Pattern Review: StyleArc Artist Tunic

6/22/16 Update: Added pictures of me in it (at the very bottom of the post)

This is a long one, so settle back and grab a cuppa…

Pattern Description: From StyleArc’s website – “Great slimline tunic with interesting slightly dropped shoulder tuck detail falling from under the epaulettes. This is a versatile piece that can be worn over your favourite T shirt, pants or leggings, or even wear it as a “shirt dress” buttoned up. Shirt style collar and cuffs makes this a wonderful addition to your wardrobe.”

Sizing: 4-30. I made a 10.

Available as a PDF? I don’t see it on their Etsy shop, so I’m going to say no. If I’m wrong, someone please let me know and I’ll correct it.

Fabric Used: A sample cut of silk/cotton voile from Milly. Sorry, I wasn’t able to get more than a couple of yards so it’s not available at Gorgeous Fabrics at this time.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130 sewing machine, Juki MD654DE serger, Naomi the Naomoto, ironing board, sleeve board, shoulder stand, Clover Hold It Stiletto, silk organza press cloth.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, fusible weft interfacing from my stash, buttons, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, Sew from Wide to Narrow, Clip the Selvages Before Laying Out Your Pattern, Using Pins to Mark Start/Stop Points.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? Mmmm, not great. This pattern is rated Challenging/Experienced Sewer. StyleArc is known for their rather cryptic instructions, and if you haven’t had much experience sewing shirts or shirt dresses, I recommend you keep a good general sewing book like the Vogue Book of Sewing handy for reference. That said, this pattern is well drafted for the most part, and goes together well. I say for the most part, because there seemed to be an error on the shoulder mark of the garment body. (see the next section for more information).

Also, the instructions that I have, at step 6 in the construction, say “With wrong sides facing, fold the epaulet in half lengthways and stitch the outer small edge…” It should read, “With right sides facing, fold the epaulet…”

Finally, the Trims section says that you need 11 buttons, but if you follow the markings on the CF Band pattern pieces and the diagram for the sleeve construction you actually need 13 buttons, because they show a button on the sleeve placket, as well as the cuff.

None of those are deal breakers for me, but you should check your instructions before you start.

Construction Notes: As I said, there seemed to be an error in the shoulder. I made a muslin and found the shoulder point on the bodice was off by about 1/2 inch. I have a very early release of this pattern, so I’m hoping that StyleArc has fixed that. I was easily able to fix it on my pattern. but it’s worth checking. It’s really obvious and easy to fix because StylArc doesn’t put a lot of excess ease in their sleeve caps (YAY!).

I did a 1 inch FBA. Also, I changed the layout of my pattern pieces for the collar and cuffs to ensure that the pattern of my fabric aligned the way I wanted it to. IOW, I wanted my handbag motifs to all go in the same direction. So I did a cross-grain layout on the collar and collar stand, and I cut the collar pieces upside down so they would face the right way when the collar is turned down.

The original pattern uses a single piece for the cuff, which you fold in half lengthwise. This means one side of the cuff has the motifs running the right way, while the other is flipped upside down:

If you’re not paying attention, it’s way too easy to end up with the wrong side facing out.

So instead, I folded the pattern piece in half, added a seam allowance, and cut two pieces for the cuff and sewed them together.

So both sides go in the right direction…

I also made self-lined pockets instead of single-layer.

I find it gives a cleaner finish,

I also took a fair amount of time (and 56 pins!) to narrow hem the shirt tail.

Lots of pins!

Nothing makes my eye twitch more than a puckery shirt tail hem, whether I sew it or it’s RTW. The secret is patience, a lot of pins, and pressing the hem before you sew it (yes, over the pins – except in a very few cases, the pin marks will come out).

No rumples, lumps or puckers!

I sewed the buttons on by machine. Here’s a little trick I learned from Phyllis – to temporarily tack buttons to your garment, use a school glue stick. Just put a small dab of glue on the back of the button, press it onto the garment and it will hold it long enough to get it under the sewing machine.

Just a little dab’ll do ya.

Likes/Dislikes: This was a fair amount of work, but it really turned out great. I have been on a bit of a shirtdress jag so far this summer, and this one is a more tailored look than my Kwik Sew version. I love them both!

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I would definitely recommend it, with the caveat that you need to understand shirt construction. I don’t know if I’ll make it again, because I don’t need more than one, but it’s a great pattern. This fabric is lightweight and slightly sheer, so I’ll wear it over a tank top and pants, probably open and belted.

Here are some shots on Shelley:

Front and Back

Front and Back

Close up of the shoulder, epaulet and pleats

Showing the way I cut the collar and collar stand

And finally, the way I’ll likely wear it – belted over an outfit

Conclusion: A winner! This will be a great topper to wear in the warm weather.

And here are a couple of shots on me (can you believe it?)

See those pasty white Irish legs? SPF50, babies! #nomoremelanoma

See those pasty white Irish legs? SPF50, babies! #nomoremelanoma

I'm not kidding when I say I am the world's worst model.

I’m not kidding when I say I am the world’s worst model.

Happy sewing!

12 thoughts on “Pattern Review: StyleArc Artist Tunic”

  1. Renee says:

    I’m working on a StyleArc now. And, I’m about to make muslin #3. I haven’t sewn them before so I’ve been figuring out my size and my FBA needs. Thanks for the info on the sleeve caps! I was about to trim mine down out of habit.

    I love your topper / shirtdress too 🙂

  2. raquel from JC says:

    this particular pattern is not for sale at amazon either. I’m working right now on a Mcccall’s dress shirt but I could not do the FBA I need. Do you have a tutorial for a dartless FBA? I love your shirtdress, It’s exactly what I had envisioned, now I need this pattern!

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      Raquel, my method for doing the FBA is pretty much straight out of Sandra Betzina’s “Fast Fit”

      < Resulting pattern piece

      1. raquel from JC says:


  3. Kris says:

    Very fun. And the handbag print perfect for you. Thanks for the detailed review.

  4. sewsy says:

    Ann, thanks for the shirttail hem mini tutorial! I’ll be using it when I do my next shirt/shirtdress. Beautiful, expert sewing as usual.

  5. Judy says:

    You are a darling model! I love the weight of the fabric for this pattern.

  6. Wendy says:

    Très cute, and beautifully made!

  7. sewsy says:

    Hey Ann. I was reading and enjoying the post again and noticed a master stroke. So subtle and yet beautifully done. You’ve treated the pattern as one would a stripe, and matched it in front. AND lengthwise at the yoke and dress back pattern pieces! Just noticed that. Gorgeous, girl. Gorgeous. 😉

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      Thanks, Sewsy! 🙂

  8. Tany says:

    It turned out great, Ann! I’ve yet to make a shirtdress this year… I’ve always found shirts to be a terrible amount of work (if sewn properly), but in the end it pays off if the result is as good as you’ve obtained with this one!

  9. Steph says:

    I just found your blog and am enjoying it! I just made a Style Arc pattern and agree that the instructions are lacking. I love many of their styles, though, so I’ll keep buying them. 🙂 I love this top – beautiful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *