It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Style Arc - Bali Bindi Top (Fail)

This was the first pattern in my latest little Style Arc binge.   I see many more SA patterns to be sewn on the horizon, but  unfortunately, I don't think this one will be repeated :(

To start with, this top is REALLY oversized, and I'm moving AWAY from oversized tops, not back into them!  I loved the sleek look in the pattern drawing, and the unique curving on the hem:

But when I pulled out the pattern pieces (Sz. 8) they looked HUGE.  Massive.   Gigantic.  So I started out by folding out about 1/2" front and back centers (for a total of 2"), but after I had the sides sewn up I removed even more from the side seams.     I don't even know how much I removed by the time I was done.   A lot.

And then I shortened it by about 6" (this, after I had already sewn on the hem band).   I just sliced off the bottom, rather than unpicking everything, so I ended up with a narrower hem band than called for.

I should also mention that I really didn't like the fabric I was using, an unidentified knit; probably a cotton blend. It has horrible recovery, and I didn't like the color much either  - it was $2/yrd stuff from Happy Stop, & I swear it was a different color in the store than it was by the time I got it home!   At any rate, the remainder is going in my "giveaway box".

Once I saw the pattern pieces I figured I might as well use practice fabric - glad I did that, although I DO think this top would work better in something else.   Wish I could tell you what.   The sample that came with the pattern (this is a FABULOUS touch that's included in all Style Arc patterns) appears to be a thinnish poly knit, an ITY perhaps?  I don't like the feel of ITY, so I've never sewn with it.

What I did like was the concept of using a knit for the body, and a woven for the bands.  The neck band, however, is cut on the cross grain, and IF I were to make this again I would cut it on the bias.  The neck band gaped a bit, so I took a couple of darts in the band - I did a lousy job, but at this point I was treating this as a probably-unwearable test piece, & didn't much care.

Going backwards, this pattern also had some confusing instructions (but I want to be clear that Style Arc is really paying attention to the fact that so many home sewers are having troubles with the instructions on their older patterns, and the instructions are now being fleshed out, and they are including instructional drawings - I do highly recommend the company!)

The sleeve & neck bindings are simple bindings, but there are some potentially confusing instructions; i.e.:

  • "Join the sleeve trims and the neck trim" = Sew up the ends of the neck trim, forming a circle.   You can't do this to the sleeve trims yet though, because the sleeves are sewn in flat.
  • "Turn to the right side and edge stitch back to keep the inside seam flat."  Based on pictures of a finished garment that Chloe sent to another person who asked about the instructions, I think what they mean is just to top stitch close to the edge, as pictured above.
The hem binding has some more confusing instructions.  Based, again, on pictures that Chloe sent, and conversations with other sewists, here's my interpretation:

  • "Stitch the outside edge of the front and back hem contrast seams together, turn to right side and flat stitch."  The front and back hem band consists of two matching pieces for the front, and two for the back.  You stitch each set together along the bottom edge (RS together).  The SA Dictionary defines "flat stitch" this way:  "A row of stitching on the correct side of the fabric close to the edge of the seam, this keeps the seam flat"   I would call this a topstitch, but the pictures that Chloe sent show this seam edge stitched along the inside seam allowance  - so that the stitching only shows on the inside of the garment.   This is how I would do it (but I was getting lazy in my techniques on this top by now, so I didn't bother.)
  • The rest of the instructions make sense (to me, anyway).   They are simply to sew the hem band to the body of the shirt, and "flat stitch" (i.e., top stitch).  I serged all of the seams.   (Chloe's subject pictures also showed serged seams)

Here's my finished top.   The pants I'm wearing, btw, are the Style Arc Linda Stretch pants (still unhemmed and unfinished, so the review will be coming up soon - and this pant is a huge THUMBS UP pattern!)

Interesting how the folds in the fabric & the way the top hangs
make my bust look rather...ummm.... ample, isn't it?  Because I'm not.

This is a pretty simple top, and if the style and sizing works for you, I would say go for it!   I really thought that I would figure out the alterations I needed to do & try again, but now that I see the finished pictures, I don't think it's worth spending my time on - too many other great patterns out there, & I realize that I really want to be focusing on more fitted lines.  This is a knock-around-the-house only top; I'm OK with that.

***Some Additional notes:
1.  Chloe emailed me after seeing my review on Pattern Review & said they were asked to do an oversized shirt to wear with leggings, but she thinks they went a bit too far with the "over" lol.   She also said they're taking into account the comments about instructions.   I tell ya, their customer service could not possibly be improved on - they really rock!!!
2.  My short legs & wide butt do not make this pattern the best choice for a flattering look on me.  I'm still learning how to transfer a pattern image to fabric on my body & knowing what will work!
3.  My fabric choices were not the best for this pattern:  a heavy knit with poor recovery, paired with a heft, tightly-woven trim fabric, could have been improved on.   A lighter, drapier knit, and a woven that has a bit more give, would be better choices, I think.

Coming up:  The Fabulous Freda review, and, as soon as they're finished, the Linda Pants review.


Andrea said...

Jilly, You have a great sense of style. I always love everything you make and wear, and truly this one just isn't you. Apparently, you didn't let it get to you, just look at that great big smile!

I'll be looking forward to your Linda Pants review - I've been eyeing that pattern, and have fabric picked out in my stash. Just have to buy the pattern. ;)

Dixie said...

JillyBe, this top looks "cool" and comfy. I know it's not the fit you were going for, but it really doesn't look bad on you. Have you ever tried pin fitting your pattern before you cut it out? Just pin it together along the seamlines, put it on your body, and tape it to your center back and front (somewhat difficult to tape it on your backside, but achievable!). This way you can get an overall picture of how your garment will fit. You can make general adjustments, then tweak the fit later when it's in the fabric version. I do this quite often, and it has saved me from making many an ill-fitting, disappointing garment. Just a suggestion.
Looking forward to seeing your next garment!

yarndiva said...

I agree the neckline didn't work but I do like the bottom edge as a contrast. You are right, a bias would be better or even a challis type material.

Jilly Be said...

Thank you Andrea! *blush*. And you're right, it just isn't "me". At least not the new "me" (still under construction....always lol)
Dixie I believe I actually did pin fit this top (I do that sometimes...ouch.ouch.ouch.) but given the nature of this knit, I wasn't sure what it would do, & I didn't want to cut too much off too soon.
yarndiva I really do like that bottom edge - and I loved the fabric I used too. But it's a pretty hefty, tight-woven fabric, so the two fabrics together were certainly not the best choice.

Jilly Be said...

I meant to say that I agree; I think a challis type of fabric would be a good choice - the sample SA included as a trim suggestion was a much lighter fabric.

Jane M said...

Love the pants and your style but I agree, this proably isn't you. I think it's difficult to wear oversized without starting to look ovrwhelmed or just messy. A really luxurious fabric makes a difference but i it worth that investment? Can't wait tohear about the Linda pant which wil be part of my first order.

Karen said...

Appreciate hearing your thoughts on this pattern. I'm a big StyleArc fan, but sometimes a style just doesn't work for us. This is probably one I'll pass on! Karen

gwensews said...

All patterns are not for every body. If you don't like this top now, you probably wouldn't like it no matter what you did to the pattern. Like you said, many .pattrns on the market. Have you tried HotPatterns? Their patterns are very stylish, but instructions are not what we're used to with the Big4