Welcome to my June post on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network using a pattern from the independent pattern company Style Arc. I usually go for one of the Big 4 patterns mainly because when I started sewing many years ago that was all that was available, but I thought it was time to try some of the amazing patterns out there.

I opted for a simple pattern, the Elani Tunic and a summery Linen Blend Fabric that I fell in love with on the Minerva website.

I ordered the paper pattern from Minerva and am aware that Style Arc also offer pdf downloads directly from their site. I still like to receive an actual paper pattern although I have now used a couple of pdfs but had them printed via an independent printer rather than printing at home on A4 paper. There are a number of reasonably priced printers that are familiar with printing sewing patterns.

The fabric has beautiful pastel, summer colours and simple floral outlines and is the perfect weight for a summer tunic. I actually washed & ironed the fabric for a change before cutting the pattern pieces and I have to admit I often miss out this stage. Being linen that may shrink when washed I didn’t want to risk it this time. The fabric washed & ironed well with minimal fraying and retained its shape by drying it flat folded over an airer. I ironed it before it became too dry to avoid marks from the fold lines.

I have always pattern cut with the fabric right sides together but lately, because I have been using more patterned fabrics, I am more often cutting with the fabric right side out (wrong sides together). It is difficult to spot a pattern repeat on this fabric & it also has a directional pattern, so I had to ensure all the pattern pieces were cut the same way up.

I had already made a toile in a piece of black cotton because I am unfamiliar with the sizing of Style Arc patterns and being an unfitted garment was worried it may end up being shapeless. The sizing guides on the Style Arc website list Australian sizes to be the same as the UK.The guide gives size 10 measurements and although I’m usually a UK 14-16 these weren’t too far off my measurements, however I graded to the next size at the waist & hips but in hindsight didn’t really need it. I took in the usual back neck at the centre seam as I always end up with a small gape but with this pattern only minimal adjustment was required.

The sleeve hem instructions were not that clear but, as per many other reviewers, if you have prior sewing knowledge you will have no difficulty with this stage. 

All of the pattern markings and pieces were accurate and the neck facing fitted perfectly – I have used patterns where this is not the case which is really frustrating. I finished the seams with a tiny hem to prevent it from fraying.

I love that there are pockets, and these were simply stitched to the side seam and top stitched on the side of the pocket before joining the side seams and continuing the seam around the pockets. However, they are not quite deep enough to safely hold a phone.

I found the back to be way too big & I haven’t yet decided whether this was due to a sway back or that it required a full bust adjustment (FBA) and I suspect the latter. Instead, I added two waist darts in the back either side of the centre back seam.This did the trick & still gave the allowance over my hips where it was needed.

A light weight Iron On Interfacing is needed for the neck facing & I under stitched the facing as per the instructions but decided not to add any further top stitching around the neck, sleeves and pockets. I like the plainness of linen and felt the fabric pattern was sufficient, but I would top stitch in the future on different fabrics, especially if it was plain.  Consequently, it is important to under stitch to prevent the facing from rolling to the front.

I also left off the hem facing as I didn’t want it to be too bulky and instead machine stitched a small hem of about 1 cm.

I’m pleased with the final fit but am a bit wary of unfitted garments, mainly due to my hip measurements that make the waist area appear wider and thus falling straight from the bust. I am part way through another Elani tunic using a more lightweight polyester fabric and have added bust darts and not back darts.This has also helped with the fit across the back and the tunic drapes nicely from the bust. I will make another tunic and add bust and back darts which will change the shape of the tunic to a fit that I prefer.

The tunic came together easily, and the pattern was fairly easy to follow but from what I’ve read it appears that all Style Arc patterns are a bit lacking in the written detail. I think the sleeve facing details could have been better, but this didn’t affect the overall finish of the tunic.

I love the simplicity of the tunic and like it with my brighter blue jeans and I also plan to wear it with cropped leggings on holiday or in the warmer weather.

Thank you for reading & to Minerva for the lovely kit.