Be still my beating heart … the Style Arc Palmer woven dress might be my favourite shirtdress ever. And gingham linen? I don’t know anyone who would say no to that!
I’ve had my eyes on the Style Arc Palmer woven dress pattern for some while. Precisely since I saw this RTW one from French brand Sézane in their summer range. The RTW fabric is a blend of 65% linen, 34% organic cotton, 1% polyamide (no idea what value was being added by the 1% synthetic fibre). Now linen and linen blends are readily available and so are dress patterns like this so I wasn’t about to buy the RTW dress!
The curved hem and the wide sleeves with the cuffs are just lovely. I think this would be a great shirt too! (extra benefit of using a sewing pattern). But that will have to wait till next year when the warm weather rolls around again. Let’s take a closer look.
Style Arc Palmer woven dress line drawing
I made a straight size 8. It is roomy up the top, I could potentially have sized down to a 6. However. If I do up the collar it does sit nicely on my shoulders … only noticing now that it’s meant to be a dropped shoulder! By the way I have wider shoulders relative to my narrow torso, so many things end up looking a little oversized.
The hip is more fitted than I would expect. Having said that the skirt is fairly straight, something in me just thinks a dress like this could have a skirt that is a little more A-line? In any case, the side split and front split are friendly for bike riding and they aren’t big enough to be flapping down to the wheel and getting stuck.
- Buttons – I like the suggested button placement! And the narrow placket too (2cm wide) which is narrower than plackets I typically see on shirts / shirtdresses.
- Probably would not wear this dress without a belt. The fabric hangs too “heavily” since the fronts/ back are cut in all one piece (i.e. no waist seam), giving me a coathanger effect. Can you relate?
- The collar could be a little looser when done up compared to my other shirts. Having said that I rarely (or never) do up my top 2 buttons on a button-down shirt so this isn’t an issue.
- The small yoke at the top of the shoulder seems unnecessary … maybe it was meant to be a design feature but it’s so small that you can’t really see it unless you’re taller than me and looking down at my shoulder. If I make another version I’d eliminate this piece and just have a front and back.
- The self belt is really wide so I understand why there are no belt loops. But I like a leather belt to break up the gingham a bit (instead of a self-fabric belt) so I might add the loops anyway so I don’t have to have my belt so tight all the time.
- Pockets felt a bit low and near my thighs when I pinned on the paper to check. I ended up moving them up 5cm; in hindsight, 3cm would have been enough. FYI I have a short bodice so this is not a surprise.
- Shortened the maxi version by 3cm. I think this is now called “midaxi” length!? For reference, I am 164cm.
- Curved hems: I can’t cope with double-fold curved hems because I can never get a neat finish at the point where it meets the side seam. Instead I prefer to overlock the side seam/curve/bottom hem in one pass then fold in once and stitch down. Style Arc has this listed as an alternate method in the instructions so I guess it can’t be that bad a method.
I have a complicated relationship with linen. Being loosely woven, it is challenging to cut and sew accurately without warping and that drives me crazy. Gingham is good in a way because I know exactly where to go … but imperfection shows if I don’t press precisely on a checked line or I’ve stretched out the fabric and need to ease it back in so the checks match properly.
But linen has a great combination of body, drape and texture and is really nice to wear. So I can’t really be mad at it and say I’m never going to sew it! Here’s another of my linen makes that has stood the test of the 2yrs it’s been in my wardrobe (and hopefully I’ll still love the style in coming years).
This linen is from Ray Stitch in London. It is from their house range, 100% linen, 170gsm / 5oz. Great name for the colour way too and I love the name “Peaches and Cream”. When I saw it I knew it would be the right one for this pattern. Call this the luxury of being able to see the fabric in person!
Finally, if you’re keen to see the fabric in motion and missed it before, here’s the reel I posted on my Instagram page:
Till next time