You know how sometimes you hoard a special fabric for years and years and years while waiting for the right pattern and the right moment, and every time you see it in your stash cabinet you feel guilty, like the fabric is angry about being neglected, and maybe you stroke it to calm it and whisper reassuring things like “Soon beautiful, be patient, your time is coming”? Just me then?
This beautiful indigo ice dyed fabric was one such fabric I stroked and promised the world to. The lovely Nicole and I became penpals a few years ago and this miraculous yardage showed up in my mailbox one day (along with a bottle of broken hot sauce that somehow did not deface the fabric, although trust me, I mourned the loss of that hot sauce). The fabric was silky and beautiful and too pretty to use on just any project. So it waited a few years until I finally knew just want to do with it. Enter: the Arianna Dress by Style Arc patterns.
Weirdly. I’ve never sewn a Style Arc pattern before. They have tons of designs, but I had heard their instructions were incredibly sparse and I never bothered to make one up until now. The rumors are true – the instructions are basically just bullet points of texts with no construction illustrations, so maybe not the most beginner-friendly patterns around, although a fun challenge if you’re like me and enjoy figuring out the best way to put a garment together. I was glad to read this blog post from Sewing Like Mad, since she gives a better order of construction for the bodice, and reminded me I wanted to widen the straps enough to hide my bra.
I was a cheeky little monkey and didn’t make a muslin for this, which is evident by the gaping buttons at the boob area. I made a straight size 12 and the finished garment measurement *should* have given me more than enough ease through the bust, so I’m not entirely sure what happened there. That said, the princess seams fit perfectly out of the package, and I love the comfort of the elastic shirred back, even if it wasn’t quite as helpful for getting this to fit through the bust as I had hoped.
With two and a half yards I had just enough fabric to squeeze this out, and I’m so so happy I finally found the right use for this beauty, boob gappage be damned. It’s so silky and soft and flowy, perfect as a summer dress on a hot day. I was also happy to work with some ice dyed fabric up close – we have an upcoming blog series focused on dyeing (coming to your screens August 2020) and just last week I did my first experiments with this cool technique. Nicole ice dyed this with a deep indigo dye (I believe the fabric is a silk/rayon mix) and it’s so fun to see how the dye “breaks” and morphs to create these pretty patterns.
This was also the first time I played around with elastic shirring, and I was inspired to start this project after admiring all of the shirring goodness Elisalex was up to recently. Basically, you thread your bobbin with elastic thread and stitch in straight lines – the elastic snugs up the fabric and after multiple rows it creates this lovely textured shrinky texture. Definitely a technique I’d like to experiment more with, so I am working on a hack of our Amy Jumpsuit to be shirred and strapless. More to come on that soon.
I sewed this at home on our new Pfaff Creative Icon, which is similar to the Performance Icon we’ve been using with the addition of a pretty serious embroidery module. Pfaff sent this machine to us a few months ago and while I haven’t had a chance to dig into the embroidery capabilities yet, I was super grateful I had a powerhouse to sew with at home because I was about to throw my vintage machine out the window in an absolute rage. These machines make the prettiest buttonholes ever, but I screwed up a bit here. Note to self, note to you: whenever you are adding buttons to a closely fitting dress along center front, always butt your buttons up together near the waist seam. I placed the button on my skirt a but too low and so it gapes more than it would if I had placed it an inch or so higher. Live and learn!
Thus ends my story of this dress, which has been in my weekly rotation with the crazy heat waves we’ve been getting in Montreal. What’s been your go-to dress pattern this summer?