Style Arc Kate Dress

The Style Arc Kate dress is a real (not mock) wrap dress. It has long sleeves with pintuck detail, tucks at the front waist, and ties in the back. As drafted it is midi/mid-calf length.

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Very similar to this white wrap dress Angelina Jolie wore to a premiere:

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I shortened mine 6.5″ and omitted the sleeve tucks.  For some reason I just couldn’t get them to line up nicely, so I folded them out of the pattern and recut the sleeves using some extra fabric I had left over.

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Here’s the back. Unfortunately the wind was blowing when the photo was being taken…IMG_6218

I used a fine, lightweight wool jersey from Fabric Mart. It had about 20% stretch lengthwise and 55% crosswise. I stabilized the shoulders with 1/2″ strips of Pro-Sheer Elegance from Fashion Sewing Supply.

I used 3/8″ rubber swim elastic from Sew Sassy for the neckline. I attached my Teflon foot and used a 6mm width and 2mm length triple zig-zag  to attach it to the wrong side, elastic facing up, then flipped it over and coverstitched in place. I’m very happy with this finish. It has minimal bulk compared to serging it on and I feel like using my sewing machine gave me better control. The rubber elastic is very strong and has a nice defined edge when you flip it over. Just make sure that you don’t pull the elastic when attaching it, as it has much more strength than clear elastic and won’t “give” nearly as much during wear.

You know how wrap dresses have the opening in the side, and how it can be fussy to finish? I decided to try an experiment. I cut a square of knit fabric and put it right sides together against the opening. I then stitched a rectangle around the opening, then cut it like  a welt pocket (slashed the center and cut into the corners) and pulled it through to the wrong side. I then folded up a bit of the knit “patch” and stitched that in place, zig-zagging it at the sides and doing a straight stitch at the bottom. It is kind of like a single welt pocket. Here’s what it looks like. I didn’t do the neatest job ever because it was a last-minute idea and I was doing everything on the fly as I was sewing it, but it does a good job preventing a “gap” at my side where the belt slides through. Next time I’ll interface the opening to make things a little easier!

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My fitting adjustments were:

  • Lengthened the sleeves 1.25″
  • 3/8″ broad back adjustment
  • Added 5″ to the hips
  • 1/4″ narrow shoulder adjustment
  • Lengthened the waist 1″. I feel like it could have been lengthened another 0.5″.
  • The right front’s skirt hung down about 1.5″ too much at the left edge, so I chopped off the extra length. Looking at the photo it still looks like it could be taken up a little more…

Wrap dresses are one of my favorite styles to wear, and the Style Arc Kate is no exception. I normally use Burda 09/2006 #114/115 pattern for my wrap dresses, but the Kate has a couple of advantages over the Burda:

  • It doesn’t have a waist seam, so you can use big, bold prints without having to worry about pattern matching.
  • It ties in the back rather than the front, which I find more comfortable. The pleat detail in the front adds visual interest while helping to skim the figure in this area, so I don’t need to worry about the waistband of my wool tights showing in this thin, clingy knit fabric.
  • I found the Kate neckline more modest and easier to keep closed. This is a very work-appropriate dress.

I cut out this dress yesterday during the Thursday snowstorm, which lasted all day and night and dumped a total of 15″ (38cm) of snow:

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I sewed my Kate dress in only a couple of hours this afternoon, after taking the day off from work to spend all morning and part of the afternoon shoveling the very heavy snow and slush mixture that resulted from the freezing rain last night. (Now do you see why I wanted to do a nice quick project?)

In the uncropped photo below you can see how tall the plowed snow is getting in the driveway…I’m in the 6′ (183cm) range while wearing these boots and the snow bank is almost as tall as me! We had about a foot of snow last week and very cold temperatures in the earlier part of  this week so it just keeps piling up.

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6 thoughts on “Style Arc Kate Dress”

  1. Your Kate dress looks lovely on you, Anne. With its simple lines, it’s the perfect canvas for showcasing interesting fabrics. You did a great job on it. And oh my! All that snow!

  2. The dress looks great on you, and a great color for you. Thanks for the review. It’s so helpful . Do you wear a slip with your knit dresses? Thinking of static electricity in this cold, dry, New England weather.

    1. Always, especially with wrap dresses. They not only smooth things out but prevent my tights from sticking to the dress. I prefer the ones made out of bias-cut or stretch silk charmeuse. Applying lotion before you get dressed helps a lot too.

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