A trio of Style Arc tops

My go-to outfit is jeans and a top, so I’m always on the lookout for interesting tops.  Lately I’ve discovered Style Arc’s pdf patterns on Etsy, and three designs caught my eye.  I couldn’t decide between the three, so I just bought them all, as you do.  Luckily this was just before the EU referendum (I refuse to use the term Brexit, on principle), so they were a good £1 each cheaper than they are just now.  I do have my eye on a few other patterns so I thought these relatively simple tops would be a good way into a new-to-me pattern company.  I’ve read that Style Arc’s instructions are along the Burda magazine lines – well, they definitely are.  At least these three are anyway.

My first top is the Ada knit top.  I was drawn to this for its pockets, to be honest.  I love a good pocket, even more so if it’s in an interesting place or unusually constructed.


The pattern has a side panel, with the pocket being constructed when you sew the panel to the front and back.  There’s then a sort of square armhole, which gives the sleeves their grown on, almost kimono-ish look.


You can just see the side panel here.  I made this up in some delicious bamboo jersey, from Edinburgh Fabrics.  I love this fabric – it’s incredibly soft with a buttery feel, good stretch and recovery, and it comes in any number of my favourite blues and greens.  Unfortunately though, last time I bought some the owner told me that he’s unable to get this in again as the factory that makes it has closed.  Sad news.  I resisted the temptation to go and buy up his entire remaining stock though, which I felt was very restrained of me!

The resulting top is dead comfy, easy to wear and is just that little bit more interesting than a plain knit top.  It also took about 2 hours from start to finish – including 20 minutes trying to work out how the square armhole worked.  I’ve already cut out another version of this – I made a size 12, and no fit adjustments – in a lilac linen knit I got ages ago from Les Coupons de Saint Pierre.  I think there’ll be others.

My second top is actually very similar, but in a woven fabric, it’s the Kaye tunic.


It has the same side panel and square armhole with pockets, but with an interesting design detail of pointy side hems.  P1020067

It was interesting that the instructions for the construction of the square armholes was different to the Ada top – it has you do things in a slightly different order.  I ignored these instructions and just did the same as the Ada top – it was a lot easier for finishing the seams with my overlocker.


I do love those pockets.  This amazing flamingo print viscose is just right for the muggy weather we’ve got at the moment – it’s very lightweight and floaty.  I bought it from Fabricland in Bournemouth a couple of years ago so it can’t have been expensive either.


I like this tunic so much I’m contemplating lengthening the pattern and making it up so that I can wear it as a dress over leggings – or even in a winter weight fabric for wearing with cosy tights.

My final top is the Daphne tunic.  This was one of the new patterns for June, and I bought it in a bundle with the Daphne trousers – these look really interesting, being designed for a stretch woven waistband rather than elastic or a knit.  Anyway, the top is again a fairly simple design but with an interesting element in the tucks at front and back.


I was a bit worried when I finished this one – laid out flat it looked like an enormous shapeless blob – but the tucks do their job and it does actually have quite a nice, cocoon-type shape.


The fabric is a Japanese seersucker cotton lawn, from Miss Matatabi last year.  I’ve been hoarding this for a while, trying to find the perfect pattern.  It’s fairly narrow and I only had 1.5m so I knew it would need to be a top, but generally I go for quite drapey fabrics and most of my top patterns are better with those.  I thought this pattern might work quite well with a bit more structure though, and I’m pleased with how it turned out.


I like the shape of the back with those two tucks and the grown on sleeves.  It’s a good length for me too, and again it’s nice and light and floaty.


I made no attempt to pattern match – life is too short and due to the tucks the front and back are actually very different shapes flat, with shoulder and side seams being on very different angles relative to the grainline.

I’m really pleased with my little foray into Style Arc patterns.  Some interesting designs with quirky features, and three very wearable tops.  I realised when we took the photos of these that I’ve been on a bit of a blue kick!  I have another blue make photographed as well, I think I might have to have an amnesty on blue fabric for a while…..


Helena dress

I love a good sack dress, and I’ve had my eye on the Helena dress from Sew Me Something for a little while.  It’s a paper pattern, so I waited until the Knitting & Stitching Show in Edinburgh to avoid having to pay postage.  I’m becoming one of those canny Scots I think….

The pattern itself is printed on quality, thick paper which I much prefer to tissue – I trace everything anyway, and tracing off tissue is not fun.  It also comes in a nice card envelope which comes in handy for storing the traced pieces too.  I traced off a size 14 at the bust, grading to a 16 at the waist and hips.  I deliberated over size for ages, I’ve had a run of things being a bit big, and eventually went for the recommended size based on my measurement – using my high bust measurement, rather than full bust.  And, well, this happened….

Excuse the curious cat poking his nose in.  I got to this stage with just the hem to do, tried it on, and it became obvious that a) I definitely didn’t need to go with my full bust measurement and b) I really didn’t need to grade up a size at the waist and hip.  In fact I could probably have done with at least one size down, possibly two.  After a small meltdown, I had a bit of a brainwave.  I remembered seeing this post on Jenny’s blog (I’m not actually stalking her, promise) and I thought gathering the skirt into a wide band at the hem might just rescue the situation.

I employed a highly scientific process – as usual – to draft the band.  To save cutting anything from my main fabric straight away I rootled through my boxes of scraps until I found a piece that looked about the right length and width, and pinned it on, just gathering up the hem as I went along.  It seemed to work, although the band was just a smidgen tight over the hips – the dress just pulls on, no zips or buttons.  So I then cut a band from my main fabric, eyeballing the width I wanted then doubling it over, and adding 5 cm in total to the length for extra hip room.  Then I just gathered up the skirt, folded the band in half lengthwise and joined the short ends together, then attached the two raw long edges to the hem – similar to a t-shirt hem band or neck band.  I’m actually really pleased with the result.


It is still overly roomy around the shoulders and armpits – the bust darts are really low – but it’s now something a bit quirky, with a more interesting shape than just a standard too-big sack dress.  It’s also nice and cool – despite us not really getting much sunshine so far this summer, it’s been warm-ish, and our office is just like a greenhouse so floaty is definitely good for work.




The fabric I used is a light-to-mid weight linen from Fabricland.  We were down south in June and I always have to make a trip to Fabricland when we’re there.  Although they now have a proper website, and online ordering, which might be dangerous!  Anway, for once I went with a list this time round, and one thing on my list was fabric for this dress.  I fell in love with the colour, I’m a sucker for anything teal, and the price at £6.99 a meter was pretty attractive too…..this is a really nice linen as well.  These pictures were taken after I’d worn this to work for the day – so it had been through bus journeys, washing up, cat litter cleaning and all sorts, and it’s got that nice rumpled look to it.


I like the length of this dress, it makes me feel taller with its longer lines – I did feel a bit dumpy in the un-banded version.  I actually feel really good in it – it’s a bit unusual, it’s my colour and it’s incredibly comfortable.


I know it’s probably not to everyone’s taste but I’m really pleased with it.  The sleeves roll up with a buttoned placket, and I used some pretty ceramic buttons I’ve had for ages which work perfectly.  It’s a nice dress to put together, with a really clean finish to the yoke – I think it’s the same as what I’ve seen referred to as the ‘burrito’ method, and you end up with all the raw edges enclosed inside the yoke.  The other raw edges are all finished with my overlocker, like most linen this was a bit fray-y.



I’ll be able to wear this version in winter as well, with tights and the sleeves rolled back down.  I also think I’ll make this again in a smaller size without the band as it was intended.  I think it would be nice in a wool crepe or a nice brushed twill or flannel for colder weather.  So in the end, a nice success salvaged from an almost disaster.  One of these days I’ll make something that doesn’t end up too big…..although sods law says the first time I do size down based on measurements it’ll be tiny…..