Subversive Femme

FO: Bleeding heart sweater top (Gable review)

A few weeks ago Jennifer from Jennifer Lauren handmade asked if I’d like to try out her latest pattern Gable – a 1950’s inspired slash neck top.

I’m really enjoying sewing with knit fabrics at the moment, and love slash neck tops so I immediately said yes. But you know I can’t make anything plain, so here’s my novelty version!

My inspiration was taken from Loretta Young’s bleeding heart sweater, c. early 1940s.

bleeding heart sweater vintage 1940s loretta young repro modern

But back to Gable.
The pattern itself was a cinch to put together (it only had three pieces) and Jennifer’s hints for sewing with stretch knits are really useful. I like her assumption that most people wouldn’t be using sergers (although she does talk about them) as they’re very uncommon down here in Australia.

I choose a 16 bust, graded out to 18 waist and 20 hip – and it fits perfect. Not too tight, not too loose – Jennifer indicates how much ease is in the pattern which is really helpful when deciding what size to choose.

For sleeves I picked View 3 (without the added long cuff), but ended shortening them to elbow length.

I personally love PDF patterns – you can draw all over them without fear, and save money on postage etc by printing at home. Jennifer’s are beautifully drawn, and I found them to be 100% accurate to the notches etc.

The fabric was quality stretch cotton jersey (the good stuff) from Spotlight.

I literally whipped this up in a morning, and spent the same evening sewing the heart appliques to the front.

Would I use this pattern again? Most definitely!
I love quick and easy patterns that turn out exactly how they’re shown on the pattern envelope!

bleeding heart sweater vintage 1940s loretta young repro modern gable review

As for the appliques, they are made from acrylic felt and hand-stitched very carefully to the top. I used some gold thread for detail on the arrow as well.

bleeding heart sweater vintage 1940s loretta young repro modern
Excuse the cat hair, it’s a constant battle

My tips for sewing felt appliques to stretch fabrics:

  • pin them into place while your garment is on (I pinned mine on while I was wearing it)
  • if you’re using wool or viscose felt, make sure you prewash it or it might shrink

I also made the skirt too! It’s from a 1950’s suit pattern, but I used stretch double knit (ponte de roma) to get a figure hugging fit.

Long Live the Knits!
And thanks Jennifer for letting me try out your latest pattern, I love it!


  • Shoes: Miss L Fire Rosita
  • Bakelite: Various
  • Hat: Viva Las Vegas 2016
  • Glasses: Modcloth

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No Comments

  • Reply
    August 14, 2016 at 6:58 am

    I love your top, the applique is so great. I've never made one of Jennifer Lauren's patterns before, but I have been wanting to make more tops so maybe I should try this one out šŸ™‚

  • Reply
    August 14, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    So cute! I love the applique detail šŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Sue Rostron
    August 15, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Love it. You are so clever

  • Reply
    August 20, 2016 at 3:23 am

    I love everything about this! I've wanted to do a sweater like that for some time and never did it. You look smashing.

  • Reply
    Vintage By The Book
    August 25, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Okay, 2 things… #1: KILLING IT! #2: any advice for sewing with stretch knits? I am not a beginner to sewing, but totally am to knits. I've botched everything I've attempted, albeit I went in fairly blind. LOVE this look

  • Reply
    September 10, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Aww thankyou! Hmm I've treated knits pretty much the same as wovens but just cut a sIe smaller. And used a fine zigzag stitch. What troubles are you having in particular?

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