July 29, 2014

An Aussie top for an Aussie sheila!

This is the tale of a top that almost ended up in the bin.
I’ve bought a couple of StyleArc patterns from Australia in the past, excited by the really wide size range and super modern styles, but they’ve all stayed in my pattern stash. Mostly, it was because I got waylaid by other exciting projects, and I suspect that it’s also because they don’t tend to get hyped up  much in the sewing blogosphere (with the notable exception of devotee Anne the Clothing Engineer) so I would forget about them and forge on with another Moneta.
Which brings me to… the Rosie top. It was the free pattern of the month a while ago (they always send you a bonus pattern on top of the one you buy!) and I wasn’t feeling it, so I chucked it in the bin at the weekend. Whereupon my summer housemate Aussie Andrea immediately spied one of her own, fished it out of the fabric scraps and declared it to be a fine pattern specimen.
So what could I do but make it up for her?
StyleArc Rosie Top

Now as chance would have it, Andrea and I have the same measurements (except she has 1″ smaller hips… apart from that, identical). That’s just as well, because StyleArc is different from other pattern companies in that they only send you the pattern in one size, which makes grading tricky and is probably a non-starter if you span multiple sizes. Although Andrea and I are pretty “standard”,  I was a bit concerned because I made my order for a knit dress in a size 18 and 44″ bust, while Andrea and I are more in the 47 – 48″ range these days. However, I decided to use a gorgeous black stable ponte knit from my stash (another John Lewis find) and see if it would work… and it did!

StyleArc Rosie Top

The only alteration I did was to bring in the side seams a bit (probably about an inch each side), which was a cinch with my serger. Everything else worked fairly well – the raglan sleeves have some folding, but I think that’s par for the course with raglan sleeves and busty ladies. At the back there’s a cute little pleat which still remains somewhat noticeable in ponte:

StyleArc Rosie Top

The only thing I’d change next time is to topstitch all the seams down – this ponte really doesn’t press well, so the seams (especially for the peplum-y type part) are a little puffy. It’s not too bad, but it would be nicer with a crisper finish. Oh well, I’ll just have to make myself one too!

StyleArc Rosie Top

If you know Andrea you’ll know that this is *just* her style, and she now has a reward for sleeping in my sewing room for the past month and putting away all her stuff every day so I can do some sewing. See, it is worth it!

StyleArc Rosie Top

I’m also definitely planning on pulling my other StyleArc patterns out of the stash and giving them a go – if they’re anything like this one, I have high hopes! Have you made any StyleArc patterns dear readers? How did they go?

30 thoughts on “An Aussie top for an Aussie sheila!

  1. gingermakes says:

    Oh, this is really cute! I’ve just made one Style Arc pattern, the Romy Anorak, which was quite an undertaking, but I really like the finished product. I do like the Style Arc offerings, but the single size thing + the substantial cost of the patterns and the shipping are a turn-off. When I ordered, I split an order with two other NYC stitchers, so we could share the cost of the shipping which helped a bit, so maybe you can talk some of the Crafty Foxes into going in on an order with you!

    1. Jenny says:

      Ah, I loved that anorak! Great idea about bulk buying from them…. I have heard rumours that PDF patterns might be coming and much as I hate cutting and taping it could be worth it. The thing that’s fantastic about them is they have such modern RTW styles and SO MANY compared to all the other indies. Not to mention, they go up to a size 30 which is a huge relief for my curvy brethren. If my next make is also a winner, I could easily see them becoming a favourite!

  2. wendy says:

    I have made a dress, cardigan and a couple of their shirt patterns and I have liked them all, but it took a real effort and a few muslins because of the single sizing. On the whole ai’d say it was worth the effort for patterns that are fresh and modern. The price and shipping prevent impulse buying when browsing their site, no bad thing 🙂

    1. Jenny says:

      Great to hear that you’ve had so much success Wendy – and I know what you mean about preventing impulse buying, that’s a positive side effect of shipping from Australia!

  3. Elenalanfear says:

    I really love their styles. But since I am normally grading 3-4 sizes between my upper bust measurement and my hips (and need an FBA..), I am not sure if they are really something for me. Perhaps I should start with an easy T-Shirt pattern and frankenpattern it with my TNT.

    1. Jenny says:

      I’m interested to hear how that works out! They also recently had a promotion when you could sign up for their newsletter and get a free pants patterns – might be worth finding out if that’s still on

  4. BeaJay says:

    Most of what I make is StyleArc. Mainly because I am out of the size range of most patterns except for StyleArc which go all the way to 30. I love them. Every pattern they make goes up to 30 which means they don’t make modern for the under size 22 and tents for over.

    Andrea’s top is lovely. Haven’t made this one yet.

    1. Jenny says:

      Isn’t the sizing fantastic?! It’s such a relief to know that you can make anything in your size, and only minimal grading. They do have a “plus size” section and I’m not sure why because it just appears to be the looser and tent-like things… I like the fitted dresses in an 18, thank you very much!

  5. Gabrielle says:

    I’ve made their Danni dress twice – it works nicely in a light- med ponti. It’s got dolman sleeves and nice pleats at one side. Quick to sew, and an easy one to adjust if the sizing isn’t right. I’ve also tried the Philippa peplum top but it was too low cut on me and felt too bodycon :(. And I have to agree with others, the styles are a lot more fashionable than most indies…

    1. Jenny says:

      Ooh that’s interesting, because I was thinking about the Danni! I might have to give it a try

  6. So I’ve made literally about 10 versions of their Elle pants, which I wear every damn day to work, and a ponte version for lounge wear and I adore them. Win win win. I think my cost per make for that pattern has to be about $1.80. i’ve just made a cardigan which I’d like to be shorter at the back, but otherwise need an intervention to get off my back, and I’m so thrilled with the fit of the pants I’ve bought a pleated pant pattern to try this spring. Being in Melbourne of course the postage is so reasonable for me, but the idea of a bunch of you ordering patterns together is a great idea. I think once you can confirm their sizing for your body part you’ll be addicted. The instructions can be a bit brief, but the drafting is so so good. Your friend looks great – the style suits her!

    1. Jenny says:

      Ha ha sounds like you’re the #1 fan! I’ve seen others do the Elle pants as well and love them so maybe I have to finally bite the bullet and make some trousers!

  7. thornberry says:

    I’ve made loads of Style Arc patterns – love them! If you do a search for “Style Arc” on my blog you should find them. I’m in Australia too, so the postage isn’t quite as big an issue! I find them reliably sized and drafted. The instructions aren’t for beginners, but anyone who has sewn a bit will be fine, and the customer service is great.

    1. Jenny says:

      More StyleArc love! I’m definitely going to have to try the others in my stash now…

  8. Tina says:

    Can I ask how tall your friend is? I am 6′ tall and often need to lengthen patterns. The Rosie is on my list of makes for August, so this review comes at the perfect time for me.

    1. Jenny says:

      Andrea is a demure 5’4″ so yes I suspect you would have to lengthen this, although I don’t think it would be hard

  9. Debbie Iles says:

    I was window shopping a LOT for Style Arc patterns before I left Australia (having just discovered them).

    1. Jenny says:

      Have you made any yet Debbie?

  10. Janet says:

    I love this! This one would be a great starter for Style Arc. Gorgeous model!

    1. Jenny says:

      I shall pass your compliment on to Andrea 😀

  11. Anne-Rose says:

    Looks great! I just ordered a bunch of Style Arc patterns and paid a fortune in shipping costs to the Netherlands, pdf patterns would definitely be a better option. I really love their modern styles and professinal drafting as well!

    1. Jenny says:

      Yay! Can’t wait to see how they turn out

  12. Oooh I ordered 3 stylearc patterns (in for a penny, in for a pound: hope I got my size right!) and got my namesake top as well: this post has just pushed it higher up my to do list

    1. Jenny says:

      Yay, I hope they work well!

  13. I’m happy to see this, as I have been curious about StyleArc’s patterns. This looks like RTW, very nice! I bet she’ll wear it all the time. 🙂

  14. Michelle says:

    I have had really good luck with most of the StyleArc patterns that I’ve sewn. I love Anne’s blog–even though she has a completely different body type than mine, her posts are so thorough that I can extrapolate from them whether a particular StyleArc pattern will work for me or not. She’s made many beautiful pieces from their patterns.

  15. tanyamaile says:

    Sounds like I need to try a style arc pattern! Glad Andrea likes her top!!

  16. Brig says:

    Thank you for sharing.
    No I have never sewn patterns that mark, but I’m tempted to try.
    In any case, this blouse is lovely!

  17. Mary Jo Schneider says:

    Two years later, I’ve found several Style Arc patterns in Craftsy’s Sewing Kits section bundled with fabric, or in their pattern section. Sometimes heavily discounted. It sounds like they’ve tried to remedy being able to cut between multiple sizes. They’re usually nested in two groups, tiny to size 16, or size 18 to 30. On Craftsy, if your order is over $99.00, shipping is free…

  18. Melody says:

    Hi Jenny, don’t know if this post will reach you this late to the party but I love to comment so here goes! Found you on the CSC site and followed you here with the Style Arc post. I’m waiting on my first pattern to arrive from them so I’m interested in all things Style Arc. Their patterns are so unique! Anne the sewing engineer has disappeared do you know if she still blogs or writes anywhere? Aaand, I have total shed envy!! I’d love to see a picture with the painting done! Thanks, Melody

Let me know what you think!