and thought it was a good topic. Especially as I was working on a post for jackets but I wasn't really coming up with anything that really grabbed my attention.
Knit tops are such a rewarding item to sew, as they don't take up loads of time like a jacket or coat, usually can be sewn quite economically, and are forgiving in fit. Plus a knit top can work for so many wardrobe needs, from super casual to elegant to office wear. I even convinced myself to try one of these patterns and have already sewn up two versions since I first noticed the pattern!
Let's talk basics first. Here are two knit top patterns from Vogue that really suit a variety of body types due to the built in pattern shaping.
The V1363 on the left is a Sandra Betzina pattern which shows out-of-print on their website today but I could swear it wasn't a few days ago when I was first looking at it. This pattern has bust darts which is great for fitting and I like the contrast neckline option. So a versatile basic that you can make in a variety of fabrics. The V8925 on the right has princess seams, which is the other option for getting a really nice fit and this pattern also has a contrast neckline option. So both patterns have a bit of design and change them up from the ordinary t-shirt style knit top.
If you are looking for something with a more cozy feel here is Vogue 8831. This has the draping neckline which is also seen on the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern (one that I like a lot but feel it has some issues with the armholes/sleeves which are a bit skimpy). This pattern below has a raglan sleeve so really easy to sew, and more princess seams plus cup sizes.
Following here's the pattern I just sewed in two versions, V9205 - this might be one of my new go-to knit top patterns. I made the first version in a jersey and it is super comfy, I even used a stripe and it came out well. The second version I made in a very strange fabric I found at a ASG sale - sort of a vintage poly knit, like a ponte but with less stretch. So it is a bit less comfy but I love the colors. And a good choice for my St. Patricks day wear - blog post in March on that version. While the darts are decorative they do create some shaping.
It seems like all these patterns I have chosen are suitable for color-block options including this one. Which is very simple but I think it could be lengthened to make a cute dress as well. Most of these patterns are also shown as tunic length as well as regular hip length tops which means they will provide the yardage for that option which is nice if you want the tunic style.
Another one that has quite a few variations in the pattern envelope is Butterick 6248. You know I love a pattern that has lots of variations in one pattern envelope - it appeals to my thrifty side plus you actually have more patterns with less storage. Pockets, interesting back view, cozy cowl neck. I don't think I would be comfortable a top with that long back but some people carry off this very well.
Here's one with interesting seaming, I really like the one with the stripes and solid black and grey fabric.
This one is not super interesting but if you like this draped neckline and want fit guidance then I think these Palmer and Pletsch patterns are quite clever. The adjustment lines are printed on the pattern pieces and they include instructions on full bust adjustments, swayback, sleeve etc. This one is McCalls 6963.
While this one doesn't have a lot of options in the pattern envelope it's kind of cute with the interesting asymmetrical front.
Moving on to other pattern companies - Style Arc has a LOT of really interesting knit tops. I haven't sewn a lot of them but I have friends that love these patterns. I am always tempted but haven't made any. Here are a few that caught my eye.
I really love this last one, if you sew this Madeleine Ponte top and with a pencil skirt in the same fabric it would be a super sharp work look that would give you the appearance of a dress with the versatility of separates.
For a more fitted type of knit top Lekala has some really interesting options. I have made this one in the past and it came out perfectly. Of all the things I have tried from Lekala the knits have been by far the best which is kind of interesting. Here's the post to see my versions of this top.
Here's another one I like a lot - you can see that a lot of the knit tops I sew don't have round necklines, I am always chilly and the spot I feel it the most is the back of my neck. So I tend to choose these patterns that have a collar or turtleneck when sewing for myself. I downloaded this pattern but I can't remember if I sewed it. I'll have to search in the pattern drawer to find it.
As for other patterns - there is this Burda pattern I sewed in the fall and I really love it. Which is Burda 02-2013-126.
I also like this McCalls 7046, post here.
My favorite plain raglan t-shirt, Burda 6990.
My absolute favorite New Look wrap front knit top, New Look 6150.
Another wrap front top, McCalls 6513, here and here plus other versions.
Another pattern company I want to mention is Jalie. They have lots of knit tops, and I think their patterns are the best value of all as they contain all sizes in one envelope. So a pattern for a knit top will have multiple view and contain sizes from small kids to adult. You have to trace the patterns but the paper is really thick and the printing is easy to trace. I have used their basic t-shirt as a starting point for a variety of knit tops.
For this Pattern Whisperer I looked briefly at Simplicity and New Look but I am so annoyed with their website that I am not even considering them right now. They have lots of products and a fairly comprehensive offering on their site but how hard would it be to add some better search features? I have emailed them a few times with no response and even commented on their Instagram. I am thinking of making that a daily thing - does anyone agree with me on this? Or maybe they will just think I am crazy. Either way it gets it out of my system :)
Here's a sneak peek on that Vogue pattern with the radiating darts that I mentioned above.
As always I tend to stick to the big 4 or 5 pattern companies for my picks - since I find the limitations of indie patterns not as appealing (fewer options in the patterns, higher price, etc. although I know they are a good option in Europe and Australia.). But if you have any great patterns to recommend feel free to add them.
Up next more shirts completed. And even a how-to in the works on doing a one piece shirt placket plus changing darts to gathers. Tomorrow is a serious garden clean-up day - wow this rain is fantastic but the weeds are taking advantage of it too!
today's garden photo, this one was taken a few years ago but the exact same plant is blooming right now, by the front door. Camellias are so pretty but the blooms drop quickly and make a mess. But I just can't bring myself to change them out.