Thankfully my first attempt at the Style Arc Marni has turned out brilliantly!
I made this as a hopefully wearable test version from some cheap, rather thin ponti bought from Spotlight two years ago during one of their very frequent sales. I had intended to make a stretchy dress from it whilst I pregnant with Toby but never got around to it which left me with 3m of this in the stash. For this version I've made no changes whatsoever to the pattern pieces - just cut them out and sewed them up exactly according to the pattern. As you can see from the photo above I haven't added a closure to the front yet and nor have I hemmed the peplum, but overall I think the fit is pretty good and I need only make small changes for the final version. There is a bit of excess fabric at the front near the armhole which I think is caused by my forward rounded shoulders, so I need to pinch a bit out there and maybe take in a little along the princess seam at the bust, but otherwise not too bad.
What I like about this pattern:
- as others have noted about Style Arc patterns, the drafting is spot on. All the notches lined up exactly, and the individual pieces fit together properly, without any one bit being too short or too long in comparison with the piece it is to be sewn too.
- the jacket turned out looking exactly as the diagram and there was no surprise or shock at the finished garment as can (and does often) happens with a pattern that only comes with an illustration and not a photo of the finished pattern on the envelope! It looks good with a belt as illustrated and turned up cuffs:
- the fit is excellent as there isn't any crazy amount of excess ease as there usually is with commercial patterns. The Style Arc pattern has turned out to be more like RTW than nearly any other jacket I've made using commercial patterns. Having a waist seam with darts at the back means I was able to get a very close fit:
- the pattern is printed on durable white paper instead of thin, too easily torn tissue paper. Yes it means it's harder to pin to the fabric and make fitting adjustments but for an expensive pattern at least it's not going to fall apart any time soon.
- The jacket is unlined. I think this jacket is intended to be a softly draping unstructured jacket, and no one else has seemed to complain about this, but I just found that the jacket clung really badly to the clothes underneath and I had to keep readjusting it every time I moved. You can see the drag lines in a few photos above. It's also really hard to slide my arm into it when I was wearing sleeves underneath because the fabric kept bunching. I just think that unlined jackets should only be made out of stiff fabrics just denim or heavy drill. Plus the inside looks really messy without a lining to cover up the seams and stabilising tape along the shoulder seam. Sure I could have bound each of those seams with bias binding which a more meticulous and patient sewist would do, but I prefer to take the easy route and just to cover them up with a lining. So my next attempt will be to draft a lining for this jacket.
- Too little is interfacing suggested. The pattern calls for only the collar facing to be interfaced, which I'd say is because it's unlined and you'd be able to see any other interfacing used in the jacket. I did interface the cuffs with some whisperweft which gave them more substance when folded up, but I wish I used some more especially around the shoulders as the sleeve head seems to have collapsed. The next version I make which will have a lining I will add some interfacing to the jacket in the same manner I would for a tailored jacket.
- The instructions are super sparse and was a bit confusing in parts - for example the notch in the cuff lines up with sleeve seam, and not another notch. Luckily there was a diagram to indicate how to do the cuffs because I don't think I would have worked them out at all. I've made a few shawl collar jackets before so I knew how the collar attaches, but I think if you were a beginner sewist the lack of instructions and diagrams for the rest of the jacket would make this a semi challenging project.
- Changes in the seam allowances. This pattern uses what I understand is the industry standard of 1cm (3/8 in) seam allowance instead of the overly generous 1.5cm (5/8 in) that the other commercial patterns use. Whilst I do like having that extra fitting room in the seam allowance when I'm making dresses or pants, I was fine to use the different seam allowance on this jacket. Except the pattern requires an even narrower seam allowance of 6mm just for the internal seam of the collar and the seam along the slit in the cuff. Which of course I forgot to do - unpicking stitches in knit fabrics is so tedious - yes I should have paid more attention when I was sewing but I'm so used to just sitting down and sewing all the seams at the same width!
- Single size pattern - maybe I've been using the Big 4 patterns for too long but I am just so used to getting a range of sizes in the one pattern which is really helpful for easily grading up or down between sizes as required, plus having the option to sew a different size if you wanted to make the pattern for someone else. It's not really a problem for me on this jacket because it did fit, but it would make me think twice about ordering a Style Arc pattern for a dress or pants where I do need to grade between 3 different sizes for my bust, waist and hips.
Speaking of the Sydney sewists meetup it's not too late to RSVP for our next event on Sunday June 23 - High Tea at the American Club in Sydney - the more the merrier I say!