Have you ever had one of those projects which hibernates in a pile somewhere because you just can’t bring yourself to start it? That was this project.
I received this beautiful mascarpone satin from The Remnant Warehouse as a gift many years ago, and instantly knew it was destined to become a Style Arc Dotty Blouse. However, I let it linger as I didn’t trust myself to work with tricksy polyester satin (after a particularly bad experience with some nasty Spotlight satin), and I wasn’t sure I could convert the pattern to work with one-sided fabric.
I’m glad to say this year I finally faced those worries and finished this blouse! Let’s talk about the pattern first. The Style Arc Dotty Blouse is an elegant, drapey number with a twist at the front hem. This means the front is just one piece, designed to work with fabrics that are the same on the right and wrong side. Mine clearly isn’t, so I had to really think about how to alter the front piece to work with the satin.
Luckily, someone had already done the thinking for me, with pictures and all, so I suggest you visit their blog if you want a photo tutorial. Basically you just cut the front piece in half where the bottom hem would be, add a seam allowance, cut 2 front pieces and seam them at the bottom. The seam is then enclosed between the two pieces and invisible from either side.
The rest of the construction proved challenging too, not because it was particularly complicated but because the instructions are, in true Style Arc manner, completely incomprehensible. I’ve read lots of reviews stating that the instructions don’t say how to finish the neckline, so they face the two yoke pieces with bias tape at the neck.
This isn’t the case – the yoke is constructed burrito-style, by sewing the back yokes to the back piece, then rolling it all up inside itself and sewing the yoke neck pieces to each other for a clean finish. I understitched the neck too, but I think the pattern would have been improved if the inner yoke had a few mm’s trimmed from the neck piece for turn of cloth, as it wants to buckle outwards a little.
But I can see why reviewers didn’t pick that up in the instructions, as again they are clear as mud.
I diverted from the instructions (I think?) by hemming the back piece before sewing to the front, which was already hemmed. This would have worked out had I chosen to overlock (or zigzag, etc) the side seams but I french seamed them.
Very neat but due to the not-quite-true seam allowance I had some fraying edges exposed near the hem! I quickly McGyvered up a solution before they frayed away to nothing, by sewing tabs from bias tape to the bottoms of the side seam allowances. A bit bulky, but who’s going to be inspecting my side seams?
I also fused half the cuffs (the pattern didn’t call for it), and finished with a slip stitch on the inside. The hem was (inexpertly) turned using the Grainline Easy Roll Hem method, after a disastrous attempt at a regular 6mm (1/4″) turned hem.
And as for the fabric, it is everything that fray-prone, snagging Spotlight satin was not. It’s smooth with a beautiful drape, feels lovely on the skin and sewed up without any problems. I’ve never had any issues with fabrics from The Remnant Warehouse and recommend them highly.
Despite some construction woes this blouse turned out exactly as I’d imagined, which doesn’t happen often! My inspiration was Gillian Anderson in The Fall and I think I nailed it.
I wore this blouse out for my 30th birthday celebrations in January this year. I want to say the passing of this milestone was bittersweet, but it was just sad. I was sad to reach 30 with nothing to show for it other than a lot of suffering being closed doors. I was sad to see my peers (and even my younger siblings) pass me by while I stood still, my life achievements left behind in 2009. I was sad to be so, so sick for 10 years, only getting worse with no answer in sight.
I’m still not over it and I think each passing year will be another level of sadness and grief. My loss was, gratefully, ameliorated by good friends, a magnificent cake and a generous donation of Mecca vouchers.
Pattern: Style Arc Dotty Blouse
Pattern details: “A new twist on the wrap top, this is a very flattering and easy to wear top.” Available as a single size hard copy or PDF from the Style Arc website or a multisize PDF from their Etsy store. Sizes Au 4-30.
Fabric: 2.5m x 115cm Japanese designer satin in mascarpone, gift from The Remnant Warehouse. Polyester. “This satin is extremely soft and light weight, yet densely woven, giving it a luxurious feel. Suitable for tops, blouses, skirts and dresses (recommended with a lining fabric) for evening wear, corporate wear or couture.”
Other materials: Knit interfacing from Spotlight (long discontinued).
Mods: Size 12
– 1/2″ forward head adjustment at shoulder-yoke seam, same to sleeve cap
– Added seam allowances to bottom of front pieces, cut in 2, and seamed rather than twisting the 1 piece
– Fused outside-facing half of cuffs