So, back in May, I had some lovely green and black jersey fabric burning a whole in my stash and I wanted to make myself something with it to help me take part in Me Made May. I consulted the stashbusting group on facebook and someone suggested that I take a look at Style Arc patterns. This Australian company were new to me and I quickly fell in love with their drapey Billie top and the long sleeved Amy knit top. And then I found out that they don’t do pdf pattern’s, just paper copies, and you only buy one size at a time that. I didn’t think I could justify spending money on a pattern and shipping to get it round the world that may then when it reached me not turn out not to be the right size and I couldn’t make another one in a different size.
I searched around for alternatives and found top number 4 in the drape drape book, which I decided I liked better than the Billie, so I made that.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about the Amy top, so after consulting with a friend of mine in Australia to check the shipping rates were reasonable I bought it, on the excuse that it was nearly my birthday. The wait wasn’t too long and soon I had a pattern. I hadn’t used Style Arc before (and I’m not likely to use them more than rarely due to the shipping thing) so – first impressions. My size 16 pattern was printed on a huge sheet of paper (think printer paper, rather than tissue paper) to cut out, which suited me fine (although I’d still prefer a multi size). There were little divots marked for pattern markings rather than notches, which looked cute and potential useful. There was a sheet containing pattern illustration, a small sample of appropriate fabric and some very brief instructions.
Still, I coped with the instructions being brief, it was a pretty simple make. And I spotted that I traced two identical sleeve pieces before cutting them (a favourite trick of mine forgetting to flip the pattern piece before tracing it a second time, that I’m only just starting to grow out of) – so that was fine. The only thing that foxed me was the instruction to “babylock” the hem ?! After an internet search I decided that a babylocker was a brand of overlocker and I don’t have one, so I used a twin needle instead.
Pretty soon I had a top in some lovely fabric. But, well, it’s far from ideal.
I was very disappointed when I tried it on. It didn’t look anything like the pattern illustration, which was a long thin top. Mine is more square. Hmm. Obviously this has something to do with my body shape and the fact that the illustrations are very pretty but on closer inspection appear to be of superhero’s (something I vaguely remember about how many heads high a cartoon is, superheroes have more heads in than mere mortals, someone like Andy Capp is only about 3 or 4 heads high). But I was still expecting the top to be longer and maybe to vaguely hint at my waist. I particularly don’t like where the middle of the curved hem falls at the crotch – just at the wrong place to frame, err, my crotch.
I think there are a couple of obvious problems. Firsly, my fabric, which is great in itself, but not drapey enough for this pattern. It’s a good quality thick t shirt fabric which I foolishly thought would work, as it’s knit fabric and this is a top that requires knit fabric. But it’s the wrong kind of knit fabric. I wish I’d made a Coco dress out of it instead (I thought it was too thin for that, it probably wasn’t). The lack of drape is really noticable on the cowl neck, which just tends to stay folded in half standing pretty upright, rather than slouching about. I arrange it all slouchy when I put it on, but like my hair it doesn’t take long to pooh pooh my styling efforts and revert to form. The thickness really doesn’t help the body of the top too, adding to the tent effect that is happening from my bust downwards. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the small piece of suggested fabric, trouble is, I had this fabric in mind when I ordered it to be shipped around the world, so I didn’t really give it a second glance.
The other obvious problem is that I made this before I really knew what a Full Bust Adjustment was and certainly before I’d come to terms with the fact I needed to make one. In fact, this top is possibly the number one reason I got motivated to learn Full Bust Adjustments. I bought the pattern size based on my full bust measurement, if I’d gone with a smaller size and altered it maybe it would be a little less tent like elsewhere? Trouble is, as you only get one size, I can’t remake it now I have the power of FBA’s at my disposal.
Despite this, I have worn the top a lot. Because I love the fabric. And it hasn’t pilled like my Coco’s. Looking at these photo’s I think maybe i need to reuse the fabric and make a less fabric eating garment out of it – maybe a short sleeved t shirt (the boys looks good after all).
I was very pleased with my construction on this, I felt at the time my garment making was stepping up a gear. The stripe matching is very good, if I say so myself, and the seam on the back of the cowl is nearly invisible. Oh, and before I forget, those side bits that you can tie. They’re too short to tie. Seriously. Not that I wanted to.
It was my first time stitching in the ditch too. I was all logical and used a stretch stitch and it looks pretty messy (well, when you peer at it), especially where my concentration wavered and I went off line. I have subsequently used a long (length 3 out of a possible 4 on my machine) plain straight stitch on similar garments, which looks fine and has held up so far. Is that what I’m supposed to do?
So, there you go, my most worn unflattering garment to date. Do you have something you wear lots despite not liking the fit?