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.

Burda 04/2016 #122 Dress

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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

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.