I was picked to be a pattern tester for the new Sew Caroline pattern, the downtown tunic. I've pattern tested before to Sew Caroline, with the waterfall tank. Weirdly enough I'm using the leftover quilting cotton scraps from that project as the skirt portion of this one. The top fabric was originally supposed to be a Moneta dress, but I never got around to it. I also need more tops than dresses at this point in my life so figured I'd give this pattern a shot. I didn't even have to make a single trip to joann's to get it done. Before I begin my review, please be aware that I received a tester pattern. The pattern that is being released will contain any fixes to issues in drafting or instruction errors. For providing a review of this pattern, I received the tester pattern for free, as well as another pattern of my choosing from the sew caroline catalog. I was not compensated monetarily, and all opinions are my own.
This pattern comes in sizes XSmall (bust- 31.5 waist- 25 hips-35) to XXXLarge (bust- 45.5 waist-39 hips-49). The garment's finished measurements show that it's a bit more A-line than the size chart intends. You've got about 2 inches of negative ease in the bust and seven inches of ease in the waist, with a confusing .5 inches of negative ease in the largest size on the hips- but an extra three inches for the smallest size. As far as the sizing on this pattern I found that if I followed the size chart, it worked out alright. The arms were a bit tight, but that's an issues I often face with patterns not drafted closer to my size. I made up the XXXLarge pattern. While I know that pattern sizing runs differently than say store's vanity sizing, I would personally much prefer a pattern sizing system that denotes a number instead of just adding an extra X to the previous size. I much prefer when patterns are sized by the bust measurement.
Since this was the first time I made this pattern, I made no adjustments. I figured since it was such a loose fit garment I wouldn't need to make any. If I attempted to sew this again I would lengthen the front and bring up the back hem. I don't think the mullet style is the most flattering for my body. The line created by where the knit meets the woven fabric hits the wides part of my body. It does give the illusion that I have more hips than I do, which for an apple shape can sometimes be nice. I would add more ease into the sleeve as well, it came out a bit tight on my arms.
The pattern has a lot of top stitching on the knit, but doesn't recommend a twin needle. If you're sewing a straight stitch on knit, please do yourself a favor and get a twin needle. Knit fabric stretches, a single straight stitch doesn't. By using a twin needle you're sewing a straight stitch that stretches, and won't break when you stretch your knit fabric. Besides that, the instructions made sense and were easy to follow.
I really like the top half of this pattern. The tunic style, once I add some ease to the sleeves, could totally be modified to be my go to t-shirt. I'm not sold on the cascade style (see mullet) hem on my body. I feel the front of the garment really draws attention to the widest part of my shape. The back view is nicer. I might try and do more of a dolphin style hem, mirroring the front to the back. I'll report back if that works out.
Overall it's a good pattern. I have some personal fit issues with it, but that shouldn't stop others from trying it. That is if they fall within the smaller size range. I whipped it together in a little over an hour completely out of my stash using my sewing machine and my serger.