Style Arc Candice skirt (and Diana top)

ETA, 9/22/15: I ended up taking in the waistband of this skirt, and I’m much happier with it now. You can view the updated photos of it here.

Better view of the pleats
Invisible zip closure

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The Style Arc Candice skirt has a 1.5″ wide waistband and box pleats that extend about 5″ below the waist. There’s a side seam pocket at the right side seam, and the invisible zipper is inserted into the left side seam. The waistband is a single piece of fabric folded over.

I found the actual skirt was more refined than the pattern illustration indicated. It is actually quite flattering if you are pear shaped, as it is slim from waist to about mid-hip but full over the lower hips and thighs.

I used this cotton/lycra sateen from Gorgeous Fabrics. Screen Shot 2015-08-11

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 10.12.50 AM

My waistband was stabilized with Pro-Sheer Elegance from Fashion Sewing Supply. I also used it to stabilize the section of the skirt where I inserted the invisible zipper.

I started with a size 8. After measuring the waistband I discovered that there’s slight negative ease (about 1cm). I don’t like tight waistbands so I adjusted the waistband so the final measurement was about 1.25″ larger than my actual waist measurement. I also added 4″ to the side seams. When I tried on the skirt it was a little bit too big though the waist. I think it was a combination of overestimating how much I would need and the fact that the fabric stretched out a little. I didn’t want to unpick the invisible zip and waistband and cut it down to size, so I found some 1.5″ elastic and cut it to my actual waist measurement. Then I encased it within the waistband before stitching in the ditch to secure it.

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Hopefully this photo explains it a bit better.

When I was done sewing the waistband in place I hand stitched the elastic to the inside of the waistband, and then slipstitched the inner waistband seam allowance to the zipper tape. When it is on the hanger it is slightly gathered, but when worn it is almost completely smooth. I think Sandra Betzina calls this the “Hollywood waistband.” I love it for skirts because the elastic helps keep blouses and tops tucked in more securely than a normally interfaced waistband, but at the same time you don’t have to deal with the feel of a waistband cutting in. That being said, I didn’t do as good of a job as I should have securing it on one side, so it ended up slipping and thus the waistband ended up being slightly larger than I originally planned. Which makes it ride a little lower than I planned. Darn! I’ll wear and wash it a few times before deciding whether it is worth going back to fix or not. I have had elastic shrink in the wash before, so it may end up taking care of itself…

In addition to adding to the waist and hips I omitted the pocket and lengthened the skirt 2.5″. (At least I think that’s how much I lengthened it; I sewed it a month ago, so the details are a little fuzzy.)

My top is the Style Arc Diana tank.

DIANA-TOP

I consider this top a wearable muslin. I used a beefy cotton/lycra jersey from Dharma Trading. While I like this cotton/lycra jersey for things like yoga pants, I’m not so crazy about it anymore for regular tops. It is fairly thick and the drape is stiff, so I’m constantly trying to find a balance between not being skintight but not having too much ease either. Plus, when I tuck this in the natural blousing from things like raising my hands over my head throws off the waist shaping, making my waist look higher than normal. But at the same time I like how the beefiness makes this a nice opaque top.

I finished the neckline with some 1/4″ loop edged elastic.

As you can see the neckline on this plunges rather low; it is pretty much even with the armholes. If you are busty you may want to consider raising it at least one inch. Or not! 🙂 If I made this again I would finish the neckline with a narrow band.  My elastic is cute but it loves to curl after being washed!

For the armholes followed the directions and just turned them over and coverstitched in place. I’m not happy with this finish; it looks ok for the first few hours, but then they tend to stretch out a bit (despite the lycra content). As soon as I find my clear elastic I plan on unpicking the coverstitching and refinishing the armholes with the clear elastic. Even though it is just a wearable muslin I find it very useful as a wardrobe staple.

I made this top several months ago (and now cannot locate the pattern pieces) so I don’t remember exactly what fitting adjustments I did, aside from adding a center back seam and taking in the waist quite a bit. Out of the envelope the fit is definitely a lot more relaxed through the waist.

In case if you were curious about my photography setup…

Style Arc Candice skirt photoshoot complete!

A post shared by Anne (@clothingengineer) on

For the full length photos I stood in more or less direct sunlight in the early evening. (By the time I got to the detail shots it was indirect.) In order to to soften the light I used something called a scrim. The scrim I used is the “core” of my 5-in-1 reflector. You can see below how the scrim is translucent, allowing some light to filter through.

If you’ve ever watched a beach wedding being photographed on a bright, sunny day, you’ve probably seen at least one assistant running around holding one of these during the formal portrait session. I usually do my photo shoots alone, so instead of using a person (which would be much easier!) I used a reflector holder mounted on a sturdy stand, which was further stabilized with a sandbag.

I shot from fairly far away (probably around 20 feet or so), using about 100mm as my focal length. In addition to natural light and the scrim I used my flash, mounted on my camera, to help fill out the shadows. The distance plus bright available light prevented me from being washed out by the flash.

As I mentioned before, by the time I got around to doing the close-up photos the sunlight became indirect in the spot where I was working, so I no longer needed the scrim.

11 thoughts on “Style Arc Candice skirt (and Diana top)

  1. I LOVE that skirt! It’s so beautiful on you, and super flattering 🙂 the fabric is gorgeous too…I’m thinking I might need to expand my skirt collection to include more with box pleats…

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  2. I love that skirt too. It looks so nice on and as ever, your workmanship is spot on. I may have to cave and buy that pattern as your skirt reminds me of a skirt I got in grade 8 (1974!) that I LOVED and was quite expensive for that time before throwaway fashions and I spilt nail polish in on long streak down the front. It was in a floral pink cotton sateen….I can still see it in my mind’s eye. I was devastated and have always wanted another!

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  3. You look gorgeous in your skirt. The skirt is a nice style. The top is an all season staple.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your sewing and photography details.

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  4. It’s a great skirt. Pretty for summer and nice into fall with a cardigan or sweater. Sandra Betzina has a very good way to secure elastic for a waistband. You zig zag the elastic to the seam allowance so that it is on the band side, then you fold over the elastic and stitch in the ditch.

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    1. I avoid zigzagging elastic whenever possible for the same reason I rarely use French seams – it hinders last-minute adjustments. I should have basted it at the ends of the waistband before stitching in the ditch.

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    1. I’m never sure whether people are actually interested in that sort of thing or not, so I put it at the bottom of the post. If they want to look, they can, if not, they can skip over it and move onto something else!

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