A linen dress for summer: StyleArc Toni

This is the first thing I’ve made since my daughter’s wedding which was back in June. Wedding dress alterations and sewing satin skirts for bridesmaids, plus my own outfit, was fun but not relaxing. I left everything in the sewing room untouched for a few weeks, until a few days ago, when I felt the urge come upon me.

I’ve had the Toni dress pattern waiting since the spring, when I bought the PDF version and paid to have it printed. Usually I do the whole taping A4 sheets together, but this time I coughed up the £9 or so and ordered a paper copy from NetPrinter.

I knew exactly what to use to make it up. About 12 months ago I bought 3m of lightweight linen from Clothspot, with a gorgeous bold print. Perfect for the Toni dress.

This seems to be the sort of sewing pattern you love or hate. Reviewers either go on to make lots of versions, or try it once and throw it in with the wadders. I was drawn to the funky silhouette, which is not only a bit wacky but also has the advantage of hiding the spare tyre while fitting neatly on the shoulders. And; pockets!

Reviewers all seemed to comment on the trickiness of the collar, which tapers into a CF vee. StyleArc patterns are famous for the brevity of their instructions, but the Toni has some clear photos of the collar construction. I couldn’t see anything especially complicated, so I went for it. And maybe I missed something but it was straightforward, nothing particularly difficult. (But I did make it easier by sewing the centre front seam after the collar, more below)

I made a couple of changes.

Cutting out:

First, I lengthened the pattern 2″. I’m tall, (5’10”) and I wanted the hem to fall mid-calf. And shorter and I think the proportions would be off, it needs the length to balance the width with those side drapes.

Second, I cut the back on the fold to eliminate the CB seam. Unless you want it as a design detail, get rid of it.

Third, my linen was a bit shifty, so I cut the collar and facing pieces with generous seam allowances, then cut them precisely with a rotary cutter, after I’d fused them. I’d recommend doing this on any fabric, I think, it gives a clean raw edge for seaming, and StyleArc seam allowances are narrow.


I left the CF seam until after the collar and facings were attached. This makes it so much easier to hit the spot with that vee and get everything even.

Armholes: The instructions tell you to turn over the raw edge, but I used a 2″ bias strip and bound the armholes. I tapered out to each end and caught the ends in the side seam, which made a nicely finished edge. It also adds some definition and support to the cap sleeve edge. Excuse the shoulder seam finish (or lack of) 🙄

Even with the collar and the extra binding, this was a super quick sew. I made it Saturday evening to wear to a live music event at our local brewery on Sunday, which just happened to be on the hottest Bank Holiday weekend ever! My dress is cool, breezy, and comfortable. I love the pointy sides and oh yes, did I mention the pockets?

The collar is flattering and the fit across the shoulders and bust is perfect.


I’ll make this again, maybe in a drapey microfibre or silky crepe. It’s flattering and so comfortable, especially in hot weather. And it has loads of potential for adapting into a top, or a tunic. And you could have a lot of fun with contrast fabric for the collar.

Toni designer dress, I made a size 14