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The Colette Clover Muslin version 1

Unlike some people, I have pants/jeans that fit me really well. Those dang Gap jeans must be woven with angel hair or something ’cause they fit like a glove. The only problem I tend to experience with them is that they stretch out even with only 1% spandex (I’ve checked).

But any time I try to make my own skinny jeans/pants I always hit major roadblocks in fit. My friend said it’s because my hands are too big, insinuating that Gap jeans are made by exploited Chinese children (which is probably true, ugh) whose tiny fingers are able to sew the perfect fit.

So why try to venture into the world of skinny pants once more? Well, this winter I realized that I only own two pairs of pants, both jeans, and one pair can only be worn with heels meaning I’ve lived in the same pair of skinnies for the past 3 months straight. I wanted some non-jeans but didn’t want to buy some 50% polyester trousers that I would sweat through in the dead of winter so here I am again, facing down the seven levels of pants sewing hell. Will I make it through Dixie’s Inferno??

The Pattern: Colette’s Clover pants. I’ve made the Juniper Trousers with success but ended up deciding I didn’t like the wide leg look. But I figured those pants and the Clovers must be based on the same block so if the Junipers fit fairly well than the Clovers might work, too. Obviously the Clover pattern is meant for stretch wovens and the Junipers are a much looser fit but the crotch curves are almost identical.

The Fabric: Some stretch sateen from Joann. It’s cotton with 3% spandex. Nothing special.

The Changes (that need to be made): To start I sewed up a size 4 with no changes just to see how it looks. These pictures are the first version.

So let’s go around and see what changes need to be made, shall we?

First of all, I want to lower the waist band. These are a mid rise which isn’t bad but I’d rather have a lower waist. This is good, actually, ’cause that means I’ll eliminate the small darts in the back which I think are contributing to some pull lines.


Now for fit. The most obvious thing I notice from the front are those pull lines pointing to the crotch. I think I have a solution to that. From what I know of stretch skinny jeans I have this theory that the front crotch curve has to be very very slight, hardly a curve at all, or else the fabric pulls right across to that point. These pants have a small curve but I still think that’s too much. I’m going to shave off the front curve and transfer the excess to the back pattern piece and see if that helps.

Another major problem, that calves are too tight. So much so that when I walk the fabric slides up around my thigh so I get a whole crop of wrinkles and fabric folds. I’m hoping most of that can be removed by widening the calf area.

I can already tell that the back crotch curve is too shallow and the rise is too short. From the side you can see that the waist band is lower in the back than the front. I think this rise issue is contributing to some horizontal pulling in back as well as pulling the side seam back at my waist. Once I fix the rise I’ll be able to tell if I need to widen the back pieces at the hips.

At the side hips the fabric keeps wanting to fold over on itself which tells me I need to cut out a wedge from the edge tapering to nothing at the center. I also need to flatten the side curve at the hips a bit.

From the back it’s a complete mess. Tons of wrinkles in the thigh (probably from that tight calf problem) and pulling in the hips. I think the widest point on my hips is lower than the pattern’s. I will try working on the above mentions issues first then see how many wrinkles and secondary issues still remain.

The Results: I redrafted the pattern with all those changes and I’ve cut out the pieces. Now they just need to get stitched up into Muslin V 2.0 and start the assessment process all over again.

Comments (21) for post “The Colette Clover Muslin version 1”

  • Fabulous post – thank you so much for sharing your fitting process! Pants like this are going to be my spring project and I know I’m going to run into trouble

  • Fascinating! I haven’t even come close to tackling pants-fitting yet, so this is very intriguing to me. The funny thing is, how often do we see people walking around in RTW pants that fit them worse than this, even? Only a sewist would find a thrill in hunting down each fitting flaw and demolishing it 🙂

    I think this is really good for a first attempt; I’ve seen first versions of Clovers that fit much worse than these. I think you’re well on your way to a great little pair of pants!

  • i don’t often comment on the blogs i read….but ima gonna tell you this: if i had pants turn out as well as your muslin did, i would rock that shit until they fell apart. now that you point everything out…well i see what a talented seamstress you really are. i’ve been trying pants in the past month and i am like 0 for 5 or something…and that’s without a zipper! what a blow to my mojo… thank you for sharing. I really appreciate your problem solving skills and am inspired to get back in the game! can’t wait to see how they turn out!

    dani e

  • looks like you’re off to a great start! i have the exact same need for the exact same pants… i plan to modify the thurlow since i already know they fit me. i look forward to seeing how yours turn out!

  • You’ve done a great job analyzing your fitting issues. I am working on fitting right now and it is a nightmare to walk anywhere. I keep looking at what people are wearing and analyzing (in my head) how to fix their fitting issues. It isn’t being negative, but from a distanced, in my head commentary. Oh, going to Costco is a nightmare!

  • I’m planning to try these as well. Your post will be helpful..you did a great job. Good luck. Thanks for the post.

  • I’m working on the same pattern! Currently on second muslin, just need to sew it all up and crossing my fingers the alterations I made on the pattern work. 🙂

  • Good luck with all the fitting! I’m so glad I don’t actually like wearing pants, so I don’t have to throw myself into the inferno. 🙂

  • I literally lol’ed at the Costco mention. The first time around sewing pants I found myself staring at strangers’ crotches and bums analyzing fit. Sewists are weird. 😉

  • ya know, i’m much more likely to ignore fit issues on RTW pants than on ones I make myself. Don’t really know why that is. I knew going down the pants rabbit hole would be a commitment (and I really hate sewing muslins sometimes, seems like a waste of time and fabric) so I’m trying to not get too overwhelmed. pants are hard!

  • Looks like a good start! This post kind of makes me want to try this pattern, even though I know nearly everyone has trouble with fitting them…

  • Worse is staring at med’s back pockets trying to determine which type and placement for my husband. There is a male teacher with some cool pants that I want to copy, but my son freaks out that I’m staring at his pants. Hard to explain this!

  • thanks, ya know, I don’t have the thurlow pattern but if these clovers work out I might try my hand at the thurlows for some dressy trousers.

  • Not a bad start, Dixie! The first fit is always the hardest. Not in terms of sewing, but mentally. I hate having to deal with all those changes – why can’t a pattern just fit me!? But you know what you’re doing and I’m off to see how the second version turned out.

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