New Shapes: Style Arc’s Esme Tunic

What good is a rushed pre-vacation sewing binge if not for getting me out from in front of that brick wall? So here I am between some of the columns in Barcelona’s Park Guell.

Style Arc Esme - 2 Style Arc Esme - 4

Coming from DC, home of the squat concrete slab monument/federal building, I like that Barcelona let Gaudi go a bit nuts on the city. Why not gingerbread houses sometimes, I guess.

Park Guell

But back to the sewing. Here’s a version of Style Arc’s Esme top, made up in a wool-mohair blend that’s backed by a four-way stretch knit I bought at Emma One Sock.

The backing is a bit stiff for a knit, so the sweater holds the design lines really well, which I like.


It’s super warm, so I wore it three out of our six days in Barcelona, even though I took two other sweaters with me. Too bad for everyone else, the fabric and the navy and pink color ways are sold out. 😦

The funnel neck is actually quite large, and stands away from the neck quite a bit, which means air flows straight down to the chest — a little unpleasant on cold bike-riding days or crisp cold Euro-walking-around-days. I finally figured out I could wear a thin silk scarf inside the funnel, and you can see that peaking out in one or two shots.

In terms of Esme!, I made a handful of modifications to the pattern:

:: I took one inch out of the bodice length, above the bust point to keep it from stretching into sweater dress territory on my 5’3” frame.

:: I took a second inch out of the length at the front and back hems. While I like the overall length I ended up with, I should have removed that second inch above the side split, rather than in it. Looks just a little weirdly short here.

Style Arc Esme - side split

::  When I first sewed the funnel neck on, I used the recommended 1/4” seam allowance. My (fat) head couldn’t really get through the neck hole. So I went back over the seam, taking out an additional 3/8”. That widened the circumference, and I can now put the sweater on. I was a bit worried the collar wouldn’t be able to stand up on end from a wider base, but it’s been fine.

:: Wish I had: bumped out the side seams a bit at the chest level, or done a full bust adjustment for a knit. It’s not too bad, but I wish some of that pulling weren’t there.

In terms of construction:

:: I followed the (easy to follow, this time) directions in terms of construction order.

:: I assembled the thing mostly on my serger. The instructions suggest top stitching your seam allowances, but I didn’t do this. I didn’t think it would look right on fabric with such nap. The fabric didn’t fray when I cut it the way faux fur is meant to, but the little mohairs are so long that it kind of resembles a fur. So! I decided to heed the internet’s advice to never topstitch faux fur.

:: I pressed up the one inch hem allowance at the sleeves and hem and then catch stitched the hem to the thick knit backing. The catch stitch has a little give to accommodate the stretch of the fabric, and the knit backing means the catches don’t show through to the right side of the garment.

Style Arc Esme - inside job



      1. Yeah, I do. You’ll have to do a bit of tweaking in construction with the collar attachment (it’s actually sewn into a circle before attaching) but I don’t think it’ll be a problem if you make a center back split. No reason you can’t treat it in much the same way as a dress with a back zip that traverses a separate bodice and skirt piece.

  1. Did you find the sizing of the pattern to be accurate? I just assembled a PDF for the size I fit on the StyleArc sizing chart and it looks absolutely enormous! It’s about 4″ wider on each side at the underarm than a ponte dress I just made (that easily slips over my head), i.e. 16″ bigger. I’m afraid to cut this out in this size but I’ve never made a StyleArc pattern before and don’t know if they run large (but it looks like it!). Your sweater turned out really well and I hope mine does too.

    1. Hm. So I ordered the print version of the top direct from Style Arc. It’s a bit of an oversized style — there isn’t negative ease at play here. But 16″ seems like an awful lot. Is there a reference square to make sure you printed at the right scale?

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