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I’m not sure what criteria Style Arc use to define a pattern as a “designer” one, but I do find that they are often the styles that I am more drawn to. Maybe the ones aimed at a less traditional fitted waist silhouette? I’m not sure. The Mila Designer Dress is a simple silhouette that definitely fits my personal “flattery” criteria.
From the Style Arc website: MILA DESIGNER DRESS: Use your creativity to make this dress your own. The flattering bodice seam allows you to colour block or use different textures to suit your individual style. This is a simple pull on dress with a slight cocoon shape that is so simple to make but will look amazing once done. FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION: Crepe, silk, a drapery woven, jersey knit.
This version is a “wearable muslin”. The skirt part is sewn from a printed woven viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics left over after making a pair of pants, and the bodice is a lovely slightly textured but still drapey something woven that was a gift from my friend Rachel. I used the print for the neck facing as well.
I cut and sewed size 12 without alteration other than to scoop out the front neckline about 5/8″. I feel more comfortable without the edge of the fabric right up against my neck, but wouldn’t say that this is a routine adjustment for this pattern – it just depends on personal preference.
Although in this photo I am leaning strangely, it shows you the smoothness of the back fit. This dress really does skim over the body towards a narrower hemline. It is interesting how the skirt falls and drapes with centre front and centre back seams rather than side seams. It is slightly different to usual, but I find it difficult to put my finger exactly on what it is. The centre back seam does mean that you could add a slit for walking ease if you felt that you needed it, but I wore this dress all day at this length and it wasn’t an issue.
On my 158cm frame this has ended up just below the knee after taking a 2 inch hem (one inch turned twice and topstitched). Proportions might be a little better on me a fraction shorter, but I also find that with straight dresses I really need to allow for bending and sitting length. It’s easy in a short straight skirt to expose rather more than anticipated in movement, especially in a non-fitted woven garment. I note that the pattern illustration has this dress finishing below the knee too (I took a deeper hem than indicated in the pattern).
I chose to topstitch the seam where the bodice and skirt join, but in retrospect think that this may have been a mistake. Although it stabilises the area, it also makes the seamline pull a bit along those bias angled seams at the front. It think that it would drape more smoothly without the topstitching where it falls from the bust at the front. It’s fine along the back. The topstitching wasn’t in the instructions. By the way, I don’t tend to comment much on Style Arc’s instructions. I find them quite satisfactory and a good order of construction, but they are certainly much briefer and have less hand-holding than many other pattern companies. However, there are lots of tutorials on the Style Arc website if you need them, and Style Arc do provide illustrations of any tricky bits. I think that they are quite adequate.
I am planning on sewing this dress again, possibly in a knit. I wonder how it would go layered over a long-sleeved tee for winter? The pdf of the pattern is available for download from Gumroad here, or the paper pattern is available from the Style Arc website. I used the paper pattern, but there aren’t many pattern pieces if you download the pdf, so it shouldn’t be too tedious. And yes, it is a quick garment to sew.