A friend sent me some awesome woven fabric she found at an estate sale. She asked if I wanted it, describing it as “Emily fabric.” Spoiler alert: I said yes, and when it arrived last week, I immediately got to work. I thought it would look great as a shirtdress, so I gave the Blaire pattern from Style Arc another go. The first time around I made the shirt version, so this time I wanted to make the dress.
To compliment the elaborate woven fabric, I used some bright blue scraps for the pockets. I think they go together pretty nicely. I drafted a hem facing instead of hemming as the pattern suggests. When I made the shirt version of this pattern, the hem was a nightmare because of the X-TREME curves, so I wanted to come up with an alternate solution. I googled “blaire style arc hem facing” and found a particularly helpful post from someone who accomplished this quite nicely, so with my initial instinct validated, I went for it.
I feel too strange to go outside for pictures right now, so instead here are some COVID-style glamor shots of the details:
Although I thought I was sick of making collared shirts, last year Bellbird posted (only on instagram I think) an offbeat collared shirt, Blaire by Style Arc, that I thought was so lovely, I had to give it a try. I bought this “wrong way” striped Italian shirting last year, and I thought this would be the perfect candidate. I saw the fabric at Loom, and after leaving the store without buying it, went back the next day because I kept thinking about it. Unfortunately, they only had 1 yard left!
I set out to make the dress version, but I thought it looked too “hospital gown-y,” so I opted to rip out the bottom half (and the topstitched pockets…) and recut it into the shirt version. I think this is a better use of the stripes since I cut the under panels the wrong way.
This was overall medium-hard to sew. The directions had a lot of typos that made it very confusing, but I muddled through. The hardest part was hemming the curves on the shirt. I don’t think I did the best job… oh well. I think I have finally learned my lesson about matching the thread to the project, I am sad about how bad the white thread sticks out, especially on the dark Liberty-print inner collar stand. This fabric was not forgiving with ripping out stitches, so I left it, but in the future I pledge to always match each bobbin’s thread to the corresponding fabric!
One other note– the pattern specifies 3/8″ seam allowances, but I used french seams throughout. Since this is such a boxy fit, I thought it would work out fine to have a little extra seam allowance in there. The only thing I didn’t account for was sewing the sleeve cuffs with the extra allowance, too, so they lined up with the sleeves.