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Did somebody mention a bandwagon? Maybe… but hey, who cares? The Style Arc Hope Dress is one of those patterns that has been sewn by all and sundry since it was released in 2018. So perhaps it’s best you look away if you’re bored hearing about this dress, but if - like me - you’d overlooked it and would like to know more, come on down.

Hope is a 3/4 length sleeve dress with raglan sleeves, elastic cuffs and a gathered high waist. It has a faced neckline with a button and loop at the back. It comes in a couple of different lengths and offers a decent size range spanning from a 4 to 30 (that’s a finished bust measurement 81 to 152cm, waist 81 to 152cm).

Things I didn’t know about Hope
It's an easy to sew and fit sack dress, sure. But there are a couple of things about Hope that I didn’t realise until recently. 

One, the bodice doesn’t have a stack of ease so it is roomy not outrageously so, and it comes in gently at the waist without being fitted. The deep raglan sleeves don’t necessarily make this a super boxy fit, so check the finished measurements for bust in particular. For me, the fit feels pretty spot on for measurements.

Two, there isn’t a vast amount of gather at the waist, so while you feel ridiculously comfortable in this frock, you aren’t swathed by bucketloads of fabric.

Things that might be helpful to know about this pattern
This being my first Style Arc pattern, I was curious to experience the legendary sparseness of their directions for myself. After hearing about it for years I think I had built an impression of said directions to a point where I thought they might be almost nonexistent. But they were very much there! Not only there but enough, especially for a simple dress like this. There’s some assumed knowledge, for example no mention of seam finishing, clipping, pressing etc. Ditto, there was no mention of elastic width that I could see, so I used 12mm wide elastic for the sleeve cuffs and it worked fine.

The pattern designers also use the descriptive phrase ‘sew a flat stitch close to the seam on the facing side’ which I’d never come across before in the place of ‘understitch’. 

Style Arc only gives fabric suggestions for 148cm/58” wide fabric. I did an (admittedly, fairly rudimentary) internet search for people who had made this using 110cm/45” wide fabric and didn’t come up with much, other than this beautiful version in Nani Iro made by Lara. Taking Lara’s lead, I chanced it and cut 3m too. So, for the record, I got this size 14 midi dress out of 3m of fabric by cutting the sleeves off grain and shortening them by a couple of inches. Did it make a difference cutting these sleeves off grain? Not a bit in this tightly woven, non directional fabric. To make it full length with on grain sleeves, I’d recommend cutting around 3.3m. In the end this was shortened by 6cm (I’m 167cm tall for reference), so note to self, cut about 3.15m of 110cm wide fabric next time; gosh this is riveting content, hey?

Fabric choice
Hope calls for drapey, fluid fabrics (think washed linen or tencel) and I’m the first to admit that this Crumple Texture Cotton Shirting is not that! But I think it still works because the gathered skirt isn’t ridiculously full. I like the slightly structured crispness that this fabric gives the dress.

Things I like about this pattern
Ten millimetre seam allowances. Wide seam allowances for fitting would have been unnecessary in a style like this. No waste, or trimming down seams, hooray!

Pockets. Nice deep ones on both sides, so good!

Screamingly obvious conclusion
It's probably screamingly obvious at this point, but what a great pattern! This is great in a plain and works brilliantly in prints as well; plus the sleeves offer good sun protection in warm weather. After not considering this dress for so long, now I’m a card carrying member fully onboard the Hope bandwagon. There will be more. Toot toot!

The Hope pattern is available here.
Crumple Texture Cotton in Neptune can be found here.

- Fiona & Jane  xx

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