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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.