About me

My photo
I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


Follow by Email

Follow me on Instagram


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Conspiracy theory

My friend Robin over at a sewing on the side has been making some Style Arc pants lately and having the same extreme success we all have had with those patterns.

I made three pairs of Linda pants in ponte for my trip away. They were perfect. Super comfortable, with a waistband suitable for sitting for long periods of time in restaurants and on airplanes, but with a leg that looked like real tailored pants.

Most of all the best thing about these pants are the fit. Right out of the envelope with these minor, made-for-me adjustments:

1. My waist is 1.5" bigger than the hip measurement of the size I bought. This is no surprise to me. I added 3/4" to the front seam tapering down to normal by the crotch.

2. See belly above and also the ample rear end. I added 1" to the waistline at top at CF and CB and then tapered back to usual by the side seams.

The result is a perfect, perfect fit.

I have made the exact same alterations to the Kerry Cargo pants which I made once in a poplin as pants, and once cut shorter as shorts.

Yes, family members no need to tell me the photos on my blog suck, but you folks are out of town and Rascal's paw shakes when he holds the camera and the shots are too blurry to use. So it's the old back-of-the-door shots:

Yes too I know these are just your old elastic waist units, however the cut is so good that once on and the elastic expanded to Babs size they look smooth and excellent. You have to trust me on this until I can get a photographer around here.

Now get ready for the rave.

I have been trying to make pants that fit since 1972 (yes I know you weren't born yet, but pants fitting was no easier then than now). 

I have made gingham muslins, tried 47 different perfect fit patterns (some documented on this blog). I have taken classes, taught classes,  pinched, tweeked, taken in and let out.

I have pivoted and slid. I have cloned and drafted. I have bought software, tracing paper, broken countless mechanical pencils, and used more Scotch tape than Christmas.

I have spent enough money on this to have paid for medical school. That is if medical schools accepted people who stopped taking math in Grade Nine (thank you thank old school system of the province of Quebec which had a very francophone view of the importance of arts and languages).

Despite all of this I have still, no matter how much I have tried to convince myself that it was only an issue of not standing right in my clothes, had:

1. A sort of space at the front that would have accommodated a fanny pouch, that is if I wanted to wear one under my pants as sort of a security measure to thwart pick pockets on my travels.
2. A rear end that pulled down when I sat, exposing my vast collection of old lady underwear.
3. Diagonal wrinkles on the inside of my legs that only moved to new places when I tried to get rid of them.

I am not the only one this has happened to.

What if - this is where the conspiracy theory comes in - the problem was pants patterns for sewers that were drafted not to fit nearly anybody, and not me? 

Or you?

What if a decent pants draft reduces pant fitting problems to human-sized tasks?

What if there was one or two simple tweaks you could do to every pants pattern that a particular organization produced and every one of those pants patterns fit?

Style Arc has made me suspect this might be true.

To my relief another Style Arc order arrived just in the nick of time yesterday, with the Peta pants Robin made, and with the Sasha blouse too.

I am attaching the pattern shot of the Sasha to show you why I am just as optimistic about this pattern.  

Note the shaping of the collar stand and collar, compared to the ruler straight units we usually see, the small front armhole versus the back and the high sleeve cap.



Belinda said...

Wow...what a difference. Let us know what you think of the blouse when complete. I'm going to jump on the band wagon and try the Linda pants everyone has been raving about.

Gail said...

Okay, that's it. I'm placing my order today.

Well, really, I was going to place an order today anyway, but now maybe I won't flinch so much when I see the total cost including shipping.

And am I remembering wrong -- long ago when patterns only had one size per envelope, weren't the armholes smaller in the front than in the back? For some reason I thought that was standard once upon a time.

LinB said...

Does the shoulder seam of the back piece wrap slightly forward over the top of your actual human shoulder? That would keep the total inch-age of the armhole constant, while shifting it to fit a modern body. (I find that moving the seam forward like that -- I cut one size too large on the back armscye/shoulder, one size too small on the front -- accommodates my shape better than a "balanced" pattern.) We learned in costume design class to scoop out the outer edge of collars slightly at the shoulder seam, so the collar would lie better. Looks as if this pattern has made that simple adjustment already!

LyndaSewing.blogspot.com said...

I had the pants problem forever until I took Don McCunn's (How to make sewing patterns) class in pant drafting. He has some amazing techniques based on your ACTUAL measurements. What a concept! You draft, you fit a muslin to determine dart placement, and you have a perfectly fitting pants sloper that you can change designs at will.
He now has the class on line. First pair of pants that have fit me in my life were done with this draft. Now due to age, health, and weight changes, I've made at least 40 pair with always excellent results!
Try it, you'll like it!

petunia said...

Your picture of the pattern pieces of the collar and armhole of the blouse made me fall in love. The pattern is hard to find unless you spell it Sacha, not Sasha.

Elle C said...

I am glad to benefit from your experience with the joy of fitting pants. I haven't tried yet, next up is 3 pairs of pajama bottoms (as wearable muslins). If the fit sucks I will bite the bullet and order from Style Arc. Thank you for trying for 40 years. Appreciate the effort. 8-)

BJ in TX said...

I've been reading all the rave reviews on SA's pants - but have YET to find out what's really different about their pants design. I would love to see a line drawing to convince my frugal self that yes, $22 in shipping is really ok. Someone should blow this conspiracy wide open and admit how we've been duped all these years with specifics. Since I enjoy your blog so much, I nominate you.

a little sewing said...

(in a loud stage whisper!)
Barbara!! We have found the holy grail of patterns!!
I can tell, just by looking that the pattern pieces for the Sacha blouse make sense!!

RebeccaHoward said...

Barbara - I so agree about the conspiracy to produce patterns that don't fit anybody. What is it with that pouchy bit at the front? I've always figured it was for boy bits (that I don't have) and that the pattern companies just forgot that we're ladies. Style Arc trousers are fantastic. I've made the Jasmine Pant and the Leah Lounge pant and found them both fantastic. Only change needed was to sew the back crotch a bit deeper. When I compare the pattern pieces to Big 4 pattern pieces, the front crotch is much much straighter.