Scarlett O’Mara

1 Style arc Mara Shirt Dress1 mara shirt dressIf Style Arc was a parent rather than a pattern company, the kind of parent it would be is the kind that teaches its kid to swim by throwing it into a lake off a jetty.

There ain’t much handholding in the Mara Shirt Dress instructions.

1 Pocket with Flap Style Arc MaraExhibit one: constructing the shirt pocket.  “Fold the pocket in half and stitch as marked on the pattern to create a box pleat.”  But fold in half which way?  Right sides together or wrong sides?  I went with right, which was wrong.  An inch of ink could have explained.  Instead I hear voices:  ‘But Marianna mate, it’s so obvious, how could you have been so …. stupid?!’

1 shirt cuffExhibit two: here’s the shirt cuff.  And amongst the following sentences are the instructions on how to achieve it: “with right sides facing sew the top sleeve to the under sleeve. Follow the notches.  Sew the under sleeve seam and the back seam to down to the sleeve opening.  Sew the outer cuff edge to the sleeve opening, pin the inner cuff to the sleeve seam and sink stitch.”

Yeah,  😕   I’m gonna need some diagrams….1 Stylearc Mara  pocket and short sleeveNotice my sleeves are a lot shorter than on the pattern illustration.  That’s right, there’ve been … amputations.

My choice of fabric – a sheer linen from Simply Fabrics (£6) and redder than these pinkish pictures suggest – compromised the project somewhat as the seam finishes would have been visible from the right side.  So to achieve a less unkempt look, I had to choose French and flat-felled seams; both annoying to alter. Also, I had to omit the side pockets as they showed through and just looked floppy like elephant ears.

1 Style arc Mara Shirt Dress Back view

But despite being traumatised by evidence of my incompetence and amateurism, I enjoyed making this and I think it’s a great-looking dress.  The collar is elegant, the button fly-front looks very professional (and that part was easy) while the sleeves are narrow-fitting and feminine.  During the project, which was drawn out and marked by many interruptions, each morning I’d enter the room where the dress draped over the dummy by the window and I’d be overwhelmed by the gorgeous colour, all walls awash in a shade of blood.

I’m not sure what to wear under it yet.  My jeans are a bit heavy.  Maybe a black leotard and a mini (sooo 1993)?

I’m sewing another vibrant-coloured version of this for my mum but she’s not around for a fitting so I’m off to make something from Colette Patterns now.  Colette’s a helicopter parent.  The kind that reminds you that after sewing the left sleeve to do the other side!  🙂1 S o M

23 thoughts on “Scarlett O’Mara

  1. Mariana, your opening line about SA being the kind of parent to basically watch it’s child drown is so spot-on! I have a love-hate relationship with StyleArc…the styles and fit are usually great. Even as an experienced garment sewer, it is nice to have instructions that at least make sense. Your dress is really pretty and I do like the shorter sleeves, somehow I think they work with the lightweight fabric.
    Enjoy your make!

  2. True, so true Marianna. More than 1 Style Arc pattern has brought me to my knees! Love the parenting analogy. I wonder if that makes sew-slings the approachable fail safe parent. The one that encourages you to venture forth in the knowledge that they’re there when you need them!

    • I’ve given some thought to what you said about your SA theories this evening; it all makes perfect sense.

      It was great meeting you; wish we could do it again soon!

    • Thanks Kim! When it turns out so wearable, the garment is worth all the angst. You forget the pain of making and remember the fun of wearing 🙂

  3. Fabulous dress, I love that the style is so modern (most shirt dresses have a more vintage vibe). The colour is great too. And yes completely agree about Style Arc instructions. Not sure why they can’t put a bit more effort into them given the patterns are so good.

  4. Great result. Love the pockets and your seams look immaculate. I’ve never made a style arc pattern and after reading your review I might keep it that way! Maybe I’ll wait till I give up work and looking for slower sewing (plus I’ll be more experienced).

  5. Great analogy! I don’t think it’s incompetence, please! I think of myself as ‘smart’ but man I have trouble with written directions sometimes. In the past I would edit sewing instructions, ugh. Just ugh. But it’s a beautiful dress!

  6. I was lost at ‘under sleeve’ . Are the sleeves in two pieces?

    Sounds like you had a great time with your meet up – I’m so sorry I missed it this time – although I wouldn’t have missed you in your lovely red dress. Hopefully, we can do it another time. x

    • Yes, it’s a two piece sleeve gradually getting narrower towards the cuff so very hard to fold under when shortened due to funnel effect. Luckily I had some scraps to make fake cuffs.

  7. Sorry it has taken me so long to read this blog posts. So much so that I joined in the discussion on the Australian pattern company with our knowledgeable Australian friend, without having a clue what you were talking about!

    You always write so thoughtfully – a love affair with the English language. And the colour is really very nice on you. As was the deeper green you wore for dinner.

  8. Very funny post, Marianna. I have never sewn a Stylearc pattern. Now, I know when I do, I’ll keep to an easy style! Much prefer a “helicopter” approach myself. Despite silly instructions such as sew the other sleeve.
    So nice to meet you.

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