Ginger Made: Briar Top!

Hey, guys!  It feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve had a finished garment to show you!  I finished this up a week or so ago, but didn’t have a chance to take any photos.  And I’ve been feeling kind of tired, sad, and unmotivated the last few weeks, so I haven’t been working very quickly or efficiently (and on top of that, I’ve strayed from my promise to sew one project at a time and am working on four different projects right now, which doesn’t make for very speedy sewing).  But at least I have something finished and I have a new top just in time for spring weather!

Look at the pretty trees! Spring is finally here!

This is Megan Nielsen‘s Briar Top pattern.  It’s a simple, easy pattern, perfect for beginners, but it’s super trendy and cute.  There are two lengths to choose from, one cropped and one longer (I chose the longer), three sleeve lengths (short, 3/4, and long), and two pockets to choose from, one rounded and one square.  Megan also gives directions for finishing the neckline with a band or a binding, and there are photo tutorials on her blog for each style.

Pretend like a giant gust of wind didn’t destroy my hair right before this shot! This shows the graduated hemline and pocket best (I’m posting unflattering photos for you people!).

Here’s where things got hairy.  I bought this super cool burnout tissue jersey from Fabrics for Less when I shopped with Lauren and Oona last month.  I love how it looks and feels (it’s crazy soft), but it was a total pain in the butt to sew with.  I couldn’t for the life of me settle on a tension that made my machine happy, so the hems aren’t as pretty as I would like.  I consulted my Fabric Sewing Guide, which quoted Sandra Betzina as recommending a zigzag stitch with a 0.5 mm width and 2.5 mm length.  I tried this with different tensions, the lower the better, but still didn’t get a perfect look.  Placing paper between the presser foot and the fabric definitely helped, but it was really tough to do that on the curved hems. I don’t recommend using tissue paper, though, unless you enjoy pulling shredded bits of soft paper out of the seams with tweezers.  The plain white banner paper that I use for tracing patterns worked best, although Michele at Mood recommends keeping a roll of cash register paper next to your sewing machine (seems like a great idea to me!).

Line up paper with the edge of your fabric (immediately beneath the presser foot), and sew as you normally would.

Another unpleasant side effect of using really thin jersey is that it rolls like a mother.  I couldn’t keep the edges flat as they were going under the presser foot, so I had to unpick and redo the neck binding several times to make sure it looked even.  Again, it’s not perfect, but I can live with it.  This thin jersey is really rumply and wrinkly, too, so it looks a little messy when you wear it.  :(

Another thing I’m not sure about is this length on me.  For some reason tunic-type tops make me feel like I look like a tube.  Next time I make this I may try shortening the back so it hits higher up on my hips, maybe 5″ or so.  I’ll lose some of the fun hi/lo hemline, but I guess I could always shorten the front a teensy bit, too.

Overall, I like this top.  It’s cozy and pretty, and I received compliments from the first two people who saw me in it at work.  I failed to take into account the fact that it’s too sheer to wear without something underneath, so I may need to whip up a couple of tank tops as I only have one in my wardrobe that works.  I’m really looking forward to future versions of this pattern.  It’s no-fuss and easy to wear, but I don’t feel like a total slob in a t-shirt when I wear it.

What are you guys working on these days?  Any exciting projects?

Don’t mind me; I’m a fashion blogger lost in dreamy, dreamy thoughts.


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148 responses to “Ginger Made: Briar Top!

  1. Hehehe! I love your last pic!

    This is very cute! Bummer that it was such a pain to make, but you got a good result!

  2. That fabric is FAB! It looks really spectacular as a Briar.

  3. Gorgeous top. Inspired me to tackle jersey! Hope the motivation comes back!

    • You can do it! It really is nice to sew with jersey– it’s fast, requires little to no fitting, and you don’t even have to finish seams! I just recommend using jerseys with a little more heft to them when you’re starting out. :D

  4. I really like your Briar top! To me it doesn’t look like you need to shorten it – it’s quite flattering as is but you know yourself what you’re comfortable with :) I really want to make up this pattern before the summer is out!

  5. Beautiful top, but oh no! I bought that same fabric (in white) and I was hoping to make a tunic out of it soon. Hopefully I’ll have better luck with my machine… I’ll definitely be referencing your tips when the time comes.

  6. Looks fabulous! Well done for tackling the fabric – sounds tricky. I don’t think I’ve seen this length before. I’d like to see you in the cropped version as well, as a layering piece. Any plans to make that one?

  7. The fabric is darling and made for a cute top–too bad it was a pain :( the cash register paper sounds brilliant! I’ve done the tissue paper before, and it really is a pain to pull out of the seam–better than throwing a project in the trash though! ;) cute boots–I like how they pair with the lacey top!

    • Thanks, girl! It really is easier to pull out paper that’s a little stiffer. And thanks– I love these boots! I saved my pennies and got a fancy pair as I’m sick to death of cheaper boots falling apart after a year.

  8. Christina

    I love it! It’s super cute, I’m headed over to check out the pattern right now!

  9. Well, I think it looks fantastic on you! Sorry to hear it was a challenging make, but it really turned out great. I really admire that you sewed such a perfect patch pocket on in that fabric, yikes.

  10. I know how it is to hate the way you look in something, but those pictures must be deceiving because I think this looks REALLY good on you – no tube worries! I think the curved hemline helps. And yaay I’m so glad you found a use for that burnout jersey… you’re making me regret not buying some too, haha :)

    Also, I have tops like that (sheer-ish, with a really busy print) that I just, uhm, wear a nude bra under hahaha. No one can tell the difference, esp if your waistband is high enough to hide your belly button :) Just sayin!

    • Haha, bet you wish you had some now! ;) I think it’s always a little strange to wear a new shape. I liked it more after wearing it all day at work yesterday.

      I’m gonna try to get away with just a nude bra cause I don’t really love layering. :)

  11. I love the fabric and the top turned out great! Sorry to hear you’re feeling out of it, hope things are better soon :)

  12. Oh snap – I’m finishing off my Briar this evening! Even though you had issues with the jersey, you can’t tell – it looks great! I think the length looks good, but I guess it’s down to how you feel wearing it.

  13. Sorry to hear you’ve been feeling sad – hope you’re okay. I think I bought a very similair fabric when I went shopping with Oona! She said you’d all been buying it up. I shall brace myself when I start working with it! Yours looks lovely, though.

    • Thanks, girl! I totally forgot to link to your sewing with knits post– I’ll have to post a roundup of all the resources I looked at because yours was particularly helpful! Did you get the white or the mint? It’s such a pretty fabric, and the shop owner gave us an “Oona discount”. :)

      • HA. i think “oona discount” means “maybe she’ll stop talking.”

        how did i miss this? i LOVE it. was it because i was mired in taxes?? i had a go with mine, too, avec serger. we should plan a burnout day.

  14. puu

    i actually really like the back length, because it makes your bum look awesome :-)…maybe you would lose some of that tube-feeling with a shorter front hem? i hope the transition to nicer weather is helping your energy level. i feel your pain and could also use a major boost in the mojo department.

    • Thanks, Devra! I’m thinking I may raise the front up just a tad. It is a beautiful day today– that made me feel better this morning despite the sad news day yesterday.

  15. Great top! Love the fabric, as well. I recall you were having trouble on Twitter sewing it, But, it seems to have finally worked out, congrats! Spring will likely lighten everybody’s mood. End of a looooong winter always has that depressing effect.

  16. Lovely top and well done for persevering with that fabric. It sounds like a pain to sew with but the end result is very pretty. I hope you are feeling more cheerful now and spring is coming your way. :) What am I working on? A second Tova top, haven’t blogged the first yet. Plus I just inherited a pretty plaid cotton and so I am plotting what to make from it….

  17. Love the fabric! Looks super cute. Perfect for skinny jeans or even leggings. I look forward to seeing other versions on you. I just finished my first pair of Ma Cherie French Knickers from Mrs. Depew. They turned out a little large, but I can’t wait to churn out a few more! Other than that I have some shorts waiting to be cut out and I desperately need to sew some tops.

    • Oooh, fun! I’ve never sewed underwear, but it seems like fun to make! Did you like the pattern?

      • I did! I ended up making them to large, so I had to make some adjustments and now they look more like really short running shorts. :) One reason I look forward to making a few more pairs! I should be doing a post about it in the next few days.

  18. I just bought the briar pattern yesterday! I think I am going make a comfy sweater version ! :)

  19. Sonja this is gorgeous! I am in love with both the color and the print of that fabric and just for the record, I think the length looks great! It looks really cute on you and definitely un-tubelike. ha great job girl!

    • Thanks, Haylee! I always feel funny when I wear new shapes. Maybe it just takes some time to get used to wearing a different style! This pink color would look super pretty on you, girl!

  20. It looks great, which I guess is the reward for going through such hassle. I hear you on the being a little down side. It’s normal (and even good for us) but it sure can suck all the motivation out of the room.

    • Thanks, Adelaide. I usually try to force myself to work on stuff when I’m feeling down in the hopes that it will make me perk up again, but sometimes it just leads to some really joyless sewing. :/

  21. Looks gorgeous Hun, worth the fight to make it! I hope you’re feeling a little happier and that whatever was bugging you is sorted or being sorted? Holler if you need to!
    I’m working on Ava at the moment and plan on using Michelle’s till roll tip with the charmeuse element… I’m almost done with the fitting and then it’ll be time for silk and lace!
    Oh, and a wedding veil. Veil done, a gazillion crystals to go!

    • Thanks, girl! Dude– serious props to you for using charmeuse! Hope it’s going smoothly! That stuff is scary! :)

      Crossing my fingers that the veil goes quickly! What an undertaking! You’re such a sweet sister!

  22. I love the fabric! But sorry it was hard to work with. I altered the briar a little bit, too. Though I love me a hi-low hem, it worked better with my shape when the hi-low-ness was more subtle. I’ve been wanting to sew up a few more Briars to participate in MMM’13 but I don’t think I’ll have the time :( because my parents are visiting for my birthday :)

  23. Well, you would never know it was a challenge. The top looks fabulous on you, great job. What about a denim (or other color) button-up shirt under the top instead of a tank for something different?

  24. It looks really cute and well done for persevering with it, sewing with that fabric sounds like a serious pain in the ass.

    • Thanks, Kerry! I’m glad I sewed with it now because I learned a lot about sewing with tricky knits, but it will be a while before I tackle another one that thin again! :)

  25. Love the pattern it looks great on you! shame the fabric was a pain but it looks lovely nonetheless :)
    I’m not working on anything purely because I’m moving house but I’ve got so many things I want to make and I’m itcing to sew typical really haha!

  26. I really like this on you. Despite all the problems you had it totally doesn’t show. Like you I’m working on about four different things at the moment, despite the fact that I said I’d finish stuff before starting more stuff. Such is life…Anyway I hope you’re feeling less sad and more motivated now :)

    • Thanks, lady! Do you feel more unorganized when you work on multiple projects? I don’t know if it’s just me and the way I have my workspace set up or what, but I always feel like I’m surrounded by chaos when I have a few things going at once. I finished another one of the four late last night, and cleaning up the room a bit this morning before work made me feel so much calmer!

      • Hi! Late to check my comments, as usual:) I live in organised chaos, I understand where it all is and what it’s for but to everyone else it just looks a mess. I must admit I do tell myself every time that I won’t start anything else until I’ve finished a couple of things. Doesn’t seem to work though.

  27. aw sorry to hear you’re feeling blue *hugs*

    your top looks great, you might grow to like the length, it looks great, not tubular at all, sometimes a new shape just feels odd at first!

    • Thanks, Lou! I think you’re right– it takes some getting used to when you start wearing a new shape. The first time I wore skinny jeans I just thought, “ummm… no…”, but now I actually like the way they balance out slouchier tops. It’s nice that our style can evolve a bit, isn’t it?

  28. ooh I’ve not seen this pattern. Me likey!! Really like that fabric.

  29. Hey you cutie, I hope this is a sign that you’re feeling a bit better. I think the fabric and style are so beckoning spring, and better times! I love the burnout, I love that black underneath, and I love the casual shapely hem. Big hugs, and look what you’ve made! Xx

  30. Gosh that fabric did you a run for your money! The top looks great, so it was worth the effort. A briar is on top of my sewing list at the moment. I’m thinking the shorter version, but I change my mind about these things ALL the time until I cut the cloth!

  31. Oooh, love this! I totally didn’t realise Briar came in two different lengths! Haha!

  32. I like the idea of using cash register paper, after all it means you need to fabric shop to get it, yes?

  33. Sorry to hear you have been feeling down. Hopefully this awesome new top has gotten you out of your funk. It really is a lovely colour, and the style looks great on you.

  34. Neat-O. I really like this top.

  35. It’s so pretty — and you match all the cherry blossoms right now! I too struggle with sewing that type of supersoft, rolling-edges, burnout jersey, but yours came out so well that it was totally worth it! And I love the little pocket!

  36. Hey honey!!
    Glad to see a finished project post :) It looks great, hopefully this means u have found ur mojo :P
    I know I have FINALLY found mine after 4 or so months!!
    Keep it up baby girl x

  37. Sorry you’ve been feeling down :( Hope having a brand new, cute top, that DOESN’T look like a tube on you has made you feel a little better. Love it, and the color!

  38. I like the shape of this top (would be nice for your sister).

    • I was thinking so, too! I didn’t know if it would be flattering on her, which is why I wanted to sew one up and see how it turned out, but I think she would really like this!

  39. After you finished posing, did you go to the nail spa salon? The one behind you on the photos? hehe :) I know what you mean by lack of motivation. If I were you I’d get together with somebody for a “sewing session”. Sometimes seeing somebody sew and exchanging ideas bring the motivation back!

    • Heeheehee, I should have! It’s on my block! :) I love your idea– you’re totally right. It’s so much more fun to sew with another person. You spend less time troubleshooting and more time encouraging! Gotta find a sewing buddy!

  40. Looks cute:) you look great in it, seem a couple of briars around now, might have to get on that train..
    I’m also working on 4 things at once lol..which generally means none will be finished soon.. damit

  41. I love the burnout fabric. I’ve just made my first Briar and have 2 more cut out – love them :-) I made the crop first which I love but am trying the length you did next. Thanks for the inspiration, I think I might try a textured fabric after these. It’s such a great pattern!

  42. It looks great! We are always our own worst critics :)

    • Oh, that’s so true. It’s hard, isn’t it? I try to strike a balance between obsessing over details and settling for sloppy work, but I don’t always hit the right balance. :)

  43. Pretty sure you aced that lacy jersey like a boss. Like a lovely sewing boss.

  44. I love the colour on you! It’s the perfect spring colour :)

  45. Meraj

    Hey, that’s a lovely top and it looks good on you — and it’s easy to wear, which is just as important, right? x) Hope you’re beginning to feel better now! (Also: Spring, hooray!)

  46. Love the burnout pattern – so pretty!

  47. Love the fabric even if it was a total pain to work with. I didn’t realise that the Briar came in a longer length – I’ve been put off the shorter one for fear of it emphasising any excess round the belly! The longer length looks great and I think it will also look good if you shorten it a little at the back as planned. Sorry to hear that you’ve been feeling blue and I hope things start improving for you :-)

  48. Super cut top, and this post just highlights why I don’t sew with knits. ;)

    And I, too, am working on 4 projects at once! (Isn’t that fun!? LOL). Anyways, the most pressing one is my swing dance dress for the 1940s luncheon I’m going to this weekend. Gah, can’t wait!

  49. Burnout is totally on trend – I really like your hand-made take on this high street trend. Sounds like a pain to work with but finished garment is neat so worth your toiling over.

  50. Ooh, very pretty! Love the fabric but I don’t envy the troubles you had with it!

  51. What a versatile little top – even if it was badly behaved during it’s making. Love the hi-lo hem on you – and the last pic totally giggle-worthy! :P

  52. Great top! Perfect fabric for the Briar and it’s a lovely colour on you!

  53. I’m right there with you in the ‘unmotivated’ team, but this top is SO cute!

    I’m not 100% sold on the high-low hem for me, (I have the feeling that the low hem at the back might accentuate my woefully big bum) but I think this looks really great on you! I’m not surprised you got compliments!

    This fabric is so lovely too! I’m glad you persevered with it!!

  54. This is the perfect casual tee! I love love love that fabric! The print is so interesting and that color is gorgeous!

  55. it looks so nice on you, especially with all the pretty blossoms behind you as well :)

    • Thanks, Cathy! The blossoms were such a nice surprise– we moved into this apartment last year in June, and the trees weren’t in bloom then, so it was so fun to see the blooms appear this spring!

  56. leuinda

    Lovely! I have made two burn-out tops and I loved the fabric each time, until I had to sew it. Arg. Very frustrating but you have such a great end result here!

  57. It’s lovely! So perfect for spring. The fabric is really pretty. I love burnout jersey. I can relate to what a pain it is to sew such thin jersey. It was well worth the trouble, though. You look adorable.

  58. Well, I LOVE it! I’m going to find some burnout jersey NOW!

  59. Pretty, pretty! But I hear you about burnout jersey–so frustrating. I’m having vague memories of recently reading that you can starch the cut edges of your jersey to help with the roll problem. But you have to wash it out, of course, before wearing. Can’t remember where I read it though. . .

    I think the shape really looks good on you–and I’m very tube-conscious! :)

    • That sounds like a good solution. I’ve heard about using fabric stabilizer spray on silks, and it seems like it would work well on something like this. Gotta give that a try!

  60. Rachel Pinheiro

    Now I got to make this top… Off to buy the pattern,,, all your fault, gorgeous

  61. I actually love the length of the back. I think it looks great. If anything I would echo that in front. Thanks for the tip on the register tape. I’ll keep some on hand for when I sew jersey/knit

  62. Really really cute, great job working with that thin jersey. Love a good jersey tee. Planning summer dresses over here!

  63. I love this!!! My favorite part are the different lengths on the front and back!

  64. LOVE this top! The fabric is adorable, great color! I want it!

  65. I think it looks amazing-what an amazing job you did! I like the high low look on you, you’re no tube, LOL. You’re skinny-embrace it girly. Can’t wait to see what you make next, and now I must browse fashion fabric……sigh.

  66. I love this outfit!! I’ve been hesitant to click buy on this one, but just like with Belladone, you might have convinced me!

  67. Liz

    This is so cute on you – not like a tube at all! I really like this top on everyone else, but pretty sure it would make me look dumpy/frumpy. You, however look fabulous. Great fabric too.

  68. I love this top. It seems like something I would pull from the closet at least once a week. Something simple yet a bit of twist is always great! By the way, I have the Drape Drape3 book too! I haven’t made anything from the book yet, but it is just a pretty book that I like to stare at:p

  69. Tiffany

    Pretty, pretty fabric! I found the same thing with the length- the long was really long, and the short one too cropped. I cut mine in the middle, I think six inches longer than the short version. Sorry you’re feeling low, hope the return of sunshine helps!

  70. Erin

    I recently had a problem with a light weight milliskin hem. My far more experienced Aunt admonished me to stop being a wuss about twin needle hemming. I used the narrowest distance between the needles and the thing hemmed up like a dream. I highly recommend it! I didn’t even have to use hand wound wooly nylon on the bobbin.

  71. Love the fabric! Doesn’t it suck that some of the cutest fabrics are the biggest pains to work with???

  72. Rad work, lady! This is all kinds of awesome and I love the colour on you. Bummer about the lack of singlets/tanks in your wardrobe for wearing underneath. I swear those things breed in the back of your closet but when you want them *poof* they’ve disappeared in a haze of smoke.

  73. kazzthespazz

    I like this length, you’d probably like the proportions better if you were to wear heels? Love the fabric and the colour suits you. Another win, go you :)

  74. Pingback: Briar T-Shirt – Megan Nielsen | Bobbins Boutique

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