adult's clothing · sewing

StyleARC Gail top

Last month’s StyleARC freebie was the Gail top.  Tops (and dresses) with twist features always interest me, and I rather liked the way that this one incorporated the collar.  StyleARC’s description: This cleverly designed knit top has a flattering scarf neck with a bit of a twist. Make it with either a short or long sleeve.

StyleARC Gail top

The fabric I used for this wearable muslin was a soft cotton/lycra – possibly also containing viscose – from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 per metre table. The red stripes have run slightly, but it’s not all that noticeable unless you look at them close up.

StyleARC Gail top

I did attempt to line up the stripes when I cut it out, not that you can tell. They are so far apart from one another that it was quite difficult. I can assure you that they do match along the side seams and down the sleeve seam, and they are at least symmetrical elsewhere even when they don’t match.

StyleARC Gail top

So, on to a review. StyleARC are not renowned for their instructions and this top is definitely a case in point. I found that the instructions for assembling the collar/twist/neckline to be very confusing and to not always correlate with the illustrations. So I essentially used logic and the last diagram in the series, and pinned it all together the way that I thought it should go. And yes, that worked. So basically, my version of the instructions was:

  • sew the shoulder seams
  • sew the centre back collar seam together
  • fold the collar in half lengthwise wrong sides together as far as the notches. Finish the edges between the notches on the left collar by machine (I just folded them to the inside and top stitched). Also finish the left front edge between the notches.
  • Pin the collar around the neckline right side together, matching the notches, and sew from the right hand side notches to the left.
  • Following the final diagram in the series, lay out the top on a flat surface, pass the right side through the opening in the left, and pin the sections together.
  • Sew the angled side front seams first, then the centre front seam.

Then construct the rest of the top as per usual – set in the sleeves, sew up the side seams and sleeve seams in one pass.

StyleARC Gail top

As you can see, there is plenty of style ease in this top, especially in the front. I made size 12, my usual StyleARC top size, and it’s roomy.  It also dips down quite a lot at centre front. I should have tried it on before hemming and taken it in more through the centre front seam, and then sliced some of that curve from the hemline. At the moment I feel that the combination of the angle of the stripes and the curved front just make my already significant abdomen look even more obvious. As it is this top would work quite well as a maternity top!  I also think that the shoulders need to be brought in a little to fit me better.

StyleARC Gail top

So, the final verdict? I’d like to make this again in a solid fabric, with the modifications described above. I like the height of the back neckline and the front twist, and now that I’ve done it once it wouldn’t be hard to do a second time. This top is most likely going to passed on to a friend, but I don’t think that the pattern has seen it’s last attempt!

By the way, there is a great series about fit taking place over at Sunni’s blog A Fashionable Stitch.  There is quite a lot to think about and digest there.


8 thoughts on “StyleARC Gail top

  1. I like the stripes, a solid will also look good.

    Maternity? The top would work for a really small woman with a tiny baby. You could pass for barely 6 weeks at the moment.

    Yeah – done my bit, don’t want to go there again!

  2. Wow, you are really sewing up a storm.

    I think you are right about a solid working better: the stripes and shape focus on the wrong part of the garment. There is a very interesting twist at the neck and bust that is being eclipsed in your stripy fabric!

  3. I think the fit is actually really nice & there is no hint of maternity – at least not in these photos! I am jealous of your DCF finds – I never see cotton knits for $2/m when I’m there!

  4. I also had to take in my Gail’s center front seam. It really made all the difference. I think this top is meant for knits with mechanical stretch as well as lycra and that’s why it is roomier than most Style Arc knit tops.

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