My first make for #bhmpatterndesigners challenge is here! I am so excited to share my review of the Sew Explicit Patterns Aria Top! This is a new to me Nigerian based pattern company; I think her pattern company is fairly new too and we are elated to have her join our growing list of black pattern designers this year. The pattern I chose to sew up is Aria, a basic knit top with an underarm cowl feature. I have to say it was quite a pleasure to sew with the exception of a few booboos I made personally… nothing to do with the pattern at all… I was just a total clutz with this project.. oops!
I purchased my pattern through their Makerist shop and luckily I got mine in a $2 sale. Well guess what? Sew Explicit hopped on board the #bhmpatterndesigners challenge this year and they have a coupon code for 30% off their Etsy Shop: BHMPD21. So sweet of them! My first impression when I downloaded my pattern? Simple, easy to read, clear instructions, good diagrams! The pdf booklet is put together nicely with body and finished garment measurements, fabric requirements and best of all.. size layers! Everything was super clear! They even listed the seam allowances for the various parts of the pattern.. don’t worry they were all 3/8″ except the hem! There are blending instructions and cutting guides, and abbreviated instructions if you don’t need the diagrams. So A+ for the pattern booklet layout and contents!
Now here is where I messed up. I didn’t order enough fabric and I was determined to make this pattern. I only had one yard of fabric and to be honest I only needed about 1/4 yard more to cut my size.. bummer! So the genius in me (not!) decided to go down a size from my recommended size. I fell between 14 and 16 and I sewed 12 graded to 14 hip. That wasn’t even the biggest problem.. actually that size worked quite well given the amount of stretch in the fabric! The horrible thing I did was trim 1 inch off the angel shaped sleeves to get it to fit on the fabric. I hadn’t realised that I would be decreasing the circumference of the armhole… MAJOR OOPS!! It is not secret that I’ve gained a few pounds well over the last couple months. That being said.. your girl has joined the full bicep adjustment family. Do you get where I’m going with this? I made the armhole way too small to give the nice drape effect which of course is the main feature of the Aria pattern! A do over is definitely necessary!
Now if you notice, the shape of the pattern is stunning. Even without my grading, the pattern itself curves very nicely from the waist to the hips. Definitely curvy girl friendly which I appreciate! Bare in mind that because of fabric shortage, I had to shorten my pattern 2 inches which is fine because I’m short, but the intended fit is more hip length. My point is, my pattern looks different from the pattern cover because I made some bad decisions!
The next poor decision I made was fabric content. Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love this print for this silhouette. It’s a perfect fabric print and pattern pairing in my opinion! I used the Tan Faces Print fabric that was specially designed by Nateida with the help of an illustrator for her #BHMPD Shop this year! Remember these prints are Limited Edition if you want to grab some for yourself! It is offered on cotton spandex jersey, modern jersey and combed cotton. I underestimated the stability of the cotton spandex and I really should have gone with the more drapey modern jersey. I definitely recommend a drapey fabric for this pattern… the underarm cowl will hang nicer and feel more comfortable. Like I said, there will be a do over!
The construction of the pattern was very interesting. Only 3 pattern pieces and went together seamlessly. My one recommendation that goes against the instructions, is to topstitch your arm facings into place to reduce the risk of them folding out and being exposed. Especially because I used cotton spandex, my facing edges kept rolling and I was felt very self conscious and found myself checking them constantly. Apart from that little hiccup which is an easy fix, I highly recommend this pattern!
Don’t forget to use Sew Explicit’s coupon code if you want to grab Aria. There are lots of other cute patterns in their shop too! Also the #BHMPD Shop is on 7% off sale until the 9th of February with code: BIRTHDAY to celebrate Nateida’s birthday on February 7th.
Have you picked out your pattern and fabric yet? This is only my 1st make of many patterns I’ll be showcasing this month for the challenge so watch this space for ideas and inspiration! Make sure you are subscribed to my blog so you’ll be notified when I have a new post! Also make to sure to follow Nateida @sewnaturaldane, Tea @crumpetsteaandsewing, Crystal @crystalsewsandstuff, and Dita @divinedita.