DIY Pleated Pants – Review of the Ebony Pant Pattern by StyleArc

Today I have another project from my #2017MakeNine list. I’m three down with six to go and seeing as it’s only mid-march I feel like a total sewing boss. There is something immensely satisfying about checking things off a list. Today’s project is the Ebony Woven Pant by StyleArc. I spotted this pattern sometime last year and fell in love with the asymmetrical pleated front. Lightweight woven pants are a great alternative to jeans, especially in the warmer months. I like that they'll keep me warm in an air conditioned building but not be too hot in the sun. Plus, I appreciate that little extra sun protection that pants provide.

I was originally intending to take these with me to Japan in a few weeks but the fabric wrinkles a lot so they might get left behind. The fabric is a 100% modal rayon from Joann Fabrics. I had ordered a black silk cotton blend online but when it arrived it was shinier than I wanted and didn’t drape in quite the right way. So I ran (ok drove) down the street and found this fabric. The drape is perfect and the blush color is so on trend right now. It’s not a color that I would usually buy because it’s so similar to my skin tone but as pants, I’m not worried about it making my face look washed out. The fabric is great, really soft against, but a little too sensitive. On a part of the waistband where I had to do some unpicking, the fabric did not recover well.  Then my cat was trying to get my attention and poked a couple holes in a back leg. 

This was my first time sewing a Style Arc pattern and I was really shocked how sparse the instructions are. There are very few illustrations and no photos (just two pages of the pdf are dedicated to instructions). One must look very carefully to find the information, which can be found on the pattern pieces or in the instructions or on the website (in the case of the size chart). If you are a beginner, I recommend enlisting a friend to help. You really need to have some experience sewing pants before attempting this pattern.

Or, if you are looking for pleated pants with an elastic waist back, I can recommend the Emerson Pants/Shorts by True Bias. I made a wearable muslin of the shorts a few months ago and the instructions are excellent. I’ve also had a lot of success with the Alexandria Trousers by Named Patterns (see mine here and here). I really hate being critical of a pattern. I much prefer supporting everyone in the community. So, definitely try out this pattern if you’re looking for a construction challenge and a super cool design. If you need more help from your instructions, then try out the other pattens I mentioned earlier.

I have a few notes for you on the construction in case you decide to try these.  In step 1, when sewing on the pocket bag, just stitch the angled edge and do not pivot down the pant leg. Sewing the front pleats are TRICKY (steps 7-9). If it doesn’t look right, try folding/tucking the pleat the opposite direction. The instructions seem to say you stitch the front crotch/waistband in two steps, but it worked to do it in one step for me. There were no directions on how to finish the waistband facing so I referenced the Emerson Pants instructions for help. I serged the raw edge of the facing and held it in place using a stitch in the ditch from the right side where possible. There are some parts of the front waistband, near the big front pleat where you can't tack down the facing. I found that the big pleat pulls down a little bit because it's not really anchored in place. You can see the drag lines across the waistband in some of these photos. I don't really know how that could be solved. 

I made these in a size 10 with a few minor adjustments. I’m 5’11” with a long torso so I added 1 inch to the length of crotch and 1.5 inch to length of leg. I also added 1/4 inch to ankle at each front leg (hadn’t thought to add it until after the back pieces were already cut). The side seams feel like they are too far towards the front. I made a size 10 but in retrospect I would probably be happier with a size 12. The size 10 is for a 38.6” hip measurement and until recently, my hips were 39”. After making the pants, I measured again and discovered that I’ve gone up at least a quarter of an inch. I’m hoping it’s all the squats I’ve been doing recently and not an overindulgence in comfort food. A size 12 would still be 1” larger than my current measurements but I think I’d have liked the fit better. Plus with only 3/8” seam allowance, I really can’t let this pair out.

I was frustrated that size charts could only be found on the website and finished measurements were only given for size 10. (It’s totally possible that I just couldn’t find this info but I really appreciate it when patterns include charts of this information in the instructions. It’s immensely useful to be able to compare the size chart to the finished measurements and consider how much ease I’d like to have.)

I really like the design of the pants and I think the pattern is very well drafted but sewing them was a pretty frustrating experience. And, if I were to make them again, I think I’d be able to sew them without much frustration because I’ve figured out the construction now. Here I'm wearing the pants with my double gauze Inari Tee (which is frankly a touch too short for these pants, I had to reject a bunch of belly shots from my little photoshoot!) and these shoes. These pants are really comfortable to wear and I hope to be getting a lot of use out of them this spring.