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Bronte Top Sew-A-Long - Finishing the Neckline

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Guys, we're almost finished!!

Today I'm going to be showing you two ways to finish off your Bronte neckline. You see, if you don't secure the underlap to the overlap in the shoulder area, you will get bunching when wearing it, which doesn't really give that smooth shoulder we're after (and I reckon it'd be pretty annoying actually).

There are other ways you could secure it, but the following are my favourite ways -

Everybody loves buttons. I like to use three buttons down each side of my top, but I've seen some lovely versions that have just one in the corner etc. It's also totally up to you whether you use buttons or other notions as well.

1. Measure out your binding overlap from the bottom of the sleeve to the top of the overlapped binding (where it's hitting 10cm in the photo below). Mark out where your buttons will sit evenly along the binding.

Note - it may be easiest to sew the two end buttons on first so you can get the middle button exactly in the centre.

2. Thread your needle with a double thread and a knot at the end. Place your first button on your binding.

3. Starting from the underside, thread your needle up through both layers of binding and through your first button hole. If you have a 4-holed button like mine, I like to stitch it down making an X in the centre with my thread, but feel free to stitch it down however you choose.

4. Stitch through your button holes 3 to 4 times each, secure your thread on the wrong side with a knot and repeat for the rest of the shoulder line. Then do the other side.

Invisible Hand Stitches
Popping in some invisible hand stitches will give your Bronte a clean yet finished look if you don't want to decorate it with anything.

1. I like to sew my invisible hand stitches into the seam (photo a) rather than the top stitching (photo b), but either is fine. In fact, you could carefully sew over your top stitching with your machine if you prefer not to do any hand finishing.

a) Sew into your seam (my preferred method).


b) Sew into your top stitching.

2. Double thread your needle and knot the end. Starting at the sleeve end, bring your needle up through the seam, through all layers, from the underside.

Note - try to find a thread that matches your Bronte fabric as much as you can, this will help hide those stitches. It was really hard to find something that matched my purple-grey fabric, but this thread still becomes invisible with some careful stitching.

3. Pull your thread all the way through until it stops at the knot.

4. You only need teeny tiny stitches on the outside of your Bronte, so now, go back in as close as you can to where you came out.

Note - don't pull your thread too tightly otherwise you'll get little tell tale dents along your neckline binding.

5. Where is that stitch? Invisible, that's where it is!

You don't need to worry too much about how far apart your stitches are on the underside (mine are about 1cm apart), just make sure the stitches on the outside are small so you won't see them.

6. Continue your small 'outside' stitches all the way along until you get to the end. At this point, you can choose to tie off your thread OR if you're like me, you can stitch the binding down at the corner as well...

7. Bring your thread up through the very edge of the overlapped binding (try not to bring it through the top, otherwise you'll see it).

8. Pull the thread through and loop it around twice.

9. Tie your thread off and repeat for the other side.

And that, my friends, is it. Done. Finished. Finito. Until the next Bronte of course...

Have you finished a Bronte top? Why not upload it to the Flickr group or flick me an email so I can showcase a few?


Bronte Top Sew-A-Long - Side Seams & Hemming

Monday, July 14, 2014

We're nearly there! Today we are sewing up the side seams of our Bronte tops and finishing up the hems...

1. Right sides together, match the under arm sleeve seams, lining up raw edges, so that once your Bronte top is turned out the right way, you'll have nicely matching sleeve seams. Pin in place.

2. Pin the rest of your side seam together and stitch in place starting from one end all the way to the other. Repeat for the other side.

3. If you're making the long sleeve version or opted not to sew your short sleeve hem before you sewed your sleeve in place, turn up your hems twice, press and pin in place. You may want to try on your long sleeved version to make sure the sleeve is ending where you'd like it too. Make any adjustments at this stage.

4. Stitch in place and press your final seam. Repeat the same steps for the other sleeve and bottom hem of your Bronte top.

5. If you chose to stitch your short sleeve hem prior to inserting your sleeve, you'll have a little seam allowance where you stitched your sides together. Pin this allowance down toward the back and tack down to secure in place using either your sewing machine or a few hand stitches.

Next up we're going to be finishing up our neckline and then we're finished!!

If you're sewing along or have made a Bronte top (or an Afternoon Blouse) why not put your finished garment into the Flickr pool? I'd love to showcase a few of your creations sometime next week.


Bronte Top Sew-A-Long - Basting Shoulders & Inserting Sleeves

Thursday, July 10, 2014

For this section of my Bronte construction, I like to do each step to both sides of my top at the same time (er, because there are two sleeves, you need to do each step twice...) For the sake of this photo tutorial however, I haven't, but feel free to do them either at the same time, or separately, it's completely up to you.

If there is a difficult section of making your Bronte top, inserting the sleeves is probably it. Not that it's hard at all, but it can be a bit fiddly if you've never inserted a sleeve flat before, so remember to just take your time.

1. With right sides facing up, place the back bodice shoulder section over the top of the front bodice, lining up the tip of the front binding with the single notch in the back armhole.  Pin in place.

Note - the single notch is marked on the photo below with a black line to make it easier to see.

2. The tip of the back neckline binding needs to be gently manoeuvred into place to line up along the raw edge of the front bodice arm hole. Do this without stretching your binding and pin in place.

3. To ensure my neckline stays nice and flat during the sewing process, I like to pin my under lap to my over lap along the binding lines, making a sort of triangle. Doing this will ensure that your neckline doesn't move at all when it comes time to put in your sleeve.

4. Baste your front and back pieces together along the armhole, stitching 3mm (1/8inch) in from the raw edge.

5. When doing the short sleeve hem, I like to do this before I insert the sleeve, however you are more than welcome to hem your sleeve after you've inserted it (as is done for the long sleeve version).

So, if you want to hem it first, turn your sleeve up and press it (twice) and stitch in place.

6. Both long and short sleeves for Bronte are inserted flat. Make sure you line up the single and double notches to make sure your sleeve is going in the right way around.

7. Right sides together, place your sleeve in the corner of the front bodice, lining up all raw edges and notches. Pin in place, and continue around the sleeve head.

Note - this is where it can get tricky! Remember, you don't need to keep your bodice flat when pinning, I find it easiest to almost scrunch my bodice up as I'm pinning around. Also, use as many pins as you like, ain't no judging round these parts...

8. Stitch your sleeve in place along the arm hole starting from one end and working your way to the other.

9. Trim out your excess seam allowance along your sleeve seam.

10. If you've only worked on one side of your Bronte top, then repeat the process above for the other side. Before you know it, you've almost got your very first Bronte top - easier that you thought huh?


Bronte Top Sew-A-Long - Attaching Your Binding...

Monday, July 7, 2014

This is going up a smidge later than planned, but finally, we're sewing our Bronte Tops! Today we'll be attaching the binding to the front and back pieces.

Now, the binding for Bronte is deliberately shorter than the neckline pieces and that is because this will ensure your top lays nice and flat along your neckline, rather than sitting away from it.

All of the construction is done on my regular sewing machine with a ball-point needle and a lightening bolt stitch (unless I specify otherwise). If you need some advice on sewing machine settings for knits (if you don't have an overlocker), I have a handy post right here. Of course, if you have an overlocker, feel free to use it.


1. Take your front binding piece, making sure that all notches are marked, and press flat.

A little note on notches - I tend to snip into my notches along the seam allowance when marking up pattern pieces and if you're the same, please remember that Bronte has a smaller seam allowance than normal patterns (10mm or 3/8inch). So, don't snip too far in! My notches were hard to see in the photos as well, so I've put lines in where they are. My snips don't go as deep as my added lines though, I was just trying to exaggerate where they were so you could see them.

2. Fold your binding in half length ways, matching notches, and press.

3. To find the centre of my binding, I fold it in half again then mark it with a pin.

4. To easily find the centre of your neckline, before you open up your front pattern piece, mark the centre fold line with a pin along the neckline.

5. Place your binding along your neckline, raw edges together, making sure your centre pins are on top of each other. Pin in place.

6. Stretch one side of your binding out to the very tip of your bodice neckline, matching the tip with the notch in the binding. Pin in place.

A close up of my snipped notch matching to the tip of the neckline (and my creepy looking hand...)

7. Gently and evenly, match up the raw edge of your binding along your neckline. Then repeat for the other side. Your neckline will look all bubbly, and that's because the neckline binding is smaller than the neckline. Don't worry, it won't stay like that for long.

8. Stitch your neckline binding down, 10mm (3/8inch) away from your raw edge. Below is how your neckline might look once you've finished. Don't freak out...

9. If you've never believed in the powers of a nice steamy iron, behold, the neckline from step 8 after we've pressed it - looks totally normal now, yay! So, go ahead and press your neckline out.

And what it looks like from behind...

10. Top stitch your binding down 3mm (1/8inch) from the stitch line.

I use a single ball-point needle on a longer straight stitch and haven't had any problems with threads snapping, though feel free to use a zigzag for this as well. Also, if you have a twin needle, go ahead and use this if you wish.

11. Press and repeat for the back neckline!

Easy peasy...


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