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Pattern Reviews> StyleArc> Amber Woven Blouse (Amber Woven Blouse)

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Reviewed by:michellep74
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About michellep74starstarstar
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Member since: 7/19/07
Reviews written: 156
Sewing skills:Intermediate
Favored by: 109 people
patterns reviewed: 133
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Posted on:4/29/14 2:54 PM
Pattern Size:Plus-Sized Regular 
Project Photo:StyleArc: Amber Woven Blouse by michellep74

StyleArc: Amber Woven Blouse by michellep74  StyleArc: Amber Woven Blouse by michellep74  
Pattern Photo:

More Info provided by michellep74

Pattern Rating:Recommend, with Modifications
Review Rating: Helpful by 2 people    Very Helpful by 6 people   
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Fabric:Ponte Knit  [See other projects in this fabric]
Overview/Pricing: As contest manager, I am not eligible to enter the Bargainista Fashionista contest, but I did want to sew along with the participants. For my inspiration piece, I chose this Ruche piece, which retails for $36.99 and is not available in my size:

Cherished Memory Lace Detail Blouse from Ruche

For my garment, I spent $12 on fabric and notions (piping). I saved 66% by making my own. Note that while the pattern price wouldn't be included for this contest, this was the "freebie pattern of the month" from StyleArc a few months back.

Pattern Description:

From the StyleArc web site:

"This is a great top on which to use your design skills, colour block the panels or use fashionable piping along the seam of the panels, the options are endless. This is a slip-on top (no fastening)."

I want to note that the front panels are overlays; this is not a pieced top.

Pattern Sizing:

StyleArc sizes 4-30. I sewed a size 20, which is one size smaller than my measurements would indicate on StyleArc's size chart.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

It basically does, although I did my own interpretation of the design, based on my RTW inspiration. Note that the line drawing is accurate in that there is NO side seam shaping on this top, outside of the bust darts.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

The instructions are very basic--as with all StyleArc patterns, they list steps in an order of construction, rather than give details about how to sew something. That said, there are a number of aspects of this blouse that I found to be pretty fiddly and that I could see causing problems for a sewist who was used to more detailed instructions. Here are a few things that I want to call out:

* Either stay-stitch the curved areas where you'll be applying the piping, or use a double-sided stabilizer like Wonder Tape to help you apply your piping.
* When you attach the neckband panels (you'll apply the right side of neckband to the wrong side of the top, then flip the panel over to the right side), don't forget to understitch--although for this top, you'll understitch your SA's to the top itself.
* Use Wonder Tape to get the placement right on your panels before topstitching them down to your top.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Likes: The panels allow you to get creative with various design options, such as color blocking, lace overlays, and piping. I like my use of lace in the sleeves--I think I'll try that again with a different project.

Dislikes: The lack of side seam shaping does make for a really boxy top, as noted by other reviewers.

This was also a much more "fiddly" project than I was anticipating. I think that the pattern would work best with a lightweight woven fabric (as mentioned in the recommended fabrics), such as a cotton lawn or voile, BUT, if you use the piping option, you're risking changing the hand of the fabric and losing some of the drape you'd probably prefer to keep. I suspect that the best option is to forgo the piping, or use a flat, non-corded piping wit a lightweight woven.

Fabric Used:

Lace from FabricMart ($4.99/yard)--Used for the panel overlays/sleeves.
Lightweight black Ponte Knit from FabricMart ($5.99/yard).
Piping from Rose City Textiles in Portland, OR (from our trip there last fall).

Obviously, I went with a heavier weight fabric than I should have, but when I had lighter weight wovens in my hand, they just didn't feel substantial enough for all of that piping. I'm not sure what the solution is.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Added a layer of lace to the panels. Used lace for the sleeves.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I won't sew this again; it's distinctive, and I'm not in love with it. I think this would be more flattering on my plus sized figure if the center column were narrower. Ironically, I'd originally zeroed in on this design because I thought that the center column would be a flattering vertical line. I'm not sure that it is, though, in reality.

I'd recommend it to others, but I'd steer beginners clear of this pattern--too many fiddly bits and not enough detail in the instructions.

Conclusion:

Eh, I'm happy that I gave this pattern a whirl. It's been sitting in my stash since last summer, and I really liked the design from the line drawing. There haven't been too many reviews or blog posts about this pattern yet, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Now I know.

More on my blog:

General project post:
http://happilycaffeinated.blogspot.com/2014/05/finished-project-stylearc-amber-top.html

Post detailing the construction of the front panels:
http://happilycaffeinated.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-stylearc-amber-overlay-panel.html
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17 Comments      Login to Add a Comment
Quickie said...
This top is very flattering, so in that point I disagree with you.I love the piping and the lace sleeves
4/29/14 3:01 PM
MrsCharisma said...
I really like it on you! I think it's flattering and like where the length hits. Hopefully you'll pull it out a different day and fall in love with it :)
4/29/14 3:26 PM
MrsCharisma said...
Dupe
4/29/14 3:26 PM
joyces said...
its lovely on you. I would never have looked at it otherwise.
4/29/14 4:43 PM
julie w said...
Hope you change your mind, you've made a lovely looking top
4/29/14 5:35 PM
michellep74 said...
Maybe I just need to put it away for a week or two, then. I found the fiddly bits to be extremely frustrating (I used the seam ripper quite a bit on this project), so that's likely coloring my opinion. ;)
4/29/14 6:11 PM
supizoo said...
How nice of you to sew along with the challenge! I also think this is lovely on you. Thanks for pointing out the tricky bits.
4/29/14 6:55 PM
Couturemum said...
I am sorry you don't find this top flattering, I think it looks lovely on you, and I really like your version of this top. I think it looks very chic and am def considering getting this pattern now.
4/29/14 7:17 PM
Annie P said...
The lace is lovely. Thanks for the idea! I think the top looks great, and thanks for reviewing it. I have the pattern and wasn't sure how it would look on me (plus-size). Now I'm keen to make it, though I'll look at adding back and front darts.
4/30/14 2:47 AM
AnneM said...
Nice top, and what a perfect pattern and fabric selections you have made. Very helpful review, thank you. I agree with the others, tuck this into the closet for a few weeks and then take it out again.
4/30/14 6:24 AM
LTC said...
Love the lace details.
4/30/14 7:46 AM
JanyceR said...
Add me to the list that thinks the top is flattering. Very nice details
4/30/14 7:59 AM
SouthernStitch said...
I love your top! I've debated this one for a while, and thanks to your advice, I'll surely skip the piping, and use lightweight fabric.
4/30/14 8:39 AM
carolynw said...
Sorry and and surprised to see that you don't like this top. Like others have suggested - hide it away and then take it out -am betting you'll like it a lot more.
4/30/14 11:11 AM
ClioBklyn said...
It's cute and fun and you did a great job replicating the original!! But I understand your woes with boxy tops.
4/30/14 3:19 PM
mm said...
I have made this pattern and it has become one of my favourite tops because it is so cool and comfortable.
4/30/14 6:13 PM
Oh2Sew2 said...
Thank you for the review, I had also received this one as a free pattern of the month...been sitting on it waiting for it to hatch. ;) Honestly, no time to sew now and so many things to chose from when I do...I jotted down you tips though so they are handy when I pull it out to whip one up! Love the vertical lines the piping gives, much more flattering if the fabrics are tone on tone!
5/11/14 9:02 PM
 
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