Have you heard of Style Arc patterns yet? This Australian-based pattern company is quickly gaining popularity, thanks to the internet.
I first became aware of them when, mere days after the royal wedding, they were offering a knock-off of the Pippa dress. You know the one:
I have to say that I loved Pippa's dress much more than Katherine's. :)
Not interested in making the Pippa dress, some of their other offerings caught my attention. Folks were starting to order a few of their patterns to test them out, with very favorable results. For example, Ann of Gorgeous Things, made up the Cruise Club Kim dress and the Creative Cate top, which was May's freebie pattern. The general consensus is that the Style Arc patterns are drafted the way RTW is drafted and that they fit much better than the Big 4, from the get-go, with less "extra" ease through the upper chest, for example, and a more RTW-like crotch curve. You can read more StyleArc pattern reviews on the PR website.
I was particularly interested in the StyleArc pant offerings. Despite the high cost of shipping to the U.S., I ordered several pant patterns, a couple jacket patterns, and I also received the June freebie, a camisole pattern.
The Style Arc patterns come in one size only, though the range of sizes they offer is quite large. These patterns are hand drafted and do not use multi-sizing and so, like the Italian Marfy patterns, you have to commit.
Australian sizing is different than U.S. or even European sizing, so you need to take your measurements and compare them against their sizing chart. But even then, I was not sure what to order as I don't know how generous their ease is and my waist, hip, and bust measurements each correspond to very different sizes. So, I started a conversation with Chloe at Style Arc, gave her my measurements, sent her to a picture of me on my blog, and we worked out that I should order a size 10 for bottoms and a size 16 for tops, with the understanding that I needed to alter for my waist and bust. (She even checked the ease on the jackets I wanted - such great customer service!)
When my package arrived (via Kansas City, for some reason, where the envelope was torn in transit, and then taped up again and stuck into a plastic baggie), the patterns were intact, thank goodness. The pattern paper is similar to Kwik Sew pattern paper - fairly substantial. I have not yet seen a pattern piece that requires that you lay it out on the fold. So you get the entire front, for example, and the entire back. That is very handy when matching prints or plaids, or cutting on the bias. But what I liked most, is that for each pattern, they enclose a small swatch of the recommended fabric. It's tiny, but it's much better than nothing.
The Linda Stretch Pant
I decided to start with the Linda Stretch Pant, which is a fitted pull-on pant for stretch wovens. They recommend a stretch bengaline, which is almost impossible to find in the U.S. and, thanks to the enclosed swatch, I discovered that it is not a particularly stretchy fabric. I had some fabric in my stash from Fabrix that I though would be a good substitute. (Some enterprising Aussie might want to try selling some stretch bengaline on Etsy, which is widely available in Australia in different colors and a couple different weights. I'd buy some!! :) )
Since the size 10 was based on my hip measurement, I knew I would have to enlarge the waist, but I was not exactly sure where/how much, so I decided to forge ahead and make the pattern as designed, adding a bit at the side seam. Oh, these patterns use 1cm, or 3/8", seam allowances.
These pants sewed up quickly!
- A stretch woven wool blend (?), gabardine (?), dark taupe fabric from Fabrix. I love this fabric and almost hated to use it as a test, but I have enough for another pair of pants or two and I have already used it for a pair of Sewing Workshop Trio pants that I love. So I put on my big girl panties and forged ahead.
- 1" waistband elastic. The pattern calls for 2" waistband elastic, which is optional.
- I added another 3/8" to the side seams, for a total 3/4" seam allowance, but cut the rest of the front and back pant out as designed. Their construction notes utilize RTW techniques and instruct you to sew the inside leg seams first, so I did not add more seam allowance fabric there. You then sew the crotch seam flat, using their stretch woven techniques - these were new to me, but seem to work quite well. I then pinned the side seams and tentatively tried them on. They fit quite well! Yes, the pants were a bit snug through the belly, and there was a bit of muffin top, but nothing I am not used to in RTW. The rise and crotch curve were perfect!
- I did not use the shaped waistband that came with the pattern. It was far too small for my waist. I used a rectangular waistband, as I always do. If you have a waist that is smaller than your hips, I'm sure the shaped waistband would be great.
- I very slightly tapered the pants at the knee. To be honest, I would probably omit tapering next time.
- I shortened the pants by 1", so I would assume that these patterns are drafted for someone who is around 5'6".
Conclusion:That's it! For me that is minimal changes, especially for such a fitted pant. These pants came together so fast and I love the fit! Yes, they do feel very much like a good pair of RTW pants. It's hard to believe that there is no zipper, especially since this stretch woven is not that stretchy, but they are so comfortable! Next time I make them (and there will be a next time), I plan to enlarge the waist a bit to avoid the muffin top, though it really doesn't need much tweaking. :)
Another Teagarden T
My top is also new - one of the six things I made last weekend. I can't remember exactly how many Sewing Workshop Teagarden T's I have made, but it's approximately ten. I love this pattern – it is my go-to t-shirt. For this one, I used a lightweight rayon/lycra knit from Emma One Sock. I just loved the wild print. Also, because the fabric was so wide, I was able to lengthen it a couple of inches, which is a nice change. The first Teagarden T that I made, the one from a black rayond/lycra blend, is starting to wear out. I need to make another black one, but it's not the most exciting sewing. :)
I LOVE this outfit. Love love love. These pants are so darned comfortable!!! So is the top and I just love the soft, lightweight rayon knit that just skims the body. UBER LOVE. :)