ETA: Wore it to my high school reunion last night!
The Style Arc Ashley is a fitted dress with raglan sleeves, gathering around the bust, and your choice of a plain or rather unique pencil skirt. If you choose to line it Style Arc includes the lining pieces.
Could the Nina Ricci rouched stretch-bouclé skirt be the inspiration for the designer skirt?
I chose to make the “designer” skirt version. I’ve been working on my Ashley for the past couple of days, and took a few quick photos tonight. I think I’ll be wearing it to my 10th high school reunion tomorrow night.
Hem definitely needs attention. I’ll have to take another look at it tomorrow. Also looks like the cat decided he wanted to be in this picture too.
I used 4-ply silk crepe. This is the first time I ever sewed with 4-ply silk crepe. I was nervous while cutting because it can be a very costly fabric. (I think the pre-sale Fabric Mart price of this was $40/yard.)
I made a test run of this back in September but pushed it aside for a while. I found the fabric recommendations produced a dress that ended up being WAY too big. My first version was out of the crepe couture from Vogue Fabrics. It has an easy stretch, about 20% across the grain. It was so big that I would have needed to take in the side seams 2″ to give the figure-hugging fit required to support a very stretchy woven or knit fabric, and at that point I was starting to lose the dress drafting. For my size 8 the bust was roughly 38″ (almost 4″ of ease), the waist 30″ (2.5″ ease), and the hips 38″ (2″ ease). If you check on the website these are the measurements they give for size 10. So if you want to make it out of a knit or a stretch woven I recommend sizing down. When I made it out of a stable woven the ease felt perfect.
Fitting adjustments were:
- Took in the waist at the center back – 1″ at the waist seam and slightly more just below the waist
- 3/8″ broad back adjustment
- Added 5″ to hips
- Added 1.5″ width to the sleeves. Normally I add only 3/4″ width. Due to the crepe weave of the fabric I think I should consider taking them in 3/4″.
- Lengthened the sleeves 1/2″
- Lengthened the waist 1″ and the skirt 1″. After making my muslin I lengthened the skirt above the hipline another 1″. (I have a long rise and this adjustment helped put the taper and hip shaping in the right place.)
- Moved the front raglan seam so that it was 3/8″ narrower in the front piece and 3/8″ wider in the front sleeve piece
- I have slightly uneven hips, so I took in the right side seam of the hip 1/4″
- Took in the side seams 1/2″. My muslin was perfectly fitted so I think it was the crepe weave of my fabric making it seem looser than what it really was.
- Added 1/4″ to the center back of the bodice at the bottom and 1/4″ to the top of the center back of the skirt
- Took up the hem 1/2″ on the sides and 1/4″ in the front. Still needs work though.
I interfaced the center back seam, facings, vertical front skirt band, and hem using Pro-Sheer Elegance from Fashion Sewing Supply. I did a full lining using hot pink Ambiance from Sawyer Brook.
As Style Arc mentions in their pattern description I found the skirt very flattering. The gathers in the front are forgiving to full thighs and they camouflage wrinkles from sitting. (The center front band is interfaced so it isn’t prone to wrinkling.) I also find it gives hidden ease, which makes it more comfortable for sitting. I like the looser fitting top. It makes it very comfortable to wear and makes me look fuller in the chest.
I don’t know if anyone else has this issue, but I have a hard time making gathers even. I’ve had this issue for a long time. Sometimes I fix it by just using clear elastic to gather but that wouldn’t work well for this fabric. I thought “well I can’t be the only one having this problem” and did some hunting on Google. I came across this Collette patterns tutorial on gathering. Previously I was using two rows of gathering stitches and getting a result just like the upper photo in the tutorial. The tutorial suggested three rows instead of just two and stitching between the second and third row. So I unpicked all of my previous gathering and stitching and made four rows of gathering stitches, sewing the seam between the second and third row. I spaced them about 1/8″ apart so they would fit within the 3/8″ seam allowance. It worked great! I used this method for the bodice side seams and skirt and they look far more even.