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Style Arc Italia Shirtdress – The Finished Dress

Hello all,

I was hoping to take some pictures outside now that the weather is starting to warm up but it is quite dreary and rainy here today.  That is not a complaint, mind you.  This time last year we still had quite a bit of snow on the ground to the extent that you could not see the pool in the backyard.  Today however, there is no snow, and the water that has accumulated on top of the pool’s winter cover is completely fluid.  Usually, it is iced over until early April.  We have had mild winters like this before but they are a rare event indeed.


Here is my completed Style Arc Italia Shirtdress.  I’m going to call this “Version 1” and will be making it again in the next week or so.  There are two issues that I have with this version, and they are both wholly my fault through lack of foresight and an error of judgement.

First and foremost, the denim I chose for this project is just too heavy.  The stonewashed black is exactly the colour that I wanted and it contains some lycra for ease of movement which is great.  The weight and the thickness however, prevented me from using the binding pieces for the sleeve openings as I could not seem to press the pieces into the small folds needed.  This also was the cause of a bit of struggle with the pockets and darts.  Those were the minor problems and I was able to work through them with a few choice words and a couple of self imposed breaks.


The bigger issue and the one that has me smacking my head is this…I’m 5’10”.  RTW has always been a challenge for length in garments; particularly inseam length.  I’ve worn my fair share of “floods” in my lifetime.  I was so glad, as a teen in the ’80s, that cropped pants were the style!


So why then, did I not lengthen this dress?  What was I thinking?  Sadly, I was not thinking at all.  The dress has a shirttail style hem and the lowest part of it lands a good inch above my knees.  You may not think that is a big deal, and you are likely right. This is more about my own personal comfort.  I won’t be shocking the neighbours when I wear it, but adding just an inch in the length would have made a difference for me.

That said, it will need to be worn unbelted and loose.  Adding a belt of course, causes the hem to rise higher.  Physics, you are such a pain in the patoot!


All my whining aside, I really do like this pattern and I was not kidding earlier when I said that I would be making this again, pronto.  Much like the other Style Arc patterns I have made, it is really well drafted and feminine without being fussy.  The double yoke, collar stand and sleeve tabs are great details and it fits nicely through the shoulders.  The dart shaping in the front and back ensures that it doesn’t hang like a sack when it is worn without a belt.

The side hem has a cute gusset feature for a bit of interest.



Had my denim been a lighter weight, I would have been a little more playful and creative with my topstitching.  I broke a twin needle in this version going over a seam, and kept the decorative stitching to the hemline and along the sides of the darts.


But see, I’m smiling!  I do like it overall, and I will wear it as is.  Most likely, this will be worn with tights or boots and reserved for cooler weather.

I’ll go shopping this weekend for a chambray or oxford weight shirting.  More to come on that…

Until then, happy sewing everyone.

Bye for now,







  • Laura

    It is a cute shirt dress…..just wear leggings underneath….it’s not what you imagined but it will be perfect for early Spring…..long shirtdress/tunic with leggings!

  • Lisa D

    I’m coming late to the Italia shirt dress party. I was very pleased to find your review and pictures. Your dress is very pretty. This is my first Style Arc pattern. I think the design of the dress is lovely, but I find the instructions a little too brief. I am an Intermediate to Advanced sewer, but I have not done shirt style tailoring for a long time. Reading reviews and looking at other people’s project pictures has been a real help. Did you ever make another one? My current project – a gift – is out of a midweight fashion denim with a slight stretch. I’m thinking of making another one for myself out of a linen blend.

  • Andrea

    Hi Lisa. You know, I never did make another, but I know I will soon. I have found some really cute lightweight denim with an embroidered trim that I think will fit the bill. Very good luck with yours. Although I had a few complaints about mine (none of which have anything to do with Style Arc) I have worn it a number of times.

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