Style Arc Stella Coat

It is a little too late in the season, but I decided to fill the fall coat gap in my wardrobe with a new Style Arc Stella wrap coat. I had a very good experience with this coat before and wanted to make another one.

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The Stella is a true wrap coat, held in place entirely by the belt. There’s no side seams. Instead the side front panel wraps around to meet the side back panel, 1-2″ away from where a side seam would normally be. (When I added room for my hips I added it to this seam.) This offset also makes the front pockets less bulky and puts them in a more comfortable location.

At 2.25″ Mandarin style collar is quite tall—if you have a short neck, you’ll probably want to chop down the height a little.

Style Arc suggests topstitching the back yoke, pockets, belt loops, belt, and along the front edges.

I think this coat is Style Arc’s version of the Burberry wool wrap coat. Burberry seems to do a slightly different version of this coat every year. (I’m not sure when the Style Arc Stella pattern came out, but since it is one of their earlier patterns I would guess sometime in 2011/12.) It looks like this year it is a more oversized fit, with a much smaller collar. I prefer the sharper and more fitted look of the Stella.

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As far as patterns go, this one is very complete with what is included. There’s separately drafted lining pieces, along with pieces for sleeve hem and sleeve head interfacing. There’s also pocket facing pieces. One thing I should add is that the line drawing is slightly incorrect. There’s actually two center back panels, not one, so a seamline goes down the center back as well as on the sides. I also feel like the shape isn’t quite as A-line as depicted in the line drawing.

The fabric I used is a fluorescent pink wool/poly blend I bought from Gorgeous Fabrics last January. (When I showed my dad the coat he asked if I was going hunting!) The description refers to it as a suiting, but IMO it is too heavy for a dress, pants, or most skirts. It is a great fabric for a jacket or lighter weight coat though.

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I lined it with a deep pink silk twill from Fabric Mart that’s been sitting in my stash for almost five years now. Silk keeps it lightweight and breathable while being a little bit more insulating than a rayon Bemberg lining.

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 1.57.42 PM.pngI added a hanging loop using some 3/8″ grosgrain ribbon.

I had a hard time finding thread that was a matching color, so instead of my normal Gutermann Mara 100 for construction and Mara 30 (or Mara 70) for topstitching I used “Pink Pink Pink” Magnifico, which is a thin but strong high-luster polyester thread. One spool was more than enough to complete the entire coat and lining. When I needed to topstitch I used a 5mm long triple stretch stitch (which is Mode 2, #20 on my Janome 6500P). It is painfully slow compared to topstitching on my industrial machine, but I think it is an attractive finish.

I didn’t want to wind up an additional bobbin for such a small amount of stitching, so to finish the edges of the belt loops and pocket facings I decided to use the faux overlock stitch on my Janome.

For interfacing I used Fashion Sewing Supply’s Pro-Tailor fusible canvas for the collar and Fashion Sewing Supply’s lightweight Pro-Weft for everything else. In addition to the sleeve head, sleeve hems, back yoke facing, and front facing recommended by the Style Arc instructions, I also interfaced the entire center front piece, armholes, and hems per Kathleen Fasanella’s lined jacket fusing map. I added a 1/8″ turn of cloth allowance for the collar, which encouraged it to wrap more smoothly around my neck.

Since my silk twill was such a shifty fabric I block fused some iron-on tear-away stabilizer to the fabric prior to cutting out the pocket pieces. Since the bias was in effect neutralized it made a big difference when it came to sewing on the pocket facings and sewing the pocket bags together – no ripples or stretching! I think I’ll be doing this much more often for pocket bags made out of silk and rayon lining fabrics. It seems like if I don’t do this everything gets stretched out of shape the moment I lift it up from the cutting table.

Fitting alterations:

  • Added 6″ to the hips
  • Added a total of 1″ width across the upper back. Rather than dart out the excess at the shoulder, I chose to ease it in with the help of some steam. Fortunately this fabric was incredibly malleable and cooperative.
  • Lengthened 1/2″ between bust and waist, and 2.5″ between crotch and knee
  • Lengthened the sleeves 1.25″
  • Added 3/4″ width to the sleeves
  • 3/8″ forward shoulder alteration (on the sleeve only)
  • Added 3/8″ to the bottom of the yoke as a rounded back alteration

After trying it on I made a couple of additional tweaks:

  • Took in each side back/side front panel seam 3/4″ at the hip
  • Took in each side back/center back panel seam 1.25″ at the waist
  • Shortened the sleeves 1/2″. This required ripping apart part of the sleeve seams and adding more interfacing. (Interfacing for hems should extend 1/2″ beyond the fold.)

I didn’t make any style alterations, but due to a lack of foresight while cutting I ended up having to seam the belt at the center back. I added a belt loop to the center back to help cover it up. (It also helps keep the belt in place better.)

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

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.

Style Arc Renae Dress

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.