StyleArc’s Courtney is a great top that deserves love and attention. It dresses up, it dresses down, it lends itself easily to all sorts of colour blocking fun, and it works great for t-shirt upcycling. The design lines in the front mean it would be easy to tweak the fit for a larger bust (though it fit me right out of the envelope so I didn’t have to myself). The difficulty is rated medium, but I think it might be a bit easier than medium. I’ve made three of them now, all different, and I’m really pleased with all of them.
For the first one, I had a remnant of argyle print cotton knit, not quite enough to do anything with, but I had to buy it because I have this unholy obsession with argyle. By combining it with another remnant, I was able to get a whole top and make it look like I’d planned it that way.
Next, I decided it was time to do something about the shirt I bought to commemorate an awesome concert I’d been to (VNV Nation’s 20th anniversary tour). A standard men’s XXL t-shirt, and the fit was terrible:
I cut the center front pattern piece from the front of the t-shirt, and pieced the back from the back of the t-shirt plus some other fabric. I was able to squeak the neck and sleeve bindings out of the concert t-shirt, and then I used other fabric for the front side panels and the yoke.
Super happy with this one! Now I have a stylish shirt that I’m proud to wear!
And finally, the pattern is described as suitable for a knit or a woven, so for completeness sake I had to try a woven. This fabric – sections of ruffles and pintucks, joined by lace insertions – had been in my stash for about ten years, waiting for something suitable. I decided to bust it out and give it a try. Courtney works great in woven too!
Style Arc patterns come in sizes 4 – 30; a 30 is 58B/50W/61H.
I’m 5’3″; I don’t know what fruit I am. I describe myself as looking like the Venus of Willendorf. My measurements are 50B/48W/53H. My high bust measurement is 46″.
How this pattern worked with my body
In a nutshell: great!
I didn’t know what cup size StyleArc drafts for when I purchased the pattern (turns out it’s B), so at that time I bought the 22-24-26 grouping of pdf’s from their Etsy shop. I might have gotten an even better fit if I’d used a size 20 (B46.5″) and done a FBA, but I started with a size 22 (B49″) because that’s what I had on hand. From measuring the paper pattern, it looked like there would be plenty of ease in a size 22, without doing any adjustments. So, for maybe the first time in my adult life, I made this top right out of the envelope without any changes. And it worked!!!
The pattern is beautifully drafted, and everything lines up perfectly. A real pleasure to work with. I guess that’s the upside of the pattern coming with one size in one layout, rather than the sizes nested: there’s lots of space for lots of markings and no confusion about what notch or circle is for what size.
The instructions, though… very, very sparse. There’s a diagram showing how the pieces fit together, and a couple sentences about finishing, and that’s it. You need to already know roughly how a top goes together, or be really, really good at assembling Ikea furniture from their pictograph instructions. I’m both, so it was no problem for me, but a novice would definitely need help. It doesn’t say anywhere which pieces to interface, or where to topstitch, or anything like that; I just used my judgment.
One thing I did differently for the knit tops (but not the woven one) was, I did a double-layer yoke and attached the front and back using the burrito method, rather than doing a single layer. It gives a nicer, more professional finish. I would have done it with the woven, too, but I didn’t want to mess around with lining up the lacy bits across the layers.
Size Range (1-5) – 5
Instructions (1-5) – 3
Construction Process (1-5) – 5
Final Fit (1-5) – 5
Overall Rating (1-5) – 4
This is a really great top that I think would work on all sorts of different body types. The only reason I don’t give it the full five stars is the instructions, and the lack of nested sizes on the pattern sheet.