The Silver Stripe Boat Neck Top

Today I’m sharing a make from last March, which is late but at least I can give you an idea of how much I’ve been wearing it. Silver linings for a silver-ish top 🙂 This is the Boat Neck Top variation of the Knit Sweetheart Top from my favourite sewing book, Gertie Sews Vintage Casual (affiliate link) by Gretchen Hirsch.

Boatneck Gertie top in silver stripe jersey

This was a bit of an experiment for me as it’s the first time I’ve ever even worn, let alone sewed, a boat neck top. I don’t know why I’ve avoided them. Perhaps it was just down to not being sure which colours looked good close to my face, so I’ve tended to go for lower cut necklines in the past.

This project started with the fabric, which I bought on a whim from Minerva as it looked so pretty. It’s a black lightweight viscose jersey, with silver stripes that are made up of lots of thin stripes. It shimmers beautifully and has fantastic drape. I liked the idea of using a striped fabric for a style I wasn’t yet sure about, as stripes pretty much always look amazing. How could I go wrong?

Boatneck Gertie top in silver stripe jersey

Now, I figured I’d be pretty safe making my first boat neck top out of this pattern, as it’s proved perfect both times I’ve made it in the past (here and here). What I didn’t perhaps allow for, though, was the difference in fabric. Yes, this jersey has 40% stretch across which should be ample for this pattern, but only 5% lengthwise. I didn’t realise how much the lengthwise stretch matters for this particular pattern! More on that in a minute…

To make this pattern variation you get instructions in the book to alter the neckline, and it’s pretty straightforward. I decided to lengthen the sleeves too, as the 3/4 length included isn’t the most useful. I tend to think if it’s cool enough for long sleeves, I want them properly long.

Sewing up was really straightforward too. I did start to feel slightly uneasy that it would be too small, though. Somehow this fabric just didn’t seem like it would stretch around me, and I went with a 6mm rather than a 1.5cm seam allowance on the side and sleeve seams. I’m really glad I did as it’s very much on the snug side even with that extra width.

When I tried it on before hemming I was relieved that it did fit–just–but I was surprised at just how tight the armholes felt. I’ve since realised this is simply down to the fabric having less vertical stretch than the previous two fabrics I’ve used with this pattern. Also, this is a pattern with high armscyes. In balance, I think that’s a good thing as it prevents that bust crease that often happens with overly large armholes on knit tops.

Boatneck Gertie top in silver stripe jersey

I still find the top feels tight under the arms when I first put it on, but after a minute I don’t notice this anymore and it’s actually very comfortable. It’s generally a bit of a close fit and tends to scrunch up in places, particularly the lower back but also the front if I don’t smooth it down. As a consequence I tend to wear my Boat Neck Top under dungaree dresses. But I have lots of those so it gets a fair amount of wear. I clocked 13 wears since I made it, which is maybe not my most worn garment but I do love getting it out when I want to feel just that little bit more fancy than usual.

I will say the fabric is bobbling a bit and doesn’t feel as lusciously smooth as when I first sewed this up. Not a major problem as you can’t really see the bobbling, but that might account for why I don’t reach for this more often. Maybe I’m subconsciously trying to preserve it for longer!

Boatneck Gertie top in silver stripe jersey

My only other issue with this top is I can’t easily remember which is the front and which is the back! Honestly, you can only really tell by looking at the hem. I think it’s high time I got myself some of those cute little Kylie and the Machine labels everyone raves about. They’re a bit pricey, though. Maybe I’ll just do something with ribbon. There’s plenty of that lying around the place…

In summary, I do really love this top despite all my niggles with it, and I definitely want to sew up the pattern again in a more stretchy, better quality fabric. Probably stripey again, because stripes are my jam!

The deets

Boatneck Gertie top in silver stripe jersey

Pattern: The Boat Neck Top variation of the Knit Sweetheart Top from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual (affiliate link) by Gretchen Hirsch.

Size: 6

Fabric: Shimmer Stripe Stretch Jersey from Minerva, viscose lycra blend. No longer in stock.

Modifications: Lengthened sleeves to bracelet length.


  • Pattern: £0.59 (based on book costing me £17.48, therefore approx £1.75 per pattern, and this is the third time I’ve made this pattern)
  • Fabric: £9.98 for 2m (yes, I bought this. It wasn’t gifted to me in return for a blog post like some of my Minerva fabrics are)
  • Total: £10.57

Have you ever tried sewing a neckline you’ve never worn before? How did it go for you?

Coming Next Week:

Ottobre Bubu Dress in upcycled chambray shirtI promised this post for earlier this week, but life got in the way. Next week I will definitely be posting Lauren’s cute little dungaree dress on Tuesday. I know this for a fact as I’ve already written the post. Yay!

Disclaimer: some of the products linked above use affiliate links, meaning if you follow the link and make a purchase I will receive a small referral fee (at no added cost to you). Any extra income to help fund my sewing habit is greatly appreciated, but rest assured I only recommend products I love and think you might find useful too 🙂

What do you reckon? I'd love to hear from you!

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