This is the third time I’ve sewn the Style Arc Esme top, but it’s quite different to the last two. This time around it’s sleeveless, without the collar.
I had a small amount of this poly Anna Sui double knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics left over after sewing a cardigan, and wanted to use it up. I did consider a sleeveless version of the Tessuti Mandy boat tee, but remembered that the Esme top has a nice high-low hemline with side slits, so just that little bit more detail.
From the Style Arc website: Square cut top with funnel or band neck options, sleeved or sleeveless, with a high/low hem. “The Wanted” garment of the season. This knit top has a fabulous bias cut collar that can stand fashionably high or turned over. Make it sleeveless or with sleeves for the cooler months. FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION: Ponte, Scuba or any fabric with a stretch component.
Most of the versions I’ve seen of this top on the internet have the collar (most are the long sleeved versions too). I think that the sleeveless version with neckband is definitely worth keeping in mind as well. I love some pattern versatility!
I’m happy with the fit across my rounded forward shoulders (that’s another alteration I should consider adding to my list) and there is plenty of ease through the body – most of you know that is my preference. I sewed size 12 without alterations. Construction for this one was mostly on the machine, with the overlocker used for the shoulder seams and to attach the neckband. I needed to be able to press the side seams open so that I could hem the sleeves effectively and sew the side slits.
It’s really more of a winter top than a summer one despite being sleeveless, because it definitely is polyester. I have worn it a bit as part of a twin-set, with the aforementioned cardigan (the pattern is the Style Arc Coral cardigan). I rather like it in this combination! Definitely an outfit for those days when I need a bit of psychological armour – plenty of colour and print. It gives me confidence!
Oh my goodness, there are less than ten blog posts from last year left to write. Of course, I have a fair few from this year to catch up on, but hey…..I’m making progress!
This pattern – McCalls 6690 – caught my eye because it seemed very fashionable. Like something that was in the shops – and that’s important to the kids. From the pattern website: Pullover, partially lined tops and dresses have side panels (sleeveless), no side seams, side-front/side-back openings for self-belt, back button, thread loop closing and very narrow hem. Purchased bias tape finishes neckline. A: Purchased trim. B, D: Ruffles.
We decided on view A, mainly because this style is a major fabric eater and we wanted to get it out of the fabric that was available. As it was I used another fabric for the inside lining pieces.
The fabric was a printed cotton lawn, and came to me I think from Spotlight via another person’s stash (thanks Anna!). It was lovely to sew with. We eliminated the trim that the pattern suggested for this view. I cut and sewed this in size 8 after measuring the pattern pieces – clearly it has ridiculous ease; I sew a girls 12 or 14 for Clare now.
We didn’t need the slit with button and loop opening at the centre back – Clare can get it on and off just fine as it is. It’s an interesting pattern actually. It’s basically a tank style with princess seams in the front and back – no side seam as such – with the sleeve attaching to the front and back princess seams. The main bodice pieces are lined as well, which combines with the flappy angel sleeves to mean that you need plenty of fabric.
This top is a little tricky to wear with anything over it – those angel sleeves mean that you can’t fit other regular sleeves on top. This means it’s definitely something that can’t be worn trans-seasonally. As it turns out Clare hasn’t worn it much, but she’s not sure why – maybe because she was wearing other things, she suspects, rather than something being “wrong” with this. I’m not sure that it will still fit Clare this summer. There is a fair bit that needs to migrate from her wardrobe into Stella’s at the moment!
I sometimes find it a little challenging to get sizing right for my kids. Both daughters are quite slim for their height (I was the same at their age; up until my late teens really). To get the combination of style, ease, and fit preferences right is not always easy.
I sewed this Boo Designs Sleeved Skater dress in a mixture of sizes to accommodate Stella’s wishes. She wanted a tight bodice with a fuller skirt. Stella chose all the pattern elements – which sleeve type, what skirt length, and which fabrics went where.
It’s interesting to me when I look at photos – it appears that Stella has the same issue as me of fabric pooling a bit at the back waist area while the front bodice is still quite fitted! When I look at this dress on Stella I think it looks too small. She thinks entirely differently and really likes it.
Now I am trying to cast my memory to last year (that’s when I sewed it) but I think that I sewed the width quite a bit smaller than the length for this dress. I kept the armhole depth and bodice length appropriate for Stella’s height, but the body width was a few sizes smaller in accordance with her measurements. The shoulder width was something in between.
The fabrics are superb European quality cotton/spandex knits from Crafty Mamas Fabrics. I finished the sleeve edges with a very narrow zig-zagged hem, and did the same with the skirt. Construction was primarily on the overlocker. The neckline is bound with the printed knit.
From the pattern website:
- 2 lengths: Regular (above knee) or maxi (slightly above ankle)
- Also interchangeable with skirts from (sleeveless) Spandex Skater Dress
- 2 hem styles: even or hi-low
- 4 sleeve styles: long, short, mini or flutter
We’ll see how much wear this dress gets when the weather warms up again – and if it in fact still fits her! Stella looked over my shoulder while I was typing up this blog post and did say “oh, I do like that dress” so maybe it will be a winner after all.
This time it’s not a pattern repeat! It is a garment that I sewed last year, though.
The Style Arc Bianca knit top is described on their website as follows: Great spliced top, make it in knit with contrast angled side panels and hem bands. The flattering “V” neck along with its long sleeve or short this is a great versatile top. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Knit Jersey with woven trim (such as Rayon or silk).
I used a printed viscose/spandex knit remnant from The Cloth Shop for the body, with navy woven tencel from Clear It for the inset panels and sleeve and hem bands.
This was mostly sewn on the overlocker, with the machine being used judiciously for topstitching and for elements like attaching the neck band. I sewed straight size 12.
There is lots that I like about this top, yet I have only worn it a couple of times. It continues to survive wardrobe purges though. I suspect that one of the issues is that the tencel creases terribly, and this really does require ironing before wearing. I do iron my clothes before putting them away, but whether folded or hanging, the tencel panels on this top get very creased in the wardrobe. The sleeves could be a fraction too long as well.
I think that I need to pull out this pattern again and try it in all knits, in a different colourway, and see if it gets more wear. I really like V-necks, and this has the loose body fit that I prefer in my clothes to accommodate my belly. I should possibly pass this version on, but I still give the pattern a thumbs up. I just need to get the fabrics right for me.
Don’t you always interrupt your ironing to do some hula hooping in your ugg boots?
Another repeated pattern, another of last year’s garments – Style Arc Ethel, in printed cotton jacquard leftovers from another project (fabric originally from Darn Cheap Fabrics). Because this top is pieced you can really make the most of strangely shaped scraps!
I’ve sewn this top in size 12 (the same size as both previous versions). It’s a roomy style, and super comfortable to wear. You know I wouldn’t wear anything that wasn’t comfortable! The pants I’m wearing it with are the Ethel pants.
From the Style Arc website: This gorgeous boxy shaped top with angled design lines gives your wardrobe a new and fashionable look. The wide facings give this top structure and style. This pattern has been cleverly drafted to cover the top of the arms whilst not losing any of the design elements. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Linen, Crepe, Silk, light wool.
Other information about this pattern can be found in my previous posts here and here. It’s a great one – highly recommended.
Another pattern repeat! This one is the Style Arc Ginger knit top. Photos taken after a day of work – and I notice that the sleeve hems are crumpled from the jacket I’ve just taken off.
This ticks all the boxes for a work top for me. I prefer V necklines, and it isn’t too low. There are short sleeves, it’s sewn in a knit, and there is plenty of room there for my middle. The fabric came from Clear It – I suspect it’s a viscose knit. It’s quite a decent weight, and was easy to sew and is just as easy to wear.
From the Style Arc website: This is the top of the season made simple. Clever drafting makes this top easy to sew without losing the look. All in one sleeve, full front wrap with shoulder tucks falling into a draped bodice.
I notice that I first sewed this top in 2014. What is great about this top is that unlike many with a drapey front hem, this one can easily be made in prints as well as solids (many similar fabric show the reverse side on half of the front). It’s fast to sew too.
And there’s the aforementioned jacket that crumpled up the sleeve hems – it’s a Style Arc Harper jacket. The pants are Style Arc Barb. This is a pretty typical work outfit for me.
Previous versions of this top are here and here.
I think that at some stage I should make a list of my most-used patterns. And double check that they are also some of my most-worn garments. This one would end up on both lists.
This is the Olivia Oversize Tee, by Maria Denmark. This is the fourth time I’ve sewn this pattern. The first two are at the stage of being so well worn that they are beginning to pill and stretch out in parts. The third one was only worn once or twice because the fabric couldn’t hold up to simple things like wearing a seat belt without marking and damaging. I have high hopes for this fourth version!
Yes, usual issue with fabric pooling at lower back. Anyway, this is a terrific tee. The banded sleeves and hem make it very straightforward to sew, and I like the fit I get with the lower band. The neckline is quite scooped – almost a curved V neckline really – and a shape and depth I really like to wear. You do need to be very carefully to give the neckband plenty of stretch when applying it to that centre front curve in order for it to lay flat when wearing.
The fabric is a printed viscose/spandex knit from The Cloth Shop – I think it may have been a remnant. It has fabulous colours in it! I sew this top in a mixture of sizes. I cut it to the shortest length, and remove all the waist shaping completely so that there’s plenty of ease around my middle. From the pattern website: Olivia is super trendy, super relaxed, super easy to sew and super easy to fit! Pick out any of your favourite wool, rayon or bamboo jerseys and in about an hour, you’ll have a great top to wear with skinny jeans, tight slacks or tights! Make it in a stripe to wear with a blazer jacket for work, in a fun print for everyday joy, or in a plain fabric that goes with everything!
Finally getting this version blogged has reminded me that I need to replace my two longer sleeved striped versions! And yes, this was sewn and photographed last year.