New dress: Style Arc Hope dress in double gauze

Well, hallelujah! It’s finally the time of year where we can don light, floaty dresses again and I’m really happy with the way this one turned out. As you may have noticed, I’ve really not been sewing much the last year and certainly not blogging much at all. There are numerous reasons for this, mostly to do with moving country, decorating a house and a general lack of free time, but I definitely did also lose a little bit of garment sewing enthusiasm there for a while. I’m pleased that it seems to be back and I’ve sewn a few garments over the last few weeks – now to catch up with all the blogging I haven’t done! I’ve missed the ol’ blog…

To kick off is the Hope Dress from Style Arc. This is one of those patterns that has been in my queue forever and it was very popular in the indie sewing arena when it came out. It’s also one of those dresses that sewists seem to make numerous versions of – and having made it, I can see why. It’s a quick sew, quite versatile (and particularly now that Style Arc has brought out an expansion pack) and just so comfy. I wore this dress out on the town on a wee holiday in Greece (where the nightime pics are from), but it was equally suitable for daytime sightseeing.

Fabric and Sizing

I, quite unusually actually, made a straight size 18 in the Hope dress, which corresponds exactly to my measurements at the moment. I normally make the size corresponding to my high bust and grade up from bust down, but after reading several reviews and looking closely at the numbers and line drawing, I thought I would see how the 18 worked out. As it’s a newer pattern, it’s available in a plethora of sizing options. I’m not really sure why Style Arc continues with its strange single-size-but-actually-three-non-nested-sizes option, but I went for the regular multi-sized pdf, which is offered in 4-16. 10-22 or 18-30. I got the middle option.

The resulting dress is definitely quite roomy, but not overly so; it is, after all, the intention of the dress, which is described as “easy fit”. I could go down a dress size and it would still fit fine, but the one area I would need to watch is the bodice, which is relatively fitted in comparison to the skirt and sleeves. This is what makes the dress so wearable and why it doesn’t just look like a giant tent, as many high-waisted dresses do on me. I might get away with a 16, but it’s also possible a small FBA might be in order or perhaps just a little extra length to get around the boobage. If I went any lower in size, I would certainly have to make some adjustments.

The fabric is a beautiful double gauze by Atelier Brunette that I received from a friend as a sort of swap for some denim. It has little silver woven circles on it, which give off a lovely glint at night, and the pillowy gauze is perfect for both hot and cool weather – as I said, brilliant for a holiday! Double gauze can be a pain in the proverbial to sew, but you know what they say – you get what you (or your sewing friend) paid for – and this was no problem at all.

Construction and adjustments

I’ve spoken before about Style Arc regarding their instructions and sizing (see my Casey coat page for a long-winded rant) but I’m pleased to say that the Hope dress was rather a pleasant experience. The instructions themselves were quite detailed, with good diagrams, but even better for the less experienced sewist – there’s a photo sewalong for the Hope dress on the Style Arc website! To be honest, I discovered it quite by accident as the last time I looked at the tutorial section, it was mostly brief instructions on techniques. However, it looks like they’ve been putting in a really sustained effort to add sewalongs for many newer patterns, which is fantastic!

I changed very little about the dress. This is the longer length as drafted, and I’m 5’6″ for reference, but I did decide to add some width to the skirt. I used the entire width of the fabric to create a skirt that’s probably 1.5 times the original and I think it really works with this double gauze. I would like to try the original width with a fabric with more drape – I think the slimmer silhouette would really work for me there.

I love the raglan bodice and the puffed sleeves. I normally have to shorten sleeves a little and you can see that even though I didn’t, they still came up a little shorter than on the pattern illustration, so you might want to watch out for that. I also really liked the back keyhole detail, but would have liked it a little deeper – it seems slightly on the mean side to me.

I’m really splitting hairs though, as my overwhelming feeling about this dress is one of delight. I’ve already worn it several times, which is the true test and will be trying out some of the extension adaptions soon. A lovely return to sewing!

12 thoughts on “New dress: Style Arc Hope dress in double gauze

  1. You look great in this dress. I love the way it’s empire lined on you. Now going to look at my three versions and decide if I should raise the waist so they look more like yours… and great to see a blog post again from you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw, thank you so much! I really appreciate that! I haven’t heard that episode yet, so will have to take a listen! My own personal experience is that quality makes a difference. I’ve had no issues at all with double gauze from people like Atelier Brunette, but the one time I used a cheaper one, it was a bit of a pain to sew.

      Liked by 2 people

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