I’m pretty pumped to share my latest make with you all, and those of you who follow me on Instagram know that it is an instant favorite of mine! This is the Blaire Shirtdress from Style Arc patterns (PDF’s are available here). Many of you have expressed interest in making this pattern so I hope these photos help you to make your decision, as there aren’t many versions out there yet! I’d also recommend checking out Meg’s dress, too.
This shirtdress pattern is an oversized, boxy style dress with a dropped shoulder and a unique pocket design. The pattern also includes a shirt view which I definitely plan to make for the spring and summer months. The dress also has a middle seam that allows you to do some cool stripe placement. The illustration shows the shirt with this same stripe placement and I loved the look, so I just copied it. Here is an example of a version without the perpendicular stripes – also super cute!
As far as construction, the Blaire is pretty easy for anyone who has sewn a collared shirt before. I was a bit underwhelmed by the lack of instructions included with the pattern, but I muddled through. It basically gives you a list of the steps with a few illustrations here and there to support, but not many. It is hard to read, but it gets the job done! I wouldn’t recommend this pattern for anyone who has not tackled a collar yet.
The cuffs are a nice detail and are drafted to have a small amount of fabric under the arm to reduce bulk. I like this approach and the finished look is very nice and on trend. They are a bit finicky to sew because they use the stitch in the ditch method, but the end result is worth it.
The other nice detail in this pattern is the pockets. The hem of the skirt scoops up at the sides to reveal the bottom of the pocket bag. Here is another opportunity for cool pattern placement. Because of this detail, the pockets end up being very deep and a bit weird to put your hands into. The bag does not fall forward, but straight down, so your hands also have to go in straight down. That said, I have been walking about with my hands in the pockets and it feels nice, even if it is different. You can easily make the pocket less deep by sewing a line of stitching across the bag to shorten it, while still keeping the part that pokes out the bottom. You could also do forward facing inseam pockets instead if you wanted.
One thing I did change from the original pattern was to cut the undercollar in two pieces on the bias. I think this is a better way to construct the collar and it looks nice with the diagonal lines.
Overall I really like this dress. It may not the be the most ‘figure flattering’ (more on that discussion here), but I feel great in it. I love the bold stripes and the comfort level is through the roof. I used a cotton I picked up in Metro Textiles in New York, and it was really nice to sew with. That said, I think it is better suited to a summer dress without tights or leggings because the cotton does tend to get bunched up if there is anything underneath. It is also not a very jacket-friendly dress because the excess fabric under the arms makes it hard to wear under things. I look forward to taking it out more in the summer months. I also think it would be amazing and much more flowy in a nice rayon or silk.
As far as Style Arc patterns go, I am a fan of their designs and have several more on my list of possibilities to try in the future. I did find the lack of instructions a bit disappointing, and the separate paper pattern vs pdf pattern stores confusing. They also sell the patterns in size groupings, so you only get three sizes (like 10,12,14 and 16,18,20). That said, you can email them on Etsy and they will give you the sizes you need. I think I will be trying them again in the future for sure.
I hope this post has been helpful for anyone thinking about this pattern!
Now, here is my happy dance…
It’s really cute! Love your choice of print, and I’m so impressed with your pattern matching across the button band! I didn’t realise the pockets were so unique – seems like a fun detail for people who like to sew fun details. (Me, I’m not sure I’m one of those people! :P)
Re. the Style Arc size range… I *think* I’ve read that if you email them, they’ll make you a bundle centred around your size range? Maybe someone else can confirm or tell me I’m dreaming…?
Thanks, Gillian! Meg jus confirmed that too, and I made a note in the post 🙂 So good to know for next time!
Yep, Gillian’s right- if you send Style Arc message through Etsy about which size range you need; they get back to you really quickly, within 24 hours, I’ve found! Your dress is lovely! I love how you played with the stripes!! Great fabric, too.
Thanks, Meg! I have updated the post with that info 🙂 I should have figured that would be the case, I’m just so used to getting the full range!
I’m keen to see everyone’s shirt dresses and this one is absolutely perfect. Love the pocket detail – I’ve always liked those inserts (Caroline has a tutorial on her blog about how to add your own) that sit between the front and back dips but a pocket is even better since it’s purposeful as well. I’m a huge fan of StyleArc too 🙂 but it’s true they assume you know what you’re doing pretty much 🙂 Love how you played with the stripes in your dress!
Thanks, Kathleen! I agree, it is very cool that the inserts are not just decorative. I look forward to trying Style Arc again, their designs are really neat!
Wow. Expertly made. You really nailed the stripe placement and the the stripe matching. I love the bias cut collar and am so impressed with the v matching with the stripes at centre back. Amazing job. The fit is great as well and it looks so fabulous on you. Really fits with your style.
Thank you, Andie!! I am getting less intimidated by pattern matching with every go at it. It is super satisfying to see it all put together!
Fantastic! I love the stripe placement, and your textured stripe is pretty neat. I’m totally into shapes like this right now, regardless of “flattery.” Feeling good in what you wear makes it flattering enough!
Thanks, Kelly! I totally agree, feeling good = confidence and confidence is always flattering!!
Super cute! And seriously, fantastic job on the pattern matching! Those pockets are really interesting… I noticed that contrasting stripe before you mentioned the pockets and thought it’s a really lovely detail.
Thanks, Saki! I agree it is a really nice detail, and the fact that it is also functional is really cool!
Oh, I love it! the fabric is fantastic and your pattern matching is too. I picked up this pattern on Black Friday and have been waiting ’til spring to make it, but I might not be able to after seeing your version! Thanks for showing the detail with the pocket bag–I had thought those were inserts at the hem.
By the way, I am also in East Van and found your blog awhile back. I knew you were here just by the photos, even though they didn’t show any obvious landmarks. It’s funny how you just know your town, isn’t it?
Hi Michelle! You should totally let this jump the queue, it is worth it! It’s so nice to connect with a fellow sewist in east van! We should meet up sometime for coffee – maybe wear our Blairs? LOL.
That would be awesome! I am starved for sewing friends; I’ve even considered starting a blog of my own so I can stop boring my husband with my need to point out my French seams.
Oh WOW I love this dress!!! the black & white print makes those style lines just pop! I am in the middle of making a muslin of the top. Can i ask how you tackled a few details? How did you do a 3/8″ hem??!! I think I’m going to have to add more hem allowance on my fashion fabric. There are a few interesting instructions like “neaten fabric edge” then stitch in the ditch – I definitely tried to fold under the front button tabs to make for a clean finish!!
Thanks! I agree the instructions are a bit weird. I totally folded under my button bands for a clean finish, I forgot to mention that in the post. I could have serged them and left them out, but why bother when you can tuck them away! As for the hem, in this case I did just serge the edges of all the skirt pieces prior to constructing the skirt and the pockets, so the side seams would be finished. Then I pressed the serged hem edge up 3/8″ and sewed it down. I hope that helps!
Yep, still a big fan of this one! Looks so great. Love the stripe placement, love the fabric itself. I want to steal it! LOL.
Thanks Caroline! I’m going to make sure it is hidden away next time you come over, lol!
This is great, and thanks for showing all those lovely details. Do you ever wear slips? I find them so helpful for preventing the stocking cling and for extra warmth!
I actually don’t own any slips! I seriously need to make one though, they seem like SUCH a good idea!
This is great! Love all the little details that make it special. I love this style of dress and this one will go in my “someday” queue but I’m new to sewing and haven’t tried a collar yet, just curious if you have a recommendation for a good pattern to try for your first collar?
Thanks Sara! I really like the instructions for the collar in the Sewaholic Granville shirt or Grainline Studio Archer or Alder. That said, if you were smitten with the Blaire I am sure you could find helpful tutorials online to supplement the instructions!
You found the best fabric for this! I love your stripe placement and you did an amazing job! This pattern is in my queue and I’m looking forward to making both versions!
Love your Blaire–I was wondering if you added any length to your dress, and if so, where?
Thanks Paula! I did not add any length, and I am tall (5’9.5″). Hope that helps!
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