The Hope Dress by Style Arc

Sew Like Romy
by Sew Like Romy

A few months ago I had the privilege to go on my first trip, childless, with my sweet husband. We finally got to visit New York City. We had both been wanting to go for so long but for very different reasons. He wanted to go see the sites, try all the bakeries and eat delicious food. I had been wanting to visit the garment district ever since I watched the first episode of project runway. I didn’t even sew back then! Oh and eat food, we did overlap on one thing!

Fast forward to our trip and we were walking down Bleecker street in West Village and we came across a designer store. Well there’s many designer stores but this one in particular I did a little happy dance. You see this store belonged to a designer that I had loved for a while and actually had some of their patterns in my stash. It was none other than Cynthia Rowley. I was feeling pretty tired and extremely sweaty that day and almost didn’t go in but my husband wrapped his arm around mine and said “Yes, let’s do it!” We walked in and it was small but so beautiful. The aesthetic is really interesting. A mix of hard and soft, florals and all black. There was a clear division between collections. The collection that stood out to me the most was on their sale rack. Vintage florals in large scale prints. One in particular with a green background caught my eye but it was a size 2 and I haven’t been that size since I got married. It was good though because I had previously splurged on fabric the day before in the garment district. Trust me, too much money was spent. We left the store and I felt inspired. Before leaving for the trip I was feeling tapped out with sewing. I wasn’t sure I was loving what I was making and this trip really fixed this. It made me come back to my roots. Remembering my heritage and also remembering I’m a city girl through and through.

When we got back to our apartment later that day I had spotted an Art Gallery fabric that reminded me of the fabric I had fallen in love with at the Cynthia Rowley store. I showed it to my husband and he agreed. I was going to make a dress in this fabric. This fabric was soft and had beautiful drape but with the signature crispness that I’ve grown to love from Art Gallery fabrics. If you’re a beginner I highly recommend these fabrics. They’re so good to work with and deliver great results. I decided to pair this fabric with a pattern from Style Arc, the Hope dress. I love a good raglan because I’m broad shouldered and they give me such good range of motion. I figured this would be such a winning combo. It felt like a throwback but so modern at the same time. 

The sewing was pretty straight forward.Truth be told, I don’t love style arc pattern instructions. They are in depth in wording but their diagrams feel very thrown in at the last minute. As a visual learner, I rely a lot on diagrams when sewing. They have the smallest number of pages when it comes to their pattern instructions. The Hope dress was simple enough to get together but I didn’t love the topstitching for the facing and the pockets for the skirt. So I was naughty and didn’t follow the instructions. I also don’t love when you’re sewing the bodice but they want you to finish the sleeve hems later. This is just something in my brain. If I’m on a particular section of a make I like to finish it all and close it off in my mind before I move onto another aspect. It’s a quirk I know, and I’m only telling you in case you have the same quirk. That being said, when it came time to hem the sleeve hems and add in the elastic I felt too restricted so I cut 7” off the sleeve and did a ¼” hem folded over twice to finish. I loved that change and it totally gave the dress a different vibe. 

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how my dress turned out. I definitely achieved the vibe I was going for and just wish I could return to Bleecker street wearing it. Maybe one day in the distant future. Will I make the Hope dress again? Possibly, the instructions really bother me. So once I get over that I will make it again. Are there any changes I’d make for the future? I might shorten the skirt for the future and add a little more volume, and take the 7” inches off the sleeves but that would be it. I love what I made but I was very distracted while making it. I think that happens after holidays. The holiday low. So I think that affected my sewing slightly. Here’s to another one soon!

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Sew Like Romy
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