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A Beginner Sews: Flint

Beginner Sews: Flint

Another month, another make dear readers! And this time I’m tackling our recent pattern of the month: Flint! Full disclosure: I had my heart set on making Flint pants for our Beginner Sews Series even before we announced it as our pattern of the month in Feb. There’s a gorgeous sample in the studio in a beautiful dusty pink shade that I’ve coveted since I started working here. Trying that sample on just confirmed what I already knew: I needed a pair of Flints, and I needed them now! Pants are one of those things that can be so tricky to get right. They’re obviously a staple, but if you’re long in the torso (like me) with wide hips (also like me), finding a pair of pants that are well-made, stylish and comfortable is near impossible. So even though I learned my lesson with Sudley to take things slowly and not get myself in over my head (you can read all about that experience here), I was determined to have my own Flint pants. Needless to say, I am grateful I didn’t let myself get psyched out, because I now have not one, but TWO Flints in my me-made wardrobe!

I started Flint by looking at the inspiration and ideas behind the pattern. This is also a great way to get inspiration for variations and hacks! I was inspired to make my Flints in some gorgeous natural linen that we stock in-store. The light colour is really pretty and will go with anything! Linen is also a wonderful fabric to sew (even if you have to press it constantly!). I got to work straight away!

A Beginner Sews Flint | Contrast pockets A Beginner Sews Flint | Contrast pockets

I chose to use the Flint Curve pattern as it is drafted for a curvier body. After pre-washing and pressing the fabric, I puzzled the pattern pieces together and cut them all out. Never one to do things straightforward, I used a contrasting fabric for the pocket lining in a fun lemon print. I’ve never sewn pockets before, so I was a little intimidated. But I took my time, stitched together the pocket bag and attached them to the pieces according to the instructions—hey presto, I had a pocket! I’ve got to admit, I love this contrasting lining too—the print is so cute, I love that it’s a little secret hint of colour and pattern you only get a little glimpse of.

Interfacing the waistband

For the waistband, I dipped my toe into the waters of fusible interfacing. Interfacing is what gives fabric structure, great for waistbands, collars or lapels where you need the fabric to have some guts and hold itself nicely. I used a block interfacing technique—this is when you fuse a larger piece of fabric than your pattern piece to a matching piece of interfacing; you then cut out your pattern piece from the fused fabric. This is a great way to save time and protect your ironing board from any of the glue dots that may melt onto it! If you’ve ever used fusible interfacing or heat and bond before this process is pretty self-explanatory. Otherwise, you can check out this blog post which perfectly explains block fusing interfacing!

Finished Button holesButton holesThe making process of Flint was going swimmingly—the front and back pieces were joined, my pockets were super cute with the lemon fabric, and the waistband was nice and attached looking very professional thanks to some interfacing. But then I had to tackle the buttonholes.

My machine (my mum’s machine) has a buttonhole foot and an automatic buttonhole function. But obviously, a divine power saw that I was just having too easy a time making Flint and decided to curse me that day to never sew a buttonhole by machine. Okay, that’s pretty dramatic, but it definitely felt like everything that could go wrong did go wrong! I was so grateful that I used what my mum calls a “sewing buddy”—this is just a scrap piece of fabric folded in half that you use as a test to make sure your machine is sewing correctly. If I hadn’t used this tester fabric, I probably would have had to make a new waistband. So, I took the unorthodox route and followed Meg’s tutorial for sewing buttonhole’s without an automatic function. Even if your machine has an automatic function, I’d recommend checking this post out, it’s great for those days when technology just isn’t on your side!

Afterwards, I attached my buttons by hand and (very carefully!) cut open the buttonholes using my seam ripper. This was when I started to get very excited my friends—my first ever me-made pair of pants were so close to being finished!

Natural Linen Button Closure PantsNatural Linen Button Closure CulottesThe last step was hemming, which I did using a wide hem to add heaps of movement and volume to the finished garment. I even thought that if I made another linen pair in the future, I’d finish them with a narrow hem—it’s interesting how such a small change can give you such a different look!

My second pair of Flints are decidedly different. They’re made from a really funky satin with a black and white polka dot print. I admit I did not realise when I chose the fabric that I’ve now made two garments with polka dots (with inverse colours no less!). What can I say, ya girl loves a classic pattern. I’d never sewn satin before, only cottons, cotton blends and linens. So, I made sure my machine had a new needle (the first time the needle has been changed in about a year!) and got to it.

Polkadot Pocket Tie WaistbandInterfacing attached to fabricFusing the interfacing to the waistband and the piece which anchors the ties was a MISSION. The interfacing worked so well for me on the linen, melting and grabbing instantly to the fabric. This time the interfacing almost refused to stick, and I ended up having to press the pattern pieces section by section, going painfully slowly until I had my pieces fused with the interfacing. I also ended up with some weird bubbling and wrinkling of the fabric that I just couldn’t get out—a perfectionist would have started again, but I cut my losses and just pressed all those wrinkly bits to the side where the band would be folded in towards me. No one needs to know (except you guys of course!).

Starting the construction of these Flints was pretty easy. I sewed my tuck pleats and darts, attached my pocket bags and linings to the front pieces, joined all of my leg pieces together and finished the raw edges—pretty easy, right? But when it came time to join the front and back pieces and finish the seams, I realised that I’d accidentally closed the wrong pocket (left instead of right). An easy fix: just use the seam ripper to open the left pocket and sew the right one closed. Straightforward. Simple. But my momentum was lost. I’d been working back to front for such a while that I now couldn’t make sense of the side seams or the work I had done. It was almost like I’d started an entirely new make! I’m blaming Mercury retrograde, tiredness, and a lack of focus. But that’s okay—I painstakingly unpinned my side seams, took the basting stitches out of the pocket bags and linings, and put the project down to resume the next day. Stitches can be unpicked and resewn but letting myself get so worked up over one small mistake after I’d been so confident in my ability was not worth it.

So, I put the make down for another day. And when I came back to it, I confidently unpinned the front and back pieces and unstitched the incorrectly sewn-together left pocket. And guess what? After doing all of that I realised that they were the RIGHT WAY AROUND THE FIRST TIME!!! I was so mad at myself, but also weirdly pleased that I had been right all along. Time to undo all of the “fixing” I had done and sew these cursed side seams together.

Second Pair Black and White Spot SatinPolkadot Pocket Tie Waistband

This synthetic satin frayed at the slightest breeze, so I made sure to do a double line of stitching at every seam and finish the raw edges with a zig-zag seam. If you have an overlocker, I’d use that, but I sort of like using seam finishes that you can do on a regular sewing machine. It goes to show that you do not need expensive or fancy equipment to be a maker!

The only real difference in making these Flints was the waistband. There’s an extra piece in this View’s pattern, which acts as the placket for the single button closure. Adding the waistband to these Flints was incredibly straightforward, but I did manage to get one of the ties stuck inside the waistband when closing the sides (make sure the tie is tucked into the folded-over waistband!), but I just unpicked and re-sewed! No sweat.

After that, I just sewed on the button and buttonhole, hemmed the legs and my second pair of Flints was done! I made the button more of a feature instead of choosing to hide it behind the waistband piece. That’s the beauty of making your own garments—they’re so easy to customise!

Black and White Polkadot Satin Tie ClosurePolkadot Pocket Tie Waistband pantsThese Flints definitely have their faults, but I figure for someone sewing with synthetic satin for the first time they aren’t too bad. Next time, I’ll adjust the thread tension to accommodate a silkier fabric and starch the edges of my pattern pieces. I’ll also avoid tugging on the pieces so much when I’m stitching them—a bad habit I need to break!

Thank you everyone for tuning into this instalment of Beginner Sews! I’ve definitely been bitten by the sewing bug you guys—I’m loving making my own clothes and experimenting with the skills I’m slowly but surely learning. I’m super proud of my Flints, and I’d love to see what you guys make, or chat about upcoming projects you’re excited for! Drop a comment down below or tag us on Instagram (@megannielsenpatterns) so we can see!

Happy making!

Belle xx

| LOOKING FOR MORE FLINT POSTS? |

We have a bunch of posts and tutorials to help you make your very own Flint pants or shorts!!

| LOOKING FOR MORE “A BEGINNER SEWS” POSTS? |

Here’s the full list of the series posts:

About Author

Isabelle has many titles—student, writer, movie buff, Capricorn—but here at Megan Nielsen Patterns she’s our wonderful admin assistant and fit model! Isabelle works hard shipping orders, keeping the studio organised, and supporting the rest of the team with keeping things running smoothly. Isabelle is learning to sew and is documenting her handmade wardrobe journey in our blog series A Beginner Sews.

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Lia
Lia
8 months ago

Congratulations on your beautiful new pants! I really like this series, your enthusiasm is contagious. :}