|Style Arc Danni Dolman dress|
Style Arc is an Australia-based company (read more about the company and founder Chloe Parker in this interview with Pattern Review), which offers a wide range of top, bottom, dress, and suiting styles. I chose the Danni Dolman dress because it has only 4 pattern pieces, was rated "easy" by Style Arc, and is versatile.
Cost: The Danni Dolman pattern was $13.12 USD, plus about $15.00 for air mail shipping from Australia to Kansas City, MO. I got the Annetta Skirt free with my purchase by following the instructions on Style Arc's "home" page (the free pattern for January is Annie's Cami, which I can't wait to get my hands on).
Packaging: The pattern arrived in the mail in a heavy envelope with a friendly note from the team at Style Arc. The pattern itself was packaged in a plastic page protector with an instruction sheet. Not the most high-tech packaging but it does the trick.
Pattern: The pattern was printed in a single size on a heavier-weight white paper (about 3 times heavier than the tissue that the Big 4 print on) which was slighly glossy on the printed side. It's tough paper and will stand up to multiple uses. The pattern contains grainline markings, as well as matching notches and seam allowance notches. It does not include markings for the waistline, bust line, or hip line, but the front pattern piece is an odd shape due to the tucks on the front left of the waist, so it's understandable that fit markings were not included.
Instructions: The instructions didn't include a cutting layout diagram, but instead provided an adequate description of how the pieces should be laid out and cut on the fabric - no problem. The sewing instructions were very basic and light on detail; however, such an easy pattern as this doesn't require a lot of hand-holding or extremely detailed instructions. The instructions didn't contain written indication of the seam allowance - 3/8", 1 cm, etc. The seam allowances were indicated by notches and dashes on the pattern. Few instructions on a simple garment allowed me to focus on the sewing and not become bogged down or dependent on instructions, but might be intimidating to a brand-new sewist.
Finished Product: The dress came out great, and was quick to sew up (I used a bargain two-way stretch knit, $2.50/yd, from Hancock Fabrics). It's pretty tight on me through the lower hip (aka saddlebag) area, which is nothing that a few days at the gym and a new pair of Spanx can't fix. It is a very pink dress, but I think it will be cute for spring. Maybe I'll strut into the office wearing it on the effective date of my promotion : )
|Dolman sleeve detail|
Conclusion: My first impression of Style Arc is very positive - a great, easy design delivered in a simple, un-fussy manner. The pattern was clear and easy to understand (although a pattern key may be helpful for completely new sewists). The single-size pattern made me a little nervous at first, but it was very easy to work with. I'll definitely be buying more Style Arc patterns in the future. I love that they have on-trend patterns, as well as great basics (tanks, tees, long-sleeve tops) that the Big 4 sometimes overlook. Have you ever used a Style Arc pattern? What did you think of it?