I’ve noticed the name Style Arc and seen pictures of some super looking patterns popping up on blogs and review sites for a while now. Several of the designs look very much my kind of style.
But… All the reviews I read always mention how tricky / sparse the instructions are. So I knew that as a beginner sewist I would need to wait for my skills to improve a
fair bit more, before trying out Style Arc for myself.
I decided recently that perhaps, just perhaps, I might be ready to tackle one. Nothing crazy like a jacket or full on button up shirt mind you, I’m not insane. But say a top, skirt or a dress with similar looking construction to ones I’ve already done.
To save actually having to make a decision on which of those three types to buy, I bought one of each type 😁. For thorough, scientific investigation purposes of course.
The Cate’s Cousin top
The Heather dress
One quirk of the Style Arc set up is that when buying the pattern you specify your size. If buying a hard copy direct from Style Arc, you just get that size. If buying a PDF you get that size plus the one above and the one below, but all in separate PDFs i.e. not nested together. You can also get some hard copy patterns from Amazon and Minerva Crafts and those ones have the range of sizes all in one pack (I think they split their vey decent range of sizes across two options for these packs).
They also don’t have the A0 / copyshop versions as part of the PDF option, only an A4. Now whilst I’m slowly becoming a bit more prepared to stick PDFs together (after seeing this brilliant tip from Itch to Stitch ) I still prefer sending large patterns off to an online print shop. But if you email Style Arc once you’ve purchased the PDF, they are happy to send you the A0 file by email. Wonderful customer service. And apparently they are also working on providing nested sizes on their PDF patterns at some point in the future, which will be great for ease of grading between sizes.
Oh, and if you buy a PDF pattern via the Style Arc site, you get to choose one free pattern from a choice of two different options each month. Bonus!
Anyway, on to the patterns themselves!
I have made two of the three patterns so far, with the Heather dress waiting patiently in the queue.
First up I made the Mindi skirt in some gorgeous electric blue denim from Sew Me Sunshine . It has a slight stretch which I thought would help with the fit / wearing.
The instructions are indeed sparse, but the pattern is super well drafted, which helps immensely. Everything lines up where it should. The seam allowances are smaller than most of the other patterns I’ve been sewing, but I’m getting used to these and in some ways they are easier (eg for princess seams) and of course help save a little fabric. Just be careful clipping your notches!
I wanted to have the zip on the pockets fully exposed so I stuck the two pattern pieces together at the stitch line and cut them as a whole, then used the windowpane method (a bit like making a welt pocket) to insert the zip. I had seen someone’s tutorial on how to do this ages ago, but of course couldn’t find it when I searched for it again. So I had to guess how to do it based on my rather foggy memory of the tutorial!
My practice version, using interfacing bumpy side up on top of right side of fabric, sewn around in the box lines I marked, cut down the middle, turned through and then ironed into place, holding everything in neatly
Anyway, unsurprisingly I got it a bit wrong with the cutting line for the first pocket. I cut through both of the 1/4″ marks I made at each end, all the way to the end of the box I had marked for stitching, when I should have left these small bits uncut. So as you can see, the first pocket has a gap at the end of the zip, showing the hole between the zip tape.
Grrr. I considered redoing the whole pocket but in the end decided that you really wouldn’t see this aspect as the pocket then sits against the denim of the skirt anyway, which masks it a bit.
The second pocket I got spot on, thankfully.
Well, for the zip installation anyway. The other thing that I didn’t quite get right for this skirt is the pointy top corner of the pocket. I didn’t turn each side of the seam allowance under properly somehow, so you can see a few threads of the raw edge a bit.
I’ll have to work out how to do that better for next time. Although I probably won’t always put the pockets on every time I make this skirt as they give it a very distinctive look that I might not want multiple versions of. But the skirt is a super fit and I love the seam lines and curved waistband.
I can see this becoming my go to skirt pattern for a short or knee length straight skirt.
Right, onto the Cate’s Cousin top. This is a super quick make, as you would expect from a jersey pattern.
I used some slinky viscose / poly (I think) jersey from my stash that I got from Minerva Crafts. It was perfect for this top, you definitely need something with good drape. I also used this fabric for the faux wrap, panelled skirt version I made of the Aldaia dress by Pauline Alice.
Again, very spartan instructions, but you can work them out with a bit of careful re-reading and it helps if you’ve made other jersey tops before (like my four Agnes tops for starters…). The only thing I’m not sure I got right is attaching the back neckband. The instructions just say “Attach the back neck binding” or something along those lines. There is a note to refer to the mini guides on the Style Arc website for help if needed, but the web address given is just to the general site, not a link to the specific tutorial. And there isn’t a tutorial with the exact name of the technique as it is called in the instructions. There is one with instructions for different bindings, but none leap out as the exact one needed for this top, or at least if there is then it isn’t clear – they seem more appropriate to woven fabrics. Maybe that’s just me though. In the end I just used the technique from the Valencia top from New Horizons. However, I think the Style Arc pattern is designed to have the whole of the neckband turned under, rather than just the seam allowance. The notch for where you turn the front facing under didn’t quite line up for me, but I think it would if the neckband were completely turned under. I’ll give that a whirl next time!
The skirt I am wearing here is also a Mindi skirt – I hacked this one a little to remove the front exposed zip and put in a concealed zip at the back instead (no pockets as per my plans mentioned above). I used some awesome purple coated denim, also from Sew Me Sunshine
Anyway, I am so thrilled with this top and have immediate plans to make many more in every colour. Well, every colour I actually wear. So that would be blue, pink, purple and grey then! Oh, and I am starting to venture into white. I know, I’m just so adventurous.
So there we go – a challenge, a few errors, but my first experience of Style Arc has left me with a skirt and top I absolutely love.