This outfit was a near miss – one of those projects that you mess up so frustratingly that you want to chuck in the bin and forget about. Lucky me that I chose to persevere!
Firstly, I should warn you that these pictures are so overexposed that I look like a ghost in some of them (not hard with my skin tone!). I genuinely have no idea about photography, so if you have any tips that a total photography doofus can understand, I’m all ears.
Let’s start with the pants – you may have noticed I’ve been on a bit of Style Arc kick, and decided to try another of their stretch pants patterns. This is the Wallis Pant, a ponte pant which differentiates itself from other designs with an interesting curved side seam. I have read some criticism that the line drawing does not accurately reflect this seamline, but Style Arc must have updated their pattern art because their depiction is spot on.
I had 2m x 130cm of black ponte from my fantastical Remnant Warehouse haul, and took great care in cutting so I just managed to eke out the pieces. Of course, when I went to sew the pants, I realised I’d cut two left front legs, and was so frustrated I promptly shoved the pieces in a drawer (though my first thought was a bin!).
After I’d cooled off on a few other projects, I reexamined the pieces and figured the right and wrong sides weren’t that different. So I resolved to make it, and if it didn’t work out, it was a muslin. Well – as soon as I put them on, I never wanted to take them off again! They are that comfy and flattering, and the fabric is lush – I wasn’t sure that a nylon/cotton/spandex could be as high quality as a viscose/nylon/spandex traditional ponte, but I was wrong.* I like these pants so much, they’ve overcome my perfectionist tendencies, and that’s saying something!
I made a few fitting changes to the pattern after comparing to my RTW ponte pants. I added a smidgen to each side seam (maybe .25cm), and lengthened the rise and leg by slashing and spreading 3cm at the elastic fold line, and 5cm at the knee. I trimmed 1cm off the hem when sewing, making these 4cm longer than the pattern. They sit comfortably at my ankles and belly button. I am tall with a long torso but very short legs, so I can safely recommend checking the leg length and rise if you don’t want 7/8 pants that are low slung.
The elastic measurement is also significantly shorter (about 6cm) than that recommended for Elle pant. I chose to use the larger measurement from the Elle pattern and it is just the right size. And imperial measurement users, be careful when you sew that side seam: the seam allowance in the instructions is noted as 8mm or 5/8″, but of course, 8mm is 3/8″. The seam allowance on the pattern is 8mm so I assume it just got lost in translation.
The pattern uses a method of attaching elastic that is much easier and quicker than faffing about with casings. You overlock the elastic to the top of the waist, flip it to the wrong side and topstitch down. Tessuti have a good tutorial if you’ve never employed this method before. When I tried the pants on after just overlocking the elastic, they were so comfy I decided to forgo the topstitching. I figured, hey, I’m wearing knit pants with an elastic waist, why not go all the way with Nancy Z and just stitch the elastic in the ditch. I’m not thrilled at the prospect of sharing a close up of my waist on this blog, but for science:
My top is the Pattern Fantastique Aeolian Tee. The idea of supporting a Melbourne business appeals to me, as does the on-trend boxy style. I was pleased to discover this was a well-drafted pattern, with instructions that were informative but not hand-holding. You choose a size based on your measurements and how boxy you would like the finished garment to be – I chose an M which was just on the upper limit of the recommendations for my measurements, with 7cm added to the top length.
The pattern has nice little details which I often see in RTW but not home sewing patterns, such as a back facing / stay which is flatlocked down. The instructions also allow for the fact that your neckband length will vary depending on the stretch of your fabric, and there are a few tips and tricks you may not find elsewhere.
I used a faux flatlock on my sewing machine to stitch down the back facing, and twin needles for the hems and neckbands, with Steam a Seam Lite 2 stabilising the hems. The neckline is stabilised with strips of lightweight interfacing, as per the instructions.
The fabric is another fun knit from The Remnant Warehouse – 50×50 Striped Cotton Spandex – Black. But when I tried it on, sans neckband, those thick black and white stripes were more reminiscent of a jailbird than a Melbourne fashionista. Some helpful Instagram consultation led to the inclusion of the pop of colour in the neckband, which I adore.
I’m not terribly experienced in sewing knits, and often find sewing the neckband is like walking a fine line between creating gathers and having a floppy band. This project was especially difficult in this regard – I don’t want to tell you how many times I unpicked and sewed the damn thing, and how many bands I cut. In the end, I erred on the side of slight gathers, and chalked my experience up to the poor recovery of the red fabric, a hypothesis which was confirmed by the project I made from the rest of it.
I’d recommend this pattern with the slight caveat that it is straight down the side seam and across the hem, meaning if you need to add more width at your hips, you will need to slash and spread rather than just grade between sizes to get that hem curve correct. This puts me off making the dress version as I know I’d need to add a lot more width, but chalk that up to laziness on my part rather than a criticism of the design.
Meanwhile, you’ll find me wearing this outfit out and about, trying to avoid being mistaken for a Collingwood supporter. Til next time!
Pattern: Style Arc Wallis Pant
Pattern details: available sizes 4-30 as a single sized paper pattern from the Style Arc website, or as A4 PDF patterns in groups of 3 sizes from Etsy. Note that each size is a separate file.
Errata: instructs to sew side seam 8mm or 5/8″ (which is 1.5cm) – pattern shows 8mm is the correct seam allowance.
Fabric: 2m x 130cm Mid Weight Black Ponte from The Remnant Warehouse. Nylon / Cotton / Spandex.
Other materials: 32mm knitted elastic, from Spotlight
Mods: Size 12 with .25-.5cm added to each side seam.
Lengthened leg 5cm at lower side seam notch (then cut 1cm from hem, resulting in 4cm length added total).
Lengthened rise 3cm by slashing and spreading just at elastic allowance fold line on CF, perpendicular to grain.
Pattern: Pattern Fantastique Aeolian Tee Shirt Dress
Pattern details: Available as a size 6-18 multisized pattern as PDF download or print pattern. PDF download has A4 or A0 print outs.
Fabric: 1.2m x 150cm 50×50 Striped Cotton Spandex- Black from The Remnant Warehouse. Blood red cotton/lycra from Joelle’s Fabric Clearance Warehouse on eBay.
Other materials: Stretch stay tape, made from Tessuti lightweight interfacing for neck. Steam a Seam Lite 2 for hems
Mods: chose size M, tee variation with 7cm added to length. Cut own preferred neckband width, not using the pattern piece.
*My only criticism of the fabric is that it is exceptionally stretchy, and not a firm stretch, so the pants sag a bit during the day.