Clover (anti)climax


It occurs to me that putting “climax” in a post title may not be the wisest decision ever… oh, well.

You remember my red clovers? No? Maybe that’s because they’ve been languishing in dreaded UFO limbo since, oh, January. I don’t do UFOs, peeps. I don’t always like what I make, but I almost always finish it.

Having cleared (or partially cleared) my sewing room of some backlog clutter on Monday, I was feeling inclined to tackle other energy-blocking projects (I even vacuumed the basement carpet, dammit. Of course, then I spread out and cut a bunch more fabric, but that’s beside the point.) So last night after dinner I picked up my Clovers from their sad little heap and set to work.

My main blockage was the zipper. I had settled on a lapped zipper for the final application (why, I don’t know, since I suck at lapped zips), but when stitching it up (after LOTS of hand basting, something I almost never do) I realized that my ends weren’t lining up with the top of the waistband on one side, and I chucked it in a corner put it away in disgust.

So, last night, I pulled the zipper out, examined the waistband and determined that one side was actually too wide, fixed that, and then set about hand-basting everything back in. Peeps, this zip is inserted almost entirely by hand. Probably not a good idea for a load-bearing area, but anyway. It looks mostly nice (a first for me with a lapped zip) except at the very bottom. Aside from the fact that the side of the hip is not a really good place for a lapped zipper—the over-lap seems to want to gape out a bit. The entire thing would’ve been considerably less brain-breaking if I’d made it more like a typical fly, with the waistband not included in the zipper, but that would’ve required a bit of extension of the waistband pattern, which I hadn’t done. So I made it work. The top of the zip has a wide pants-hook, but I couldn’t find a bar for it so I made a thread bar. I don’t really expect that to hold up, but it’s functional for now.

And then I hemmed, and now they’re done.

And, well, I’m… meh.

The problem is, I’m not sure if there’s an actual problem, or if I just don’t like side-zip, no-pocket, non-jeans-style pants. For one thing, I obviously need different underwear with them. πŸ˜›


The side-seams are still a bit ripply. The waistband wants to sag down Β in the front—it’s still a smidge higher than my “natural waistband groove”, despite me lowering it a good inch. I think this contributes to the wrinkling along the hip, not to mention the front-crotch wrinkles. I’d be tempted to take in the hips and thighs a bit more except it’s pretty much impossible to alter that side-zip. Well, without wanting to kill myself.


The calf is more snug than the thighs, which I think is also bothering me. Not a surprise—I have pretty muscular calves, and have run into this issue in storebought skinny pants. Although for some reason my feet and lower legs look tiny in these photos. Maybe it’s the wedges?

Probably I should add belt-loops and wear them with a belt and see if I like them better with the top held firmly in place. I interfaced the waistband with knit interfacing to retain a bit of the stretch, but if I want to wear them sans belt, I think that removing all stretch would’ve been a good idea. At the time I was paranoid about the whole thing being too small. Also it would mitigate the serious plumber’s crack that happens when I bend over.

Short or long?

Currently I’ve hemmed them full length (I added about 5″ to the pattern). I’m tempted to shorten them (though the picture doesn’t show the short look nearly as well as I hoped it would). I like the shorter look, but I feel like that would really limit their use in my wardrobe. I don’t usually go sock-free until the height of summer, and I don’t think the pedal-pusher look works with much but sandals, at least for me.

But am I going to wear them much anyway?


Why didn’t I just make this fabric into jeans? I really want red jeans…



Filed under Sewing

54 responses to “Clover (anti)climax

  1. Sherry

    I think they look great! I remember your first post on these and there looked like a lot of work to be done, so you’ve done well to get here. I love the colour!
    Maybe your ‘meh’ feeling is because they are so plain they need something extra? Maybe cropping them would do that trick?
    I’ve been trying to get a similar trouser done this week, without much success, I think I’m too old for tight pants now, boo hoo…

  2. I really like the colour. Personally, I don’t think tightening it up at the hips and thighs will improve the fit, but wearing a belt to keep the top up would. And I vote for hemming them short. I’ve made two pairs of fitted, non-jeans trousers myself and I’ve hemmed both above the ankle. So far, I’ve mostly worn them with heels and (whisper) knee-high stockings.
    And as for the usability of this pair of trousers in your wardrobe… well, you’ve already mentioned… eh, two, three, four limiting factors. Why not add one more? πŸ˜‰

  3. I think they look fine, but I’d personally leave the length as is. I’m not a fan of the highwater pants look though (unless you are a super-fast-growing-1st/2nd/3rd-grader), so that’s probably why. Mmmmm….red jeans…..

    • Yeah… I spent far too many years traumatized by slightly-too-short jeans to care much for the shorter lengths. But I’ve been trying to work through that, and I really do like the short ‘n skinny look on a lot of people… the angst!

  4. Amy

    The higher hem might help them to find their own place in your wardrobe as skinny-ankles instead of pants-you-wish-were-more-like-jeans. They look cute in the photos, so I’m glad you took the time to finish them. Hopefully you’ll find the excuses you need to wear them. I heard it’s good for thesis writing to wear red pants, right?

  5. I think they look great! I think the longer length is nice. I like how they hit right at the ankle.

    • Thank you! I think I like how the longer length looks from the front, but not so much from the back. Or maybe it’s the shoes. Or maybe just that they tend to ride up my calf and end up looking awkwardly short, instead of intentionally short. Hmm.

  6. The colour is wonderful! It’s so much darker and richer than the red trousers I see tripping around town & the media – definitely a win there!

  7. I actually like the fit, and the colour looks great! I also have serious long-leg envy right now…

    • Ah, well. Legs. I gots ’em. One of those things you just gotta blame on genetics. The flip side is I’m 5′ 7″ (170 cm) tall and still need to petite my tops…

  8. Kim

    I am pear-shaped so I feel your pain when it comes to ill-fitting pants! Honestly, I do think that the fit is a bit off, but they would look fine layered under a long tunic or short dress.

  9. They look fantastic in pictures. I see some of what you don’t like around the waist, but with that shirt it’s perfect. I love the colour, so much fun.

  10. I hate when you make something and know by the end that you won’t end up wearing it. Maybe hem them shorter and you can wear a tunic length top with them to hide the zipper and wrinkles that you speak of. BTW – they look good to us from this side of the lens.

  11. I really don’t know why all of us out here in blogland don’t hate you with a red hot passion. You have that body after two kids, by your own admittance you don’t exercise and you still have a belly that you are willing to show people. I, for one find this annoying. Oh yeah, and, you are gorgeous.

    On to the pants. I would add the belt loops to see if you like them better with a belt, it seems to me to be the least time consuming and least destructive thing you could try. I can see what you mean about the fit, but only after I read the post, and no one other than you will ever notice the issues you have with them.

  12. Love your Clovers & as always you look geogeous!

  13. OK, honey, you look FINE. I say go for longer length. You live in freakin’ winterland, after all. I’m really impressed you went back to these after a while. I’m always afraid that, if I don’t finish something immediately, I’ll never get back to it. Well done.

    • Yeah… although slightly-short pants may be perfect for those southern Alberta “summers.”

      I share your fear—like I said, I *hate* not finishing stuff in a timely fashion.

  14. Okay, those are pretty cool. I LOVE the colour, and I think they look lovely on you. Of course, you’re the one who has to wear it, regardless of what others think of it. But there’s my two cents (for as long as we have individual cents to give).

  15. Amy

    Well these turned out pretty fantastic! I like the idea of cropping them above the ankle a bit. How about high-tops? (or low) Don’t know if you do those. I’m a Chucks fan, hehee. I have a pair of skinny pants that hit above the ankle and it took me forever to stop thinking about them like jeans but I wore them to death all winter. The color is amazing!

  16. katherine

    These look great on you but I would prefer jeans to clovers myself. The colour is gorgeous and I like it paired with the black.

  17. I think these look very cute, and I love the longer length. The colour is absolutely magnificent. I would love jeans in this colour!!

  18. Lookin good! I love red pants. They look to me like a good pair of RTW basics… πŸ™‚ Planning to wear them much?

  19. This post is all so familiar: semi sewn clovers in a heap beneath sewing machine, intense scrutiny of hip, bum and crotch, waistband that really does need stretch interfacing, and indecision (more;) on length. I wouldn’t be put off by lack of pockets, that’s your own “nakedness’, your figure is amazing and these highlight that. They are also a fabulous colour, sensational is go to say. So those details you are still mulling over, have your commenters helped? Seems to be support for both lengths, and maybe try a belt. You really do look fabulous as ever…

  20. I meant to say being a jeans wearer with loads of pockets has led to you feeling “naked” with none, but am writing via phone and mucho difficult to make in-comment edits, sorry about some of typos too!!

    • Ahaha! I suck at the iPhone commenting, too. Part of the pockets issue dates back to a jeans-style advice article I read back in, oh, 2002, that advocated pockets (the fancier the better) for those with, um, minimal assets. Since that time I have preferred back pockets in EVERYTHING. But that was also before I figured out that, while I don’t have much in the hip department, I do have a fair bit of curve in behind (y’know, back where I can’t actually see it.)

  21. Oh they are fine and they p’ed you off something chronic in the making so I’m not surprised they are a bit “meh” for you. Really. My vote is put in the belt loops, crop them to ankle (what snow? its spring right?), wear them with a belt a few times, put them through the wash and then, then decide what to do. They’re made so why not.

    Besides your look cute in them, despite the fit issues :o)

  22. LinB

    If you really don’t like them, don’t wear them! You gained sewing experience in making and altering them. They are finished, so you can gift them to a thrift store with a clear conscience — they’ll fit somebody, surely. (I often safety-pin a scrap of muslin with general size and fabric content into my hand-made donations — although none of the homemade things I buy at a thrift store have that info, come to think of it.) Or, use the fabric to make some jeans for either TYO or SYO — they’re growing up and out every day, and will surely need to cover themselves at school next autumn.

  23. I think these look pretty good and red is really a great color for you. That said, I’m just not on board with this pattern in general. I think it’s the side zip – it makes it so hard to alter the hips and waist.

    BTW – I’ve nominated you for a blog award. You can “pick it up” over at my blog. No worries/pressure if awards are not your thing.

    • Yeah, the side zip doesn’t really do it for me for just that reason. And I don’t find it especially easy to put in, either—at least a front fly everything is flat.

      Thanks for the award! πŸ™‚

  24. I think these look great and the color is good! I’ve decided I will never again make pants with a side zip — between the alteration issues and my profound hatred of belt-less pants, they would never get worn. Maybe for next time, draft them with a front fly?

    THANK YOU for mentioning the calf issue with skinny pants. I’m admittedly more muscular than you, but I can’t figure out who can get their legs into skinny jeans. Especially when the waistband/butt is over a size 6 — I don’t know a lot of people with a round bottom and matchstick legs! One of my favorite things about sewing is the lack of super-skinny calf pants.

    • Well, my sister-in-law and mother-in-law (and for that matter, my husband) are some of those people with the generous booty (that’s where Tyo gets her incipient pearish-ness) and very slender (you might even say scrawny) calves. Of course, none of them are fond of the skinny-jean look, because, well, it’s not exactly the most flattering for that figure. It’s definitely an additional fit issue we didn’t have to deal with when everyone was wearing flares! πŸ™‚

      I think I share your hatred of belt-less pants. I really haven’t worn pants without a belt since, oh, 1998?

      To be honest, the only thing that has kept me from going back and using your tutorial to put in a fly is the fact that I’d have to re-do the whole freaking waistband and I think that might kill me. But I have definitely thought about it.

  25. I think these look fantastic, actually — that dark red is really quite fetching on you, and your legs look a million miles long. That said, I see what you mean about the wrinkles, but it looks like any other RTW pants in terms of fit…but considering that me-made should fit better, I see your issues.

    Also, I have that calf problem with skinny jeans, and even worse, with tall boots. My favorite pair only *just* zips over my left calf, and if gain a mm more of muscle/fat/blood it’s not going to go on anymore. Every time it rains I get scared, wondering if this is going to be the last time I can wear these boots.

  26. Well, they may fit awfully, but you make them look great! But I agree with you, they sort of look like pants that wish they were jeans. Did you see this post? Maybe the crotch curve is just not right for you and its affecting the fit in other areas. personally, I like cigarette pants that have a bit of freedom at the mid calf, so I vote to keep them long.

  27. Joy

    Well, I like them. In fact, I’d wear them. (I know that counts for a lot, hehehe!) They’re skinny, which is what’s making them harder to fit, I think. But really, don’t they fit much better than anything off the rack would?

  28. I like the colour! Ottobre does really nice pants patterns. You might want to try them out. I’ve scanned a Threads pants alteration article somewhere. I can dig it up and email it if you’re interested.

  29. I am so behind with my commenting. I think they are fab! You have elevated expectations after all those amazing jeans you make. But really? I can’t see anything wrong with these. And I would make them shorter just to be different from jeans.

  30. Pingback: Kachow! | Tanit-Isis Sews

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