StyleArc Toni Designer Dress – start, stop, start again…

Another StyleArc journey – my love affair with them has been intermittent at best! Their wishful line art and drawings are right up there with Hot Patterns. What you see is not always what you get.

I’m a forewarned and an experienced warrior.

However – I’ve been looking for alternatives to my ‘usual’ maxi dresses. I get bored! And this dress has intrigued me. I read as many reviews as I could find. And explored images online. I finally took the plunge, bought it (PDF version), and spent a morning with tape and scissors.

I knew going in that I would not do the collar. I don’t like collars – not on me and not on most people. Oops – that’s a lot of sewists. But it’s a personal hang-up. My father insisted that I wear pointed collar shirts in a time when all my friends were wearing peter pan collars. It was painful, and the feelings apparently linger.

Anyway – on to this dress. Fortunately it has a lovely v-neck opportunity without the collar.

I also had to think about fabric. StyleArc suggests ‘silk, crepe, rayon, suitable knit’. Since they don’t provide examples, I looked at what others had done, and decided that the defining factor was drape. So I decided to try a rayon crepe – read that as drape with a burst of color!

I love how colors vibrate on rayon fabrics. Much more than on cottons, linens, and wool.

Working with this large print – the vertical repeat is a whopping 34″ – I decided to cut both the front and the back on the fold. I just didn’t want to break up those definitive blossoms.

The fabric is from Fabric Mart, one of their pre-cut buyout offerings. This one was 4 yards for $16. Incredible.

A few sewing notes:

  • I sewed the size 10. I’m 5’7, with a full bust of 35.5″  – 36″. The hip measurement on this pattern is not a defining factor, as there is lots of fabric in that area.
  • But I did add 2″ to the length, using the pattern’s lengthen/shorten lines.
  • The biggest change I made was to the line of the side drape. And I have to credit Ruth at CoreCouture for this one – I followed her lead and changed the pattern at the sides, removing some of the outward ‘poke’, as below.


  • Several sewists suggested that the pattern is a little narrow at the hemline and might benefit from a back slit for walking ease. So I extended the hem outwards by 1″, all side seams (as above in my draft), adding a total of 4″. And the result works great. It’s comfortable in all situations.
  • I also drafted all my pattern pieces with a 1/2″ seam allowance. StyleArc uses 3/8″ for seams and 1/4″ for necklines and collars. Their reasoning is beyond me, but because I use the PDF versions of their patterns, I can suit myself.
  • I used the facing from the pattern, but did it in cotton lawn, interfaced with knit tricot fusible. I really wanted to stabilize the neckline, something a self-fabric facing would not have done.
Lots of clipping and basting to turn the facing at the bottom of the v-neck…
About the fabric. I sew with rayon challis a lot, and love it. I enjoy sewing it, and I enjoy wearing it even more. I was curious about rayon crepe, new to me, and I found that it sews pretty much the same as challis. It slips around, moves on any bias, ravels a little more than challis, and has a mind of its own!
I don’t write tutorials myself – I get very irritated by the raft of sewist who do, with poor technique and, often, worse sewing examples. (BTW – I ‘unfollow’ any blogs that start doing tutorials – I’m that irritated!) But I do try to find good sources and information that I can share. Here’s a link to an article, on Sew4Home, that is a nice discussion of fabrics like rayon crepe:
Time for a pic:

The start, stop, and start again…I tossed this dress in the bin twice while I was working on it. It was decidely awful before I got the side seams done and got a good look at it 🙂


But I really like it! and I plan more. It’s delightful to wear, fun and a little off-beat.


Ciao! Coco