Well hello, winter. What happened to fall? Texas did not get one. It went from t-shirt weather to freezing overnight. Not just frost but ice freezing. Sad ice freezing that hit my tropical plants (my poor dear frangipane) before I had time to rescue.
And I can’t believe the holidays are here already. Time feels especially blurry because I seemed to have missed November entirely. Between the death of our dog, which also happened the same night the freeze storm came in, and the sudden cold, my immune system got shot to bits. I spent the better part of last week indoors, shlepping around in my bathrobe, barely making appearances in public, and subsisting on a diet of chicken soup and Nyquil. It was Icky. But I’m finally feeling good enough to take some photos of my latest projects. It’s so nice to have color back in my cheeks!
So while I was stuck in my bathrobe, I got itchy to take on some challenge I wouldn’t have time to work on otherwise. I’d already made this top and had begun to fit a jacket, but on a whim decided I must have some red pants. I felt inspired to dig out Colette Pattern’s Clover, that pattern that has gained somewhat of a reputation of being the Mount Everest of pants-fitting.
And I think I got pretty darn close to what I wanted. Firstly, I have really been wanting more streamlined and simple pieces in my wardrobe, including a lot more black. I’ve been tempted to wear black almost every day since October. Or red, another winter color I adore. I love pulling out the red-red lipstick in winter.
I almost made the pants in black because I happen to have some great black twill trouser fabric, but I thought that might’ve been overkill or at the very least hard to photograph. So I dug through my stash and was happy to find some long-forgotten red stretch poplin with the right weight and stretch.
Both of these projects–actually most of my projects as of late–have become an excuse to work out more complex sewing matters. I like to keep my mind engaged, so the last few months I’ve been getting into deeper study of fitting concepts and how they apply to human anatomy. I think this is going to be the year I pad out a dress form…
The top is based on Kristin’s Style Arc dress, which I have made a few times before. I went on a bit of a muslin-fest for this one–not for style, but to try out different ways of removing excess back length. I think that my problems in the back fit of garments have mostly to do with the slope of my shoulders and the neckline. Maybe a little bit of swayback in there, but I have tried every swayback alteration known to mankind and they do not solve the whole problem. So I’m keeping at it. Aside from all that I cut it down to a hip length, added a semi-exposed zipper to the back, et voila–simple little boxy top that goes with everything.
Then there are the Clovers. I have a love/hate relationship with any pants with a slim taper all the way to the ankle. I don’t think like wearing them with flats because I feel like a big ice cream cone, so I fitted them around heels. Let me make a little wardrobe change…
I couldn’t decide which shoes I liked best. My favorites are the shazaam shoes with a bit of ankle flash, but it’s just too cold for them now.
With a style like cigarette-y pants, there can be a wide interpretation of how they should fit–skinny or just skimming the body? And it’s open to either, since this pattern is drafted with zero ease. (I measured.) They do need be taken in further if one wanted skinny. For me, the style of fit depends on the fabric, particularly the drape. Cotton stretch fabric has no drape, and if it’s not super skinny it can get “crunchy-looking” so quickly–they end up looking like chinos with skinny pants delusions. I made these with about 12% negative ease but they still got a big saggy. Pretty typical for cotton or stretch denim, I guess.
In addition to fit alterations, I made several style changes to the pattern, like making the waistband a bit wider which I think looks better on me, and adding welts to the front for some detail to break things up.
Fitting these was an entirely strange ball of wax. I honestly don’t think I could have tackled this pattern unless I had the experience of fitting my jeans. Between that and viewing a lot of finished Clovers online, I got a fairly good idea of what to tackle. There was a consistency to the fitting problems which pointed to some issues with the back shaping and length, which also had an incidental effect on the front. I feel a post coming on about fitting stretch pants and differences in trouser pattern shapes. Would you like to hear some pant-shaping theory?
Phew, that was a long post. That’s what happens when I’ve been in a sick cave for two weeks. I burst with thoughts!