Style Arc Tully Pants

I made these pants at least two months ago and I told myself that I wasn’t going to post about them until I’d worn them properly. But guess what? I still haven’t worn them! So maybe a post on them will give me the little nudge I need to get these on my lower half and out the door.

But here’s the perplexing part: I think I really like these pants! When I tried them on hot off the machine I thought, “I like these!” And subsequently thought the same every time I try them on. So why haven’t they been worn? I have a couple of theories, many of which deal with my own insecurities and not the pants at all! Here’s what’s got me holding off on them:

  • The color.
  • What do I wear with them? See above.
  • Are they too hippy? Not peace and love hippy, but, you know, hips!
  • And part of the problem is the pockets. They’re tacked and everything but they don’t stay where I want them to stay.
  • I’ve been loving the paper bag waist look but am wondering if my torso is too short to pull them off??
  • And probably my biggest hang up is just how comfortable I’ve gotten with wearing comfortable, there’s-nothing-to-see-here! clothing, i.e. leggings and loose shirts. These are pAnTS, something I’ve barely had the courage to touch with a ten foot pole since getting pregnant a year and a half ago. Am I ready to be among the pants-wearing??

Having said all that, you should know that my initial response was to like! I liked these pants very much! So I probably just need to get out of my own head on the matter and move on!

Anyway, I’ve been loving the paper bag waist look for awhile now and I’ve seen lots and lots of versions. But when I saw this version over on Holly Dolly I thought, “That’s the one! That’s the look I want!” Because not only did it have a paper bag waist, it had slim legs that were actually slim! Imagine! (Not to mention Holly is effortlessly chic. Her mom/daughter twinning is what I aspire to). Quite by accident I ended up making my pair in a very similar color to Holly’s.

The pattern is the Tully Pant pattern from Style Arc. I have got to say that Style Arc is a bit of a paradox for me. I feel like over the years I’ve learned about what to look for from quality pattern designers and, I’ll be honest, Style Arc breaks a lot of those rules! For example, I’ve had it in my head to always make sure the sample photos show the front and the back of the garment. And Style Arc always has a line drawing of the garment but they don’t always have photos which is very unlike the other indie pattern companies I’ve bought from.

Having said that, there are certain bloggers I follow who have industry experience (meaning they know what they’re talking about!) who sew and recommend Style Arc. And that was enough for me to give them a try and I’ve got to say that I agree: their patterns seem to be drafted very well! And after having said that I will say that the instructions are rather minimal. They have enough information for those who have some solid experience under their belt, but I wouldn’t recommend to a beginner. The Tully pants came with one diagram (with arrow pointing different places) but otherwise was reliant on the sewer understanding the written instructions (no pictures!). There weren’t any places where I felt unsure of what to do, but it was very much one step at a time for me.

Another thing that I was unfamiliar with was their pattern options. Specifically, for the Tully Pants, I could either buy the PDF pattern in a single size or a paper pattern in a single size OR multiple sizes (i.e. a size set). Definitely outside of the norm with patterns companies I’ve previously used. The “single-size” option does give you the size directly above and below the size you select, so you are, in actuality, getting three sizes. But, as far as I could tell, there wasn’t layered printing. If I had wanted/needed to do some grading, I’d have to print the other size separately. Their paper patterns are pretty affordable but they are an Australia based company and I didn’t want to wait for shipping (I didn’t look at shipping costs, but would consider it in the future!). Anyway, I kind of think their PDF patterns that have been released more recently have been updated. Perhaps they’ve added layering (I don’t know) but other patterns on their site offer multi-size PDFs, so I imagine they’ve changed some things.

Having to choose a block only covering three sizes was difficult considering my last year and half. My measurements have changed a TON through pregnancy and after and they are still changing. I think I ended up going with a size 12, but I believe I made a size 14. The pants have elastic around the waist except for the front panel with the tie and the tie really makes it so it can fit multiple sizes. Just cinch it in more if you need. And a smaller size would have definitely worked (at least the 12 and probably the 10 too; these have a good amount of ease written in).

The sewing process didn’t present any major challenges. I had to follow the instructions just one step at a time (if I peeked ahead I was left scratching my head), but it all came together. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any pants I’ve made with side seam pockets and, like I mentioned above, I don’t like how these turned out at all. They move all over the place and tend to warp outward which is so frustrating. I might omit them in the future or try to redraft slash pockets for them. I think rear pockets wouldn’t be out of place so that’s another option.

I saw on someone else’s post for the Tully pants that she just cut out the cuff pieces but on a fold so that she could just sew them onto the legs and call it a day with no need to hem. I decided to do this too but I was already looking for ways to eliminate length, so I just cut the cuff piece as drafted and then folded it (yes, it involved some fudging, but nothing too grievous). I also removed two inches of length from the leg of the pants. When I tried them on the first time, the length was still a little too long, so I took off even more from the cuff. And I had to unpick serged seams so you know it was necessary! Now the length is where I want it but next time I’ll take that length off of the leg since I wish my cuff had a little more surface area to cover.

I got my fabric from StyleMaker. It’s their washed crinkle cotton which is one I’ve wanted to try for awhile. It’s crisp and structured and airy. They offer a nice range of different colors and it’s 53″ wide, not like quilting cotton which is usually like 42″ I think. It really is a lovely fabric and was a total dream to sew with. I chose the color “copper” and it is copper. I think in my head I was picturing something a little more brownish but it’s copper, meaning it has orange-y vibes. It’s a perfectly nice color-one I even really like-but it has been difficult for me to find things to wear with it. Which I think is partly the color and partly just the pants. You can see in my photos that I tried styling it with two different tops. Somehow I love the color combo of the copper with black and I think it’d be really cute with a black or gray graphic tee for a more chill vibe. I wasn’t totally sold on my black stripe shirt and think it was partly because I think the pants might suit a top that’s more fitted so that you can still have a waistline and all. So I braved pulling my pre-pregnancy clothes back into the light of day and tried the pants with a more fitted tee and I thought that looked good-more polished and put together, perhaps. Of course maybe I should copy Holly’s outfit entirely and make myself an Adrienne blouse (I’ve been on the fence with buying that pattern for months now!).

Now that I’m writing the post I’m kind of thinking that I haven’t given the pants a fair chance. Considering I have few clothes that are comfortable and that I’m comfortable wearing (because those are different things!), it makes sense I haven’t found a combination I’m totally in love with. But I’ll keep looking and I’m sure I’ll find a way to wear these that I really like. And I’ll be ready for fall with this color ha!

I enjoyed making this. It can be nice to take on a pattern with no hand holding and realize that I’m capable of putting it together. And for all my hang-ups I ended up with a nice pair of paper-bag waist pants that (I think) I really like. I haven’t mentioned their comfort level enough, so let me rectify that: They are so comfortable! Secret pajama level for sure! Anyhow, sewing for a shifting body can be frustrating, to say the least, but I think I am getting a bit better at allowing for some grace in that area and I’ll try to keep that going for my future makes.

Pattern: Style Arc Tully Pants
Size: 14
Alterations: Removed 2 inches of length from legs; folded the cuff pieces and attached to leg that way to eliminate need for hemming
Fabric: Washed Crinkle Cotton from StyleMaker in Copper
Cost: 2 yards fabric $30; pattern $10.50; notions in stash (even a perfectly matching thread!)
Would I make this again?: Yes! I’ve been tempted to try shorts out of the pattern. I might alter the pockets if I try again.

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