This is my third attempt at the Melinda Knit Tunic by Style Arc, and it’s definitely the charm. When I bought this pattern I thought it had potential, and over a year later I can now say with confidence it’s absolutely TNT material. It may be surprising to call a garment with “so many” pattern pieces a TNT, but hear me out!
Melinda does indeed have six pattern pieces, one of which is neckband. But that neckband is the start of this pattern’s genius: the neckband is self-finished due to the way you stitch it and fold it over. Anyone who has ever made a knit top knows how time consuming and fiddly neckbands can be. With Melinda, it’s where you start and where you keep moving: it’s that smooth. Also, I was finally able to alter the neckband to be narrower in front than in back, to match the difference between my front and back shoulder widths. PERFECT FIT, my friends!!!!
In addition to the effortless neckband is the fact you can very easily sew this top from one fabric, instead of using a contrast fabric for the upper front panel. The panel is a great way to stash bust, but matching, cutting, and stitching two different fabrics together is a time suck. So for TNT versions of Melinda, stick to one fabric. Another time-saving hack is to cut the lower back on the fold, instead of cutting two pieces and stitching them together. Having a seam there does class the shirt up, but you know what’s even classier? A TNT knit top.
Another reason this tunic shot to TNT status is that I accidentally chose the perfect fabric for it the first time around, and had more of that type in my stash. Rayon jersey! Melinda loves to be made up in rayon jersey. If you’ve got the dough, bamboo or silk jersey would also work well and be quite luxurious. Cotton jersey could work for a more casual Melinda, but I really wouldn’t stray from jersey when it comes to this pattern. There’s something about jersey’s stretch, drape, softness, and low maintenance care that seamlessly (pun!!!!!) matches Melinda’s relaxed, sophisticated vibe.
Style Arc patterns run true to RTW sizing, 0-30. Their printed patterns come one size in a package, with 0.25″ seam allowances for knit patterns. I find that the size 22 is a great place for me to start making alterations for tops for my figure. Before this version of Melinda I’d already lengthened the body and the sleeves, narrowed the upper front, widened the sleeves and enlarged the armholes, and lowered the back neck. All of these alterations were under 0.5″, with many of them being only 0.25″. This time around, I only had to figure out that adjustment to the neckband, and I did. (Cut one band short to match the front neck, and the other one long to match the back neck.) All of these changes are already marked on my pattern pieces, so I just cut the fabric and sat down to sew. Rayon jersey is stable enough to sew if you’re comfortable sewing knits.
The only downside to Melinda … well, there are two. Firstly, this particular Melinda doesn’t match anything in my closet except these white denim capris (RTW, so of course they’re too big in the waist). The logical answer to that ‘problem’ is to sew more clothes, but how many white bottoms do I want/need? Sally Homemaker I am not. Those whites will be brown in a year’s time. What other color goes with maroon and white?
The other downside is that summer has finally arrived in New England, so long sleeved shirts are simply not practical right now. But should that count as a downside for a woman who is still working on a winter coat? Honestly, I kinda want to wear the coat somewhere cold on my birthday (August 9) — maybe a special birthday edition Melinda to go underneath is in order?