Twist Top Comparisons

Tops with twists have become popular lately and with that, several pattern companies have their own versions. I really enjoy a twist top as it provides some visual interest and drape to the silhouette. All three of the patterns I'm comparing are constructed differently and have different finished looks. The opinions presented are my own and based on my own preferences. You may find you prefer something different and that's okay! 

The pattern's I compared are the Made for Mermaids Mama Kourtney, Striped Swallow Harbor Knot Tee/Tank and the Ellie & Mac Twist It Up Top. I will note adjustment's I've made below. 

Made for Mermaids Women’s Kourtney
Striped Swallow Harbor Knot
Ellie & Mac
Twist It Up Top
Video tutorial
Not in the pattern but a full SAL on their youtube account
Ease of twist
Sizing Adjustments
Grade for waist/hips
Grade waist, hips were looser
Size down at least one size
Sleeve type
Tank option
Yes- add-on of $4
Dress option
Buy separately for $9
Matching Girls Pattern
Tunic option, knot can be moved/placed anywhere
Original or lower knot placement
Cowl neck, sleeve cuffs

Made for Mermaids Mama Kourtney

I purchased the Kourtney during it's release week back in October 2017 in both the Women's and Girl's sizes. I've made several since then in various sleeve lengths and reach for each one. I'd say this is the slimmest of the tops. I grade as recommended out otherwise I find it too tight and clingy to my waist and hips. 

This Mama Kourtney is with 3/4 length sleeves and top length. A benefit to this pattern that the other's don't have is that it has top, tunic and dress length cut options. The knot is moveable so you can use the pattern without the knot or move it anywhere you prefer. Some of the testers used it on the back and most recently Colleen actually put it on the side of a Mya dress for a different look. Another benefit to this pattern is that Made for Mermaids has a blog post with Kourtney hacks to show even more versatility. 

The fabric I used for the Mama Kourtney is a rayon spandex from Knitpop. It was purchased during a clearance sale and is no longer available. 

PROS: Video tutorial, 3 cut lengths, knot can be moved anywhere

CONS: Least dramatic knot

Striped Swallow Harbor Knot Tee & Tank

The Harbor Knot always seems to be the recommended pattern when someone asks for a good knot/twist top in pattern groups. I chose to make the tank version as my first Harbor Knot but modified the back to be a regular back instead of the racerback only option. The Harbor Knot is the only pattern that includes pattern pieces for both an original (high) and low knot option. This can make a dramatic or less dramatic look. 

Of the three patterns, the Harbor Knot seemed to be the most complicated. I think this is because there's a separate side piece that needed to be placed just so and twisted around. The other patterns you are just cutting into the front bodice piece to create the twist/knot. That being said, I think this fit is ideal. It's not quite as fitted as the Mama Kourtney but not relaxed either. I did find the hem kept flipping just at the knot a bit. *Edited to add the flipping is because I missed the last step of stitching it down. Now that I've done that I have no issues with flipping.

The only negative I see with the Harbor Knot is that to get each cut line or size you have to purchase a new pattern or add-on. It's available for baby, girls and women in the tee option. Then you can purchase an add-on for women only for the tank and/or dress. You must have the tee though for the add-on to be usable. Along with that, you would need to print each file separately rather than having them tiled together. One bonus though is that the women's tank file comes with a plain tank too. 

The fabric I used for the Harbor Knot Tank is a rayon spandex olive stripe from Mily Mae Fabrics. The olive color is sold out but the charcoal stripe is still available. 

PROS: Video tutorial, great fit, comes with high knot/low knot/plain tank files

CONS: Only racerback tank option, must buy add-ons individually for tank/dress options, hem underside kept flipping, Individual files for each high knot, low knot and plain tank files, number of pages to print

Ellie & Mac Twist It Up Top

The Twist It Up is the pattern I was the most hesitant about. I haven't found that the women's patterns from Ellie & Mac fit me well even based off my measurements. I was given some feedback that for this pattern several people size down, so that's what I did. I measured a size Large and made a Medium. I'm glad I did.

This is the only pattern that I'm comparing that has a dolman sleeve option. For short sleeves, I find dolmans very flattering on me and quick to make. I opted for this one to be a tank since we are headed into summer. This pattern by far had the fewest number of pages to print. 

The Twist It Up is the only pattern that used gathering stitches, done on the sewing machine. Unfortunately when I wanted to make this top my sewing machine was in the shop and I needed to wait for it to come back. After sewing the twist for this top, I found the twist kept flipping to shop the backside. I asked in the Ellie & Mac facebook group how to get my twist to not flip wrong side out. It was recommended to add some stitches to the wrong side to hold the twist in place which helped quite a lot. I found the fit on the Twist It Up my least favorite. The tank is a wider strap and more boxier fit than I prefer.

The fabric I used for the Twist It Up is the pink bamboo from Mily Mae Fabrics. This is my all time favorite fabric ever. 

PROS: Price, least number of pages to print, dolman sleeve

CONS: Sizing, need to use sewing machine for gathering stitches, only top length

Each knot or twist looks completely different. I found each top has a major pro and con. It's hard to pick but I think the Mama Kourtney is my overall favorite. I'd like to try the Harbor Knot again though as I like the drastic look of it. 

If you want an overall easy to sew fitted top, the Mama Kourtney is for you. 
If you want a dramatic look, the Harbor Knot is for you. 
If you want a relaxed fit top with pulled twist, the Twist It Up is for you.

My posts may feature affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase from these links, I receive a small percentage in compensation at no cost to you. I may have received patterns or products to test or review but the opinions I voice are my own. 


  1. Great comparison! This was concise and easy to follow! Great post! 🙂

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  3. Great comparison! I was struggling with these exact 3 today!


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