Finished - the Style Arc Asha dress for nowhere

Hello dear readers. What is in your daily wardrobe rotation at the moment? Anything fancy? Back in July was my husbands birthday and our wedding anniversary. We had just come out of our first lockdown in May and we had planned a fancy dinner out with dear friends, and our first night away together without the boy since before he was born. A lovely new winter frock was clearly in order. Hoarded for some time in my stash (also since before the boy was born) was a couple of metres of the delightful Atelier Brunette Moonstone viscose, and when Style Arc released the Asha Dress I knew it would be the perfect combination. 

The Asha dress has two sleeve variations, a shirred waistline and cuffs, and an uneven hemline. There are no darts, but instead the bodice has gathers at the neckline to create a lovely blouson shape. Straight away I knew I'd be changing the hemline to be straight, and I was on the fence about the shirred cuffs. I don't love shirring and decided instead to gather the sleeves into little cuff bands instead. 

Pattern tweaks decided upon I went to cut out my fabric, and horror of horrors THERE WAS NOT ENOUGH! Past Sarah had been stingy and only ordered 2 metres. The recommended yardage was 2.8m! I tetrissed and tweaked and googled suppliers in Australia and there was no chance I'd be able to wangle it, either in length or time for international shipping in a pandemic. A distress call via Instagram with an offer to buy yardage, scraps, anything yielded much sympathy but no luck until the lovely Kate, one half of Bombazine, offered me her very generous scraps in return for nothing but my thanks. A quick dash across town and I was back on track. By cutting the back skirt on the selvage and seaming it (rather than being on the fold), and using one of Kate's large scraps for a sleeve all was going to plan.

I didn't toile this dress, stead relying on Style Arc's excellent drafting and careful measurements and fitting as I sewed to get me through. I made a size 12, with my standard 1.5cm forward shoulder adjustment. I believe I cut the neckline of the 10, making it a little lower. I stuffed up with my neckline gathers and the neckline has turned out a little wider than it is meant to be. Not that noticeable but annoying nonetheless. I did struggle with the 6mm seam allowances of the neckline and binding piece. This fabric pretty much frays into gossamer threads whenever handled - if I was to make this again I would definitely increase the seam allowance of these pieces to 10mm and there was no chance I'd be unpicking that binding to redo the neck. 

The bodice was a bit long once I attached it to the skirt and I shortened it by about an inch. I know Mie from Sewing Like Mad also shortened her bodice (she posted hers on Instagram a little while ago) so this is something to look out for - I'd consider basting it on before committing to permanent attachment. 

The length was dictated by fabric limitations and I ended up taking at least an inch off the sleeves, and could probably have taken more. But sadly with just sleeve and skirt hems to go I lost interest. A week before our big date lockdown was reinstated and I just couldn't get my sewjo on without an event to sew for. The frock sat in my sewing room, unhemmed and and reproachful. Until September when I had a little staycation and pulled out the finger and got it done. 

It's still been worn nowhere but with restrictions finally easing here, 4 months later, the idea of heading out on the town with my love seems a little more likely. With with Melbourne's crazy weather it's entirely possible that a dress made to wear in July will be perfect for a night out in late November/early December! 

This is a lovely pattern and I highly recommend it. The lack of bust darts makes it super quick and easy to fit, and the different sleeve options make it a great trans-seasonal pattern. 

Special thanks to Kate for her fabric scraps, and Anna for the photos and beautiful setting - such a delight to be able to visit friends again.



  1. This looks gorge - I really like the length! Also - how nice is that garden :)

    1. Thanks Naomi :) and yes, Anna’s garden is delightful xx

  2. Sarah your dress is lovely. I’ve always loved that fabric design and the drape suits the style perfectly. So frustrating when the fabric length isn’t enough to fit the pattern and how wonderful that a friend came to your rescue. Hope you get to wear your new dress soon.

    1. Hi Karen, thanks for your lovely comment! The sewing community is so fabulous isn’t it! Xx


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