Saturday, 11 March 2017

Style Arc Mary Shift Dress in a Jacquard Knit

Style Arc Mary Shift Dress

My version of the Style Arc Mary Shift Dress did not go quite as I had planned...all my own fault. Apparently, when working with a fabric where either side can be the right side, you do need to focus and apply a certain amount of concentration as each construction step is executed. I originally planned to have black sleeves (using the reverse side of the fabric) which would have highlighted the raglan sleeve design, but I only realised my error when I went to press the raglan seams which I had already overlocked. The prospect of unpicking all those stitches in a knit was just too much so I went with a design change, mid project.

Style Arc Mary Shift Dress
I also disregarded the suggested fabrics of silk, rayon, crepe or lace and used this lovely Knitwit Integrity Jacquard Knit. This fabric is so lovely to wear. It is a double knit with a lovely drape, but not as much body as a ponte. It also has a lovely quality feel about it too. Due to my fabric choice, the dress turned out very roomy and I ended up running in the side seams, including the sleeves to achieve a nicer fit. This has added to the A line shape of the dress too.


I do love the nice fit around the shoulders in this pattern. The darts at the top of the raglan sleeves certainly contribute to this.


The centre back seam was eliminated so I didn't have to match the print. Instead of hemming the sleeves, I added black bands to match the black trim on the pockets and the black neckline binding. I think this ties everything in together nicely.


Sorry for the blurry side shot, but this is the only photo we got of the side view. Our photo shoot in the front yard was interrupted by our neighbours calling out. It's always awkward taking blog photos when other people are watching. The design on the fabric seemed to be a little distorted, although I centred the black motifs directly down the centre front and centre back, they didn't run exactly straight horizontally.  


This made pattern matching the pockets very difficult, but I am happy with the final result.


The 4cm hem was cover stitched. I used a very helpful tip from Emma who blogs at Earnest Flagg. She suggested I use the seam guide that came with my Bernina 350PE to set the distance from the edge that I needed to position the cover stitching. This worked a treat. Thanks so much Emma for sharing that tip.


This is how I wore the dress to work, dressed up with a bright scarf. I can see this one working with tights and boots for winter too. I had a request on my last post, from DarlaB to share how I do my neckline knit bindings. I know a lot of you already know how to do this, or have your own preferred way. As I used this technique during the construction of my Mary Shift Dress and remembered to take photos I thought I would share them here.

Step 1:
Leaving one shoulder seam open (or in this case one back raglan seam) sew a line of stitching around the neckline at the position of where you want your finished neckline edge to sit. Then carefully trim fabric as close to the stitching as possible. The stitching line simply serves as a guide line for trimming the fabric.


Step 2:
Cut a strip along the stretchiest grain of your fabric for the binding. Calculate the width required by adding 2x binding depth + 2x seam allowance and maybe a smidge extra to allow for turn of cloth. Make the length a little more than the neckline edge. The excess length can be trimmed off. Press in half lengthwise. Stitch one long edge of the binding to the neckline, right sides facing each other using your desired seam allowance. Apply a slight tension to the binding when stitching...no need to stretch it.



Step 3:
Flip binding over the raw neckline edge. The crease in the binding will be the finished edge of the neckline.



Step 4:
Press seam allowances towards the binding.


Step 5:
Pin the binding so that the creased edge sits at the finished neckline edge and the binding overlaps the stitching line on the back. Stitch in the ditch from the right side to secure the back of the binding.


Step 6:
Carefully trim off the excess binding close to the stitching line. It is fine to leave this edge raw in a knit that does not unravel. This creates a nice neat and not too bulky binding.


Step 7:
Trim off any extra length of binding not required. Sew that final shoulder seam, carefully aligning the edges of the binding at the neckline. Finish off the seam allowances as usual.


Step 8:
If overlocking this seam, I thread the tails back through the stitching to leave it neat and secure. I then stitch the seam allowance down on the binding only to prevent it peaking out and looking unsightly. As you can see in my example I have done a terrible job in matching the width of the binding at the join. I think I can get away with it here as it sort of blends into the black motif pattern of the fabric. A true perfectionist would unpick and redo this but I quite honestly, couldn't be bothered.


I hope I have explained this so it makes sense.

Happy Sewing

Jean

20 comments:

  1. I think you can get away with it too - lets face it, in real life this would not be noticeable, but of course you have taken a photo that focuses right on this! And thank you for sharing your binding technique.

    I do like this version of the dress, and I think the mistake worked brilliantly, especially with the trim you added. Sometimes mistakes are the best things that can happen!

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    1. Thanks Sarah Liz. The dress is growing on me now that the disapointment in myself, for accidently not making it as intended, is fading.

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  2. You totally are the Style Arc queen! I love this dress: the fabric, the contrasting bands and the shape. You did a great job with the pattern matching, and I am with you on the binding - I wouldn't unpick it either. Another lovely make.

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Sue. I do favour Style Arc patterns over others, because they tend to fit my shape with little if any adjustment required. It's great to know that a new pattern will probably fit ok before I start.

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  3. Very nice fabric print choice for your dress. Classy and very versatile. Great job! You look lovely. P.S. Love your hair!

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    1. Thank you Bonnie. It has taken me years to train my hairdresser to cut my hair how I like. I told her recently that she is never allowed to retire.

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  4. Another great Style Arc dress. And thank you for sharing the guide tip and how you do neck bindings.

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    1. Thanks Paola. I always like to see how others do things so I hope this will be of help to someone.

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  5. A very smart dress for work, it looks great with the red scarf

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    1. Thanks Karen. I felt it needed the pop of colour.

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  6. You always make the Style Arc dresses look so nice, even the ones I don't fancy at first. This one is no exception. I love the fabric and the black trim sets it off perfectly. Style Arc queen, indeed! Thanks for the tip with the sewing guide. I have two and have never thought of using them to measure the hem depth. More accurate than strips of sticky tape :)

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    1. Awww thanks Kathy. I was keen to try the raglan sleeve on this one and I love it. Even the very simple patterns can be made into something special with the right fabric choice. The seam guide is a great tip.

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  7. Another beautiful dress! Love everything you did in this dress, especially the binding tutorial. Happy sewing!

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    1. Thanks so much Hana. Glad you liked my binding tutorial.

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  8. Another lovely dress, you did a very good job at matching those pockets with the fabric not being quite square.

    Thank you for the tip about the seam guide from your Bernina, I have one for my Janome I need to see if that will work.

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    1. Thank you Sharon. Pattern matching the pockets was a bit of a nightmare and took way too much time, so I was happy that they turned out ok in the end. I can't take credit for tip with the seam guide, but it is a beauty.

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  9. I liked this pretty dress the minute I saw it in my IG feed! The red scarf sets it off nicely. :)

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  10. Very cute dress. Thanks for showing how you do your binding. Looks good.

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