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I bought the Rumana Coat pattern with plans to shorten and make into a blazer for work with the remaining fabric from my Named Clothing Yona Wrap Coat. However sewing overnight trainers and diapers for my daughters Baby Alive doll took over my February sewing time.
With a week of February left, I decided to switch the Estelle. I have this cardigan that I LOVE and have literally worn out from how much love it has gotten the past 5 years. It has lasted well for being cheap ready to wear fashion, but I bunch up the fabric on the arms to hide all the small holes that are showing up.
I decided to use the Estelle to make a replacement. I previously purchased bamboo jersey to make a replacement. However the pattern called for Ponte, a more stable knit with less stretch, so I wanted to find a less stretchy knit. I ordered hemp fleece with less stretch, but it has a fuzzy wrong side that will show with this pattern and make it more casual than a work cardigan.
My motivation to sew my own clothes comes from wanting to know the maker has been fairly treated and the environment has been impacted as minimally as possible while reconciling this with my frugal ways and desire to be fashionable. My initial adventures have been with material purchased from the local thrift store or from local classifieds. However a large portion of these materials are polyester blends. I’ve now become more aware of how the plastic fibers from these blends are directly contributing to micro-plastics in the ocean. So I’ve been switching to more natural fibers.
Bamboo was my first choice for environmental friendly fabric. It is soft, feels lovely, amazing to sew with and as it gains popularity available in many colors. I like that it is from a sustainable source. However, many chemicals are used to turn it into fabric which is making me want to use less bamboo fabric.
Organic cotton doesn’t have the pesticide use of regular cotton, but both require large amounts of water to grow, often in areas where droughts are becoming increasingly large problems.
Hemp has been my fabric of choice and although it is gaining popularity, black or natural seem to be the easiest to find colors. From my baby wearing days, I know how soft and silky hemp gets with use. That said I now have 4 pieces of yardage waiting to be sewn, so I haven’t actually sewn with it yet.
Back to the Estelle. A search in my local stores and online was not turning up a hemp blend that I thought would be suitable. Nor bamboo, or even linen. I looked at boiled wool but the cost was prohibitive and felt it wouldn’t have the swing and drape of my current cardigan. I was tempted by a few polyester ponte knits, especially the 3 meters at the thrift store for $10! but just couldn’t commit to adding the microplastics into the water system.
So I decided to stick with the bamboo jersey I had previously purchased.
In ordering the Estelle pattern, I was impressed that Style Arc includes arm girth and shoulder width in the sizing chart. I carry weight in my arms and these patterns seemed sized for those built like me. I meet 4/5 of the measurements for the size 16. I did shorten the pattern by 5″ before starting to make it similar in length to my current cardigan.
This is the finished cardigan per Style Arc. I knew before starting it had raw finished edges. It bothers me more looking down at the garment than it does in the mirror or in pictures. I’m undecided if I will wear it to work this way or if I will turn the edges and hem.
When I first put this on last night I was very disappointed. It is much bigger than my current cardigan. The arms have too much room and it sits past my shoulders. All the pictures I saw posted this month in the #SewMyStyle project looked well fitted. I like it better today, but I think this is one that will sit for a bit while I decide whether to cut it smaller.
Overall I’m disappointed in the Style Arc patterns. Given I matched the measurements I expected a better fit. You only get 3 sizes with a pdf purchase, unlike other pdf patterns I’ve purchased that included all sizes and I don’t feel that sizing down just one size will be enough.
The directions are also very concise and with limited pictures. As an experienced sewist I had no issues with construction, however I would not recommend this pattern to a friend learning to sew, especially a visual learner. The directions and diagrams provide a guide more than directions. Most of the information is written on the pattern pieces, which is not where I would expect to go back and check during construction.
So what do you think? Should I make it smaller? Wear it as it is? Hem and the current size? Reuse the fabric with a different smaller pattern?