I’ve never actually made up a Style Arc pattern before this dress, yet I’ve always loved the look of their on-trend designs and had often been tempted. I eventually succumbed to temptation and decided on trying out the Style Arc Paige dress which you first saw me model in a couple of photos for the Day and Night Dress Challenge. Today, though I thought I’d show you some more pics and go into a bit more detail on how I made it.
Now, a week before choosing my pattern I’d already received a delivery of some fabulous teal cabled knit which would prove to be the perfect pairing for it. The fabric came from Higgs and Higgs, and as usual I blame Instagram and all the lovely sewers on there for my purchase….I’m always seeing fresh new sewing makes on my feed showing lovely fabrics and I saw two or three fab garments made from this cosy fabric in different colourways, so like the good little lemming that I am, I promptly went off and purchased some.
Teal is one of ‘my’ colours so it was a no-brainer to go for it and as I write this I ‘think’ it may be back in stock. When I say ‘my’ colours…I mean from the Soft Autumn colour range. You see, several years back I went for colour analysis because I struggled with finding the right palette for myself. Some colours that I used to wear made me look ill and pale (don’t you just love it when someone says “are you ok? You don’t look well”…even when you feel fine!) so as a birthday treat I booked a session. Have you ever had your colours done? I personally found it very useful and it helps me to create a cohesive wardrobe…admittedly though, now I know the right tones to wear, I do bend the rules a bit. If you would like me to go into a bit more detail sometime, do mention it in comments and maybe I could rustle up a post about it. There are many resources online though.
Getting back to my dress though…I really like the side panels and seaming detail of the Paige design and wanted to somehow highlight those seams because I didn’t want to go full on with a contrasting coloured panel. I came up with the idea of using charcoal piping and charcoal zips for the pockets. For this detail, I used some ponte knit cut in cross grain strips and folded over just like piping but without the cord in the middle.
To create further interest I thought how nice it would be to use the cabled design going horizontally in the side sections… Those side sections actually have a proper side seam going down them however I thought it would be a shame to be spoiling the lines of the horizontal cable by having a seam through them, plus, think of all that matching! So, what I did was get rid of the side seam altogether. Firstly for the lower body sections, I overlapped the seam allowances and treated it as one piece. As there is a bit of a curve in from waist to underarm, I added a dart there. For the underarm sleeve piece, I simply overlapped the pieces together and then sloped the sides of the panel in more. This involved a bit of fudging as the slope should really have been down the original underarm seam, but this knit was forgiving and it worked out fine. The main photograph at the top of this post shows the panel nice and clearly.
Once I had all of the pieces cut out I decided to do a fully-basted try on to see how it fitted so that I could be sure of putting all of the piping and those zips in the right places.
I’d cut a size 10 throughout and as the pattern is an unusual shape and maybe because I was being lazy and slightly out of character too, I didn’t really measure the pattern widths, instead I just eyeballed them, thought the sizing looked fine, and then started blithely cutting everything out….big mistake!
I hadn’t checked the square size scale guide…I discovered it was bigger than the 10cm that it should have been….consequently my dress came out massive…I mean, I could have held a party in it with two friends and still had room for a band to entertain us. Oops!
I had to re-cut the whole bloomin’ thing. It set me back half a day, but thankfully it was doable and I was soon able to get on with inserting the exposed zips prior to adding the piping. There’s a tutorial on the Style Arc website for adding inseam exposed zips which I found useful. I moved my zips over though and made them totally fit onto the front pieces rather than straddling the seam because the piping needed to go one side of the zip along the seam.
To add the piping I carefully basted it down each seam before stitching all layers together using a walking foot. The needle that I used was a 70 Jersey needle. The same piping detail goes around the neckline too. I basted the charcoal ponte around the neckline, stitched it around and then flipped it to the inside finishing off with a row of stitching catching the ponte knit in place. It finishes it off really nicely I think.
I’m not going to let myself be put off from trying Style Arc patterns again. It was obviously my fault for not checking the scale square. Though I can’t understand why it was wrong because I’ve printed PDF’s before using the same printer. Anyhoo, it was a learning experience and thankfully it all turned out fine in the end. A happy ending if you will.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a read and let me know your thoughts in the comments on pattern scaling, Style Arc patterns or colour analysis etc. I love to chat….
Catch you soon…
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