Category Archives: Style Arc

Grey and Sunny 

Winter sewing continues apace and spoiler, I don’t think I’ll be removing this one till April. (See also: my spangly new boots, which give me LIFE of a grey autumnal morning. They’re from Mango.)


It’s a Style Arc Sunny top: a 25% off their PDFs dropped into my inbox (code PDF25, valid til Friday!); I typically buy their paper patterns but this was a good excuse to try the PDFs out for a fiver. It’s nice that you get three sizes bundled – albeit as separate files, so blending is tricky – and assembly was smooth, although I was annoyed to find that the pieces are mostly symmetrical but were printed full/flat. Such a waste of paper and taping time!


This pattern came together incredibly quickly and was really fun to whiz up on the overlocker. I wasn’t initially sure how the cocoon-y ‘skirt’ panels would look, but I trust SA’s drafting and always find their stuff looks and feels very RTW in terms of fit and ease. I love the resultant shape. The only tweak i made was to take an inch off the hem before hemming. I’m sure I’ll be making more of these, a snuggly cocoon is perfect for wrapping myself in on those don’t-wanna-get-out-of-bed days.

The gorgeous fabric is from The Fabric Store, specifically this cotton/modal blend salt’n’pepper sweatshirting. This New Zealand-based shop, who have sent me fabric before, asked me to be an ambassador for a few months and it didn’t take me long to say yes.

I’m always impressed by the range and quality that The Fabric Store offers. Personally I appreciate that they largely focus on both natural fibres and on solids/textures rather than prints. It seems like no coincidence that garments I’ve made in their fabrics in the past, like my rayon crepe Ninnis or this tied Inari tee dress, are firm wardrobe regulars. I think the garments I’ve made with my latest haul will be no exception – stayed tuned for more soon as I had a bit of a weekend sewathon with it. I should add that I have been a paying customer in the past and can vouch for their great customer service, and international postage is pretty reasonable / free over about £100 (though watch out for customs charges).

This fabric was a perfect match for the Sunny; it’s medium weight and stable with a smooth grey on one side and the salt-and-pepper marl effect in a loopy textured finish on the rear. You could definitely use either side as the right side and I was very tempted to reverse some of the panels to highlight the seamlines, but I’m glad I kept it simple and used all of the looped side as my good side. I can show the smooth side a little if I roll the sleeves at least.

It was a delight to sew with and pressed well – especially important to get a slick finish with this top and its directional seamlines. Even the neckband stretched willingly and went in nice and flat; I was concerned it wouldn’t as it’s not super stretchy. I think I have enough from my 2m left for another little top, so I can use the other side too – hurrah!

Here’s how I wore the Sunny out later in the day. I’m glad it works with a baggier bottom half as well as slim (these are RTW Monki jeans), and of course it matches my coat!

Bonus kitty snuggle, another winter essential <3

It’s turtles all the way down

After cracking out my coat, here are some simpler sews ready for winter – lots of knits, built-in neckwarmers, and some bonus cosy pants. First up, this is a Papercut Rise, in a lovely grey marl rib that I’ve had in my stash for a while – I think it was from Woolcrest. I made this pattern up twice ages ago and both succumbed to washing fails, so I’m glad to have a new one (and to have learnt to never tumble-dry my handmades!)

This is a Sew House Seven Toaster 1 sweater. There are loads of lovely versions of this pattern in blogland but I think it was Heather’s gorgeous classic cream version that made me buy it. For a more shrunken fit I cut a size small, took a couple of inches off the body and sleeves, and brought in the neckline for a slightly closer fitting turtleneck. The neck sort of collapses because this fabric is pretty fine and drapey, but I still like how it looks. I used the reverse of the fabric – a soft knit with a slightly brushed back, also from Woolcrest I think – for most of the body, and the ‘right’ side for the cuffs and hem for a bit of subtle contrast. This pattern is so fast and has zero hemming, hurrah!

And for a bit of variety, this is Toaster with no turtle! Made from a lovely lilac marled sweatshirting from MyFabrics, with matching ribbing for the hem and cuff bands. I’m very into both cropped sweatshirts and pastel colours at the moment – rather new for me but I think these tones are actually pretty good on my colouring – so this sweater is ticking a lot of boxes.

Do you like my Pusheen mermaid socks :D

These trousers are the Style Arc Joni. I made these for a very specific use case: when you get home from work and immediately have to shrug off your awful constricting day clothes – lovely and well-fitting and handmade as they may be – and wriggle back into super comfy but definitely indoor-appropriate-only sweats or pyjamas. This pattern attracted me because they’re a bit elevated from basic track pants by the twisted lower leg seams, faux topstitched fly and little front tucks, but still pyjama-comfortable.

This pattern is easy as pie, only made a little more tricky by the drapey and stretchy quality of the fabric I used – a luxurious modal terry again from MyFabrics, again with matching ribbing for the waistband and cuffs. I’m a convert to investing in proper ribbing, it really makes it easier to get nice snug cuffs and neckbands and I think makes projects look more RTW.

I made them exactly as patterned with no fitting alterations; I could stand to take an inch or so off the leg but I don’t mind the slight slouch around the deep cuff that the extra length brings. I think I could even get away with wearing these to work on a casual/hungover sort of day. Come at me, winter!

P.S This post’s title refers to one of my favourite anecdotes

Olivia

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Another recent-ish addition to my summer wardrobe, this is a Style Arc Olivia dress I made a month or so ago. It’s about the simplest project you could imagine with its kimono sleeves, elastic waist and gently flared skirt. I always feel a bit lazy buying patterns like this, but the unfussiness means they actually get used more often than more unique or complex designs, so it’s definitely an economical purchase. It’s also a great canvas for pretty fabrics and ripe for a few design hacks.

Style Arc Olivia5

The proportions overall are really nice: I like how the slightly longer bodice blouses over the elastic waist, and the skirt’s the perfect fullness and flare – it’s another cycle-friendly gal. As Meg noted when she made her Olivia, the neckline as drafted is really quite wide and scoopy. I’ve actually got the facings safety-pinned to my bra straps to anchor it in place! Next time I’ll alter the flat pattern to make it a little snugger.

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A little design alteration I made was to do a deep baseball-style scoop at the hemline. I still haven’t actually hemmed the skirt – it’s just overlocked – because I’m a bit stuck on how to do it neatly with a fabric that likes to ripple and won’t take a nice press. I have a rolled hem foot which would be ideal but I’ve never got the hang of it; ditto a serged rolled hem. I’ll deal with it sometime. Or just wear it unhemmed forever…

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It was the perfect pattern to use my treasured self-designed French crepe fabric, printed by Contrado. Like all springy poly crepes it didn’t like to take a press very well, but it was mercifully non-shifty for cutting and sewing and feels great to wear. I wouldn’t hesitate to get more of their crepes printed with other designs.

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Considering how fast and simple this was to make, it got INSANE praise when I wore it to work today. I think every girl in the office commented on it, along with gaining boyfriend seal of approval. I’d better get designing more fabric and making it into more Olivias!

Green Celine

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Well, hello there. What’s new? I got a new rug and tidied up my mantelpiece…

I’m sorry for a bit of an unintended extended absence round these parts lately. A lot of things seemed to collide at once in my life the last few weeks, such as:

– Two hellish weeks doing jury service. Honestly, if you get asked, run a mile!
– Work kicking up a gear, culminating in pretty crazy trip to Iceland.
– Lending my camera to my sister because she got a new puppy, and subsequently buying a new one jointly with Josh, which he promptly took on holiday with him.
– The turbulent news from my own country and the rest of the world generally not making me want to leave my bed…

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I have managed to fit in a bit of sewing though, if not blogging, so I have a nice backlog of projects to share. Starting with this, my new favourite dress. It’s green, it’s midi, it feels like I’m wearing a big comforting hug, and I love it.

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The basis for the pattern was the Style Arc Celine, though you’d be mistaken for thinking it’s the more famous Named Kielo, especially given the tweaks I made. I bought Celine over Kielo because I know how well Style Arc patterns fit me and they’re so very easy to work with: one pattern on the sheet, nice paper, easy to cut, seam allowances at the ready. Also it came with optional short sleeves which I wanted, though I think Kielo has a free extension pack for sleeves now too.

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So I basically hacked the Celine to make it look more like Kielo: adding 6 inches to the length and straightening out some of the skirt’s flare; adding extra-long skinny ties onto the wrap sections; and merging the front and back princess-seamed panels into single front and back pieces. (There is some shaping built into the seams, so for a woven I’d use the panels; for a knit I thought it was safe to simply overlap the excess where the princess panels curve outwards.) There’s loads of ways to tie the dress to get different looks, but I think the most flattering on me is a crossover at the front with the ties knotted at the back.

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Knits aren’t amongst the recommended fabrics for Celine, but I didn’t change anything else except switching the neck facing for a band. The fabric is a ribbed knit from MyFabrics. My god this fabric is lovely: yes, it’s polyacrylic, but it’s £3 a metre, snuggly soft, and comes in loads of colours, so I might be snapping up more. It was painfully difficult to cut – my rotary cutter was going NOPE over all the ridges, plus the pattern pieces are huge and awkward so I had to move from my sewing room onto the kitchen floor to have enough space. But once cut it came together quickly and was easy to work with, even the hemming, which I was slightly dreading but came up lovely using a walking foot.

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It’s a dress that attracts a lot of comments and compliments, yet it’s secret pyjama comfortable, which is really my preferred criteria for clothing and why it’s amongst my favourite garments right now. I’ve worn it on a flight, to work, it’s cycle friendly, and I’d feel fine wearing it out in the evening too: not many styles you can say that about.

Back soon with more! How have you been?

Autumn capsule: Style Arc Ethel

bloglovin

Firstly, please forgive me a little YAY – I won the Bloglovin’ 2015 award for Best Sewing Blog. I’m honestly amazed: against all the incredible blogs out there, never mind the other nominees, it’s a big surprise to be noticed and recognised like this. Thank you so much if you voted for me, and thanks even if you just visit and enjoy reading. Being able to share my garments and process makes sewing all the more enjoyable for me, so it’s great to have a little extra encouragement to keep on doing it.

Style Arc Ethel

So, it didn’t take long to get cracking on my autumn sew plans – I made this top on the Sunday right after I posted about my plans. A nice easy one to kick off and looking satisfyingly similar to my sketch, this is the Style Arc Ethel top in cream cotton ikat from Offset Warehouse. (I’m told this fabric is now only in stock in Fabrications, so sorry if you wanted to find it online – they have lots of other lovely organic cotton ikats, though.)

Style Arc Ethel

I trend to trust Style Arc’s drafting and fit on myself to cut their patterns straight into my good fabric, and this was pretty good out of the packet. It’s boxy and loose fitting (about 10″ ease in the chest in the size 10) but I think the design lines make it pretty flattering. I scooped out the neckline a bit as the stripes seemed a bit overwhelming on the higher neck – as you can maybe see, that caused a tiny bit of gapeage so I’ll correct that on the flat pattern for next time. Also there’s an annoyingly uneven stripe right at the neckline which makes the neckline look slightly wonky – I swear it isn’t, ha ha.

Style Arc Ethel

Due to my quite thick fabric, instead of using the included topstitched facings around the neck, arm and hem I just did a bias facing for the neck and plain hems. But in a lighter fabric I’d definitely like to try that detail next time.

Style Arc Ethel

I cut the side panels slightly off-grain so they’d follow the diagonal front seams, and I like the resulting chevron effect at the sides and shoulders. It does appear to tip up just a bit at the front, I am not too sure how to correct that.

Style Arc Ethel

Handily for autumn, I love how this looks with a cardigan, the diagonal seams poking out at the top. As planned, the cotton is breathable yet cosy, and it just needs a shake when it comes out the machine to get the wrinkles out. Which is good, as I can see it getting worn and washed an awful lot. Up next from the plans, I finally picked a jacket pattern for my grey crosswoven cotton, so watch this space…

Style Arc Fern

Thanks for your comments on the last post, really interesting to read about how everyone else got into sewing!

Style Arc Fern

So, I’m proud of myself here: I made a top when I had ample fabric to make a dress instead. I’ve mentioned before that I have a weird tendency to feel like I need to make a dress when I have enough fabric to do so, so it’s a real internal struggle to ever make ‘just a top’ from a 2m length of fabric. SILLY. Anyway.

Style Arc Fern

This is a Style Arc Fern top, which came to me because Amy got it as her order freebie and kindly sent it on to me. It’s a rather cool kimono-sleeved top with a double-layered front which end in mitred corners. A bit of an update on the Elizabeth that I’ve sewn a couple of times already. The fabric’s a cheap polyester crepe from eBay, which is why I didn’t mind sacrificing it to a top instead of making a frock.

It’s been said before about Style Arc: the styles and drafting are amazing; the instructions are diametrically terrible. Now I don’t mind minimal instructions but Style Arc ones seem to be written purely to fox you, with terminology frequently mixed up or flat-out wrong (‘stay stitch’ is used interchangeably with understitch and baste in this case) and pointers to refer to diagrams that really don’t make things any clearer.

Style Arc Fern

This top has a few interesting details which meant I was puzzling over the construction quite a bit. There’s the mitred seam at the centre fronts, which took a few minutes of head-scratching to figure out but turned out to be quite a neat method to get a sharp corner.

Style Arc Fern

The front neckline is finished by sewing the overlapping fronts RS to WS and flipping over, while the back neck is finished with a facing. To get a clean finish at the neck edge you sew the outer front layer’s shoulder to the back shoulder RS together, then continue to sew the inner front shoulder to the back facing. Makes sense NOW but very much didn’t at the time. Also if your fabric looks similar on the back like mine does, mark which is the front or you might sew the shoulder inside out first try. Ahem.

Style Arc Fern

There’s supposed to be a little keyhole split at the top of the back neck: I had a valiant stab at it but had to give up and sew it shut as I simply couldn’t get it looking right by following the directions. After that I gave up with the instructions entirely and made the rest up as best I could.

Style Arc Fern

Can’t argue with the fit though, which is perfect right off the pattern. The shoulders of SA patterns seem to fit particularly nicely on me and the length, darts, neckline etc are all just so. It’s a really useful, wearable top, great for work with skinny jeans. I suppose I’ll just have to muddle through and make another one some time!