So at 6:30pm on New Year's Eve, I finished my last garment for the year, the StyleArc Demi Drape Top. I took some pix today and even extracted the white pants from the closet for the photo shoot.
So let's see:
- I first heard about StyleArc patterns last summer on someone's blog, but I don't remember whose blog....
- I ordered 3 patterns last summer. Every order comes with "the free pattern of the month"
- If you live in Australia, you have a choice between a paper pattern printed on real paper (not tissue) or receiving the cut out carded version of the pattern, delivered on a hook (how cool would that be?)
- The postage from Australia to the US is $$$, but at the time I couldn't find anyone selling them in the US (I haven't looked to see if anyone in the US has popped up selling them now).
- The patterns are NOT multi-sized. I compared my measurements to the StyleArc chart and ordered a 12.
Here's the front of the pattern "envelope" (the pattern comes in a clear, colorless plastic holder so you can put it in a binder--clever!):
and the back of the "envelope":
The section on the left side labeled "construction" are the "directions".
StyleArc assumes You Know What You Are Doing when it comes to sewing. For example, step 3 (the first step 3--as you can see, there were steps 1-3 and then steps 1-11) states "Bind the back neck." If I just started sewing, I'd have no clue what that meant, but it turns out they do have some more detailed instructions with illustrations in the "Sewing Tutorials" section on their website. and they do have a section called "patterns for beginners". This pattern is rated "medium."
The construction refers to "vilene" which I think is like interfacing or stay tape (I could have googled it, but have not). There are no layout diagrams. Also yardage was listed for 45" but not 60" (and this is a knit pattern--do knits come in 45" widths in Australia?). If you want to use the contrast cami insert, they didn't specify a yardage just for that.
Samples of the fabrics are glued to the back of the pattern. One of them fell off so I stapled it back on to the paper as you can see in the photo above. The samples are very lightweight and stretch in all directions.
The pattern itself appears to be hand traced! which somehow makes me feel "closer to the pattern designer" somehow...or maybe just her intern...
I made a muslin on Friday which showed me that generally the fit was good and that a lightweight knit would work better than a stable one.
The cowl really juts away from the body in a stable knit!
So the fabric I used for the real-deal is from Kashi at Metro Textiles purchased during my first trip to NYC's garment district with Antoinette in June. It's a navy jersey that has a knit-appropriate interfacing already fused on. Together, they are heavier than I think the pattern calls for.
The sewn-in contrast cami insert is a navy and white stripe lightweight knit from TexStyles, purchased during Pattern Review weekend Austin in Nov. This knit is perfect weight, especially as the cami covers the entire front of the body.
So it naturally falls away from the body...
but I can "smoosh" it down
There's also some slight swayback pooling but not so bad.
I used lightweight knit interfacing on the neckline of the cami insert, to keep it from stretching during the stitching process. I used a stretch twin needle in the 2.5 width. I wonder if I should have used navy thread instead of white on the cami? I also feel like the cami is a little too low, which the one pattern review reviewer had mentioned...but in my muslin it seemed fine? I'm not sure why it is lower in the real-deal (I didn't finish the edge of the muslin, but that's only 3/8"??)
The cowl does shift around, and with the stripes it can make it look like the cami is off-center, depending on how the cowl falls. I think I might tack the cami to the shirt so that the cami will *always* be centered.
Because the entire exterior shirt is fused with interfacing, I didn't stablize the edges further.
I cut one inch from the bottom of the sleeves during the cutout phase, and hemmed the sleeve edges first before sewing the sleeves into the garment since the sleeve opening is mighty narrow. I also sewed the sleeves in flat contrary to the instructions.
So overall, what do I think?
I like how well the sleeves fit. I'm always afraid a pattern will be too small in the biceps but this wasn't--it's perfect. I felt the fit was pretty good overall, even though there is some swayback pooling. I like the style of the top. It took me 5 hours to sew the top (includes cutting time, but not muslin time). I will try more StyleArc patterns, especially the three I have in my stash (though the Emma dress is rated "challenging", ahem....