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Stretch Denim Bristol Top and my Inspiration Emancipation

Stretch Denim Bristol Top and my Inspiration Emancipation

So, I had this brilliant idea for a stretch denim top that ended up looking awful...

When you get that perfect inspiration idea and can't stop thinking about it, you can't wait to jump in and make your vision come to life! And sometimes when you're busy that idea has to stay on hold for longer than you would like. Then it seems to grow and become more of an obsession. This is how my stretch denim Bristol top started. 


After seeing great raw edge denim treatments all over, I wanted to make the Bristol top with the seams sewn to the outside so they would fray perfectly and make the unique lines of the garment really interesting. 

I tested seams on a swatch of my fabric and quickly realized it wasn't going to do what I initially envisioned. I knew stretch denim edges would roll, but I didn't think about the fact that edges of knit fabrics don't fray. I wasn't going to have my cool frayed seams. 

I still thought there was a chance my inspiration would shine through with rolled edge seams. The problem was, rolled edges only happen on certain grainlines. And the Bristol top style lines aren't all on the same grainline. 

After trying to ignore my instincts that the test swatch looked terrible, my husband confirmed that it did. It was very hard for me to let go of this idea because I'd been living with it for so long!

​I had to start back at the beginning of my inspiration: my fabric! I was drawn to this Organic Cotton Knit Denim ever since we got it in the shop. We also carry it in black. What makes denim jeans look unique? Topstitching! I had my answer and was finally able to let my previous inspiration go.

​Testing your fabric and stitches is so important. It's a step I don't always like to do, but in this case it saved my project. Not only did it help me realize how awful my external seams would look, but it helped me perfect my topstitching. I used heavy topstitching thread on one side, and regular thread on the other and changed my machine settings quite a bit to get a perfect stitch. 

By the way, if you're not following us on Pinterest, do yourself a favor! There are so many ideas to see! Our Denim Dream board is a great place to start.

Erin found this Karen Walker look from the Pre-Fall 2016 collection that we love. A denim Bristol top paired with West End pants perhaps?

What's your latest inspiration? Perhaps you have one that needs to be set free? Share with us in the comments below!


Working with a Border Print
Sew Confident! March 2016

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