Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes
How were the instructions? I didn’t use them. This is a basic tee shirt and I can sew it in my sleep. That said, I did take a look at them and they looked typical StyleArc. Fine for anyone with any sewing experience.
Construction Notes: I fused scraps of interfacing at the back shoulder seam to keep it from stretching. I used my serger for the side seams and for attaching the neckline band. I edge stitched the neckline to keep the band laying flat. For that I used a .5mm wide by 3mm long zigzag.
I used that same stitch length/width for the hems. I didn’t need to do a FBA on this. It’s relatively loose fitting.
Likes/Dislikes: This is a basic tee pattern. It seems like there are a bazillion of these coming out of the indie pattern companies these days. I think this one was a free-with-purchase from StyleArc a few months ago. I like the shoulder sizing and the shape. It could be a little more fitted, but I made it straight for the first version. No dislikes.
One thing I really like about most of StyleArc’s patterns, including this one, is that they give you whole pattern pieces so you can easily do a single-layer layout for print placement and economizing on your fabric.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes. This pattern is very well drafted, and it went together, from start to finish, in just over an hour. It’s great for using up small quantities of fabric, and it is a classic shape.
Conclusion: Another winner from StyleArc! Here are pictures on Shelley. This is a little lightweight for the weather right now, but I’m sure I’ll get some pictures on me when it is warm enough.
I like my Lori Jacket so much that I decided to make another one. This one is made from a really cool remnant of bouclé that I picked up in New York when I was there in December. This fabric ravels dreadfully. You should see the floor of my sewing room! I realized the standard StyleArc 3/8″ seams were not going to cut it, so I decided to use some couture techniques that I learned from Susan Khalje. I didn’t go full-out couture on this, but I used enough to deem it couture-ish.
I discovered that I have two copies of this pattern (whoops!), so I didn’t have to worry about damaging the pattern. I trimmed the pattern pieces down to the stitching line and thread-traced them on my fabric. As a side note, my friend Phyllis came up to the studio while I was doing this and helped me, cutting the amount of time to thread trace in half. Thanks, Phyllis! I then cut the pieces out, giving myself one-inch seam allowances. Given how badly this fabric frays, I am really glad I did. If you work with a really ravelly fabric like this, you’re far better off cutting wide SA. You can trim them back after you sew the seams, but it will help keep your sanity intact, and keep your project from becoming a wadder.
After sewing the seams by machine, I stitched the seam allowances down by hand. There are a lot of seams in this pattern, so that took the bulk of the time. As you can see from the picture, I used my favored organza stay method to reinforce the back corner seam. This fabric requires it. Trying to use the method in the StyleArc instructions would be courting disaster in this case.
I didn’t use any trim on the shoulder yokes this time. Instead I went for the clean finish.
In addition to the shoulder pads, I used sleeve heads to support the sleeve. I didn’t take any pictures in process, but this is the sleeve head I used. This was a gift from my friend Rosie, who brought it back from Paris. OMG – this is THE. BEST. Thank you Rosie! I need to find a stateside supplier of this.
Because this fabric is rather bulky, I tacked the facings to the outer garment at the shoulders, the center back and the sleeve openings. That keeps them all in place and laying nice and flat.
Even with the additional time and care that I spent on the seams, this jacket went together quite readily. This fabric has enough body that I decided to forego block fusing interfacing to all the pieces, as the pattern recommends. The only parts of the pattern that I interfaced were the center front bands, to give support to my closure. This time, instead of a zipper closure, I used a decorative hook/eye tape that I bought at Pacific Trim about 9 years ago. It’s been patiently waiting for the right project to come along and this was it! I thought about tucking the scalloped edges under and using the selvage of the fabric as a transition piece, but when I laid the pieces out, it was too bulky, so I went with just the tape.
I lined it with a stretch lining from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course!). That particular fabric is sold out, but there are Lots of Others Here.
I love the way this turned out! This jacket is really nice and warm. It’s dressy enough to pair with a black pencil skirt or trousers, but I’ll probably wear it with jeans and boots. I really love the closure. I did all the hand-sewing while parked in front of the TV watching NFL playoffs (go Pats!) and Downton Abbey (go Mr. and Mrs. Carson!).
Here are some pictures on Shelley:
Oh, and remember at the beginning I said you should see the floor of my sewing room? Here it is.
Once again, I recommend this pattern. I would definitely do it again, though I think I’ll give it a rest for a while. Next on my list is a McCalls mock-wrap dress that has been sitting on my sewing machine table for a couple of weeks.
I decided to make yet another Ann Tee Top from StyleArc. This is the pattern that I pull out when I have a yard of fabric and a couple of hours to myself. I made a Gray Version a while back that I just loved, but it got destroyed in the Great Dryer Massacree of 2014, so I made a new one. This is from a rayon doubleknit in a deep gray. It has more body than the jersey, but it will also be warmer for winter. This particular fabric is sold out, but there are several Rayon Doubleknits Here.
There’s nothing really to say about construction that I haven’t said in the myriad versions I’ve made before, but as always I’m happy with the results. Here it is on Shelley. I’ll probably wear it tomorrow.
I’m Not Generally One for Looking Back on the year past, but 2015 was a good year for things in my wardrobe that I just love, so here are my top 6. Yeah, I know – “What? Top 6? I thought it was Top 5?” What can I say? I’m a rebel. From number 6 favorite to number 1, these are the garments that I pull out of my closet or bureau and feel great wearing:
It was a toss-up between these shorts and my Modified Kwik Sew Duster (okay, yes, I cheated and it’s technically 7 winners, but indulge me). The reason this one made the list is because I wore these incessantly from when I pulled them off the ironing board until the cold weather hit. That was about a two week span, here in Boston, so I am sure they will get lots of wear next summer. Plus I got some very good feedback on this pattern that helped me make the second one better. Thanks GOMI!
Surprised by this? I am. When I made this top, I was unsure of it. It didn’t fit the ‘fit profile’ I was searching for at the time. But I thought it would be nice to do a compare/contrast between indie and big 4 Breton-style tops. Well. Over the months, this gets pulled out and worn on a very regular basis. So it’s a winner, and I will definitely make some more.
You know, I don’t buy from other fabric stores often, but when I do, it’s spectacular fabric that I can’t lay my hands on. I have worn this dress three times so far this year, and every time I get stopped by people asking me where they can buy it. It’s a testament to this dress and fabric that I’m going to wear it tomorrow night to ring in the New Year.
If a piece of clothing could be the Perfect Man, this would be it. This coat is so beautifully drafted, yet so simple, that it sets off the wearer (that would be me) beautifully. It inspired DH to buy me a vintage Hermès “Petite Mains” scarf for Christmas to go with it (love that man!!). Paco – your designs are GORGEOUS!
This year, I took a Princess-Di-inspired wedding confection and turned it into a sleek sheath dress for my 30th wedding anniversary dinner. I married the perfect man, and I wore the perfect dress then and gave it new meaning for now.
Have a safe, happy and wonderful New Year, everyone!
I hope you had a restful, wonderful Christmas, whether you celebrate the holiday or not. We had a lovely time. Friends came over on Christmas Eve, then Christmas was spent just with family. And the rest of the weekend was filled with sewing! I had started working on StyleArc’s Lori Jacket, and of course with the holiday brouhaha, I wasn’t able to get too much done, until yesterday, when I went into the sewing room and didn’t come out! To whit:
Pattern Description: Simple zip front jacket pattern with a designer look. The interesting back design lines along with shaped hem bands gives this jacket a great shape. Use your design skills to create a unique look by your selection of braids/trims.
This jacket is fully lined. But can be sewn unlined if preferred. (I lined mine)
…annnndd… it’s gone. You can see other bouclés Here
Chocolate Brown Silk Habotai lining. It’s sold out, but you can see other colors Here.
Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130 home machine, Naomi the Naomoto, Juki M0-654DE home serger, ham, ham stand, shoulder stand, sleeve board, clapper.
Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, Pro Sheer Elegance Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply (OMG – this stuff is GREAT!!!!), bias strips of silk organza, two square scraps of silk organza for stabilizing the back miters, custom sized Lampo separating zipper from Botani in New York, shoulder pads, sleeve heads, thread.
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes
How were the instructions? They were pretty good for StyleArc. This jacket is rated as challenging to only for the experienced sewing. I think that’s fair, but it depends heavily on the fabric you use. I whipped this up in just a couple of hours when I made the muslin. Now granted, I didn’t do all of the steps (no lining). But I think if you use a firmly woven wool, or a denim or similar, this is appropriate for intermediate or brave advanced beginning sewing folks.
If you use a bouclé, then gird your loins and be prepared to take some extra steps. I think some of the instructions will work great for certain types of fabric, but can court disaster with loosely woven fabrics, especially if you haven’t lots of experience (I don’t recommend this pattern in its unaltered form for, say, a Linton tweed). More in the next section…
Test Your Fabric with Narrow Seams: I used a somewhat loosely woven bouclé to make this. If you use a fabric like this, you might want to do some things to ensure you get a great result. The pattern instructions have you interface all the garment sections/facings, except the sleeves. The pattern also uses industry standard seam allowances (3/8 inches) and facing allowances (1/4 inch). These can be dicey on certain fabrics. So know your fabric and how much it ravels before going in. You may wish to extend your seam allowances during cutting and construction to give yourself some breathing room.
Make some test runs of the trim before you cut/sew: StyleArc gives you guidance on using trims and store-bought binding for finishing your seams. I didn’t see any binding fabrics that I liked, and my bouclé is too bulky to do a bias binding, so I ended up inserting my trims differently. I did self-fabric fringe attached to bias silk organza:
I’m not sure exactly where I learned this method; it was probably from Kenneth King or Claire Shaeffer. It’s a fantastic method for inserting fringed trim without adding bulk to your seams.
Here’s a fun little bit of trivia. I realized that the colors in this bouclé are directional. If I cut the trim on the straight grain and then fringed it, the prevailing color was orange and green. If I cut it on the crosswise grain, it was slate blue and gray. I decided to use one direction at the shoulders, and the other at the neckline and hem.
I also went back and forth about using an exposed zipper. I was originally going to do an exposed zip with fringe underneath, but it was really bulky. Unfortunately, the exposed zipper without the fringe looked like an afterthought, so I decided to forego the fringe on the center front and insert the zipper in the more traditional manner.
StyleArc’s instructions have you construct the back by sewing your back and side back pieces together to the mitered corner, then drop your needle into your fabric. clip to the corner and then turn and keep sewing. This can work, but it can also court disaster with a bouclé (and even some more firmly woven fabrics). Instead, I reinforced the corners with scraps of silk organza, clipped to the reinforced corners before I sewed the seams, and pivoted around the reinforced corners:
This pains me, but I have to let you know about problems with the pattern. I’ve already alerted the folks at StyleArc. There are several missing notches. There are missing notches at the center front band, the waist bands, and the shoulders. And there is an error on the shoulder yoke piece. It indicates “Front”, where it should say “Shoulder”. If you have the pattern and have questions about it, email me and I’ll send you a picture showing the corrections.
The good news is that the pattern is drafted well enough that the missing notches are a minor nit and don’t affect the construction. That shoulder yoke, though, needs to be fixed. If you make a muslin (make a muslin!) you’ll find the issue right away and can work through it.
Other Salient Stuff…
I used a trick from Susan Khalje and cut the under sleeve (and under sleeve lining) on the bias for ease of movement.
I also did a small FBA.
Likes/Dislikes: I like the lines of this pattern. It needs some QA to fix the notch issues, but it goes together beautifully on the whole.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes, and yes with caveats. I will definitely make it again. I think I will make any future version without fringe and just let the lines speak for themselves. It’s got a very McQueen feel to it if you look at the design lines. It’s a good pattern for the intermediate or beyond sewing aficionado. I think it would be fun to make with a hook/eye tape closure instead of a zip.
Conclusion: Another great entry from StyleArc. Here are a bunch of shots on Shelley:
Howdy, campers! It’s been a few weeks since I last posted. With Hanukah being early this year (that’s one half of the family) and Christmas coming later (the other half), I feel like all I’ve been doing is shopping. All the holiday rigamarole equates to no sewing for me, either, and that means blog posts have been scarce.
Despite the holiday rushing about, I found time this week to make myself a muslin of StyleArc’s Lori Jacket. At work, I seem to live in jeans, boots, knit tops and some kind of jacket or cardigan. I love my Gabby Jacket, but the fabric is a wee bit dressy for the office. I thought about making another, but I also like the lines on the Lori, and it’s been sitting in my pattern stash for a while so I pulled it out and made a muslin.
I will have lots to say once I make the final version. This fits well out of the envelope, but I’ll do a slight FBA and then it will fit even better. I have This Italian Bouclé in my stash for the final product. StyleArc has you block fuse the bouclé. I haven’t decided if I’m going to do that or not. This one has a fair amount of body to it, so I’ll do some testing before I cut and make a decision then. I also need to decide on trim and get a really great zipper for it. I’ll be in New York next week, so I’ll stop by Pacific Trimming and M&J to get those.
Various and Sundries
In other areas of life, I went with a friend today to the Eileen Fisher outlet sale (what a zoo!) and realized something: shopping for clothing holds no romance for me. This realization has been a while coming, but it really hit me today when I tried on an alpaca coat that was a good price, and well made, but as I looked in the mirror, something was off. The front looked great and fit beautifully, but when I turned to the side something looked wonky. I took it over to the 3-way mirror and there I could see what bugged me. The back pooched out under my shoulder blades and over toward the sleeve. It’s an armhole princess line design, and there’s just too much room, even though the shoulders and the front were fine, and the waist and hip were perfect.
One very nice lady said, “Well, you can take it to a tailor and get it fixed.” I smiled at her and thought, “I can tailor it. I just don’t want to pay $179 for something I then need to rip apart and put back together, and adjust the sleeve to match, when I can make it from scratch and have it fit perfectly.” What amazed me was that women in the line for the dressing room were oohing and ahhing over how it looked on me. I was gracious, but I realized I am so spoiled about the fit of my garments. And that’s the wonderful thing about sewing, isn’t it? Needless to say, I put that coat back on the rack. I’m sure someone else bought it and will feel great in it.
In another area, I have a boatload of old Burda World of Fashion magazines from about 2008 to 2012 that I’ll be selling over the next couple of weeks. I’ll put them on Gorgeous Fabrics in the notions section. I’ll let you know when they are up. I’ll never use them, so I might as well let them fly to someone who will.
I’ll post a review of the Lori Jacket as soon as it’s done. And hey – keep an eye out for the next issue of Threads Magazine! 🙂
I don’t have too many TNT patterns, but the Ann Tee from StyleArc is one of them. I really love the lines of this pattern. I like the open neckline that isn’t too low, the ruching at the front that hides a multitude of sins, and that I can make it in less than three hours from start to finish. The fact that we share names is pure coincidence. I decided to make another one yesterday from a 4-way stretch fabric. This one is sold out, sorry, but you can see Other 4-Way Stretch Fabrics Here at Gorgeous Fabrics.
Because of the stretch in all directions, I went at the construction a little differently. I pinned from the hems (bottom and sleeve) to the notches where the ruching begins, then I measured the halfway points between the notches on the front and back, and placed a pin there. I stretched the fabric and placed several pins between, so my gathers would be evenly spaced:
I then basted the side seams, stretching the fabric as I did to baste the gathers in place.
I did the same when I serged the side seams, then I removed the basting. Ta daa! No need to apply elastic or do gathering stitches.
Obviously this only works with a knit that has stretch in both the crosswise and the lengthwise grain. But it’s easy and it saves some time, so why not? Here’s the top on Shelley. I’ll wear it tomorrow.
Now for your PSA.
Folks, I had a minor FML moment last week. A couple of weeks back, I had my semi-annual mole check with my dermatologist. I have a family history of melanoma: my sister had one removed 25 years ago, and my brother has had two removed in the last several years. That on top of my own diagnosis of breast cancer 6 years ago means that they watch me like a hawk. There was one mole on my right outer thigh, that I had “noticed” about a month ago. It was slightly scaly, and irregularly shaped. I thought it might be a keratosis, but my dermatologist did a biopsy on it, just to be sure.
Well, I’m glad. Because the pathology came back and, you guessed it, early stage melanoma. Very early stage. In fact, it appears she got the entire thing when she did the biopsy, but we need to go back and get margins. The biggest bummer for me is that because of where it’s located, I’ll have to forego spin and barre classes for about 4 weeks.
This isn’t as scary to me as the breast cancer was. I’ve always believed that with my family history, it was a matter of “when”, not “if” and it’s the reason I’m so fanatical about putting on sunscreen each and every day. The truly sucky thing for me is that, unlike my sister and brother, I was never a sun worshipper! Aint that a kick in the head?
Melanoma is one of the deadliest cancers, but it’s entirely curable if you catch it early. Please, please, PLEASE, check your skin on a regular basis. If something looks “different” to you, get it looked at by a doctor. And wear sunscreen! I use physical sunscreens (titanium dioxide) because they are less harmful to coral reefs than chemical sunscreens (I’m also a SCUBA diver) and because most dermatologists, mine included, prefer them to chemical sunscreens. I have two brands that I like: Elta MD and Avene. NAYY to either, but I use them every day. Even my kids are devotees.
So please, check your skin, and if you see something that doesn’t look right, please get a doctor to look at it. I want you all to be around for a very, very long time!
I wanted to something lighter for my post-Paco-Peralta-Cassock-Coat project, and I love the first version I made of the StyleArc Marlo, so I decided to make another. This time I decided to make it from Boldly Go Floral Silk/Rayon Matte Jersey, with contrast sleeves made from Poly ITY Jersey – Beyond Basic Black. Hey – check it out – both of those fabrics are still available – it’s a miracle!!! 🙂
I was inspired by ReDpants Designs‘ wrap dress from when she hosted McCalls’ wrap dress sew along last year. And my friend and client Karen also used the same combination in a Fabulous Maxi Dress.
This time, I cut the front in two pieces, per the StyleArc instructions. I tried, and almost succeeded, to have the print match exactly across the front. It’s close enough that most people won’t notice, and it’s not far enough off to make my eye twitch.
For the technical details, I ran this up on my home Pfaff 2130 and my home Juki serger. I used Stretch 75/11 needles in both machines. I used a 2.5mm long by .5mm wide stitch for the CF and front sleeve/bodice seams. I used that same stitch to hem the garment and sleeves, and I used a 3.5 mm 4-thread serger stitch for the side seams.
All in all, this took about 1.5 hours from start to finish over the course of several days. I’m really pleased with this version. DH really loves it. The fabric and contrast make a nice change, and each takes less than a yard of fabric so if you have pieces left over from other projects, this is a nice way to use them up.
Here are some pictures on Shelley.
Once more, this is a great pattern with good bones that makes up quickly. Not sure what my next project will be. I’ll see what inspiration hits this week when I go on a buying trip.
Pattern Description: From StyleArc’s website, This is a great top that is so easy to make but looks amazing when finished. The front keyhole neck line and the cut outs on the raglan sleeve make this top a standout.
I’ll add that this is a long sleeved raglan top with neckline binding,
Sizing: 4-30. I made a 10.
Available as a PDF? Not currently.
Fabric Used: A flannel-faced ponte panel knit from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course). It’s sold out, sorry.
Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130, Juki MD-654DL, Naomi the Naomoto, tailor’s ham, sleeve board.
Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11 needle, thread. That’s all.
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes.
How were the instructions? I didn’t use them, though I did take a look at them and they seem fine. This top is really well drafted and it goes together beautifully. I made it a little more difficult on myself by changing the construction a bit, but if you do it their way it goes together really quickly.
Construction Notes: The way the pattern is designed, there’s a center front seam. Because of the print on the fabric, I eliminated that seam, adjusting the pattern to have a CF fold instead. I created the keyhole by making the same type of rectangular opening that you use for a welt pocket. This makes the opening a little wider than it would be if you had the seam but I can live with that. I used two rectangles of self fabric as the facings for the opening.
Other than that, I sewed the raglan seams with a narrow (.5mm X 2.5 mm) zigzag stitch. I serged the side seams and I serged the neckline binding to the top. I used the same zigzag stitch to sew the hems and to topstitch the neckline.
Likes/Dislikes: I love the lines of this top. It’s worth noting here that the two side keyholes make this top bra-unfriendly. If that makes a difference to you then you might want to consider sewing them shut. It’s exacerbated slightly by the fabric that I used, but I think you will find it even with an ITY jersey.
The way I worked with this print was to have the bottoms of the motifs hit in the same place, and match them at the side seams. The front is slightly longer than the back, thanks to the FBA, which adds both width and length. That’s why you see a little of the beige peeking at the bottom front and not the back. Here it is on Shelley:
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes. The little snip of fabric that StyleArc sends as an example of the type of fabric to use is ITY jersey. I think I would use that next time, to give a different feel to the top.
Conclusion: I’m going to like wearing this in the cooler weather – it’s comfortable and chic, and the peekaboo keyholes are a fun touch!