Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Elsie Overshirt in Les Fleurs

I'm jumping on the Cotton + Steel/Rifle Paper Co. Les Fleurs bandwagon with this blouse, the Style Arc Elsie Overshirt!


(So, confession: I didn't know what Rifle Paper Co. was until their fabric collaboration with Cotton + Steel. I pretty much have blinders for anything not sewing/fabric related...)


I chose to sew the Elsie after seeing the beautiful striped version that Christy at Clever Tinker made... I had visions of my own striped version out of another Cotton + Steel fabric in my stash (the black and white striped Zephyr), but I only had 2 yards and couldn't stripe match the way I wanted to. Similarly, I only had 2 yards of the Les Fleurs, but I figured the print was busy enough that I could cut the shirt out with no pattern matching. I squeezed everything out, just barely. I think it turned out fine, no blossom boob (also, just barely).


For my Elsie, I went with a size 16, which was a good choice. I feel comfy in this size. It's snug enough at the bust (bust shaping is via side seam bust darts, the points of which are camouflaged by the pockets) and fits well in the shoulders, but is loose and boxy the way it's meant to be elsewhere. Plus, I didn't have to do a full bicep adjustment on the sleeves, hooray!


Elsie has some nice details: a lovely box pleat in the back and a cute two-level split hem, patch pockets, tabs on the sleeves for rolling them up. And that neckline!!


The fabric, obviously, is rayon challis. We have a love/hate relationship, rayon challis and me. Love to wear it, but hate to sew with it. I find it difficult to cut and sew. My uninterfaced pieces stretched out a bit so the undersides of my collar are full of small gathers (the visible bits are fine). My neckline also stretched slightly because I stupidly forgot to staystitch (the instructions didn't mention staystitching, but I should have known better). I ended up having to use a basting stitch along the back neckline to ease it into the collar. That said: this Cotton and Steel rayon challis is buttery and soft, yet thick enough that it's not sheer like some of the no-name challis. Time to get myself some spray starch, folks.


Speaking of instructions, the Elsie Overshirt instructions were in keeping with Style Arc's M.O. - i.e., they were spare and occasionally wrong. In the written instructions, they somehow forgot about the split hem, which wasn't mentioned at all (although it was pictured in the technical diagram and the pattern had markings for it). But for a relatively simple shirt like this, brief instructions are fine.


I was thinking about it a bit and decided that the Style Arc instructions are equivalent to the recipes provided for the technical challenges in the Great British Bake Off, in that they assume some prior technical knowledge. In GBBO, the instructions might read "Make caramel." or "Bake jaffa cake." (WTF is a jaffa cake?! How long do I bake it? At what temperature?) or something like that. Style Arc's equivalent is "Bind the sleeve opening and stitch the tuck at the sleeve edge." That is to say: the instructions are there, but if you need/want hand-holding you'll have to run to Google for help (a luxury the GBBO bakers don't have).


Speaking of binding sleeve openings, I ended up not adding the sleeve cuffs or bias-bound sleeve placket. When I tried the shirt on halfway through, I realized the sleeves were already a bit long and I was unlikely to wear them unrolled anyway since they have the roll-up sleeve tabs (what are those called?!). I did a narrow 3/8" hem on the sleeves, same as the bodice hem. I kept the cuffs and binding, which were already cut out, with the pattern in case I change my mind later.


I think I prefer the sleeves rolled up, at least in this fabric. Somehow, between the full length sleeves and the floral print, things get a little bit pajama-y.

For closures, I opted for buttons, because I had some cute periwinkle blue ones that were a spot on match for the fabric. But I could also sewing this with no closures; sewing the two button plackets together. You don't need the closures because the blouse easily slips over your head.


The neckline is perfection... an elegant curved V-shape (low, but not too low), plus that cool notch, which Style Arc tells me is called a "revere." I had to look that up. Although a Google search for revere shows something slightly different... I dunno. Whatever it's called, I love it. Like want to immediately cut out another love it. Ok, off to do just that...

29 comments:

  1. I love that notched collar! So cute.

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    1. Thanks! The collar and neckline are the best part!

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  2. Very pretty fabric! The top looks so good on you.

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    1. Thanks so much! This fabric is lovely...

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  3. Really love that collar. I do like Style Arc's aesthetics, but I need me some clear instructions with diagrams or I get totally lost!!!

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    1. Thanks! The collar and neckline are the best part! I find the instructions fine for the most part on simpler patterns, but for more complicated things I wish they were a little bit more fleshed out!

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  4. Beautiful ;o) I have recently purchased this pattern, my first stylearc, and I have fabric picked out - need to get going!

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  5. Oh wow! Such pretty fabric! And I think the collar looks excellent. Great job!

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    1. Thanks so much! I am love with the fabric and collar, too!

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  6. Great fit! You'd better make a striped one now!

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    1. Thanks! I know, I wish I had enough striped fabric... maybe if I do 3/4 sleeves...

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  7. Superbe! Et ces couleurs! J'adore! Béné (de France)

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  8. Beautiful shirt. Love the notched collar and your fabric choice looks great.

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    1. Thanks so much, Jean! I love the notched collar, too!

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  9. Beautiful! I need a silky blouse in my wardrobe and this might just be the perfect one!

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    1. Thanks!! Yes, everybody needs a silky blouse!

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  10. That is one great looking blouse. It looks great on you!

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  11. Like all things Meg-sewn, I love this top. Will probably purchase the pdf version on Esty. I so agree with you about Style Arc's minimalist instructions. In USA I've never heard about "bagging out" an item; although I do find that term used in the UK and by SA. There is a sewing terms dictionary on the Style Arc site that does help a little. Again great job making this top that looks fab on you.

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    1. Aw, thanks!! Hmm- bagging out- is that when you sew the lining in a coat and flip it right-side out? Definitely deserves more than a casual mention in instructions! I'll take a look at the dictionary on Style Arc- thanks for the heads up!

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  12. Excellent marriage of pattern and fabric here! Sooooo pretty. I agree, challis is the devil to cut and work with, but heavenly to wear.

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    1. Thanks, Inder!! I love challis... I just need to get some spray starch to make cutting easier!

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  13. Jaffa cake = yum!
    A Jaffa is a lolly (candy?) which I first ate in Aus. It is a round chocolate, slightly larger than a preen pea and coated with a crunchy orange flavoured yet red coloured coating. The cake version is a chocolate cake with an orange flavoured icing.
    And yes, SA instructions are brief. I use the Readers Digest sewing book when I'm unsure.

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    1. Interesting! Jaffa cakes looked really good- I just wouldn't have a clue how long they need to bake!

      Good idea to use other references when sewing SA- that's what I do, too!

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  14. I love this on you Meg! (And I feel like I already commented on this blog post, but my comment disappeared? Huh?) I've had my eye on this pattern for awhile and you are swaying me. I love your GBBO analogy too!

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    1. Thanks, Heather! It's a cute pattern- boxy, but purposefully so. I thought the GBBO analogy was kinda apt!

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  15. That neckline is so gorgeous and i want to get my hands on that fabric!

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