I’m really happy with this StyleArc Hope dress and the recently released bodice extensions to the pattern.
I made this up in a lovely yarn-dyed very dark navy gingham given to me by Minerva as a Minerva Ambassador. I washed and dried the fabric before cutting it out and it came out perfectly.
I used the new wrap-front bodice but stuck to the width of the sleeves on the original pattern. I traced off the top part of the three-quarter length sleeve in the new pattern (I think it’s a little different to accommodate the wrap) and used the original pattern from under the arm down.
It can get chilly in Ireland in the summer and I wanted to be able to put a jacket or cardigan over the dress if needed.
I did a toile of the bodice first (just with short unfinished sleeves) to see where the V neck ended. I wanted it a little higher so I graduated the front piece in by 1/2” and added 1/2” to back neck and the bit of the neck at the top of the raglan sleeves. This worked well.
I’m not a fan of facings and particularly for a long area like on this dress from the waist, around the neck and back around the other side. All that flapping around and managing the outer edge without puckering.
I bound this edge using the binding attachment on my Cover Stitch machine. I used a viscose jersey. Jersey is handy for the binder because I can cut long strips with no seam joins. The binder can act up if I use woven fabric with joins, even if I trim them right down.
If I didn’t have a binder, I would use a narrow, bias facing turned to the inside; or do a visible bias binding.
To add the trim to the sleeves, I drafted a facing for the sleeve hems of about 2” deep and sandwiched a folded over viscose strip in between.
I used 3/4” non-roll elastic to gather the cuffs.
To gather the skirt to the dress, I cut a narrow piece of lingerie elastic about 4” shorter than the circumference of the bodice. This elastic stretches as you sew. I marked quarters on the elastic and the skirt and serged the elastic on to the skirt edge, stretching between the markers. I then sewed the skirt on to the bodice using my sewing machine. I had to stretch the skirt just a little to fit it on to the bodice. The joining seam ends up below the elastic.
I redrafted the pockets so that I could sew them into the waistband, but the opening is just a little higher than the original pattern. I fully assembled the pockets to the front skirt before joining the side seams. This stops the pockets flapping about keeps them nicely in place.
I used scraps of Liberty Tana Lawn for the pockets, and I faced the first couple of inches with the gingham. The lawn is nice for slipping my hands in and out easily and is very lightweight; while the gingham helps to keep the pockets invisible.
I’ll be making more with this wrap front and might do one with wide short sleeves.