Ooohhh, let the pattern battle commence lol.
Essentially they are both a hip length top with elastic cuffed sleeves. When you read it like this you’d think they are virtually the same, but there are definitely differences.
When you see this picture with them side by side (blue is the Cuff and Pink is the Bellbird) the main difference is the basic shape. The Bellbird is more batwing and the Cuff is a grown on sleeve (grown on sleeve = in basic terms the sleeve is just an extension of the back and front bodice pieces) and a slightly boxy bodice. The shape of both of them gives a relaxed silhouette, and there is excess fabric under the arm. This is totally normal and acceptable, and adds to the relaxed vibe.
The neckline also offers differences. The Bellbird is a round neck (also has an option for a v neck) and sits just below my collarbones, the Cuff on the other hand is more boatneck and it rides high – at the base of my throat. In the photo above, (Kate Cooper the Mannequin is kindly modelling here), I’ve put the the Bellbird over top the the Cuff so you can see how much lower the neckline sits.
The elastic in the cuffs is narrower on the Bellbird than the Cuff, but realistically (and depending on what you have in the way of elastic widths at home) you can totally change this up.
The hip/hem is where they differ quite a bit. These both have the same measurements around the bust, but the Bellbird is a lot more fitted through the hip/hem. You definitely need to take the hip measurement into account as well when choosing the size. The Cuff is not as tapered through the hem therefore making it wider around the hip.
Both are very easy to whip up and use very little fabric. The Cuff top I managed to get out of just 1m of 150cm wide fabric.
Now for a wearing comparison.
The Bellbird comes in sizes NZ/UK/US 6 – 22 & the Cuff top is sized from XS to 4XL. I made a size 14 in the Bellbird and an L in the Cuff.
I love wearing both of them, but I do prefer the neckline on the Bellbird. The Cuff Top does ride up around my throat and some days feels a little bit constrictive (this does not stop me from wearing it). I have had other Sewsters say the same about the Cuff neckline. But recently TAL have added a Pattern Hack tutorial to change the neckline to be more rounded – including a free A4 sized pattern piece to help you out, click here to pop on over to their website to have a look, I have not tried this yet – but it looks like it would definitely solve the problem of the original neckline being too high.
I prefer the wider elastic in the sleeve cuffs, but that’s just personal preference. And it would be a really easy change to the Bellbird if I used wider elastic.
Do I have a favourite? It’s hard to say and I really don’t have a clear favorite at all. I think they are both fabulous patterns, definitely beginner friendly and they are pretty economical when it comes to the amount of fabric you need. I like them both equally 💗.
- Cuff Top, Atelier Brunette – Miss Maude, gifted approx 2.5 years ago (no longer available)
- Bellbird Top, Linen – Fab Fabrics, purchased in Dec 2020, unsure if still available
Please note: I am affiliated to The Sewing Revival, and if you buy the Bellbird Pattern using the link in the 2nd paragraph above, I receive a small commission.