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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


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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Three Stylearc pants patterns differientated

O.K. here we go. 

As promised a highly scientific examination of the differences between three Stylearc patterns, the Becky Yoga, the Elle and the Barb. The thing about the Stylearc pants is they fit an amazing variety of shapes - due I think to some great drafting and an excellent crotch curve.

With of course the requisite quick and dirty shots in my basement done by my quick and relatively clean spouse who always seems to be on his way to other projects here we are.

The theme of this review is : the degree of stretch is the factor determining success. 

Each of these pants has been made by me in a stretch fabric that was not the right degree of stretch for that pattern and I produced either a wadder or something too uncomfortable to wear.

Each of these patterns was also made by me in fabric with the right degree of stretch and I had great success.

My assessment of what fabric worked with what pattern seemed to me to be worth passing on.

Here goes:

The Becky Yoga pant:

The first pair I made was in what I thought was a highly stretchy light ponte knit in which 4" of fabric stretched to about 6".

I could barely fit one leg into the first leg I sewed up and the centre front came no where near the actual centre front.

On an impulse I grabbed the most stretchy knit I had on hand, in purple no less, a rayon interlock that stretched 100% , meaning that 4" stretched easily to 8".

The result was a highly comfortable pair of purple yoga pants that I will be wearing in the basement to do my so- called exercises and no where else.

Here is the general shape of these pants on a hanger:

Here are these pants on my general shape:

Yes I know but no one is going to see these except you and www. I will do anything for education. Note these pants have a nice high waistline.

The Elle pant:
I made these a year ago in a stretch woven, about 25% ( 4" to 5") stretch and they made my body look like a teacup - legs with a ball on top. Plus I couldn't move in them.

This time I used a cotton/lycra terry with 50% stretch  and am super happy with them as skinny pants. I have them on now and they are perfect for blogging.

Here they are on a hanger, you can see the leg shape:

And on me:

Husband decided the black pants didn't show up so he threw an old cotton sheet over the family photos. Who am I to argue with a man with a camera in his hand and better things to do?
Finally, here are the Barb's in stretch corduroy (25% stretch this would be a minimum IMO).

On the hanger:

  And on me:

Any questions?

Now back to the lab.


annie said...

Questions? Does a teacher present a lesson and not expect questions, mindless and otherwise? Your successes all look very good on you. And the hints re stretch were very useful. I have emailed StyleArc several times about a problem and I can't get them to answer. If I remember the total crotch length on a size 10 is 24 1/2 inches. I need a size 12 but my total crotch length needs to be 27 1/2 inches Will I produce major distortion if I cut the pattern from hip to hip and put in 1 3/4 along the front and the back?

Carohttp://miasews.blogspot.com/le said...

Finally, a clarification that even I can understand! Thank you, thank you. Now off to find some corduroy with a minimum of 25% stretch...

Barbara said...

Annie good question. I make these pants out of the envelope but since I have a generous belly and rear end I add 1" to Center back and the same to the length do Center front and taper down to the sides because I have straight hips. It looks weird when cut out but one my body, when my body I'd consuming the length it looks just fine. If I were you I would just add what you need all along the top, baste the waistband on before you finally commit, adjust if necessary and just go for it.

Vicki said...

Next question :) You say the crotch is an excellent curve - would this be for a more curvier figure - fuller bottom? I have a less generous rear and so I am wondering if the curve would not be so excellent for me. Thanks for doing the comparison and reporting back!

RebeccaHoward said...

Fantastic post as usual Barb. And timely. I have just ordered the SyleArc Elle and Barb (and Willow and Claudia!) so this info re stretch is perfect. I really like the shape of the Becky Yoga pants on your legs as well. I would definitely wear them out of the house. But styled with a tunic top :) Thank you so much for showing these.

BeaJay said...

Great comparison shots and really show how each pair works. Thanks. I have just done my first Barbs in Bengaline and love them.

annie said...

Thanks, Barbara.

Barbara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barbara said...

Rebecca, ha these will definitely all be worn with tunic tops but I figured for educational purposes you needed to see the whole thing- as horrifying as it is. Vicki never since birth having had a cot "curvy" bottom I can only speculate but I can say I have seen these pants on all shapes and saggy rear complaints appear to be absent. The hips are pretty fitted and the crotch cut high so that helps. The curve does not appear to be too extreme to me. I would try one pair and see what you thought.

Elizabeth Dube said...


This is extremely helpful. I made a pair of elles in a stretch woven before making them up in a ponte knit and was very disappointed with the wovens, even though the pattern called for them. Thanks for your courage in the lab! :))

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy your posts.
I think all the pants look good on you. Also good points about the stretch of the fabric.
One thing I was hoping for and that was that you might show us pictures of the pattern pieces so we could see the variations. Are there any variations? Maximal? Minimal? If you don't want to show pix how would describe the differences?

Scenic Route said...

I have a totally flat; i.e., nonexistent rear end. I made the Barbs right out of the envelope (size 10) in a good quality ponte knit and they fit GREAT. Good post--good info re: the stretch info

twotoast said...

They look great, especially the last twp pairs! Thanks for the comparison. I'm loved the fact that one pair is particularly good for blogging . . . . most important!!!

Jacq C said...

Brillant explanation, totally makes sense. I really like the yoga pants, they are a great shape. Thank you for sharing your research :)

Barbara said...

HI anonymous re the request for pictures of the pattern pieces. The thing about the lab is that we are short staffed and hours keep getting cut, so it is unlikely that pattern piece pictures will be taken. I felt that the hanging shots of the pants would show the differences, which are fundamentally differences in the width of the thigh and leg. To be honest I feel that seeing the shapes in fabric is actually more useful and accurate than paper, so I hope you find those shots helpful.

Tillie's Mom said...

Great post...thanks! I made the yoga pants and could not understand the instructions for the waistband. Could you explain how you inserted the elastic in the waistband, closed it and attached it to the pants? Thanks!

Barbara said...

Sure Tillie's Mom. I sewed my elastic into a ring. Then I sewed the waistband piece into a ring and folded it in half. Next I inserted my elastic ring into my waistband ring, between the two layers and pinned it still in a few places. I then attached a zipper foot to my machine and stitched the raw edge of the waistband together, sandwiching the elastic in the middle. The zipper foot helped me butt the stitches up close to the edge of the elastic without actually sewing through it. Some stretching of the elastic inside the waistband was required when this was happening. Finally I sewed this unit to the top of the pants and then serged that seam.

Tillie's Mom said...

Thanks. I can visualise this very clearly. I am going to make another pair as I love how these fit. I am 6' tall and can never find sport pants that are long enough. I think I will try the stretch cords, too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post Barb. Great info' on construction fit and the stretch factor. Now if you could sort me out on yarn weights:)


RebeccaHoward said...

Some of the StyleArc patterns suggest using Bengaline as a fabric. I understand this is difficult to get in the USA and Canada. I bought some this afternoon (I live in Sydney, Australia) and have measured the stretch factor in the interests of adding to Barbs Experimental Data. This Bengaline stretches 30%. That is, 5 inches stretches to 6.5 inches. However, I think Barb, that you found the stretch needed to be greater than this for the Elle pants for your best fit.

Barbara said...

Rebecca you are right. This may be the comfort factor I like in my pants, and I have sewn with Bengaline, but me, I would use it for the Barb's only.