Told you I would have this finished on Friday ;).
The Nancy shirt is the free Style Arc pattern for March 2014. It has a shirt tail hem, patch pockets, and a back yoke that extends to the front, with gathering at the front and center back just below it. The center front has draping just like the Patsy top. The sleeves are looser fitting and are cuffed with 1/8″ elastic. The sleeve edges, hem, front drape, and front neckline are finished with a rolled hem. There’s optional 3″ splits at the sides by the hem. The center back length for my size 8 was 25.5″ and it sits about an inch or so past the base of the neckline.
Here’s a very similar RTW version from Marks and Spencer:
I could be wrong but I think the front drape of the M&S version is doubled over and finished on the inside via a facing.
The recommended fabrics are georgette, silk, voile, or really any lightweight fabric that has some drape to it. The important thing to remember is that your fabric must have two “good” sides. The fabric I used was a silk georgette from Fashion Fabrics Club I purchased around 3 or so years ago. At this point I felt kind of felt “meh” about the print and just wanted to get it out of my stash. It was the first time I worked with silk georgette. This is a great pattern for that fabric, especially if you’re new to it, because there’s no buttonholes and edge finishing is done via a rolled hem on your serger.
Because this fabric was a print and semi-sheer I used a nude silk chiffon from Mood Fabrics for the inner part of the back yoke. The 1/8″ elastic was from Fashion Sewing Supply. I also applied a very small square (1cm x 1cm) of silk organza on each right side of the fabric where the drape starts. I wanted to reinforce this area after very slightly ripping it during a try-on. (It was before adding sleeves and accidentally I put my arm through the neckline instead of armhole.)
My design changes were leaving off the side splits and patch pockets. If this was a solid I would have added the pockets.
Fitting adjustments were:
- Lengthened between bust and waist 1.25″
- Added 1/2″ to the front at the hip and 1″ to the back at the hip
- Lengthened the sleeves 1.25″
- Added 3/4″ width to the sleeves at the bicep/elbow
- Broad back adjustment (added 3/8″ length and 3/4″ width)
One nice thing about doing all that fitting with my Brenda blouse is that now I have a decent hip curve to follow for shirts.
I actually looked at the instructions for this pattern because I wasn’t sure if there was a special way that the yoke should be finished. I found them pretty easy to follow. The hardest part for most people will be the first part: the yoke. What you’re going to do is gather your front and back pieces between the notches (I used 4 rows of gathering stitches for maximum control). Then pin your back to the outer yoke, right sides together, and evenly distribute the gathers. Then take your inner yoke and place it against the wrong side of the back. (The back will be sandwiched between the two yoke pieces.) Stitch the seam. Then sew the two yokes together at the neck, again, right sides of the yoke together. Turn the yoke right side out and position the front so it is sandwiched between the inner and outer yoke, with the center front of the front piece right up against the neckline seam. (Think of how a collar stand is attached to the front placket of a traditional blouse.) Evenly distribute the gathers. I like to first pin the front to the outer yoke, adjust everything, pin, and then pin the inner yoke so it sandwiches the front. Sew the seam, then turn it right side out. At this point the only raw edge is at the armhole. You then construct the rest of it like a normal shirt (sew the side seams, sew and set in the sleeves, and finish the hems).
The one spot where I varied from the instructions was the sleeve construction. I thought it was best to apply the elastic, then stitch the side seams, finish the seam, press, and do a rolled hem for the bottom. This way the elastic is getting caught in two places (first being stitched to the fabric, then at the side seams).
After making this and the Safari Sam I’ve finally figured out that I can wear looser-fitting shirts, but only if they are long (at least 27″ from center back neck to hem), have a shirt tail hem, and I pair them with a pant that is a straight leg or narrower. Tucking it into a slimmer fitting skirt works too. Fitted blouses need to be shorter (no more than 25″ from center back neck to hem) and/or tucked into a more relaxed bottom to work.
One thing I really like about this top is that the front is easier to press than the Patsy. I like my Patsy top but hand washing all of my silk garments means tons of wrinkles, and the neckline of that top is particularly fussy to press. (I end up using my Clover Mini Iron for certain sections.)
The only thing I’m on the fence about is the sleeves. When I make this again I’m going to copy the cuff from the Style Arc Brenda, or maybe the Style Arc Victoria. I like having a 3/4 sleeve for summer. This top also looked nice when it tried it on sans sleeves, so making it sleeveless and finishing the armholes with bias binding is also an option.