Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Stretch Pant Trial Run - Style Arc Barb's Stretch Pant

Pattern: Style Arc Barb's Stretch Pant (2014)

Pattern Description: Pull-on pant with elasticized waistband made in a stretch woven.

Pattern Sizing: Size 12-14-16. I cut the size 14 (W: 33.5 in. H: 42.5 in.) and made some changes to the pattern.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it? Yes, exactly. However, mine were a touch too small!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Extremely! This is a very simple pant which makes it ideal for trying to nail down what kind of fitting adjustments you may need to make to pants in general.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Most importantly, the company offered it as a FREE PDF download here. This allowed me to try out the company's pants draft before making a monetary commitment. Two, this seemed like a very simple pattern, no zipper insertion, or lined waistband.

Fabric Used: Cream stretch suiting (95% polyester 5% Lycra) from Jo-Ann Fabrics on clearance, Dritz 2-inch wide knit elastic.

Cut and spread to add room for the stomach
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Current sewing situations have taught me that it wouldn't hurt to do a full tummy adjustment and a protruding seat adjustment when making pants so I first made a tracing of the pattern for my muslin.

Page 57 of Sewing Pants That Fit.

I added an inch wedge to both the front and back just to be safe. As it turns out, perhaps a full inch at front was not necessary.

However, the adjustment at the back was perfect and I like how the ole bum looks. I believe the wrinkle problem there in back is because my inner thighs need more width so I will add a full thigh adjustment to the front for the next muslin.

A plus of the pattern draft is how they handled the waistband. Note the angle from the top of the waistband down. This shows an awareness that this is a wider than usual waistband and that the body is going to widen out from that top point but that you still want a slim as possible waist.

Note the angle of the waistband at the sides and how it meets the pants.

When I first saw this waistband sewn up and placed next to the pants in the image above I doubted that it would fit over my hips. However, being cut the way it was it expanded the right amount to fit the pants, even before any elastic was involved.

The elastic was placed inside the completed waistband and basted closed before it was attached to the pants. This allowed the elastic to fit snug in the casing and eliminate any excess room that would allow it to twist around inside the casing.

Not loving this view!
Here is the finished muslin from the side. Note the protruding abdomen, (and then feel free to forever abolish the image from your brain!) the tautness of the fabric below it, and that crooked side seam. This muslin is too small. All of these pictures were taken months after the pants were first completed. At that point, they were really too small. I have since lost some weight and dietary changes have somewhat adjusted my abdominal bloat, so there has been a great improvement to that original fit. Unfortunately, the picture is so washed out but you may be able to see where the side seam indicates where more width in the pattern is needed. Try hard you can also see the beginnings of those diagonal wrinkles towards the back indicating the need for the full thigh adjustment.


The view from the front is where you can see the high waist and how they fit at the front thigh with a few radiating markers of fitting issues. Also note that once on, despite the 10" difference between my hips and waist, the amount of visible gathers from the waistband are minimal and don't add too much bulk. So the waistband works, but the rest of the pants do not.

Last little note, since these were never meant to be finished, I cut almost 4 inches from the length in order to try them on. I am 5' 4" inches tall, so definitely compare your desired pant length against the pattern pieces before laying and cutting out your fabric. I would hate for you to lose that much fabric needlessly.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Since this is a muslin, the real question is will this pattern work well enough for a final version? I believe so, with a minimum of changes. The waistband is a keeper and the use of 2" elastic creates a comforting and supportive waistband; especially if you have some girth you wish to control in that area.

Unfortunately, my muslin did not fit, but then that's the purpose of a muslin. I don't know how much can be blamed on the fabric choice since the Lycra content of this particular fabric was a mystery and I did not know exactly how much* stretch the pattern required. According to the company's posted measurements (waist: 33.5, hip: 42.5) I did choose the right size and in fact, those numbers are 1" larger in the waist and .5" in the hip. However, my full abdomen and inner thighs may have affected the ease distribution.

Conclusion: I will make these pants again and not only to adjust and correct the pattern before attempting the other two Style Arc pants patterns I own. This was a more than decent muslin compared to other pants patterns I have tried. If I hadn't made them out of a see-through white fabric I could even see finishing them off and wearing them out on my "no bread and dairy" days.

*Instead of suggesting a Lycra/spandex content percentage, Style Arc instead directs you to purchase their own stretch gabardine that possesses a 30% vertical stretch (?).


Karen said...

Lisa -- StyleArc lists vertical stretch because the bengaline they recommend is meant to be cut cross-wise, rather than the usual way. So, you need a fabric that has 30% stretch around the body. Karen

lsaspacey said...

Thank you Karen, that does help to know! It just wasn't making sense to me before.

barbara said...

do you think starting with a larger size would have been a better choice? you might still need a full thigh adjustment but it might skim the rest of you better. i've read that style arc does run small. it's very confusing. take in or adjust out. i hate pants!

Siobhan (Chronically Siobhan) said...

I've been right into making Style Arc pants lately so maybe I can offer some advice. Like Karen says, these pants are drafted for stretch bengaline, a unique fabric which has stretch going the opposite way to most stretch fabrics. Style Arc are not the only ones who sell this type of fabric, but I believe it is hard to find outside of Australia.

Bengaline is so, so, stretchy, that I'd be really hesitant to substitute another fabric for any of the Style Arc patterns which are drafted specifically for that fabric. Honestly, it behaves more like a knit than a woven.

Lee Armstrong said...

Thanks for this post... I find it addresses many of the fit issues I have too. Question: for the full thigh adjustment, did you just add to the side seams?