Hi CSC! When Style Arc released the Ebony Woven Pant a few weeks ago, I was intrigued. Could I pull off those elegant pleats? I had an Etsy gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket, I’d had good luck with Style Arc pants in the past, and I was in need of more casual-but-not-sweatpants pants, so I decided to go for it and purchase the PDF pattern from the Style Arc Etsy store. Here’s my review!
(I apologize for the over-exposed photos… I realized only after taking photos that the pleats don’t show up in photos in the black material, so I had to lighten all my photos so you could see the details!)
Pattern name: Style Arc Ebony Woven Pant. According to Style Arc, “This is the ultimate pant style, with an interesting pleated front, angled side pockets and a flat front band. The back has an elastic band which makes these pant a fashionable yet comfortable pull on pant.”
Size range (with measurements): Sizes 4 – 30 (waist: 23.5 – 50.5”, hip: 32.6 – 61”)
What size did you make? I chose size 18 because it fit my hip size, although the waist size is bigger than mine. I figured I could tighten up the elastic in the back if need be. I would have just graded to a smaller size at the waist, but Style Arc PDF patterns are not layered for easy grading. You buy the PDFs in a range of 3 sizes and each size is in a separate PDF file. Not the most convenient for those of us that measurements falling in different sizes.
What are your measurements, height, and body type? Waist: 35″, Hip: 45.5”, Height 5’7.5”, Pearish
What fabric did you use? I used some black mystery fabric with nice drape that I bought here in Bangkok. Fabric here is rarely marked (at least not in English!), so I am not sure what it is exactly, but it has some poly (which I learned the hard way by scorching it slightly at the waistband) and has a piqué-like texture to it. It didn’t press particularly well, though, so my side seams look a bit lumpy.
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?
Style Arc is known for its stylish patterns and its, ahem, sparse instructions. The instructions for the Ebony Woven Pant were no exception. There is no hand-holding with regard to when or which seams to finish, no advice about understitching the waistband or pocket bags, and no instructions for steps like basting the pleats down or basting the pockets to the waistband and side seam. If you’re an intermediate or advanced sewist, that probably wouldn’t be an issue because those steps are like second nature, but beginner sewists beware!
There are 19 steps in the instructions, but only a couple diagrams and two photos. One of the diagrams appears to be attempting to illustrate approximately 9 separate steps in the instructions, which seemed optimistic, at best, to me. I found that particular diagram to be a bit difficult to use because it just was trying to do too many things…
I also noticed that the instructions use inconsistent terminology. For example, the pattern piece listing refers to piece #6 as the “front waistband facing,” while the instructions use the term “inner front waistband.” I kept having to double-check to make sure I was using the right piece.
I found the pleats to be a bit mystifying. The left side was fine, but the right side was confusing. I sewed it once and knew it wasn’t right, because the large, swooping pleat ended right at the center front seam. I unpicked it and sewed it again, after reading and rereading the instructions, looking at the diagram and playing around with the pattern pieces and markings. This time my pleat crossed over the center front, but it still didn’t seem quite right. I posted a photo of it on Instagram, at which point Carly from Style Arc reached out to say she didn’t think it was crossing far enough over. She offered assistance if I needed it, which was really generous. But I was determined to figure out how it was supposed to work using the instructions. Unpicked again and I think I finally got it. Whew! Those instructions were just not intuitive to me. I could have used one more diagram specifically illustrating that step. And perhaps better markings on the pattern pieces: there was no marking on the left front leg to indicate where the pleat should hit.
After all that sewing and unpicking at the waistline/pleat area, this pair is a little bit tortured. You can still see the shadow of my previous misfolded pleat and I managed to scorch the fabric a little bit in that area. Grr.
How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape?
I’m pretty happy with the fit in the end! It’s a forgiving style for my thick thighs since it’s a casual, loose-fitting pattern through the hips. The length was perfect for me, too. It’s a bit big in the waist for me, still, though.
I’m pleasantly surprised about how nice the pleats look! I was worried they would draw attention to my belly, but I think it’s not too bad. If anything, they cause more weird things to happen in the crotch region when you’re moving around. But I think that’s somewhat expected for a design like this.
Will you make the pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make?
I would make the pattern again, but I might try to grade the waist in a bit in the back and shorten the elastic even more. It’s still a bit big on me. But I love how it looks with a shirt (here, my Thread Theory Camas blouse) sort of half-tucked in in the front to show off the pleats (yes, I am attempting to emulate the pattern’s cover art here; not sure if I’m pulling it off!). I doubt I would ever fully tuck a shirt into this since I don’t love how elastic waistbands look in the back (although I do love how they feel!).
Size Range: 5
Construction Process: 4
Final Fit: 4.5
Overall Rating: 4
I like the Ebony pattern! I think it’s fun and stylish, with some interesting and unique details. My husband (who is supportive, but with a critical eye) had other things to say about the pattern, though, including: “What’s going on in the front there?,” “Are those ‘wear-outside’ pants?,” and “Well, you look comfortable.” So, to sum up, I guess these pants fall into the “man repeller” category! But I don’t care; I like the final product. My one complaint, as I described above, is that I could have used a few more diagrams to help with the tricky pleat portion of the instructions.