In Sewing

reviews and revelations

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of the new Bronte pattern by Jennifer Lauren. It’s a super cute 40s inspired knit top that’s great for beginners or those new to sewing with knits. Jennifer asked me to test the pattern for her before it was officially released and I agreed because a.) the pattern is adorable and definitely something I would wear, and b.) I hadn’t sewn with knits in a really long time so I thought I’d give it another try. Coincidentally I also agreed to review some more fabric from Organic Cotton Plus, so I picked a knit fabric that would work well with Bronte.


The fabric is “Kiwi Stripe” – a 58″ interlock knit made in the USA from organic cotton. I think it has the perfect amount of stretch for a pattern like Bronte. I pre-washed the fabric on a normal cycle with cold water and tumble dried it on medium heat. It was really soft when I took it out of the dryer with no pilling or fraying on the edges at all. That really impressed me because I bought a similar fabric from Jo-Ann’s to test the pattern with initially, and that fabric didn’t hold up so well after a wash.


I expected the stripes to be much bigger (I don’t remember seeing any size references listed on the website) but after putting the Bronte top together I’m actually glad they’re so small. I didn’t give any attempt to stripe match whatsoever but they match up pretty darn well anyways.


I was really surprised how easy the construction is on the Bronte top, especially if you’re following Jen’s sew-along. The shape of the shirt looks a bit complicated but it’s really not at all! Jen’s instructions are great and I made the shirt in very little time, especially when compared to all the button-up shirts I’ve been making lately. I made the entire thing from start to finish (including cutting out my fabric) in just one evening.


If you’re new to sewing or using knit fabrics, I really think you’d enjoy making this shirt. It’s a really rewarding type of project because it looks more advanced but it’s really simple to put together and can be made pretty quickly (even when you’re taking your time and trying your hardest not to stretch things out like I was). I also think this pattern has a super flattering silhouette and would look beautiful on all shapes and sizes.


My Bronte top doesn’t look as clean and professional as other versions I’ve seen out there and I’m sure that has everything to do with my inexperience with knit fabrics, along with my lack of patience for them. I have some pulling and bunching around the shoulders and neckline but other than that I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I definitely love the fit! I cut a straight size 8 and made no alterations, but in the future I’d add some more length and hem the sleeves after sewing the side seams. The instructions have you do it before hand and you can see the raw edges at the inside seam.


I do have one confession to make though. After completing this project I remembered why I haven’t sewn with knits in years: …I don’t like to. Plain and simple. I’m not afraid to work with them, in fact I don’t even really have a good excuse as to why I don’t like sewing with stretchy fabrics, I just don’t enjoy the process like I do sewing with wovens. I don’t even like laying the fabric out and cutting it haha! I don’t want to change my needle or fuss with the stitch settings either. I suppose those excuses sound pretty juvenile but I can’t help it. I guess I’m just a wovens kind of gal.


But! With that said, I found this project to be nearly painless for me so that’s saying a lot for both the fabric and the pattern. If I was going to work with a knit fabric again in the future, I would pick one like the organic interlock because I like the amount of stretch and the softness of fiber. I would consider sewing the Bronte top again in the future, because I do like wearing it, and it’s a cute, quick project and I like those.

(Here’s another typical “me being awkward” shot for you. That’s what I do.)


So, if you love knits or want to try sewing with them, yes, I honestly recommend both the Bronte pattern and the Organic Cotton Plus interlock fabric, as well as their organic cotton thread (which I’ve used two separate times now and get great tension with. My Pfaff machine is finicky with certain thread brands but she likes this stuff!). But honestly you guys, you probably wont be seeing another knit project from me in a long, long time. Unless of course we’re talking about knitting, in which case you will see a knit project very soon because I just finished one!

Have you tried sewing the Bronte top yet? Do you love sewing with knits or are you a die-hard wovens fan like me?


*I received the Bronte top pattern, the fabric, and the thread for free in exchange for a review. I did not receive monetary compensation for this post. All views are honest and my own. Law jargon etc etc.

  • Cute top! That fabric looks soft and luscious.
    I don’t like sewing with knits as much either, mostly because I have to use my “secondary” machine for the zigzag stitching (as opposed to my beloved straight stitch industrial machine) But at the same time I find the process intensely rewarding because knits are so comfortable to wear and easy to fit. I just finished my first swimsuit and it is the shiz. πŸ™‚
    The main thing in my opinion is to use a walking foot, it stops the seams from getting all wobbly and wonky.

  • What a great blouse! And so good to know about that knit. Pilly knits drive me crazy.

  • Rebecca

    A lovely bronte version! I love how the stripes run horizontally across the neck binding! You inspired me to make this! I also got some weird pulls / folds around the armpit area and for some reason my sleeves nearly cut off my blood circulation – ho hum!

  • Really cute top. And thanks for the link to the organic cotton interlock. I was just recently grumbling about how hard it is to find interlock knits. It seems everywhere I go all I see is jersey jersey jersey. I do like sewing knits but it seems to me that interlocks are much easier than jersey.

  • I love the idea of sewing with knits. I just don’t like the actual process. My machines (yes, have tried them on more than one machine) usually skip stitches (have tried a variety of stitches…and needles…presser foot adjustments) and my results are just blah. I’ll keep trying though, because one of these days I’m going to discover the secret to quick, fun, perfect-fitting knit garments!

  • Very cute! I’m on the fence about knits myself. I’ve made a few different projects with knits and I’ve ended up really enjoying the results…but the process is cumbersome for me. The cutting is a pain…the fabric never wants to lie flat and still. I don’t have a serger, so I just use the stretch stitch on my machine, which works well except for any kind of hemming or top stitching, which ends up looking ripple-y. I’ve looked at various tips on the internet for sewing with knits, but they never seem to produce quite the desired result for me. And they’re always headed with “Use a serger!” Ummm…nope, don’t have one, don’t have the money to get one. Now can we talk in the real world please?

  • Your pants! Love them! Did you make them? If so what pattern did you use and have you done a post on them. I just spent the morning trying to find a pattern similar to these and then you pop up wearing them!

    • Rochelle

      Hi Julie,
      I haven’t yet attempted to sew jeans, these are by a company called Freddies of Pinewood. I wish I could find a similar pattern because they’re awesome! I bet there’s a vintage or reproduction pattern out there somewhere for high-waisted trousers.

  • I’m with you 100% with your dislike of sewing knits! I’ve been sewing heaps of them this year, trying to fill gaps in my wardrobe etc but I just don’t get a lot of satisfaction from them. Once I go back to wovens I realise how much I love the process of those projects. The balancing act between sewing what we wear vs. sewing what we like, I guess.

  • Rebecca

    Thank you for being honest about your love of wovens because I found myself trying really hard to like knits. I, like you, am not afraid in fact it’s not hard for me to sew them, I just don’t like the process either lol Great top though and I will make some Bronte’s because I would totally wear them! :}

  • I don’t like sewing with knits either. For some reason, knits seem to scream at me: “cut me how you want, be a slob if you want to, don’t even bother making the insides nice. whatever, it’s not going to work out.”

    • Rochelle

      Haha! Me too!! It’s so bad. Oh well. We don’t HAVE to like knits πŸ˜‰

  • misscrayolacreepy

    Now I need this pattern! Super cute. And I know I already told you, but I love the “law jargon” haha

    • You should definitely make this one! It would look SO cute on you. …and law jargon etc etc.

  • I was just about to ask the same question, glad I read the comments first. Those are great, I want a pair for the fall.

    • I really love Freddies jeans! Just make sure, if you get a blue denim pair, that you wash them with dark colors. They use really saturated dyes and they tend to run.

  • That is a very wearable top. Good construction. Jo x

  • Really cute top! It looks so perfect with your 40’s style dungarees! I kind of understand your loathing of knits. I feel like even with a serger I struggle to get a professional finish and that kind of bothers me, plus, it just doesn’t feel as intuitive as working with wovens. I guess we all have our strengths!! That being said, I do like mixing it up between knits and wovens – keeps me on my toes!

    • Yeah it doesn’t feel intuitive for me either! In fact, a lot of the time it just feels down right wrong haha! You’re right, we all have our strengths and mine do not stretch πŸ˜‰

  • I love sewing with knits a lot more than I used to since my sister-in-law enlightened me by telling me you can sew all the seams on an overlocker. I made a Renfrew in about 90 minutes using this method…still pretty slow but I’m not a fast sewist!
    Love your Bronte- it’s great!

    • Thanks, Noelle! I think if I had an overlocker specifically for knits I might enjoy sewing with them a little more. A 90 minute Renfrew is really impressive!

  • What a gorgeous version of the Bronte top! I love it and it suits you perfectly! I’ve made it once in plain white and have a couple of long sleeved versions planned, might have to add a thin striped one now! x

    • Thank you! I think little stripes are the way to go. They add some interest without looking too busy. You should definitely make another stripey version πŸ™‚

  • Rochelle, I love the top. It looks great and inspires me to try it as a new sewist! Love your blog too, the photography is gorgeous and you seem like such a lovely gal!

  • Oh my goodness! First, such a cute top! Second, I thought I was the only one that doesn’t like to sew with knits all that much. I completely agree with you! I’m a woven kind of girl!

    • Thank you! And Oh good, it’s not just me!! I’m glad there are other non-knit loving gals out there πŸ™‚

  • stgilbert

    You cute patootie! I love your stripey shirt and grey Freddies πŸ™‚

  • Hello! Very cute top and cute outfit! Can you tell me where your trousers are from or if they’re hand made?

  • Really cute. Looks well made to me!

  • gilliancrafts

    That’s alright – you just leave ALL the knits to me! πŸ˜‰ To be honest, I don’t know if I’d enjoy sewing knits nearly as much without a serger – no needle changing, no tension issues, just super fast sewing. I’m glad your Bronte worked out though! πŸ˜‰

    • Hehe! Now how did I know you were gonna say something like that lol. You make the most amazing knits, Gillian! I have no problem leaving them all to you πŸ˜‰