Thursday, September 26, 2019

Besharl Jacket by Style Arc Patterns

Alert: Monster post ahead.
I don't even know what happened, ha! Actually, I do! Allow me to explain.

This post is both an inspiration post with three different Besharl Jackets (a pattern from StyleArc), a warning to not be as dumb as me, small tips about how to improve fit if needed, and lastly a couple of tutorials on which techniques to use to get a very nice finish on the inside. They will be useful for lots of styles. Not just this one.

Before anything else I wanted to show you all three of my Besharl Jackets and talk about the fabrics. That way you know further down which one I'm taking about. I've placed them in the order I made them, left to right. Although the first one has been fixed in that photo. You can see the original HERE.
So my first was in a Jaquard (stable) knit, the second is in a dusty orange crinkly double gauze and the last is, ohmygoooosh, the Grace print from nani IRO in linen. Swoon!

Years ago I made the Besharl Jacket from Style Arc in a stable Jaquard knit which you can see above. And here comes the 'don't be as dumb as me' advice.

My silly mistake was to not notice that the front neckband has to be cut to fold in the WIDTH. So I cut two neckbands as you are supposed to, but I cut it single layer, instead of to fold. I'm mostly used to things being cut to fold in the length, but it's clearly marked on the pattern, and I didn't see it. I take full responsibility, haha.

If you read the original IG post, you'll see that I noticed it was wrong just after I posted the photo. I just never realized how much it affected the fit. I didn't change it, because I thought it was just a matter of a narrower front band and I was fine with that and I liked how it looked.

I will say, looking at the pattern illustration, isn't helping either. The modeled illustration to the left, shows it correctly with the folded collar easing out and leaving the front edge not folded at the bottom. But the illustration to the right, shows it folded all the way. I guess I paid most attention to the illustration to the right. Doh.

But I actually didn't end up wearing it that much, because the fit somehow wasn't quite right. It wasn't a thing you could see, it was more a feeling the times I wore it. The balance was somehow off. I'll add just about a thousand face palm emojis, for me needing almost two years, before I was able to put two and two together, ha.

So what made me see the light? I saw Nancy's amazing version HERE and suddenly I really noticed how the front band is actually part of the front bodice. It's not just a folded front collar band. No, it's pretty much half the front bodice too. No wonder the balance felt off. I have seriously been chuckling at myself ever since I realized. 
I have always had the desire to try again and make it work better. Style Arc's patterns pretty much always work out for me with none to minimal alterations, so this one felt like the one that got away, ha. 
I thought I just had to work on the fit, (and I did end up doing that a little bit too), and it had half heartedly been on my to do list the whole time. Now I suddenly had a lot of motivation.

Since my first version was in a stable knit (jacquard) and I knew I also wanted to make one in woven materials, I couldn't trust the jacquard version to work as a 'muslin' for whatever fit changes I might need. So I made a proper muslin in some woven material. It showed me that my wide shoulders were struggling with the more straight shoulder/sleeve seam and I had some extra fabric bulging out at my back neck where the collar band was sewn to the back neckline.
Now let me show you how I fixed these things.

I basically reshaped the shoulder/sleeve seam a bit. I feel like the photos are quite self-explanatory at this point. I removed some near my neck and added some further down the arm, giving more room for my shoulder and making the sleeve opening slightly wider. I used the muslin to show me where my widest point of my shoulder is situated on the paper pattern, so I got the curve situated the right place.

The fold of fabric I had bulging out at my back neckline, I simply pinched off/removed by deepening the neckline at the center back with 1 cm (CB).

The shoulder seam on the front and back bodice are exactly the same. Copied after each other.

Don't forget to add length to your cuff. Because of the shaping in the side, it's better to slash and spread in the middle like you can see I did here.

It's smooth now both over the shoulders and on my back neckline.

I also, quite to my surprise, decided to shorten it when fitting my muslin. For this 178 cm tall girl, this is a rare occurrence. I shortened it a whole whopping 8 cm. Although I do like the jacquard one too which is original length. And when I'm looking at the blue striped linen one, I could easily see it longer too. But the crinkly double gauze is SO perfect in that more cropped length. 

Edited 19th of July 2020: I also did another change which I wasn't sure to mention because I thought it was only needed because I cut my neckband too narrow in my first version. But I did add some width to the side seam at the hem. As you can see in the comments someone else said she also needed some width, and she did cut her neckband the right width from the beginning. After reading that exchange another reader commented, that she thought I should add it to the post. Which I agree about. So here you have it. I added some width (and I kept that alteration in all my versions), and you might or might not need that too, if you want the same 'look'/fit as mine. 

I have already worn this version so much since I finished it. It's perfect to bring on warm days, where you know you are going somewhere inside with cold air con. I've struggled to figure out what to do with this fabric, but this was absolutely the right decision.

I'm so obsessed with this linen...or more precisely the print. Because I was actually quite surprise about the fabric itself. I was expecting this to be medium weight fabric with a heavy drape and instead I got this quite stiff and thin fabric. Not at all what I expected. Again I was struggling with what to make with it, especially because I only had (could afford, ha) two meters and it's crazy narrow. After the extensive process, I felt confident that the fabric would not be wasted on this pattern and I hurried up and cut it out before I changed my mind again. 

And I definitely have not changed my mind. I looove it so much.

I also knew that this fabric deserved the royal treatment. I took photos along the way, so let me show you some tips. There are many ways to do this, so this is just an example.

This is how I sewed on the cuff. I didn't do it this way with my stable knit or crinkly double gauze version. You could, but it's a bit more risky/difficult. This is the perfect fabric to do it with. Woven, stable and non-stretchy. 

1) Place one layer of the cuff on sleeve opening, right side against right side of the fabric. Match the notches, that's why they are there! Sew with 1 cm seam allowance (SA from now on).

2) Inside view after one layer of cuff have been sewed on. It's hard to see in this fabric, so I added the red stitched line to mark the sewing line. You can also see how I've pre-pressed the SA for what will become the inside of the cuff. I didn't interface my cuff because of the nature of this fabric but more flimsy fabric, I'll definitely recommend that you do that.

3) Fold the cuff in half, so you now have an inside and outside cuff. I turn my jacket and cuff inside out and then I put in pins PARALLEL with the seam (not perpendicular. See THIS tip for more info), and in your sewing direction, and make sure to catch the SA on the back side.

4) See how pin has caught the back side SA of the cuff. This is where your stitches will end up.

5) Still with my cuff inside out, I now stitch in the ditch from the outside fabric, catching the inside SA as I go and pulling out the pins, right before I get to them. Do not place your pins perpendicular to your seams and do not sew over them. You'll instantly ruin your sewing machine needles by making them dull. This is non-negotionable, lol.

6) Press your cuffs using a sleeve board. Or if you don't have that (yet), then leave it inside out and press like that.

7) Finished result from the outside. The stitch is 'hidden' in the ditch, where the cuff is sewn to the sleeve opening.

8) Finished result from the inside. Your stitches runs 1 mm from the edge. I'm sorry, I tried all kinds of photo editing tricks to make the stitches more visible, argh.

The next tutorial is how to sew the neckband to the front bodice. Most of the technique is the same as the cuff, so I'm focusing on how to make a great finish at the bottom of the neckband.

1) At this point I've already hemmed the rest of the jacket, back bodice and side front bodice. The original pattern has 2 cm hem SA, so I folded 0.5 cm of those in and then stitched the rest of the 1.5 cm. Again, the one layer of neckband is placed right against right of the fabric. Let 1 cm hang out past the hem of the jacket. (see photo 3 for close up).

2) Sew with the neckband as the top layer. The front of the bodice is cut on bias and it will stretch. Use THIS post for how to ease it back in shape. Don't forget to use the notches. They are put there for a reason!

3) Close up of how the bottom SA of the neckband is left past the hem of the jacket.

4) Just a general shot of the situation at this point. Before I sewed on the one layer of the  neckband, I added a strip of interfacing to what will become the bottom of the neckband. You definitely want stability there.

5) Now it's time to sew the bottom of the neckband. So fold neckband in half, fabric right against right.

6) + 7) And this is a great and helpful tip. Now fold your SA of what will become the inside of your neckband, so only 1 mm is showing. The photos shows this much better than any words I could find to describe it, ha.

8) Now close up the bottom of the neckband with the 1 cm SA. Sew exactly right under the hem of the jacket as seen here. Pull out the pin right before your sewing machine needle sews over it.

9) Here you can see how the bottom of the neckband has been closed up with a stitch, plus you can see how I snipped off the corner of the SA plus I graded the SA, so one is still 1 cm and the other layer is now about 0.5 cm wide. It's all done, so it's less bulky when we turn it inside out and press.

10) So this is how the bottom look after it has been turned inside out and pressed.

11) Now you do the same as the cuff by preparing the neckband to be closed up by stitching in the ditch. Don't forget to again, match your notches on the inside and outside neckband. My pins are showing you how you can do that, since the notches are little snips on the inside, and you are working on the outside. Chalk marks could do it too but I like to use what I always have by my side anyway.

12) This is just a repeat of photo 4) in the sleeve cuff tutorial, but shown on the neckband.

13) Stitch in the ditch from the front of your jacket. catch the back side, folded in SA. Repeat of photo 5) in the sleeve cuff tutorial, but done on the neckband.

And here is the finished result and view from outside and inside the jacket.

Because this post is already more than long, I'm going to post more photos of the jackets themselves on my Instagram account. Each jacket will get each their post.

But the tutorial will stay here. Plus it will of course get pinned to my Sewing Like Mad's Tutorial Pinterest Board.

Thank you!


  1. I think all three of these jackets are lovely. The striped fabric is beautiful but I couldn't make head nor tale out of your tutorial. The seams and stripes intermingle. I think I know what you are talking about though. And I agree about the pins not being perpendicular. I took a sewing course from a woman who used to make costumes for a national theatre and she said that pinning along the seam line provides much better control with the sewing. And it really does. I do this routinely.

    1. Ha, yes the fabric wasn't ideal for this tutorial but it was ideal for this jacket, so it is what it is. :-) And definitely right about the pins. So much more control.

  2. Love all three of your jackets on you! I love Style ARc too but I'm not keen on Kimono sleeves on me so I passed this pattern by. Your striped heavy linen is a work of art! I've been on a bolero project for a while so I was keen to see your jackets and they are all gorgeous. These light jackets are just the thing I've found too for keeping covered in the sun without getting too hot.

  3. Dear Mie,
    Thank you so much for this article on the besharl jacket pattern. I sewed this pattern last year ( but didn't wore my jacket a lot blaming my choice of a lining heavy wool fabric for the unease of the garment. How the side pockets are placed (too far back for me) added to my frustration.
    Your post not only illustrates how the fabric choice and fitting adjustements are important in sewing but also fuels my irritation against the Style Arc compagny that sells beautiful patterns with very little guidance, brief instructions and few illustrations.
    Your three versions are awesome and encourage me to give a new try to this pattern. Best. Itto

    1. Thank you for your comment. I've heard this critique before but I don't think it's fair to criticize a pattern company just because their instructions are brief. It just means that they cater to a more experienced sewists. That is their choice. With that said, it doesn't mean they are perfect, none of us are, and there was some things that could be improved in this pattern, which I pointed out. But in general, their patterns are so technically well drafted and definitely the patterns I've tried that fit me the best with little or no alterations. Of course all bodies are different, so not everyone will have the same experience. I hope my post will help you give your Besharl jacket another go with a better result. And I did actually also widened the bottom of my back piece a bit but I didn't put it in my post, because I wasn't sure if it was necesary after I made the correct width of neckband? But maybe it is, since you felt it too and you made the correct width from the beginning, right?!I saw your jacket that you linked to and it looks to make it feel great too. :-)

  4. Hi Mia, I am sorry if my comments gave the wrong impression I am criticizing the style arc company. As written, Style Arc sells beautiful patterns and we are indeed free to buy or not to buy them. i personnally bought a lot and will still buy Style Arc patterns. Style Arc labels its patterns as easy-medium-challenging and experienced sewer....So I am expecting that at least patterns labelled as "easy" target beginner sewists, who would appreciate more guidance for the sewing process. Style Arc has made recent modifications in selling multi-size patterns so I hope the team will decide to also change the pattern presentation and add more explanations to the sewing steps.

    1. That's a good point about the skill labeling, I didn't think about that. I do know that there are definitely more instructions added in the newer patterns. I've seen the difference from their older patterns to their new ones. So progress is already happening. :-)

  5. If the cuff is inside out I can’t quite see how you can “stitch in the ditch” from the right side. Or are you sewing using the “burrito” method?
    Thanks for the notes on the muslin. I think you should add in that you made the back of the jacket wider. I only got that from the comments. The jackets look great shorter! Very impressive. I haven’t used Style Arc patterns yet. I should. The sizing looks just right on you. Well done.

    1. Hi, and thank you for your comments! Regarding the cuff, if you look at photo number 5 in the cuff tutorial, you will see exactly this step. It's simply a matter of sewing inside a round cuff instead of outside a round cuff. The access and control is better that way. This goes for hemming pants etc too. Anything narrow and in a continuous circle. Turn it inside out and then sew INSIDE the circle (which is now the outer side of the garment).

      And you are right, I should add the fact that I added some width to hem in my post. I will get that done within the next few days. :-) Thank you for reading my post!


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