I’m leaving for Bali in eight days. Two years ago this week, I was scheduled to leave for Bali on Thursday. The Jazzman and I had just returned from Easter dinner in Columbus with his brothers and their families. I was carrying our bags out of the car when I caught my toe on the sidewalk. I realized I was going down and was determined not to break my wrist again, so consciously threw my body into a turn to protect my wrists. In doing so, I fell on my back on the lawn in such a way that the muscles in my back were severely bruised. After a trip to the ER for X-rays, I was in so much pain that I knew I could not live through the thirty hours of travel required to get from Youngstown to Denpasar. My Bali Fiber Tour was cancelled. ☹
Fast-forward two years. I took advantage of another opportunity and signed up for another Bali Fiber Tour with Barb Alexander. The best part of the tour this time is that nine of the ten women on the tour are alums of the Design Outside the Lines workshops that Diane Ericson (previously co-taught with Marcy Tilton) hosts several times a year in various creative locales. The women on this tour understand my passion for fabric and textiles. I’ve partnered with Tina Daily, a Portlander whom I met and instantly clicked with at the Design Outside the Lines session in Taos last June. We’ve been in touch weekly since we decided to take this journey together, and even had a sew-a-long making duffel bags out of canvas that Tina ice-dyed as our carry-on luggage. And now we’re one week away from departure.
Once I washed the three meters of fabric and hung it up to dry, I realized the ginkgo leaves were sparsley printed on one meter of the fabric, but the other two meters were densely printed. Cool! A great opportunity for playing with mix-and-match. Searching my pattern stash, I realized the StyleArc Kaye Tunic was perfect for this fabric. The sleeves and the pocket were the place for the sparsely printed section, while everything else would be cut from the densely printed section. In the photo at the top of this paragraph, you can see my shoulder, with the sparsely printed sleeve and the densely printed body. (All photos are clickable for enlargement.) Love this pattern play.
Here’s the review:
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow? StyleArc’s instructions are succinct. See my comments in the changes section.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the bias-cut pocket. The neckline is very flattering. Dislike – nothing.
Fabric Used: Rayon batik created during one of Barb Alexander’s Bali Fiber Tours two years ago. At the last minute, I cancelled because of a fall; Barb completed my batik project and shipped the fabric to me after the tour.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I’m 5’8″ and usually add up to 3″ to the torso of a tunic. I added nothing to this and it was fine. If you’re vertically-challenged, you might need to shorten the body some—or you may need to skip the Kaye tunic. (Maybe make it without the pocket, but the pockets are one of the best features of this tunic.) The only (IMO) glitch in the instructions was in the insertion of the sleeve. I undid the side seams ⅜” at the armscye. Sew the sleeve down to the ⅜” opening. Then pin and sew the bottom of the sleeve to the top of the side/pocket panel across from side seam to side seam. Leaving that seam open the ⅜” makes inserting the sleeve much easier. (Otherwise, you’re going to have to carefully pivot at the ⅜” point on that top of the side panel seam. Tricky.)
In the comments on a previous review, a reader asked about the hems on the pockets. Here’s how I handled it: The first step is attaching the pockets to the side panels. At this point, I fused a ⅜” strip of fusible tricot to the hem, turned it up and pressed, then top-stitched just inside the hem allowance. The tricot is soft enough to not stiffen the soft drape of the pocket, but firm enough to give me a crisp fold on the hem. When I attached the pocket/side panel to the back and front, I left ⅜” of the front and back pieces extending below the bottom of the pocket. Then I fused a ⅜” strip of tricot interfacing to the front and back hems, folded, pressed, and top-stitched. The edges of the front and back hems meet the hems of the side panels as if it was all seamed together—but it’s much simpler! (Again, IMO.)
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will absolutely sew this again. I’d like to try it in a firm knit, maybe a light ponte. I do recommend. Just take your time on the side panel and the sleeve and think it through.
Conclusion: Beautiful, drapey, flattering tunic to wear with leggings. Can’t wait to wear to dinner in Bali.
Here’s another look at the fabric that made these bags. To see more of Tina’s beautiful work, here’s a link to her Etsy shop.
We took a Craftsy class to make the bags. The class is Betz White’s “Sew Better Bags: The Weekend Duffel. The bag is not an easy make, but we’re happy with the finished bags and will be carrying them onto the plane with us for the long trip. I leave from Cleveland; Tina leaves from Portland. We meet in San Francisco; thirteen-and-a-half hours later, we’ll land in Taipei. After a four-hour layover, we’ll fly to Singapore. We leave SFO at 12:45am on Tuesday and arrive in SIN twenty-two hours and forty minutes later, at noon on Wednesday. We’ll hang out with Tina’s niece in Singapore for a couple of days, then take a five-hour flight from Singapore to Bali, when our two weeks of creativity begin.
Did I say I can’t wait? I can’t wait!!