First up was the StyleArc Elani Tunic, whose name really irritates me because I think it should Eleni & I can't bring myself to rhyme it with Elan, like e-Flan & then is it "e-lan-eye" or "ell-ane-eh" or "ell-ane-eye" and why didn't they just call it Eleni?
Anyhoo, it, like all StyleArc patterns (and really, is it Style Arc or StyleArc?), assumes you know how to sew. The instructions are minimal, but they are very well ordered, accurate and function perfectly. A good example is the facings - the instructions tell you when to apply them, but give no hints about how to finish them, because it assumes you'll know what to do. Any issues with the finished product are definitely not an outcome of the instructions. I've made three Ee-lan-eye tunics now & am very happy with the results, two of which are pictured here...
Then I made the Breezeway Top by Frankie & Ray - I was a bit blase about sizing because it said it went up to XXL, and as you know I am not a small girl, Gentle Readers, I assumed it would be OK. It's a bit more A-line than the Elani, a bit shorter in the front and quite a bit tighter in the sleeve department, and I really didn't like the instructions for the sleeve at all, so I fudged it - but the outcome was OK. If I make it again, I'll cut it longer and make the sleeve start lower on the body to accommodate my huge biceps, and I might trace a facing for the neck.
Then I made the Kabuki Tee from Paper Theory. Well written pattern, the sleeve insertion instructions made my head spin a bit, but once I'd done one, the other one was easy - but the shape made me look like a huge square blob - and it was too short in the body, and kept riding up. I've added a band to the bodice bottom of the cotton one I made, and will probably do the same with the silk one - if you're contemplating making one, check the sizing carefully. Its very boxy style is probably great if you're a sylph-like size 10, but if you're a lumping great galoot like me, maybe get your best most honest friend to tell you what it looks like before you wear it in public.
And finally, I made a tunic from The Tunic Bible, which I've had for a couple of years. The bulk of the book is made up of colour 8 X 10 glossy photographs with circles and arrows (no prizes for guessing where that's from) showing samples of what you can make - but the instructions are dreadful. I chose the inside extended placket with a bias finish for the neck - each bodice finish has a page showing you how to make it, except this one - I had to go to somewhere else entirely in the book to find a drawing that showed how to finish the bias inside the facing, which is just weird, and the rest of the construction method is spread throughout the book. If I was the authors, I'd be doing an edit to put one set of instructions in a single place...
The finished product wasn't really true to size - I made the XXL again, but had to take out the back darts to get it to fit me - the extended placket is very long, and I took about 3 inches off the length of mine, but it was a doddle to sew, using the mans shirt style of putting in a sleeve. I also couldn't see an option just to make a plain old back neck facing instead of doing the bias finish, & if I made it again, I'd just trace one & skip the bias.
This was the biggest disappointment of them all - but I think that was more about the sizing & the sleeves. If I made it again, I'd make a short-sleeved version & size it up one. The only other thing was the flaps on the placket on the front stuck into my neck - so I'd probably redraft those too.
Also, I realise that the fabric is not me at all, and I'm giving this version of the tunic away, but I'm willing to give the pattern another shot.
So, in order of ease of making, the Breezeway, the Elani, the Tunic Bible & then the Kabuki, but in order of pattern useability, the Elani beats the others hollow, the Breezeway & the Kabuki tie for ease of use, and the Tunic Bible is a disaster.
In order of wearability, again the Elani comes out top; I've made 3 & they're on regular rotation, because they feel more dressy than the Cashmerette Montrose that I madly made five or six of last year - as I get older, the v-neck just becomes more comfortable, and I think the faced hem & sleeve finish set it apart.
What do you think? I'd love to hear your feedback!
*This post is not sponsored in any way by any of the pattern companies listed here.