adult's clothing · sewing

Elle and Barb and Linda

Wow, that was some URTI!  I am still coughing and sneezing, but am definitely much improved thank goodness.  A few weeks ago I sewed up three pairs of StyleArc pants, and thought that you might like to see the similarities and differences.  Anne of Clothing Engineer has an excellent blog post about sewing StyleArc stretch woven pants here that is well worth reading.

These are all patterns that I have sewn up before.  All three are very simple pull-on styles with elasticised waistbands, designed for stretch wovens like stretch bengaline. They are all size 10, shortened both above and below the knee to accommodate my lack of height. I measure more like a size 14 or 16 around the waist, but the size 10 works better for my hips and because they are designed for stretch fabrics and have an elasticised waist they still fit me around the middle. I cut the waist elastic to the same size as the waistband (both smaller than my actual waist measurement) and that appears to work for me.

Firstly, the Elle pant. I made this in grass green ponte from Darn Cheap Fabrics.

StyleARC Elle pants in ponte

StyleARC Elle pants in ponte

Whoa, all those wrinkles along the back thigh! These are great from the front, but aren’t quite right at the back there. The ponte has the least stretch of all the fabrics I have made these in, which makes them firmer. However, I do need to be able to move in them.

Next up, the Barb pant, which has a wider leg than the Elle and I slightly higher rise. I made these in stretch bengaline from Style Arc.

StyleARC Barb pants in stretch bengaline

StyleARC Barb pants in stretch bengaline

It’s interesting to see the differences that varying the fabric type and leg width can make. Lastly, the Linda pant, which is a wider leg once again. These are made in a stretch woven from Darn Cheap Fabrics that is thicker and heftier than stretch bengaline, but stretches almost as much (which is quite a lot).

StyleARC Linda pants in heavy poly/lycra knit

StyleARC Linda pants in heavy poly/lycra knit

This is wonderful fabric to wear. It stretches in both directions and feels really comfortable, yet supportive around my middle. The paprika stretch bengaline is much lighter weight, and makes a bit of a noise as the legs pass one another. Both the Barb and Linda patterns are more for work, whereas the Elle are for casual. Well, that’s how they are for me anyway! Fabric choice really makes a difference to fit. I have made all three of these patterns in different fabrics now, and notice how some are far more flattering and comfortable and just fit better than others. And they are all the same size. I don’t suppose that others would notice, but for me it’s an interesting observation. And because I prefer photos of whole people rather than just bits of them, here are all three pairs of pants with the rest of me as well.  The top is the Maria Denmark Olivia Oversize Tee (blogged here).

StyleARC Elle pants in ponte

StyleARC Barb pants in stretch bengaline

StyleARC Linda pants in heavy poly/lycra knit

Oh look, same pose!  I am so predictable.  Looking at these photos again I realise how much weight I have gained – I possibly should have gone up a size.  Ah well, the benefits of hindsight!  It just makes that bit of difference to how well things hang.  Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will be aware that my weight fluctuates quite a bit, which can be challenging in terms of what size to sew at any given time.  If my weight stabilises at its current level I will possibly grade these three patterns up a bit.  They’re such staples in my wardrobe!



12 thoughts on “Elle and Barb and Linda

  1. Great post – thanks for the info. Its good to be able to see them all made up and on a person to compare them. My favourite is the paprika coloured pair but they all look really great on you.

  2. I love your sense of color! I am not too good at sewing at the moment, but I’m about to sign up for a raft of sewing classes this fall. My goal is to be able to make some fun clothes like these — comfortable and stylish, and fun. Glad you are feeling better, and you look smashing in these pants! 🙂

  3. I find that I learn so much from your posts. You take time to describe the fabric and patterns and how they all work together and differ in look and wear. In part because I differ quite a bit from you in my build and height, I love learning how patterns are modified to fit your particular body. I love it all. Plus I couldn’t pick a favorite color here – they all look good. Good choices that I think will be useful for this season’s color palette.

    Plus, side note – my weight fluctuated as yours does before I went through menopause. After menopause it more or less stabilized – I am afraid at the upper end. Being tall I could get away with an extra, hidden, 10 pounds (I don’t know how this translates). Now, though, it’s harder to lose the weight. I try to embrace it as a part of the way I am, and work on being active and more mindful about what I eat.

    All that to say, I really appreciate your blog. One of the blessings of the international internet!

    Lillian, a fan from Indiana, a small state in greater Midwestern USA

  4. Thank you for the comparison – I have these patterns but only have made the Elle’s unfortunately I need alterations for a more generous behind. I might now try the Linda as I really like the look of them on you.

  5. The same pose means you can compare them even more easily 😀
    I love the red and green colours. Lovely! And that stretch bengaline I’ve found to be so stretchy I can wear it for contemporary dance, ballet and pilates. Good stuff.
    A year or so ago I went nuts with doing something similar to this, with my favourite trouser patterns, but all in the same fabric. But I didn’t record what I’d done with fitting alongside the photos so I ended up with photos with wrinkles in the rear legs or whiskers in the front or gapping or pulling, and NO idea what I’d done or not done fittingwise to get that effect. DUH!!!

    So I’m appreciating your post very much.

  6. Interesting post! I really enjoyed seeing the differences in pattern and fabric. I really like the orange pair on you, looks great. I sew similar to the green ones for casual-at-home-not-for-going-out using the Hudson pant or leggings patterns. Can’t live without them. And also have a loose leg Vogue pattern for dressier pants or baggy linen drawstring pants! Do you like bangaline in general? I’ve never sewn with it…

  7. Nice comparison – they all look great, and how awesome is that green ponte! You know I have an unhealthy obsession with the Elle pants. I’m up to version 8 in a huge variety of fabrics including stretch cord, ponte, bengaline, wool knit……it is very interesting to see how different fabrics react. I’ve seen a lot of those wrinkles on Elle pants, I think it’s because they’re so tight… Some of mine have them, others don’t. It’s also great to know that their basic pant block suits you – I’m relying on that for some slouched pants this spring…

  8. All three pairs look fabulous, you have really determined what works for your figure. But what’s more that is what you sew, I keep getting distracted by lovely line drawings on vintage patterns. When will I learn??!! Oh the delights of weight fluctuations, I put it down to being “a lady of a certain age”. And isn’t Darn Cheap the best? Lots of treasures to be found lurking in there.

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