Sunday, October 18, 2015

Aaaand Sometimes we Fail...

Sigh. I knew I should have used my limited weekend sewing time to work on my dress but did I? No. No I did not.

I decided I had an hour Friday and 2-3 hours Saturday and a couple hours Sunday to sew. I knew I could get the dress complete. Yet I couldn't get the Style Arc Edith off of my mind.

It was the September freebie and totally pushed me to make my first ever SA paper pattern purchase.
I wanted the view with short sleeves and decided on a little color blocking...And then, Sue sewed it up (here) and I was sold. We have very similar tastes in patterns  and typically take the same size in tops and jackets (so many times I check her blog first to see if she reviewed a pattern!). When I saw that she'd sewn a size 12, I was happy - yay! That's what size I'd ordered.

Now, let's just make a list of how things went wrong.

1) Rayon challis. I have sewn challis a bunch. I like it. I have never, ever (EVER!) successfully sewn a solid colored rayon challis. So weird. But I made a TNT top (M6519) out of a teal challis and it was just wrong. Droopy and lifeless. Even though my 2 previous versions were challis as well. When I tried to make the white In-House top with white challis? Disaster. I cut the buttons off and tossed that thing. And now, this pretty pumpkin challis? MEH!!!!!!

2) Style Arc does not give very good directions. IMO it is much different from Burda. Burda may have you scratching your head and thinking 'what the hell?', but generally they give you all the info you need to get it done. Their instructions are generally very terse but you can manage. SA seems to just not give good info. AND people have noted some issues with drafting, etc.

2a) There were no directions to reinforce the area where you clip for the placket. Well, that's not a good idea. I did so anyway.
2b) The pocket flaps were too small for the pockets. I cut my pockets out, squared them back up before pressing seam allowances, etc. Both had a 3/8" seam allowance yet my pocket was wider than my flap. I was going to redo the flaps (easier than redoing the pockets), but thought I could just line the side seams up. Well, this resulted in droopy, saggy, wrinkly pockets.

3) I didn't do my reinforcing stitches wide enough so my front bands don't overlap perfectly. If those lines had been there, this probably would have been the best placket ever. There was some good here and I think if I ever attempt another placket (HA!) I will do it this way.

3a) The entire band is interfaced. The last one I did had separate band and facing and the facing wasn't interfaced.
3b) They have you finish the bottom of the placket (which is usually one of the biggest headaches) and when you go to finish the bottom you sandwich the little triangle between the two bands. This was so clean compared to 'normal' methods given on patterns!
3c) They instructed you to turn up both seam allowances. I didn't (and wouldn't) do this. Only do it on the 'facing' part. Stitch it, press the fold in place, stitch in the ditch.
3d) I liked the periodic horizontal stitching to secure the bands.

Okay, there is a lot about this top to like.

4) Soooo I have this silky soft poly crepe that I wanted to use for the bottom band. This is when the biggest woe began. You fold up the hem on the main part and then sew the bands side seams. You then layer the top over the bottom band and sew the hem in one -- catching both top and band.

Like so:

But in a slippery fabric? Oy! I spent a LONG time...a long time. I tried it 3 times. I tried Wonder Tape (which was a disaster). And then, I gave up.

Nope. Not revisiting this top. I will make the pattern again in something more stable (like a cotton lawn), but I am one of those who will toss it when it isn't working. I sew for fun, this top is no longer fun sewing!!!!

1) NO FBA! Sue mentioned she never needs an FBA with SA patterns. This may prompt me to buy more of their tops! :)

2) Definitely need more room in the upper back.

3) Need a tad more hip room. My hip is 44" and so is the patterns.

4) Love the idea of the pockets but idk...Just probably not a great idea on a DD cup unless it's oversized.

5) Screw that bottom band instruction! Sorry. It was just insanely difficult. Next time I will do it "flat".

Before sewing front to back, I will fold up the hem and the band and 'hem' both front band back, and then sew the side seams. This will mean the top layer won't 'float' at the side seams but oh my gosh the headache I endured!!!

6) I was looking at their collar and thinking, Nope. And I just went back to Sue's review and she said she didn't use their collar and just made bias for the neckline. Yep. LOL! That's what I will do next time.

In other news...

My B5678 is finished and awaiting buttons and I think it's SO pretty!!! I cannot wait to wear this shirt!

The pretty scarf draped over was a $5 find at JC Penny! It may be more spring than fall/winter but it's pretty and it's blue!!!

Gail over at Today's Agenda is hosting a blazer sew-along using her TNT M6712. I have wanted to sew a blazer and get intimidated. I really do want to sew one and have a piece of fabric in stash that could serve as a great wearable muslin (e..g, I will actually muslin it but assuming v.1 isn't perfect, this fabric is wearable yet it isn't beloved).  I am thinking I might tackle it over the long Thanksgiving holiday.

I don't like cooking for Thanksgiving so I told my husband I will do on a year, off a year and this is my off year. We'll have dinner with family and I'll bake (I LOVE BAKING!) but this way I'll be free to relax a bit, and SEW! :)

In the meantime, I found a serviceable black blazer from the thrift store. The shoulders are a bit wide and the sleeves are too short, but otherwise I like the fit. It is an older style, I think you can tell, but I don't think it looks outdated. 

I don't know what the heck that face is but I decided it was worth publishing, as is! lol!!!

Luckily, rolled up sleeves are in.


  1. I love challis. I usually use tricot fusible interfacing to underline it and it sews great. I know all about wadder weekends. It's like being an optimist on a sinking ship--you keep hoping it will work out. Lol. I like when you list the positives. Lessons learned are valuable tools for the next attempt. I really like the SA pattern (Sue's rendition is lovely). Your pink blouse looks great. M5678 is such a great pattern. Hoping to turn out my rendition soon.

    1. YES! You're staying with your ship and then BOOM! You crash! LOL!

      Thanks much!

  2. See, I was done at "rayon challis." That stuff is the devil in fabric form. =)

    1. Some are good, some are bad. I don't attempt detail with rayon challis - it's too slippery and walks while you are working with it.

    2. Exactly Sarah Liz...No fiddly details with challis. Wah.

  3. I threw away a project this week. Sometimes it's the best thing to do! I had a terrible experience with Style Arc directions on the Ziggi so you aren't alone.

    1. Sometimes you just have to cut bait and move on.

      It is so hard because SA makes really amazing designs but you've got to have sewing experience to make it through the more complicated patterns, for sure.

  4. This sounds like my battle with my husband's cargo shorts - EVERYTHING went wrong, right from the start, and it was my third pair! Somethimes shit just happens, I guess.

  5. Gosh, you don't even look like you in that bottom picture:). And in my opinion, a blazer always looks great - and you have worn it in not a dated way with your leggings.

    I have not used Style Arc - I gather instructions are hit and miss. But I always go with what I know works now. I worked with someone who was a very experienced sample maker, and if she was making something for herself, she would often scrap the instructions and do it "her way"because she would know it would work - so I learnt from that.

    1. I looked at that picture and just burst out laughing! And I knew I had to use it on the blog! :)

      I definitely agree that probably 80% of the time I just do what I think I should do. But with some pattern details, you have to know what their intent was.

  6. Sorry you had such difficulty with this pattern. Despite the problems you had, the top looks very stylish on you! I agree with you about SA patterns, their instructions are very limited! I have the same problem with solid color rayon challis (so you're in good company there!) i'm happy to hear that you would make this again, because this is a cute top on you! At least you have a gorgeous pink blouse to wear after this somewhat of a fail!

    I had to laugh regarding your comment about being intimidated with the blazer sew along! I've seen you make some really nice jackets in the past! My guess is, if you change your mind and decided to create a blazer, it would be just as beautiful as the pink blouse in this post! As always, I think you did great work on both tops!

    1. Aww thanks Myra!

      It *is* funny the things I manage to talk myself out of! I spent 18 months intimidated by the idea of a lined dress!

  7. I like the silhouette and fit of the SA top on you. I'm not fussed about breast pockets either, I don't need the extra attention. A shame you were let down by your fabric. I agree that non slippy fabric will be awesome.

    I have a few SA patterns too. Like you I love the big 4, especially Vogue. The lack of instructions in the SA patterns would be annoying if I bought the more complicated designs. So far I've only tried the more straightforward designs. I am on the fence about whether the SA block works for me, not keen to go complicated until I'm sure. Or until the much tipped nested sizing comes out.

    1. Agreed. I think I have to stick to their more simple patterns where construction is straightforward.

      I'm going to remake it for sure. I might add a little width all over to give it a more relaxed vibe.

  8. LOL! Here's a caption for that awesome photo: "OMG! I bought a RTW blazer and it fit!!!!"

    Thank you so much for this review of this pattern. I've had it on my list for a while to try a Style Arc pattern because I see so many of them popping up and many of the designs are lovely. And until now, I've only ever seen positive reviews (except about the lack of instructions). So reading that some folks have had problems with the drafting is an eye-opener for me. When you first posted that you were making this pattern, I fell in love with it - enough that I finally went over to the SA website, determined to buy it. But then I ended up choosing something different!! I may go back and buy this one later, but at least now I know what I'll be getting into if I do! I'm sad this didn't work out for you because I LOVE that color on you. But I totally agree - if it's not fun, it's not worth doing.

    Also, thanks for the blazer shout-out!

    1. GOOD ONE! Lol!!! I am totally going to be brave and sew M6172 next month. I can do it! :)

      I went right over to Fabric Mart's site and saw a similar colored cotton voile and am considering buying it. This pumpkin-y orange is one of my favorite summer/fall colors for my complexion!

      I think that with SA, more than some of the less interesting Indies, people over-look those issues because of the designs and fit. I don't think there's been glaring issues, but I have definitely seen people complain about unmatched notches, etc.

  9. Thank you for explaining the placket! I've been having placket woes over here (#sewingproblems), and it makes SO MUCH sense to finish the bottom first. I really want to make a placket and try this now...

    1. This was certainly a bright spot! I thought, OHMYGOSH that makes so much sense! It's brilliant!!! :)

  10. Aw that is too bad. The line drawing of the top is so cute! It has potential! I hate when patterns are not well drafted and things do not line up!! pet peeve!! :) On the flip side, your blouse looks great, the scarf is beautiful and yay for finding a thrifted blazer that fits!!

    1. Thanks Kristin!!! I do look forward to giving it another shot.

  11. To lengthen the sleeves on the blazer, you could add a band of black leather or a band of lace.

  12. So sorry... Challis is so hard to control.. eeeeh. Maybe your next version in the cotton will do better for you.
    Love your blazer , looks pretty on you.
    Happy sewing.

  13. Nakisha, I hope you give Edith another try! I love that color on you and actually, I like the pockets! Here is something I am wondering--what if you use a lighter-weight interfacing for the flaps? That way they don't seem fan out--I know this from experience! I too thought that bottom band was a little crazy but I love how you made it in a contrasting color! Can't wait to see your next version and I am so glad you found my post helpful! :)


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