introducing the liesl + co maritime top

It’s my pleasure to finally introduce you to our three new Liesl + Co. patterns!

I’ve been wearing and enjoying all of these styles for almost a year now, and I’ve sewn many versions of each style to try out different options and ideas. Honestly, I still haven’t grown tired of them! I wore these styles all over Spain last summer, all through this past winter, and I’m still wearing them this spring as part of my core wardrobe. These new styles are designed to work as basics without being too basic. They’re versatile and will work well with many other items in your wardrobe and in our pattern range. They can all be sewn with a variety of fabrics, and they’ve all received rave reviews from our testers, who were just as excited about them as I am. I hope you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of them.

As you know, these are the first Liesl + Co. patterns available in paper.  If they sell well we’ll be able to release more, so we would be really appreciative if you would help to get the word out about these patterns: tell your friends, your local fabric stores, and spread it around on the internet as well. Your support is so important to us, and word-of-mouth referrals are so much more helpful to us than any advertising and self-promotion we can do.

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The first of the new styles which will be released next Monday is the Maritime Knit Top. If you’re a fan of the classic Breton top, or La Mariniere, you’ll love this pattern, which was inspired by the Breton but has a more fitted and feminine style.

 

LC016MT-D

 

The pattern has a bateau neck and a slightly dropped shoulder to give it a relaxed feeling, but without the oversized, sometimes sloppy fit of the traditional Mariniere. The classic bateau neck is not too high, so it’s more comfortable and flattering to wear, and it’s sewn with a neck facing that makes it really easy to sew (no fiddly bits and narrow bindings) and allows you to do a little topstitching for a great detail. You can even make the facing from woven fabric to give the top a little more structure and stability if you like. You can also do interesting things with the neck facing, as I’ll show you next week. This style also includes a little side vent detail, just for fun and to make it look even more special, and you can make it in 3/4-length sleeves or short sleeves. But most important is the fit: not too tight and not too slouchy. This is the part that our testers were especially excited about.

 

MaritimeFront-copy

 

MaritimeSide

 

The pattern includes instructions for adding a bust dart if you have a fuller bust or if you want to sew the pattern from a woven and need a little more room through the bust. It’s an easy change to make and will allow you to customize the pattern to your liking.

You know there’s a whole history behind La Mariniere, yes? To summarize, it originated in Brittany in 1858 as the uniform of the French navy. The jersey cotton or wool jumper had 21 stripes to symbolize each of Napoleon’s victories over the British, but the stripes also helped to make sailors more visible when they fell overboard. (I’m hoping this didn’t happen too often, but it’s nice that the folks in charge were interesting in finding them, at least!) Coco Chanel, that clever woman, took inspiration from the striped pullover and included it in her 1917 collection, forever changing the look of women’s fashion and elevating workwear to couture status, as she often did with her innovative designs. (For all intents and purposes, Madamoiselle invented sportswear as we know it.) Then, in the 1960s, folks like Jean Seberg and Brigitte Bardot adopted the Breton stripe as part of the French New Wave cinema uniform. It’s been worn by Audrey Hepburn and all your favorite style icons. And now stripes are considered an essential item in the basic French wardrobe, and in many other people’s wardrobes, too.

Here is a photo from yesterday when I wore one of my Maritime Knit Tops with a gold metallic linen Lisette B6128 A-line skirt for Me Made May.

 

May-5

 

I’d wear my Maritime top almost every day if I could. In fact, I have two identical Maritime tops because I wear it so often. I wear it with all sorts of skirts, trousers, and jeans; under jackets and sweaters; and with scarves and classic jewelry. It’s such a versatile piece! If you need a little inspiration, there’s a whole tumblr page devoted to the Breton stripe top. I challenge you to not find a look you love in this collection. I’ve been collecting photos on the Liesl + Co Styling Ideas Pinterest board, too. And here it is with S and Flat S during our trip to Spain last summer. (I’ll introduce you to the skirt tomorrow.)

 

Plaça d'Espanya

 

In terms of fabrics, my favorite way to sew this style is with the classic St. James striped knit, which is a really stable knit that comes in a wide variety of stripe colors and combinations. This fabric is perfect for this style! You can find it here, here, and here, and if you know other sources  please feel free to leave them in the comments to help others locate this great fabric. But don’t be afraid to sew the pattern with regular cotton jersey as well as with slinky knits. It will even work with drapey wovens if you’re so inclined!

Here it is in a drapey nailhead jersey, with color-blocked sleeves and back. This is where you can get really creative with a style like this, but I’ll talk more about that next week.

 

nailhead-maritime-tee

 

nailhead-maritime-side

 

I even sewed it with a baby waffle weave cotton, which has a much stiffer hand, and it still worked! I’ll take a photo one of these days.

So there you have it: my version of the Mariniere for your everyday wardrobe basics. I hope you’ll enjoy this pattern! You’ll be able to get your copy in the shop section of the site starting next Monday.

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32 Comments

  1. I am so excited about this one! It looks like the perfect wardrobe staple. And crazy excited about the paper offering this time!

    1. I’m so glad you like it, Brittney. And yes to the paper patterns! We’ve excited too.

  2. Wow! This could get me to try a bateau neck. Can the sleeves be extended to full as well as changed to short?

    1. Oh, goodness! I forgot to mention that the pattern includes short sleeves. And yes, you could absolutely extend the 3/4 sleeves to full length. I think you could just keep the same line of the sleeve so it would continue to taper to a long sleeve. Glad you like it!

  3. Kerri

    Absolutely live it! Can’t wait to sew one ( or three or four)!!!

  4. Lizabeth

    I’ll definitely buy it! Trying to get the work clothes into more of a “uniform” thing and this is a perfect shirt for all seasons 🙂 I haven’t worked much with jersey – are there tips in the pattern on how to sew with it? Or could you recommend a good reference book? I keep thinking that I need one of the fancier sewing machines to work with jersey – I’ve got two basics at home – very heavy Singer portable (before they went to plastic bases) and a Brother that’s much much lighter to lug around to classes.

    1. Yes to the uniform thing! It’s so much easier to have a few basics you can reach for again and again, I agree. I’ll talk about that very soon. And with regard to sewing knits, it’s really quite simple once you’ve played around a bit. Here are two links that might help you to get started: http://oliverands.com/community/forums/topic/knitted-fabrics and http://oliverands.com/community/blog/2010/08/tips-for-sewing-with-knit-fabrics.html

      But truth be told, I treated the Saint James knits more like a woven fabric. It’s quite stable, so it’s a great quality to get started with!

  5. It looks like the perfect fit! Once this baby comes (and weight comes off) I will be sewing myself a whole wardrobe of these.

  6. Kerri

    Love not live!

  7. Kathy

    My biggest disappointment was not finding it already on your site for purchase. You mean we have to wait? I love the neckline. I think it is very flattering. I haven’t made clothes for myself since I was a teenager. You have inspired me to give this a try. Can you give a hint on the yardage?

    1. Kathy, we try so hard to make everyone happy. This week we’re previewing each of the new styles, one per day. ALL the new patterns will be available for sale early next week. We just like to give each of the new styles a little chance to shine first, to give you a chance to get to know them a bit! The paper patterns are on their way to our distribution center, so as soon as they arrive they’ll be available for sale. Cheers!

  8. Carrie

    I love it! Especially the not too tight/not too slouchy fit 🙂 And it’s killing me to have to wait until tomorrow to hear about that skirt! I remember you wearing it last year at Craft South, it looks fabulous!

    1. Ah, you remember the skirt? It’s truly a favorite of mine. I wear it constantly. Glad you like the top, too!

  9. Jessica

    I’m already in love!
    Will be purchasing one right when it’s available!

  10. Emily

    Love it!! I love stripes and boatneck tops… really excited for this one!

  11. francesca

    Oh, love! Want! Now! I just hope you will have decent international shipping….
    I have a mari here mummy bought in St Tropez when I was 2. Almost 50 years ago. I still wear it – it is in amazing condition. (Come to that, I have a provencal skirt she bought there too with a quilted hem band which is also still being worn – by me – has a couple of tiny holes but they don’t show…..

  12. Ivana

    Yes!! Thank you so much – perfect pattern for striped jersey. I have blue, black and red stripes already in my stash – about 3 yards of each color 🙂

  13. One of my absolute favorite (and most worn) RTW wear tops looks very similar to this! So excited for this pattern!

  14. This looks like it has a lot of wardrobe potential. Do you have pics of one with darts? Of recommendations for solid knits that will work well with the pattern?

  15. I suspect this one will do very well in Australia. I love it. Well done.

  16. Emili

    Love. I just got something similar from Boden and living in it for days. Just thinking, I would love more of these…now I can make as many as I want…woo hoo

  17. I absolutely adore this – right up my alley with the 3/4 length sleeves – perfect for work. I already ordered some for my shop – I know this pattern will be a success!

  18. You may just convince me to try sewing knits with this one! I like the classic style and option for a bust dart for a better fit and different sleeve lengths (I am always partial to 3/4 but it is nice to have a warmer weather option). I imagine a heavier knit will be fairly easy to work with. But I second the request for some suggestions for solid knit fabrics and a lighter weight knit as well since summer is coming. And all in a paper pattern, yay! I am looking forward to tomorrow’s new pattern already.

  19. This is perfect! A musthave ♡

  20. Fiona

    So very stylish!! And so exciting to hear that it can be adapted for wovens. Thank you Liesl.

  21. Sarah Helene

    Stylish maritime top pattern — already a CLASSIC for many years! So versatile & “in vogue”! Perfect addition to your pattern line! Sarah in Minneapolis

  22. Sarah

    This is perfect! I’ve needed this top in my wardrobe. I can’t wait to sew it up!

  23. Lauren Rogge

    I can’t wait to purchase this pattern! Wondering if you had any recommended posts on matching stripes for this top? It always scares me because I have yet to find information that is very easy to follow and works. Thanks!

  24. francesca

    I received my paper patterns yesterday – mariniere and wrap skirt – and I have a problem. Tried to post it in the discuss sector but I’ve lost my password and though I’ve requested a new one, the link I’m getting isn’t functioning well. Anyway, both refer to layouts that aren’t there, which isn’t a problem for me but might be for others. Mine is that the top pattern specifies quarter inch seam allowances except where instructed, but most of the way through half inch is mentioned. Is that a misprint?
    Also, I noticed the skirt waist finished measurement is given with 2.5 inches of ease– so is the skirt meant to be slightly below the waist, please?
    Thanks in advance
    Francesca

    1. Hi Francesca,

      Thanks so much for your note! You’ll find the cutting layouts on the pattern tissue itself, which is where we print cutting layouts for all our patterns. With regard to the seam allowances, however, you’re correct! Thank you for pointing out the error. We’ll issue an errata for the seam allowances shortly. The seam allowances should be 1/4″ instead of the 1/2″ that’s stated. If you’ve already sewn the top with 1/2″ it will still work–it will fit just a little bit smaller. But the side seams and vent will work best if you baste with a 5/8″ seam and stitch the rest of the side seam with a 1/4″ seam. Again, thank you for alerting us to the error! Many apologies for any inconvenience this has caused. We take errors very seriously.

      With regard to the skirt, it is designed to sit a little below your natural waist with some wearing ease as well. I hope that helps!

      Cheers, Liesl

  25. Francesca

    Hi Liesl
    thank you for your quick response:). On the tissue? Makes sense!

    Also, thanks re the seam allowances (I am dying to make this top – I bought a gorgeous black and white striped linen jersey, quite lightweight, specifically for this pattern:), and for the tip re the side seam. And for the skirt info – I like to know beforehand, helps me plan better – I love both high and lower waists, but different toppers work better with some than others and I am really trying to wardrobe plan… and these two patterns strike me as great staples!

    best,
    Francesca

    1. Thanks so much, Francesca. Yes, we always put the cutting layouts on the tissue to save space, and because it’s a good reminder of which pieces you need for each view when there are multiple views. In any case, I hope the patterns turn out well for you. And I agree that different skirt work better at different points on the waist. Plus, we each have wearing preferences, right? I’m trying to wear my skirts a little higher than I have been for the past decade. Our waists moved down for a while, and how they’re moving back up again! (Mom jeans, here we come…)

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