Pattern Review: StyleArc Alisha Dress

Edited on 11-26-14 to add pictures of the lace layout

After several weeks and a whole lotta muslins, it’s done! This is going to be my Christmas Party Dress. So settle in; this one is long and picture-heavy.

Pattern Description: “ALISHA DRESS: A wonderful party dress complete with a slip. Use scalloped lace to create beautiful and interesting neckline. The lace edge can also be used on the hem and sleeves. This pattern can be made many ways – all lace, lace yokes & sleeves with plain body, or completely plain. The choice is yours!”

Sizing: 4-30. I used a 10

Fabric Used: An absolutely GORGEOUS Scalloped, Corded Red Lace for the over dress, and an Persian Red ITY Jersey for the slip. Both are from (of course) Gorgeous Fabrics

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff home machine for the lace dress, Juki home machine for the slip dress.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle. Thread. Silk Organza. Invisible zipper

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes.

How were the instructions? Not great. The slip is easy-peasy, but the over dress can be tricky, especially at the collar. This is not a pattern for beginners. StyleArc’s instructions are somewhat variable. In this case they did a decent job of explaining the collar construction (it’s a wraparound collar) as long as you’re working with a non-lacy fabric (more about that in the Construction Notes), but there was an omission elsewhere – they don’t tell you to attach the back bodice to the back.

All that said, This pattern is drafted beautifully, and if you have experience with sewing construction, you will get great results. This pattern is rated by StyleArc as “challenging”, and that is a fair assessment

Construction Notes: First off, you can see the Slip Dress Construction here. And you can see the fitting work that I did with Phyllis In This Post. Making the muslins (I made three altogether) took the most time, but I think it was worth every second. The fringe benefit of making three muslins? By the time I cut into my lace, I had the construction process down pat. After I finished the final muslin and was satisfied, I cut it apart and used it for the pattern pieces. The nice thing about that is that any asymmetric fitting adjustments get transferred directly to the lace.

I constructed the dress differently from the way StyleArc recommended. First, the instructions tell you to sew a seam to the pivot point on the collar/shoulder seam, then lift your presser foot, clip to the needle, pivot and continue sewing the rest of the seam. That will work okay in a fabric that is tightly woven, but lace? It’s 90% air. Chances are pretty high that you will clip to a point that gives you a big ol’ hole at the pivot if you do it that way. Instead, cut a small square of silk organza and center that over the pivot point. Staystitch that in place by stitching right along the seamline:

You just need a tiny little piece, which will get trimmed away later

Clip to the pivot point before you stitch. Then you can easily maneuver the pivot and stitch the seams.

Clip to the reinforced point before you stitch

I used a Hong Kong Finish on all my seams using bias strips of red silk organza from my stash.

Doesn’t everyone have red silk organza in their stash?

I used a lightweight, soft tape Lampo invisible zipper that I got at Botani in NY when I was there last month. It makes a huge difference to use a lightweight tape on a fabric like lace. I finished the edges of the zipper tape with silk organza.

That lightweight zipper tape keeps the seam from buckling

Some other notes: I was careful about matching patterns across seam lines where I could (on the back)

I’m kind of proud of how the roses matched…

And I thought rather hard and long before cutting about how to match up the lace scallops at the hems and sleeves:

I realized after I took this picture that I had the right and left backs reversed. Needless to say, I fixed that before cutting.
The nice thing about using the muslin is you can clearly see the seam lines and place them accordingly on the lace.
I tried to keep the scalloped edge continuous
At the sleeves, too

Likes/Dislikes: This is a beautiful dress. It’s beautifully drafted, and I love the design details StyleArc added to work with scalloped lace. The downside is the instructions, but it’s not a beginner pattern, and if you have been sewing for a while, you can figure it out without trouble. Do make sure to do a fitting muslin. Most StyleArc’s fit me without too many alterations but this one needed a bunch to get the look I wanted.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Would I do it again? Yes. Will I do it again? Probably not – unless DH and I decide to renew our vows for our 30th anniversary, in which case I might make it in ivory, and if we renew them in Australia, which is my dream, I would invite Chloe and the ladies :).

Would I recommend it? Absolutely!

Conclusion: I’m psyched to wear this to DH’s company party next week! Here are the front and back views on Shelley. I’ll try to post pictures of me in it.

Front – I’ll get a better picture tomorrow
Closeup of the neckline
And the back. I’m going to switch out the hook/eye at the top of the zip this weekend.

Well that was a tome. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving (in the US) and a great weekend (everywhere)!
Happy sewing!

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Gorgeous Fabrics

I own an online fabric store, www.GorgeousFabrics.com. The name says it all!

22 thoughts on “Pattern Review: StyleArc Alisha Dress”

  1. So beautiful! Love the shade of red – my favorite color. I’m sure it will look stunning on you! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  2. The dress looks great! Getting the scallops to line up is such a great touch.

    Thank you for writing about that McCall cowl neck top a while back. I bought it and made it up twice and even with all the alterations, they still came out good.

  3. Ann, this dress is GORGEOUS!!!!

    *whimpers in envy at your mad sewing skills*

    The style would be a knockout in ivory, like you suggested.

  4. oh Please Do post pics of this beauty on you! It is just TDF. And, yes, you should be proud of those rose matching.
    I may sew this as my MOB dress. It looks even better than I imagined it would, and I KNEW it would be beautiful.

    1. Robin, this would be perfect for a MOB dress! I thought, when you commented in the other post, that it would be a great style for you for your DD’s wedding. 🙂

  5. Stop. The. Presses. A master class product, down to the last scallop.

    Thanks for everything in 2014. Enjoy your holidays and your party tomorrow!

  6. Thanks for this! I was hoping to make this my next purchase from StyleArc, so I am really glad to see your version with all your comments. Just gorgeous!

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