Review of the Arenite Pants sewing pattern by Sew Liberated

Today’s garment is the loose-fitting, dare I say hippie-ish, Arenite Pants by Sew Liberated. These pants feature exaggerated side pockets, a large gathered waistband and flat fell seams running down the center of the front and back legs. They are the ultimate in comfort and utility (those pockets!!). Yet the exaggerated pockets also give the pants are really interesting silhouette that I just could not resist trying. 

I cut out a size 10 and added 2 inches to leg length at the lengthen/shorten line. I really wish there was also a lengthen/shorten line at the rise. I often need to lengthen my pants in the rise and it’s so helpful to have that line as a guide. I was short on fabric so decided to skip that adjustment for this pair. After wearing, I’ve decided that these are fine. Still very comfy but if I make them again, I will add about 2-3” to the rise. Those pesky pockets make lengthening the rise a bit tricky on this pattern but now that I've sewn them up once, I'll be able to understand how lengthening the rise will effect all the pattern pieces and where I need to make adjustments.   

I would also add about 3/16” to the height of the waistband casing. The elastic just barely fits in the casing and I prefer it to have a little more wiggle room. I was originally going to make elasticized cuffs but when I tried them on, I didn’t like the look of it so I just left the cuffs on without elastic. So, I just left the elastic off and kept the cuffs as plain old cuffs. 

I was able to use tencel fabric left over from my Kalle Shirtdress. I originally got 4 yards of fabric and had about 2 yards leftover (minus a chunk cut out. The pattern calls for 3 2/3 yards of fabric but I managed to fit it into two yards of 58” wide fabric. YAY! This tencel has a really nice drape but is still thick and not at all see-through so it’s perfect for this pattern. 

The instructions are very detailed which I think would be great for someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with things like under stitching. It was a little overkill for me and I had to force myself to pay attention to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The one change to the construction I made was to the inseam and crotch seams. I first serged/overlocked those edges, then stitched together and pressed the seams open. If I’m going to use an overlocker, I like to do so with the knife turned off and before stitching the seam. I find that I have a better handle on the fabric before seaming and there’s no risk of accidentally cutting a hole in my fabric. Pressing seams open make it easier to make fitting adjustments later on. It may put more strain on the fabric but I’m not anticipating that being a problem. 

I was really nervous to sew the flat felled seams. I was really glad that I had read the instructions before cutting out my fabric and saw the recommendation to use chalk to mark the notches instead of clipping into the seams. You will need that seam allowance intact to make the flat fell seams so DO NOT CLIP the notches. I spent a really, really long time turning the fabric and pressing to make the flat fell seams. Tencel is not as easy to handle as cotton or linen but it was manageable. After wearing these a few times, I noticed that the raw edge on one of my flat fell seam is starting peek out. So before washing, I need to go back and fix that. Such a bummer. I really tried to get everything tucked in and straight. But, well, it’s almost perfect. And honestly that’s good enough for me. 

I’ve seen a few people hacking this pattern into a copy of the Clyde Pants by Elizabeth Suzann with a slimmer fit, less exaggerated pockets and a higher rise. Check out Lauren’s awesome version here. The slimmer version would be perfect for linen or other fabric with less drape than the original requires. It’s great proof that this is a versatile pattern. It would probably be great as shorts too!

I could see a lot of people liking these pants and especially wearing these pants a lot. I’ve already worn them a few times, even to the office. I work in a fairly casual environment and these are not hard to dress up a bit. I think these will be great all-year pants for me (in Southern California). They provide enough coverage to stay warm when cool and are loose enough to not be uncomfortable in the heat. All around this is a great pattern, if you are looking to up your sewing game (hello!! flat fell seams!!) and try a different silhouette.