MBM - StyleARC Kate Wrap Dress

Continuing a series of dresses on La Sartora.

The Pattern

StyleArc Kate, released in 2010 (I think) as a homage to Kate Middleton's engagement announcement dress (although it wasn't a wrap).

So why this pattern?

Ah, the Wrap Dress, my long-time nemesis. I've never had much luck with Wrap Dresses.
First, in the very early days of my sewing career I tried out the popular Vogue 8379. At this stage there were a lot on unknown unknowns to me, and one of them was fit. Who knew that 14 RTW did not equate to 14 in Vogue? Not me, but I soon found out. Cut too small, and nothing I could do about it. Next...
Kwik Sew 3489. Too big this time. The fabric I used didn't have much stretch, and I cut it too large anyway. It just seemed too difficult to fix, so I binned it. A pity because the print was great. Next...
Colette Crepe, a back wrap dress. This only got to muslin stage. Apart from the mammoth fit issues on the muslin, I had a palm-to-forehead moment. Why did I ever think that this pattern would look good on a 5'9" forty-something woman? It was way too cutesy-girly for me. A classic case of being sucked in by all the bloggy prettiness.
And there endeth my run of wraps until now.
This pattern has been in my stash since 2010. On Pattern Review there are 7 reviews, four of them in recent months, and they are all good, so I decided to give it a crack. This pattern has "sleeper" written all over it, read on.


Some kind of polyester knit exhumed from deepest stash. Being polyester, I was quite prepared to sacrifice it if it turned out to be a disaster. Happily though, this fabric turned out to be easy to sew, and I won't be turfing it any time soon.

A general observation on fabric: this is a great pattern if you have a knit with a large print. There are minimal seamlines to deal with, so it shows off a large print really well.

Fit notes

I bought this in 2010, in Size 14. My measurements are now a straight 12 in Style ARC, so I did my first ever pattern grade, slashing and overlapping the front and back pieces to reduce the width by 5cm all round.
Note the length though. This is one of very few patterns I encounter that I didn't have to lengthen and it hits me below mid-calf and I am tall. If you are shorter and/or you prefer a shorter length you will have to shorten quite a bit.

Design changes

The only thing I really did was to replace the long sleeves with short sleeves.
The dress is designed to tie at the back, but I consider that to be cutesy-girly too, so I've tied it at the side. I'll probably shorten one of the tie pieces to compensate.

Construction changes

Style ARC directs the use of Vilene Tear Away Stabiliser, of which I had none. I used Vilene Bias Tape, beloved of Burda, to stabilise the front edge and neckline and it worked a treat.

New-to-me skills

That pattern grade. Not as scary as I first thought!

High fives to me for...

Well, nothing really. This is a really easy pattern to put together, nothing challenging about it at all.

"What was I thinking" moments

Er, again nothing. This was angst-free sewing at its finest.

Will I be sewing this again?

Yes most definitely. This pattern fits great. Most importantly it DOESN'T GAPE at the neckline.  Got that? It DOESN'T GAPE. Yes, amazing. And the neckline crosses at a work-appropriate height. ie. it doesn't show your wares to the world.

It is also easy! What else do you need in a pattern?

I'm so glad to have broken the Wrap Dress hoodoo. I know instinctively that this is a style I will wear a lot.

Would I change anything about it next time?

No. Don't fix what ain't broke.

Some more photos..

Hey, Dash, if you're going to photobomb me, at least look at the camera!

That's better

I know I'm handsome. What of it?


  1. It looks great Paola! This is a SA pattern that I don't own, and it's great to see it made up. I love that Vilene bias tape pretty much as much as Burda does - I don't use tearaway Vilene shields (Tessuti often direct you to use them too - maybe an industry thing?). The print, colourway and style really suit you, and I'm glad that you've broken the hoodoo.

  2. Thanks! Vilene bias tape is good stuff isn't it? I wonder if Tessuti directs the use of the tear away stays because they seem to be the only store I've found that stocks it?

  3. Very nice work Paola. I have often looked as this pattern when browsing at Style Arc and I wondered what is would be like to sew. Can you recommend any resources for grading patterns?

    1. There wasn't much in the way of info on pattern grading in my resource books, so I resorted to the the net. I found this blog entry to be really helpful:
      This talks about grading up, so I just reversed it.
      I also wasn't as fastidious about the grade. I made five slashes in total, three in back and one each in front, and overlapped one centimetre each. Quick and a bit dirty, I'm afraid, but seemed to work ok.

  4. Dash is adorable!!!! So is your Kate!! And Thank you for your review, I've been gazing at the Kate for ages (possibly since her engagement) and you've just tipped me over into Style Arc - I do love a wrap dress!!! and I'll be sure to shorten both length & sleeves ;)

    1. Thanks from Dash. He is a star photobomber for sure. The Kate is a great pattern, I'm sure you'll enjoy sewing it.

  5. I clicked over from patternreview. I like the dress, love the dachshund! Nice fabric!

  6. I'm not a fan of wrap dresses and I'm still not about to attempt one for myself. Ever. But that is beautiful! And the design on the fabric is fabulous. I was curious to know if its being polyester means it's at all hot? Or is it one of those polys that is OK in the heat?

  7. Hi Felicity - yes, whether this polyester is good or otherwise in the heat is a question I'm wondering about myself. I'm not a big fan of poly - this is one of only two polys in my stash. It's 35C here today - I'm not game to try it out on a day like today. I'll brave it when the temperatures are forecast to be around 24C in the next few days.

  8. Very nice dress and it fits you well.


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