It’s been a while!
So let’s start by talking about the new Style Arc Ariana Dress. I sewed on the last button and photographed this in the evening in the final minutes of sunshine. It’s autumn here but still deliciously warm.
This pattern was released last week. I have collected a couple of vintage patterns that are quite similar but for a variety of reasons, this one inspired me to sew immediately and so I did!
Style Arc describes the pattern as follows: You will love this gorgeous button through sun dress. The bodice is beautifully fitted. The shaped bust seams and the shirred back allows this dress to fit perfectly and be comfortable to wear. The skirt has gathers falling from the waist and has two large patch pockets. Not after a dress? You can make this one as a midriff top too!
This was only intended as a ‘test run’ version, I’ve often struggled through Style Arc patterns and instructions – and I wasn’t sure if I would like the style on me. So I raided my stash and came up with this lovely cotton/linen which seemed perfect for the task – and I’ve rather fallen in love with it!
I purchased the PDF version, which only comes as an A4 print-at-home option. I contacted Lena of Iconic Patterns and she created two A0 pages from the pattern for $10 which I had printed at the copy shop – all done in less than 24 hours. Expensive solution but I was impatient and haven’t felt such an urge to sew for ages! I couldn’t bear to wait for a paper pattern in the post.
Apparently Style Arc will provide an A0 file if you request it. Call me petulant but I don’t think you should have to ask for something which most other independent pattern designers now provide (thanks for listening Carolyn) or that they could provide but chose not to in the initial purchase. It’s absolutely Style Arc’s right to make that business decision but I’m also entitled not to like it. I chose to use resources available to me to be able to print it in an easy-to-use manner – as soon as possible! Thanks Lena.
Sparse at best! That said, Style Arc are notorious for their very brief instructions. If you can sew and have experience in different garment construction it’s not a bother – if you don’t … it is. So I would not recommend this pattern for beginners.
I found the instructions were adequate but I think many might chose to do some things slightly differently.
I found the instructions to attached the shirred panel to the bodice very brief and I figured out a way to do this by myself.
I didn’t like how the bodice was attached to the skirt – or at least the way I read them. perhaps style Arc assume you will figure out the best way to do so – rather than giving you a method. The way the shirring panel was created meant I had to do some unpicking to obtain a neat result on the inside of the bodice. I sewed the skirt to the outer bodice and then slip stitched in the lining into place along the waistline.
If you are hoping to find detailed shirring instructions in this pattern – you won’t. There are some diagrams but they don’t actually tell you “how to shirr”. You need to figure that bit out by yourself.
I have shirred before but if you are looking for helpful hints, this Craftsy post helps. Google and YouTube will be your sewing friends if you have never shirred before.
I find it impossible shirr with my front-loading bobbin case fancy-pants Bernina. Instead I borrow my daughter’s basic Singer machine that has a top-loading bobbin. I hand-wind the shirring elastic onto the bobbin and increase the stitch length. I also find gently providing some tension at the back of the fabric as it goes under the sewing foot helps pull the fabric and result in a more even and neat shirr. That said, I think the shirring experience varies vastly from machine to machine – do a test run first… the panel has 29 rows of shirring!
It has large patch pockets however I didn’t have quite enough fabric to make pockets so I opted to leave them off. I think it would be a lovely feature in a solid linen.
- A classic sundress.
- It’s very comfortable. Not too fitted on me but not a shapeless sack.
- Not too many pieces and quite quick to construct… if you can get yourself through the brief instructions and figure out a few construction issues.
- Some might be deterred by the shirring. However it is a narrow panel and it makes the bodice fit nicely. I like it.
- The bodice is fully lined. I chose to use the shell fabric as the lining. Many of the other patterns I have considered have a facing to finish the top edge. I think I might try one to see how it compares.
- I like the neckline shape and strap placement.
- Construction as per instructions. I would approach construction slightly differently next time around.
- A4 PDF pattern or a paper pattern and having to wait impatiently for delivery. I believe US customers can purchase copy shop PDFs from Amazon.
Pattern: Style Arc Ariana Dress, can be purchased as a paper or PDF version. I sewed a straight size 6 with no alterations.
Fabric: Cotton/Linen blend – Still available online – my piece was a remnant bin find for $12 for a 1.7m piece.
I’ve been absent from ‘blog land’ for quite some time – for a range of reasons. As you can see, I’m still here and kicking despite last year’s massive health crisis. I’ve also sewn quite a few other garments and knitted a jumper… blog posts to come… sooner rather than later I hope. More about my damaged carotid artery adventures later.
… or there is the Jessica Dress
I’ve almost purchased the Mimi G Jessica Dress several times.
At the moment Mimi G is giving away her Jessica Dress pattern which is quite similar to this dress in many ways. You do need to sign up to her database in order to receive an email to download a copy. I’m not sure how long this offer lasts for… so delay at your peril. It has bodice facings and the skirt button front is looks like it is finished differently. Busy Lizzie (another sewing blogger & friend) recently posted her Jessica Dress on instagram which she had added a shirred panel to. Bonus – gorgeous chevron stripe bodice! I downloaded this pattern today – it comes with an A0 option.
This blog post first appeared on http://www.sewbusylizzy.com
Ooo… What a gorgeous dress! I love that bodice design, the princess seams and the shirred back make for such a lovely fit. I made a prom dress with a similar back – Simplicity 3823 – but it had casings for elastic, giving a similar result if shirring was giving anyone grief. (http://ooobop.com/nikitas-prom-dress/)
That’s an excellent suggestion!
Was a bit frustrating to make. I’m glad I stopped on Saturday afternoon and came back to it today.
I know that feeling! I had to do that with a dress yesterday so I moved onto another one that was in my queue.
Sometimes it’s the smartest thing to do. Often things aren’t quite as bad as they seem when you come back to it.
Even though I rarely sew clothes, and nothing that isn’t stretchy, I really enjoy reading your posters.
Thanks for the Jessica dress info, would have missed it otherwise.
This is a really lovely sundress for you and the fit looks spot on. So lovely reading your post!
This dress turned out so great. And you picked the perfect fabric for it. The shirring looks good to me. How do you achieve that?
It’s a perfect summer fabric! You look lovely!
Beautiful dress, love it! 💕
Hi Lizzy. Great to see you back. Dress is great. I also live in PMQ, and was interested to read your profile in Focus.
Another Port Macquarie sewing person! That’s always exciting. I started blogging because I didn’t know anyone that sewed clothes. If you ever see me out and about, say hi 😊
And I’m always free for good coffee!
You picked a gorgeous fabric for this one – perfectly suited to the pattern, looks great and very at home in your beachy locale ;o)
Thanks Colette! I almost didn’t use it because I liked it so much… but I’ve gotten better at just cutting into anything since my accident. I don’t want my stash to go to the op shop (although I think Zoe would save it!).
See you at high tea!
Nice to hear from you! I was wondering the other day how things were going with you so it’s lovely that this post arrived.
Cute dress, and very you. It looks so summery.
Thanks so much Catherine – I didn’t get quite the results I hoped at my MRI and that took some getting used to. I’m a determined creature and not getting a ‘straight A’ report card was tougher than I expected. That said, I refused to let it beat me… but I definitely needed some ‘time out’ from pretty much everything to think about things. I still think that it’s always going to be an uphill mental battle but I know I can do it.
And yes, love this dress. Despite some constructions woes, I really like it and think it will become a summer favourite.
Best of luck. I am sure you can do it!
Pretty dress that looks good on you. I gave up absolute perfection, it was good for my soul. It’s so good to see you wanting to sew again. That’s a sign you’re back I think.
I love this style and was toying with getting the pattern. Thanks for the link to the MimiG one…I went with that instead!
You look radiant. I hope thats a sign that you’re healing well.
Checked your blog regularly, and have been praying you were okay, and healing. It was a real joy to read your post, and am looking forward to more to come.
I love your blog and was happy to see this new post. I think Pattern Review prints out PDF patterns if you order from them (I think you use the term A0?). Not sure if that is just a US thing but I find it helpful because I would otherwise pass on all digital patterns.
Thank you for posting such a honest review! It gives a good idea of what to expect from the pattern. I really love your fabric choice and the way it looks on you; fantastic job! Now I need to make myself a similar sundress for vacation… Similar meaning without 29 rows of shirring 😉