I did promise you there would be more Elle pants coming, and I’m a woman who sticks by her word! Like my last pair, these were made in bengaline from the Spotlight clearance table, though I think they were more like $6/m, making this project a costly $10 total. What can I say, I’m a scrooge.*
These pants were constructed exactly the same way as the last pair. It is a rare occurrence for me not to fiddle around with a pattern second time round, so A+ to Style Arc for their fantastic pattern making! I don’t have purple overlocker thread (does anyone?!) so I used my all-purpose grey, with the matching sewing machine thread for the left needle and lower looper so grey thread wouldn’t show at the seams. This was only because these pants are quite tightly fitted and therefore have more thread-revealing tendencies – I wouldn’t bother with any other project.
I thought I’d give a little review of the fabric I used, considering bengaline is a fabric that is hard to find in the US. I often see it in RTW here: it is a woven, but almost behaves like a knit. The stretch (and it is VERY stretchy) runs parallel to the selvedge. The twill weave is slightly more pronounced on the right side. I would hesitate to recommend sewing up Style Arc patterns which are made for bengaline in any other fabric, given the unique properties of this material and the enormous amount of give it has.
This particular fabric is a viscose/nylon/elastane blend: far superior to a polyester-based fabric. It has a bit of “swish” to it when you walk (it makes sounds!) but I find it very comfortable. Spotlight are not known for their high-quality fabrics, and I do believe this is slightly thinner than you would find in RTW pants – I have to be very picky about the knickers I wear underneath it! But otherwise, it is comparable in quality. I’ve heard good things about the bengaline Style Arc sells, but have yet to try it.
The top is a Named Sointu Kimono Sleeve Tee.** I’ve been lusting after their patterns for a while, and some recommendations on Instagram prompted me to purchase the Sointu. It is available as a PDF or print pattern in sizes 32-50. The layered PDF comes in an A4 and copyshop size.
This is the kind of pattern which could easily be lazily drafted, but there are elements of this pattern which are telling of Named’s attention to detail. For instance, the back armhole is slightly longer than the front. Our shoulders are not balanced – if you look at your body side on in a mirror you can see that ball of your shoulder is actually more towards the front of your body than the back. For a pattern to fit correctly the back armhole needs to be a bit longer than the front, depending on the type of fabric used. You can get away with a pattern in which the front and back shoulders are the same height, but I prefer the better fit of a well-balanced armscye. I often find myself rebalancing t-shirt armholes, so it was a pleasant surprise to not have to make that particular alteration.
The instructions are also clear and informative, with easy-to-understand diagrams. I used the PDF pattern which is layered. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise you could change layers on a Mac (just download Adobe Reader…ugh, Adobe) and printed it with the Finnish labels on top of the English words. No biggie, but now I know how to turn off layers for when I make a more complex pattern (Kielo, I’m looking at you).
As with many European pattern companies, the seam allowances are 1cm. As I was matching stripes, I basted the seams first with my sewing machine and walking foot, and finished on the overlocker, trimming the seams slightly to correctly match the seam line for a finished seam width of 6mm.
As per the pattern instructions, I added clear elastic to the shoulder seam. My overlocker was having a shitfit about the particular type of clear elastic I was using, so I zigzagged it to the shoulder seam allowance, then sewed the seam with a 3-thread overlock with the left needle just clearing the elastic. The neckline is finished with a strip of self-facing, twin-needled down and trimmed. The pattern calls for “knit bias tape” but I’m wondering if this is an error in translation as I’ve never heard of anything like that here. The hem was stuck down with Steam a Seam Lite 2 and twin needled. I find the SaS stabilises the fabric enough so the twin needle doesn’t create tunnels.
Obviously, I omitted the waist tie and loops. This was primarily due to a lack of fabric, but I really like the look without them. I did try to fit a belt around my waist to show you what the tee would look like with the waist tie, but it ended up more Peter Pan than Euro chic.
The fabric is a cotton/lycra blend that came from a knit haul I bought from The Remant Warehouse. They are my online fabric shop of choice – their fabrics are without fail, good quality and reasonably priced. Their customer service is also excellent. I only wish I could get to Melbourne so I could check out their stock in person.
Self-pity aside, I really like this pattern. It has whetted my appetite for more Named patterns – I’ve already got some feather-print sateen lined up for a Kielo wrap dress, and am looking at buying the Inari tee dress…and hoping the price drops from $20AUD (come on Aussie dollar, you little battler!). It has also solidly confirmed the superiority of European sewing patterns in my mind. Later, guys – I’m off being a Euro pattern snob.
Pattern: Style Arc Elle Pant // Named Sointu Kimono Sleeve Tee
Fabric: 1.5m stretch bengaline, from Spotlight // about 1m of 150cm wide Grey & White Stripe Lycra Jersey- Small, cotton/lycra knit from The Remnant Warehouse
Other materials: 32mm knitted elastic // clear elastic, fusetape, Steam a Seam Lite 2
Elle: Size 12 with .25cm added to each side seam from hip to knee. Modified waistband width to accommodate narrower elastic.
Sointu: Size 40/42 shoulders and arms, 44/46 hip. Added 4cm length at waist.
*Being a disability pensioner may have something to do with this attitude.
**Edit 09/01/18: as I have mentioned in my posts about the Sew Over It Kimono Sleeve Jackets, I will now refer to this top as a “kimono sleeve” tee rather than kimono, to reference the style of sleeve head rather than the cultural garment. Click through those links for more info.