A Review of the Starc Top and Dress Pdf Pattern by George + Ginger Patterns.
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The Starc Top and Dress is described on the website as:
... the perfect look for a fun summer style! This split-strap design includes both top and dress lengths! Use your favorite print or keep it classic in a solid fabric!
Suggested fabric for this top/dress is a heavyweight knit with at least 30% stretch, such as Liverpool, Ponte or Scuba. I chose to use some scuba salvaged from a previous unworn make. The upper bodice of the Starc Top is lined - I opted to use some lightweight t-shirt jersey for the lining as I felt that using scuba on the inside would make the Starc Top too thick and warm to wear. I also decided to make the straps out of jersey rather than scuba as they are folded over four times - there is no way my sewing machine would sew through four layers of scuba!
As with all George and Ginger Patterns that I have tried, the PDF pattern goes together well. There is plenty of useful information in the instructions including a measuring guide and size grading tips. The pattern is drafted for someone 5'6" tall so I took out an inch from the front and the back of the paper pattern.
Construction of the straps is challenging but you have to trust the instructions. Usually I read all the instructions of a pattern first before starting to sew so that I have a pretty good idea of the process but I couldn't visualise the strap construction - I just had to follow each step carefully and magically it works! You end up with a very neat finish because the ends of the straps are enclosed within the lining. The lining also means that you have a very neat finish around the neckline.
There is a lot of basting in this pattern - you start with 12 strap pieces which all have to be basted into place. I used wash-away two-sided tape instead - I found this gave better accuracy because the straps tended to slide around when I tried to baste them.
The most difficult part for me was putting the last part of the 'diamond' together. The diamond shape holds all of the straps at the back and to close it up you have to fold under 1/4" of the fabric on two sides of the diamond and then top stitch all around it. Scuba doesn't want to fold under 1/4"!!! Again, I resorted to using wash-away two-sided tape to fold under the scuba - this worked really well but I am still not happy with the finish. I tried to topstitch as neatly as I could around the diamond but you have to stitch close to the edge to catch that 1/4" and because of all the straps the thickness is very uneven. I got the best results using a zigzag stitch but I wish I could of got it to look neater. If I make another Starc Top I will try to find another way of finishing the diamond piece.
Fortunately for me I found the scuba fabric quite stable and I'm comfortable wearing the Starc Top without a bra. It would be easy to add more support though - only the top half of the bodice is lined so you could easily create a channel and add elastic. There is also the option to add bra pads between the two layers of fabric - you could tack them to the lining fabric.
Overall I'm happy with my Starc Top. I really like the way the waist is shaped to give a flattering look. The hemline is also a very flattering shape - it scoops around the belly and the butt. The cross-over style of the straps gives a very secure feeling - there's no way these straps are going to slip off your shoulders!
Final Thoughts: The Starc is the perfect top for summer, a change from the boring tanks I usually wear with shorts.