Style Arc Olivia: the jungle dress

Sunday, 4 March 2018

The oppressive summer heat and humidity is continuing in these parts, so last week I made a quick and simple summer dress. This is the Style Arc Olivia, which I bought during the 50% Valentine's Day sale but have now only got around to using it.

image via Style Arc

The fabric I've used is a Cotton and Steel cotton called "Paradise Garden" that I won from Brave Fabrics in the Australian Sewing Guild Castaway to Couture competition I entered last year with this refashioned dress. This fabric has lovely colours that didn't fade at all after washing which is always a good start, but it might be a bit too thick for this style - versions made by other people in rayon and polyester seem to drape much better than my version.

I've only made separates by Style Arc before, so I wasn't sure how I would go in their dress sizes. I ended up cutting a size 6 for the bodice and a size 12 for the skirt which most closely matched my measurements. However, like some other bloggers who made this dress, I found the neckline to be too wide and too scooped. I have narrow rounded shoulders, and a flat chest so I should have fixed this before cutting out the pattern, but I did not.

It's not really obvious from this photo, but the neckline tended to fall off my shoulders and just had too much fabric across the front. So to do a quick and easy fix I literally lifted up that shoulders until the neckline was at a good point and the armhole wasn't too tight and then just sewed a new shoulder seam about 3.5cm down from the original, as you can see in the photo below.

This fixed the neckline a bit - it sits in a much better place on me but is still a little low for my liking. I don't need my bony and freckly decolletage out on display so I do prefer a little higher neckline.

The width of the bodice is still an issue though - I can easily pinch out a few centimetres at the centre front and if I make this again I will redraft the bodice to make it less wide at the bustline and with a higher neckline.

I also found this dress really long. My hem is about 10cm deep, even with reducing the overall length by increasing the shoulder seam. The waistline now sits at my natural waist because of the shoulder adjustment, which is fine for this style, although it would help if I wore my belt straight around the waist instead of crooked like I have in these photos!

So overall it's a simple sweet dress that I will make again, but with adjustments to the bodice and neckline. If you have a long torso and are blessed with an ample chest this may probably work for you straight out of the packet. Apart from that issue it's a really quick project and easy for the beginner even with the usual sparse Style Arc instructions.

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