Version 1: a wool knit with only mechanical stretch.
Version 2: a modal/lycra sweatshirting with 4-way stretch.
The Style Arc Kendall top (note: affiliate link) has a front empire seam with an oversized shawl collar. The sleeves are 7/8″ length (which is 3-4″ shorter than full length). Out of the envelope, the hem will hit most people at the low hip/upper thigh.
When I first saw this top, I thought of Burda 11/2006 #116:
The Style Arc top is actually quite different:
- The Burda collar is much smaller and cut-on rather than being sewn-on and sandwiched between two bodice pieces like the Style Arc top.
- The Burda collar is worn folded over instead of being “scrunched” like the Style Arc Kendall. (For that reason the Burda top requires you to use a fabric with two “good” sides, and topstitch the collar with a decorative stitch.)
- The front wrap detail is set closer to the side seams for the Burda top.
- Burda also continues the empire seam in the back rather than having a cut-on-the-fold back like the Kendall top. They also build a little shaping into this seam.
Recommended fabrics for the Kendall top are sweater knit, baby wool, and knit jersey.
The fabric I used for my first version was a wool knit. It is technically a jersey but it has the weight and beefiness of a ponte, especially after being washed. I purchased it about four years ago from Fabric Mart. (Some of us actually do use stuff from our stash!)
The combination of the fabric with the oversized shawl collar makes this a very cozy winter top.
- Added a center back seam, which I took in 3″ at the waist.
- Lengthened the sleeves 6″, as I wanted them full length. I ended up shortening them 1.25″.
- 3/8″ rounded back alteration
- 3/8″ forward shoulder alteration
- 1/2″ swayback tuck
- Added 4″ to the hip
- Added 1″ to the side seams at the bust height. I ended up taking in the side seams at the bust 2″, and 1″ at the waist and hip.
- Added 3/4″ width to the sleeves. I ended up taking them in about 1/2″.
- Shortened the hem 3″
Overall I found this top ran a little big. It is definitely meant for a stable knit with not a whole lot of stretch (maybe around 30%?) I also found that both the hem and armholes are on the long side. The shoulders on this seem to be designed to be a tiny bit dropped.
After wearing this I have to say that I love how the collar gives the coziness of a turtleneck without the choking feeling. Almost like a built-in scarf. It is definitely more interesting than the typical sweatshirt pattern.
One thing I’m not pleased with is the pulling at the center front of the empire seam. Playing with the differential feed on my serger and giving the seam a good press afterward helped cut down on the effect of the pulling, but it is definitely still there. The Style Arc sample has it too. IMO it is a combination of fabrication, the slightly negative ease at the neckline, and the fact that you’re sewing five layers of fabric together at the center front. This pattern is meant for stable knits without a whole lot of stretch, so you can’t depend on negative ease to help support the seam.
Another quirk of this top is that the collar pushes the shoulder seam outward during movement, making it look like the shoulders are too wide when they really aren’t.
The pulling obviously didn’t bother me enough to keep me from making a second Kendall top. This time I wanted my Kendall top to be something comfortable to wear after the work day that would coordinate with the black fleece pants I practically live in during the winter. I used a modal rayon/lycra sweatshirt fleece from Fabric Mart. It is one of the Julie’s Picks fabrics for this month. (I think it is sold out by now.) I wasn’t the biggest fan in the world of the oversized rose print, but it is SO soft and cuddly and has wonderful drape. It is the type of fabric you just want to wrap around yourself on cold days. As soon as I felt the sample I knew I wanted to use it for loungewear. I really wish this fabric was readily available in solids.
Since this is casual, relaxed loungewear top that I want to layer over tanks I didn’t bother taking it in as much as I did for the first one. The bust/waist and sleeve width are the out-of-the-envelope width. I did end up taking in the center back seam 3″ like I did the first time, because if I don’t the back pooches out. I also shortened the sleeves an addition 1/2″ from last time, due to the fact that this fabric has 4-way stretch. Since I’m going to be wearing this over tight fleece yoga pants I didn’t bother chopping off any length from the hem. Technically I probably should have shortened it between shoulder and bust, and made that empire seam higher. I like the top anyway. It is super comfortable to wear.
For construction I did things a little bit differently the second time around.
- I stabilized the empire seam in the front with 1/4″ clear elastic. I’m uncertain as to whether it helped or not.
- Here’s the order of construction I used for the second top, which is slightly different from the Style Arc instructions.
- Sew the center back seam (if you added one like I did), then sew one set of upper bodice pieces to the back at the shoulder, stabilizing the shoulder with clear elastic.
- Sew the binding strip to the other set of upper bodice pieces at the shoulder. (I should have trimmed the width in half at this point, but I neglected to do so.) This is your neckline facing.
- Fold the collar in half. (You can press it either now or after you finish the top.) Pin the collar to the neckline of the front and back. Then pin the facings to the neckline, sandwiching the collar between the two. Sew all layers together.
- Attach the shoulder seam of the facing to the bodice shoulder seam. I did it by machine using a chain stitch, but it was difficult sewing in as far as I needed to. I would sew it by hand next time.
- Turn the bodice to the right side, and topstitch. I used a chain stitch, positioning it 1/4″ away from the collar. After I was done I trimmed the back binding piece close to the stitching. (I made it a single rather than double fold binding strip.)
- Pin/baste the front bodice pieces to the bodice facings, and cross the right over the left as suggested by the notches. Now pin the lower front bodice to the crossover. Serge all the layers together, incorporating some clear elastic into the seam as a stabilizer. Press the seam down.
- Sew the armhole seam of the upper bodice to the sleeve, then sew the side seams together in one pass, from bodice hem to sleeve hem. Hem the sleeves and bodice.