Elsie is described by Style Arc as a “square shaped shirt… a must have shirt in your wardrobe for all seasons.” The Elsie has a reverse revere collar, patch pockets, roll up sleeves with button tabs, an unlined back yoke, box pleated back bodice, side slits and a two-level hem.
Size range: 4-30, up to bust 58.25”, waist 50.5” and hip 61”
What size did you make? I made two versions of the Elsie, first in floral Cotton + Steel rayon challis (read more about it on my blog here), and second in a cotton lawn that’s a bit sheer and wrinkle prone (more on that one on my blog here). I sewed a size 16 for both.
What are your measurements, height, and body type?
Bust: 42”, Waist: 36”, Hip: 45.5”, Bra: 38D, Height: 5’7.5”, Pearish shaped
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?
For both shirts, I opted not to sew the sleeve cuffs and bias-bound plackets. I just hemmed the sleeves with a narrow hem. If I had added the cuffs, the sleeves would have been slightly long. But I plan to roll the sleeves up on both shirts most of the time anyway, so the cuffs are not missed.
For the cotton lawn version, I opted to sew a lined yoke (using the burrito method) to provide a bit of structure and strength up there.
The instructions don’t call for any interfacing for the sleeve’s button tabs. For the rayon challis version I added a small square of interfacing just where the buttonhole was marked, but the tabs were a bit floppy. For the lawn version, I opted to interface half of the tabs.
For my rayon challis version I topstitched collar because I thought it looked nice and would help the undercollar from rolling outwards. For the cotton lawn version, I went with understitching alone, which was sufficient in this crisp fabric.
On both blouses I disregarded the buttonhole guides, for the most part, opting to place my first button at the bust apex (the top button, maybe ½” lower than the top marking on the pattern) and space the others out accordingly. I think I ended up with 8 buttons on the rayon challis version and 6 (as called for) on the white version.
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?
Par for the course for Style Arc, the instructions are sparse. Fine for the most part, but very brief and no hand-holding.
A few things of note on the instructions for this particular pattern:
- The seam allowances vary throughout. Most major seams are 3/8”, but enclosed seams like the collar and cuffs are only 1/4”. On the pattern pieces, the seam allowances are clearly marked, but the instructions merely say ‘Seam allowance is 1 cm or 3/8”.’ There are no reminders in the remainder of the instructions, so you must pay close attention!
- The instructions neglect to walk you through sewing the split, two-level hem; it’s almost as if they forgot it was there. Like the seam allowances, the hem and splits are clearly marked on the pattern pieces, but the instructions merely say ‘Stitch the hem of the body.”
How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape?
I like it! It’s definitely square and boxy, as advertised, but I think the bust darts hit me in a good spot and I feel it’s fitted enough at the bust to give it just a hint of shape. I would worry, though, if I were busty-er, that the Elsie could easily fall into tent territory, as those bust darts are the only shaping in the pattern.
The neckline and collar I think are really lovely and a gorgeous shape, counteracting the boxiness of the bodice.
I was delighted to find that the sleeves fit me! Hooray for not having to make a full bicep adjustment, which is one of my typical adjustments. Score one for lazy sewing! I also didn’t have to grade out at the hips, another typical adjustment, because of the boxy shape. If you’re keeping score, that’s two for lazy sewing.
Will you make the pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make?
I’ve already made it twice, which I feel is evidence of how much I like this pattern! I described the alterations I made above… I’m really happy with the Elsie!
Do you have any advice on this pattern for other curvy sewers? Are there any resources (blog posts, fitting books, tutorials) that helped you sew this piece up?
Check out the CSC’s shirtmaking resources post for links to how-tos helpful for filling in the blanks of Style Arc’s instructions, particularly for the cuffs and sleeve placket, yoke and buttonholes!
Size Range: 5
Construction Process: 4.5
Final Fit: 5
Overall Rating: 4.125 I love the style and fit of the shirt, but the instructions leave a bit to be desired.