Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Danni in Stripes

I've discovered a local indie pattern company!

I know people have been making StyleArc patterns for years - and they're an Australian company - but somehow they only registered as a pattern company I should check out this year. Maybe it was all Jean's makes in May, maybe it was K-Line's Rosie drafts, and maybe it was Lara's knits - I don't remember who prompted me to go LOOK at the website, but a few weeks back I looked and promptly bought a few patterns. Including the Danni Dolman sleeve dress pattern.

It was so cold taking these photos (brrr) even with a coat on standby! That sunlight looks so good but it ain't full of warmth!

The patterns took a couple of weeks to arrive from when I ordered them (just like Vogues when I order them from the US).  I heard somewhere that they're printed on demand, which probably slows things a little, plus my postie seems to work part-time. StyleArc don't have the to-die-for packaging and cool branding / photoshoots of the newer indie brands, but on the other hand they seem to issue new patterns every month, and many of them very up-to-date with RTW styles. They're cheaper than the "cool brand" indies too, AND they send freebies :). The patterns are printed on sturdy paper, and include a fabric sample instead of a fabric recommendation. Instructions are succinct, though longer tutorials for specific techniques you might need (eg how to insert a zip fly, or how to level a skirt) are available here on their website. So even though many of the designs have quite straightforward lines, the assumption seems to be that you've sewn a few similar garments before. Which is fine by me :)

As the Danni dolman dress is a very simple shape I figured it would be a good pattern with which to verify how StyleArc patterns fit me - they claim to have a RTW fit, and patterns are ordered in a single size, but my measurements seemed to put me in a size 8 whereas in Aussie RTW I'm more like a 10-12!

Here's the pattern illustration:

Judging by this test dress, the areas I'll need to modify for StyleArc patterns are pretty consistent with the areas in RTW that don't fit me well: shoulders; length; and waist-hip curve. 

I made just 2 modifications to the pattern in making this dress:
  1. The neckline looked very wide, so I measured it and brought it in by 2cm on each shoulder to ensure my bra straps would be covered. The pattern illustration shows a slightly draped neckline, but I have rather narrow shoulders, and I didn't want to risk making the neckline unwearably wide.  I'll have to confirm with my next StyleArc pattern whether they draft for medium or wide shoulders...
  2. I took the sleeves in by about 2cm along the shoulder / sleeve line. This has made them quite tight and meant I also then needed to remove some sleeve length (2-3cm) where they were too tight on my lower arms. It also would have slightly reduced the dress length. I did this to correct my own stripe placement error - I'd forgotten to cut out the fabric so that the stripes would make nice chevrons down my arms! Stripes not aligning on noticeable seams is one of those things that really bugs me, so I *had* to make these stripes align even though it affected comfort :(.  
OK, so let's have some photos:

There's a centre back seam, which is very easy to match stripes along as it's dead straight. And having that CB seam reduces the amount of fabric this dress consumes.

The fabric is a piece of stripey viscose/spandex that I found on Tessuti's remnant table last year, and it's a lovely quality fabric but definitely not warm enough by itself for winter! If you can't tell the colours, it's a black stripe on taupe. Made up into a dress I like the way it looks a lot more than I thought I would - though to be honest I'm not sure when or where I'll wear something so body-con.

Effort: Minimal! A couple of hours?

Cost: $20 for the fabric, + $15.60 for the pattern (including part of the postage cost) = $35.60

This may be the start of a beautiful thing ;)

See you soon
- Gabrielle xx


  1. It looks great, I really like the draping with the stripes, makes it look very "fashion".

  2. It looks lovely. I really like it made in stripes!

  3. I think this dress looks great - and you look great in it. I've never bought from Style Arc as I'm scared to commit all that money and just get one size...what if it doesn't fit...I'll have to buy another size?? They do have some great patterns though.

  4. Gabrielle Corbett2 July 2014 at 16:43

    Thanks Melanie! I know, that was a worry for me too. When you place an order you enter your size in a comments box though, so there's room to ask for help if you're not sure of your size. And I've heard of people ordering the wrong size but then being helped to grade to the size they needed... But obviously that's painful, and it is a risk...

  5. Gabrielle Corbett2 July 2014 at 16:43

    Thank you Andrea :)

  6. Gabrielle Corbett2 July 2014 at 16:46

    Thank you Susan, I'm always a sucker for stripes, so I'm glad to hear it looks objectively good (that is unless you're a stripe addict too...)

  7. Great dress! Those stripes work really well with the pattern. I never ordered any Style Arc pattern, the reason is the one you were discussing with Melanie: only in one size? Scary!
    This style reminds me of Vogue 8946

  8. That centre back seam is faultless. I love the side gathers - great dress.

  9. That dress looks great on. I love the stripes and it has a very definite wow factor. I like the back seam as that makes it easy for sway back adjustments. I wish they did two sizes at least on their patters but agreed they are up to date and drafted very well.

  10. Your version of this pattern looks amazing. Love what happens to the stripe print in the tucks. May just need to get this pattern also...What other patterns did you get? Looking forward to seeing your other makes!

  11. Looking very stylish and the stripe matching looks amazing. Have you seen the free of the Barb Pants?

  12. Gabrielle Corbett3 July 2014 at 09:52

    Thanks Merche, yes, even though I had the stripes set aside fur another dress they really wanted to be THIS dress instead :). The sizing does feel like a risk... As Sharon mentions in her comment, they currently have a free pants pattern which might help in working out sizes, and when I try some more patterns I'll definitely share what I work out about the Style Arc sizing.

  13. Gabrielle Corbett3 July 2014 at 09:57

    Thank you! The back seam stripes were super easy to match up - just pinned in place and sewed over the pins, ta da! I love those side gathers too, though that reminds me - the instructions said to baste the pleats and I think you're meant to undo the basting later, but I liked the idea of pleats. So actually I think the dress is supposed to have soft folds where I have pleats ;).

  14. Gabrielle Corbett3 July 2014 at 10:03

    Thanks Sofie, I love stripes too :). Re the 'wow' factor - I like the way the dress looks but seriously, I don't know when I'll wear it - it's not like I go on hot dates or anything! My next version is in a ponti, much more sensible, and I curved the back seam for a closer fit above the waist - so just like you say, having a CB seam is very useful. How have you found the sizes compare to rtw or big 4?

  15. Gabrielle Corbett3 July 2014 at 10:07

    Thanks Eve! Aren't stripes great :) I also got the Philippa peplum top and the Catherine dress and got the Sharon sweat top thrown in for free. You made some gorgeous StyleArc dresses from knits last year didn't you? I was browsing StyleArc's photo gallery last night and saw you in there!

  16. Gabrielle Corbett3 July 2014 at 10:17

    Thanks Sharon, the stripe matching on this dress was very easy - I didn't worry too much about the side seams since the front skirt becomes angled with the pleats. I did get the Barb pants pattern - in a few sizes even - but I'm not sure when I'll get to it. Have you tried it? I'm keen to work out what the StyleArc sizing corresponds to in rtw or big 4, but I guess it'll become obvious when I sew a few more of their patterns...

  17. Jean McPherson3 July 2014 at 21:03

    Lovely dress made all the more interesting with the stripes. I'm sure you will be trying more Style Arc patterns.

  18. Gorgeous!! I love this dress...stripes and drapey. Yum.

  19. Great choices! I just love their patterns. My most recent make is the Antoinette pant. Turned out really well. Their jackets are great too, can recommend the Gabby! I'll try and get a picture up some day...

  20. A beautiful thing indeed. Love the stripes.

  21. You need to find a reason to wear this dress, It looks fabulous on you. I'm sure the ponti version will as well.

  22. Gabrielle Corbett7 July 2014 at 23:05

    Thanks Jean, stripes forever! Yes, you're quite right, I will - in fact I have the Style Arc Philippa peplum top cut out and ready to sew!

  23. Gabrielle Corbett7 July 2014 at 23:06

    Thank you Alex, I love stripes too, and playing around with them like this is extra fun :). Thanks, I hope I can find an occasion to wear it soon!

  24. Gabrielle Corbett7 July 2014 at 23:08

    Thank you Margo - drapey IS the word, and the scariest part about wearing a dress like this! Cling...

  25. Gabrielle Corbett7 July 2014 at 23:10

    Thank you Gail :), I seem to buy a lot of striped fabrics somehow...

  26. Gabrielle Corbett7 July 2014 at 23:13

    Thank you Audrey, it looks better than I thought it would but frankly I feel quite self-conscious in it as the fabric is a bit clingy. I wore the ponti one to work today though (I'll try to blog it soon), and I'll definitely be wearing that version till it falls apart - no scary cling!

  27. Gabrielle Corbett8 July 2014 at 17:24

    Fantastic, I'll look forward to it! The Gabby jacket sounded familiar so I just looked through my patterns last night and I actually have it - from the second hand store - but not in my size :(. I should probably have a mini giveaway with it, it looks like such a lovely pattern...

  28. A giveaway is always a great idea but if you want maybe I can help you grade yours to your size. Mine is a size 12 I think. Could possibly be a size 10 . I'll post a pic soon-ish and then you can just let me know!


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