Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Bootstrap Fashion 42379, a cowl neck knit top


Although I was planning to work on a more challenging project, a chain of events made me change my sewing plans. More on that later. I needed a simple project, made from stash fabric as there was no time for fabric shopping. Maybe it was finally time for spring sewing? But then it started to snow again and I brought out a lacy wool knit fabric. Now what to make? While looking for a pattern I ended up at the Bootstrap Fashion website. For those of you not familiar with this brand, amongst a lot of other services Bootstrap offers custom fit sewing patterns. You enter your measurements and about ten minutes later you can pick up a made to measure PDF pattern from your inbox.

This cowl neck pattern came close to what I was looking for, except for the sleeve and hip bands. Not very hard to make a few changes and browsing the Bootstrap site made me want to try the patterns. I entered my height and measurements for bust, underbust, waist, hip, upper arm as well as fit adjustments like bust apex height, arm length, shoulder width and more.



The line drawing was the only image available. No artist's impression, and as far as I could see no one ever mentioned Bootstrap 42379 on the internet. So if there's only one image, it'd better be correct! 

Enter confusion. The line drawing shows a center back seam, which is nowhere to be found in the layout picture. To get an idea of the depth of the neckline I checked the red pattern piece above. It suggests the lowest point of the neckline is at the same height as the bottom of the armscye. Nice! 

After printing and assembling the pattern I was in for a surprise. No center back seam, and the back bodice pattern was much wider than the front bodice. I carry most of my weight on the front, and the 3D-illustration of my torso (gulp) showed I'd been very honest when I entered my measurements. What happened? Was the back seam planned but later omitted, without removing the seam allowances? Nope, the notches of the cowl seemed to match fine! 
Speaking of the cowl: the neckline was 7 cm higher than the layout image suggested. And wasn't that cowl on the tiny side? I warily started sewing. 




Hmmm. I made a test cowl from a scrap of jersey. Just as I thought, not very impressive.
And certainly not looking like the line drawing. 
So I changed the finished height of the cowl from 14 to 34 cm. Why 34? That was all I got ;)




Better! Now what about the fit? I had to remove 6 cm at the hip, the shoulders are a bit too wide and although I added the equivalent of the length of the removed hip band to the bodice the overall look is shorter, and certainly less fitted than the line drawing suggested. 

So what's the verdict about the pattern? It doesn't look like the line drawing. The bodice, shoulders and sleeves are too wide for a fitted top, the cowl (before my adjustments) looked like a droopy collar and I don't like seams showing up in the line drawing that are not in the actual pattern. There is no way to tell if the pattern was meant to look oversized and the line drawing was off, or the drawing was right and the pattern was off. 

In the end I do like the result but I feel that has more to do with the pretty fabric than with the pattern.
Bootstrap has not convinced me yet, but now that I've made an account and saved my set of measurements I may try some patterns for woven fabrics in the future. 




Although the daffodils make it look like spring, I still need a warm top for chilly dog walks!



Now there's something else I'd like to discuss about this pattern. When I was looking for other cowl neck top images to compare the size of the cowl with, it suddenly hit me that this pattern (at least the line drawing) was the spitting image of Sewaholic's Renfrew, view C. At first sight the only difference is the center back seam (remember, that same one that isn't really there). I've never seen the pattern pieces of the Renfrew, so I may be wrong, but even the sleeve and hip bands look similar. I've seen patterns on the Bootstrap site that obviously were designer knockoffs like this Armani jacket. Now what if Indie pattern companies start copying other small companies' designs? Is it the same? Or does it feel a bit awkward?
I'd like to hear your opinions on this one!

This will be my last winter sewing. I do have some plans for spring sewing, but I'm not sure if they're going to happen.
You see, Mr Foxgloves has a hobby too. I like cutting fabrics, he likes cutting wood. Ten days ago he had an unfortunate encounter with one of his lumberjack toys and we ended up in the Emergency Room. He cut a tendon, had surgery and ended with his hand in plaster.


He's not allowed to drive a car, so for at least the next six weeks I'll be the Chief of Transport, Operator of Buttons and Shoe Laces and Head Gardener of Foxgloves Manor.
Not sure how much sewing I can squeeze in. But mr Foxgloves is on the mend and we keep smiling!




See you later!

PS Thanks for the lovely comments on my previous post. I hope to catch up on blog reading and IG soon!

24 comments:

  1. Great colour on you! I thought the drawing was of my beloved Renfrew! Well, I have heard pretty good things about Bootstrap until this review. I still prefer paper patterns. :)

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    1. Ahh, I'm not picky when it comes to patterns. Paper, pdf or tracing, it's all fine!

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  2. I haven't tried Bootstrap yet - I agree with Janet that I'd heard good reports until now. I've been put off but then I do like the look of that Armani-esque jacket! ATW (after the wedding...) I do have the Renfrew as a PDF but find I'm much more likely to reach for a paper pattern than a PDF - must try the Renfrew ATW. I'm glad Mr F is on the mend.

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    1. The good reports about Bootstrap is what brought me to their site as well, indeed I've seen some very nice garments made from their patterns. I will do some further investigations to see if certain bodytypes have better results than others. Mr F is doing better, but six weeks is a long time, and patience is not his middle name ;)

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  3. Hi Marianne
    Funnily enough, as soon as I saw the line drawing on your post I thought it was the Renfrew. I've made 6 Renfrews, including 3 cowl versions and the pattern looks like a spitting image (minus the centre back seam that wasn't actually there).

    Anyway, your top looks gorgeous. I think you have managed a great rescue of it as I saw your Instagram post about the original cowl neck. The lovely deep one you made yourself looks great.

    The colour is fabulous on you and so nice to wear on these duller days.

    Debbie
    http://www.sewnfromtheheart.com

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    1. Ha, I bet your Renfrew came with more than four lines of sewing instructions! The colour is nice, but perhaps a bit much. Today I wore it with a dark brown leather jacket, I think I prefer that look!

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  4. Oh NO! Poor Mr F :( Wishing him speedy recovery!

    I have also heard only positive feedback on Bootstrapfashion, but your top is the first garment made from their patterns. I'd definitely give it a second try, especially when given their cost. All in all, this top looks quite cozy! Good luck for the next few weeks!

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    1. Mr F says thanks, Inna! I've seen many good examples of Bootstrap patterns, but I can't recall seeing a review by anyone with a large bust. I really like the concept, maybe it was just a case of bad luck!

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  5. i've had good success with Bootstrap patterns. Like any other pattern they still need some tweaks but the custom measurements do get you most of the way to a nice fit. You are right about the drawings - they are like any artist's rendering - just an approximation. Although the dresses I have sewn have been exactly like the tech drawing...
    As for one pattern company copying another - that seems like a non issue to me - after all clothing designs are combinations of the various elements and I have yet to see something 100% original from anyone. It doesn't bother me in the least.

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    1. You're right. There's not much around in patterns that I haven't seen before! As for Bootstrap, like E McAfee mentions in the comments below, there may be a relation between body type and success rate. I'm not giving up on them yet, but I have my doubts about the way their software is dealing with larger cup sizes!

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  6. I've had success with bottoms from Bootstrap, but I'mm finding that there's problems with the tops. I normally need a 1.5 to 2" FBA, and the Bootstrap patterns don't seem to do a FBA - they just seem to make the pattern bigger around.

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    1. Thanks for chiming in! I think we're on to something here! A few years ago I made some Lekala knit tops where I always needed extra length at the front. It was easily fixed with a vertical only cheater FBA, but nevertheless it was a sign that larger cup sizes were an issue. I assumed the problem would have been fixed with the introduction of extra measurements and fit adjustments. But I think you're right, it would explain how ridiculously wide my back bodice came out!

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  7. I thought it looked like Renfrew, too. Your finished top looks lovely and the colour is glorious. Hope Mr F recovers soon.

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    1. Thank you! It'll take some time, but he'll be fine.

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  8. Lovely on you. Hope the Mr heals quickly.

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    1. Thanks! Still cold over here so it's getting lots of wear!

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  9. You really had me laughing until I read about your husband's mishap. (My husband's idea of getting ready ready for a dinner party is trimming branches on trees! We have also had trips to the Emergency Room...). You look lovely in that top, despite it's foggy pedigree! I do hope you find some sewing time in between your other new duties!

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    1. Are we married to the same man?? That's EXACTLY what happened! I was cooking dinner while my husband was trimming branches from a giant beech tree. It was already getting dark and he was tired, hungry and rushing to finish the job. Do they ever learn?

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  10. How frustrating that the pattern wasn't what you were expecting. Despite this, you have created a lovely top perfect for brightening up a dull day. Best wishes for your husbands speedy recovery.

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    1. Thanks, Jean. I brightened up my husband's brace by making a soft, warm lining from a scrap of the wool. Matchy matchy in red!

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  11. I have been away on holidays in Hong Kong and New Zealand, so I am really behind on blog posts and just found this post. And the funny thing is, I bought a piece of red textured knit to make the Renfrew with the drapey collar. Great minds think alike!! I have read a few blog posts about Lekala and Bootstrap patterns and I am yet to be convinced they are worth the hassle. I love what you have made and I am sure it is your sewing skills and gorgeous fabric that have saved the day. You look so lovely in red. I do hope Mr Foxgloves heals quickly and is able to be independent once again.

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    1. Red knit Renfrew twins! I'm also very behind on blog reading, it's nice to have a long weekend soon. As for Lekala and Bootstrap, I am done with them. I'm fine with making fit adjustments, but I'm not fine with making more adjustments to so called custom fit patterns than to regular ones!

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