Style Arc Linda Pants

Bengaline??  What on earth is it?  The Style Arc patterns often recommend this mysterious fabric for their trouser patterns.  The tiny sample they send attached to each pattern affords a tantalising clue.

I found the most helpful blog post about Bengaline here.  And Anne gave me her permission to link to it, thank you!

I duly purchased 3 metres of quality Chocolate Brown Bengaline from Nortex Mill, which arrived very swiftly, and all was revealed … Bengaline is the stuff school trousers are made of!  It’s the tightly woven, hard wearing poly/viscose/lycra fabric that makes a ‘zippy’ sound when your legs brush together!  It’s very stretchy, but only in one direction, which means, for trousers, you need to lay your pattern pieces across the fabric instead of along – so that you get the stretchiness across your butt.

I’ve had the Style Arc Linda pattern in my stash for ages, just waiting for the right fabric to come along, and the necessary motivation to attempt making some trousers, albeit of the ‘pull on’ variety – fly fronts will come this year, I’m sure, but for now I’m sticking with easy.

And wow, are these easy!  I made my first pair up in about 3 hours, and that’s including cutting out.  There are only 3 pattern pieces; front, back and waistband.   It couldn’t be any easier.  I sewed them up on my overlocker, being so stretchy it seemed the best and most secure way.  For topstitching the waistband, I used my regular machine and a narrow zig zag stitch.  They look great, if I say so myself, and the Bengaline is nice to work with.


Now to fitting issues.  My pattern is the size 20.  I think it is slightly too big.  They feel loose and also sit slightly lower than I am comfortable with.  I didn’t add the optional elastic in the waist, because I didn’t have any wide enough.  If they fit more closely, I’d be happy to do without the elastic, but as things are, they feel dangerous, especially when I move around a bit!  I think I need to make some adjustments to the pattern for my next pair, raise the waist an inch, use the elastic,  maybe a flat butt adjustment?

Advisory note. 

Real life photos of my least flattering physical attribute follow.

I’m so sorry …

12133080696_b20d1f6030  12133082186_1b0b37d150  12132691093_f58f6168a8

Your opinions would be most welcome.  (Please keep it polite!)

In the first two photos above, my Tshirt is lifted to where I would say my natural waist lies.  The third photo is how things would look in normal wear.

I’ve got some fabric left over to play with – I bought more than needed because I was worried about shrinkage, but if it did shrink, it wasn’t by much.


8 Comments on “Style Arc Linda Pants”

  1. Béa says:

    I am in awe- the fitting of trousers seems like an arcane art to me. I see what you mean about raising the waistline a smidge to fit your natural waist, but I can’t work out what a “flat bottom” adjustment would be!

  2. Fiona M says:

    It’s a whole new ball game, this trouser lark! There seems a lot of excess fabric gathered under the bum, and that’s what (I think) a flat butt adjustment is meant to address. It’s a bit like a full bust adjustment in reverse, you slash in 3 places and overlap the pattern sections rather than slash & spread. Hark at me, knowing it all – I looked it up this morning!

  3. helen says:

    I think the front looks good. I don’t have much experience with trouser fitting so don’t have any advice – sorry! But 3 hours is a good make. Do you think you’d feel happier with waist elastic? Is that a home made top?

    • Fiona M says:

      Thanks Helen, I will definitely use elastic next time – have bought some on ebay today. I’m currently busy making a new muslin from scraps of fabric, with my newly FBA’d pattern piece. More pics tomorrow.
      The T shirt was purchased on holiday in Thailand some years ago.

  4. BeaJay says:

    Linda is one of my favourite patterns. Now I love Barb too. Both of them sit too low on the waist for me so I have to add to the pattern. I also did some other adjustments. I find that I do need to have elastic – even with Bengaline. Otherwise I am hiking them up all the time.

    • Fiona M says:

      Thanks Beajay, I wore them around the house for a bit and they are sliding down all the time without elastic. Maybe also partly due to the ‘slippery’ quality of the bengaline? I do want to perfect the pattern adjustments, as I could see myself wearing these a lot if they would stay up! (drums fingers and waits impatiently for elastic to arrive by mail).

  5. mandy c says:

    I love my style Arc pants patterns but I always have to make the waist slightly higher. I also go down a size so you may find that helps. They look good and 3 hours make is fantastic. Well done!

    • Fiona M says:

      Thanks for your helpful comments Mandy. It’s useful to know I’m not alone in needing to raise the waist. (Unfortunately I’ve already bought 3 or 4 trouser patterns from Style Arc, all in size 20, so I’m going to have to try and grade them down).
      Got weighed today and I’ve lost another Kg too, so no more ‘single size’ pattern purchases for me for a while!

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