Category Archives: StyleArc

Style Arc Gail

I was intrigued by this pattern (the free pattern for September 2013), especially after the discussion on Stitchers Guild. I decided I wanted to make it and placed and order along with 2 other top patterns.  The patterns arrived in my US mail about 10 days after my online purchase. I thought the delivery time was pretty good. My order included a fabric sample for each pattern and a personal note of thanks.

My measurements fall between sizes so I chose to purchase the next larger size than recommended.  I purchased 3 pants patterns last year and was distressed when  each and everyone was far too small.  Then and now, I took my measurements several times; measuring only over the underwear I plan to have on AND I selected my personal  biggest measurement to compare with the SA charts.

Still SA has been described as “body conscious” and so I approached the pattern with caution.  Even though only 1 size is printed on the paper, I traced.  Then I pinned the tissues to my dress form. Granted Mimie measures a bit more than me.  Generally this is OK because I prefer the “skims everything touches nothing fit”.  I believe the next time I order SA patterns, I’m going to use Mimie’s measurements instead of my own, because there’s no way this size is going to fit me the way I want.


I looked at the back first.  For one thing, I was curious as to why SA drafted and published a full back.  The back is symmetrical.  Suggested fabrics did not include plaids or large prints and if you used them, you’d also want two fronts which SA did not provide.  I’m puzzled and if I could politely suggest, I would say “SA you can cut postage costs by publishing a half back when a full is not required. That would result in less paper needed for printing. Less paper shipped in the envelope. Less $$$ for postage.”

So looking at the full back, I see the poof that I also saw in the recent Otto garments I’ve made.   I do like the draft of the shoulders and neckline.  I feel these will be the perfect size and are superior even to the Otto draft.  I so love not having to perform the narrow shoulder adjustment, but the shoulder seems to be sticking up.  To correct these issues:

I untaped my back waist length adjustment and started making it deeper.  Normally I’ve been making a 1″ adjustment. This one is 1.5″.  I think that’s a me issue just as the little dart I added at upper part of the armscye is a me issue.  As I’m aging my shoulders are rounding.  When I think about it, I shrug my shoulders in place, sit and stand tall. But truth is, gravity is winning the war.   I need to make these changes not only to the Gail pattern but most likely to all my other patterns as well.

I want to skip to the center front twist piece.

I’m not entirely sure, at this point, how it is all going to fit together, but I note that SA has included several notches to help match the twist to both the front and back pieces.  I think SA deserves kudos for this.  Also, were it not for the me sized body the pieces are pinned to, they would all fit together perfectly. I love patterns when the pattern maker has taken the time to ensure adjoining pieces are the right length and notches that should match, really do.

But from here I want to move onto the front and the sides.:

I have to consider ease and fabric behavior.  The recommended fabric is jersey, baby wool or any knit fabric.  The sample appeared to be a lightweight nylon knit.  About 90% of my sample was firmly glued in place so it was impossible for me to test stretch.  I’m contemplating using a slinky fabric or a light weight rayon jersey.  If I use the slinky I know I want Zero (0) ease.  If I use the rayon jersey I want about 20% ease.  I know these things from lots of experience both successful and disastrous.  I know it’s a combination of what the fabric will do and what I want to wear. This tissue, with 0 ease, fits at the underarm but immediately lacks the needed ease; and even right now I can see the wonky tissue folds in the bust area. I’m not entirely sure what is happening with the armscye. Is the front going to pull it over or do I have a problem here I should tackle?  When I use fabric, is that bulge of tissue around the bust going to drape towards the center front and lower half of the garment?

I start trying to make changes for the ease.  Doesn’t matter that SA is body conscious, I’m “skims everything”. If I don’t adapt the pattern for my preference, I won’t wear the finished garment.  I split the back from hem to underarm and add about 2″ of tissue.

The back looks good but I start scratching my head trying to figure where and how to add the ease for the front.

Not only is the front lacking ease at the hip, but there is this bubble which can clearly be pinched into a huge dart.  Except, I don’t think I want a dart, I want that fabric to drape towards the twist. Will it? Also, my back waist length adjustment needs to be applied evenly to both front and back –YET– it is clear the front without any adjustment is too short. The waist notch is above Mimie’s waist.  Do I add length? To the front? to the twist?  I need to add hip ease. The tissue barely touches. I must have at lease seam allowances. But where do I add the ease? Front? Twist? Waist?  Can I just ignore the waist and where it is placed? Will the fabric fall into place?  After all fabric will not act exactly the same as tissue. I have no confidence that I can make this fit me.  The fabric in my stash is not the same as the sample.   I also have no muslin fabrics. In the last 6 years, I’ve made so many garment trial and experiments that I don’t have fabric suitable for muslins.  I’d have to trash one of my expensive fabrics but even then I wouldn’t be working with fabric the same as the sample. Sigh, I have no confidence to go forward. I’ve folded up the pieces and put them back in the envelope for when I get smarter.