Last craft camp I made some Colette Juniper pants and I am just now blogging them, because it’s taken me that long to find a time to take photos when it is light. It’s not easy to photograph black pants, you know.

These are made in a cotton linen blend from spotters. Giordano used to sell some cotlin pants that I first found when I was living in China and for several years afterwards I bought a pair a year and LIVED in them in summer but of course they invariably wore out in the thighs so I never kept any for very long, and they weren’t so cheap. Then the store in the city closed down so I could never get there and now it seems like there actually aren’t any stores in SA and besides I’m probably too fat for them now. I still have a pair of them, in natural linen, sitting in the stash. I am pretending that I will use the fabric for something eventually. It is very nice fabric, but to be honest it’s more sentimentality than thriftiness. All that to say, I had those pants in mind when I chose this fabric.

I’ve been wanting wide legged pants for a while. I was apprehensive, though, because I wasn’t sure how they would look on me and I couldn’t find any in stores that would fit well enough for me to get an idea. And I’d auditioned another pair of palazzo-type pants, from OOP Simplicity 3870 which I bought in an op shop and they were… not good. They were definitely not drafted for my particular shape, and there was too much going on for me to know where to start adjusting them. Pants are complicated. But then Sue generously gifted me the Juniper pattern, which I’d been eyeing off ever since it came out, so I thought I’d give them a go.

I was very nervous about making pants. There’s a lot to pants, and a lot to go wrong. But from the measurements it seems like Colette is drafted pretty much for my shape as well as my personal style, so I set out to have a go. I made a muslin and took each step slowly and carefully, making the proper markings and doing tailors tacks and EVERYTHING. It took me pretty much the whole weekend but I am really pleased both with the pants and with my own sewing progress. Slowing down and doing things properly is hard work for me, but it’s just so worth it.  It did take time but I think it would have taken much more time if I’d had to do more ripping back. And I might not have ended up with a pair of pants at the end!

I have to say that the little instruction booklet was so helpful with this. Each step was clear, and having them on separate pages helped me to not rush through things. There was also plenty of room to write notes to myself for later reference. I really loved the way it was presented. I have several Colette patterns on my wishlist and haven’t pulled the trigger because postage is so expensive, but I really think getting the booklet is worth it. I think I might buy a few as a birthday present to myself.

I initially thought I was going to have to do some adapting, since according to the measurements my hips are at the largest size but my waist is a bit bigger. I looked up a tutorial on how to properly grade the waistband up, and adjusted my muslin. It was fiddly and tricky because I had to tape together the pocket pieces and the pants to make them one pattern piece, cut and spread that, and then extract the pieces back out. But then it was too big – exactly as much too big as the adjustments I had made. Turns out that my problem is not overall size, but where the size is. See, I have a swayback, and a corresponding stomach-sticking-out issue, not to mention a reasonable amount of extra stomach. So I took out a triangle at the back waist – an half inch at the top tapering in – and ended up adding a bit of a frankenstein extension on the front. When you’re making the pattern you actually have this bit longer, and trim it back to fit under the top flap, so next time I will just not trim it and I think it will be perfect. Perhaps a little grading to sit flat.

The tacked on waistband expansion.

As you can see, the waist fits pretty well but the hips are HUGE. I don’t mind, it’s super comfortable, but I think next time I will go down a size for the leg portion. I measured out the excess and I could probably go down two sizes but I’m not sure whether I want that little ease. I’ll make another pair and see! I’m also considering grading them down a bit to be ever so slightly less wide in the leg, possibly on the inseam. Perhaps going down a size will do that enough. I want to keep the swooshiness but I also feel like, starting with such a wide hip, these are VERY wide. Looking at the ones in the flickr pool, the smaller sizes have much smaller legs (obviously) and I think that’s a more reasonable size and proportion. I love the width of these, it makes me feel like a fancy lady from the 40’s, all Katharine Hepburn styles (without the lithe grace but still). But maybe I don’t need more than one pair of pants with that wide a leg.

An attempt at showing the width of the leg. They are 72cm around at the hem.

So these fit me well enough to be happy with, pretty much straight out of the packet! Lucky me. Although there’s always something to tweak. I also am thinking I might grade the crotch a bit to give me a bit of arse room. They fit fine but I can feel them tugging just a little bit at the crotch seam, and I think I could do with just a teeny bit more ease there.

I haven’t worn these much because they’re not very warm, being linen and also having such wide legs. Very breezy. Also, I snipped the wrong place on the fly when I was setting it in and forgot to go back and reinforce it. Since it’s a point that gets a lot of tension, it ripped a little. I’ve darned it up but to be honest I don’t know how long it will last. I also suspect that the thighs on these will go in less than a season of wear – the linen is a little rough and because of the extra fabric they rub a bit. I wore them today (this weather is GORGEOUS) and by the end of the day my thighs were a bit chafed. I think maybe bringing the inseam in to reduce the excess fabric and patching with something slippery might be in order. I considered reinforcing them when I was making them but didn’t get to it. Something to consider next time. Has anyone done this kind of pre-emptive patching before? But really, I’ll be happy to get a season out of these. And I can always make another pair!

It’s not at all neat at the waistband, due to last minute adjustments there, so I won’t wear it with shirts tucked in. Which is a shame because I like this look with the wide leg.

I am in fact planning another pair – another two pairs! That’s my craft camp project this time around. Hopefully it will be quicker and easier than the last time, having worked out some of the bumps.