This season Emma and I decided to tweak things a little bit for our seasonal challenge*. Rather than both sewing the same fabric (from Darn Cheap Fabrics), we decided to sew the same pattern! The pattern that we chose to sew was the Style Arc Lara Jane dress/top.
I suspect that many of you may have twigged by now that the lovely women over at Style Arc actually named this dress after me! I feel extremely honoured and flattered. And fortunately – I love the dress!
These photos really would have benefitted from a background that wasn’t pretty much the same colour as my arms! They blend into it and it makes it difficult to see the overall lines of the dress. From the Style Arc website: This gorgeous “cold shoulder” dress features a feminine frilled sleeve which is perfect for all occasions. Make it in a silk for that special occasion or in rayon for a casual shift dress. As an option this dress can be made with or without the sleeve. Why not turn it into a cold shoulder top? FABRIC SUGGESTION: Silk, rayon, crepe or any soft woven fabric.
I sewed this in size 12, but added a bit more room to the front for my tummy by cutting it a bit wider from the bust darts down. I’m glad that I did. I don’t think that I made any alterations to the pattern length. The fabric is a beautifully geometrically striped rayon from The Cloth Shop. It was lovely to sew, but did cause me a few dramas in cutting out as I did my best to centre the print and line up the stripes. They’re not completely perfect down the centre back, but I suspect that only another sewer would notice!
I can usually get most dresses and tops over my pin head without having to undo buttons (so I often leave out centre back openings and their closures) but this dress does actually benefit from having the opening. I can just get it on without it – but not without messing up my hairdo and/or makeup!
I chose to do the topstitching in the same cream colour that is in the print, but in hindsight – mostly after looking at these photos – wish that I’d chosen one of the other colours. The cream stands out that little bit more than I would prefer. The only slightly fiddly part of sewing this dress is doing the narrow hems around the bottom of the sleeve flounces. I just turned a narrow hem twice and stitched it, but there are lots of tutorials around for turning very narrow hems that would probably have given an even nicer and more precise finish. I’ve read those tutorials and instructions – I’ve just never taken the time to follow them!
The sleeve cut out is bound with bias binding on the inside, which encloses the edge of the sleeve and flounce and joins them together. Once again, it’s a little bit fiddly but isn’t difficult. Other than that, this was an extremely easy dress to sew.
So you know what pattern Emma has used for this season’s challenge – but what version of the pattern did she sew, and in what fabric? Pop over to her blog and take a look! From the sneaky peeks on Instagram I know that it will be wonderful.
And as for me – I’m very pleased at how this dress has turned out. It’s comfortable, with plenty of ease through the mid-section, without being very voluminous. The sleeve cutouts are still on trend, but don’t actually extend to the shoulders and interfere with bra wearing. It feels a bit special – not surprising considering that the pattern bears my name! Thanks again, Style Arc!
* Emma and I started the DCF Seasonal Challenge a year or two ago – we buy a couple of metres of the same fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics each season, and each make a garment. We then reveal it on our blogs on the same day. It’s just a fun thing that we started when we realised how often we buy and sew the same fabrics (often from Darn Cheap). This season we’re using the same pattern, rather than the same fabric!