Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pattern Review: StyleArc Jennifer City Shorts...The Plus Size Edition

A while back I ordered a few patterns from StyleArc.  One of which was the Jennifer City Shorts.  I had planned to make them for my cruise in February, but because the mail was running slow I was not able to get them made.  Now, I am glad that I didn't waste my pre-cruise sewing time!

The front of the shorts

The back of the shorts

They do look like the drawing on the pattern (albeit a much wider version)!  You might be wondering why I am not wearing them in these pictures, and we will get to that shortly.

Photo from StyleArc.com

My current measurements are 52-52-64.  The size 30 from StyleArc is supposed to fit a waist of 50.5 inches and hips up to 61 inches.

Size Chart information from StyleArc.com

In light of this size discrepancy, I added four inches total to the hips, and went ahead with two inches at the waist, because an extra half inch at the waist ain't gonna hurt nobody.  Is it weird that I now have Kid N' Play songs running through my head?

Anyway, when I was cutting the pattern out, the pattern pieces seemed small to me, but I was thinking they were going to be short from the waist to the crotch, not too narrow.  Lo and behold I get enough of the shorts together to pull them on, and they won't go over my thighs.  Wah, wah, wahhhhhhhhh!

I laid them out flat and measured them, and with my four inches added at the hips the shorts were still only 60 inches at the hips.  Had I not added in the extra width, they would have only been 56 inches ya'll!  That is five inches of negative ease in a pattern made specifically for wovens.  

I contacted StyleArc to find out if maybe the pattern had printed wrong, or to at least give them a chance to explain the discrepancy, but as of the date of this publishing I have not heard back.  If I do hear back, I will update you all with the information.

As a curvy diva on the high end of most plus size patterns, I was stoked to see that all of StyleArc's patterns are offered up to a size 30.  Now, I am left wondering if the other patterns that I ordered are even going to fit.  I will definitely measure the pattern dimensions before cutting in to my fabric next time.

But the pattern did have some cute details so let's highlight a few of those.


Here we have a great slit at the bottom of each of the legs on the outter thigh.  I really like this detail and will use it in other patterns that I make.  It is really a simple detail to create, but it gives the shorts that little extra bit of something.


I bias bound the waist facing with a contrasting blue to match another detail I will show in a minute.  This was a fantastic fly zipper insertion.  Instead of following anyone's tutorial (they were all making my head spin), I kind of reverse engineered it, and I am pleased as punch with how it turned out.


The slash pockets were lined with a cotton from my stash that was a great match for the twill, and I thought the addition of the royal blue polka dots made for a cute detail!  This was why I chose to use the royal blue bias binding on the waist facing.  I had a cute royal blue button to match too, but I was so mad about the fit, that I decided to throw on a shell button and save the royal one.  

On a side note, the metal zipper, bias binding, and button I had planned to use were all from my stash of vintage notions.


This has to be one of the best button holes my machine has produced thus far!  Drats!!!  I did not sew the waist facing down in the manner suggested.  Instead I tacked it at the side seams and at the fly.

For those of you who have not sewn with StyleArc patterns before, one thing you need to be aware of (aside from the fit issue); StyleArc patterns do not come with a lot of directions.  There are directions, they are just very vague.  If you are a newbie, this might be a bit intimidating.  I found it refreshing to not have my hand held and actually have to think about how the pattern went together and figure some things out on my own.  I would even go as far as to say I like this style of directions.  I actually had to use my brain.

If I were to make these shorts again, I would add faux welt pockets to the back of the shorts.  With the yoke waist in the back there is a whole lot of real estate back there that needs a little something to break things up...if you know what I mean!

I am going to hold on to these shorts, as my size tends to float around a bit.  Maybe by June or July they will fit, and I won't feel like all is lost.

This is how I rate the pattern:

Size Range:  4 - Though they did not fit according to the size chart, there is still a large range of size here, better than most pattern companies.  You should note though that StyleArc patterns are one size on the page.
Instructions:  2 - As noted earlier, the instructions are very basic.  This was great for me, but for a beginner or someone who has only sewn from the Big 4, I think this would cause a lot of confusion.
Construction Process:  4 - The shorts went together fairly easily, and there were not a ton of pieces to deal with.  It took me around 3 hours to sew this pattern and another hour to cut it out.
Final Fit:  0 - I have to give it a zero since the shorts would not even pull on.
Overall:  2.5 
So tell me friends, have any of you sewn a plus size StyleArc pattern before?  If so, what were your results?  One other little thing, I am on Instagram now...follow me @pandorasews

27 comments:

  1. Oooo! I have! And it was a hot mess!
    My review is here: http://sewing.patternreview.com/review/pattern/72146

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    1. Thanks, Pamela. I have to wonder if the the tunic you made was too small as well and that was why the shoulders were so narrow.

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  2. What a shame. Your shorts look gorgeous. I make lots of plus sized stylearc but always knits and the fit has been good. I have purchased lots of SA woven patterns but not made any. Thanks to your post I will measure the pattern against RTW before I cut.

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    1. Thanks, BeaJay! Some of the patterns that I ordered are for knits and I guess I need to look at giving those a try!

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  3. I know people love StyleArc but they haven't been able to move me from the fence. Expensive shipping, styles that are similar to what I can get here from the Big 4 at a cheaper price and no clear successes touted by plus size sewists. Maybe I'm missing something but I don't get why I should use them. I need to see some more plus size sewist success stories.

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    1. I feel like a sucker, because since the shipping was high I went ahead and ordered quite a few patterns! I thought they were going to be my pants savior since most of the Big 4 don't go to my hip size in pants. Boy was I wrong!

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  4. Those shorts are very nice--how annoying that they don't fit! You did a really good job with all the details. I hope StyleArc gets back to you with an explanation

    Rose in SV

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    1. Thanks Rose! It is a real pity because the shorts are quite cute.

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  5. How very disappointing! I have sewn a few StyleArc patterns up too. For me the fit has been fine, but I fall within the 16 - 18 sizes. I haven't tried their tops yet.. Your shorts are beautifully put together.

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    1. Thanks Accordion3! I couldn't just not finish the shorts. I think I might be a little OCD when it comes to unfinished objects (UFOs).

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  6. Your shorts look great, such a pity they don't fit!I am also interested in hearing what Style Arc has to say...

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    1. Thanks, Marike. Maybe they will fit down the line or I will find them a good home with someone else. As soon as I hear something back from StyleArc I will post whatever I hear.

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  7. That's unacceptable that they don't fit given the measurements on the pattern. I hope they respond to you. I can't imagine what their explanation could be.

    They look amazing. I wish they had fit you. :(

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    1. Thanks, Andie! I was really excited about the color of the shorts (this twill has been in the stash for a bit) and I liked the styling. I guess it just wasn't meant to be! Booo hoooo!

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  8. That's so sad you made them so nicely too. I wonder why such the discrepancy.

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    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. I hope to find out something from StyleArc soon!

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  9. I agree that that unacceptable that they don't fit. They should have, given the measurement chart and your pattern grading. It certainly doesn't make me want to try them. I've never really seen many of their designs that I liked that I couldn't find elsewhere, so the cost is not worth it to me. It's a shame these don't fit!

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    1. Tanya, I am sick about it! There are five other patterns sitting on the cutting table of their's that I don't even want to look at now. The only reason that I ordered from them in the first place was because they were close to my hip size in pants and most of the Big 4 pants patterns don't even come close. Of course since shipping was so high I ordered a bulk of patterns. Lesson learned!

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  10. Well, crap. They look beautiful and nice details. Too bad they won't look beautiful ON you, at least for the moment. I'm really, really bad about not measuring the flat pattern either but I guess there's a lesson in here for us all? I really hope SA responds to your inquiry and quickly.

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    1. Debbie, it is surely a well crap moment! But you are so right. There is a lesson here for all of us. Measure! If nothing else, I should have at least measured it against a RTW item. I am too trusting, I guess!

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  11. Oh man this is SO sad! Those shorts are so pretty with all their purple contrasts and super dooper buttonhole. Style Arc patterns can be cool, but they are often rushed out and don't seem to be very well tested. And OH MY GOD THE INSTRUCTIONS.

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    1. Rosie, you are right about the sad part! Maybe the shorts will fit at some point over the Summer! The instructions don't really bother me too much, but in my email to StyleArc (which they still have not responded to) I asked if they had pattern testers in all sizes, because I don't think this would have happened if they did.

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  12. Sorry to hear that these were not an immediate success. I love the Style Arc designs but have been a bit put off by the long shipping times (I won't buy .pdfs) and this isn't making me want to try them any faster. Will be interesting to hear what they say. xx

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    1. The shipping time did take quite a while. It was way longer than they had said it would be. I never heard back from them, and at this time I am presuming that I will not.

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  13. Most of the Stylarc patterns go up to a size 22, including the Jennifer shorts. The size chart goes up to a 30 because there is a separate section for Plus sizes.....

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    1. Janette, I assure you that if you order from StyleArc.com and not the Etsy shop for the pdf, the majority of their patterns go up to a 30. I have quite a few of them in a 30. It was fairly recently that they started doing this, but you don't have to go to the plus size section anymore to find the plus size patterns, they are just in with the rest of the patterns. I just clicked on the Jennifer short size options, and it went all the way to 30. Not sure where you are looking.

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  14. Ooooppps, Thank you for that info, I'll go back and have another look. 😉

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