Lady in Red – Style Arc Jessica Dress

Big changes afoot for me shortly – I am currently working from home, but as of next week, we are moving to a proper office. As one would expect, this has good and bad aspects, but for me the most important consideration is – what will I wear?!!!

As of right now I have just seven work dresses; two winter dresses and five summer dresses, one I am not loving as a work dress (it’s a little low cut) so really only four.  Obviously I have some work to do to resolve this. Rather than go through the inevitable shopping pain, I have started on making a new work wardrobe. One of the dresses counted in the four/five is this one I made a couple of weeks ago, the Style Arc Jessica Dress.

Jessica Dress

This was my first Style Arc experience, and I have to say I am not overly impressed. I would be even less impressed if I had bought the pattern (I borrowed it). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the pattern, I just think there are so many things that could be done better i.e. multi-sizing, instructions, fabric layout map. I am sure most people are aware of these issues with StyleArc.

I made this dress in a size 14 (pretty accurate to my measurements), but shortened it between the shoulders and bust by 1.5″, and took an inch off each side and narrowed the shoulders by about 2″, and took about 2″ off the hem. I guess this may make it a petite (short) size 12?? or even maybe a 10?

Jessica Dress

I used a crepe knit from Spotlight that I was originally going to use for a wrap dress (the wrap dress is still on the cards, just this leapt the queue, c’mon you’ve all been there!)

Construction on this was reasonably straightforward, although it is probably better to use common sense than the instructions. The twist is not as complicated as it looks, it is simply a loop made with one side of the front and then the other front fed through it. I actually twisted one side 180° as I felt that made it sit better.

Almost the whole garment thing can be made on the overlocker and I did the hemming on the cover-stitch. This make is a relatively quick make, being knit, the fit is quite forgiving, although I had to do some fiddling as the whole thing was way too big initially. Not being experienced with StyleArc patterns I can only assume their sizes run large?

Jessica Dress
Perhaps a slip might be in order to prevent some clinginess?

– comfortable – work PJs for the win!
– reasonably easy to construct
– it’s red!
– suits a curvy figure, especially needs bewbs to fill out the top I think

– in my opinion the sizing is off as this needed a lot more fiddling than a knit dress would normally require
– I’m not truly sure this is my style, it feels a little clingy/revealing in the back, but I need to try with granny undies or a slip and this may fix it
– the shoulders still feel too wide for my liking

Jessica Dress


Like Lizzy says “it is perfect casual workdress – I don’t have to look super-corporate every day so it’s a great choice for those days at the desk when you just want to be comfortable.”

I won’t be making it again though – I want  to try a few other knit dress patterns that might be better for my shape.  V1191 is a similar pattern but has a set in sleeve. I have a couple of wrap dresses planned: V8379 and M6713 (totally going to have to do a bike pose for this post). And then, the one I am most excited about and currently top on my list V2876 – I love this dress and really hope it works well for me.

30 thoughts on “Lady in Red – Style Arc Jessica Dress

  1. This looks like a really comfy dress – love the colour! I too think Style Arc sizing runs large, and it would be so nice if they did multi-sizing. And had better instructions. I love V1191, I think that would look lovely on you.

  2. Phew – sounds like a lot of faffing with the fit for a knit dress! I love the red and the shape of the bodice on you – is the skirt drapy at the front? I think a fuller skirt could be lovely. I haven’t tried style arc but people seem to love them or hate them.

  3. This looks like a smart but comfy dress, I like the knot detail and it looks like a really nice fit in the bodice which shows off your figure well but the shape of the top means you won’t accidentally flash too much cleavage 🙂

  4. Hi Lizzy, I really like the dress around the bodice. I agree with what another person commented – my opinion is that the tapering tulip shaped skirt doesn’t work to flatter your figure – an A line with some gathering under the bust would have made it more pleasing.
    Look forward to seeing your version of V2876, what a fab classic 40s dress

    1. I disagree about the skirt and quite like it, I am not trying to hide my figure so I am ok with the shaping. Gathering under the bust just makes me look pregnant, unfortunately an empire line does not suit the larger busted figure.
      I am planning to make the V2876 later this week 🙂

  5. This style and colour look really good on you! I know what you mean about the instructions though – and I don’t have much common sense so I’m screwed!

    Hooray for work wardrobe augmentation! I’m in the same boat at the moment. It’s fun, but there feels like no time!

  6. I love this red on you! I haven’t used a style arc pattern before but I have been hearing a lot of negatives about them lately. It sort of puts me off wanting to try them out.

  7. This dress is lovely on you. The colour is gorgeous, and I love the twist on the bodice. Shame about the pattern sizing and instructions though. This seems to be a big problem with Style Arc, I wonder if they will actually listen to their customers and do something about it. Good luck with the work clothes sewing!

  8. That red is great on you! Are you switching to a new job, or just working somewhere different now that you are back in the city?

    1. My company was just sold into a larger company, staff included. It has just meant we have been absorbed into the new office. I quite like the location, nice change to work in the city instead of the ‘burbs!

  9. Oh the red looks great on you and overall I think the style really suits you. You look very professional. I also think it is very slimming although I think you are right and it is a little wide on the shoulders. I’d love to use more Sytle Arc but I’m at least 2 sizes so it’s just too much trouble. Having said that I have a Style Arc top cut out.

    1. Stupid narrow shoulders, it is sometimes difficult to work out how much to narrow patterns by. I already took 2″ off!
      I like the StyleArc designs, but so far haven’t actually purchased one yet. The ever generous Marjorie lent me this one.

  10. V8379 is an excellent pattern but it does have A LOT of ease and the skirt is very full (good fro twirling). Maybe the ease is just the modern pattern thing? I have adjusted mine for wovens as well and used it over and over because I do rather like a wrap dress. I feel so effortlessly glamorous in them 😉

    1. Good to know about V8379, I see it does use a fair bit of fabric. Should I size down do you think? A wrap dress a fabulous invention, so stylish yet versatile. Cannot wait to give V8379 a go, just need to find the right fabric

  11. I’ve never heard of Style Arc before, but I think the dress is very flattering on you and the color is great. I’m sure you had to do a lot of futzing to get it to this stage where it makes a great office-wear dress that is both comfortable and professional-looking. Nice work!

  12. Hmmm, that’s a pity about the pattern in general 😦 But I honestly think it looks really flattering on you none the less. The colour on you is lovely and the little twist at the front is a lovely feature and it gives you a beautiful waistline. Is it comfy? At least that could be another bonus in your sticky weather?

    1. Lots to take on board huh?! (don’t think you need to worry)
      I do like the little twist and it is super comfy. Not sure it is that cool as the fabric is a poly, but in saying that, that can be useful for an office in Brisbane. They tend to have the aircon cranking most of the time

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