Pattern Review: StyleArc Holly Blouse

Pattern Description: From StylArc’s website, Beautiful feminine blouse featuring a front tie and 7/8th length sleeves. This blouse is designed to pull on so therefore easy to make and wear along with keeping all the on trend features.

I just noticed an error on the technical drawing. The sleeves have elbow darts which are not shown on the tech drawing. You can see them in the picture of the pattern pieces further down in this review. It’s a minor nit, but worth noting. Also, the blouse has slight gathers at the front shoulder yoke, which do show on the tech illustration.

Sizing: 4-30; I made a 10

Available as a PDF? Yes

Fabric Used: Emerald jewels print silk charmeuse that I received as a gift. This one was a bit ravelly, which made it tricky to work with, but I took my time and it turned out well.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030, Juki MO645DE serger, Naomi the late, beloved Naomoto, Reginald the Reliable Iron, ironing board, shoulder press, pressing ham, sleeve board.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 60/8 needles, Pro-Sheer Elegance Couture Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: How to Sew a Shirttail Hem Without Ripples, Pretty much anything by The Pressinatrix

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

How were the instructions? StyleArc normal, which is to say pretty minimal. I didn’t need them, other than to check the diagram to make sure I inserted the tie into the neckline correctly. If you are an intermediate sewer, you can follow their instructions without trouble. I recommend keeping a good general sewing reference (my favorite is the Vogue Book of Sewing) handy if you need more information.

Construction Notes: I made two muslins before I cut into my silk. The first was from cotton muslin, just for fitting purposes. The second was with Abstract Floral Crinkle Crepe Chiffon – Brown/Eggy to better approximate the drape of the silk. I was planning to make the chiffon a “wearable muslin”, but I forgot to put the tie in the collar (doh!) so it was just a fitting muslin. I’m glad I did it, though, because it did point out that the sleeve cap wasn’t high enough. I added about 3/8″ height to it. I did a Full Bust Adjustment and lowered the bust dart by about an inch. Here you can see the changes on the flat pattern.

FBA and bust adjustment on the right, sleeve cap adjustment on all 3 pieces.

FBA and bust adjustment on the right, sleeve cap adjustment on all 3 pieces.

I sewed all seams with a 2.5 mm straight stitch and finished the seam allowances with a three-thread overlock, serging the side seams together, then pressing them toward the back. I made a narrow hem to finish.

One thing to note about this pattern: like all StyleArc patterns, it uses RTW industry standard seam allowances. That means that seams for the sides and main body pieces are 3/8 inch wide, and facings (like at the collar) are 1/4 inch. If you are dealing with a fiddly fabric like my charmeuse, which had a tendency to ravel, it can be trying, so you might want to increase the SAs along the neckline and then trim them after you finish. Also, I found the facings to be too wide and unwieldy, so I trimmed them back to about 5/8 inch and I topstitched around the neckline edges to keep them in place. If I were to do it again, I would probably use a bias piece of self fabric to face the neckline edge. Also, as I discovered on the chiffon, you really need to stay stitch the neckline edges or they will stretch out, especially in the front. Finally, the instructions have you fold the cuffs in half and then serge them to the sleeve. I decided to do a slightly more ‘couture’ approach and I sewed one edge of the cuff to the sleeve, folded the remaining raw edge under and hand-sewed it:

I think this gives a softer, more appealing finish

I think this gives a softer, more appealing finish

Likes/Dislikes: This is a very well-drafted pattern that goes together quite easily. I really like the clean lines that let the fabric have center stage. This would be great for a big bold print. I don’t dislike anything about this. It’s definitely a pattern that requires some precise sewing in small places, so take your time and you’ll get good results.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I doubt I’ll do it again. I now have two of these tie-neckline blouses and I think that’s enough for me. I do recommend it, with the caveat about the facings and seam allowances for the neckline.

Conclusion: I’ll get a lot of use from this blouse. It looks great with jeans as well as with a pegged black skirt, and I like it both tucked in and worn out like a tunic with a belt over it. Here are shots on Shelley:

Full-on Front

Detail of the shoulder and neckline

Detail of the shoulder and neckline

You can see the elbow dart in this picture

You can see the elbow dart in this picture

And back. I might add darts for a little more shaping.

I just received my order from the last McCalls Pattern Company sale, which included both Paco Peralta patterns. This morning I found out that my husband’s company holiday party is the first Friday in December, so I think I’m going to make the long tuxedo jacket, and probably pair it with cigarette pants. That gives me a hobby!

In Other (family) News…
This past weekend was the last home game and Senior Day for the UMass Minuteman Marching Band. Oh yes, there was a football game, too. We got to see DS the Elder conduct “Appalachian Spring” for the last time in his college career. It was a proud Mama moment. Sniff!

This move has a name: The Flying Mange. I can't make this up.

This move has a name: The Flying Mange. I can’t make this up.

And not to be outdone, it was Homecoming at University of Delaware, and DS the Younger and some of his tenor saxophone cohorts saw that their most famous alumnus was on the field so they went over to him and asked for a picture, to which he graciously said yes.

Man, Joe Flacco is TALL!

Man, Joe Flacco is TALL!

I’ll have more on the Paco Peralta tux over the next weeks. In the meantime,
Happy sewing!

7 thoughts on “Pattern Review: StyleArc Holly Blouse”

  1. TinaLou says:

    Will DS the Elder be joining the marching band in the Rose Bowl Parade? I hope so! My alumni Facebook feed had a video of the announcement, and I thought of you. That would make a lovely field trip!

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      Doubtful, TinaLou. He graduates in May. But how exciting is that for the bandos who will be at UMass then!

      1. Linda says:

        Rose Parade is New Years Day…

        1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

          Yes, and UMass will march in the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade. DS graduates in 2017 so he’ll miss it.

          1. TinaLou says:

            Oh shoot. Full disclosure, I watched the video without the audio, and must have missed the ’18’ detail in any captions.

  2. Ar says:

    Thank you for the pattern alteration pictures I’m wondering why you added length to the armholes in addition to the sleeve cap height?Doesn’t that retain the relationship?that caused the original problem

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      The armhole was binding so I needed to add 3/8 inches to that, and adding the same amount at the cap of the sleeve keeps them aligned. I learned that from Sandra Bettina’s “Fast Fit”

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