They Call Me The Duchess: Style Arc Gorgeous Gore Skirt and Phillipa Peplum

I kind of went crazy when StyleArc put together several pieces from the 2014 Royal Tour to Australia. After two years, I finally sewed up the Phillipa Top, Gorgeous Gore skirt, and Kate dress from their Etsy shop as copy shop patterns (death to taping!). I would have bought the Catherine too, but it wasn’t available as a PDF.


I SWOONED over this pink wool jersey Alexander McQueen ensemble.

The Royals arrive into Adelaide
The royals, Kate and William, arrive into Adelaide without their son GeorgePictured: Prince William and Kate Ref: SPL743025 230414
Picture by: Splash News


Having the same lithe figure as the Duchess (HA!), I decided to whip up my own version using a polyester ponte knit I bought last year from Metro Textiles in the Garment District.


I wore it this weekend to Jordan’s grandfather’s 80th birthday dinner. And, that’s the only photo I have of it on me. It’s literally 100 degrees here (they are calling it a ‘Heat Dome’) and you’ll be shocked to know poly scuba does not breath. We snapped this on my cell phone for IG in the hotel and bolted for the restaurant.

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Any who, when I first sent the photo of this outfit on my dress form, my friend Liz said “I have to see it on. It looks potentially matronly”. I can see why. First, my dress form approximates but doesn’t mimic my figure. Second, I think we can all agree that perhaps Catherine dresses a little…. mumsy? That said, I’m actually pretty pleased with the silouhette overall on me.

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The Gorgeous Gore skirt is a really terrific beginner pattern and intro to StyleArc.  It’s just two pattern pieces and a really simple sew.  I purchased the 12-14-16 size range. For the skirt, I cut the 16 and ended up taking it in at the waist about three sizes and one size through the thighs. The instructions might be a bit  confusing if you read too fast. But, I sewed each panel with 1/4 inch seams and the side seams with 3/8 inch allowance. I ended up shortening the skirt by two inches and using 1/2 inch wide elastic at the waist rather that 1/4 inch.

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For the Philipa top, I found one online review and read a smattering of comments on other blogs about it being too low cut. Which, I did not find to be the case at all. Maybe because I’m a little busty it doesn’t come down as far as for others? I did also make an FBA and multiple muslins of the top. Why? Because it’s a new-to-me company and my fabric is precious.

Muslin 1:  I  started with a 16, raised the neckline by 1 inch and made a 1.25 inch FBA adding a side dart and shortening the front dart by 1 inch.

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Muslin 2: Dropped down to a 12, put the neckline back where it was and made a 1.25 inch FBA

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Muslin 3: Kept the size 12 (which is still a wee bit big) and reduced my FBA to 1 inch.  I also lowered the side darts 1/2 inch.  FYI, darts can end 1 to 2.5 inches from the apex. Mine still don’t. They are right up on me.

I also changed the 3/4 sleeves to a capped sleeve. Because, poly scuba in the dead of summer.

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And, here’s the back view. I can get the top on fine without unzipping. But, with a zip, it’s easier to get on without messing up my hair and makeup. So, I’m glad I kept it.

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StyleArc is AWESOME and I’m sorry it took me this long to discover them. I love, love, love this outfit. And, maybe someday I’ll actually get more photos of me in it! I hope to make this up in the fall in long sleeves using some of my stashed wool jersey — maybe a nice camel. Wouldn’t that look awesome with tall boots?



  1. I think Kate dresses in classic style, which I do not find matronly in the least. I think most of what she wears is timeless, which is why so many people love how she dresses. I think this looks smashing on you, Renee! You look very put together in this photo! I keep telling myself that I need to try Style Arc, but I don’t get around to it. I _hate_ taping those PDF patterns together. I am not into immediate gratification such that I can’t wait for something to arrive in the mail, and I think that has contributed to my avoiding them as a company since it would have to travel from AU. You may have pushed me into buying that gored skirt pattern. I do love a “flippy” skirt! It sounds silly, but they make me happy.

    • I totally avoided SA when they were print only and I think one size at a time. I couldn’t justify the shipping from AU. But, once they went PDF and said they could do a copy file, I was all about it! The skirt is super flippy and really easy to wear. I might even draft the back a bit longer to better mimic Kate’s. Her style is so timeless. I’m obsessed with it to be honest!

      On Sun, Jul 24, 2016 at 3:08 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  2. I think it’s gorgeous! It looks super flattering on you. I’ve yet to make a Style Arc up, I’ve bought a few but just need to be brave enough and just go for it as I love their designs.

    • Me too! I even bought the Beatrice Peacoat. And, I need a peacoat pattern like a hole in the head. But, I love their look.

      On Sun, Jul 24, 2016 at 3:10 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  3. It looks far better on you than on the dress form!! Not matronly. I think that we love how Kate dresses because it is so elegant, and, as Becky points out, timeless. I wouldn’t want a princess to dress any other way. I’m still swooning over the pink version, too.

    • Kate is so elegant. I used to have an entire Pinterest board just dedicate to my favorite looks of hers. But, I had to acknowledge that we have very different body types!

      On Sun, Jul 24, 2016 at 3:15 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  4. Yowza, that outfit is wonderful on you! As above, can’t see Catherine as matronly with her very slim, tall figure! i.e., she needs to eat more of the wonderful desserts they sere at those oral functions!

    • I think I meant mumsy in that she dresses in a classic style that most mid 20s to early 30 year olds don’t wear / pull off. Her clothes are beautiful, but not exciting / trendy. But, I want her ENTIRE wardrobe. I would love to see her with a few more pounds too. And, myself with a few less!

      On Sun, Jul 24, 2016 at 3:49 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  5. Lovely. Perhaps you need to make it in a more bearable material. I meant to say breathable but perhaps bearable is also correct! I agree with the others. I don’t find Kate’s clothes mumsy – elegant sure – certainly not high fashion (shudder). I haven’t risked Style Arc yet but I do like their styles.

    • You know, I thought cap sleeves would make it ok. But, I really haven’t sewn or worn ponte before. And it is SO HUMID in Baltimore right now. It ended up being okay because the restaurant was severely over air conditioned. And, in winter, a breathable wool will be much much better. Kate is definitely not high fashion, but I love her for it. She lets her clothes speak. I think people might want her to be the fashion plate that Diana was. But, she’s much more aware of the public role she has and how people don’t tolerate an extravagant royal family anymore. At least that’s my take from my obsessive reading about her!

      On Sun, Jul 24, 2016 at 4:49 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  6. Interesting how much more attractive on YOU than on the dress form…..I wonder if a linen knit would work or if the pattern needs more recovery? The idea of thinking about putting on scuba in this weather is making me overheat, you were very brave to dress up for the special occasion.


  7. We’re in the heat bubble too and the idea of trying on scuba right now is so unappealing! I think the dress looks great on you. I remember this pattern bundle and thinking it was a) very smart marketing / cute patterns but b) unlikely to suit me even if I do love that princess’ style. And I want to bite her children they are SO adorable. Especially George! Now I may have to reconsider…

  8. Love your version – it looks very put together.
    {{When you said scuba knit, I flashbacked to our 70’s obsession with polyester, and why we left it in the 70’s. }}

  9. This is really pretty and flattering on you. I can totally see it in a solid color for a sophisticated look. And, not that you asked for advice, but I think the neckline would make you look taller with a bit deeper V. If you go for that sort of thing. 😉

    • I think it would look better with a deeper V too! I’m just not sure how much lower I can go without showing more than I’m comfortable with. But, if you’re telling me to go for it, I’ll take it a little deeper next time!

      On Jul 24, 2016 20:49, “Miss Celie's Pants” wrote:


  10. This looks so lovely on you! I am inspired to order the patterns, even though I won’t have time to sew in the immediate future.

  11. This is why I love your blog. I think that you and I are fairly close to the same size. I too know the pain and frustration of trying to purchase a 34DDDD bra. While Kate is pretty she is almost skinny enough to look like the clothes hanger from the closet when it comes to giving the clothing any human shape. But….. If it looks good on you it *might* (depending on how good my fba game is that day) look pretty good on me too. 😁 thanks for doing all the leg work on that pattern for me!

    • The bridge of my bra is so tall that I couldn’t lower the neckline as I would have preferred. That said, it *just* occurred to me this morning I could buy a plunging bra! Sometimes it takes me a minute for things to click. I don’t know what size SA drafts for. But, I was really pleased with just a 1 inch FBA. And, probably could have rotated the darts into the waist darts — but side darts don’t really bother me. And, yes. She’s so slim that I had to really think ‘what is this going to look like?’ As for the leg work, I’m here to help 😁

      On Sun, Jul 24, 2016 at 10:54 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  12. Great looking outfit! A beefy wool jersey and tall boots – I’m liking the idea!

  13. StyleArc patterns are on sale currently on Amazon and those are the multi-size patterns. Just FYI. 🙂 I much prefer buying from Amazon for that reason alone. 4-16 in one package and since I’m a Prime customer, free shipping. 25% off currently!

    • oooh! Thanks for the tip! I was worried about having to grade in between patterns. And, I ended up getting each size printed in my three pack bundle because I wasn’t sure what size I needed!

      On Sun, Jul 24, 2016 at 11:09 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  14. It’s so cute on you and I love the look of the fabric you made it up in! The collage of pictures of the original garments, style illustrations and line drawings that StyleArc made is genius. I’m going to have to look around and see if they’ve done that with any other patterns. It’s really inspiring!

    • That collage SOLD me so quickly, lol. I wish / hope they do more collections like that in the future.

      On Sun, Jul 24, 2016 at 11:24 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  15. This looks way better on your lovely hourglass than it does on the form. Love the belt addition too.
    While I love the digital prints seen on scuba, just feeling that poly stuff in the stores makes me cringe with fears of sweaty heat. You did a lovely job with this and it looks great. Just seek out that AC!

  16. I’ve been using StyleArc for a couple of years. Their designs and fit are modern and enjoyable. Sometimes the directions are a little confusing.

  17. Catherine definitely dresses for her station in life which makes her choices a little safe and conservative. However, I liked the original outfit and I love your version of it. Style Arc does design some nice patterns but I still have a problem with pdf/copy shop or waiting for them to arrive via mail from Australia when with a little research I can find it here. Still waiting for that I MUST have pattern to indulge.

    You should definitely make more of these. The camel in the fall would be amazing and the wool jersey would have an awesome drape in the skirt!

  18. Stunning outfit! Thanks for the review of the top. It’s on my sewing list but just like you I had my doubts about the V-neck, thinking it would be extremely revealing on a more busty figure. Maybe it’s time to sew my first Style Arc pattern!

    • It has also just occured to me that if I get a plunging / low bridge bra I could actually deepen the vee! Sometimes I’m a little slow. But, yes. I read a review that said the vee was really low and someone on a CSC post in the comments said it was too low cut. But, I’m happy to report that it was fine on me (if not too high) without raising the neckline 🙂

      On Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 9:05 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  19. I can see how your friend thought that looking at it on the mannequin, but it looks FANTASTIC on you! Not the least bit matronly!. And all those muslins paid off because it fits you like a dream! Will definitely be looking forward to seeing Autumnal versions in your wool jersey. It’s also nice to see some Style Arc patterns made up; I’ve run across them online a few times, but was never just quite sure how legit they were, lol.

    And as I’m currently wilting here in DC wearing nothing but lightweight cottons I admire your fortitude in wearing a poly knit!

  20. Firstly, Kate style – I love it, I would happily wear most anything I see on her and some of the garments are so great – like the McQueen coats, I always want. As for this outfit – it looks great on you. Super Cute. but scuba, in the summer? eek that sounds steamy. I think you should recreate this outfit in a rayon knit – it would be super comfy and the skirt would have that nice swishy style.

    • Steamy. That’s the right word 😰 I loved the idea of scuba because I wanted to make sure lumps and bumps didn’t show. But, it’s not a walk around in the heat dress at all. I do have some beautiful silk jersey too. But, that’s also wicked hot for me! I’ll keep an eye out for some rayon 🙂

      On Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 11:58 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  21. I’m not super into Kate’s style but I love this outfit on you. I think the print you chose makes the ensemble a lot more dynamic, and I’m excited to see more of your interpretations of the SA patterns!

  22. I always read; rarely comment. I had to comment on this. This is YOUR dress. I love this on you. I mean that enough that I’m actually commenting on my phone which is a pain.

    • Me too! I mostly read on my phone now so I never get to comment. Thank you for doing it!

      On Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 1:31 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  23. I thought I’d commented on this , but apparently not here. I do not think it looks mumsy, but then again as you pointed out she is not exactly daring in her fashion. It does suit your figure perfectly and is definitely flattering with great fit. I know you don’t like making fba’s but this one is spot on. But, really scuba in the summer in the south? I’m sweating just thinking about it! I agree with Beth, some nice weighty rayon knit would be lovely. I do think that it would be fabulous for a nice weight wool jersey for winter. BTW, I’ve been buying merino wool jersey from The Fabric Store in LA. I love it for it’s non itchy warmth. Beautiful quality and worth the splurge for this dress.

    • I know. What was I thinking? I think I started in in late spring and summer seemed to start later here too. But, the day of the event I kind of regretted it for a summer look. But, inside a/c it worked well. I’ll check out The Fabric Store. The thing about an FBA is I always feel like I’m shooting in the dark to see what will fit. If I don’t make a muslin I have no TNT method for knowing how much to add. I was also surprised I was down to their size 12 because the measurements should have me in a 16 for the top. But, again, I think this is my narrower rib cage coming in to play.Thanks for the suggestion!

      On Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 4:21 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  24. This is absolutely gorgeous and so flattering on you. I agree it looks better on you than on the dress form – but that’s the way round we want it isn’t it! I think I will be ordering these two patterns on my next Style Arc order. It will look fabulous with long sleeves and boots for fall and winter too and I can see the top and skirt getting lots of wear as separates.

  25. I think you’ve sold me on this pattern. This also reminds me…I have a Time Magazine special edition of the royal wedding that I saved specifically for you (for some reason, Time was mysteriously delivered to us for a year).

  26. Wow! This outfit is incredible! You look fantastic. I’ve only made one StyleArc pattern, but it’s time to check out this capsule.

  27. I bought some SA patterns from Australia and you’re right: you have to be on point about your/their sizing before committing to the cost of shipping. Of the patterns I bought, I stuck with skirts since I figured they would be the least swear-inducing. I have one jacket and a knit cardigan (that desperately needs an FBA).

    I haven’t tried their PDFs yet, but I think that’s a much better way to go since there are multiple sizes available. Buuuuuuuut, “death to taping” for realz.

    Your skirt and top look good and fit you well. The muslins and changes you made were worth it.

  28. Not into slavishly copying celebs, even the infinitely stylish Ms Middleton. But I love your new suit. Interested to see you raised the neckline, as it looked dangerously plunging on the pattern jacket.

    • Thank you! I actually ended up not raising it. It wasn’t low at all for me. I did raise it first, but it was way to high so I brought it back down.

      On Tue, Aug 2, 2016 at 6:00 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  29. You are looking so gorgeous in this dress! You do know that SA sells multi-size patterns on Amazon now, yes?
    Catherine is lovely, and her wardrobe is classic, which reflects her title, really.
    I think we tend to be a little critical of other women – to fat, too thin, too this, to that. I’ve been on both sides of that, where I was too heavy and the damn pounds would not come off, and too thin, and no matter what I did/how much I ate, I couldn’t gain a pound to save my life. We don’t always know what other women are going through when we just see the outside appearance. Ok, stepping down off my soapbox now. 😉

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