Pattern review: Liola patterns Sparrow top (and giveaway!)


Recently I was contacted by Nicole, the maker and creator behind new indie pattern outfit Liola Patterns. She asked me if I would like to review one of her patterns and I gladly accepted the challenge! I also asked Nicole to answer a few questions in return so we could find out more about her and her patterns. You can read the interview after my review.


I chose the Sparrow top as it looked like the kind of item lacking in my wardrobe (I also really liked the cool sparrow fabric on the example model). Unfortunately I didn't make it up in such cool fabric: I used an old pillowcase! But I like the resulting top a lot!
Thumbs up for pillowcases that turn into tops.

I really liked the collar detail on the original pattern but you'll notice that I didn't add the collar pieces (sorry, Nicole!). I did cut them out but as I used the same fabric and not a contrasting fabric I just didn't think it was going to add anything for this particular garment and I didn't really have any other fabric that would go with the stripy pillowcase. Next time!


So would I recommend this pattern?
Yes! The last time I made a similar type of top was the Colette Sorbetto top so it was nice to make a different type of tank top. If you don't already have a go-to tank top pattern then you could give this one a try. It is well drafted and the collar detail makes it more interesting than just a standard top (if you use it of course!). I think a pattern like this is really useful as you can be quite creative and make it your own, and at the same time it is a relatively simple make. I really like the shape of the hem.
If you already have a tank top that works for you or if you are a more experienced sewer/drafter who would probably just draft one yourself then it might not be the pattern for you.

The instructions?
Very clear and easy to follow with plenty of detail. My one, tiny, really-not-that-important-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things-criticism would be that there is a full explanation of how to do French seams without using the term 'French seams' (it does say that you use French seams in the intro but if you don't know what they are it might be handy to flag up so people know 'ok this is the French seams moment'!).
I would recommend having a line in the instructions that simply says something like 'Sew side seams using French seams (see instructions below)', with the full explanation on how to do French seams in a separate box. This would break up the flow and pace of the instructions a bit and would mean those who want to read the full instructions can and those who already know how to do them can press on. But that really is just a tiny detail!

Fitting issues?
I sewed the XS size and it fits perfectly. It is an easy top to fit as it is quite loose so you shouldn't have any problems. Although, as with anything you never know until you sew so make a muslin if you are unsure. I'm eternally curious about sizing and drafting and whether an SBA is necessary so I asked Nicole for her view on high bust measurements (see the interview below).
My fabric is fairly sturdy, so it would be nice to make it up in something more flowing or even in a jersey to see how different the fit would be.


Now to find out more about Nicole and Liola patterns!

Hello, Nicole! Welcome! Can you introduce yourself and Liola patterns please?
Hi, I am Nicole, the maker and created behind Liola Patterns. I am an Aussie and have been living in the Netherlands for the past 3 years with my Dutch husband and our soon to be daughter (due in one week!)
The idea of Liola Patterns came up about a year ago and has slowly developed into my first 4 patterns. I aim to create patterns that can be used time and time again. The patterns are clean cut and versatile, allowing the sewer to be as creative as they like. 

How long have you been sewing/pattern making for and how did you get into it?
I started sewing when I was about 8. I took over my Mum's sewing machine and started making clothes for my dolls. I continued sewing bits and pieces until I think I was about 11. Then I was creating very sad attempts at clothing for myself.
My last two years of high school I concentrated on Fashion Design subjects and went on to study pattern making and garment construction for the next two years. Although I moved on to a medical career path after this I have never stopped sewing. 

What made you want to draft and share your own patterns?
I have never been one to follow a pattern and despite both my mother and grandmother being wonderful sewers I was mostly self taught in the beginning. I wanted to figure it out for my self and do it my own way.  I think this is why I enjoy the challenges of pattern making so much. After realising that I very rarely buy new patterns and rather create my own I thought this would be a great opportunity to share my designs with other sewing enthusiasts. 

What are your plans for Liola patterns?
I have lots of dreams for Liola Patterns! As I am very new into the exploding world of Indie Patterns firstly I aim at getting my name out there and Liola Patterns known. I also have plans for more pattern releases this year. I have my next pattern coming out at the end of August!

How hard was it to learn about digitising patterns?
I found the process of digitising patterns surprisingly easy. In saying that I still have so much more to learn. The biggest challenge was learning to use Illustrator. I am a paper and pen girl so this took a little to get used to. The more patterns I digitise the easier it is getting and the more I am learning.

For Liola patterns, what is the difference between the high bust and bust measurement?
This depends on the type of garment I have designed. This value will vary slightly depending on whether the bodice is really fitted or a more relaxed fit. Like a lot of aspects of pattern making this is tricky as you are creating a pattern in a certain size but for so many different body shapes. Unfortunately one pattern will never fit every body, but that is the best thing about sewing, you can customise the garment to fit you!

Thanks, Nicole! And good luck for the arrival of your daughter!

Nicole has offered to give away a copy of the Sparrow top. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me where you would fly to if you could (like a sparrow, get it)? I'll pick a winner at random and announce it on 12th August.


  1. Great top! And I hadn't heard of Liola designs, but I'm going to check them out straight away! If I were a sparrow, I'd love to fly to a nice white sandy beach with a light blue sea... Sounds pretty good to me..

  2. Cute version! I just saw this top on indiesew and did a search for.
    Right now I'd love to fly away somewhere north - like the Netherlands or Belgium! - where it's less hot than my little Mediterranean island:)

  3. Lovely top. The stripes work really well. I'm not racking my brain to think if I've got any pillow cases worth cutting up.

    If I could fly away anywhere it'd probably be somewhere in Italy, possibly the amalfi coast, as just relaxing in the sunshine and eating lots of delicious food and drinking prosecco sounds blissful right about now.

  4. Definitely a great top! If I were a sparrow I would fly to the top of a waterfall and then I'd fly all the way down! It sounds awesome to me but (obviously) I never tried it.