Style Arc: A Zimmermann Cyd

And back to normal blog programming! My goodness, it feels like it’s been forever… not to mention I’ve had a seriously sloooow start in getting back to normal sewing. I’m enjoying taking things at a more relaxing, non pressured pace.

I’ve always browsed the Style Arc website and been pleasantly surprised at the awesome range of patterns – especially because they’re all things you’d expect to see in a clothes shop. Wonderfully everyday style stuff. But nothing had quite pushed me over the point to make a purchase… until I saw the Cyd Top.

Style Arc Cyd 1

Style Arc Cyd 15

Style Arc Cyd 2

Style Arc Cyd 7 Style Arc Cyd 6

The (woven!!) style lines are utterly fabulous, and it was kinda awesome to buy a pattern online that was both in Aussie dollars AND sizing.

Another love of mine is an Aussie clothing company called Zimmermann – I’ve watched their collections evolve over the years since they came about as a swimwear brand and I’ve always seen many things I’ve loved.

Also, I would probably be willing to commit acts of physical violence to get my hands on their fabrics. (Not really).

I was in one of their shops late last year because that collection was the first that they’ve expanded their swimwear to fit C/D cup sizes (took them bloody long enough). I of course bought some new bathers because we were about to head to the Philippines for a week of beach R&R with friends on Boracay Island (which was amazing).

Also, whilst in there I noticed they had their scarves on sale, so I bought three with the idea of including the fabric in a top of some kind.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this pattern – it’s a totally new to me company. The pattern was well marked up, with both the seam lines AND the seam allowance lines marked, and match points that made perfect sense in their placement. No bust point or waist/hip point marker though.

I’m a sucker for ‘interesting design lines’, so when I saw those exact words printed on the line drawing, I laughed out loud!


Style Arc’s are single size patterns – I bought the size that corresponds to the largest part of my body – the shoulders. That was a size 12. It was true to size, and accordingly I did end up taking it in at the waist as from that point downwards I match the size 10 measurements there.

I glanced over the instructions and they certainly meet their reputation of being pretty lousy, but I never intended to use them anyway. They did have a handy picture of what the inside seams of the top front looks like, which does help with construction. If you’ve made a princess seam top with facings before and you lay the pattern pieces flat in order, it’s quite simple to see what the construction process should be otherwise.

Even once I’d unpicked the seams of my scarves, I didn’t quite have quite enough length to get the full thing cut from the floral fabric. So after I’d muslined it, I played around with some curvy lines to make it a bit more interesting and simultaneously take care of the fabric shortage.

Style Arc Cyd 4

Style Arc Cyd 5
Thank you, harsh overcast winter lighting, for making the smallest of creases incredibly obvious.

You’ll note not a single piece is in that scarf fabric from top to bottom! This required a bit more work in ‘walking the seam lines’, prep and sewing to make sure everything would match up, but it was totally worth it. Of course, I had zero space to play with pattern matching, so getting the same print on two of the back pieces kinda sucked.

Style Arc Cyd 9

A very good friend of my gifted me some 30 year old cream crepe de chine, which was intended for lining my Wedding Dress. For various reasons I didn’t end up lining that, so this is it both providing the lining, the contrast and the underlining for this top – the scarf fabric is quite sheer.

And that’s where it got a little tricky. That crepe is utterly see through, so I decided to line just the white parts. Lining the entire top would have been possible but tricky due to the shapes of the pleats and flounces at the front, but what I should have done is a full lining a the back and a top-half lining at the front. I’d already cutout the pieces when I realized this, so the inside of the top is over-engineered in the extreme.

It looks pretty, though. And I did enjoy all the fell stitching.

Style Arc Cyd 11

Style Arc Cyd 12

Style Arc Cyd 10

Were it not for the sheer crepe, I would have just stuck with the facings (or better yet, drafted an all in one facing). I used bias to finish the section of the armscye that didn’t have the cap sleeve sewn to it.

During muslin stage I moved the centre back zip to be a side zip, mostly because it’s just easier to get dressed that way. That doesn’t work well at all because of the fabric volume at the hem, so it was back in the centre back seam for the final version! This is quite possibly the best invisible zip I’ve ever done.

Style Arc Cyd 8

I do really love this top, and how flouncy it is depends on the fabric you sew it with. Sewing with a cotton twill like Novita did – you get wonderful body. My fabrics are softer, so the flounce is less pronounced. I did also take them in a little, mainly to account for the fact that I’m a 10 at the hips and a 12 up top. Proportion and all that jazz.

The only thing I think one should be aware of is that the little cap sleeve style doesn’t provide much in the way of forward arm movement. I’ll be putting on shoes and socks before zipping this top up. Just a side effect of the style!

I will absolutely be making another of these – I’m currently on the hunt for the right kind of organza so I can recreate this seriously gorgeous Lela Rose dress (2013 Fall Collection) in top form…

Lela Rose

Perfect pattern match to designer knock-off, yes?

Until soon!



  1. WOW! Did you ever imagine there would be so much work in one top? What an utterly ingenious use of fabric – it turned out beautifully. And you are so right – that pattern will make a lovely dress!

    1. Nope, I absolutely didn’t. It’s probably why I’ve spent the last 2 months effectively working on it, piecemeal! Argh! I love the placement I went with in the end though – such a versatile pattern. Thank you, Karen :)

    1. Yeah, that silk satin is the best stuff to have up against your skin. Whilst researching wedding dress fabrics here in Melbs, I went to a well-known bridal fabric shop. The non-sewist in the line in front of me just could not believe that her silk satin lining would/should/did cost more than her silk chiffon outer fabric. Coz you put the most expensive fabric on the outside, right? Pfft. I’d rather be feeling that shit up against my skin, thank you very much! haha! Thanks Lizzy ;)

  2. That top is totally amazing! Gorgeous fabric, and I love all that beautiful handiwork inside. It really looks like you got the fit down pat. I LOVE the cap sleeve look but find that they are just a bit too restrictive for me in practice, just like you say. I have to say that I was doing a lot of looking at Style Arc patterns before I left Australia so it was good to hear your review.

    1. Yep, I think next time I’ll leave it sleeveless or put on a full sleeve with a bit more movement-value included. Otherwise, I absolutely love this top, though. It’s a winner! I see some more Style Arc’s in my sewing future, I think. Thank you, Debbie :)

  3. It is seriously beautiful! I very much want the dress pattern of this now, especially after seeing the Lela Rose dress. I have bought Zimmerman fabric at both Tessuti and The Fabric Store btw….

    1. Oh WHAT?!?!? Strike me down, I’m going there on this weekend, in that case! I’ve only ever been to the Fabric Store once before – if only it weren’t so out of my usual movement patterns! I think the dress pattern for this would be awesome as, fabric dependant of course! Thanks Rach :)

  4. Well done Poppy Kettle. I never comment on people’s blogs although I do enjoy yours immensely, but I had to let you know what a lovely job you have done and a truly inspiring way to use scarves. Made me giggle a little at your comment about your perfect zip. It just goes to show that even with all your experience in sewing you can still surprise yourself at your own handy work, as I surprise myself sometimes.

    1. Oh thank you, Dana! I appreciate your comment :) You’re absolutely right though – it’s taken me that many zips to get one I’m truly happy with. You know what they say about practise…

  5. Love the top! I am inspired to make something similar. Great use of unusual fabrics (the scarf). The Lela Rose dress is gorgeous and I want to make one. I should probably focus on making more everyday clothing, and less fancy dresses. But I can’t help it. They are so beautiful.

    1. Fancy dresses are always so much more appealing than sewing everyday things, aren’t they? I try and compromise by raising the bar slightly on my everyday things ;) Thank you, Lelah!

  6. Beautiful Mel. And as always, beautifully sewn and fitted. Iam so glad you liked StyleArc patterns. I love them and it is so good that they are an Australian company and getting a great reputation for a quality product.

    1. Absolutely! I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to sew with one of their patterns. I see more Style Arc’s in my sewing future… Thank you, Marjorie! :)

  7. this top is a work of art! i love the unexpected lines, it’s just beautiful! also love the over-engineered lining ;-) i really want to try out style arc patterns, they have several designs that have caught my eye!

    1. Thanks Lisa! I spent forever wondering how I was going to squeeze this top out of my 3 scarves… until I remembered seeing one of the girls at social sewing sketching on one of those Fashionary print outs. I sat down with a traced line drawing of the pattern and came up with what you see straight off the bat. Oh, that lining. Not very well thought out, but beautiful in it’s own right ;)

  8. Beautifully executed and gorgeous style lines! I love Zimmerman fabrics and just bought some of their swimsuit fabric at The Fabric Store to try the Papercut swimmers. Too cute (I hope)!

  9. So lovely to see the finished top – it is just beautiful. Great design lines and very clever use of pattern manipulation to use the fabric best!

  10. So pretty! And the finishing on the inside is absolutely lovely. That designer dress is beautiful too – I can’t wait to see if you make one!

  11. As ever, breathtaking. Absolutely adore your cutting here and the half lined insides are as beautiful as the outside!

  12. So beautiful! Love the fabric. When I first saw this post I thought you must have made it out of Zimmerman swimwear fabrics because I nearly bought this print in a swim lycra from The Fabric Store Brisbane. Those design lines are very pretty and I’m more than a little jealous of your backyard (?)!

  13. Very pretty inside and out! That was so creative using those scarves. I think unique tops are so handy to have in the closet, because you can dress the up or down.

  14. Beautiful top. But it’s not as though you’ve gone for something simple to ease yourself back into it after making The Dress! Totally worth the effort though, it looks great on you, and I really like how you’ve styled it with khaki chinos

  15. Ooooh, you did such a good job. I love the interesting style lines on the pattern and the way that you coaxed your yardage into cooperation. (And that Style Arc annotated their line drawing. I’m going to start doing that to photos of myself.)

    That Lela Rose dress must be made. Now. Now now.

  16. Hey, how did you know that I wanted the Lela Rose dress, too? =) Okay, I just drooled over it, but it was not on my to-make list. I’ll make sure to comment when I see a fabric that is suitable for that dress. BEAUTIFUL top, by the way!

  17. I think all of your couture sewing may ruin you for simple sewing from here on out! I’ll be watching with great admiration. This top turned out beautifully – I really like how you worked with the scarf fabrics. Those prints were worth it! I almost hesitate to suggest adding another step to your process, but you could probably achieve that ombre effect by dyeing silk organza…

  18. Exquisite zipper installation! How did you get it so perfect and flat at the top? Did you cut off the top zipper stops and just sew it so the facing/lining seam folds over the cut edge? No, that wouldn’t work… Please, would you do a tutorial on that master technique of yours?

  19. That’s one really impressive top. I like the way you used the scarves and the other fabric together. But I’m curious, you didn’t mention what fabric the scarves were made of?

  20. I’ve been wanting to make a peplum top for a while and this is a lovely twist on that style. Thanks for sharing

  21. Such gorgeous details and such clever use of linings and fabric. That print is really special and I love that you bought scarves to use as fabric. I’m with you on Zimmerman’s dreamy designs and you’re so lucky to have visited a shop in person. I hunted high and low for a watercolory floral lycra similar to one I saw in one of their suits a few years ago (for a bodysuit). I’d definitely wrestle someone if I found anything approximating it. ;)

  22. I love it! I really like how you combined the two fabrics using interesting style lines. I loved seeing the inside as well. Keep up the good work :-)
    Thanks also for the pic of the Lela Rose organza dress – I am now dying to knock this off as well! I will be staying tuned to see what you come up with!

  23. I’m seeing this for what I think is the first time (I googled 12 style arc) Holy cow. I’m going to have to order this!

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