Style Arc Suzie’s Sister top

Marie Kondo would be so impressed. Her book was found stashed away on a shelf, unearthed while packing for our move, oh the irony! Unfortunately there was no time to read it and action her words of wisdom before the big move, but I swallowed it in 1 gulp while recuperating from the marathon move a week later.

There’s no doubt when you unpack 200+ boxes you come to value the lightness that comes with – say – backpacking. Everything in one place – easy. I disagree with her about some things most things though. Certainly there is something quite unusual about someone who has studied storage since age 5. Though I ask you, how good does it feel to finally toss a failed project? Failure and angst be gone, “hello” shiny new project!

As I was rifling through my wardrobe condemning clothes to the local charity shop, I came across this top – Style Arc’s Suzie’s Sister top (working my way through high school literary devices – today its assonance!). I procrastinated endlessly, of all the things that are hard to let go, this was one of the most difficult. I love the idea of this top. It should have worked, but alas it didn’t and honestly it doesn’t look much like the one’s on Pattern Review either.

Note: extra tension on those tucks due to recent weight gain.

I had taken a fitting class at a local fabric shop and this pattern was the unwitting victim. The resulting fit in calico was spot on. It was a teensy tiny remnant, so I decided to use the lace border on the business side and sleeves, while the plain old cotton was relegated to the back. The lace border was judiciously aligned to run along the shirt front and sleeve hems but the back was really missing out on some action. So I created a repeating template for the hem facing and a nice little decal thingummy for the neck facing – clearly in my ‘arabic’ phase. Painstaking work, but the effect is pretty sweet.


So why did this shirt fail? I aligned the lace border perfectly on the horizontal and used the resulting perpendicular as the straight grain. But I’m not convinced that was the right thing to do, the grain became a little bias-y. Perhaps the lace border wasn’t perpendicular to the straight grain? Outcome – the button edge is really very twisted on the bias – aaargh, tough lesson.


Future me will double, nay, triple check bargain basement remnants – why are they in that bin anyway?

And I won’t assume a fabric has perpendicular grainlines. Some sources suggest steaming and making them straight but that sounds like it will end in tears once its washed to me. Anyone have experience with this? Should I have interfaced the front button closure with silk organza perhaps? It may have just held the grainline straight enough to be worn comfortably, though whoosh, there goes the design transparency.

Suzie’s Sister top; so pretty, such a waste! Worthy of another go though.

This blog was recommended by a non sewing friend – such people exist! The writer, originally from SF, now lives in Perth, brilliant observations of life – I am so in awe. Her blog is completely unrelated to sewing but this woman should be writing a book, her observations are just so on point and short. Do yourself a favour – check out Onewomanparty.




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  1. It is so annoying when the fabric fails! I have used some embroidered nets where the pattern is on a slight slant – for mysterious reasons only the fabric designer would know!
    Maybe you could find something else to use for the front band – lace, satin, grosgrain…? Whatever you do, you must re-use your amazing idea for the back panel, it looks superb!

    • Well hello there Sheryll. A friend of my daughter’s came over on the weekend and I invited her to crawl through the throw out pile. I was so pleased she chose this shirt. She’s less bustular and quite tall, I think this will be fabulous on her and since she doesn’t read my blog, she’ll probably never be aware of the bias-y front closure, tee hee!! Besides, if she wears it with a black bra, it won’t be the bias-y-ness they’re looking at!! Definitely must use that idea again. Pls express my gratitude to your lovely govt. for offering to take our 30 something refugee children and their families won’t you. Apparently our government cannot find it within themselves and the PM is my local member – grrr!

  2. Your right, this top it worth another go. The shape looks lovely. If the toile worked maybe try it in a similar weight to start with. But I really like your detailing on this one, maybe the organza interfacing would have worked, maybe the fabric was just not happy in the pattern shape!! Enjoy the new living space, a move is always the best time for a clear out!

    • Actually, I’m aiming to reduce my Christmas/Hawaiian weight gain before embarking on any more ‘fitted’ clothes Linda! Goes straight to the chest and thats a fitting killer! Yes, I must rework this. As of yesterday the house is fully unpacked and in working order – yay, now for mending…

  3. I love what you did at the back (the Arabian influence) and think it’s worth recreating in another project (same shirt pattern even). I would like to know how you did it: a double layer and applique stitch but did you cut the pieces first or trim closely to stitching after? I made a Laurel dress out of some similarly light fabric (dyed indigo which made it look Moroccan) and wore it constantly till it ripped during blackberry picking. I would love to do make it again but would perhaps borrow your theme.

    I also like the covered buttons (I’m sewing with some at the mo) but am less so keen on the black lace front: it evokes (to me) Victorian ladies and Whitby, though in real life on a whole person it probably wouldn’t.

    Having seen that picture of your new home, I meant to say “wow” – not what I expected, but then again I’m not sure why I expected something two-storey and clapboard 😯 I just don’t know enough about Australian design and culture, despite years of watching H&A and Neighbours. In fact, only recently was I made aware of the fact the Hemsworth Hunk was in fact two people (ROFL)!

    I hope your daughter is very happy with the new arrangement and you all have a great time in the new home 🙂

    • I’m searching the brain bank. Pretty sure this is what I did… drew the pattern on that fusible sticky paper used for appliqué, seems to be called fusible web. cut it out and ironed it on. It didn’t really matter whether or not the fusing stayed forever, it is pretty translucent but I’d test it on white. Zigzagged around the edge – et voila! The covered buttons were Princess’ idea. She suggested I use the lace part rather than the plain fabric and they blended, but not too much! I am a sucker for lace and I agree the difficulty is not to make it look Victorian funereal!
      Australia saw it’s heyday in the Victorian era (1837 – 1901) punctuated by our federation in 1901. I think spirits were high because those are the homes most often represented in our historic buildings with a smattering of Edwardian n stuff but perhaps that era didn’t inspire the excitable new Australians so much!
      So Marijana, Liam or Chris, you gotta pick!

  4. I can see your issues with this top. You are my sis – a perfectionist. I love it though but I am – as I am sure you aware a perfunctionist! x : )

  5. What lovely fabric, I’m sorry it didn’t work out! Hope you give the pattern another go though. I love finding stuff in my wardrobe, even if it isn’t quite right I still like seeing how far my sewing has come!

  6. The details in this top are beautiful so I’m glad it’s gone to a good home. The next one has to be for you – you deserve it!

  7. Really enjoyed the comments to this! Your perfectionism is informative. Lovely top though and love the back motifs..very nice.

  8. Oh what a shame about the grain – the top is gorgeous! I love the Arabic influences, and your photos are stunning! How lucky is your daughter’s friend – I’m sure no one will notice any issues when she wears it.

  9. Pretty top and lovely detailing despite the grainline problem.

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