Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pattern Review: Colette Clover Pants

*  I wrote most of this review prior to wearing the pants.  I've put my addendum first, because it explains the photos.

Sometimes you just can't anticipate the way a fabric will behave. I knew that my fabric was a little stretchier than I needed for these pants, and truthfully, I expected a little bagging in the seat and at the knees by the end of the day. However, the fabric had started to stretch by the time I got to work. The photos were taken on my lunch break, approximately 4 hours into the wearing of the pants. These pants did NOT fit like that when I left the house, especially the crotch area.

Overall, despite the somewhat disappointing photos, I'm going to declare these pants a fabric failure, not a pattern failure. And because I do like the pants generally (and because even with some sag the butt doesn't look too bad), I'm going to take in the inside leg seam and the center/crotch/seat seam and see what happens. Next time I'll start out with pants that are too tight which will relax into a nice fit by mid-morning. And I'll know better for the next pair. (There will still be a next pair).

Pattern Description: Beautifully simple slim pants that will go with practically anything! These pants close with a side zipper for a streamlined look and easy sewing. Version 1 is ankle length, with small in-seam pockets set into the waistband. Version 2 is cropped just below mid-calf.

The pattern is meant for bottom-weight fabrics with some stretch. 

Pattern Sizing:  0-18.  I made approximately a 10, with some adjustments where I deviated from the standard measurements.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? The line drawing on the envelope is very basic, but I'd say I got a close resemblance.  Mine are longer, because I didn't want ankle-length pants.  Isn't that why we sew?

Were the instructions easy to follow? Absolutely.  More on that below.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I tend to like side zip pants better than fly front. Which is annoying, because from making jeans for myself and shorts for Mario, I can actually do a decent fly front these days.  But outside of jeans, I don't find fly-front pants all that flattering on me; I wear a lot of knit tops and I like the smoother line of a side zip, instead of the bunchiness of a zipper under the knit.

And I have a go-to Burda side zip pant that I've been making since 2007, but when Colette announced their new fall patterns I decided to give their pants a try - it never hurts to check out a new twist on an old favorite.  My Burda pants are darted, front and back, with a facing but no waistband; Colette's pants have a waistband and inseam pockets.  Since the waistband is more like a narrow yoke than a classic waistband, I thought it might work well on my lack-of-defined-waist.

As an aside, I thought the little pockets set in the seam between the pants and waistband were cute.  They'll never be seen, since most of my tops will cover them, but I know they're there. 

Fabric Used:  Tan stretch twill (very stretchy stretch twill).  Leftover Liberty lawn for the pockets. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  When I make a pattern for the first time, unless I find something ridiculously wrong (or in the case of Burda, unintelligible) in the instructions, I try to follow the pattern's order of construction. I assume there's a reason for what they do, and the order in which they do it.

So when I made my Clover pants (without having made a muslin, of course, because I couldn't find a fabric for the muslin with a similar stretch), I followed their instructions. I have to say that their instructions are some of the clearest I've ever come across and the illustrations are very well done. If I'd had to depend on Burda to explain how to do those little waistband pockets, I'd have pants without pockets.

That being said, next time I think I will change the order of construction just a bit, because even when I get a pattern altered to fit me, depending on the vagaries of the particular fabric I'm using, there might be tweaking involved.

Colette's order: sew fronts to backs at inside leg seam, then sew center seam from front to back. After that, sew up your outside seams (completely on the right, to the zipper point on the left. Construct the waistband side seams and sew outer waistband to mostly-completed pants. Sew the pockets together. Insert invisible zipper in already mostly-completed pants. Then add facing waistband and do all the neat and tidy stuff.

How I'll do it next time: sew fronts to backs at inside leg seam, then sew center seam from front to back. Sew the outer waistbands to fronts and backs, sewing pockets. Pin fit to make sure nothing has gone wrong, then insert invisible zipper and finish rest of left leg seam. Baste right leg seam to check fit, tweak, then finish. Add facing waistband and neaten.

There's nothing wrong with the Colette instructions, and I think I got a pretty good result, but since every fabric is going to behave at least somewhat differently - the stretch twill I'm using seems to be almost part bubblegum it was so stretchy - I like having the option of tweaking in multiple places throughout the construction process.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I think these are in the running to join my Burda pants in the TNT pile.  There weren't many kinks to work out in this first pair, so I'd definitely try them again. 

Conclusion:  A good basic pattern - with great instructions - that can be made up in a variety of fabrics.  Further investigation is required, but there could be TNT potential here.


Pretty Kitty said...

These turned out great Karen! I think you will be very happy with them once you tweak them to accommodate the bubble gum factor of the fabric!

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

I'm sure that you will have even better results with your next pair...and I really like the pockets in this pattern!

Brenda said...

A little tweaking and they will be perfect! I want to hear about the chickens!

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Fabric failure is sooo frustrating. I love those little pockets!