Friday, 15 August 2014

Style Arc Lorie jacket

This is the first pattern by Style Arc that I have done.  I knew ahead of time that the instructions are sparse but sufficient.  Many people don't like that you only get one size with Style Arc, so the first few patterns are needed to test out fit.  I have heard that the sizing is consistent, so once you do settle on a size, it generally fits well.  I used my measurements to order a size 8.

I expected this jacket to be quite an involved process.  It isn't a full Chanel style jacket with interlining or any hand stitching, but it does involve block fusing the pieces (which I learned is when you interface every single piece of the jacket except the sleeves!) and topstitching.  I also mitred my first corner - when you make a 90 degree turn while sewing two pieces together.  It went quite well, but does require a bit of preparation because you have to cut the corner right after you turn it, so that the second side will go smoothly.

Because the instructions are very sparse, it's important to cut every notch very well.  I had trouble adding the hem band to the jacket because no matter which way I flipped up, the notches didn't match.  I was concerned because it's supposed to be fitted at the waist with some flare, and I thought if I got it upside down, it might not have the desired shape.  Other than that, I did find the instructions sufficient.  The only other place that I had trouble was the final step - attaching the sleeves inside out.  I recalled from my Minoru that this can be tricky but I sewed them up with no problem...only after I tried to turn the jacket right side out it had become a Mobius strip...

I learned something about fusing in general during this process.  I had block fused my pieces following the instructions.  I was using a very stable double knit cotton twill, and the fusing is probably most important if the main jacket fabric is loosely woven, Chanel style.  My lining, however, was a very light silk-cotton.  I thought it was probably too light to be a lining, and so I used bemberg for the sleeves to make sure they could take the stress.  In retrospect, I would have done better to not fuse every piece of the jacket, and to fuse the silk-cotton pieces instead. 

The main stopping point was waiting for my special order lavender 19" zipper to arrive....what a pain! It still wasn't perfect but I was so sick of looking for zippers that I finally decided to go with it and see how the jacket would turn out.  I was considering this a muslin project and when trying it on without the lining I was suspicious of the fit - it seemed very boxy and not at all as fitted or shaped as I expected.  I didn't get to see the final fit until after I turned the jacket right side out with the lining in place.  It was better than before, but I found a few major fit issues that make me totally not interested in ever wearing it.  I guess this is where a muslin might have been a good idea, but without the lining I couldn't perceive how it would fit.

the lightweight lining actually is not an issue once it's in place

mitred corners!

Looks like it needs those shoulder pads!

...yet I have no shoulder room to move at all!

much nicer on Pam!

she's happy - she just got a new jacket!

Major issues:

-extremely narrow through shoulders. I expected my shoulders to fit in the shoulder pad space.  But you see that is vertical space above the shoulders, which looks stupid. My shoulders fit in the sleeves and so I feel like I'm in a straitjacket.  For this to fit, I would have needed about a 1.5" shoulder widening.  Now I truly believe that Style Arc makes narrow patterns through the shoulders.  My lesson associated with this is more general - I think I need to watch what happens with sleeves on me.  I suspect I need some kind of sleeve adjustment but I haven't learned enough about them to know.  Almost any woven that I sew with sleeves has something funny in the sleeve area - enough that those are generally finished projects I pass on to friends. 

-second to the wide shoulder issue, total bust minimizing.  I thought this jacket would be shaping but it's totally shapeless.  My bust is hidden and there's no nice narrowing at the waist (which I expected from the pictures.)  This is improved on a person with narrower shoulders like Pam, and actually was a useful lesson to me about the shoulder widening.  I don't need FBAs, because a shoulder adjustment will add the room for my large upper chest (as I recently discovered, instead of having a high bust measurement that is less than my bust, I have a high bust measurement that is about 1.5" larger than my bust.  I haven't taken the next step of figuring out how much of this is frontal and how much is on the backside.)

-Length is ok, I could for once have preferred it a touch longer.  I'm very short waisted so this is unusual.

As you can see, I found a grateful recipient of this purple jacket at work.  Pam is happy!  She is slightly taller than me, with a larger bust and narrower shoulders.  She loves the jacket!


  1. What a pity the fit didn't work out, it looks beautifully made. I can see how narrow the shoulders are in the front views.

  2. Thanks so much! I put a lot of work into it and I feel like the learning process was worth it, even if the final outcome was a no-go.