Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dipping My Toes in the StyleArc Pool

So, I've spent a lot of time recently observing the fabulous garments being made by others in the internet sewing world using patterns from the Australian company StyleArc.  After reading so many comments and blog posts touting the superior fit and style of these patterns, I decided I must give them a try.  First up on the block was the Adele Top, a basic-looking knit top with an asymmetrical hemline and side slit.  Per the sizing guide on the StyleArc website, I ordered a size 18, based on my bust measurement.  After some flat pattern measuring and comparison to another TNT knit top pattern, I decided not to do any alteration to the bodice front or back so that I could test the general fit and draft of the pattern as designed.  This comparison clearly showed, however, that the sleeve was much too narrow for my hefty arms.  I traced the pattern and did a simple slash and spread alteration to the sleeve to achieve the width through the bicep area that I needed.  A side result of this alteration was that it significantly flattened the sleeve cap, so I added back some height to the cap, double checked the armscye measurement and decided it didn't change the length of the armscye to a degree which couldn't still be easily eased in, especially considering I would be using a knit for this garment.  Here is the sleeve pattern with my alterations.  (It's not really purty, but it gets the job done.)

For my test garment, I selected a black and camel poly ITY knit from that I wasn't so in love with that it would bother me if it turned into a wadder.  I was very pleased with the result.  The fit through the body of the top was near perfect, the shoulders were a good width (I often have to narrow the shoulder line of tops), it didn't look like I needed to do a FBA, and my sleeve alteration seemed to have worked well.  The only issue I had was one that a number of others who have made this pattern observed as well--the top is a little too long.  I thought it would be more flattering if shortened a bit (and this is from someone who loves herself a good tunic top!), so for the second iteration, I folded out about 2-1/4 inches in length between the top of the side slit and the bottom of the armscye.  Here's the test garment:

Oh, just remembered that I also nixed the neckline method set out in the instructions and opted for my standard bound neckline.

Now happy with the fit of the pattern, I selected a lovely rayon/lycra knit I recently acquired from EmmaOneSock for the real deal:

I love it!  I wore this top to work a couple days ago and it completely passed the wearability test.  I may have to try another one with short sleeves for summer.

Today starts the Memorial Day holiday weekend, so I have three days in which I hope to get a lot of sewing done.  Summer supposedly is coming soon (although we have been having a lot of rain, and even snow, during the last week or more) and I always have a difficult time figuring out what to wear during the warmer months.  I just am not a summer person when it comes to clothes.  Give me wool weather any day!  As a result, my summer wardrobe is severely lacking and I need to crank out a few lighter weight basics to get me started.  Hopefully included in there will be a try at another StyleArc pattern.  Most likely the Peta Pants.