Altering the Arenite Pants for Pear Shapes

So, it seems like every indie pattern designer has released an elastic waist trouser in the last year huh? I have been after a pair of elastic waist trousers for a while but there are A LOT of patterns out there and it’s a bit overwhelming. It seems like every indie pattern company has released an almost-identical elastic waist trouser pattern! I do like an interesting construction and do tend to find myself leaning towards the patterns that have interesting design elements (and pockets! Gotta have good pockets!), so it was unsurprising that I was really drawn to the Sew Liberated Arenite Pants.

If you’ve been following me for a while you probably know I am a fan of Sew Liberated’s dress patterns, I’ve made three Hinterlands and two Metamorphic Dresses so far!! When the Arenite Pants were released I instantly liked them as they are a little different – each leg is made up of three panels and there is an interesting pocket in there too. The reason I didn’t rush to make them is because they REALLY accentuate the hip. I am very pear shaped (my current waist measurements is 30in waist and 45in hip, when the pattern was released my measurements were more like 31in waist and 48in hip). I don’t mind being pear shaped, I am certainly not complaining about my measurements, I am very happy with them! But with such a huge difference between my waist and hip measurement, I certainly have no intention of making my hips appear any wider!

So, I didn’t even buy the pattern, UNTIL Abolaji of Abolajiooo did a slimmed down hack of the Arenites to emulate the Elizabeth Suzann Clyde Pants. She did such an amazing job and the trousers looked so great that Meg (designer/owner of Sew Liberated) did a tutorial for how to do the hack. NOW you’ve got my attention (and my money!).

The only problem is, the hack was clearly written for those in the smaller sizes and doesn’t work too well for those of us who are bigger. Nor can I find any blogs or tips for anyone who is pear shaped. I usually do a bit of grading for trousers/skirts as I am often 3-4 sizes smaller at the waist than the hip BUT for elasticated pants I need the waist to be able to stretch to bigger than my hip measurement or I won’t be able to get them on! So let’s talk about what I did…

The first challenge was to choose my size, for the hack Meg recommends choosing the size four sizes smaller than your measurements, my measurements of 45 inch hip put me in the size 18 and if I went down four sizes to the size 10 then the finished garment hip measurment is 45 inches leaving me with zero ease. This is different to the recommendation in Sew Liberated’s Slim Hack Tutorial as she says:

Size: Size down approximately 4 sizes, using the measurement chart to make sure that you’ll have enough room for your hips. BUT in the rise, cut your normal size. So along the waist on the Front and Back, you’d cut your normal size, and on all of the other cut lines, you’ll cut your chosen smaller size. Figure 2 (Meg usually cuts an 8, and went to a 0 for her sample, but cut the waistline on those three pieces at an 8.) 

Arenite Slim Hack Tutorial

If Meg’s hip measurment is 37.5 (the measurement for size 8) and she sizes down to a size 0 the finished hip measurement for a size 0 is 40in which gives her 2.5in of ease. If I go down four sizes I will have 0 inches of ease, for me to get 2.5in of ease I can only go down two sizes to a size 14. If you are at the larger end of the size range (like me) I highly recommend paying particular attention to these numbers!

To account for my 30in waist, I would usually grade down to a size 10 (in patterns that have buttons/zip) but I cannot grade down as there is no way I will be able to get the size 10 waistband over my hips! This is no problem, for this toile I decided to leave the waistband at the size 14 and just cut the elastic to my waist measurement as instructed in the pattern. This will mean my trousers will look a bit more ‘gathered’ at the waist than a lot of the other versions of the Arenite Pants but I honestly don’t know how to avoid this while still being able to pull them up over my wide hips!

Only going down two sizes also impacted the extra ‘rise’ I was going to gain in comparison with the smaller sizes. I measured, by cutting the size 8 rise and the size 0 width, the tutorial gave the wearer roughly an extra inch of height in the rise. For me, who probably needs some extra rise to take into account my butt, I decided to make sure I was also gaining at least that much, so I cut out the largest size in the rise – the size 24. I think proportionally this makes sense (to my brain at least!) if the smallest sizes are gaining four sizes worth of height, then I as someone with a big hip measurement am going to need the five sizes worth of height (between size 14 and 24). I hope this is making sense, I am really happy with the rise of these and definitely wouldn’t have wanted any less rise. I am really glad I trusted my gut and didn’t just cut the size 18 rise as instructed.

You can see I gained 1 1/4 inches by cutting the size 24 height. If I had cut the size 18 as instructed I would have only gained 1/2 inch.

The rest of the hack was easy to follow, and once I had changed the pattern pieces to make them ‘slim hack’, the pattern instructions can be followed to the letter. The trousers came together quickly and easily. I decided that seeing as this pair are a toile I wouldn’t spend all the time doing the flat felled seams as written in the instructions. Instead, I sewed them together, overlocked the seams and then topstitched the overlocking down, creating a kind of ‘mock’ flat felled seam. I have recently completed my ‘proper’ pair of Arenites in my fashion fabric (pics to follow soon) and I actually prefer the look of these to the actual flat felled seams!

For my final version, I did grade down to the 12 at the waist as there is quite a lot of room in these and the 12 was clearly going to be fine being pulled up over my hips. I am really happy with this hack though and would happily make them again if I decide I want another pair.

If you made it all the way to the end then well done! I hope some of this was useful, I am certainly not complaining about the hack in the way it is written, just trying to offer some suggestions on how I made it work for my size 18 booty.

Note: Elizabeth Suzann did briefly release the Clyde Pants Pattern (and reportedly will do again) but seeing as I already had this pattern and the Clydes don’t have any instructions I decided to stick with the Arenites!

11 thoughts on “Altering the Arenite Pants for Pear Shapes

  1. Thanks for sharing, a good read and lots of tips, the trousers look fab in this colour too. I have found with a few pull on trouser patterns like these that ease is more then stated, worth also making a shorts version toile for sizing before the final.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. SewNorth (and consequently Closet Core) did a tutorial on how to add a zip to elastic waist pants. Keep the comfort of the elastic waist but reduce the amount of gathering across your backside! I haven’t tried it yet, but elastic waist pants are high on my wish list too (14 inch difference here!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing this with me! In my head I had equated side zip with loss of comfort I don’t know why I didn’t think you could have both! This is a game changer, thank you for sharing!


  3. I’m a pear who’s just about to make the Arenites for the first time and, like you, am drawn to the shape of the pattern but don’t want to be wearing a tent! These tips were super-helpful; thank you very much. BTW you look great in them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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