September 22, 2014

A so-so StyleArc in the wild

Today’s the final installment of Iceland photos, featuring volcanos on the horizon and my second StyleArc pattern, the Jessica dress.
It’s a twist-front jersey dress, rated as “challenging”, which largely seems to be because the instructions are so poor. Once I figured them out on my muslin it wasn’t that hard, apart from a weird apparently unfinished part that appears when you connect the twisted bodice to the skirt. I cobbled together a fix, but it doesn’t look very neat on the inside. It’s a real shame about StyleArc instructions – perhaps it’s the only way that they can get so many patterns out of the door so quickly, but it basically means you should only try garments you’ve made in the past and know how to make.

I used a taupe and black silk jersey that I bought years ago at Paron, and was saving until my serging skills improved. They have, but sadly this dress probably wasn’t the best use of it, as I don’t love it. I don’t think that having all the bulk on top with the twist works well with my busty figure, and I spend a lot of time adjusting the neckline to try and get coverage of the old bra without looking strangled.

On my first muslin I found that the tie front pieces were majorly sagging, so I shortened them by about 3 inches each to pull the waistline in. Sadly, this now means that one sideseam is getting pulled to the front – I’m not entirely sure how I would balance having the tie at the right length without having that pulling.

You live and learn! I’m still willing to give StyleArc some more chances because the Rosie top worked out well, and I love love love that they do cool RTW styles up to large sizes – they’re probably the single best example of a pattern company not discriminating against plus sizes. So, I have two more trouser patterns in the sewing queue, and I’m considering the Ziggi motorcycle jacket as well, inspired by an amazing basketweave wool and leather version I saw in Reykjavik.
In the meantime, I leave you with proof of the utter sensibility of the Cashmerette family. You’re welcome.

22 thoughts on “A so-so StyleArc in the wild

  1. I can’t see the side seam problem in the pics (but I’m reading this on a tiny phone screen). I disagree that it doesn’t suit you – I really like it! The colours are great on you and the style looks balanced to me.

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Catherine! The problem is definitely there, but probably not evident to anyone else 🙂

  2. Sabine says:

    Love the dress. I think it looks great. Is there a way to make the inside look better next time, now that you have done it once or would you not sew this pattern again?

    1. Jenny says:

      To be honest, I’m not keen on the style – there’s a lot of bulk on the chest. But maybe I can find a better twist dress pattern!

  3. I agree with Catherine, you look very chic, but it’s not cool if you feel like you have to keep tugging at something to keep your bra covered….. You gotta be comfy in it!

  4. Katy Patzel says:

    These pictures, gorgeous!!!!!!!!!
    Sad to hear that there are still issues with this pattern after the muslin. Maybe invisible elastic could be added to the back around the waist to stabilizes those criss crossy pieces and pull the side seam back in place? Probably not worth all the trouble though.

    1. Jenny says:

      Why thank you Ms Patzel! TBH I don’t think I’m going to try to “fix” it as the style isn’t for me. Onto the next jersey dress!

  5. Michelle says:

    I think that the dress looks gorgeous on you. As far as the “messy bits” on the inside/at the twist, I know I’ve seen other sewists complain about those on other twist-style patterns, so I think it’s just something inherent with the style. No one else can see them, but *we* know that they’re there, right?

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks – I think it looks better in the photos than it does in reality!

  6. Madalynne says:

    Despite how you feel, you certainly don’t look strangled! Please make the motor jacket – even the thought of it sounds divine!

    1. Jenny says:

      I’m planning on it once my green coat is done!

  7. Cherie says:

    I think the dress looks lovely on you, please wear, it’s silk! It may “look” bulky, but doesn’t to others. And, get some Hollywood tape to take care of the bra showing (tapes the dress to your skin, or the bra itself. It may feel bulky but does not look it. It gives you a great shape, has the great V neckline. Maybe put it away and take it out in a few weeks? And try the elastic thing suggested above. Really.

    1. Jenny says:

      Yes I use that tape occasionally – it’s very helpful! I may sit on it for a bit – you’re right, sometimes when you come back to something later you like it more.

  8. barbara says:

    i sympathise! i have had my issues with StyleArc as well. i’ve tried a few and haven’t been successful at doing a real FBA because of the odd way they’re supposed to be put together without real instructions. i ended up doing what you did – hodge-podging them until i could make them wearable and calling it good. i surrender! there are other companies out there with better instructions. even though i’m an experienced seamstress, mine look miserable, but yours looks GREAT. if you hadn’t told us, we would never have known anything was wrong. the style is very pretty on you and the fit is terrific. we promise not to look inside. 😉

    1. Jenny says:

      Yeah, on the one hand I understand that StyleArc need to publish a lot so they don’t have so much time to spend on instructions, but I wonder how much repeat business they lose because of that.

  9. tanyamaile says:

    I still love the dress even though you’re not sold on it. And of course it looks even more awesome in Iceland!

    1. Jenny says:

      My new motto: everything looks better in Iceland!


  11. BeaJay says:

    It is a shame you don’t like the dress as it looks great on you. So much so that I am now considering this pattern.

  12. Eirini says:

    I like this dress on you- don’t be too quick to dismiss it! As for Style Arc patterns I have the same problem with the instructions. Their sizing fits me perfectly on the shoulders -like no other pattern company- and I would be willing to buy many of their patterns but the poor instructions keep me back- I am not willing to buy challenging patterns no matter how much I may like the design.

  13. Lyndle says:

    It’s a shame you don’t like this because it does look nice. I nearly bought the jessica myself but I think it was designed for a woven and Chloe said it might not be the best on my shape (I asked her for advice, she doesn’t spontaneously diss people’s choices!). But now I see this in a knit on you I am tempted.
    I’m not a greatly experienced sewist but I use Style Arc’s instructions as a starting point, look up what others have said about it (especially Anne at, who documents her projects brilliantly), and google any techniques I don’t already know. I’d rather have a pattern that fits and work out the instructions, than good instructions for something I have to make 3 muslins of. But it would be lovely to have both!

Let me know what you think!