The seasons are flying by. It’s the last day of autumn – and I’m only just getting my Autumn DCF Seasonal Challenge* garment up on the blog! Thanks Emma for your patience.
This is the Style Arc Dixie top. I’ve been meaning to sew this for ages, and now that I’ve made it I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner! Especially considering that the weather in Melbourne is now getting very cold and I probably won’t be able to wear it until Spring.
From the Style Arc website: DIXIE WOVEN TOP: This is just a great top. The curved front and back yokes make it a fashionable style that can be worn on any occasion. Colour-block this style in your favourite colours to create your unique look. FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION: Silk, Crepe, Rayon or any soft woven fabric.
Emma and I chose a geometrically patterned polyester woven from Darn Cheap Fabrics for our Autumn challenge. This is an unusual polyester. It feels a bit like crepe, and has a matt finish, but when I look closely at it the weave is a regular but very slightly open weave and definitely isn’t crepe at all. It pressed well, frayed very quickly when cut, and appears to gather static rather quickly.
I adore the colours, and the print. This will work beautifully for me as a work top. I sewed straight size 12, and it’s almost fractionally snug across the boobs. This could be partly because the curved seam above the bust is topstitched – and there is a similar seam curved seam at the back – and therefore the garment is quite stable at that point and doesn’t have a great deal of give. I decided to omit the back neckline slit and the loop and button closure, and just seamed the centre back shut. Interestingly, I appear to have a centre back seam in the lower back section as well – I wonder if I did that deliberately, or if it was omitted from the diagram, or if I just made an error? These things do happen! Either way, the backs could have easily been cut on the fold, and that is what I will do when I sew this pattern again.
I find that curved hemlines can be slightly tricky to sew. They need to stay narrow if you are just doing a “turn, press and stitch” hem. I chose to overlock around the edge of the hem before turning it to the inside about a quarter of an inch – just a little past the overlocking – then topstitched it in place. The overlocking draws it in a little bit around the curves, which helps with the smooth edge, and keeps the edge flat and neat. After a burst of steam from the iron it sits really nicely. Other options for curved hemlines are shaped facings or the use of bias strips.
The instructions suggest that you ease the sleeves into the armholes, and I found that I definitely needed to do this. No skipping the easing stitches in this top! They set in quite nicely with the judicious use of pins, and also responded well to a tailor’s ham and shot of steam. And by the way, ignore the fact that the pattern illustrations says that the sleeves are 3/4 sleeves – I made them exactly as per the pattern and they finish just above the elbow.
I applied the neckline binding to the wrong side of the fabric first, then turned it to the right side and topstitched from the right side. This keeps the topstitching nice and even near the edge of the binding and there are no concerns about not catching it in place on the inside. If I am not hand-sewing binding in place I always apply it to the wrong side of the fabric first.
This pattern would look wonderful sewn in contrasting fabrics with the front and back yokes and sleeves done in one fabric and the body of the top in another. You could also use sheer fabrics for the yokes and sleeves. I’ll definitely be sewing it again. And I definitely hope that I am a bit quicker off the mark in completing my Winter DCF Challenge garment (especially since we haven’t even chosen the fabric yet). I’m looking forward to seeing what Emma has sewn with her Autumn fabric!
* Emma and I started the DCF Seasonal Challenge a year or two ago – we buy a couple of metres of the same fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics each season, and each make a garment. We then reveal it on our blogs on the same day. It’s just a fun thing that we started when we realised how often we buy and sew the same fabrics (often from Darn Cheap).