Experimenting with Style Arc Pull-On Pants

Pattern: Style Arc Barb Pull-On Pants and Misty Pull-On Jeans
Fabric: stretch woven
Cost: $25 for three pairs

I am now back at work doing a full time internship and some contract work on the side. Life has been BUSY. But summer is in the air and I've still been finding time to watch the NBA finals featuring our home team, hang out with friends on warm summery days, and sleep in snuggled up with the pup. Before I started my internship, I also found time to make pants. Lots of pants.

I decided to experiment with the Style Arc Barb pants, which made Pattern Reviews's Best of List in 2015. After having a go at drafting my own, a helpful commenter tipped me off to the fact that you can actually download Barb for free if you sign up for the Style Arc Newsletter. Yes! While I was at it, I also used a coupon to purchase the Misty Pull-On Jean, a slimmer version of the Barb Pant, for $6. I printed both out, and away I went!

To start off, I did a lot of internet picture gazing to determine my ideal leg fit. Did I prefer the looser style of the Barb pant, or the tighter ease of the Misty jean? To complicate matters, Style Arc also has the wider leg Linda Pant and the legging style Elle Pant. I clarified the matter by basting my pants together at both the Barb and Misty seam lines to compare the fit. Here are the results:

While both are fitted through the hip, the Misty jeans are much more tapered below the knee. And clearly the fit isn't perfect right out of the envelope for either. Particularly noticeable on the Barb pant are the drag lines from the thigh back towards the knee, indicating that I need to do a knock-knee adjustment. On the Misty jean, I wasn't a fan of all the wrinkling below the knee. These seem to be common issues I've seen on others as well.

Another challenge I encountered was that the Style Arc directions don't specify a percent stretch. This is very important! They do link to their recommended Bengaline fabric, which has a 30% stretch. Unfortunately, my fabric for this first pair was about 8%. The fit was ok, but a bit tight around the hips. It also makes the pants very difficult to pull on over the hips!

I sewed up this first version somewhere between the Barb and Misty widths, giving as much ease as possible from the narrow seam allowances for the hips. This 'first draft' is surprisingly wearable! I inserted faux pocket flaps in the back and have been wearing these to work.

Next, I made a knock-knee adjustment (Heather's tutorial is helpful). I don't think I realized how much I needed this alteration, but now that I think back it has been an issue for me on most pants I've sewn. I mentioned to Mr. Made that I thought I might be knock-kneed and he snickered and said, "I could have told you that." Would have saved me some time if he had!

With this information in mind, I began drafting my next pair of pull-on pants. This one uses a 20% stretch denim I got on sale at Fabric Outlet for about $3 a yard. Perfect to experiment with! For this version I cut along the Misty pull on jean lines for a closer fit, keeping the extra ease at the hips. This worked pretty well, but the 20% stretch meant that pulling them on was still very difficult. After a few wears, the fabric and the side seams of the waistband (borrowed from the Barb pants) had completely shredded under the stress! As you may be able to tell through the t-shirt, they were also still pretty high-waisted for me.

For my third version, I decided to make a skin-tight skinny jean. I was thinking that this might eliminate some of the leg wrinkles you can see in the pants above, plus be fun to try out. This time I used the Misty pattern but incorporated a fly front. With my hips, it just makes more sense to have an opening! They are a bit snug, but it was excellent to be able to experiment for a third time. I should be able to share these with you and another new top later this week.

Lessons Learned: I don't have any "perfect" pants from this session, but I learned a lot. Overall, I like the drafting of the Style Arc pants as they don't have a lot of the issues that have plagued me in the past such as twisted legs, excessive under butt wrinkles, etc., especially once I made some of the fit adjustments. I would like to compare the drafting to my more comfortable Ginger jeans (which are still my most-worn item) and see if I can use the Style Arc drafting to fix some of these fit issues on otherwise comfortable jeans. I have some Cone Mills denim, so maybe you will see more soon. Otherwise, there are still several yards left of that $3/yd denim!


  1. wow you are a pants making ninja - they look great as all your pants do.

  2. I admire your tenacity in finding the perfect fit. It's always a mystery with pants. Your jeans looked very nice and I look forward to more reviews of your experiences as they are very helpful.
    Happy sewing, JL

  3. Thanks JeriLynn! I found that once I let go of the "perfect fit" idea and just started sewing with a "let's see what happens if I do this" attitude, it became much less frustrating and much more interesting. Of course, cheap denim is a must for experimenting - ha!

  4. Ugh! I just typed a super long comment and the page refreshed.... Anyway, long story short, I enjoyed your review!! I just bought the Georgie Jean pattern from style arc. I've been loking to try out a pull on pants pattern.

    1. Wow there are so many! I love that Style Arc has so many options, but it's a bit overwhelming for me. Can't wait to see how yours turn out.


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