This Week’s Unexpected Project: Clover Pants

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Front view.

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Side view.

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Side view, #2.

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Back view.

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Back view, #2.

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(It’s kind of strange to have your butt be on so many angles for the header image of a blog post.)

For this project I used a medium-weight grey twill. I cut the pieces for this project a few weeks ago, put them in a ziplock bag, and stashed them underneath the xbox (the cabinet that the xbox sits on, not the actual xbox itself). I started these on Friday night when I unexpectedly left work late enough to skip going to the dojo (ugh!) and surprisingly finished them on Saturday morning.

I used the same pattern as before except narrowed the leg. This version came along smoothly until it was time to get to the waistband. The fabric I used this time had 0% stretch (mistake #1). I didn’t label the waistband front and back and sewed the front and back on backwards (mistake #2. When I noticed this the waistband was already serged and sewn on, so I unpicked my stitches and cut off the serged part (mistake #3). All of these mistakes compounded to other parts, making the waistband area a lot smaller. When it was time to try on the pants the waist area didn’t fit! I undid the side seam, made some adjustments to the waistband, tried them on, and then they fit. However at this point it was past 2 am and I was convinced they still didn’t fit and I’d have to recut.

On Saturday morning I looked at them again, determined to re-cut if they didn’t fit, and now they fit properly (?!). I guess my adjustments were fine after all. Hmmph.

Also shown here is the Geometric Sorbetto, which definitely looks more vintage with set hair.

Notes for future clovers:
- Label the waistband front and back
- Find a zipper that matches the fabric closely
- Pick fabrics with 4% stretch as recommended by pattern

This project is part of my Spring/Summer SWAP which has changed yet again and needs to be documented properly. More on this in the future.

Pattern Acquisition: McCall’s 4822

McCall’s 4822.

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I’ve been stalking this pattern for a few months now on Etsy, and always hesitating when I press the “buy now” button since I’ve been trying to keep within my monthly sewing budget. However when I saw it somewhere else for a more reasonable price, I finally gave in.

I really like this pattern since can be the foundation for many SWAPs yet to come, and I’ve been really into sewing separates lately. Since I won my three-month skirmish with Clover, I’m no longer afraid of sewing pants. I find that they get worn more often and are more versatile wardrobe-wise. Paired with a self-drafted gathered or circle skirt, this pattern can even be a an appropriate 50s-era dress, or a blouse and skirt faux dress combination.

I’ve been trying to re-use most of my sewing patterns. This is partly so I can focus on getting the fit properly the first time and then get maximum use of it the next x amount of times I decide to make it again and again. I also like the challenge of coming up with something unique looking based on one pattern. It’s impressive to see how much variation can come out of different collars, cuffs, buttons or even colors and weights of fabrics.

This brings to mind my next question: when you start delving into pattern drafting, how many patterns do you really need? Is making the same pattern over and over again (with minor variations) cheating?

Clover Pants: Postmortem Analysis

Oh, Clover pants. In retrospect this project turned up just fine, but we all know something is wrong when the in-progress shots are of the project wadded up, folded or sitting on the windowsill. I’m still calling this a work in progress and not a fail in progress, though it’s certainly heading that way.

I’ve made about two muslins so far for Clover, so what went wrong this time?

  • the crotch area is now way too high (my math must have been totally off?)
  • the muslin I’ve been using is far too stretchy than my fashion fabric
  • the front part pooches out (way too wide?)
  • the hips are too wide and pooch out also
  • I basted everything before starting, but instead of using one inch seams like my muslin, I didn’t think my fashion fabric was stretchy enough and used 5/8 seams

This disaster didn’t come about but for lack of trying. I own about three pants fitting books, did the sitting on a chair measuring your crotch thing (that sounds worse than it actually is), measured everything really carefully and still my math was off.

I then decided to compare it to a pair of ready to wear pants that fit pretty well. In comparison, the crotch depth was way off. I started again with a standard size 4 in Colette patterns, measured the crotch curves of the green pants (pants that fit) with the Clover pants and tried again. This was the only method that worked for me.

I made a quick muslin out of some leftover cotton sateen that was slightly stretchy. These are more shorts than pants because I anticipated making 10000 more muslins after this one, but it turned out pretty well.

Colette Patterns Clover: The Blue Pants of Many Muslins

Side view.

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Front view #1.

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Front view #2.

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Faux bakelite bracelet, pink lucite bracelet with gold confetti glitter.

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The Facts

Fabric: Blue Twill, $7/yd, at 60 inches/yd
Pattern: Colette Clover
Year: 2010
Notions: Invisible zipper, $1
Time to complete: Three months? Ok maybe more like 4 hours once I got the fit down.
First worn: I’ve already worn this twice since.
Wear again? Of course!
Total price: $20, but it would have cost less if I didn’t need to cut the pants twice due to mistakes

I started these pants around October last year, three months ago. I had a hard time with fitting. I made three muslins and the last one worked out, but something must have gone wrong because my first version of these pants in the blue twill were very very large. The waist was way too high. It sat in the corner of my living room for another two weeks in its organized plastic bag until I went back and made two more muslins.

I finally used a pair of ready-to-wear pants as a guide to fitting these and copied the measurements exactly. It worked out pretty well and I finally made pants that fit. I had to harvest the invisible zipper from the first pair to use in this version.

These pants almost didn’t make it this week, making it a true UFO challenge.

(cross-posted at Sew Weekly)

Colette Patterns Clover, Muslin #3

I tried making Clover a few months ago and my first try at it was a complete fail. I’ve since read Pants for Real People and the next draft was a little better. I used a stretchy cotton that will mimic my final fabric, and fitted the pants as best as I could. Muslin #2 (not shown here) was baggy and even more unflattering, but this muslin turned out better.

Alterations:
- cut a size 4 (instead of a size 6), but it was still way too big (?)
- shortened the leg by one inch
- added one inch to the crotch length
- sewed all seams 1″ (after 5/8″ was still too baggy and unflattering)
- added the waistband to the muslin for even more accuracy

I think this is as good as it gets and will be making this version out of the fashion fabric. I’m not sure if the blue stretch twill I’ll be using will be as stretchy as the muslin, so I’ll be basting 1″ inch seams first, then testing it, then finalizing it if that works out.

Cigarette Pants, Self-Drafted

Front view, #1.

Sweater: thrifted
Pants: self-drafted, homemade
Blouse: Daffy’s, from many years ago,
Necklace: homemade
Leopard platform stilettos: thrifted

Front view, #2.

Front view, #3.

Side view.

Closeup view.

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These pants were inspired by Midge Daniels. After my pants-fitting debacle a few weeks ago, I finally decided to draft my own.

Fabric used: medium-weight cotton sateen, with 1% stretch

Construction notes: I used my skirt sloper to draft these pants. I drafted these to sit at the natural waist with no ease and used fabric with 1% stretch. I made my muslin with stretch fabric and made my final version with cotton sateen. I used an invisible zipper on the side.

Beta-testing notes: I’ve already worn these pants out and about and they’re very comfy. Will definitely make again, either in more cotton sateen or brushed wool corduroy.

Parade of Pant Muslins, Part 2

Pants drafting.

I know I said I’d use my last franken-pattern as a base, but I still didn’t have enough confidence in it to cut into my stretch good black brushed wool corduroy or my cotton sateen. I had such a hard time with Clover that I thought I would just draft my own pants.

Since I was going to be using a stretch fabric, I drafted these to my measurements with no ease. I used a white fabric with similar stretch properties as my muslin. I think this is my most successful pants muslin yet.

Front view.

Side view.

Almost back view.

Sitting view.

Edit: I actually finished these pants using cotton sateen and tested the live version yesterday and it held up pretty well. More photos to come.

Parade of Pants Muslins

Parade of Pants Muslins

In a perfect world, there are no bad muslins, only well-fitting first drafts. Here are my pants muslins for my cigarette pants, which I yet have to find a TNT (tried and true) pattern for.

Clover, as is.

Here is my first draft of Clover with no adjustments. The legs are too long, and the inseam is way too short. This is before the waistband is added and it will be a lot taller, but it definitely does not fit properly. My shirt is pulled up so you can see exactly how low the waistband hits.

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Simplicity 4886 + Clover legs + Wearing History high-waisted trousers.

This one is a franken-pattern of Simplicity 4886, WH trousers, and Clover legs. I’ll be using this as my base, and tapering the hips/legs so it’s more fitted. We’ll see how it goes.

Sewing Fail: Colette Patterns Clover

Esteemed Sewing Assistant with Clover pants pattern.

I was really excited to get the new pants pattern Clover from Colette Patterns, but upon making a quick muslin of it right off the bat, it was definite muslin fail. I must be too used to wearing vintage-styled clothing since the inseam was way too low on me. That’s something I’m not used to anymore — it feels like the pants are going to fall off. I must have measured wrong or something since I made a standard muslin with actual muslin and the hips and waist were way too big. Granted this is without any alterations, and I have the same problem when buying ready-to-wear jeans.

I thought Clover would be my TNT cigarette pants pattern, but not without some alterations. I have higher expectations when buying modern patterns since they come in multi-fit sizes and are tailored to more modern proportions, and so if something doesn’t fit right out of the box I’m more surprised than usual. The pattern looks well-drafted and has clearly written instructions and I don’t want to give up on it yet.