Red and olive colour blocked dress: Style Arc Mila

Another experimental dress!

How did this happen?

Well, I had intended to add olive cuffs to my last red Bella dress but the fit issues dampened my enthusiasm.

But you know how it is – I still had the olive fabric out and there was a sizeable remnant of the red fabric left. Plus a new to me pattern to try: Style Arc’s Mila dress, which seemed perfectly suited to colour blocking.

Why not give it a try?

This is a size 16 and I like the way it fits

That V shaped bit in the centre was less tricky to do than it looks

My two fabrics were both from the stash. I’ve told you about the red before – it is a woven rayon from a local designer roll end sale in 2014. Almost vintage! It has more structure than a rayon normally has, a dry hand, and no stretch.

The olive is a polyester hi-tech microfibre from emmaonesock with great texture, drape and mechanical stretch. It was bought with a garment for Felicity in mind back in 2019 but she was less than happy with its colour so it’s languished in the stash. Despite it’s loveliness.

The Mila dress is an interesting design. The skirt has no side seams and curves from that V just under the bust to well below the waist at the back

I really like it. What I now need to do is work out how to add long sleeves to it so I can make a winter version.

Any tips?

Retro Hope dress

Piping and a large print on a donkey grey background seems to have taken my third Hope dress into retro style.

And I like it!

This is Style Arc’s Hope woven dress at knee length. With a thin waist tie attached to the side seams.

The pattern description says the dress is in two lengths and the illustration shows a knee length version. But my PDF pattern does not have a seperate skirt pattern piece or a ‘cut off here’ line on the skirt piece or any information about length in the instructions about how much length to remove.

A totally easy hack – I removed 22 cm from the length – but odd that the pattern is silent about it.

This lovely large print is a viscose woven purchased from TMOS 5 years ago on holidays in the UK.

TMOS, unfortunately not facing the camera (unfortunate because he has a lovely smile, not just because he is handsome..)

It’s extra special because my dear friend Melissa and I literally bumped into Karen of Did You Make That? and Ella at the stall. What are the chances of that!!? The famous sewing blogger from London, from whom you heard about TMOS and the reason you went there, turning up at TMOS at the same time you went there all the way from Australia!

Yes Karen is wearing a CCP Charlie caftan in Liberty. Obsessed with sewing details? Who? Me??

I added piping because I had some in my stash and I wanted to highlight the raglan sleeve seam lines.

I had just enough for the front and the neck but not enough to pipe the back. Coffin back. Guilty as charged. But also in line with the retro vibe of this dress.

Also guilty of sloppy sewing, as my photographer (He who Cooks) pointed out to me – “there’s a pucker or something you’ve sewn badly at the waistline on the back”.

What sort of monster have I turned him into? I know I talk about sewing. All. The. Time. But surely that’s not to blame?!

I’ve got to assume I was distracted by that unintentional not-pattern matching through the centre back seam. Whatever. It didn’t distract him!

I added thin ties to the side seams to reduce some of the gathering at the waist. What it actually does, of course, is bring the side seams forward and put more of the fullness at the front. Another reason to be accused of coffin back.

The forward side seams are quite obvious in the photo above, but so are the pockets. Like all great dresses, it has pockets!

It could well be time I moved on from this pattern. But it is such a delight for make and wear.

Is three Hope Dresses too many? Is three Hope Dresses enough to qualify me for the #HopeDressSpringsEternal club?

So many questions…

Style Arc Hope Woven Dresses: the midi versions

Style Arc’s Hope Woven Dress pattern is hugely popular. Several Instagram sewists (I’m looking at you @rou2an1_made and @johassler) have made more than 10 versions. Yes. More than 10! There’s even a hashtag for multiple sewing of this pattern: #hopedressspringseternal.

And it is deservedly popular. This style seems to look great on everyone, every body shape and every age. Why has it taken me so long?

My first version was in a chambray with an embroidered border. So I cut the skirt and all the other pieces out with the grainline running selvedge to selvedge rather than parallel to the selvedges. Seemed to work just fine.

It has pockets!

My fabric is soft and I only have fairly robust interfacing in my stash so rather than interface the neck facing pieces, I used vilene bias tape on the neck edge instead.

I cut the tape using the pattern pieces as my guide, pinned the tape at the centre front and seams, eased the neck edge to the tape with more pins and then pressed The neck edge has slightly stretched out but this process brought it back in. Luckily! I followed up the ironed on securing with machine basting. And then faced as per normal.

I love vilene bias tape.

The sleeves are described as 7/8th length, but either I have the sizing wrong (this is a size 16) or longer than normal arms – they are more 3/4 length on me. I like them pushed up a bit closer to my elbow joint to give a bit of puffiness

Waist? What waist? Why are you looking for one? Don’t think I can find mine.

This is a really comfortable dress to wear, but if you’re looking for a waist enhancing dress this is not the style for you. But oh so comfortable to wear! Did I say that already?

Version 2

Of course there is a version 2. This is also midi length.

I can’t get my hands out of the excellent pockets in this design

Style Arc says there is a knee length version too, and shows one in the line drawing but doesn’t include a pattern piece or cutting line on the skirt pieces for it. So I just cut out another midi length.

I thought a lot about how to fit this all on my not quite long enough piece of fabric and still place the ‘stripes’ were i wanted them. This meant the skirt was 4 cm shorter than drafted, but not the 20 cm or so it would have been if I was actually thinking about it being knee length. And a shorter skirt would hve made the pattern tetris a lot simpler!

So, just a little bit more thinking before cutting would have been good! Then I could also have lined up the sleeves better too- it’s almost but not quite pattern matched. how does this even happen?!

I didn’t even think there was any chance of pattern matching. My focus was on getting a bit more length onto the sleeves (I managed to get 5 cm more). Not that you can see the extra length in any of the photos- in all of them the sleeves are pushed up and sitting in my elbow joint – because I love the puffiness!

This fabric is a gem from my stash. It’s a rayon viscose blend double weave. A bit like double gauze and with lovely body and a slight shimmer.

I used a gathering tip from @kaleidoscopekatie_ : overlap the gathering stitching. This stops the gap that’s not gathered where you start and stop your gathering stitching in the same line and close to each other.

safety pin at centre front and bright red and pink thread for gathering
Look! no gap!

Thanks for the tip Katie!

Do you think I stopped at two Hope dresses? Well… I couldn’t… I had to make a knee length version. I might also be trying to join the #hopedressspringseternal club.

So, another Hope blog post is coming soon … just as soon as I can get photos!

Have you made a Hope dress? Could you stop at two?

Style Arc Adeline dress #2 and #3

I’m on a red dress roll. Must be Christmas!

This fabric was a souvenir from Barcelona. I fell in love with the colours and I love border prints. As a bonus it’s an overprinted jacquard. Almost certainly made from synthetic fibres but interesting and unusual.

Hand sewing on the front verandah

The base is white (as you can see above) and the looseness of the jacquard means that there are a few spots where this shows. Like below. The jacquard weave also made it very prone to fray. The overlocker was essential!

Separating red threads in the middle of the leaf showing the white base layer

Style Arc’s Adeline was just the simple dress pattern I needed to showcase the fabric. I made a size 16 (printed at 98% by mistake).

Adeline Dress Sewing Pattern – Dress Sewing Patterns – Style Arc

My souvenir fabric was a precut of 1.5 m. At least it was 150 cm wide and with a border printed on both selvedges! But there was no way I was going to be able to cut out this pattern as drafted with the longer turned up sleeves.

No centre back seam either

After some pattern and fabric Tetris and accepting that cuffed sleeves and pockets were not part of my vision for this fabric, I successfully placed the pattern pieces on with the border at the hems and just a teensy bit on the shoulder.

There were enough scraps left for the hem and neck facings, and some self drafted sleeve hem facings.

I placed the border so that the maximum width of the border was on the front. This meant that the last few cms of plain red under the border shows on the lower back hem. Perhaps I could have placed it differently? Or straightened out the hem? Would that have been better? I’ll never know!

Such a comfortable dress to wear.

On it’s first “outing” I wore it to a day event with bare legs and blue sandals and then changed to black tights and heels for an evening event.

He who Cooks thought the opaque tights were a bit heavy and needed balancing out with a chunky black necklace. He was right!

I love this pattern so much that I immediately made another one. This time with the cuffs and pockets in a turquoise silk nylon blend that’s been a long time stash dweller. The last time I sewed with this fabric was March 2011!!

It looks much less like scrubs in real life…. although these photos are starting to make me doubt…

I don’t think I’ve finished with this pattern yet.

Style Arc’s Adeline African wax print dress

I really, really love this dress and I am wearing it, again, right now as I press publish on this post. I’m surprised to have arrived at the end of summer without having made at least one more version. Four Lodos and then distraction in the form of lovely yellow roses fabric might be the reason….

I’m very late to the Adeline party – this pattern has been out for some time and there are multiple lovely versions showcased on sewists’ social media sites.

Better late than never? Definitely!

The Adeline is a cocoon shaped dress with a high low hem.

Adeline Dress Sewing Pattern By Style Arc - Easy Designer Dress
https://www.stylearc.com/shop/sewing-patterns/adeline-dress/

The robust body of my fabric illustrates this shape very effectively!

This is a size 16, printed at 98% by mistake. I made it up in an African wax print cotton bought in a market in Bordeaux, France a couple of years ago as a sewing souvenir. It was a typical wax print length of fabric – almost 6 meters long but only 120 cm wide.

This meant I had to piece one of the cut-on sleeves with the integrated cuffs. The seam is pattern matched but hidden under the turned back cuff. Only noticeable when ironing!

I also pattern matched the pockets – one perfectly and the other one with room for improvement.

It’s a very subtle mismatch (it’s the pocket on my right) – the yellow flowers don’t align. This is because I cut this pocket piece across rather than with the grain. Not on purpose.

I didn’t try so hard with the neck and hem facings- just centered the large teal design – but this worked out surprisingly well.

This dress was sewn at a holiday house at the beach. Yes I am that person who takes their sewing machine on holiday. The overlocker didn’t get to come so the seam finishing is old school zigzag. Which you can see if you look at the image of the neck facing above very closely…

This is the smug look of a sewist who is very pleased with their work and delighted to have another garment that matches these shoes.

Today, like most times I wear it, this dress is being worn with trainers, but it’s nice to know I can dress it up with these shoes if I want too. Shoes only seen on sewing blog posts? Surely that’s not a thing!

The last summer dress and drape-y overtop

It feels like autumn is coming, but I have one last summer outfit to show you. It’s perfect for hot days. Perhaps I’ll get to wear it one more time, before winter?? Yeah, I know, who do I think I’m kidding?! It was 31°C today but I think that’s the last of it.

It’s a simple pinafore style linen dress

with Style Arcs Clever Claire top as a drapey overlay

Here’s the top worn as a top. Note to self: I need to stop making things that drape and tie at my waist. It’s not the most flattering look for me!

Another way to wear the top as a top (although the neck is a bit choking like this)

Technical details

Dress:

Pattern: Burdastyle top 06-2012-131, elongated into a dress

I made the top as a trial run before I stretched this pattern out as a dress. I don’t seem to have taken a photo of the top, even though I have worn it. It was made in the same fabric as the skirt above, with the budgie print fabric as the hem band. Since making it up and wearing it with the skirt (but not taking a photo), I’ve left the white skirt on white sheets of a hotel bed, and it has disappeared forever into the great laundry of all Adelaide hotels L.

Size: 34-44, I made a 42

Fabric: stretch linen from Gay Naffine, purchased this year (so only weeks or months in the stash rather than years).

I added a little pocket, and let it stretch out a little while sewing it on. I like its smiley shape!

Top

Pattern: Style Arc Clever Claire

Size: Australian RTW 4-30, I made a 14.

Fabric: Silk cotton blend woven with a budgie print. Too cute not to be used! Look at them sitting across my back!

This is an interesting pattern to make. I like it better as a drape-y vest than a top.

As a top, the armscye seem to big and the need to tie it somewhere (neck, waist..) means it a bit constricting. It’s designed for a woven but I suspect it might work better, as a top, in a knit.

Of course its also good for pretending you are an angel

This will be the last post for a few weeks. He who Cooks and I are off to Europe . A wine conference in Burgundy and then two glorious weeks driving in Scotland, London and Paris. Happy 25th wedding anniversary to us!

The ongoing search for a cardigan/wrap

This is the RTW cardigan I need to clone. It came from a low end chain store, it’s basic, it’s boring in colour, and now it’s also pilled and a little stained. It’s also just the right length and shape for me.

I tried to replicate it back in 2010, unsuccessfully.

I can’t bear to throw it out because I have nothing to replace it with.

So I am trying to remedy that.

First attempt:

Hmm, not smiling yet, despite that happy and ridiculous psychedelic zebra skirt.

Pattern: Style Arc Nina

Size: 6-30, Australian RTW sizing. I made a 14 with no adjustments.

Fabric: mid weight ponti knit (67% Viscose 28% Nylon 5% Spandex) from Tessutis

This was the first Style Arc pattern I’ve used. The pattern is drafted beautifully and the instructions are sparse but logical. I was a bit surprised by Style Arc’s fabric estimate: only 140 cm for 148 cm wide fabric, even up to two sixes bigger than my size. I had 146 cm wide fabric and only just squeezed it in to 150 cm. If the pattern pieces were any wider (as they would be for a 16 or 18) there would be no way they could fit. There was certainly no fabric wastage!

Style Arc suggest a rolled hem finish on the front drape. I overlocked and turned under instead (I don’t know if my elderly Elna overlocker can do a rolled hem).

The back is nicely drafted. I didn’t make any alterations, even though I normally make a sway back adjustment. It has a little bit of pooling but that will be easy to fix with the next version.

Verdict: This is a nice almost-tailored jacket with a bit of quirkiness with the front drape and wonderfully comfortable to wear because its ponti. I like it but I’m not sure I will love it the same as I love the gray one..

Second attempt:

Pattern: Simplicity 2603. A Pattern Reviews Best Patterns for 2009.

Size: XXS – XL, I made a M

Fabric: Lightweight merino wool rib knit, lots of cross wise stretch, no lengthwise stretch. This fabric was a gift from a sewing friend and comes from a local manufacturer, Michell, (she ‘knows someone who knows someone’, the manufacturer is wholesale and export only).

Changes I made: I extended the sleeve rather than adding the cuff, and narrowed the sleeve down so that it was close fitting.

Verdict: Still not smiling. This is a lovely cardi wrap, but the front drapes are really too long; below knee length even when knotted!

Final verdict:

Neither of these are the same as the RTW cardigan that I really, really love.

Duuh. I knew that when I selected the patterns, but somehow I hoped they would be as loved even though they were different.

Time to draft a pattern from the gray one I think!