Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Style Arc – Jenny blouse

The Australian pattern company Style Arc gets a lot of (mostly positive) attention lately on blogs and reviews on Pattern review. Of course I couldn’t resist and ordered two patterns and got one free. The shipment arrived last Thursday, and you can tell the sewing bug hit me again, as this has been finished on Sunday!

The Jenny blouse is a classic blouse with darts in front and back, collar with stand and cuffs with a sleeve placket.

Some features of the Style Arc patterns:

  • Patterns are in one size only. For this blouse no problem for me, but might be more challenging in the pair of trousers I’m planning to make.
  • There are no detailed sewing instructions for every step, but a sewing order is given.
    For this pattern detailed instructions were included for collar with stand (good) and the sleeve tab/placket (couldn’t understand it at all, I tried on a scrap, gave up and used David Page Coffin’s placket from his book shirt making). The instructions are on the site too (heading Tutorials)
  • A little piece of suggested fabric quality is sent with the pattern, which I like
  • Seam allowances are included, but can be different on several points. In this blouse the general seam allowance is 1 cm (3/8 inch), but on the collar, stand and neckline only 6mm. I LOVE this, as I don’t like the large 1.5 (5/8 inch) seam allowances and having the collar with narrow seam allowances from the start worked very well for me too.
  • Four levels of difficulty are given: easy, medium, challenging, experienced sewer. This was in the challenging category. In my opinion the last two categories could be switched, this is a pattern for someone with more sewing experience, but I don’t find it challenging.

The result on me, I will wear it tucked in, so I included a picture for that as well.

I used size 12, based on bust measurement. It is just a bit too snug for me, as you can see by the lines in the front. Also my fabric was a bit too thick and I had difficulty pressing it well. Good quality shirt fabric is very hard to find here.

I used a ribbon with a little shine and sparkle on the front.

As said above, the placket by David Page Coffin, not from the pattern. The sleeves are less “puffy” than the drawing suggests. there is one pleat, but no gathers.

The back, also some lines that shouldn’t ideally not be there. Suggestions for improvement welcome!

I do like the end result. For a first, unaltered pattern this is pretty good. It needs a small fba in the front and some change in the back too, but the length of the blouse and the sleeves are good. Or should I have used a size 14?
Also the pattern pieces are drafted well, the notches are correctly placed. My first experience with Style Arc is positive, though the cost of patterns and shipping will make that I won’t buy a lot of them.


  1. It looks good! I think the single sized patterns would be a problem for me also, if I was sewing a dress, or maybe ants.

  2. Very nice work! I really like the alternative placket you put in. I still have never made a shirt sleeve with placket before. For fit, that always is a challenge. I've started taking patternmaking classes since I'm tired of making clothes that don't fit me. Good luck with your next version!

  3. I have yet to try Style Arc, so I am interested in reviews of their patterns. You have sewn this shirt beautifully. The collar is so neat and your placket sewing is enviable.

    I would not go up a size as it looks like the right size across the shoulders. From the front, it looks like you need a square shoulder alteration with the pull lines radiating up to the shoulders, but the back doesn't show this problem. In the first photo, if you look in the shoulder area, you can see that it is pulling on the front but there is extra room at the back...makes me wonder if the shoulder slope is okay, but the shape of the sleeve needs to change, taking out from the back shoulder cap and adding to the front of the shoulder cap. This results in a sleeve pattern that is less symmetrical.

    The top of the waist darts look a little odd where they near the bust point. I am not familiar with this problem so can't offer any advice, but it is the first thing that stands out when I look at the photos.

    The lines at the back are similar to ones I get when I sew shirts for my husband. I don't know if it is the right thing to do, but on his shirts I take out a bit from the outer upper edges of the back piece just below the yokes. The top of the the back piece then has a convex curve rather than a straight edge. I also lengthen the centre of the yoke. You can see the pattern changes I make for him in this post

    I hope you don't mind this long response...of course all these changes are minor and you do have a lovely, classic white shirt which will be a great staple in your wardrobe.

  4. Hi Sigrid
    I´m curious about the postage and how long it took to get here and it looks great. They have some nice looks in my taste. Sew some pants now so we can get an idea about the fit

  5. Beautifully sewn blouse Sigrid! Nice job and I like the ribbon on the front. Nice touch!

    Only because you asked :) IMHO the size is perfect. I wouldn't go up a size. How's the sleeve feel under the arm? For me this was the major fit issue. The sleeve was too tight under the arm, which made the bodice feel tight over the bust. I'm wondering if this is the same for you, because the back looks loose and the front looks to fit well. If it feels restrictive and tight though, maybe you have the same issue with the sleeve? Just a thought.

    Overall I think the fit is good. It's nice to see this pattern on someone else. Nice job and thanks for sharing.

  6. I'm not a shirt person, but I'm happy to see a Style Arc shirt made up (and done so nicely!). I LOVE the fit on the patterns I have made, especially the pants!

    I agree with everyone else about the size - would definitely not go up. Love your details - the plackets & the trim.

  7. I think that this is probably the correct size for you but that you need an fba. I also think that the back upper wrinkles are from the shoulders being too wide. I see a drag line pointing to your left hip and think that you need more room at the hip level.
    Considering that we are hardest on our own sewing and accept much less perfection from rtw, this is very wearable. Nice detail with the ribbon and as always, beautifully sewn.
    We are spoiled by multi size patterns, but that of course was not always the case. If I were to buy this pattern I'd use my upper bust size and make an fba I'd also have to add to the hips, just like I do for other pattern companies.

  8. Your shirt looks great, Sigrid! I also like the fit.

  9. I don't like the idea of single sized patterns. Love the detailing on your blouse. Beautifully made.

  10. I think you're being hard on yourself. Personally the tucked in picture looks wonderful and I love the ribbon detailing and those cuffs. You might consider aFBA but then again different fabric will show different results. I'm saving my pennies to buy a few of these patterns this year but am starting with pants so that one size only requirement does have me a little worried. But the reports are that they'll help you make a good choice.

  11. Back to your usual efficiency :-). I too don't like single-size patterns, as I often have to adjust and it's better to adjust to how they do their grading, not what I think it ought to be..
    For back fit, I think you should not just take in the darts but make them significantly longer. In fact the whole back seems a bit large to me, did you go down a size and do an FBA :-)?

  12. Greeat shirt. I think the end result is very satisfying for having been sewn straight out of the envelop.
    I am no expert but I would not go a size up.

  13. I think the blouse is great, the fit could be tweaked a bit with an FBA. The cuff and placket turned out beautifully!

  14. Great shirt - love the ribbon detail and your plackets are impressive. As others have said - maybe just a FBA.

  15. I'm totally in love with your sleeve plackets - they look great! I've yet to try sewing a shirt but have been advised by several sources that these are tricky. Thanks for bringing Style Arc to my attention too. I love a new pattern company!

  16. This is beautifully made and fits perfectly.

  17. That's how shirts usually fit me! I have square shoulders in the front and a narrow back. I'm glad to see the recommendations for alterations .