Frivolous at Last - Maven Patterns Somerset Boatneck Top

Maven Patterns Somerset Top: the perfect boatneck for a Literary Sewing Circle

Ahoy! Time for another hare-brained (read: Covid-brained, and therefore scattered and unfocused) blog post from yours truly! I’m here to show off a few Somerset Tops by Maven Patterns.

Frivolous at Last - Maven Patterns Somerset Top - black and white stripes

I love a good boatneck — I think it’s such a flattering neckline. And speaking of boats, this happens to be my ‘garment inspired by the book’ for the latest round of the Literary Sewing Circle. Let me explain…


Melanie, of Following the Thread, periodically hosts a Literary Sewing Circle in which she selects a book to read and discuss, and which hopefully inspires a new sewing project. The latest book was Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley. It takes place in 1759, during the Seven Years War, and tells the story of a captured French-Canadian soldier who is billeted with an American farming family on the shores of Long Island. The namesake of the book is a ship named Bellewether. So the book includes references to boats and shipping and maritime life, and some of its secondary characters are sailors or shipbuilders. So I sewed a boatneck top!SomersetTopV3_4

The fabric is a lovely bamboo-cotton jersey. This is actually the third version of this pattern I’ve sewn…scroll down to see the other two. It has become a go-to pattern because I love how it fits, and it’s a really simple and quick sew. For all three versions, I cut and sewed a size 10, grading out at the waist to a 12. Maven Patterns is a British pattern company so these are UK/Australian sizes, equivalent to size 6 US overall and 8 at the waist.


I couldn’t help but fool around with the “virtual background” option in Zoom for a cheesy photo opportunity, complete with bits of my actual background showing through!

Frivolous at Last - Maven Patterns Somerset Top - with silly digital background of ship's deck

Here’s another version, this time using the bishop-sleeve option included with the pattern.

Frivolous at Last - Maven Patterns Somerset Top - black with bishop sleevesFrivolous at Last - Maven Patterns Somerset Top - black with bishop sleeves

I know the skirt is the star of the show here, but I didn’t make that. I did, however, buy it second-hand at a huge vintage clothing show & sale that I attended last spring in Lyon, France. THAT was a treat!

Frivolous at Last - Maven Patterns Somerset Top - black with bishop sleevesSomerset4Frivolous at Last - Maven Patterns Somerset Top - black with bishop sleevesFrivolous at Last - Maven Patterns Somerset Top - black with bishop sleeves

Here’s a really awkward photo of the last version I made with lilac jersey. (This was the only usable photo from that shoot but you get the idea.)

Frivolous at Last - Maven Patterns Somerset top - solid lilac with bishop sleeves

If you feel like reading a book that will take you out of this modern-day madness and into a different time and place, I would recommend Bellewether. I’d also recommend having a look at some of Melanie’s really interesting posts in which she interviews the author, lists a lot of inspiration patterns and fabric, and discusses the themes of the book. Reading and sewing are two of my favourite pastimes so I’m happy they can come together in this way.

Have you read anything good lately? I’m hungry for reading recommendations!

Thanks for stopping by!

— Lori


11 thoughts on “Maven Patterns Somerset Top: the perfect boatneck for a Literary Sewing Circle

  1. Very pretty variety of tops, Lori! Way to really make use of a pattern — great connection to the story too 😉 Thanks for another round of participation in the Literary Sewing Circle. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I have problem after problem with my project but it is nearly done now!

    As to other reading, some of the things that I’ve read lately and enjoyed are Louise Erdrich’s newest, The Night Watchman, for a more serious read, and a fun gothic-y read with Instagram influencers and con artists and really great writing is Janelle Brown’s Pretty Things. She captures the social media world really well. If you are interested in books that are very current in terms of social media etc. you might also like Sarah Selecky’s Radiant Shining Light which is a couple of years old now but still pretty interesting in its look at women’s empowerment movements — are they really???

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Melanie, I realize I never responded to you back when you posted this comment. Thanks so much for the recommendations! I’ve added them all to my list! Much appreciated.


  2. Cute tops!
    Boatnecks are my favorite neckline…

    A book I really enjoyed is RESTLESS by William Boyd (good writer) –

    It’s also a great BBC video series, starring Charlotte Rampling and Michelle Dockery. Love both those actresses!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the recco, Chris. I love those actresses, too, so I will see if I can dig that series up. Have you seen Michelle Dockery in Godless? A completely different role than the one we got to know her in (on Downton Abbey, of course) which really shows the depth of her range.


  3. My book club just did a bunch of short stories by Curtis Sittenfeld and nearly everybody was a fan! She’s also a novelist. I was a terrible irresponsible book club-er…and um…didn’t read them! So this is a secondhand recommendation! 😀

    They’re all good shirts but that black boatneck is so sophisticated, it’s gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol! Well, sometimes a book club can feel too much like an obligation if you’re just not finding the time to read or not feeling like it. Thanks for the compliment. I really have to make more black clothes, because I love wearing black. It’s just hard to make oneself grab the plain black fabric when presented with an array of dazzling prints and bright colours!


  4. I loves me a boatneck! Confession, I’ve barely taken off two RTW boatnecks I purchased this fall. I used to sew lots of knits until I realized they were cr*p! This led to my present very real and well founded fear of knits.
    Sewing nightmares aside, I am sadly near the end of my Covid fueled Ruth Galloway (Elly Griffiths) reading frenzy. I’m now reading V-E-R-Y slowly and awaiting the last of the series to be released and winging its way to me. What next? Nothing too taxing…


    1. Good for you! When you find RTW that you love, why try to sew it if it only produces frustration? I have to admit I do love sewing knits. Do you have a serger? I have one and it changed everything for me when I got it…knits sew up so quickly and no snapped seams because I didn’t get the settings on the zigzag right.


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