For #CurvyYearofSewing – Jeans and Trousers, I’d love to share with you my magical unicorn of pants patterns – Style Arc’s Flat Bottom Flo Pants.
Pattern name: Style Arc Flat Bottom Flo Pants
Style Arc’s Flat Bottom Flo Pant description:
“Every butt has a different shape! This stretch pull on pant is for those with a flatter bottom. The back side seam comes to the front giving this slightly narrow legged pant a slimming look and the back yoke adds to this flattering shape.”
These pants seem to be related to Style Arc’s Barb Pant. They’re both a stretch pull on pant with an elastic waist. I was drawn to the Flat Bottom Flo Pant by the promise of it being designed for my flat butt and the hope of having to do less pattern alterations to get a good fit.
Size range (with measurements): Up to size 30. That’s a 50.5 inch / 130 cm waist and 61 inch / 154 cm hip.
What size did you make? Size 16. That’s for a 35.5 inch / 90 cm waist and 44.5 inch / 113 cm hip.
What are your measurements, height, and body type?
I’m 165 cm (5’4″) tall and I have a very high waist, full tummy, flat bottom (of course!), extra wide hips and generous thighs. Overall I’d say my shape is A-line.
I am 38.5 inches / 98 cm at my belly button, which is a good few inches below my waist but better reflects the general waist height on patterns. My hips are 44 inches / 112 cm.
Using the Style Arc size chart, this puts me in a size 18 waist and a size 16 hip. This size difference is pretty standard for me and I always grade between sizes. Since Style Arc patterns don’t print with nested sizes, it makes grading between sizes really hard. I thought about buying this pattern for a while but I was worried it would be hard to make it work for me because I wouldn’t be able to grade between sizes easily. In the end, I purchased this pattern in size 16 – 20, then printed off the size 16 for a test pair.
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?
I made up a size 16 for my muslin in a medium weight stretch woven. I was expecting there would be a lot of fit issues to remedy, particularly because I hadn’t graded the waist out to a size 18. I was totally blown away by how well the muslin fitted me straight out of the packet.
Using a firmer fabric without too much stretch, I could see I could make some minor adjustments to get the perfect fit, but to be honest that was just tweaking.
I lengthened the crotch seams at the front and back by 1 inch using this CSC tutorial. I also did a 0.5 inch full thigh adjustment on the front and back inseams just below the crotch using the technique in Closet Case Pattern’s free jeans fitting ebook.
Surprisingly, I did not adjust the waist band. This might be because the waist band sits quite high – which is great for my very high waist. I also raised where the waist band sits by lengthening the crotch seams.
What fabric did you use?
I’ve made lots of Flat Bottom Flo Pants now and I’ve been experimenting with stretch woven fabrics of different weights and stretch.
This medium weight black twill with a good amount of stretch is fantastic for this pattern.
I’ve also had some good results with medium weight stretch cottons.
I tried these pants in a heavy denim with a little stretch, and unfortunately a little stretch is not enough. I think the pants look nice but they’re not as comfortable to wear as stretchier, softer fabrics. I’m planning to try sewing this pattern in denim again when I find a softer denim with plenty of stretch.
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?
The construction process was easy and straight forward once I got my head around Style Arc’s minimalist approach to instructions.
The instructions have you sew the inseams together first. My preference is to sew the front and back side seams together before the inseams, so that I can top stitch the side seams forward. I think this top stitching is important because the side seams are moved to the front so they are prominent, and this helps them to lie flat after washing.
The construction process for the waist band was fabulous – I’m totally in love! You construct the waist band, then secure a wide 2 inch / 5cm elastic inside the waist band using a 3-step zig zag, then sew the waist band to the pants. I have had a bit of user error with the 3-step zig zag ending up on the outside of the waist band, rather than the inside. It’s not a major problem because I never tuck my top in so you don’t see it.
How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape?
The pattern’s fit is just sooo good. It’s the unicorn of curvy pants patterns for the flat-bottomed!
Because the fit works so well for my flat bottom, it made identifying other adjustments really easy.
They are the best fitting pants for me ever, and they’re super comfy with their stretch fabric and wide elastic waist band design.
I’m shouting this pattern’s perfection from the nearest mountain top. If you have a flat-bottom, you should try it!
Will you make the pattern again? If so, what fit or design changes will you make?
Hell yes! I’ve already made about 8 pairs. And I’ll keep making them because the fit is so good.
I’ve made some design changes to mix it up with cropped versions (see grey and navy floral pair), and versions with the side seams moved back in line with the sides of the waist band (see beige pair).
I’m thinking about making a pair of jeans and I’ll definitely use this pattern with my alterations as the block.
Size Range: 5
Instructions: 3 – because they are a little sparse
Construction Process: 4.5 – really good but I’d sew the side seams first so they can be top stitched
Final Fit: 5
Overall Rating: 4.4 – I can’t praise the fit of these pants highly enough. The minimal instructions are a little hard going if you’re less experienced but this pattern is worth the effort. Consider sewing the side seams first and then top stitching them for a sharper look. And if you’re not flat bottomed then I think Style Arc’s Barb Pants or any of their other sister pants patterns would be worth a look