Style Arc Stella Coat

It is a little too late in the season, but I decided to fill the fall coat gap in my wardrobe with a new Style Arc Stella wrap coat. I had a very good experience with this coat before and wanted to make another one.

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The Stella is a true wrap coat, held in place entirely by the belt. There’s no side seams. Instead the side front panel wraps around to meet the side back panel, 1-2″ away from where a side seam would normally be. (When I added room for my hips I added it to this seam.) This offset also makes the front pockets less bulky and puts them in a more comfortable location.

At 2.25″ Mandarin style collar is quite tall—if you have a short neck, you’ll probably want to chop down the height a little.

Style Arc suggests topstitching the back yoke, pockets, belt loops, belt, and along the front edges.

I think this coat is Style Arc’s version of the Burberry wool wrap coat. Burberry seems to do a slightly different version of this coat every year. (I’m not sure when the Style Arc Stella pattern came out, but since it is one of their earlier patterns I would guess sometime in 2011/12.) It looks like this year it is a more oversized fit, with a much smaller collar. I prefer the sharper and more fitted look of the Stella.

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As far as patterns go, this one is very complete with what is included. There’s separately drafted lining pieces, along with pieces for sleeve hem and sleeve head interfacing. There’s also pocket facing pieces. One thing I should add is that the line drawing is slightly incorrect. There’s actually two center back panels, not one, so a seamline goes down the center back as well as on the sides. I also feel like the shape isn’t quite as A-line as depicted in the line drawing.

The fabric I used is a fluorescent pink wool/poly blend I bought from Gorgeous Fabrics last January. (When I showed my dad the coat he asked if I was going hunting!) The description refers to it as a suiting, but IMO it is too heavy for a dress, pants, or most skirts. It is a great fabric for a jacket or lighter weight coat though.

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I lined it with a deep pink silk twill from Fabric Mart that’s been sitting in my stash for almost five years now. Silk keeps it lightweight and breathable while being a little bit more insulating than a rayon Bemberg lining.

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 1.57.42 PM.pngI added a hanging loop using some 3/8″ grosgrain ribbon.

I had a hard time finding thread that was a matching color, so instead of my normal Gutermann Mara 100 for construction and Mara 30 (or Mara 70) for topstitching I used “Pink Pink Pink” Magnifico, which is a thin but strong high-luster polyester thread. One spool was more than enough to complete the entire coat and lining. When I needed to topstitch I used a 5mm long triple stretch stitch (which is Mode 2, #20 on my Janome 6500P). It is painfully slow compared to topstitching on my industrial machine, but I think it is an attractive finish.

I didn’t want to wind up an additional bobbin for such a small amount of stitching, so to finish the edges of the belt loops and pocket facings I decided to use the faux overlock stitch on my Janome.

For interfacing I used Fashion Sewing Supply’s Pro-Tailor fusible canvas for the collar and Fashion Sewing Supply’s lightweight Pro-Weft for everything else. In addition to the sleeve head, sleeve hems, back yoke facing, and front facing recommended by the Style Arc instructions, I also interfaced the entire center front piece, armholes, and hems per Kathleen Fasanella’s lined jacket fusing map. I added a 1/8″ turn of cloth allowance for the collar, which encouraged it to wrap more smoothly around my neck.

Since my silk twill was such a shifty fabric I block fused some iron-on tear-away stabilizer to the fabric prior to cutting out the pocket pieces. Since the bias was in effect neutralized it made a big difference when it came to sewing on the pocket facings and sewing the pocket bags together – no ripples or stretching! I think I’ll be doing this much more often for pocket bags made out of silk and rayon lining fabrics. It seems like if I don’t do this everything gets stretched out of shape the moment I lift it up from the cutting table.

Fitting alterations:

  • Added 6″ to the hips
  • Added a total of 1″ width across the upper back. Rather than dart out the excess at the shoulder, I chose to ease it in with the help of some steam. Fortunately this fabric was incredibly malleable and cooperative.
  • Lengthened 1/2″ between bust and waist, and 2.5″ between crotch and knee
  • Lengthened the sleeves 1.25″
  • Added 3/4″ width to the sleeves
  • 3/8″ forward shoulder alteration (on the sleeve only)
  • Added 3/8″ to the bottom of the yoke as a rounded back alteration

After trying it on I made a couple of additional tweaks:

  • Took in each side back/side front panel seam 3/4″ at the hip
  • Took in each side back/center back panel seam 1.25″ at the waist
  • Shortened the sleeves 1/2″. This required ripping apart part of the sleeve seams and adding more interfacing. (Interfacing for hems should extend 1/2″ beyond the fold.)

I didn’t make any style alterations, but due to a lack of foresight while cutting I ended up having to seam the belt at the center back. I added a belt loop to the center back to help cover it up. (It also helps keep the belt in place better.)

An outfit for Mom: Style Arc Stevie Jean Jacket and Style Arc Jema Panel Dress

Meet my mom!

She is Sallie’s favorite person in the world.

I love the look Sallie is giving in this photo – she’s totally saying “my parents are so embarrassing!” (BTW can you believe these two kids have been married 56 years?)

Neither the Style Arc Stevie (note: affiliate link) nor the Style Arc Jema (note: affiliate link) are something I would make for myself, as I usually go for sleek, tailored, and somewhat formal. (That’s why I’ve been sewing more Burda and Marfy patterns lately.) In addition to sewing something I wouldn’t wear myself, it was a novelty cutting out a pattern and just laying it on the fabric without doing a bunch of alterations first! My mom is almost a perfect Style Arc size 14. Despite her 5’8″ height I didn’t have to make any changes to the length, which surprised me. There are a couple of fitting issues – I just realized she has a high shoulder and could probably also use a sloped shoulder alteration – but overall I think the fit is pretty good out of the envelope.

I’m going to start with the Stevie jacket, which is the more complicated garment.

Stevie Jean Jacket

“Can’t you take all the photos like this?”

There’s almost 20 pieces to this pattern, and tons of topstitching. Seriously – every seam on this jacket is topstitched. Even the side seams.

I love the details this jacket has though, and if I made the Style Arc Stacie jacket again I would definitely borrow some of them.

As I mentioned in my description the pockets at the bust are fully functional.

The tabs on the bottom band are functional as well, though I don’t think most people will move them beyond the first button.

The sleeves have a split so that you can roll up the cuffs.

The welt pockets open up to full size pocket bags.

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The Style Arc Stevie (note: affiliate link) definitely taps into the oversized jean jacket trend, which I’m just starting to see pop up on Net-A-Porter.

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Net-A-Porter.com

For this jacket I used a bright red cotton poplin from Gorgeous Fabrics. I originally planned on using it for a dress, but in addition to the weight being too heavy for my intended pattern the color was a little too warm for my personal taste. For size 14 I needed almost 3.5 yards of this 45″ fabric.

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For the buttons I used the oak leaf antique brass jean buttons from Cleaner’s Supply. The topstitching was done with white Gutermann Mara 70 thread, also from Cleaner’s Supply.

As I mentioned in my first paragraph, I got away without having to do any alterations to this pattern. The description of being “oversized but not too big” is completely accurate.

The welt pockets gave me some trouble. I had never sewn a single welt pocket before (though I was vaguely familiar with the general process) and was thrown off by the fold marking on the pattern piece, along with Style Arc’s instructions to fold the welt in half before sewing it to the jacket.

I decided I would finish the rest of the jacket and come back to them later. At that point I experimented on some fabric scraps. Even so, I struggled through construction and am a little disappointed by the quality of the finished pockets. Part of the reason is that I should have made more samples before proceeding to the jacket, but I also suspect that the welt pattern piece could use an extra 3/8″ added to the width. (The measurement, without seam allowances, is 5 1/8″ by 1 3/8″.) Since this is the first time I’ve made single welt pockets I don’t know if it is a drafting error or just me. Next time I will reference How to sew a single welt pocket tutorial from Fashion Incubator. (I love Kathleen’s tutorials – I have yet to experience anything but fantastic results using her tutorials.)

The pattern piece for the cuffs did not include buttonhole markings. Easy enough to manually mark off, but I felt like they should have been included.

Also, I think the buttonhole marking for the tab that attaches to the hem band is in the wrong spot. IMO it should be placed by the fold, not by the raw edge. (I ended up placing it by the fold.)

Jema Panel Dress

The neckline is finished with bias binding, which is then turned to the wrong side and topstitched in place.

You can do a hook and eye instead of button and loop, but I prefer the look of the button and loop.

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The Style Arc Jema (note: affiliate link) is a loosely fitted woven dress with rectangular panels, slightly flared 3/4 length sleeves, and a back closure consisting of a button and loop. Darts at the bust provide some shaping. I found that while the line drawing does a good job of portraying the fit, it is slightly inaccurate when it comes to depicting the panel proportions. The left middle panel is not as tall and the lower left panel not as short as the line drawing indicates.

My mom liked the Jema for the creativity aspect. While I chose a rather sedate look consisting of frayed chambray, you can mix and match any kind of lightweight wovens to create a unique look.

I believe the inspiration for this dress is this $470 Victoria, Victoria Beckham denim patchwork dress.

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Net-A-Porter.com

The fabric I used is a lightweight chambray purchased a year ago from Fabric Mart. I thought the bright red Stevie jacket needed to be paired with something more neutral. As you can see from my photos the horizontal seams frayed to navy, and the vertical seam frayed to white.

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Though I didn’t alter the pattern for height, I also ended up not chopping off the skirt hem allowance. When she tried it on she said the ease felt appropriate. It is obviously a loosely fitted dress, but it isn’t overwhelming her with fabric. Another thing I should mention is that she was able to get it on and off without having to undo the button at the back of the neckline.

As you can see I chose to do the frayed look, which is basically a lapped seam. If you choose to do this look you will make your life much easier by using a ruler and the Clover Pen Style Chaco Liner to mark the fabric first.

  1. For the panel that will be frayed, chalk in a line 3/8″ away from the raw edge on the right side of the fabric. This is your stitching line.
  2. For the panel that will be under the frayed section, mark a line 3/4″ away from the raw edge. This will be where you line up the raw edge of the section that will be frayed.
  3. Per the instructions, make sure before you sew the two panels together that you finish the raw edge of the panel marked with the 3/4″ line, or else your dress might disintegrate in the wash! 🙂
  4. Sew the two panels together, placing the fray panel on top. After I stitched along the marked stitching line (which is 3/8″ away from the raw edge), I did another line of stitching about 1/2″ away from the raw edge. Instead of marking this with chalk I switched to my stitch in the ditch foot, moved my needle all the way to the left, and used the previous stitching line as a guide.

After stitching I carefully frayed the fabric. I think this was the most time-consuming part of making the dress. Even so, I was able to cut out the dress and have it completely finished in one night.

Style Arc Renae Dress

I finished this dress in April, took photos during a very hot day in June, and am just now publishing the post for it in August!

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The Style Arc Renae (note: affiliate link) is a woven dress with sleeves and a rounded neckline. Darts are incorporated into contrast inserts. As you can see it makes a great dress for the office.

If you’re interested in sewing this dress but are worried about sewing those pointed inserts, take a look at my tutorial on sewing corner/angle/pointed seams. (If you’re using a fairly stable fabric you can probably skip on using the stabilizer.)

The fabric I used was a lightweight wool crepe from Fabric Mart. I love the color of this fabric, but I’m not entirely pleased with the quality – it is definitely not as thick and “spongy” and doesn’t mold as well as most wool crepes, plus it is a little sheer. I really liked the $10/yard price though!

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Since the magenta wool crepe was semi-sheer I lined the entire dress (minus the sleeves) with some Ambiance Bemberg I had in my stash.

The contrast inserts are cut from the scraps of some burgundy wool crepe I used for another project a few years ago.

Since my fabric was so wimpy I interfaced the hem and back vent along with the facings using Pro-Sheer Elegance from Fashion Sewing Supply.

You probably noticed in the pictures that I omitted the back inserts in favor of plain darts. The reason for this is that I have a significant swayback and am very “hollow” in this area, and I always need to take in this section of dresses and tops. If you don’t tend to need to take in this section of clothing, you’ll probably be fine with the inserts. But if you’re like me, for the sake of your sanity you should seriously consider omitting them ;).

Alterations:

  • Changed the skirt from pegged to straight
  • Added a 3/4″ back shoulder dart
  • As I mentioned above, I omitted the back insert in favor of a simple vertical dart.
  • Moved each front contrast insert 1/2″ toward the center front. The inserts incorporate a dart into the design line, so it is very important that they be in the right position for your bust.
  • Added 6″ to the hip
  • 3/8″ rounded back alteration
  • 3/8″ forward shoulder alteration
  • 1/2″ swayback tuck
  • Added 1/2″ width across the front waist
  • Added 3/4″ width to the sleeve bicep
  • Added 3/4″ width to the upper back
  • Added 3″ length
  • Lengthened between bust and waist 1.5″ – this dress runs very short though the waist.
  • Took in the side seams (the amount varied depending on the location, but it was roughly 1.5″ all around). I took in the bust the least amount, the waist the most. Had I used a beefier fabric I would have made the fit slightly snugger, but with something lightweight like this (and somewhat less resilient to wrinkles than most wool crepes) I felt like erring on the side of slightly more ease was the right choice. I chose my normal size 8, but I don’t feel like out-of-the-envelope that this dress is as closely fitted as it is shown on the model on the Style Arc website.

Style Arc Jacinta Dresses

The Style Arc Jacinta (note: affiliate link) is another one of those patterns I made a few years ago and decided to make again. It is my go-to pattern for when I want to make a maxi dress out of a bold patterned knit.

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I made three new Jacintas for a little vacation I took last month to Virginia Beach. I have a close friend from college that lives down there, and after literally years of her telling me to visit, I finally got up the courage to take her up on her offer. I’m a nervous and inexperienced traveler, so getting on a plane by myself was a HUGE deal to me, especially since I had been on one only once before in my entire life! I’m glad I went though – it was great to bond and re-connect.

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Beach babes! We’ve been told many times before that we could pass for sisters.

The first Jacinta was from a rayon/lycra jersey I purchased a few years ago from Fabric Mart:

The second Jacinta was made from another rayon/lycra jersey, purchased a few years ago from Gorgeous Fabrics:

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My final dress was from an Italian rayon/lycra jersey, this time from Mood. There’s still some available!

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One thing I did differently from last time is instead of sewing a tuck at the V, I cut the ends of the binding strip at a 45 degree angle, making a seam at the center front of the binding. This gave me a nice sharp angle at the center front. I then attached the V section of the neck binding to the dress via my regular sewing machine, but only for an inch or two past the center front. Then I finished attaching the binding on my serger, and topstitched with a chain stitch on my Janome Coverpro. I think it gives a neat, professional finish, and doing that little section on my sewing machine gave me greater control vs trying to manipulate that corner on a serger.

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Style Arc Ali Knit Skirt

The Style Arc Ali knit skirt is another project I first made a few years ago:

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I’m not normally a fan of slim knit skirts, but I find the ease and design line the tucks provide over my thighs make the Ali a little bit easier to wear than most.

Since my original Ali skirt was starting to look a little shabby I decided to make up a new one this weekend. I have much better photos of it this time around! I’m wearing it with my Style Arc Anita peasant top.

As you can see from the side view, this is a very figure-hugging skirt. A tight fit is necessary in order to keep the tucks in place.

I sewed and topstitched the tucks using the chainstitch function on my Janome CoverPro 2000CPX. A chainstitch is much stronger and provides more stretch versus using the straight stitch on a regular sewing machine.

The fabric I used was a charcoal rayon/nylon/lycra ponte I purchased from Sawyer Brook a few years ago.

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Due to the stretch of the fabric, fitting adjustments were pretty easy:

  • Removed a total of 4″ from the waist
  • Straightened out the side seams a total of 1.5″ to make the hem less pegged
  • Since the hem was rising up in the back, I ended up taking up the hem an additional 1″ in the front
  • Took in the side seams a total of 2″- this fabric was quite stretchy, and as I mentioned above, you want to make sure the fit is snug so that the tucks stay in place.

Style Arc Brenda Blouse

I first made the Style Arc Brenda blouse a few years ago. On Saturday I decided that I wanted a plain white sleeveless blouse to go with some of my summer skirts, so I decided to make up this pattern again. (I finished the armholes with self bias strips.)

I’m wearing it in the photos below with my Style Arc Candice skirt.

The fabric I used is a lightweight linen from Fabric Mart:

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I interfaced the front plackets with Pro-Sheer Elegance, and the collar/collar band with Pro-Crisp Light. Both interfacings are from Fashion Sewing Supply. The buttons are from Cleaner’s Supply.

Fitting

Fitting gets its own heading for this pattern, because it was pretty involved ;).

In addition to the original alterations listed below I took a 1″ tuck between shoulder and bust to remove some gaping. I also lowered the bust dart 1/2″, though due to my 1″ tuck I think that I should lower it a little bit more for next time. Next time I will also do a 3/8″ forward shoulder adjustment and lower the armholes 3/8″.

Here are my fitting notes for my original Brenda blouse, which I had made from a silk crepe de chine:

This blouse was an exercise in fitting. I very carefully measured the pattern and made a muslin of this blouse because I heard lots of people say that it ran small, especially through the waist.

My fitting adjustments were:

  • 3/8″ broad back adjustment
  • 3/8″ rounded back alteration
  • Added 3/4″ width to the sleeves
  • Lengthened the body 1″ just above the waist
  • Removed 3/4″ width from the upper chest
  • Lengthened the sleeves 1/2″
  • Added 2″ width to the hips at the hemline

Those are normal-for-me Style Arc fitting alterations. I did not need to add any extra to the bust, despite the close fit. The gathers in the front add a surprising amount of room, though if you are above a B/C cup you should consider doing a FBA.

There were a few more issues to fix that mostly fell under the “sometimes but not always necessary for fitted Style Arc blouses” category:

  • Added an additional 1″ width to the back only at the hip (it was pulling across my butt and causing it to ride up in the back).

  • Added 1/2″ width to the front only across the waist. I expected to have to do this because while my waist is a size 8 I need more width in the front than the back. (My ribcage is slightly flared in the front and I have a very lean back.) I didn’t bother taking it out at the back because 1/2″ of extra ease is a small amount for a pattern that uses lightweight fabrics.

  • Added an additional 1″ to the front from just below the waist to just below the high hip. I didn’t bother taking out the amount I added from the back because when it comes to a lightweight fabric like this a little bit of extra ease is a good thing.

  • I found I had weird diagonal pull lines in the back from just below the shoulder blade to the waist. I almost considered posting a photo and asking for feedback. But that’s taking the easy way out and doesn’t help me enhance my problem-solving skills, so I persisted. After looking at it for a bit I decided the problem was that the back was too shaped at the sides and not shaped enough at the dart. So I basically straightened out the back side seam curve, and took out the width I added to the side seam by increasing the size of the back darts.

  • Rotated the front dart to be 1/2″ closer to the center front. My bust is slightly closer-set than most patterns draft for so this is a common adjustment when I make something with vertical darts in the front.

  •  I also added a 1″ dart to the back shoulder, a normal-for-me Style Arc alteration when I’m making something with a very fitted woven bodice. (I have prominent shoulder blades and this prevents gaping at the back armhole.) To facilitate this I moved the shoulder seam back 1.25″ so it would be in the normal shoulder position and not set forward as designed.

Style Arc on Gumroad

As you probably already know, Style Arc sells their downloadable PDF patterns on Etsy. Now Style Arc is trying out Gumroad, which is an alternative platform for selling their PDF patterns.

One of the quirks of Etsy is that in order to handle different downloads for different sizes, they have to do five separate listings for each style:

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With Gumroad, they have one listing per style, and you just select the size range you need within the product description:

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If you haven’t noticed already, this allows them to offer eight size groupings instead of just five. I know the biggest question people are going to have is “what if I want a different size range than what is offered?” I have already emailed Style Arc about this, and their response was that they would still be able to accommodate custom size requests, just like they do on Etsy. Just send them an email letting them know what you need after checking out.

I know some people are probably wondering about currency. The prices in the listings are in Australian dollars (AUD), but when I added a pattern to the cart and went to checkout the price adjusted to United States dollars (USD). I wasn’t logged in, so I’m guessing that it sets the currency using your IP address.

Gumroad also allows for affiliation. Style Arc offered up this option to me, and since I’ve enjoyed working with their patterns for a long time I decided to go for it. So if you decide to buy the pattern using the Gumroad affiliate links (which will always be noted as such), I will get a percentage of that sale. Or you can continue buying the patterns as downloads from Etsy or as paper patterns from Amazon and their website. Completely up to you!

So that being said, here are my affiliate links for the Gumroad shop. Use the coupon code clothingengineer20 in the offer code box/field during checkout to get 20% off. (The discount will be applied after you advance to the next field in the checkout form.)

Style Arc Gumroad shop

Style Arc Paris, London, and/or New York Tote Bags

Style Arc Kendall Top

A Sweater Knit Style Arc Cleo

I wish I had more photos of this dress, but unfortunately the battery on my camera died before I got all the shots I wanted.

During my Christmas break from work last December I traced off a new copy of my heavily altered Style Arc Cleo pattern, altering the skirt to be A-line instead of straight. I then cut into a thick wool blend sweater knit purchased last October from Fabric Mart.

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This dress ended up taking much longer than I thought it would.

I first decided to use the gray quilted side as my right side. After putting it together and trying it on…I hated it! Due to the fabric’s quilted effect it looked stiff and frumpy. The open neckline also felt COLD. Out of curiosity I turned it inside out and put it back on. I was much happier with the effect. I decided to take apart the entire dress and start over again, using the almost-black diamond pattern face as the right side.

To fix the too-open neckline I cut a new neck band. I made the finished width 1.5″ instead of 1/2″, and used the diamond pattern as a design feature. This made the neckline feel significantly warmer.

The sleeves were also a little too short, so I finished them with a 1.5″ cuff instead of a regular hem. The hemline also ended up shorter than I wanted. In order to squeeze out the maximum length possible I made a hem facing from some black stretch lace that was laying around in my sewing area. I sewed the stretch lace facing in place using the blind hem on my machine.

After finishing the dress I took it in the darts an additional 3″ at the back waist. (I found this knit grew a little during wear.) I also let out my 5/8″ seams at the bust and sleeves.

I’ve worn this dress to work a few times. Styling it with wool tights, boots, and a silk scarf makes it a nice cozy dress for brisk winter days.

I was going to make a second Cleo, but the wool knit I had planned for it gave me quite a surprise after pre washing:

Yes. It went from 2 yards, 72″ wide, with squared-off ends, to 1.5 yards, 58″ wide, with very misshapen ends. I washed it in the machine on cold delicate and air dried (as I do for all wool knits). This is why I prewash all of my fabrics before sewing them up. Better to know before rather than after you sew.

I tried to save this knit by trying to shape it back on grain, but the problem was that the two bonded fabrics weren’t perfectly on grain when they were bonded together. For this reason it wasn’t suitable for a sewing project. Rather than throw it out, I folded it up and made it into a bed for Miss Bonnie. She loves it! Not what I had hoped for this knit, but it ended up being a solution that worked for everyone.

Style Arc Kendall Top

Version 1: a wool knit with only mechanical stretch.

I didn’t notice the left sleeve hem flipped up until after I downloaded the photos onto my computer. Oh well!

Version 2: a modal/lycra sweatshirting with 4-way stretch.

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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:

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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!)

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The combination of the fabric with the oversized shawl collar makes this a very cozy winter top.

Alterations:

  • 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.

650932DC-0454-4BD4-A642-3977470266DCScreen Shot 2016-01-22

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.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.)
    6. 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.
    7. 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.

Style Arc Tulip Dress

Full length view. (Why is it that pendants never seem to stay centered on me??)

Slash pockets
Bodice and skirt pleat detail. Notice how the skirt overlay hangs from the upper and not lower edge of the waistband.
Tulip style sleeve. Thought I would also mention that the neckline doesn’t really gape like this in person – it is just my posture in this photo.
I secured the waistband lining in place by slipstitching.
Back hem was catch stitched in place.
Hand rolled hem for the underskirt and front overlay.
Junction of where the back hem meets the front underskirt.

TULIP-DRESS

The Style Arc Tulip pattern gives you options for for different looks:

  • dress with tulip sleeves and pleated skirt overlay (which is the version I made)
  • sleeveless dress with regular crossover skirt
  • skirt with pleated overlay
  • skirt with regular crossover

The waistband is about 1″ wide and skirt length is about 21″. The overall fit is slim, but not tight. The skirt section includes slash style pockets. If you go with the pleated overly you’ll want to use a lighter weight fabric with good drape; if you want just the regular crossover look, any light-to-midweight woven should work.

The skirt isn’t lined. If you’re like me and not comfortable wearing just a single layer of thin silk on your bottom half you have two options: wear a miniskirt length slip under it, or create a hem facing for the front underskirt and underline both the front underskirt and back pieces. I wanted to use this project to learn how to do a hand rolled hem, so instead of creating a facing for the front underskirt (which would have saved a ton of time) I used it to practice my hand rolled hem skills. I’m glad I did, because my stitching on the overlay is much better!

Style Arc offered to send me this pattern free of charge, and I accepted. It wasn’t part of my fall/winter sewing plan, but I really liked the elegant and creative style and thought it would be a fun project.

I used the matte side of a silk charmeuse purchased long ago from Fabric Mart:

Picture 1

For the bodice lining I used another silk charmeuse from Fabric Mart:

petalpink

For the neckline/armhole guides I used iron-on tear-away stabilizer. I also created guides from the stabilizer for the slash pockets.

Since I wanted my hand-rolled hem to look as nice as possible I used Magnifico thread from Superior Threads instead of my normal Gutermann or Mettler thread. Magnifico is a high-sheen polyester thread often used for embroidery and other decorative stitching. It glided through the silk. I also used it as my sewing machine and serger thread. (I know a lot of people love to tsk tsk serging as a seam finish for silks, but I think it looks presentable. I wound it onto two bobbins and did a three-thread overlock.)

Fitting adjustments:

  • Added a 3/4″ back shoulder dart to the bodice
  • 3/8″ rounded back alteration
  • 1/2″ swayback tuck
  • 3/8″ forward shoulder alteration
  • Added 3/4″ width to the front waist and removed 3/4″ from the back waist
  • Took in the back darts 3/4″ each, and lengthened the back skirt darts by about 1″
  • Lengthened the skirt 3″
  • Added 5.5″ width to the skirt at the hip
  • Took in the center back seam about 1″ below the waistband
  • Tapered the waistband at the bottom about 3/4″

Some thoughts:

  • The neckline is really beautiful. Wide and deep, but not too wide and deep. No gaping either. I’m definitely using it as a template for other dresses.
  • I love the look and feel of the sleeves – they give more range of motion than ordinary cap sleeves – but the front “petal” doesn’t always fall back into place after movement. Just something to be aware of.
  • I really regret not interfacing the slash pockets. Despite using iron-on tear-away stabilizer they stretched out. I fixed them the best I could, but I’m not 100% happy with how they look. I’m pretty sure it was 75% the shifty fabric and 25% my bottom-heavy figure.
  • I didn’t take in the skirt’s back darts as much as I could have, as I didn’t want to further aggravate the gaping pocket issue. It isn’t a problem with this lightweight fabric, but if I made this out of a heavier fabric – and underlined the skirt – I would definitely take them in more. I will also omit the pockets next time.

The construction of the bodice is pretty normal and straightforward. What will trip most people up are the sleeves and the skirt.

Skirt construction (pleated overlay version)

  1. First, hem both the underskirt and the pleated overlay. (For maximum control I went with a hand-rolled rather than machine stitched hem.)
  2. Sew the darts of the underskirt.
  3. Sew the left pocket to the underskirt. This is sewn like any other slash pocket.
  4. Take the overlay and pin out/baste the tucks. Then place it onto the underskirt.
  5. For the right pocket, start sewing the pocket bag to both the underskirt and overlay until point A (which is marked on the pattern).
  6. When you get to point A, clip just the pleated overlay to the seam allowance, then fold the overlay out of the way. Continue sewing the pocket to just the underskirt.
  7. Take the bit of overlay folded out of the way and press.
  8. When you sew the bottom of the waistband to the skirt, make sure you sew only the back skirt and front underskirt to the waistband. You’ll sew the overlay to the upper section of the waistband when you are ready to attach the bodice.

Sleeve construction

The sleeve pattern is a little odd-looking. There’s no underarm seam, and at first glance it may appear that the curved edge is the outside edge. Actually, that curved edge is what gets sewn to the bodice.

To construct them you first want to sew the outside (that long, straighter edge) and press.

Then you want to arrange it so the larger back “petal” overlaps the smaller front petal. Make sure you pay attention to those notches!

Baste all around to keep the two layers in place. You set it into the armhole after you attach the bodice lining to the bodice.