I’m trying to be a little more adventurous with my sewing projects as of late. Pushing myself past my comfort zone both in style and sewing techniques. I’ve been completely surprised by some projects. Some I have fallen head over heels with and some have been a little disappointing. My make this month falls into the first category, for sure. 

I’ve always been apprehensive of sewing trousers. The idea of fitting them to my ‘not standard’ sized body fills me with a dread that is hard to stomach. My waist, high hip and low hip usually all fall into different sizes. I have a long torso, short legs and a round tummy and bum. All of those things make fitting a bit of a nightmare. So far, I have stayed to sewing mostly knit trousers such as the Hudson pants by True Bias, or loose fitting culottes like the Ninni pattern by Named. More and more woven and fitted pants patterns keep cropping up, ones that I keep telling myself I will bite the bullet and Sew. The Lander pants and the Persephone pants for instance. I have both of these patterns sat and waiting to be used, but am yet to build up the courage to dive in.

Recently the Arenite Pants by Sew Liberated have been on my radar. They are a woven trouser, but with a more relaxed feel to them. An elastic waist and stylish aesthetic, I figured these would be a good jumping point into woven pants and hopefully lead me on to some of the more challenging woven trouser patterns.

The Arenite pants are ‘the luxuriously deep-pocketed, slouchy pants of your dreams’. How could I say no to that? I searched the hashtag on Instagram and felt inspired by other sewists makes. Some had hacked the slouchy pockets to make them a little more sleek, others had used a more heavy weight fabric too, leaving them more clean and crisp looking. 

Then pattern calls for woven fabrics with an excellent drape. I didn’t want them too light weight and floaty either so I started looking for twills. I came across this polyester and viscose Twill Fabric  in a shade called ‘donkey brown’ and decided to give it a go as it is described as having a great drape. I don’t usually opt for brown tones but I wanted a nice, earthy tone for these trousers.

When the fabric arrived I instantly fell in love. It was exactly what I hoped it would be! The photos on the website do not show this fabric off at its best at all. It has a lovely brushed feel on one side, a good weight and a lovely drape. And it’s only £3.99 a meter?! I’ve seen similar fabrics retail for 5 times that price. I would say that Donkey Brown is actually quite a good description of the colour, although it does have some khaki green tones to it. I didn’t happen to have the right colour thread when I was sewing them and so I used a khaki green and it matches perfectly. I am definitely going to be ordering some more of this fabric, as it’s the perfect brushed twill that I’ve been looking for. Really versatile and so expensive looking.

The fabric was great to pin and cut, not too slippery and as long as you use sharp pins, it won’t leave any marks on the fabric itself. I decided to alter the pockets a little by slicing down the centre and overlapping by an inch at the top to remove some of the volume. Although I love how the trousers look on the front of the pattern packet, I have thick thighs and worried that the extra volume in that area might not do me any favours. I also sized down by 2 sizes (going by my low hip measurement) and cut a size 14 (for reference by waist fell into this bracket, but my hips fell between and 16 and 18, depending on how much food I’d eaten that day). The pattern includes finished garment measurements so I knew that I would still have a little room in the 14, but they’d be a little more slim fitted which is what I prefer. I also cut the legs off at the ‘cuff hem’ line, and tapered in. I have a 26” inside leg, and I knew I wanted to do a simple hem and roll the bottoms up once or twice.

So, the sewing. I must admit that sewing these trousers wasn’t the most enjoyable sewing experience. Each leg has 2 flat felled seams and the pockets are french seamed too. Although I appreciate that these techniques leave you with a beautifully finished garment, I just find them really finicky and I got bored pretty quickly of all the trimming, folding and pinning. This fabric does like to go a little shiny when ironed, so unless you have a pressing cloth, beware of ironing too hot or for too long. I didn’t have a pressing cloth and so I had to iron on quite a cool setting, which meant that I didn’t get the crispest seams, and folding and pinning the flat felled seams was a bit of a nightmare (don’t look too closely at the top stitching on those!) but overall, they are good enough and I’m not too bothered that they aren’t ‘perfect’ - that’s what handmade garments is all about, right?

Once the flat felled seams are done, the rest of the construction is pretty quick and straight forward. As soon as I was finished the sewing I went and tried them on with bated breath. Although I loved the look of these pants, I didn’t hold much hope for them suiting me that well, but I was completely surprised. I love them! They give me early 90’s chino type skater vibes and I am here for it. I styled them with a ringer tee and converse and I felt comfortable and stylish at the same time. The fabric was the perfect choice for these and I’m super happy with them. I can see myself wearing these a lot in the spring. Another me-made win!