Pattern Review: Style Arc Erin Culottes

Since I started seeing culottes on the fashion pages I figured I needed a pair. I was hoping to make a nice light pair for summer to go with my silk cowl blouse. Since I haven’t completed my pant sloper yet, I thought I’d try the Style Arc pattern Erin Culottes. Of course they must be made for me if they have my name!

The nice thing about Style Arc is they often give you free patterns. Each pattern is one size so you tell them your size, they print it up and send it to you. They are printed on very nice heavy paper, not tissue. The down side is the instructions are very simple and have no pictures. I think they would be hard for beginners and may be hard for a visual person like me. I am going to give it a go.

I made a good test muslin like any good designer should do, so I could adjust fit before cutting my fashion fabric. It also let me practice following the instructions to make the final project easier.  The waist ended up being too long so it had to be shortened a bit to fit correctly. These are so loose fitting that they do not need much fitting. I forgot to take a picture of the muslin before cutting it for another project so no picture, sorry.

My fashion fabric is not very expensive but I was glad to practice anyway. It is a simple linen-look polyester from Joann’s. I usually pick a higher quality fabric for my clothes but I got tired of looking for the perfect fabric and settled on this.

Another new thing for me was the seam allowances, they are only 3/8”, which is smaller than I am used to but they worked just fine. All in all, the pattern went together very easily and came out great. I can’t wait to try another Style Arc pattern. They are a nice company and send you a free pattern when you buy one. What a deal!

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These are my own opinions and I have not been compensated for this review, nor are the links affiliate links. I merely like to share my experiences with others.

Drafting a Sloper or Pattern Block Part 2.5: the Skirt Muslin

So here is the Allspice Abounds skirt sloper. As you can see it doesn’t fit that well in the front or over the rear. A skirt must fit over the rear correctly or you won’t have a good hemline. This one came out so-so, probably because I did not have the full instructions.

Next was the LauraAfterMidnight version. Much better! I like the way it hangs flat in the front and smoothly over the rear. Somehow it ended up a little short on the waist and too big in the hips but those are easy alterations.

Here’s LauraAfterMidnight after a little alterations. I really like the placement of the front darts. They are placed a little farther apart than usual. The skirt fit my hip well that way.   I think I found my skirt sloper!

 

Drafting a Sloper or Pattern Block Part 2: the Skirt

So drafting the skirt was WAY easier than the bodice. I should have started there. Most of the blogs and skirt drafting were very similar so I ended up doing two that had different dart placements.

The first was Lauraaftermidnight’s Blog. Hers is based on a drafting book called Metric Pattern Cutting by Winfred Aldrich. I have seen many posts on this book so it seems to be a favorite among pattern drafters. Might be time to buy it. So I whipped up a skirt sloper just by following the pictures.

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Next I found a drawing of a dart variation on Allspice Abounds’ Blog.   There were no instructions but based on the picture and the instructions on the other blog I could make an approximation in my measurements. Hers is based on the Handford drafting book. It is probably a good book but a bit pricey at over $100.

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I just guessed at the length because first through the hips is what matters in a skirt.  You can adjust from flare to pencil and vary the length as you want.  So these were pretty easy. Let’s see how they fit when translated to muslins.

Pocket Drafting Tutorial: Adding Pockets to Pants Part I

I like to have pockets in almost everything, well at least one piece of my outfit, so I wanted to learn how to add pockets to pants. I tried a few different methods before settling on one. I tried putting them in the side seam and they just opened all the time, yuck. I also hate how pockets can get bunched up in your pants.

A word about tutorials: Thank you for taking the time to read mine. I advise trying to read at least 3 tutorials before trying a technique you are learning about. Each one is written a little differently and the more instructions you get the more depth of understanding you get.

Now back to pockets. I happened upon a great article in Threads for drafting pockets that include a front stay. Front tummy stays are great because even if you don’t have a belly you are trying to smooth they just make the front of your pants nice and flat. I put them in most of my pants. I think you could do this in skirts with a back or side zipper as well if you are adding pockets to those.

IMG_0561First get out the front pant of your favorite pants pattern. Mine is McCall’s 5941. Fold in and tape any darts the front has. Place on top of the paper (2 sheets).  (Ignore my red lines from a previous pocket draft.) I use heavier craft paper because my patterns get a lot of use.

Trace around the top of the pattern from the hip line, usually right below the notches. Mark all notches and the center front. Also mark 5/8 inches from the center front (towards the fly). Then free hand your desired pocket shape, curving up towards the center front. Mark your seam lines so you can figure out the slant opening. Draw two lines parallel to the fly, one on the center front and one on the 5/8 mark. (If you are doing side zip pants you will place your pattern on the fold at the center front line. If you are using the fly front like I am, you have to have seam allowance. If you are using a side zip pattern you can just mark the center front at the seam line where the two front pieces will meet.)

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Cut out the pattern and transfer the markings to the second piece. This will be your pocket back and cut out of your pant fabric. Some people cut front and back of the pockets out of the lining fabric and then cut a triangular overlay for the opening. I like the smoother look of the single layer of fabric.
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IMG_0563Now go back to you initial drafting piece and trace another pocket pattern on another piece of paper. Copy all markings. Measure 1.5 inches from the side seam along the top seam line and mark.   Measure 1.5 inches up from the notches at the seam line and mark. Put your hand down and make sure it is the width you want.  The smaller it is, the less it will gape.

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IMG_0566Using a ruler draw a straight line. Then draw 2 more lines parallel to this one 3/8 inches apart. Connect the farthest one to the pattern edge with perpendicular lines. The outer most line is the cutting line if you are going to wrap your lining fabric around the edge of the fabric. I do this when I have a fun lining and can add a little flash to the project. Usually my shirt will cover the pockets anyway but they are fun. The second line is for if you don’t want to show off the lining.

Now you have your pocket pattern. Cut two of the main pant fabric and two in your lining fabric. Do not use lining material for the pocket, it won’t hold up. Trust me I learned the hard way. Use a heavier satin poly fabric (with light interfacing) or a fun calico. I think you can get away with a fat quarter but I am not sure. Good luck adding pockets to everything!

See part II for how to put it all together.