Finished Object: Teal Clovers

Worn with my pinstriped Bow Tie Tee

And so I complete the Clovers.  After muslining my Pants Block, using the block to alter the Clover pattern, removing the excess back thigh fabric from the inseams, then from the side seams, these Clovers are finished.

I wish I hadn’t tried to be clever with the pocket flaps.  I had also thought to make some cool shaped cuffs, maybe embellish with some contrast buttons but I’m not interested in prolonging my work on these pants.  Besides, it would probably look super weird to anyone who isn’t me.

I’m pleased with the results, but I’m not completely sure they’re my style.  I feel exposed.  They’re pretty much the polar opposite to my favorite below-the-waist-garments- Katharine Hepburn style trousers.

The side seam pulls ever so slightly toward the front, but I can live with that.  Ruth, do you dig my shoes?

All in all, not a bad project.  I consider my personal style boundaries pushed.

We tried several poses and activities to illustrate mobility.   Stephen said “Go run and jump and do some rad air-kicks.”

These pants don’t slip and show crack even when I’m bending over to run up a hill.  Or when I’m sitting down, but you really *really* don’t want to see those photos.  I have some muffin topping going on, I get that any time my pants sit below the waist.  My solution (usually) is to wear pants and skirts that sit at my waist.

“Maybe I’m styling these wrong,” I thought to myself as I dug around for a tunic-length top.  Almost every top and shirt I own is closely fitted and ends just above the curve of my backside.  I wear a lot of full skirts and full trousers, so fitted tops harmonize with my usual choices but seems skimpy with this pants cut.  Or maybe I’m just not used to it.   While I was searching, I turned up this shirt I made last year.  It was worn for a theatre production of Don Quixote.

I would fain have donned the doublet for the photos, but the color clashed with teal.  Also, I have not a codpiece.  Another time.  I should write a post soon about this shirt, I haven’t taken it off all day.  Dare I wear this out?  Hmmmm…. probably not.

At any rate, I feel like I “cracked” the Clovers so I’m happy.

By the way, I found this interesting passage in Pepin’s Modern Pattern Drafting from the 40’s.  It’s referring to “bathing trunks” in the pants chapter, but the shape of the draft makes sense to me, and her explanation of the change in crotch shape necessary when working with jersey.  Why couldn’t I have found this two weeks ago?

If you’d like to work with me to fit your own pair of stretch pants/trousers, do email me. (Yours don’t have to be as closely fitted as mine, I just wanted to prove to myself I could do it!)  The Consulting Dressmaker charges $15 to guide you through the process, I’ll be there to answer all your questions and help dispel your fit issues.

If you’d like a custom-drafted Pants Block to help you reliably alter commercial pants/trousers patterns, click here and fill in the form.  Other Blockers have had great results, I love helping to fit pants.

And Brisbane… I’m teaching a day-long workshop at Piece Together called “Perfectly Fitting Pants” and only 3 spaces are left!  It’s on July 14, please visit Piece Together for more information and to register.

In other project news- I have over 350 data sets for the Waist-To-Hip Ratio survey.  That’s amazing!  When I set a goal of 300, I didn’t expect to reach it so quickly.  The more numbers I have to play with the better, so I’d appreciate any and all contributions.  I’m making some charts, crunching some numbers and scratching my head so I can show you on Saturday what I’ve been working on.  Interesting stuff.  Thank you so much for helping me!  Y’all are amazing.


  1. Your instincts are bang on, they are excellent examples of the genre, and they look perfectly good on you, and they are SO not your style at all!

  2. They look great! But I know what you mean about feeling more at home in wide-legs.
    Do you find they ride up your leg and have to be tugged back down again? That’s the thing that annoys me about narrow trousers: shorts and wide legs do not cause these problems!

    And yes, I DO dig your shoes, if you were talking to me! ; )

    • I just drafted a pair of wide-legs I think you’ll like. :) It felt good. They do ride up somewhat. I guess they just make me more aware of my legs in general, I probably wouldn’t mind if I got used to it.

      Thanks! :) I actually didn’t know you read my blog, Ruth. But I’m pleased you like my shoes.

  3. While they’re a bit.. leggingsy for my tastes, you’ve definitely done a good job getting them dewrinkled. And still with so much mobility! If I ever decide to start wearing pants again, I’m definitely getting your block.

  4. I like the pants! Sometimes a departure from your usual style is a good thing! And I definitely agree that the tunic looks better than the fitted top. Because the pants are tight, a loose fitting top looks way better!

  5. They look awesome – seriously. I think they work better w/ the tunic, although they don’t look bad w/ the first shirt. I, too, generally prefer wide-legged pants. But sometimes those capris that other people wear are so cute!

  6. hehehe loved your Don Quixote! And why not go out like that? I’ve seen plenty of such outfits walking around Toronto – you’d fit right in! Good job on these. I’m curious about the lower legs, too… Do you have to hike them down after you stand up from sitting? Do they get stuck around your calves? You action shots are fantastic!

    • Must. Move. To. Toronto.

      Yeah, I do have to hike them down. I’m really not used to feeling close fabric on my calves, rather unpleasant. :)

      Thanks, Tia Dia.

  7. Very well done! Love the action shots! This style isn’t my preference either but, I think you can wear them. I do agree they look best when balanced by a blousier top. The Don Quixote tunic is fantastic!

  8. I love skinny pants but always wear them with something less fitted at the top. I feel a tunic in your future to go with these. They are lovely. Yay for obsession and perseverance I say!

  9. I think it’s the length of these that is wrong – not the tight fit. If you scroll through your own photos slowly, stopping just at the bottom of the trousers you’ll see that they look fine – it’s only when you can see the 3/4 length that they begin to look “wrong” (I’ve put that in scare quotes because they don’t really look that bad – just not as good as they could). I think that 3/4 length trousers don’t look particularly good on anyone who isn’t both skinny and under 20.

    • My buddy Enid shares your opinion. She came over last weekend while I was fitting and told me pretty much what you just said… It’s a personal preference. :)

      I doubt I’ll wear them again. I’ll either donate them or find someone who has the same measurements I do and pass them on. It wasn’t about the pants, it was about the puzzle.

  10. The fit is perfect! Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised, because if anyone can nail a tricky fit, it’s you! Personally, I wear either tight bottoms with relaxed tops, and relaxed bottoms with fitted tops so I don’t feel too frumpy or too skanky!

    • Thanks, Ginger… :) I think my wardrobe may be tilted toward “fitted tops and relaxed bottoms” and I’m pretty ok with that.

  11. Yep I dig ’em! Your Clovers are good but I know what you mean about feeling comfortable. Sometimes it’s good to try something different to re-affirm what you really feel best in. Hats off for tenacity though.

  12. Ah yes, walking the fine line between frump and skank… Interesting you usually prefer the Kate Hepburn wide leg and these are so Audrey Hepburn. I think they look really good on you. They’d be great with a fun tunic. And I love your shoes!

    I personally just don’t get the skinny pant look. Part of my ambivalence-bordering-on-dislike is probably related to growing up in the 80s, when the pants were so tight you could discern certain grooming choices. And I don’t think they look good on my body type.

    I’m another person who doesn’t like playing with silhouette that much. I have a lot of body shame and often gravitate to sack-like, baggy shapes to hide my problem areas. If I do wear a closer garment, I often top it with a big sweater. I’m amazed at much we internalize about clothes’ silhouettes. For example, the first thing people will talk about in reference to period/era fashions is usually silhouette, even though most eras also have distinctive colors and prints and details that define them. And we lock into a silhouette as flattering, even if it isn’t after body changes of various types. I’m still wearing the same clothes I wore before I lost weight because I like the coverage and how it conceals my shape.

    • The Hepburn and Hepburn connection, I love it. :) Hadn’t noticed that, but you’re right!

      I think you’re describing a common feeling, especially among those who have lost weight… I figure my body is the vessel that carries me through my life, and generally feel more or less comfortable with myself. Though lately I’ve been more sedentary and I’m starting to feel loss of muscle tone and strength which kind of bugs me so I’m doing something about it…

      Shame is such a difficult word… I prefer to de-emphasize my shape for casual clothing, not necessarily for “shame” but to control the type of attention I receive.. I went out the other day dressed in the teal Clovers and bow tie tee after taking photos- just long enough to pick up my girlie from preschool- and that was long enough for me to get hooted at. In a suburban street. By a 15 year old. I’m not into hooting. So I don’t dress that way. It’s easier than trying to strangle the hooters out there. ;)

  13. Steph, these are incredible pants and they look a million bucks, even if they are outside your comfort zone. May I say, you have a lovely shape. I’m totally inspired, and will absolutely be making my next clovers from stretch. You make me wish I lived in Brisbane!

  14. Those are positively fantastic clovers! I love the color – it’s so springy and fun. HA – codpieces are hilarious – I love that you threw that in there. The fit is spot on, and I think that if I am going to tackle this pattern, I need to do it with a stretch material as well.

    • I should think a codpiece would be a useful pocket of sorts… ;)

      Do try it if you like this style. The pattern is pretty easy to put together, it’s just the fitting issues… I think it calls for stretch material?

  15. Ooh, I really like these! I know they were an experiment but I do like the length and fit. The silhouette with the pirate shirt is spot on–I think with skinnies it’s about the proportions of tops to bottoms, not only in length but in volume. But I’d definitely wear that pirate shirt out and about anyway!

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  17. These turned out great! I’m not a fan of them with the shorter fitted top, but they look great with the more flowy blouse. Glad you’re experiment worked and you kicked these pants in the rear!

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