Sunday, October 20, 2013

Style Arc Kate: A review

 If you have stopped by here to read about my experience with the Style Arc Kate Dress then I won't keep you waiting while I re-hash my quest for the perfect wrap dress pattern. This is IT. 

Apologies in advance for being wordy, but you have to order these Style Arc patterns from AUSTRALIA, and they are never available for $1.99, and you have to order a SPECIFIC SIZE, so if you're like me, you may want a decent level of comfort before hitting the "buy" button. They always include a bonus free pattern, which is extremely nice. 

First of all, here's me in my dress:

Never ask your husband to take your picture after cocktails with an iphone.

Here is the pattern drawing:

It has an ever so slight A line silhouette, good coverage and three tiny pleats at the waist for "camouflauge". The pattern calls for a tuck at the wrist, which I eliminated. It also has the belt tie in the back. I cut the belt much longer so it would wrap all the way around and tie in the front.

Style Arc patterns contain only one size, so it's important to view their sizing page and check your measurements with theirs. I ordered a size 8 because it was the closest to my measurements. I also ordered the Willow pants pattern, but got a 10 because of my hip measurement. 

I used a Parisian Microfiber  from Marcy Tilton. I can't say enough about this material. It is absolutely lovely, refuses to wrinkle and is really the perfect choice for this pattern. 

The instructions included with the pattern are simple and straightforward. I was not familiar with the term "vilene" which, it turns out, is simply tear away stablilizer for the neck and bodice edges. This is genius, and necessary, and highly effective. Instead of a facing, the pattern calls for swimsuit elastic to be stitched (I serged it) to the wrong side of the stablilized neck edge, then turned and top stitched. I carried on with the serging all the way down the front edges of the dress,turned in a hem, and used steam a seam to hold them in place for the final top stitching. 

There are distinct right and left front pattern pieces because only one is pleated. You could easily make two of the un-pleated pieces if you prefer. 

The instructions have you set the sleeves in after sewing the side and sleeve seams. I attached the sleeves first and then sewed the sleeve & side seams. I don't see where this caused any problem with the fit or appearance of the finished dress.

The sleeves fit my arms perfectly- not too tight, not too loose. 

With the exception of  the stabilizing and top stitching, I made this dress entirely on my serger. I took my time and tried it on ALOT, but now that I'm comfortable with it, this is a two hour dress. I'm going to need another closet!! 

Here's a shot of the back: I usually have to adjust most patterns at the center back because I am narrow,and frequently have to take in the size seams, but not on Kate! 
Not my best angle, keeping it real here.

 I can't think of a single criticism of this pattern, and can't wait to try my next Style Arc pattern, Willow. 

Shipping was $12.50 for the three patterns I ordered- Kate, Willow and the freebie of the month, Brenda, and delivery took about two weeks. Go for it!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

An "Easy" Top

I can spend a long time flipping through pattern books or browsing online, but often it's an image on Pattern Review or someone's blog that makes me feel an urgent need to make a certain look.

That's what happened a while back when I saw Vogue 8833 on Goodbye Valentino.

Sarah's original version was sleeveless, with a ruffle along the front edges. I just loved the idea of a wrap style blouse and knew immediately it was a "must sew" pattern. 

I finally got around to giving it a go last weekend. I envisioned it in gingham for fall, with 3/4 length sleeves and the collar with band. Once again, my local fabric store let me down, as every bit of the gingham fabric was mostly polyester. It was cheap as dirt though, so I bought some in orange & white.

My camera refused to let me shoot without the flash inside but I promise the top isn't nearly as shiny as it appears in these pictures. 
Side view showing poorly fitting sleeve : (

Here's the quick 411 on my experience with Vogue 8833:

It's a "Custom Fit" pattern, meaning that multiple cup sizes are included. I LOVE this feature. I cut the size 10 with a B cup and feel like I still could have taken out a little in the upper front chest, but the princess seam needed no alteration. 

When I make this again, I will add a little width to the hip and lengthen it by several inches. It would be more flattering on me if it were longer, and it is most definitely longer on the pattern envelope model. I will also shorten the tie belt. 

Maybe I am simply terrible at sleeve installation, but my last two tops have had sleeves that were too big for the armscye. The crappy fabric on this one didn't help. I would love to know if anyone else encounters this problem and what the simplest adjustment prior to cutting would be.

The collar band was a success. Instead of the pattern directions, I used techniques from the Craftsy Jacket Class, and a few different internet tutorials. It wasn't speedy, and the collar ended up backwards, but practice makes perfect and I doubt anyone will ever inspect it closely enough to tell. 

This style really suits me, and the pattern deserves better fabric, so I'll try again. I really loved Sarah's idea for the ruffled neckline and intend to shamelessly copy it.