I wore my new Megan Nielsen Briar top to drop off my son at summer school this week, and I felt like I was nailing that “effortlessly cool mom” look.
My clothes said, “Oh hey, I know all the best playgrounds AND hip local coffee shops.”
I was winning at style for the day. I wasn’t wearing workout clothes OR a graphic T-shirt AND I was still comfortable.
My victory is thanks to the Briar top. I love it more than I thought I would. Let’s talk about it; the playground or coffee shop works fine for me. 😉 It’s my June make for Project #SewMyStyle.
Why the Megan Nielsen Briar top works for me
This Megan Nielsen Briar top checks my core style descriptors (as established in Part 1 of my Wardrobe Architect series):
Colorful: The blue stripes are my favorite color.
Classic: Stripes: the original pattern.
Lean: It’s long and lean.
Playful: Can I chase my sons in it? YEP. And I think the pocket is a playful detail.
I also adore the shape of the hem. The high-low hem mimics the tuck-in-front-untuck-in-back look for shirts that’s having a moment. The hem follows the curves of my body, especially how it drops below the booty. Subtle and flattering.
Construction details for the Megan Nielsen Briar top
Here’s a deeper dive into fabric, stripe matching, and future Briar tops:
I used a poly-rayon blend hacci knit from Mood for my Megan Nielsen Briar top. It doesn’t stretch much on the grain but is plenty stretchy on the cross-grain. It’s lightweight and perfect for garments that aren’t too form fitting. (I could see the polyester content of this fabric trapping heat like mad.)
I took a lot of care to crush those stripes. (I mean, look at that stripe matching! I’m high fiving myself. No shame.)
Good, old Elmer’s glue stick and Wonder Tape (affiliate links) were lifesavers, especially for working with a knit, which is floppy by nature and resistant to folds/creases. I stuck stripes in place and didn’t look back.
I also cut my pattern pieces flat (vs. on the fold) so I could best manage stripe placement. It takes a little extra time to make full-size paper pattern pieces, but it’s SO much easier for stripe matching.
I took care to match stripes from the shirt to the sleeves. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn close. Maybe even as close as you can get with these stripes. (I’m new to matching stripes across sleeves, so I’m a poor judge. Can someone clue me in?) Seamwork’s article on matching stripes like a boss guided me!
The only place my stripes don’t match are on my neck binding, and I can live with that. I didn’t make the effort. A little imperfection is good for a perfectionist every now and again.
In case you’re not familiar, the Briar top has options for a cropped version and for three-quarter and full-length sleeves. Along with probably making more T-shirts, I’m definitely making long-sleeved versions for cool weather. I have some delicious Merino wool from The Fabric Store burning a hole in my stash.
In focus: How I hemmed the Briar top
The Briar top is not a new pattern, which means there are a lot of sewists who’ve made (and blogged about) this shirt. I thought, “When I blog about this for my June Project #SewMyStyle, what tips could I possibly share? This ground is COVERED.”
The thing I can share with you is how I hemmed this lovely knit top — with (dun-dun-DUN!) WOVEN bias tape!
I was inspired by Indiesew’s Allie Olson. She shared on Instagram how finishing edges with bias is her favorite. It is a clean way to finish, and I wondered if I could use some of my recently made Liberty of London bias tape on the Briar’s hem. I thought a pop of color inside the curved hem would be a sweet detail.
The reason I thought it might work is because the Liberty Tana lawn from which I made the bias is lightweight, and I prepared it as single bias tape (this pic shows single vs. single-fold vs. double-fold bias tapes). Single bias tape is sewn-together bias strips folded in half with long (raw) edges matching.
I tested the bias-tape finish on scrap fabric and found it worked — and added gentle mass to the hem. So I went ahead.
If you’d like a detailed blog post (and maybe even video!) on how I used woven bias tape to finish a knit hem, please let me know in comments!
Over to you: Have you made a Megan Nielsen Briar top? If yes, what iteration did you stitch? There are so many options! What’s your tried-and-true T-shirt pattern? Please sound off in comments.
P.S. It was SO NICE this week to have a sewing win after last week’s M6696 drama. I’ve been researching fitting like a scientist and have not given up on the shirt dress!
P.P.S. If you’re curious, here’s how I first used the Liberty of London lawn, in a Sew Caroline Larchmont T.
P.P.P.S. Check out the other garments I’ve made so far this year for Project #SewMyStyle:
Cali Faye Collection Pocket skirt + How to use basting tape like a pro
Bridgetown backless, the forever dress
Becoming a (Manila) leggings person for Project #SewMyStyle
Named Saunio cardigan: Harder than it looks
Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater #2: The stylish sweatshirt