Some of you will remember that I had a bounty of options for making the Darla Dress, as discussed in this post. I decided to go with the ponte/double knit options for my first dress AND my first ever Style Arc make.
When you order a Style Arc pattern you only get one size, which initially made me nervous about buying their patterns. The styles won me over in the end - so much to like! My measurements were pretty close to the Size 10, so that's what I started with and I made no changes to the pattern before sewing up a muslin of the bodice. I found I had almost no changes to make after the muslin - a simple sloped shoulder adjustment to fix gaping at the front/back armhole. This was a bit tricky to do because the yoke has no shoulder seam line. After some thinking, I pinched out 1/2" at the armhole side of the yoke, midway between front and back, and tapered the fold to 0 at the neckline. I then re-drew the grainline using the "direction of greatest stretch" as a reference point. Since it worked, I'm happy with the adjustment!
I thought I would have to lengthen the bodice to have it hit my waist in the right spot, but it was perfect as is. I wanted a closer fit, so I sewed the side seams with a 5/8" seam allowance instead of the 3/8" the pattern included. I could go even slimmer if I wanted more of a date night dress (I'd probably do this by taking out a pinch at CF & CB so as not to shift the bust darts too much to the side), but this is good for now.
I really love this dress! I've worn it twice already, to a school dance at Belly's school on Friday night and again to church on Sunday, and i got tons of compliments. Even Dame Lucille, one of the fashionable older ladies at my church, sought me out to tell me how much she liked the dress. "You are a symphony of black and gray," she said.
The only part of the dress that gave me trouble was the facings. The neck and armhole facings are attached by the yoke facing, and I just couldn't figure out how to make this work. I tried one way, then another, checked online for reviews or tutorials (it seems like NO ONE has made this dress) and even wrote to Style Arc. I finally figured out a way that worked, but I'm checking with Style Arc to see if I was correct. I took a bunch of pictures and I'll post a tutorial later this week in case anyone else needs some help with this.
I made this dress with some black double knit fabric from GorgeousFabrics.com and a ponte knit print I had left over from a client project last year (I purchased it originally from StoneFabrics.co.uk). This pattern lends itself to using up large scraps, as the CB and CF pieces are not that big.
For my next variation, I plan to make a peplum top, using the dress as a base so that I can get that colorblock in the peplum as well as the bodice. I plan to use the black and black/magenta polka dot fabric I talked about in the original post. There wasn't enough of the polka dot fabric for a dress unless I did some serious piecing, so a peplum top seemed like a good back up plan.
And BTW, I changed my hairstyle, chopping off about six inches in length and adding a bunch of layers. I kept wondering why NO ONE noticed this, until I saw these pictures. It looks almost the same, especially when I wear a black top so that you can't see where my hair ends!