The StyleArc Toni Designer dress is one of my favourite patterns, although I dispense with the collar and pare it down to its basic silhouette. I have posted about other versions of this dress here, here and here.

This time I wanted to make a long sleeve version, using a lovely cotton jersey that would be a great canvas for a bit of block printing. I used the same motif as for this t-shirt, except for mirroring it into a sort of abstract leaf shape.

I am very happy with the design, although the actual execution leaves a bit to be desired. This is due to the nature of block printing, where every print looks somewhat different and none of them are perfect, most with random bits where the ink didn’t quite cover. This is unlike stencilling which has a more solid application of the ink, but is more difficult to use on large areas such as a nearly maxi dress. Still, the block print seen as a whole doesn’t look too bad and close up the unevenness of the prints has a certain artisan charm. You can tell it hasn’t been done by a machine, at least that’s my story and I intend to stick to it. 🙂

But looking at the photos, I really ought to slim down the width of the bodice a bit, when I compare it to the dark grey version below, which has a more pleasing overall shape, because it looks quite tight below the bust and only flares out from there.

The two dresses are actually cut identical, but the lighter grey jersey is not as drapey as the darker. Or is it the large print that makes the difference? It has been a truism as long as I can remember that large scale prints are only for the super-skinny, but aesthetically I just like large prints so much better than small ones. It is a trade-off, but fortunately seeking to look as slim as possible is no longer my top priority when designing my clothes. Still, there is scope to slim done the bodice, and I will try it as soon as i can find the time and see if it will do the trick.

To get a winter version of the Toni, I combined it with my TNT t-shirt pattern, the Burda Lydia, for the upper part of the bodice and also used the long sleeves from that pattern. The sewing details are on PatternReview.