‘Locked and loaded

Its finally here!

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I’ve been talking about making a long sleeved merino version of the Megan Nielsen Briar top since my first post on this blog, and here she finally is! Just in time for another cold snap. Its like I planned it this way…

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The most exciting thing about this top is that its the first thing i’ve ever made on an overlocker! I’m borrowing one from my not-quite-MIL, and it was surprisingly easy to figure out how to work. The only thing that freaked me out was how expensive the thread was! It cost me over $40 for the four cones of polyester thread, I almost passed out at the till! Next time I’ll look at spotlight, rather than the local craft supplies shop, and see if its any cheaper…

I only made a few changes from the first version I made, the major one was taking almost two inches out of the centre back. It fits much more snugly across the back of my shoulders now, which is nice. The merino is also slightly more stretchy than the cotton I used for version 1. I used the neck binding option again, just because I prefer how it looks. I should try making a standard neckband one day! Instead of putting a pocket on my Briar, I used the curved pocket pattern piece and cut two out of some super thin, soft leather to use as shoulder patches.

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I topstitched the leather down just using standard cotton and my usual machine needle, as the leather was so fine and soft that I didn’t feel like I needed anything special! I really like the way the leather looks with the merino, it lifts it up a bit, and makes it less ordinary.

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The only part of this top that I’m less than thrilled with is the hem, its just a bit wobbly. The bobbin tension seems to have been a bit off, as there is a bit of a pucker between the lines of stitching from the twin needle. i’m not entirely sure how that happened, as the sleeve hem is perfect, and I didn’t fiddle with anything between sewing those and the hem! I may unpick it and re-sew it, I’ll see how much it annoys me when I’m wearing it! Its a brilliant pattern, I’m sure this won’t be my last Briar…

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I’m so excited about my overlocker success, its going to make my plan of a winter snuggled up in many layers of merino wool much more achievable!

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My finished Briar

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I actually finished my Briar several days ago, but we’ve had the most ridiculous stormy weather (for mid summer) so I hadn’t had a chance to get any photos until yesterday afternoon, when the sun finally appeared! I’m so pleased with how it turned out, it was such an easy pattern to follow. I can’t believe I wasted so much time avoiding knit fabric, it turned out to be just fine to sew. The fabric I chose is so soft and drapey, its lovely to wear. I ended up cutting the hem straight, as I just wanted something really basic. I also used the neck binding option the pattern offers, rather than a neck band, which I think looks really nice. (Seriously, i can’t get over how well this turned out, its going to be in high rotation in my wardrobe this summer!) My only major mistake was sewing on the pocket, I was a bit over eager to get going and didn’t really think about where I was putting it. Once I had it all beautifully sewn down, I held the front piece up to my chest and realised that it was so far around the side of my breast that it was practically in my armpit! Not ideal. When I unpicked it, there were still needle holes from the old seam, but they seem to be fading back into the fabric. Lesson learned, I’ll pin, check and then sew next time!

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(Fur ball Oscar wouldn’t be shifted, so he ended up in the photo too)

I’m already planning my next Briar! I definitely think I’ll make a long sleeved version up in merino wool before it starts to get cold again. For the next one, I think I’ll go down a size, and look at taking an inch or so out of the centre back, as there’s quite a lot of spare fabric there. I don’t mind that in this one, as its a nice loose shape anyway, but for winter I’d like it to be slightly more tailored. I have really narrow shoulders, so I have to do that for most top patterns. I’ll have to practice with my topstitching with the twin needle first, some of my hemming is a bit wobbly…

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Bonus shot with both of the fur balls!