Red-Leaf Clover

Colette Clover pants. You can see from the wrinkles that the waistband at the side isn't pulled as high as it can go.

Or, possibly the worst-photographed post ever.

Did I mention my camera charger didn’t come home with me after the holidays? So yeah, the last few posts have been iPhone photos. Painful, I know. I’m working to get the back-up camera functional again (battery issues, but at least it uses standard AA batteries), but as of this moment you get iPhone photos.

So, after making little jeans for everyone short in the family (or at least that’s what it feels like…), I was in the mood for some new pants myself. And frankly, I’m a little bored of Jalie 2908, although I do have fabric for another pair for myself planned.

So I pulled out this red stretch (?twill? Sometimes it looks like twill, other times not.)

After much hemming and hawing, I cut out the size 2, which is my actual hip size, grading to a size 4 (which is not quite my actual waist size) at the waist. The long view finished inseam is listed at 27″, designed to fall just above the ankle. Dear readers, 27″ is a longish capri length on me. ¬†Since it’s winter and my desire to make a pair of pants that would look funny with socks is at absolute zero, I decided to lengthen them to a more normal, scrunch-around-the-ankle, skinny length. I added 6″ (15 cm.) I had some misgivings about the rise, which some people have reported as a bit high (and we all know I’m a low-rise kind of girl), but figured I would keep it as-is for now, as that’s something which can be tweaked after the pattern’s cut. The crotch-length was a little disconcerting, as the horizontal leg of the back L seemed really long, but the horizontal leg of the front L was really short, so I hoped it would even out. It’s different from most of the other crotch-curves I’ve seen, so I was kind of curious to try.

Clover crotch-curves

And then I took a deep, deep breath, and I cut into my precious* red twill.

It is my intention for these, eventually, to be a sort of wearable muslin. Uncharacteristically for me, I basted them together just to check the fit—I’m planning on completely re-stitching everything once I have them fitting how I like.

I didn’t get any full-length pictures. The legs are pretty much fine—skinny, long enough. I may take in the outseams above the knees about .5 cm on each side—enough to bring me down, basically, to a size 0; I think this fabric has a bit more stretch than the pattern may have been planned for (I wish it had a stretch guide, or at least listed %stretch rather than %Lycra. ¬†% Lycra is not very useful at all in predicting how much a fabric stretches, in my experience.) Alternatively, I may just like my pants tighter than was originally meant. Which is probable, too.

Anyway. The rise in the back is good, although it does that dip-down thing at the middle of the back. I would not want it any lower, that’s for sure.

Front view. You can just barely see that my belly-button is immediately above the waistband.

The rise in the front is a full 5cm (almost 2″) higher than I’d like. The pin in the front shows where I’d like the bottom of the waistband to fall in order to get the rise right.

The size of the waistband seems good as long as I don’t interface all stretch out of the waistband. (Though I suppose this will be different once I change the rise, anyway.) There is not much gaping at the CB, which is a common problem for me, so that’s good.

Unfortunately, the crappy zipper I threw in self-destructed within about 30 seconds of me putting the pants on, so I’m frantically pinching the one hip together in the pictures.

The front crotch seems a bit odd, I think because the curve is so shallow, but I’m hesitant to mess with it at this point. Maybe later. If any of you know what these wrinkles mean (left side of the photo, the right side is being pulled off by the issues with the zipper) please let me know! ;)

Anyway, I think I’ll be able to make some quite nice pants out of these, once I have them tweaked a bit. But some tweaking is definitely required.

And unpicking. And, y’know, reading the actual instructions.

*in the sense that I have been looking for a fabric like this for ages, not in the sense that it was expensive—it was definitely not.

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49 Comments

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49 responses to “Red-Leaf Clover

  1. Is it possible the front crotch length is too long and that’s creating the creases? You know, I think the rise on these pants is perfect. Maybe a bit low :-) It’s hilarious how different shapes (and peeps) have such a different take on this topic!

  2. I should clarify, I mean that I think the rise is maybe a bit low for me, on my body…

    • Oh, yeah :). The rise thing is completely a personal preference. I really loathe the way high-rise pants look and feel on me, but they look great on plenty of other people (and these still wouldn’t really qualify as high-waisted, they’re below the navel.) On me, though, there’s a mismatch between front and back—I feel like to match where the front is, I would need to raise the back at least an inch. My personal preference is to leave the back where it is, though, and lower the front. :)

      • SO personal preference! I’d definitely lop an inch or two off the top so it had a lower rise. For some reason, I’m ok with a high rise skirt, but not pants. Definitely not pants. ;-)

        I’m not a pants fitting expert (is anyone?) but I would play with the upper inseam a bit. It looks like there is some excess fabric there.

        Great color!

  3. Like the color. From the photos they look to be shaping up nicely. … I know you are so missing that camera cord :O).

    • The worst part is I can’t put the iPhone on the tripod for timer shots—so this is all hand-held. Bleh. I got some new batteries for the backup camera, so hopefully that will be working soon.

  4. My muslin of these looks almost identical – I have fewer wrinkles right at the money spot, so to speak, but I have that diagonal one going out to the hip (we have similar figures too). If I pull up the waistband, it goes away, but I don’t know how to make that permanent on the actual pant. I was thinking of just creasing it out on the paper pattern and calling it good; it’s like there’s too much length along the hip. Otherwise I was pretty pleased. I like my rise high to hold in my belly flub, lol, so I’m keeping it up there! :-)

    • I think (hope) the diagonal one going to the hip is caused by me pinching and pulling on the side there where the zipper died on me :P. On the other hand there are wrinkles on the other side where the waistband isn’t sitting quite as high as the fabric below would like. I knew the pinched photos weren’t going to be perfect, but I wasn’t willing to sew myself into the pants after the zipper died. :P

  5. I wonder if it isn’t the opposit, that the front crotch seam is too shallow and pulling from the back crotch seam. I wonder if you made the back crotch seam a bit shallower and added that to the front crotch to lengthen that curve if it would help. I’m still a beginner at tailoring so I could be way off, but when I saw the two pieces cut out the front looked so shallow.

    • Yeah, the front crotch seam is really shallow—I don’t think it would be possible (never mind advisable) to take anything off there. I’m tempted to carve it out a little bit and maybe take a bit off the inseam on the back piece, but messing with crotch curves always scares me…

  6. Good post title- and a great color to work with this time of year! It looks as though lowering your waistband might eliminate those side-front wrinkles (just by chopping off the problem). Or I would try pinning out a bit more of the side where it meets the waistband. Or take a second smaller back dart out beside the first one. One test: if you tug the CB and make it gape, does it pull those wrinkles out? I’m curious what the best fix will be for these- keep us posted!

  7. I think I’m going to go with your first suggestion and just chop off the top of the side wrinkles. In my head I’ll lower the rise in the front by about 5cm, at the side by 2.5, tapering to nothing at the CB.

    I can get rid of the side wrinkles by pulling up on the waistband at the sides, but that makes the dip towards the CB even more pronounced. Pulling on the CB doesn’t do much but give me a wedgie.

  8. I have a matching pair of red Clovers. I found that on my second pair I got the fit just right, but I made them a hair bit tighter than I like and within about a half an hour they stretch to perfect. That is probably my cheapo fabric though. I also lengthened mine with the same thought and I am only 5’5.

    • I find that’s true of most stretch pants—they need to be a tad tight at first fit so they can stretch out later.

      The above-ankle look is super cute, but really needs the right footwear… And I don’t always want to keep my boots on in the winter…

  9. Amy

    This crotch curve looks exactly like the pants sloper I made long ago from a European drafting book… the crotch seam was intentionally more toward the front than most patterns and I kinda liked it. Can’t wait to see your results! (I agree about the lycra/stretch thing… I have two denims with 2% lycra and one easily stretches out twice as long as the other. I have no idea which one to start with for my jeans.)

    • Yeah, it seems very much as if the seam has moved, although it doesn’t feel in an odd place. It just feels as if there’s a bit much fabric right there at the front crotch… The butt looks good, though ;)

  10. I have no idea what to do, but I’m confident you’ll figure it out and they’re going to be adorable :) Can’t wait to see! (And you know I”m with you on the low-rise thing…)

  11. I lost my camera charger during Christmas travels too. . . really cuts into my blogging intentions. Anyway, I was wondering if you could use your Jalie jeans as a sort of block to compare to the Clovers, just to get an idea of how to adjust them. Thinking about the wrinkles though, it does look as if they are pointing up to your waist (not enough fabric there?) so going to a much lower rise could eliminate trying to perfect the fit there.

    • I should probably have done this, maybe with the Ellen pants, as jeans are missing the top of the back rise (it’s on the separate rear yoke piece). laziness, y’know. Although I don’t know that these are any worse than the Ellens.

  12. Looks like a good start! I’m sure that after tweaking these will be well-loved =)

  13. They are a fab colour! I’m SO interested to see what’s causing the wrinkles – is is a smiling crotch? (surely better than a frowning one). You know I’ve read about this fitting ailment, but not sure whether it’s as easy to spot. I have every confidence that you will make these into an amazing pair of Clovers – you know your way around getting the perfect fit. But I wish you hadn’t mentioned that there’s going to be different fitting experiences for fabrics with different stretch mixes? [Head sinks] I thought I had got off lightly!

    • Honestly it doesn’t feel like it’s tight, more like there’s a bit too much fabric at the front crotch. There is the diagonal wrinkle on the one side, but that’s caused by me pulling :P. I am going to take another stab at the crotch once I get the rise fixed and a new zipper in, I think. Or maybe leave it for the next pair ;)

  14. Sewista Fashionista

    Getting the waistband and rise perfectly situated in a new pants pattern is such a trial. Best of luck as you tinker. I once followed directions using my measurements and drafted a pants sloper. Comparing my draft to the normal storebought pattern, and you could have walloped me aside the head – the two were so different. I think the crotch curve with the front so shallow is more like well-fitting RTW than typical sewing patterns. Can’t wait to see what happens as you keep working the pattern. :)

  15. so? you’re sewing these in bed, yes? what better way to battle a cold than tackle crotch depth?

    • Lol! Actually these were stitched up on the weekend. Today I am lying on the couch watching Osiris play Final Fantasy and drinking considerably more tea than is good for me. Fixing shall have to wait until I have enough energy to do something useful with myself.

  16. Lanie

    I tried to make these pants (also in red stretch twill- funny!), and they were a fitting disaster. I have fairly straight hips for my hip circumference (all my volume is in my booty) and found that this pattern seems to be drafted for a curvy hip and a flatter booty. I had similar diagonal crotch wrinkles to yours on my first attempt, and found the back was too tight. I had to add length to the front and back crotch curves, as well as to straighten the outseams at the hips and pin out extra length at the sides, where the curvy hips added too much length. That got rid of most of the wrinkles. I still haven’t made up the final version, though, so I’ll be anxious to see yours!

    • I have similar straight-hip, curvy butt issues in general. I think grading out to the larger size helped minimize the problem for this pair, though. The back length would definitely be an issue if I wanted the rise to be as high in the back as the front. I am pretty much the exact opposite of the body type Colette are drafted for, though, so that’s no surprise. :) Good luck with your final version! (if you’re persevering, anyway)

  17. The wrinkles are (I think) caused by having the pants too fitted in the front. I’ve run into this issue before and I find that sewing the inner leg seam at 3/8″ instead of 5/8″ helps a lot. Something about having muscular legs, perhaps?

    These pictures are pretty much how all my pants fit me without alterations. The front waistband is definitely too high, but the back is also too low. I would raise the back about half an inch on the next pair. For this one, it’s fine and you can drop the waist to be more level. These actually look like they have the potential to be quite cute!

    • I do think they’ll be fixable. I’m thoroughly confused by the front wrinkles—in some ways it feels baggy, but it also almost feels like there’s some camel-toe going on. Weird. Anyway. I’m not going to worry about that until I have the waistband level figured out ;)

  18. Oh man… You need a pants block.. I’ll be making those available soon.

    Can you save it?

    • I *think* so. I’m going to get the waistband re-fitted to where I like before I worry too much about the crotch (some of the wrinkles are from me pinching the busted zipper closed). Someday when I’m not feeling like ass. :P

  19. I was about to write that you seem to have the opposite issue from me: irregular hip vs. butt fullness, in your case straight hips, curvy butt. Apart from the rise, which is a matter of personal choice, I think the changes needed to end up with the waistband in one place on the body are these: the CB crotch curve needs to be longer, have some cm added to the top. the sides need to be lower. I know you already graded from one size to the other but they actually still look a bit too curved.
    I’m not sure how to fix the front crotch, but I’d start out by fixing that hip issue and clipping or notching the seam allowance on the crotch curve.

  20. I tried to make some red clovers. it was… a disaster for fit. Not enough stretch with off grain pant leg twist. >.< Not rescue-able even after I lose 10 pounds. The pockets were perfect though. I'm gonna post later!

    • Oh, no! Twisty pantleg sucks so much (my skinny jeans I made last winter do that on one leg, it drives me NUTS) Never mind fit disasters—was this before or after your awesome pair? Here’s hoping red clovers aren’t jinxed!

  21. Zena

    What I read in your tea-leaves – er, muslin:

    1. Dip at CB > This is a problem I always have – back crotch is too short. I have tried adding length at the waist, but found that just because that’s where the problem is visible doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best place to fix it. Length can also be added at the back inseam, or a few inches below the waist (if you redraft and cut a new muslin).

    2. Wrinkles at hip > My guess would be too much length/curve through the hip. (I’ve been having similar issues, though more likely caused by shortness than straightness.) Perhaps straighten the curve and drop the waist at the side seams.

    3. Front crotch curve > not a suggestion, just a comment. I got some fitting help the other day from a very skilled friend. The problem I had was that the pants were good in the back but I was getting a fold at the bottom of the front crotch (too much front crotch length). If I pulled the pants up a little, the front crotch looked good but then the back was pulling (not enough back crotch length). She adjusted the crotch curve to shorten the front extension (by less than 1cm) so the result looked a lot like your pattern.

    I’m not sure how to apply this to your situation – perhaps the bagginess is from the excess hip length and the snugness is from a too-short front crotch extension??

  22. First off, sorry you are feeling ill. I had that in December it and it was rotten.
    My guess is that you are on the right track with your idea that there is too much fabric in the front. And, I suspect your observations about the too-shallow front, and too-deep back are at the root of the problem.

    I have been basting my garments lately, too. I just finished a skirt sewn from a woven with lycra. It was a very stretchy lycra so I knew it would react to the pattern with its own unique tendencies. It was fine. I basted the whole thing, made my adjustments, took it apart, then sewed it back together properly.

    Time-consuming, but I don’t know any other way to fine tune the fit.
    Oh – and I wore it for a day, while it was in is basted state. I wore it while I sewed something else, so I could see how baggy it got after wearing.

    Please post what you learn as you go!! This is SOOO helpful!
    I want to make some new pants soon, too.
    There are webcasts on Peggy Sager’s website (Silhouette Patterns) and she shows some basic fitting techniques on jeans. (just enough to make it look easier than it really is, LOL) google her, if you are interested.

    • I like wearing before the final stitching, too (I do that with my jeans), especially for stretch fabrics. Stretch is so individual, I don’t think there’s any way to avoid needing tweaks when you’re a home stitcher.

      Thanks for the suggestions! Don’t you love those tutorials that make everything look easy? ;)

  23. Ruth

    Wrinkles pointing to your hip indicate that they are too tight at that point. Too me it looks likea bit of trsin round abou where your hip joins your thigh. You don’t need to alter the crotch curve at the front or the back. You need a slight adjustment for full rear. Slash from the centre back seam at the point where your rear is fullest to the side seam (leave a hinge at the side seam) and slide the slash open about 2cm at the centre back, creating a horizontal triangular insert. Draw the centre back seam in, and there’s your adjustment done for next time. The adjustment for swayback is exactly the opposite (ie a horizontal traingle but lapped not spread. The reason you like your pants low rise is probably also partly because you have a sway back and a prominent rear (a fairly common combination) and so few RTW pants will fit and flatter you. If you get the right size for your rear, they will bag and pool in the small of your back. I have this shape too. I only wear pants that I have made myself.

    • I think I originally hit on the low-rise (aside from fashion reasons) because I have such a non-standard hip-waist ratio. But you’re probably right that it helps with the full-rear issue as well—there just isn’t as much area to fit. Thanks for the input!

    • Zena

      Ruth, you mention that no alteration is needed on the “crotch curve”, but you suggest slashing the pattern in a way that affects the CB seam. I’m not sure I understand. When you talk about the “crotch curve”, do you mean the entire seam that goes from CF waist to CB waist, or just the curvy part in the middle that goes between the legs (and would be absent from a skirt pattern that had a CF and CB seam)?

      (Only three seams in pants – inseam, outseam and crotch – and yet fitting is so arcane…)

  24. Anna Dorthea

    I’m a huuuuuge fan of your Jalie-jeans, but I fully understand how you can be bored with a pattern! ( I have the same relationship with a Burda blouse-pattern I’ve made several times).
    The only real advice I can offer on making “simple” pants like these “Clover” ones, is to make your own pant-sloper/block. It’s super-easy! Seeing what you’ve made so far, I have no doubts, you’ll make one in no-time! :-)

  25. I actually tested this pattern before it was released, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I jut don’t have the shape for them. But they look really good for a first sew-up on you! I keep thinking I just need to knuckle under and make lots of muslins, but I just haven’t gotten to that point. ;) Can’t wait to see this finished!!!

    • That is the trouble with pants, isn’t it? I think you’d look smashing in a well-fitted pair (but then, what don’t you look smashing in?) but the trick is getting there…

  26. Joy

    I was sorely tempted to buy this pattern (may still) but found essentially the same thing in a vintage pattern for $4. You got a pretty good fit first time around and they will be smashing in red!

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