Sewing the Arenite Pants

Hello! Today, I thought I’d share with you some trousers that I made over the summer. They have fast become my favourite thing to wear and I now want to make lots of pairs in different fabrics…….they are soooooo comfy!!!

Sewing the Arenite Pants - pattern by Sew Liberated - including simple hacks for slimming down the pocket and reducing the rise for a more fitted look.

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links and you can read my full disclosure privacy policy here. Thank you.

If you’ve not seen the Arenite Pants before, they are a relaxed trouser with generous pockets and an elasticated waist. There is also the option of an elasticated cuff, and they can be styled in so many different ways that they can become a great wardrobe staple.

The best bit is that because they are a relaxed fit, they are not too difficult to make which as a newbie trouser maker, was definitely a good thing!

The two things that I was nervous about with the pattern was how much fabric they needed (around 3m!) and the size of the pockets! However, having read a few pattern reviews, it seems the fabric estimation is more like 2-2.5m which was a lot better!

Sewing the Arentie Pants including how to slim down the pocket and reduce the rise for a more fitted look.

I like to wear trousers and skirts below my natural waist and found that when I made a muslin of this pattern, I ended up looking a bit like MC Hammer, the crotch (or rise, if you’d rather!) was so low!!! I love the relaxed style, but it was a bit too much so when I came to making this pair I decided to make some changes to the size of the pockets and the trouser legs.

I took some pictures as I went along if you’d like to see how I did it but please bear in mind that I am not a pattern drafter – this is just how I hacked the Arenite Pants!

Slimming down the Arenite Pockets

I drew around the original Pocket Facing (black pen line) on spare fabric I had to hand. I measured the difference between the top and bottom of the pocket piece as 4″, which helps to create the bucket style pocket. I decided to half this as I still wanted a slight scoop but not as much.

Using a quilting ruler aligned with the bottom of the pocket, I drew a vertical line near the top of the pocket, 1″ away from the bottom corner on each side.

Matching the bottom corners of the Pocket Facing with the new outline, I pivoted the template in towards the pocket until the top matched the line. I drew up along the side edge of the pocket and in on the curved edge until I met the original template line (red pen line). Repeat on the other side.

I then repeated the same process for the Side Panel, using the notch marks to pivot the pattern (black pen line = original, red ped line = reworked).

Sewing the Arenite Pants - pattern by Sew Liberated - including simple hacks for slimming down the pocket and reducing the rise for a more fitted look.

Reducing the Rise of the Arenite Pants

As the Arenite’s are such a relaxed fit, I didn’t do this particularly scientifically! I knew from the muslin I’d made that there was an excess of probably 4″ (front & back) in the rise from wearing them lower on my waist.

I figured that by taking the original pattern pieces – Front and Back – moving them up by 1.5″ (a total of 3″ over the two pieces) and redrawing the top of the leg and rise (crotch) would help to lengthen the leg, but not lose the pant shape that I love. And it worked!

Sewing the Arenite Pants - pattern by Sew Liberated - including simple hacks for slimming down the pocket and reducing the rise for a more fitted look.
Black Pen line = original; Red pen line = new line, shorter rise

I used the lengthen/shorten line on the pattern to add a further 2″ to the trouser legs – for reference I’m 5’7″, but have long legs!

Making the Arenite Pants

I cannot tell you enough how much I love making these trousers! Although it took a little time to redraw the pattern pieces, it actually only took me an afternoon to cut out and sew these pants. They come together so quickly and the instructions are easy to follow!

Sewing the Arenite Pants - pattern by Sew Liberated - including simple hacks for slimming down the pocket and reducing the rise for a more fitted look.

My only tips for sewing the Arenite’s would be;

  • Flat-felled Seams:
    • If you have one, a walking foot really helps with managing all the layers of fabric and achieving a good finish.
  • Sewing in the Waist Elastic:
    • I used a 40mm elastic for the waistband and found it to be the perfect size – if I’d gone any wider I don’t think it would have fit so well.
    • When I first started to stitch the elastic into the waistband, I just stretched the fabric out and off I went. However, it did not give a good finish – some areas were more bunched than others. After a bit of unpicking, I would recommend;
      • Once you have inserted the elastic, move the fabric until it is evenly spread around the waist-line.
      • Pin through the waistband (including the elastic) at quarter intervals.
      • Stretch out one-quarter of the waistband and stitch from one pin to the next, stopping just before the pin, remove. Stretch out the next quarter of the waistband and stitch as before until you have completed the circumference.

The only other difference I made was cutting two pieces for the waistband instead of one (remember, I only had 2m of fabric and was playing pattern tetris!). To help me tell the difference between the front and back of the pants, I added a little ribbon tag when I was attaching the waistband.

Sewing the Arenite Pants - pattern by Sew Liberated - including simple hacks for slimming down the pocket and reducing the rise for a more fitted look.

So, Pattern Deets;

  • Pattern::: Arenite Patterns by Sew Liberated
  • Fabric::: 2m Cotton/Linen mix (you can find similar here)
  • Size made::: 8
  • Mods made::: reduced width of pockets; raise crotch +1.5″; +2″ to the leg length and made the waistband out of two pieces.

Now excuse me whilst I go fabric shopping, I fancy making some in a heavier weight fabric for winter!!!

S x

Today’s sky::: blue sky with clouds.

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Sewing the Arenite Pants - pattern by Sew Liberated - including simple hacks for slimming down the pocket and reducing the rise for a more fitted look.

Luna and Alfie Rabbit

Although there hasn’t been much blogging, there have been quite a few makes and designs so if you don’t mind, I thought I would show some of them over the coming weeks for Mondays Makes!

Making Luna Rabbit and Alfie Rabbit with a flat cap by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links and you can read my full disclosure privacy policy here. Thank you.

I’m starting off with the lovely Beattie and Bertie Rabbit that I made for my parents – named by them, obviously, but otherwise known as Luna Lapin and Alfie Rabbit!

I bought the book – Making Luna Lapin by Sarah Peel – as it includes the patterns for so many different items of clothing that you can really customise your Luna! I ordered a load of felt and some buttons for the eyes, arms and clothes from Sarah’s website Cool Crafting as she very handily sells the felt in just the right size for a rabbit or a coat. I can thoroughly recommend the felt as it sews up beautifully by hand/machine and there are so many different colours to choose from!

Luna is made nearly entirely by hand – which is actually very relaxing! – with just a little bit of machine stitching for her ears, feet and attaching the legs to the body. If you’re struggling with inserting the foot-pads, I have included a mini-tutorial in my post about the Making of Hugh the Hound, which has exactly the same construction!

I started off with Luna and used some Liberty fabric that I had to hand for the T-shirt dress with detachable bow. There is something both immensely satisfying (and at times, frustrating!) about sewing something so small! I found the trickiest bit to be sewing the sleeves in: I’m normally quite happy to go without pins but on such small seams I found it useful to pin/hand baste in position to prevent any fabric moving.

Making Luna Rabbit and Alfie Rabbit with a flat cap by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I did go a bit over the top by over-locking the seams on Luna’s dress, but it felt like only the best would do for this little bunny: there is so much time and love that goes in to them and they have the potential to be heirloom pieces so I felt it was only right to make her as perfect as I could on the inside as well as the out!

The woollen coat is quite an epic sew with lots of little pieces, but the beauty of using felt is that there is no need to worry about fraying seams, just the occasional bit of bulk that occurs where you have lots of layers together. I finished the coat over a couple of afternoons, with the exception of the buttonholes. I was scared of doing them and ruining the coat!

Making Luna Rabbit and Alfie Rabbit with a flat cap by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence
Making Luna Rabbit and Alfie Rabbit with a flat cap by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Eventually, I decided to do the buttonholes by hand: they are so small that I figured they wouldn’t take long to do and if I made a mistake on the machine the felt would most likely be damaged by the stitching. After marking out the position, I used a pin at each end of each buttonhole – it was a bit like handling a hedgehog for the first couple of buttonholes! – a seam ripper to make the hole and then used blanket stitch to finish them off. Each one only took a few minutes in the end and although not perfect they work which is the main thing!!!

Making Luna Rabbit and Alfie Rabbit with a flat cap by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

A few months later, I decided that I should really make an Alfie Rabbit for my Dad. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned before, but I spent a lot of my childhood at steam rallies as my Dad is passionate about steam engines and has a model traction engine himself. I decided it would be fun to base Alfie on what he normally wears on the rally field: brown work trousers, a shirt, waistcoat, necktie, pocket watch and the obligatory flat cap!!!

Making Luna Rabbit and Alfie Rabbit with a flat cap by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I drafted the cap myself over a couple of nights after looking at adult patterns for flat cap/Gatsby hats and the hood from Winter Cape in the Making Luna Lapin book. I made one out of scrap cotton first to get an idea of fit, before cutting into the tweed fabric (you can find similar sized remnants here). There were four main pieces;

1 + 2. Front of cap & top/back of cap (bottom left): Cut 1 in main fabric and lining. These were sewn together from the edge to the pin, between the pins and from pin to edge. The gaps left between the pins are for the ears to fit through (as per the Winter cape)!

3.       Side and Brim (top right): Cut 1 in main fabric and lining.

4.       Peak of hat (top left): Cut 2 in main fabric.

Making Luna Rabbit and Alfie Rabbit with a flat cap by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence
Making Luna Rabbit and Alfie Rabbit with a flat cap by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

To make the cap, I used the instructions from this tutorial that I found, the only difference being that I sewed pieces 1 and 2 together before joining piece 3. And once the cap was sewn, I ladder stitched the lining and outer fabric together for the ear holes and then stab-stitched between the peak and the top of the hat to bring the layers closer together.

Making Luna Rabbit and Alfie Rabbit with a flat cap by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

The necktie was made using a shorter version of the detachable bow from the t-shirt dress in the book, with a popper to snap it together.

Making Luna Rabbit and Alfie Rabbit with a flat cap by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

And for the pocket watch, a little bit of chain from a necklace that was too long gave the perfect impression of something being hidden in a pocket! My Dad was over the moon with him and I confess to feeling just a little bit proud of him. It’s so much fun when you can personalise things, one of my favourite things about making!

A couple of other people have mentioned how much they like them so there will probably be more in my future (Alfie only took me a week from start to finish, so I’m definitely getting quicker!) and Sarah’s also got another book coming out in August 2018 – Sewing Luna Lapin’s Friends – and I may have already ordered it…….Boy 2 mentioned something about a fox!!!!

Sx

Today’s sky::: overcast and gloomy

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To check out my quilt and accessories patterns, visit my Pattern shop.

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Tova with a touch of Liberty

Sewing a Wiksten Tova tunic top with a hint of liberty and some pattern tips by fabricandflowers

I don’t know if it’s because I was doing so much quilting in the lead up to Easter, but I’ve had a real craving for some dressmaking lately, and the Tova was high on my wishlist! The one I’d made a few years back felt a bit snug and the sleeves had always bugged me because they were at the length which meant that every time I stretched my arms they would get caught on my elbow!!!! So I dug this chambray out of my stash with the idea of making a light and floaty summer tunic. It was a bit too see-through, so shirt it was!

I double-checked the measurements and ended up making the Small again but the fit feels a lot better this time. The only thing that I can think is that first time around I wasn’t so careful on my seam allowance (this pattern has a 3/8″ seam allowance and I think I did french seams on my last one and it was one of the first garments I sewed, so there’s always going to be errors, right?!) and that maybe the fabric shrunk a bit in the wash? To be doubly sure though, I used a scant seam allowance on the side seams.

Sewing a Wiksten Tova tunic top with a hint of liberty and some pattern tips by fabricandflowers

I was worried that the chambray would look a bit too plain and after a bit of thinking came up with adding a touch of Liberty to the collar, placket and sleeve bands for a bit of contrast and fun. I’m really pleased with how it worked out and have to say it’s a lovely way of adding a bit of luxury – with only a little bit of fabric – to what could have otherwise been a fairly boring shirt. And it makes me smile every time I wear it (and squint in the sun too!)

Pattern deets;  

  • Pattern::: Wiksten Tova
  • Size::: Small
  • Adjustments::: cut 2 additional placket pieces in Liberty, shortened the height of the collar by 1/4″ and curved the ends (a la Kerry’s Tova Along tutorial); lengthened the sleeves (although in all honesty I probably could have done with another inch or so!); lengthened the tunic by a few inches.
Sewing a Wiksten Tova Liberty tunic dress and some pattern tips by fabricandflowers

It was so much fun and I’m loving wearing it. I’ve already got another summer Tova dress planned (in Liberty Lawn, here’s a sneak peek for you!) and then I also want to make a autumn/winter version a bit later in the year.

Linking up with Sara’s Dress-up Party.  

Sx  

Today’s sky – sunny and cloudy!

May in Sewing

Gosh, I’ve been gone a while haven’t I?! Things have all been hectic since Easter….daily life with the children seems to be getting busier by the term and I’ve been trying to sort some things out on the home front too. Slowly, slowly I’m making progress and you’ll hopefully see me around a bit more!

Jewelled Stars Quilt, Quilt Now Issue 11, by fabricandflowers

Probably the most exciting thing that happened this month was some secret sewing I’d done for Quilt Now being published and finding out that I’d made the front cover. I confess to squealing and jumping up and down a bit when I found out. Sooooo exciting!    

Jewelled Stars Quilt, Quilt Now Issue 11, by fabricandflowers

The pattern is foundation paper pieced (FPP) and is a great introduction to the technique – each star block is made up of four smaller blocks with just three pieces to each block and no tricky angles. It’s also a great opportunity to showcase bold prints – I really enjoyed getting to play with a bundle of Cotton & Steel and teaming it with some Essex Dyed Linen!

Quilting and Dressmaking projects by fabricandflowers

In other sewing news, there’s been quite a lot going on, especially of the dress-making variety. There was a sample quilt, a kimono using By Hand London’s fab tutorial, a Chambray Tova with a hint of Liberty (detailed here!) and some Wavy Coasters (you can find a tutorial here) for a commission. So enough to be keeping me busy!

Back soon,  

S x

Today’s sky: cloudy

Hints and Tips on Sewing Knickers

So, here are my hints and tips on sewing knickers using cotton fabric. These are based on the Trixie Lixie pattern, so if you’re using a different pattern some of them may/may not be relevant to you!

Hints and tips for how to sew your own knickers using cotton fabric

Once you’ve cut out the pattern following the guidelines – very important as the patterns are cut on the bias which helps to give the knickers a nice bit of stretch! – the first bit is to attach the gusset and join the front and back pieces together.

I find it easiest to lay the gusset down first, then lay the front and back pieces (right sides together) on top so that I can measure the overlap before stitching it down.

Hints and tips for how to sew your own knickers using cotton fabric

To attach the gusset to the front knicker piece, I have found it worthwhile to smooth and pin the gusset in place, trim if necessary and then zig-zag down either side.

I often end up reducing the width of my zig-zag stitch by one or two notches, as I don’t want the stitches to be wider than those that I use for my elastic, if that makes sense?!

Hints and tips for how to sew your own knickers using cotton fabric

And then it’s on to sewing the elastic! Now, I’ll be honest, this is the bit that I was most worried about on my first pair of knickers, but I promise you it’s not tricky!  

Firstly, have a look at your elastic to see how wide the tape is that you’ll be sewing through. I’ve found that I’ve had to decrease the width of my zig-zag a couple of notches so that the stitching sits neatly within the elastic band (the solid bit in the picture below).

Pin the elastic in position on one end of a leg hole and secure it with some forward/backward stitches before removing the pin.

Hints and tips for how to sew your own knickers using cotton fabric

Secondly – you can never hold the elastic too taut!!!!!

In the first photo, you can see that I’m holding the elastic with no pull, and in the middle picture, I’ve pulled the elastic really taut so that the ruffles have almost disappeared: this is how tight you want to hold it whilst sewing!

Hints and tips for how to sew your own knickers using cotton fabric

It is a little strange to get used to, I found myself working with just a couple of inches of elastic at a time holding it taut in my right hand and using my left hand to make sure that the elastic stayed in line with the edge of the knickers.

So there’s lots of stopping and starting at a slow-medium speed but it becomes second nature quite quickly and you will speed up.

I’ve also found that when I get to the gusset join I get a smoother result if I pivot (with my needle down on the bottom edge of the elastic) the fabric around and then carry on as before.

Repeat this for the other leg hole and the top edges, remembering to keep the elastic taut (have I mentioned that enough yet?!). And this is what you should end up…….it looks a bit bunchy doesn’t it?!

Hints and tips for how to sew your own knickers using cotton fabric

The last thing to do is sew the side seams.

The pattern sizes are banded (eg. a Medium is a UK 12-14) so for the seam allowance I’ve been using either a 1/4″ or 3/8″ depending on if I would normally go for the smaller or bigger size within that banding, I figure that an 1/2″ might make all the difference on a comfy pair of pants!!!!

Zig-zag (or serge) the side-seams to give a neat finish and you’re done! Ta dah!

Hints and tips for how to sew your own knickers using cotton fabric

They still look a little bunchy (I can’t help thinking of shower caps!!!!), they’re not the easiest thing to photograph!!!!

I hope this has helped you and let me know if you have any more q’s,

S x

Todays sky ● rain, wind, more rain and more wind. It’s not good.