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Pippa/Wedding Dress Muslin

September 29, 2011

I’ve mentioned I’m sure that I’m making a muslin of my wedding dress from the Pippa Dress pattern from Style Arc. I don’t usually make muslins, but I also don’t usually sew with super expensive silk or wedding dresses. Even though this isn’t a perfect dress because I didn’t care if stitching peaked though and such, I’m writing this post in the form a pattern review because it’s just easier for my technical mind to make organized lists. And in case anyone else is making this pattern, I have some forewarnings.

Pattern: Pippa’s Dress by Style Arc

Pattern Description: Gorgeous Pippa’s bridesmates dress with cap sleeve, cowl neck, bust under lay, Lace edging, small back train, centre back loops or optional invisable zip.

Pattern Sizing: 6-20, I bought and sewed an 8. I was really worried about the sizing at first because I’ve never sewn with this company’s patterns before and there weren’t a lot of reviews at the time about them at all. BUT the sizing was spot on perfect, I measured myself and compared that to the size chart and the muslin fit amazingly with no major tweeks to fit.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, I think so.

Were the instructions easy to follow? NO NO NO! The instructions were horrible! I read though them before I started and thought it all sounded ok, they were very bare but I’m used to the sparse Burda directions so I thought it would be ok. Nope, not only are the instructions minimal, I’m convinced they are completely wrong! I got stuck on connecting the main fabric to the lining at the sleeves, so first I called my mom – she didn’t understand the directions either, we decided to rip out the sleeve and side seams and just attack it at a different angle (also made us both about cry because the general consensus was also that if grandma was still alive, I could just pack the whole damn project up in a box and send it to her and she would expertly and happily whip it up for me. It’s funny what makes you miss someone the most, I think she’d be proud of my efforts though.) So I emailed the ladies at StyleArc to see if they could give me any more clues and I got a very helpful and fast response (must be the time difference, late at night for me = morning for them?) with more detailed directions and pictures of their sample dress. So, now that I’ve figured it all out, I’ve completely rewritten the instructions not only for myself next time but for any other not-quite-advanced seamsters out there who might be thinking about making this dress.

  1. Cut out your pattern pieces, nothing is on the fold, notches will help enormously
  2. Sew darts in the under bodice
  3. Finish the cowl edge on the outer bodice and baste the center edge of the cowl to the inside waist seam of the outer bodice (forming the cowl so it won’t flip out on you)
  4. Sew the outer and under front bodices at the shoulders together following notches and fold line of the cowl
  5. Baste outer and under front bodices together at the armholes and side seams
  6. Sew waist seam of bodice to front skirt. Be careful around the center front curve!
  7. Sew back bodice to back skirt, then up center back stopping at the waist seam.
  8. Insert zipper in your chosen manner
  9. Sew back and front at shoulder seams
  10. Sew sleeve and sleeve lining at hem with lace trim sandwiched in between, press and under stitch lining.
  11. Sew the sleeves into the main dress
  12. Sew side seams
  13. Sew lace trim to the neckline of the front under bodice
  14. Sew darts, shoulder and side seams of lining
  15. Stitch main and lining at the neckline, sandwiching the lace trim in between, press and under stitch
  16. Stitch the lower armhole edges (the part of the armhole exposed beneath the sleeves) of the main and lining right sides together
  17. Turn it all right side out and press
  18. Sew upper armhole (the joining sleeve seam) of the main and lining, capturing all layers
  19. Finish the inside sleeve seam ( it is the only exposed seam in the dress)
  20. Sew center back seam (baste from the waist up to make it easier to connect to the zipper later) of lining
  21. Slip stitch the lining to the main dress  at the center back and release previous basting
  22. Hem the main dress and lining separately.
  23. Yeay! You finished!
Of course, press everything and clip curves as you go along too.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I look smokin’ hot in this dress! It’s drafted well, I love all the style lines, it’s awesome. I can totally forgive horrible construction notes when it is drafted so nicely.

Fabric Used: Some cheap polyester that has a similar drape as my nice silk fabric.


Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Just the construction notes I made, I changed the order of operations a lot from the original directions. On the real verison of this dress I’ll be angling the waist seams more because as is there is a 1 inch offset at the side seams. I think I’ll also be adjusting the curve of the side seam at the hip (too curvy for me) and the shape of the back armhole (I’m not using shoulder pads so I think there is a little extra room in there that I don’t need).

Waist seams highlighted so you can see they don't match up.

Would you sew it again? Well, obviously I plan to sew it once more, but after that I can’t really see the need for another one of these 😉

Would you recommend it to others? Yes, just be careful about the instructions and make a muslin first!

Additional random notes: Pattern Review blog just put up an interview with Chloe, the designer of Style Arc patterns, and it’s pretty interesting. Although, since they are an independent company, I would love it more if they had a blog of their own. Some of the most fun things about sewing with independent patterns is knowing nearly the whole back story or personalities of the designers, like at Colette and Sewaholic Patterns. Anyways, I hope the nice ladies at Style Arc don’t take this as a bad review, it’s actually a good one, just the instructions really sunk.


15 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2011 6:30 pm

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! Thanks for such a great review, and congratulations on the upcoming wedding 🙂

  2. September 29, 2011 8:14 pm

    Thanks for putting this up! I loved Pippa’s dress and have this pattern on my Bday list. Love the fabric you picked for this one (MAJOR bias: purple is my favorite color since childhood). I vote for keeping this one, just cut it off at the knee to make a cocktail dress.

    Good luck with the wedding dress!!!

  3. September 29, 2011 9:03 pm

    You are brave for making your own wedding dress, but judging by this muslin, it will be gorgeous. Well done!

  4. September 29, 2011 9:58 pm

    Wow, your “muslin” looks great, I just know your actual wedding dress is going to be amazing!!
    I know what you mean about missing grandma. sometimes when I’m having a sewing technical difficulty, I just know she would have been able to explain it in a snap.

    Congratz on your upcoming wedding!

  5. September 30, 2011 12:42 am

    That’s awesome! And thank-you for posting the instructions, I love that sort of thing.

  6. September 30, 2011 7:05 am

    Oh, this is going to be a beauty- I love the pattern walk thru…thanks!

  7. September 30, 2011 11:16 am

    Oh, this is looking great! I have always loved bias gowns. Thanks for passing on the pattern clarifications to us.

    FYI: To anyone else looking for this style, Butterick has just released their version of both dresses from the royal wedding. Somehow they are not included in the New Patterns section but you can look them up on the site: Pippa’s is B5710 and Kate’s is B5731.

    • September 30, 2011 11:19 am

      I have seen that Butterick pattern, but if you look closely this Style Arc pattern resembles the real dress much more closely. The sleeves and waist lines are a little different. But I just like accuracy, not everyone cares that much.

    • September 30, 2011 11:57 am

      Wow, thanks for the links! The Buttericks are much more accessible to me than Style Arc (I think) so I’ll go with Butterick!

    • Vanessa permalink
      October 9, 2011 8:58 pm

      I purchased both of the Butterick patterns at Joann’s when they had a sale on Butterick for $1.99. I haven’t sewn either one yet, but I just wanted to note that the pattern numbers in store were different than the ones on the Butterick site. I went in looking for the patterns and couldn’t find them, Then I noticed a little cardboard display on top of the pattern drawers and there they were. BP249 for the Kate dress and BP250 for the Pippa Dress.

  8. October 2, 2011 12:11 pm

    I can’t imagine needing this dress, but I’m loving reading about it! Thanks to commenters for the link to the Butterick versions.

  9. October 3, 2011 5:36 pm

    It looks fabulous! No doubt it will look even better in white (:

  10. January 8, 2013 8:21 pm

    I know I am replying to an old post but thank you! I’m sewing the knee length version and I’ve enjoyed reading this post.


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