An outfit for Mom: Style Arc Stevie Jean Jacket and Style Arc Jema Panel Dress

Style Arc Stevie jacket

Meet my mom!

She is Sallie’s favorite person in the world.

I love the look Sallie is giving in this photo – she’s totally saying “my parents are so embarrassing!” (BTW can you believe these two kids have been married 56 years?)

Neither the Style Arc Stevie (note: affiliate link) nor the Style Arc Jema (note: affiliate link) are something I would make for myself, as I usually go for sleek, tailored, and somewhat formal. (That’s why I’ve been sewing more Burda and Marfy patterns lately.) In addition to sewing something I wouldn’t wear myself, it was a novelty cutting out a pattern and just laying it on the fabric without doing a bunch of alterations first! My mom is almost a perfect Style Arc size 14. Despite her 5’8″ height I didn’t have to make any changes to the length, which surprised me. There are a couple of fitting issues – I just realized she has a high shoulder and could probably also use a sloped shoulder alteration – but overall I think the fit is pretty good out of the envelope.

I’m going to start with the Stevie jacket, which is the more complicated garment.

Stevie Jean Jacket

“Can’t you take all the photos like this?”

There’s almost 20 pieces to this pattern, and tons of topstitching. Seriously – every seam on this jacket is topstitched. Even the side seams.

I love the details this jacket has though, and if I made the Style Arc Stacie jacket again I would definitely borrow some of them.

As I mentioned in my description the pockets at the bust are fully functional.

The tabs on the bottom band are functional as well, though I don’t think most people will move them beyond the first button.

The sleeves have a split so that you can roll up the cuffs.

The welt pockets open up to full size pocket bags.

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The Style Arc Stevie (note: affiliate link) definitely taps into the oversized jean jacket trend, which I’m just starting to see pop up on Net-A-Porter.

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Net-A-Porter.com

For this jacket I used a bright red cotton poplin from Gorgeous Fabrics. I originally planned on using it for a dress, but in addition to the weight being too heavy for my intended pattern the color was a little too warm for my personal taste. For size 14 I needed almost 3.5 yards of this 45″ fabric.

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For the buttons I used the oak leaf antique brass jean buttons from Cleaner’s Supply. The topstitching was done with white Gutermann Mara 70 thread, also from Cleaner’s Supply.

As I mentioned in my first paragraph, I got away without having to do any alterations to this pattern. The description of being “oversized but not too big” is completely accurate.

The welt pockets gave me some trouble. I had never sewn a single welt pocket before (though I was vaguely familiar with the general process) and was thrown off by the fold marking on the pattern piece, along with Style Arc’s instructions to fold the welt in half before sewing it to the jacket.

I decided I would finish the rest of the jacket and come back to them later. At that point I experimented on some fabric scraps. Even so, I struggled through construction and am a little disappointed by the quality of the finished pockets. Part of the reason is that I should have made more samples before proceeding to the jacket, but I also suspect that the welt pattern piece could use an extra 3/8″ added to the width. (The measurement, without seam allowances, is 5 1/8″ by 1 3/8″.) Since this is the first time I’ve made single welt pockets I don’t know if it is a drafting error or just me. Next time I will reference How to sew a single welt pocket tutorial from Fashion Incubator. (I love Kathleen’s tutorials – I have yet to experience anything but fantastic results using her tutorials.)

The pattern piece for the cuffs did not include buttonhole markings. Easy enough to manually mark off, but I felt like they should have been included.

Also, I think the buttonhole marking for the tab that attaches to the hem band is in the wrong spot. IMO it should be placed by the fold, not by the raw edge. (I ended up placing it by the fold.)

Jema Panel Dress

The neckline is finished with bias binding, which is then turned to the wrong side and topstitched in place.

You can do a hook and eye instead of button and loop, but I prefer the look of the button and loop.

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The Style Arc Jema (note: affiliate link) is a loosely fitted woven dress with rectangular panels, slightly flared 3/4 length sleeves, and a back closure consisting of a button and loop. Darts at the bust provide some shaping. I found that while the line drawing does a good job of portraying the fit, it is slightly inaccurate when it comes to depicting the panel proportions. The left middle panel is not as tall and the lower left panel not as short as the line drawing indicates.

My mom liked the Jema for the creativity aspect. While I chose a rather sedate look consisting of frayed chambray, you can mix and match any kind of lightweight wovens to create a unique look.

I believe the inspiration for this dress is this $470 Victoria, Victoria Beckham denim patchwork dress.

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Net-A-Porter.com

The fabric I used is a lightweight chambray purchased a year ago from Fabric Mart. I thought the bright red Stevie jacket needed to be paired with something more neutral. As you can see from my photos the horizontal seams frayed to navy, and the vertical seam frayed to white.

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Though I didn’t alter the pattern for height, I also ended up not chopping off the skirt hem allowance. When she tried it on she said the ease felt appropriate. It is obviously a loosely fitted dress, but it isn’t overwhelming her with fabric. Another thing I should mention is that she was able to get it on and off without having to undo the button at the back of the neckline.

As you can see I chose to do the frayed look, which is basically a lapped seam. If you choose to do this look you will make your life much easier by using a ruler and the Clover Pen Style Chaco Liner to mark the fabric first.

  1. For the panel that will be frayed, chalk in a line 3/8″ away from the raw edge on the right side of the fabric. This is your stitching line.
  2. For the panel that will be under the frayed section, mark a line 3/4″ away from the raw edge. This will be where you line up the raw edge of the section that will be frayed.
  3. Per the instructions, make sure before you sew the two panels together that you finish the raw edge of the panel marked with the 3/4″ line, or else your dress might disintegrate in the wash!🙂
  4. Sew the two panels together, placing the fray panel on top. After I stitched along the marked stitching line (which is 3/8″ away from the raw edge), I did another line of stitching about 1/2″ away from the raw edge. Instead of marking this with chalk I switched to my stitch in the ditch foot, moved my needle all the way to the left, and used the previous stitching line as a guide.

After stitching I carefully frayed the fabric. I think this was the most time-consuming part of making the dress. Even so, I was able to cut out the dress and have it completely finished in one night.

Burda 04/2016 #122 Dress

Burda 04/2016 #122. 4-ply silk crepe, fully lined with silk double georgette.

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Burda 04/2016 #122 is a fully lined boat neck sheath dress with a front twist detail. The front bodice is cut on the bias.

One thing I liked about this pattern is that in addition to doing the draped design, you could also use the front lining pattern (which has no waist seam) to make a simple sheath. Great for when you want to highlight a print.

My fashion fabric was a light blue 4-ply silk crepe I bought from Fabric Mart a few years ago.

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For the lining I used a silk georgette, which I also bought a few years ago from Fabric Mart. The description describes it as just “georgette” but the weight feels more like a double georgette.

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Alterations:

  • Shortened the hem 1″
  • 1/2″ swayback alteration
  • Lengthened 1/4″ between shoulder and bust, and 1/2″ between bust and waist
  • Added 5.5″ to the hips (1.25″ to each back side seam and 1.5″ to each front side seam)
  • 3/8″ sloped shoulder alteration
  • Added a 3/4″ back shoulder dart
  • Lowered the front neckline by 3/8″
  • Added 1/2″ to the center back hem
  • Moved the front darts of the lining inward 1/2″
  • Lowered the back zipper position 2.5″

During fitting I took in each side seam 5/8″ from the hem to the waist, tapering to nothing at the bust. At the suggestion of my mom I ended up taking up the shoulders 1/2″. The shoulder alteration was definitely not expected, especially since I found the shoulders on Burda 06/2016 #112 a little too short. I think the heft and general shiftiness of the 4-ply silk crepe, combined with the bulk of the front drape and the fact that the front bodice is cut on the bias just dragged everything down. I made it work, but the beefy weight of this fabric was definitely not ideal for this pattern. I would recommend using a charmeuse, crepe de chine, georgette, or any other lightweight silk or rayon instead.

Another thing I should note is that the side seams of the skirt don’t hang completely straight. I think the weight of the drape and the bias effect once again came into play, because if I support the twist at the front with my hand, the side seam straightens out. This pattern was obviously balanced for a lighter weight fabric.

Construction Notes

I stabilized the armholes/neckline/waist with Design Plus fusible stay tape. All stitching was done with Magnifico #40 polyester thread. This thread is thinner and silkier than the all-purpose Gutermann and Mettler threads, and it glides wonderfully through silks. I find regular thread tends to chew up lightweight fabrics.

Normally I don’t bother with instructions, but the front drape made me decide to check them out. I found they made sense until it came time to pull through the side front piece to create the twist effect. I’m not sure I did it correctly – the pattern piece indicated a fold, and I did more of a wrap effect rather than a fold in order to gather up those skirt pieces to create the godet effect. It looks like the pattern photo, so I guess I did it correctly!

Burda 08/2016 #113 Dress

Burda 08/2016 #113 dress. Acetate/nylon/lycra crepe suiting.

I’m trying my best look as cool and elegant as the model in Burdastyle, but it was very difficult on this very hot and humid evening! After about 15 minutes the lining was starting to stick to my body…

The belt included with this pattern really takes this pattern up to the next level. It has an origami look to it which nicely sets off the sleekness of the dress. Burda includes a couple of line drawings for how to construct it.

Sans belt:

Below I styled it with the Style Arc Stacie jacket, so you can see how it looks with a topper.

Burda 08/2016 #113 features cut-away shoulders, a front skirt wrap detail, and coordinating belt. This is the tall pattern for the 08/2016 issue.

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The front underskirt goes completely to the side seam, and has a considerable amount of coverage. No worries on windy days with this dress.

The fabric I used was an acetate/nylon/lycra midweight crepe suiting. The weave has tons of flexibility, but despite the lycra content the stretch is minimal.

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I love the vibrant color of this fabric, but found it a pain to press! I think it was a combo of the nylon content and mushy texture. I found it impossible to get a nice sharp crease without the use of a wooden clapper. It definitely slowed down my progress. I would say the idea fabric to use for this dress would be a wool crepe double cloth – thick enough for an unlined skirt, while still being easy to press.

I lined the bodice with some pink Ambiance Bemberg I found in my stash. (The skirt is not lined.)

The back button is a half dome pearl button from Cleaner’s Supply. Since I was already fighting with a fabric that was somewhat difficult to press, I sewed the button loop on by hand after the fact, rather than insert it into the center back seam of the neck band. I also sewed the bottom seam allowance of the inner neck band by hand. It gives an invisible finish and was easier to manage.

The zipper is a 30″ invisible zipper from Zipper Stop.

I used Pro-Sheer Elegance Light to interface the neck band. I interfaced the belt with Pro-Tailor Fusible Hair Canvas. I stabilized the armholes and upper neck edge of the bodice with Design Plus Fusible Stay Tape.

I think this is the first tall Burda pattern I’ve used. After making my last Burda dress I noticed that the armholes were slightly tight and the bodice definitely a little on the short side (fortunately the print fabric does a great job disguising those issues). So this time I decided to not do any alterations for length. For tall sizes Burda lengthens between shoulder and bust about 1/4″, between bust and waist about 1/2″, and about 3/8″ between waist and hip. I’m just under 5’9″ (174cm) tall, and found these length alterations really worked for me. The waist was right where it needed to be, the armholes feel comfortable, the bust darts are right where they should be, and I did not need to take in or extend the back darts on the skirt nearly as much as I did on my previous dress. I will definitely be using more tall size Burda patterns in the future, and applying these length alterations to regular size Burda patterns in the future.

Alterations:

  • Shortened the skirt 3.25″
  • Added 1/2″ to the center back hem of the skirt
  • Removed 1/4″ length from the center top front of the skirt
  • 1/2″ swayback tuck
  • Moved the front French darts inward 1/2″
  • Added a total of 5.5″ to the hips (1.25″ to the back side seams, 1.5″ to the fronts)
  • Added 3/4″ width across the front waist
  • Added 1/2″ width across the middle of the back armhole seam
  • Rotated the back skirt dart from a horizontal to more traditional vertical placement

After trying on the dress during fitting I took in the waist a total of 2.5″ and the lower hip/upper thigh to hem a total of 2.5″. I also had to take in the upper to mid hip curve a significantly larger amount, but that’s pretty normal for me. I like to add more fabric than I need to the hip/thigh area, just in case if the fabric needs more ease than I originally anticipated. I also took in the middle of each back dart 3/4″ and lengthened them 1″.

I did not do a rounded back alteration this time. I suspect doing it to my previous dress was the reason why the back neckline came out too wide. (I think perhaps this alteration is unnecessary for me in Burda patterns that don’t have a collar.)

The fact that this fabric was squishy and difficult to press resulted in the belt being less than perfect. If I made it again I would add an inch of additional length to the strip. I ran a little bit short at the end, and had to do a little bit of reworking in order to make it fit.

While I love the sleek, modern, and very Victoria Beckham look of this dress, I’m not entirely sure I would make it again. The front is just narrow enough that you either have to wear either a strapless bra (which I loathe, especially in hot weather!) or a racerback bra with clear straps (which is what I did in the photos above). Also, the collar band is rather high and slightly stiff, which at times makes it feel slightly constricting. I would have preferred something a tad looser around my neck, especially on such a ridiculously hot and humid day like today! But at the same time I think it adds to the elegance of the style.

Style Arc Renae Dress

Style Arc Renae dress (wool crepe, fully lined in bomber)

I finished this dress in April, took photos during a very hot day in June, and am just now publishing the post for it in August!

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The Style Arc Renae (note: affiliate link) is a woven dress with sleeves and a rounded neckline. Darts are incorporated into contrast inserts. As you can see it makes a great dress for the office.

If you’re interested in sewing this dress but are worried about sewing those pointed inserts, take a look at my tutorial on sewing corner/angle/pointed seams. (If you’re using a fairly stable fabric you can probably skip on using the stabilizer.)

The fabric I used was a lightweight wool crepe from Fabric Mart. I love the color of this fabric, but I’m not entirely pleased with the quality – it is definitely not as thick and “spongy” and doesn’t mold as well as most wool crepes, plus it is a little sheer. I really liked the $10/yard price though!

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Since the magenta wool crepe was semi-sheer I lined the entire dress (minus the sleeves) with some Ambiance Bemberg I had in my stash.

The contrast inserts are cut from the scraps of some burgundy wool crepe I used for another project a few years ago.

Since my fabric was so wimpy I interfaced the hem and back vent along with the facings using Pro-Sheer Elegance from Fashion Sewing Supply.

You probably noticed in the pictures that I omitted the back inserts in favor of plain darts. The reason for this is that I have a significant swayback and am very “hollow” in this area, and I always need to take in this section of dresses and tops. If you don’t tend to need to take in this section of clothing, you’ll probably be fine with the inserts. But if you’re like me, for the sake of your sanity you should seriously consider omitting them😉.

Alterations:

  • Changed the skirt from pegged to straight
  • Added a 3/4″ back shoulder dart
  • As I mentioned above, I omitted the back insert in favor of a simple vertical dart.
  • Moved each front contrast insert 1/2″ toward the center front. The inserts incorporate a dart into the design line, so it is very important that they be in the right position for your bust.
  • Added 6″ to the hip
  • 3/8″ rounded back alteration
  • 3/8″ forward shoulder alteration
  • 1/2″ swayback tuck
  • Added 1/2″ width across the front waist
  • Added 3/4″ width to the sleeve bicep
  • Added 3/4″ width to the upper back
  • Added 3″ length
  • Lengthened between bust and waist 1.5″ – this dress runs very short though the waist.
  • Took in the side seams (the amount varied depending on the location, but it was roughly 1.5″ all around). I took in the bust the least amount, the waist the most. Had I used a beefier fabric I would have made the fit slightly snugger, but with something lightweight like this (and somewhat less resilient to wrinkles than most wool crepes) I felt like erring on the side of slightly more ease was the right choice. I chose my normal size 8, but I don’t feel like out-of-the-envelope that this dress is as closely fitted as it is shown on the model on the Style Arc website.

Burda 02/2016 #143 (Baby Dress) and #146 (Baby Hat/Bonnet)

This project is a baby shower gift for a coworker.

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Burda 02/2016 #143 is a baby girl dress with front pockets and a slit neckline that forms lapels. The pockets are fully lined (the lining is what shows when folded over). The lapels and folded-over edge of the pockets are held in place with decorative buttons.

Burda 02/2016 #146 is a reversible baby bonnet.

Since my coworker is due on September 1 – and the weather only gets colder from that point onward – I made these in a 12 month size (size 80 for the dress and 46 for the bonnet) so that her baby can wear them next summer.

The purple fabric is a lightweight 100% cotton shirting, purchased a little over three years ago from Gorgeous Fabrics.

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The print fabric is another 100% cotton, purchased more than three years ago from Sawyer Brook.

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The front flower buttons are from Joann’s, and the back buttons are from my stash. For this project you can use slightly larger buttons for the pocket and lapels, but since the back placket is only a little over 5/8″ wide you need to stick to smaller buttons – these 3/8″ standard shirt buttons worked well.

I didn’t make any alterations to either one of these patterns. One thing I would like to note is that for the baby bonnet, they have you make the turn-out opening at the center back seam. I don’t agree with this – after sewing this up I think it would have been more discreet to have the opening at the bottom of the bonnet, where the casing is sewn.

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Another dress that I’ve made before…but this time I used a different fabric and used the skirt pieces from the Sewaholic Lonsdale instead. I’m happier with this more traditional and less dramatic look. (I also find the pockets rather handy!)

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The fabric I used is a silk jacquard/charmeuse, purchased over four years ago from Fabric Mart. I used the matte side as the right side. As expected, this bodice has a softer feel to it than the linen dress bodice, and it definitely doesn’t stay in place as well (as you can see from my exposed bra strap in the back view).

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I should also mention that while my linen and cotton Sewaholic Lonsdale skirts didn’t require any special hemming treatment, this one was very, very uneven (after hanging for a day or so). After I evened out the hem I finished it with a narrow hem (instead of the 1″ hem included with the pattern).

Burda 06/2016 #112 Dress

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Burda 6/2016 #112 is a fairly simple tailored sheath, but the cutouts and unusual darts bring it up to the next level. I absolutely love the neckline cutouts – it eliminates the need for a necklace while still drawing the eye upward. It isn’t obvious from the line drawing, but the waist attachment seam is approximately 1/2″ above the waistline. The skirt length is 24.5″ from waist to hemline.

This pattern is the illustrated “sewing course” pattern for the 6/2016 issue.

Materials

The fabric I used was a stretch sateen, purchased a little over a year ago from Apple Annie Fabrics:

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Normally I’m not crazy about even a part-polyester fabric, but I have to say that this sateen wrinkles less and holds its shape better than a normal cotton/lycra sateen.

The interfacing I used was the regular weight Pro-Sheer Elegance from Fashion Sewing Supply. The YKK zipper and pearl half-dome button are from Cleaner’s Supply.

Fit

I kept the front of the dress as-is, but for the back I rotated out the darts to be in the more traditional vertical position as I knew there was a 99% chance I would need to take them in.

Other  adjustments for the size 38 I cut include:

  • Added a 3/4″ back shoulder dart (and 1″ width across the mid upper back)
  • 3/8″ rounded back alteration
  • Added 5″ to the hips
  • Added an additional 1/2″ to the front of the skirt at the thigh level
  • 1/2″ swayback tuck
  • Lowered the back kick pleat 3″ – the drafted height is very high!
  • Added 1/2″ to the hem length
  • Added another 1/2″ to the center back hem
  • Added 3/4″ width to the front waist and removed 3/4″ from the back waist
  • Extended the back waist darts down another 2.5″

After trying on the dress I took in the waist 1.5″ and the hips 2″. This is a fairly stiff fabric and it looked best with minimal ease in these areas. From the looks of the photo Burda used a softer fabric with more drape.

Originally I also changed the skirt from pegged to straight, but after trying it on decided to peg the hem 1.5″.

I am not sure if this is an issue unique to this pattern or just the Burda draft, but I found the back neckline was drafted very wide (I compared it to some of my other dresses). It made for a lot of gaping at the back cutout. That’s why I ended up overlapping the back neckline instead of having the button at the center back.

Construction

In addition to interfacing the facings and neck band pieces, I also interfaced the back vent. In my opinion it helps it hang better and keep its shape. I also mitered the back hem. (The instructions don’t show you how to do this.)

Instead of having you cut out those neckline ovals on the cutting table, Burda provides a neckline template pattern piece. The front bodice is like that of a normal dress without cutouts. When it comes time to attach the front facing to the front bodice you use the template to draw the cut-outs on the facing. Then after you finish sewing this section you cut out/trim/clip the ovals. I made the cut-out template from a couple of pieces of card stock paper so I would have a firm edge to trace against.

I think the most tedious part of constructing this dress was turning out the cutouts, particularly the center front one. The edges for that one are particularly narrow in one section –  I really had to work at it for a while. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my collar clamp tool from Fashion Sewing Supply.

After you sew the cutouts it is crucial that you be aggressive when it comes to clipping/notching the seam allowances. I clipped every 1/4-3/8″ to make sure that those ovals ended up nice and round.

I would have liked for Burda to have included placement notches on the front neck band piece. It was a little tedious having to keep measuring the distance between the cutout edges on the template.

I should also mention that Burda has you sew the bottom edge of the inside neck band by hand. Normally I do anything possible to avoid having to sew something by hand, but in this case it gave me far more control – and a better result – than stitching on the machine would have. It also looks much neater.

Style Arc Jacinta Dresses

The Style Arc Jacinta (note: affiliate link) is another one of those patterns I made a few years ago and decided to make again. It is my go-to pattern for when I want to make a maxi dress out of a bold patterned knit.

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I made three new Jacintas for a little vacation I took last month to Virginia Beach. I have a close friend from college that lives down there, and after literally years of her telling me to visit, I finally got up the courage to take her up on her offer. I’m a nervous and inexperienced traveler, so getting on a plane by myself was a HUGE deal to me, especially since I had been on one only once before in my entire life! I’m glad I went though – it was great to bond and re-connect.

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Beach babes! We’ve been told many times before that we could pass for sisters.

The first Jacinta was from a rayon/lycra jersey I purchased a few years ago from Fabric Mart:

The second Jacinta was made from another rayon/lycra jersey, purchased a few years ago from Gorgeous Fabrics:

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My final dress was from an Italian rayon/lycra jersey, this time from Mood. There’s still some available!

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One thing I did differently from last time is instead of sewing a tuck at the V, I cut the ends of the binding strip at a 45 degree angle, making a seam at the center front of the binding. This gave me a nice sharp angle at the center front. I then attached the V section of the neck binding to the dress via my regular sewing machine, but only for an inch or two past the center front. Then I finished attaching the binding on my serger, and topstitched with a chain stitch on my Janome Coverpro. I think it gives a neat, professional finish, and doing that little section on my sewing machine gave me greater control vs trying to manipulate that corner on a serger.

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More Sewaholic Lonsdale Dresses

As promised, here are my other two Lonsdale dresses…

The fabric for this Lonsdale is a very, very crisp 100% cotton poplin from Apple Annie Fabrics. I love the print, but I don’t love how the slightest breeze threatens to lift up the skirt!😉

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The second Lonsdale was made from a hot pink midweight linen/rayon blend, purchased from Fashion Fabrics Club about four or five years ago. I think the drape of the skirt on this version is particularly beautiful.

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A White Sewaholic Lonsdale

Very quick and dirty photos for this particular post, because it was starting to rain!

I first made the Sewaholic Lonsdale a few years ago. This is my all-time favorite sundress; for my very pear-shaped body I’ve found the cut and design is difficult to beat. My Lonsdales get lots of love when I wear them to work (ahh, the beauty of no dress code in the summer!) It is a GREAT style if you want to let your shoulders shine.

Since the shoulders are open and the skirt full, I was able to get away with hardly any alterations to my size 6 pattern:

  • Removed 3/4″ width from the back waist, and added 3/4″ to the front waist
  • Added 1/2″ width to the waistband; the actual finished measurement is slightly shorter than what is stated on the pattern.
  • Took in the center back seam 3/4″ between the tie tabs, tapering to nothing at the waist.
  • 1/2″ swayback tuck

I measure closer to a size 8 than a size 6, but I feel more comfortable sizing down to a 6.

The bodice does have a slight flattening effect on the bust, depending on how high/low you wear the knot, but I’m willing to overlook that. You can easily wear a strapless bra under this dress, but if you’re smaller and still self-supporting (like me) it isn’t necessary due to the fact that the bodice is fully lined. (The skirt is not lined out of the envelope.)

The fabric I used was a white diamond weave cotton shirting fabric from Fabric Mart. It had been sitting in my stash for over three years now, and I decided I needed to just go ahead and do something with it. The Fabric Mart description was spot-on – the drape has some body without being totally crisp. For the sake of modesty I lined the skirt as well as the bodice with the same fabric.

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Can’t wait to show you my other two Lonsdales!