I was skulking around in search of a cardigan pattern for a future when a Discord pal suggested I try one from Style Arc. When I saw that the Posie knit top was one of the featured freebie patterns that month, they had me at free and dope sleeve flounces.
I know I said I’m not a ruffle person, but I think the jig is up: I’m a secret ruffle lover. I’m not into cottage core ruffles, but I do like a modern one every now and then.
I had a woven leopard-print butterfly sleeve shirt ages ago and I loved it. Butterfly sleeves look great on pear-shaped folks and Style Arc knew what it was doing by showing me the Posie. The audacity.
The Posie knit only comes in one view and costs $11.55 USD.
The sizes run from a 4-30 with a maximum hip of 61 inches. Style Arc recently announced that it was increasing its size range beyond 22. While not all of the patterns have been updated with the new size range, it seems like the Posie knit top was updated with the new sizing since I obtained it.
The seam allowances are marked on the pattern; it’s roughly 3/8 and 1/4 inches for us imperial users. However, there were no markings for the bust, waistline, or lengthen/shorten lines.
I used an ivory and brown striped cotton jersey from Blackbird Fabrics. I’ve used Blackbird jerseys for other knit tees and they hold up well in the wash.
When the fabric arrived, I noticed the grain line wasn’t perfectly perpendicular to the selvedge. After emailing with an associate there, they assured me if I just followed the stripes, I would be fine.
This is my first time using a Style Arc pattern, so I can’t say for certain what their block is like. In my experience with this top, my adjustments were almost spot on with the ones I make for any Big 4 pattern.
- Length: Shortened the waist by an inch. 🗡
- Back: 5/8 inch broad back, 1/2 inch high round and low round adjustments. 🗡
- Shoulders: 1/2 inch forward and sloping adjustments.
- Bust: Some people are all about the negative ease in knit tops, but I’m not one of them. I added about 1 1/2 inches of width with a Y-bust adjustment. (I initially tried a full-bust adjustment but that was not the move.) 🗡
- Width: I added to the side panels that made up the armhole, starting at 3/8 inch on each side at the hip, grading up to nothing at the armhole to retain the fit.
- Armhole: I raised the side panel armhole by 1/2 inch.
🗡 There is a story behind how I came to these adjustments. See Mistakes.
Despite these alterations, the pattern still retained its shape and all the notches matched up again.
I’ll get this out of the way. Yes, the instructions are terse. The included instructions fit on one page, and that’s with a diagram and a chart for finished garment measurements. If you don’t own a color printer, you’re screwed. The diagram included in the instructions labels the seam points in color.
However, if you’ve made one t-shirt, you’ve made them all so nothing was a big surprise here. If you understand general order of garment construction, you’ll be fine.
If you have poor eyesight, you may be better off blowing up the text on a tablet or even enlarging the text before printing.
It didn’t occur to me until nearly the end that the pattern instructions don’t tell you which direction to press seams. I’ve grown used to those instructions included in most sewing patterns, whether it’s indie or Big 4. It made me realize that I didn’t pay much attention to retaining such a simple piece of knowledge.
It also makes me wonder how much knowledge people are really retaining from pattern instructions that are marketed to teach you as you go.
Using the wrong stitch
Whenever a knit pattern instructs a straight stitch, I don’t know why I insist on using my machine’s stretch straight stitches. They never work and it always looks bad.
After several attempts at this, I unpicked those ugly stitches and did a normal straight stitch at 3 mm. That worked much better.
Improper broad back adjustment
If the center back of a pattern doesn’t reach your center back, you need to do a broad back adjustment. Instead of adding the amount you need to the center back like one might think, you should add to the shoulder and either ease the sleeve in place or add a dart to make the back shoulder match the front.
I knew this, but because adding to the center back looked fine when I tried on the pattern, I didn’t think it was a problem. (Narrator: It was a problem.)
Why shouldn’t you do this? It adds to the neck and exacerbates a high round back. Your neck seam will be too low. I’ve also been reluctant to add darts to the shoulders. Easing the front and back shoulders wasn’t an option because my broad back is usually 1/2 to 5/8’s of an inch. Additionally, because this pattern is cut on the fold, I’d have to add a dart around the neck if I still wanted to cut on the fold and maintain the curve of my short goblin back.
I didn’t realize my cheater adjustment was a problem until construction was almost finished. Lesson learned: Try on your garment as you sew to check fit.
Fixing the broad back
I was reluctant to add any darts to a knit top because I’ve never seen it before. However, there was no way I’d wear this top if I didn’t unpick everything and redo the back adjustment. I used a tip to add Solvy water soluble stabilizer to the darts and it worked well.
Since I hadn’t adjusted the length of the top yet, I went back and shortened the bodice by an inch. I’m glad I started over with additional adjustments because now there’s a guarantee I’ll wear this top.
After I unpicked all the pieces, I lined up the pattern pieces with the fabric pieces to check for any stretching and recut where needed. Since I shortened the length, everything fit on the fabric pieces. I forgot about the sleeve flounces though, so I paid for it on the backside.
Me vs binding — again
There’s something about bias tape and binding that breaks Krystina.exe. On the first sew, I did not understand how to apply the neck binding.
After consulting Palmer/Pletsch’s Knits for Real People book, I realized Style Arc was trying to explain how to sew the binding like you’d often see in ready-to-wear tops. Oops.
I would make this again! The pattern structure makes it a great candidate for interesting color-blocking. I’ve seen some interesting upcycled variations with old tees as well, or you could live out your gothic bat dreams and do all-black. I think this would be a nice top for those moments you should dress up slightly, but you don’t feel like getting out of your t-shirt.
Would I recommend this for a beginner? I’m on the fence—not because it’s hard, but because I don’t know how a beginner would fare with terse instructions that don’t instruct you to press your seams. If I was a beginner, I’d think “hell yeah, I don’t have to press!” Not quite.
If you’re not comfortable with pattern adjustments or you’re just getting started, you might need a good fit book in order to find the bust apex and make the appropriate changes. If you’re a beginner who doesn’t mind looking things up in a book, I’d say go for it. That’s how you learn! But if you’re expecting to have your hand held, look elsewhere.
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