We’re back with another post in our Same Patterns, Different Bodies series! In this series we showcase gorgeous versions of a single pattern made by multiple sewists with different body shapes and sizes. The sewists share their alterations and how they make the pattern work for them.
Today we’re looking at the Style Arc Mila Designer Dress, a funky, modern, cocoon-shaped pullover dress with no fastenings, which makes it a really quick sew. As Style Arc describes it, Mila has a “flattering bodice seam allows you to colour block or use different textures to suit your individual style.” The interesting bodice seam comes to a triangular point in the front and swoops around to a dropped waist in the back.
The Mila dress can be made in drapey woven fabrics or knits: versatile! This pattern comes in sizes 4-30 (up to a 58.25″ bust, 50.5″ waist, and 61″ hip) and can be bought in a variety of ways- through the Style Arc website, their Etsy shop or on Amazon for U.S. and U.K.
Let’s have a look at how the lovely ladies of the CSC community have interpreted the Mila dress and altered it to work for them!
Gaye made a modern version of the Mila with some funky geometric two-sided Thai double gauze from her shop. I love how she used both sides of the fabric to color block the bodice… She says it’s a great travel dress and keeps her cool and comfortable in Thailand’s hot weather, a sentiment to which I can relate! Excuse me while I go cut out a double-gauze Mila for myself…Gaye says her measurements put her between an 18 and a 20 on Style Arc’s size chart, so she sewed a size 20 to be safe. As far as alterations go, she didn’t make any except to hand stitch the neckline facing down.
For her next Mila, which she’s already planning, Gaye says she would go down a size to an 18 as she found the 20 a bit roomy. You can read more about Gaye’s Mila in her blog post!
Trisha made a stunning version of the Mila dress that I stumbled upon on Instagram… I just adored her fabric combination and how she styled it with pearls and heels (and some dapper arm candy!) to dress it up! Trisha used an ethnic print cotton wax for the top portion of the dress and a linen cotton blend for the bottom.
Trisha sewed a size 20. She didn’t make any alterations to the top portion, but made a few tweaks to the bottom portion. After laying and pinning the pattern on the fabric, she followed the seam line on the right side of the pattern and drew a straight line where the pattern curves in at the hip (there is a very severe inward curve on the pattern that makes the hip width quite narrow) and about three inches from the straight line she gradually started to curve in until it met the actual bottom seam line. This made the bottom portion much wider than the top so to compensate for the extra fabric on the bottom, after pinning the front and sides, she created a pleat on both sides of the back seam.
Trisha says she liked the fit of the Mila, but if she sewed it again she would make the bottom wider to give it more walking ease, and perhaps try to grade the pattern in such a way that the pleats wouldn’t be necessary.Lorraine
She braved the rain to snap these photos, but, despite the rain, Lorraine is looking beautiful and happy in her two fabulous colorblocked versions of the Mila dress! Plus she’s given us a glimpse of some lovely scenery and her cute cat, Gussy. Win-win-win!
For both dresses she cut a size 24 straight from the pattern, with no alterations except to use the neckline with bias strips instead of using the facings included in the pattern. Both dresses are made from ponte de roma viscose/polyester/elastane blend jerseys.
Lorraine loves the loose, comfortable fit of this dress. However, if she made another she would sew one or even two sizes smaller, as these are maybe just a bit too roomy. She said she may also lower the front neckline slightly. According to Lorraine, the pattern is very easy to make, with care applied to the pointed front seam!
Sabrina, our Brazilian bombshell (you might remember from her great Sewing for My Curves post), has found that the Mila dress is one of her go-to pullover dress patterns. She’s made a couple versions of the Mila, including one with a cool pattern hack to change up the neckline and make it in one fabric.
Sabrina made a size 20 Mila. For her first Mila, she used a double gauze with a lovely mermaid print from Tecidaria for the top, and for the bottom, a dark blue gabardine from a tiny local store. For this version, she had some trouble fitting the top with the skirt, since the bottom edge of her top piece ended up larger for some reason. So she created a single “pleat” on the back center to allow the two pieces to fit together.
For her hacked version, Sabrina used a wool crepe she bought in a street Turkish market in Berlin. To make the dress from one pattern with no horizontal seam, she taped the bodice and skirt parts of the pattern together, added side seams and created a one piece dress. For the neckline alteration, she drew a V right down the middle of the front neckline.
Sabrina says she absolutely loves the fit of the dress and that it feels like she’s wearing a camisole, but it looks like a very stylish dress. The neckline is just the way she likes it, not too tight, not too wide!
I was all over the Mila pattern after seeing the striking yellow and grey sample that Style Arc showcased on their website… this pattern is really perfect for color blocking!
For my Mila, I sewed a straight size 18 even though my measurements put me in an 18 hip and 14/16 bust, mostly because I was too lazy to print two versions of the PDF pattern I got from Etsy. I used two colors of rayon challis fabric and didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern for this version. You can read more about sewing the Mila with these slippery fabrics on my blog.
Next time would get over my laziness and size down on the bodice, perhaps to a 16. I could probably get away with a straight size 16, as the pattern has lots of room, but I think it’s also meant to be roomy, style-wise, and I don’t want to ruin the look by cutting it too small.
How about you? Do these gorgeous versions of the Mila inspire you to try the pattern?
How about this series? What other patterns do you want to see get the Same Pattern, Different Bodies treatment?