Pattern Review: Style Arc Franki Top
Yes, I finally started on my Style Arc pattern stash which I recently acquired. I’m so excited. This is an indie pattern company I’ve been dying to try. Anne of Clothing Engineer has made up a ton of their patterns to great success. My only concern with purchasing Style Arc patterns was choosing my size as they are a single size per envelope company. With my full bust being problematic for me, I was worried I would choose the wrong size. But on to my review…
Pattern Description: Jersey cowl neck dress/top with slightly extended shoulder line. Hugging the neckline at the back and falling softly into a front cowl. Suitable for all occasions. I made the top to try out the pattern, but I have my eye on the dress as well.
Pattern Sizing: I purchased the size 12 based on my bust measurement. I thought maybe I should choose a size based on my high bust because I was worried if the shoulders/neckline would be too large. But the style of this top made that concern negligible. I made up a straight size 12 right out of the envelope. No changes made at all.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, minus the fact that I don’t have the waist definition of a waif, more like a fireplug.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, but they are a little light on the detail. A true beginner would have problems using these directions because there is some assumed knowledge. There is one piece of sewing terminology which might be difficult to understand. There is a 90 degree angle from the back neckline to shoulder seam. So the instructions say to sew the shoulder seams first. Then sew the back neckline between them, mitering at the 90 degree corner. I believe by mitering, they mean to clip to the first seam line so that you can sew the second seam without pleating the fabric unintentionally. That’s the trickiest part of this top. Otherwise it’s a pretty quick sew. One other thing to note about that tricky section is that you can’t serge the seam allowances of the shoulder seams, so my shoulder seams aren’t finished. Not sure if you can finish it after sewing the back neckline or not. Possibly, but I wasn’t going to potentially ruin my top to find out. Sergers, with those little knives, can be very unforgiving.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
- Loved the cowl neckline
- Loved the ingenious, if tricky way to sew the cowl neckline
- The drape is just perfect. Doesn’t show too much when you bend over either.
- None really.
Fabric used: I used a mystery knit purchased from Metro Textiles on one of my trips to NYC this year. I thought it would be perfect for a top to wear out on the town. And it was. It’s this gorgeous bronzy brown color with a sparkly sheen. It’s not glitter, so it won’t flake off. It seems to be part of the knit. Not sure how they did that, but I’m not a textile manufacturer. It was perfect for this pattern. It had a great drape for the cowl and was innocuous on the wrong side. This is important that there is no obvious wrong side to your fabric as it sometimes shows depending on how the cowl drapes on you. You will see the unfinished edges of the cowl and sometimes the wrong side of the fabric. It’s just the nature of the beast. Be aware of this when you select your fabric.
Pattern changes or design changes made: I didn’t make any changes to the design of the pattern, but I did choose to bind the armscyes with my coverstitch machine to “save” time. Yeah, that didn’t work so well. My coverstitch hated this material. Hated it. It kept twisting the binding as it sewed. In hindsight, I should have starched it first, but I wanted to finish the top quick. Of course that guaranteed it would take much longer as I had to deal with the twisting binding. Ugh. In the end, it didn’t look so bad as I was able to press out some of the twist. Next time I will either starch my binding or bind it the way the Style Arc designer designed it.
Lesson learned during this project: Never try to save time. It always bites you in the ass. Hard.
Any problems encountered during construction? Did I mention my “time-saving” binding?
Any new techniques learned? Not really, I have done that mitering thingy before a few times, but it might be tricksy for a beginner to sew accurately.
Any interesting design details in this pattern? The cowl? Possibly?
Which sewing machine(s) did you use for construction? I used my Featherweight for the shoulder seams, but it didn’t like this fabric very much either as it skipped some stitches sometimes. My serger for the side seams. And my coverstitch for the twisty binding on the armscyes and hem.
Time to complete construction: Including basting to check the fit and fiddling with the twisty binding, about 4 hours all in. That binding really chapped my ass.
Will you sew it again or recommend it to others? I will definitely sew it again. It makes a great night out on the town top. I really want to make it up as a dress too. And I definitely recommend it to you. It’s relatively quick to make if you don’t waste time binding on your coverstitch and know the fit fits. I think it might be a bit tricky for a beginner to handle though.
Conclusion: Great top. I love mine.