adult's clothing · sewing

Style Arc Mary shift dress

Thanks for your Christmas wishes.  I hope that all of you have had a pleasant couple of days, doing the things that you enjoy doing.  Boxing Day is generally my favourite day of the season – low key, no rush, no pressures.  Yesterday I managed to fit in afternoon drinks with some of the Melbourne sewing blogging/instagramming community – since this is the second year we’ve met up, it’s clearly now an annual event!  I was able to end the day with our annual Boxing Day family event of watching the Doctor Who Christmas Special.  It was highly entertaining.

Style Arc Mary dress in Merchant and Mills linen

I wore one of my more recently sewn garments, the Style Arc Mary shift dress. I originally made this to wear on Christmas Day (which means it was finished Christmas Eve) but changed my mind and sewed/wore something else. This pattern has been in my stash for a little while. Now I wish I’d sewn it up sooner.

Style Arc Mary dress in Merchant and Mills linen

I’ll talk about the pattern first. Style Arc describe it as follows:  MARY SHIFT DRESS: This wonderfully versatile dress is suitable for all occasions. The raglan sleeves and patch pockets give this shift dress a sense of style. Create your own design by using a contrast colour or fabric on the sleeves, neck bind and pocket tops. Why not sew this dress in a beautiful lace and omit the pockets. FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION: Silk, Rayon, Crepe, Lace.


This is one of those simple patterns that can be dressed right up or down depending on the fabric combination that you use.  The raglan sleeve shoulder dart means that it sits nicely on your shoulders (really, all woven raglan garments need that dart in the sleeve piece).  There is a neckline facing option if you prefer that to binding the neckline.

Style Arc Mary dress in Merchant and Mills linen

I’d better talk about that fabric. What a colour!   I think it’s called Kandinsky Blue.  It’s Merchant and Mills linen, purchased from Stitch56. I have a few garments in this fabric now, and while it’s definitely expensive, it is always so lovely to sew and to wear. I chose to sew the entire garment in the one fabric, using triple zig-zag stitch to secure the sleeve and dress hems, to highlight the raglan seams, to secure the pocket tops, and to hold the neckline facing in place. I do make sure that I under stitch facings properly so that they roll to the inside to sit flat, but find that in fabrics with a lot of give or shift, such as rayon or this particular linen, the neckline sits better if I topstitch the facing down. It just gives it more support. So I used the triple zig-zag for that too.

Style Arc Mary dress in Merchant and Mills linen

I did make some minor alterations. I folded out about three inches from the length of the dress, just above the pockets. Luckily for me a friend Kathryn, who is not much taller than me, had already sewn this dress and was able to give some length advice. I also made the neckline about 5/8 inch larger all around. I sewed on the facing and turned it and tried it on, and it was just too round and high for my preference. So I restitched it, another 5/8 inch from the original line of stitching, then trimmed, under stitched and turned before trying it on again. Much better! I prefer a more open neckline on me, especially in summer.

Style Arc Mary dress in Merchant and Mills linen

This will be a terrific dress for our forthcoming overseas holiday. Linen wasn’t one of the fabric suggestions – and it definitely wrinkles enormously – but it works well in this design and is so comfortable to wear. I can now visualise this dress made up in fancier fabrics. It’s a very versatile pattern.


15 thoughts on “Style Arc Mary shift dress

  1. I like it, as well. I’m looking for a semi-fitted dress pattern with sleeves at least as long as yours. Would you sew that pattern in rayon challis? I have some challis and am having trouble finding the right pattern. What do you think?

  2. What a coincidence, I made the same dress for Christmas day but in velvet (northern hemisphere!) It’s funny you took up the length and widened the neckline as I lengthened mine and took in a cm at the neck, different body shapes, ha! Love the colour of your version and I plan on making a couple of cotton/linen ones for summer.

  3. Hi Lara. Your dress looks lovely in the beautiful linen, a lovely combination. I also made up this dress at the end of last summer, I think, in a rather unforgiving chambray, and although I love the pattern I haven’t worn it, despite ‘trying’ to, and was about to cut it off to a long top/tunic. I think the fabric was too stiff, but maybe I’ ll give it another go in some linen, thanks for the inspiration!

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