Finished: Fresh Prince of Bel Air Top

Good basics patterns are worth their weight in gold. Until now, the Renfrew has been my go-to knit top pattern, but I was keen to try a raglan sleeve top for a change.
This pattern sewed up quickly using a combination of my overlocker and regular machine. Well, saying that, I did make a pretty major error, which caused me to pack up my sewing gear in a sulk for a day or two...

After cutting the piece for the front, back and sleeves, I was merrily sewing them together on my overlocker, enjoying one of those rare moments when the overlocker tension is perfect first time (joy!). However I wasn't being thorough enough about checking what I was doing, and this happened:
I confused the sleeves and body pieces, and sewed the front and back pieces to themselves like they were sleeves. Argh!

As I'd done this on the overlocker, cutting off excess, there really was no comeback. Girl Charlee saw my woe via Instagram and kindly offered to send me some more but happily I had enough fabric left to cut the project again.
 Picture taken in the bathroom of our flat before we moved - I finished this months ago!

Here are the pattern stats:

Simplicity 1317, a raglan sleeved top

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love knit tops and didn't have a raglan pattern already. I like the Grainline top, but this was much cheaper (£4 in a Simplicity sale). As with all Big 4, there was loads of ease, so I checked the finished measurements and cut a size Small. This is perfect size-wise, although I could probably do with extra shoulder room due to my wide shoulders.

Fabric & Notions
Monochrome geometric french terry from Girl Charlee (see here) plus fine black cotton ribbing from Tissu fabrics (here). I loved the fabric design and it does indeed have a 90s feel to it, as my Current Husband picked up on, hence the project name. The black ribbing was nice to prevent it become a pattern riot when cutting bands for the cuffs, neck and hem. I think it gives a lovely neat and professional look.

I'd never used french terry before so I was intrigued to see what t was like to work with. It was lighter weight that I expected as I'd thought this top would be like a sweatshirt but really it is more like a regular knit/jersey top. The fabric also doesn't really stretch much, a bit less than recommended for the pattern, but it worked ok. 
Pattern alterations or any design changes
None - I could have added length to the arms but I was being lazy so made it as is.

Would you sew it again and do anything different next time?
I'd definitely make it again and make the shoulders a little wider and maybe add a bit of arm length.

Did you use any new techniques?
I hadn't used ribbing before to finish neckline, cuffs and bottom band, though I have used bands to finish a knit top, like on the Renfrew. This ribbing felt lovely but was difficult to cut straight as the rib was fine, black so hard to see, plus the piece had been cut poorly so I was working against a wonky edge!

Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, definitely
Pattern £4
Fabric Free (usually £6.95/m)
Ribbing £3.50/m + £3 P&P

Total £10.50 for pattern and ribbing but I will definitely use the pattern again plus have loads of ribbing left

I'll definitely be making more and will probably use it to make both t-shirts and heavier sweater-weight tops. Raglan sleeves are easy to sew (provided you don't get your pieces confused, ahem!) and this can be whipped up fairly quickly.

This could easily be lengthened into a simple dress too, so I might give that a try at some point.

K x

*The fabric was sent to me for free by Girl Charlee for review. All opinions (and sewing mishaps) my own*


  1. This seems like a really great transition to spring piece. Love the choice of fabrics.

  2. Love the print! Cool fabric.

  3. This is fabulous. You look great in it. I have been ogling this pattern for Sprogzilla for a while and you have definitely made up my mind. It is lovely and I love your fabric choice, very fashion forward. I think I had something like that in the 80's (I was VERY young at the time) *ahem* :) Xx

  4. This is lovely! I didn't immediately think 90s when I saw this but I guess the print kind of is. I really like how it looks with the black ribbing. I've just bought some but haven't tried using it yet. I bet you'll get so much use out this pattern. I've now got fresh prince of bel air theme song stuck in my head!

  5. Love the top in that print! Mistaking the body for the sleeves is the kind of mistake I'm always making - so painful:( Glad you still had enough fabric left to complete the project.

  6. Fab top, I'm sure you'll make more. I made the same mistake as you when I made a similar raglan sleeved top. So easy to confuse the body for a sleeve!

  7. Cute!! I didn't get the Fresh Prince reference right away either...but now that you point it out...

  8. I love this, the print and shape are fabulous. I'm scared of overlockers, good for you for going back and giving it another go after the initial mishap! x

  9. What a lovely make! You've done a really good job on it and it's interesting to see what a difference proper ribbing makes to the finished garment. I've also got this pattern although I haven't yet sewn anything using it. I think I bought it during the last half price offer. I might have to have another look at it!

  10. Cute! Love a good basic! Confused why you couldn't just unpick the overlocking on the mis-sewn pieces? You can sew overlocked seams back together at the small seam allowance, I've done it! And there's an easy way to unpick overlocking. Do you know it? Anyway, cute top and love the ribbing. I've never used ribbing on a garment :)


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