Not-So-Wintery Blues | Fibremood Bonnie Top

Top: Pattern: Fibremood Bonnie Top (c/o), Fabric: Linen blend from Jo-Ann (sold out) │  Jeans: J.Crew  │  Bracelets: J.CrewJ.Crew (similar), vintage  │  Watch: Seiko  │  Shoes: Stewart Weitzman

2020 has been quite a year, hasn't it? For us, and so many others, it's been filled with stress, cancelled plans, and worst of all, lost family members. And surprising though I found it, I couldn't find comfort in sewing for quite a while. In fact, this top is the first thing I've sewn since June! I chose it because it is a fairly low-effort pattern (gotta ease back in, right?) with a somewhat high-impact thanks to a delicate keyhole back and those statement sleeves. To me, this top is the kind of thing to sew on the weekend and then wear for those Zoom calls everyone's on now. You'll be polished and comfortable. Obvious win-win!


The Pattern

From the magazine:

Everybody loves a sweet bonbon. So without further ado, meet Bonnie! It’s a top that while super simple, is full of stylish details. The sleeves have a touch of flair with box pleat cuffs. Do you prefer long or 3/4-length sleeves? Altering to make it the length you want is a snap. 

What else has Bonnie got in her bag of tricks? A slightly curved boat neckline, French darts, and an elegant opening at the back with a hook-and-eye closure. After all, details count for a lot. This pattern looks lovely in a solid, whether bright or pastel, but you also won't go wrong with a nice print.

I agree it's a simple pattern (though flawed) and has a bit of impact, for what it is.

Pretty though the final result is, there is an error with the design of the sleeve. The description mentions box-pleats, but the pleats as shown on the pattern cover are supposed to open toward to outer elbow - makes sense fit-wise and is more aesthetically pleasing that way. The instructions describe and show this as well. However, when one presses the pleats in that direction, the seam allowances don't line up with the sleeve edge. The sleeve was mistakenly trued with the pleats pressed in the opposite direction. Choosing to maintain the original look, knowing I wouldn't wear the top if the pleats looked backward to my eye, I choose to press them in the intended direction and had to trim 3/8" of the edge of the sleeve to even up the raw edge. I should note that after doing so, the sleeve facing edge lined up perfectly. If you check the Fibremood website for other completed projects, you can see that each sewist handled the issue differently and pleats can be seen pressed in either direction and also box pleated.

That said, save for that issue, it did go together very well. In fact, I got a bit nervous about the armscye, because most American patterns would have instructed one to sew rows of stitches at the sleeve cap to gather to fit to the body. This pattern, however, made no instruction, so I simply pinned it and eased it at the machine. Let me just say, it went in perfectly. They might actually be the best sleeves I've ever set - no ripping required.

☐ Do notches/pattern markings match?  Yes
 Do seams match?  Yes, except the sleeve/sleeve facing 
☐ Are all pieces trued?  No. There is an error with the truing of the cuff pleats.
☐ Are the lining pieces separate?  n/a
☐ Are all pieces clearly labeled?  They're number, not named.
☐ Are the pieces easy to adjust? (l/s lines, etc)  The pieces are fairly straight forward, but no, there are no l/s lines.
☐ Are the instructions clear and well-illustrated?  Yes
☐ Is pressing mentioned?  Yes, though not at every applicable instance.
☐ Are seam finishes included?  Yes
☐ Is the pattern beginner-friendly?  If you're comfortable accounting for the truing issue, then I would say 'adventurous beginner,' yes.


Fit + Tweaks

My thoughts on the fit of this one are a bit mixed too. It's designed, and shown, to be a loose fitting top; yet, despite choosing my size according to the chart, and actually rounding up, I find the bust to be fitted. The armscyes are also quite low, which allow for the billowy sleeve, but the range of motion is limited by it. (Actually, if you look at the photos above, you may notice one where the cuffs appear to be tucked up under the sleeve - that's what happens when I raise my arms haha.)

  • I cut a straight 8, after rounding up from the bust measurement on the size chart. 
  • I made no changes to the pattern, same for removing 3/8' from the length of the sleeve after sewing the pleats, to account for the truing error.
If I were to make this again, I would add 2" or so to the length of the sleeve, do a full bust adjustment, and maybe grade out the hips by one size (Alternatively, I could go up a size, but I feel like the shoulders fit as they should). Also - and I may go back and change this on this version as well - I would blind stitch the sleeve facing in place, rather than tacking it only at the pleats. I know I'm bound to catch my hands on them one day haha


The Fabric (+ Notions)

Haha, yes I know winter is rapidly approaching, but I just couldn't resist sewing this in a bold linen! And it seemed like the perfect excuse to do some stash-busting.

How did it wash/sew/wear?

Truth be told, I can't remember the exact blend of this one, but I believe it has some cotton or rayon in it and oh, did it wash up so soft. Like pj soft :) And for linen, it doesn't wrinkle too badly either. Anyone know where I can get more? haha (This one was an impulse purchase from Jo-Ann last summer, I think, and they're long since sold out.) Really though, I think linen is a great choice for this top. It has a bit of structure for the pleats, while still draping well enough to keep the sleeves from overwhelming my arms. But, I think it could also work well in a silk for a bit more polish or a poplin for something a little sculptural and edgier.  

Supply list:
  • ~1.5 yards linen blend apparel fabric
  • scraps of medium weight sheer fusible interfacing
  • nickel hook-and-eye
  • Gutermann all-purpose threads
  • and Maxi-lock serger threads


Well, I guess it's a good thing we've got a few warmer days coming back so I can get a bit of wear out of this top before putting it away for the winter. At least it will be ready to go when spring comes, right? A lot of people sew off-season, don't they? That's what I was doing. Totally planned haha

Happy sewing! x


  1. Thank you! I was trying to figure out the sleeve last night! I’m still super confused, but I’m just going to do what I want. I love your pleats, though.

    1. Yes! Definitely do it your way and enjoy. That’s the beauty of sewing anyway, isn’t it? I’m sure your new top looks amazing!


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