Colette Juniper Pants

Colette Juniper wide legged pants

This pattern did my head in.  But it wasn’t the patterns fault, it was my own insistence on total perfection combined with having no idea what I was doing which resulted in me unpicking and resewing seams more times than I would like to admit.

I also resewed the pockets THREE TIMES:

Attempt 1: Using cheap acetate lining – I have metres of this stuff that I bought when I had only just started to line everything I made and before I realised just how horrid this stuff is to sew and also to wear, ugh.  I have since been converted to how amazing real cotton or silk feels as a lining fabric and can’t imagine myself using acetate ever again. 

Attempt 2: Using some quilting cotton scraps I had in my stash.  Then I realised it was too bulky, stiff and thick for pocket lining.  I lazily serged the edges in black thread and then could see the serged seam outline on the outside of the pants, plus the black blah on the inside was just WRONG.  This was when I also decided the big dinner plate shape was not for me as I don’t put anything in front pockets except for maybe a tissue or a scrap of paper/shopping list – my hips dont need any more bulges.

Original “dinner plate” pockets with ugly seam finishing

Attempt 3: Some lovely japanese cotton SCORED from Spotlight for $3 for 1.3 metres.  I am going to make a sleeveless blouse/top with the scraps.  Its beautiful.  It feels divine.  I redrafted the pocket shape by eyeballing my RTW jeans interior and also the Thurlow front pocket tutorial by the lovely Lauren from Lladybird.

My only problem I had with the construction was that I would have liked a side seam notch on pattern piece C (the top/under piece of the slash pocket) as, by george, I had a tough time getting the fit/positioning to my satisfaction on that part when I used the original pocket shape.

When I changed the pocket shape it became much easier as the pocket gets lined up/sewn into the side seam.

This is piece C after I added some bits to it for the new pocket shape. 
But see, no notches except on the bottom edge which gets attached to pocket lining.

The problem was that the position of this piece was determined by the notches on the pocket pieces, which are helpfully removed as the first step is to finish the pocket seams before sewing them together and even a small misalignment means the top piece C doesn’t sit properly.  I found this out in pocket attempt 1 and 2.  My inexperience was REALLY showing.

My new pocket piece, professionally ineptly drafted on office paper scraps

The new pocket starting to take shape.

Revised interior using Thurlow inspired pocket shapes = much neater
french seams and much happier with overall look, inside and out.

I also took in the legs as I felt they were too wide and baggy for my 5’4″ / 164 cm frame (aka short legs).  This took me a couple of tries before I was happy, although I am still not sure if I did it “correctly”.  After googling to not a huge amount of success I ended up tapering the legs from crotch to hem on both the inside and outside leg seam.  I am seriously thinking of taking the Craftsy course Pant Fitting Techniques and Pant Construction Techniques next time they come on sale or perhaps getting the Pants for Real People book. 

The inside is lined in a nice japanese cotton I got for a bargain at Spotlight.
Back view.  Its ok.

Oohhh, pockets.

Side view, mmm, not sure.  Hopefully, they just look like
pants that I bought somewhere and not “happy home sewing”.

So, to sum up.  I like the pattern, I will probably make again in a better fabric.  I made the size 6 and they fit perfectly around my waist, hips and only a tiny adjustment to the crotch curve.  They also hug my back with no gaping and no need for a sway back adjustment.  I made these up in a unexciting basic black cotton sateen with a slight stretch from (wait for it) Spotlight.  Next time I think I will use a lovely linen.

I learnt alot and spent way more time on these than can really be justified but if I consider it learning then it was time well spent.

I have always been terrified to make pants so this is a real accomplishment for me to even think about tackling them, let alone have something (hopefully) wearable at the end of it.

Based on making these and also from silently following along Lauren’s Thurlow Sewalong  I have purchased the Thurlow pattern and plan to make them next to compare the two patterns and decide which one will work best for my pear/heavy leg shape.  I got mine (plus a Sewaholic Cambie dress) from Sew Squirrel, who sells with free shipping for Australians

  • I'm saving "happy home sewing" as a new phrase! haha! I think you did a great job! 🙂 Good work!

  • These look really good! I've made them myself but they are still sitting in my UFO pile. I need to take in the legs also because they are a little too wide on me. I've just finished up the Thurlows as well. Got some extra bagginess under the butt area that I will be posting a blog about tonight hoping for advice as I don't know how to fix it! Oh and I don't know if you've already seen it or not but I'm giving away a Craftsy class on my blog, check it out!

  • They look great and not 'happy home sewn' either. Looks like you've mastered this pattern nicely.

  • I've been so curious about these pants but not seen many version of them. Thanks for sharing, they look great!

  • They look great. Your inexperience is not the issue with the pockets at all. I have loads of experience sewing, and I actually found your blog after googling "juniper pants probem", as I think there's something wrong with the drafting of piece C. If you match the notches perfectly when sewing C and D together, you end up with a side seam which isn't true. And even if you figure out how to put them together with the side seam aligning perfectly, there's a wierd sort of notch space happening at the top inner edge of the pocket – which I see you also discovered from the way you drafted your new pocket piece. thanks so much for this – it helps to know that I am not alone in having this problem, and you've given me instant inspiration for how to draft my new pocket piece.

    Shanniloves – on colette's site, there are loads of great tips for pants fitting….

  • Thanks so much for your comment. That notch space was so frustrating! I probably spent an hour or more just pinning and refitting those pattern pieces trying to work out what I was doing wrong! I'm relieved to hear you had the same issue and it wasn't just me. Yes, there is something a bit odd about the drafting of those pieces. I'll be keen to hear how you go with yours when you are done.

  • Hey:). Isn't it just! Frustrating, I mean:). I wrote to Sarai about it and she apologised and said it probably happened in the drafting of the different sizes or something. She checked the pattern and is going to correct it next print. Luckily, I had muslined the pants – I never muslin dresses, tops, and skirts especially when they're patterns from houses I've used before – I only did it once with the bodice of a Hotpattern dress and was really glad I did as the bust darts were incredibly high!
    Anyway, with this pattern, when the muslin pieces were so off, I rechecked my traced bits (I trace everything on to tissue paper – it takes time, but I like to leave the original intact) – and then I used temporary glue to stick things together fter marking the exact seam allowances, so I could see it wasn't bad sewing. I'm putting it together after my redraft – following your lead, totally, up to reducing those huge pockets:). When they're ready I'll come back.

  • Thank you SO much for leading me to this post. I’m going to go with the Juniper pattern and your finished trousers look perfect, exactly the look I want. Thanks also for alerting me to the pocket problem. I’m going to try to reduce leg width on the pattern so I’ve ordered Pants for Real People – I’ll let you know the outcome, in case you make the pattern again. Thanks again. x

  • Thank you SO much for leading me to this post. I'm going to go with the Juniper pattern and your finished trousers look perfect, exactly the look I want. Thanks also for alerting me to the pocket problem. I'm going to try to reduce leg width on the pattern so I've ordered Pants for Real People – I'll let you know the outcome, in case you make the pattern again. Thanks again. x