Colette Juniper Pants

You guys, I made pantssssssss!!  Finally.  I need pants so bad in my wardrobe, I am down to one pair of jeans, and no other pants that I actually wear much.  So I have been wearing a lot of skirts and dresses lately!  I wanted a relatively easy pattern for my first pair, so I picked the Colette Juniper pants.  Fitted up top, wide legs, and the pattern is marked “beginner”.  Perfect! Or not. I think the only thing I didn’t re-draft on this pattern was the legs.  Let’s take a look!DSC_0006

I am pretty happy with how they turned out, but obviously not too thrilled with the pattern itself.  Now, don’t get me wrong- I think Colette patterns are beautifully presented and seem to work out great for a lot of people, I just don’t think they work well for me without a lot of changes.  But I’ve definitely learned a lot about fitting in the process, which is awesome and will be super helpful for future projects.  DSC_0009I’ll give you a run down of the changes:  I drafted a new waistband (loosely based on the Sewaholic Thurlow pattern) because the original was soooo curved that it fit at the bottom of the waistband but was way too tight at the top.  To be fair, my waist measurement is usually 2 sizes bigger than my hip measurement.  I read somewhere that you should pick your pant size based on your hip measurement, and adjust the waist as needed, which I think works well and that is what I did here.  Using a waistband like the Thurlow pants puts the seam in the back, which allows you to make adjustments easily.  Me likey.  I used the fly front pieces from the Thurlow pattern because I didn’t care for the way it was done in this pattern.  I drafted new pockets (based on the Thurlow pattern…I probably should have just made some Thurlow pants!!) because these pockets were of the ginormous oval shaped variety, and not really anchored to anything except where they are sewn in at the top-they seemed like they would bunch up and move around and I don’t really need pockets THAT big.  I had to add to the crotch length and depth on the back pattern piece (apparently my bum is too big for Colette patterns…whaaa?  I mean, I don’t think my backside is tiny, ahem, but I thought these patterns were drafted for curvy gals??)  Here is the uh…back view:DSC_0017The fit is great now, but when I made the first muslin these pants were giving me a serious wedgie.    

I don’t think I will make them again anytime soon, I am a little burned out on this pattern after 3 muslins and all those changes.  I am trying not to hold a grudge against my poor pants because I actually really like them!  The fabric is a nice lightweight hemp/organic cotton blend that wears a lot like linen without the crazy wrinkling.  They are the perfect weight for summer.DSC_0120

Here are a few of the details:DSC_0352DSC_0356DSC_0358The pocket fabric is a voile out of my stash- I needed something lightweight that wouldn’t be bulky under this fairly thin denim.

I think my next pants project will be the Thurlow pattern (since I pretty much made the whole top part of these based on that pattern anyway!)  I made some Thurlow shorts once upon a time, and other than picking the wrong size they went pretty well (you can check them out in my Flickr photostream if you like).  I have a bunch of stretch denim in my stash and really want to work my way into some jeans sewing, but I figured I would try out a few pairs of trousers and shorts first, just to get a good feel for fitting pants and sewing fly fronts and all that.  What pants have you all made?  Any great jeans pattern recommendations? DSC_0003

  • Kelly, these are perfect summer pants! The fit looks amazing, even if it took 3 muslins to get it right. I’ll be checking this post to see what jeans people recommend, I’ve meant to make some for myself for a couple of years now.

    • Kelly

      Thanks! It was worth it in the end for sure 🙂 I hope you make some jeans, I plan on starting them in a couple of weeks!

  • These pants turned out great! I, too, have found that Colette pants take a lt of alterations, for me and a lot of bloggers I read. But man, when you get it right you get it right. I hope you kept track and can make some more with much less hassle when you’re feeling up to it!

    • Kelly

      Thank you! Yeah, I have the altered pattern pieces, so if I make another they should be pretty easy next time!

  • Wow, you’re right, I just read that linked fly zip tutorial. It looks far more confusing than needed. However, you were still able to make yourself a great pair of pants, love that fabric.

    • Kelly

      Thanks! The fabric is really nice, although I had to wash it 4 times before I started sewing with it- there was a lot of color bleed and a lot of lint!

  • Pants!!!!!!!!!! These just look fantastic on you, great job in fitting them. I have actually never heard of the Juniper pattern before.

    • Kelly

      Thank you! I searched for other versions of these before I made them, and there are not a lot out there…must not be a super popular pattern.

  • Three cheers for you, because I’ve been there myself and not come out the other side! 3 Clover toiles was enough for me to throw in the towel and abandon them forever! These are impeccable though- the fit is so perfect and I hope you’re pleased with yourself (I know I would be 🙂 ).

    Re. jeans patterns, I haven’t used this one but I was actually talking to a friend today and she’s been making Jalie 2908 & says it’s amazing.

    • Kelly

      I have been eyeing the Clover pattern for a while, but I think after these I will pass on it. I have read good things about that Jalie pattern!

  • Timely post. I just decided to make these pants up and was not going to make a muslin, I definitely will now! Yours turned out great, the time you spent fitting was well worth it! I haven’t made many pairs of pants as cute patterns seem to be few and far between but I have made burdastyle ankle trousers #107 and was very happy with those 🙂

    • Kelly

      Yes, I would definitely recommend a muslin! Hope they work out for you 🙂 That Burda pattern looks promising, I bookmarked it- thanks!

  • Love it! Your pants fit you perfectly! Now you’ve a got a pattern that you can re-use, not now but maybe later? And the hemp cotton fabric is gorgeous!

    • Kelly

      Thanks! I think once my frustration fades I may revisit this pattern, they should come together easily next time. Right now I am still mad at them, ha!

  • Good for you to get through three mulins!!! The fit is perfect. I love the fabric too. I don’t like any pattern that I have to make that many changes to. So I would move on to another pattern as well. Bravo for stickinng with these!

    • Kelly

      Thanks Margo! I think I was frustrated mostly with what I felt were just some amateur aspects of the pattern (like the pockets). I expected to have to play around with the fit a little, but then to fix all the other stuff too was just a little much. But a good learning experience at least, and I do like the pants 🙂

  • Your pant turned out great but you have me seriously rethinking that pattern! I might start with Thurlow when I finally make my first foray into pants. I’ll look forward to seeing if you find a jeans pattern you like 🙂

    • Kelly

      Yes!! Start with the Thurlow if you have that one too…I feel like that pattern will give you much more professional looking results. And if you haven’t seen it already, Lladybird did a Thurlow sewalong and the photos and instructions are fantastic!

  • these turned out amazing!!! the fit looks spot on– as it should be after all that work! the wide straight leg thing doesn’t work so great for me, but it looks fab on you. and no, you don’t have anything close to a big bum… haha!

    for jeans, the jalie 2908 is really great. i used it in kid sizes for my daughter earlier this year. jalie can be kind of a pain to work from cuz of the almost 30 sizes nested and the instructions are smack dab in the middle of that mess of lines, but i’ve been pleased with the few jalie pieces i’ve done. i just discovered they have an app with all their patterns and instructions to make it a little easier. also, you might want to check out she has some good info on jeans.

    • Kelly

      Thanks Lisa! I think I am definitely going to check out that Jalie pattern- I forgot they have kid sizes included too, I would love to make some jeans for my girls, they are hard to buy for (skinny minis). I have used a Jalie leotard pattern for my daughter and I liked it. I cut up a pair of my old jeans that had an unfortunate hole, and I may try using that as a pattern first…not sure how well that will work though.

  • AH! Awesome! You look awesome. Sorry to hear you had to work so hard to get fit right, but you DID IT! The pants look great. You’re one impressive sewist. 🙂

    • Kelly

      Awwww, thanks Kristin! It is weird, but I am actually mad at these pants, like they are a person or something. I think my anger will fade in time, haha.

  • LSV

    These look wonderful on you! And thank you for linking the fabric – I wonder how it will wear over time? Beautifully, I bet. Too bad I am on a fabric diet….
    From Me Made May I pinned Style Arc’s Jilly and Jalie jeans – JillyBe had a great tutorial on her website – Haven’t got the pattern yet – dresses are next me!

    • Kelly

      Oh I feel you, I am on a fabric diet too. It’s hard! I think this will wear well as hemp is really durable…we shall see! Those Jalie jeans look good, it seems people have pretty good luck with that pattern- I may try it out!

      • LSV
        Just came across this guy (via Ginger Makes’ blog) from Nashville – makes his own jeans and has his own supply shop for ‘proper’ jeans supplies! Ok, so diets are meant to be cheated on, right? I need to make some jeans!

        • Kelly

          Yes! I ordered some rivets and jeans buttons from Taylor, I definitely recommend it! If you are looking to get inspired, check out this post from Sallie:
          She makes her own jeans and they are AWESOME.

  • Wow, those look great! I’m not brave enough to try pants yet since they seem like one of the most difficult items to fit properly. You did an amazing job, and I love the fabric!

    • Kelly

      Thank you! I think a loose fitting pant is probably easier than pants that are fitted all the way down- a lot of the difficulty with this pattern wasn’t even so much fit as I just didn’t like the way they were designed. I think it is tricky to fit pants because all of the weird angles are hard to visualize. But there is so much good information out there, I used Google A LOT during the making of these pants!

  • All that fitting work paid off – they fit wonderfully. Lovely fabric and great use of stash for the pockets. I’ve only made one pair of pants and the fit was terrible. Maybe one day I’ll try again. 🙂

    • Kelly

      I think finding a good pattern makes all the difference! I cut up some old jeans that fit really well but wore a hole in the crotch, I am hoping to make a jeans pattern from those. If that doesn’t work I’ll move on to a real pattern 🙂

  • sorry to hear about the story… but they do indeed look amazing on you! i dont have any experience with jean patterns, but i do hope you find your perfect one 😀

    • Kelly

      Thanks Cathy!

  • Drooling again today. This is something that’s on my list for myself, some casual, but tailored slacks that fit well. I’ll be using the Thurlow since that’s what I have already. Maybe after I sew those 14 garments already on my short list!

    • Kelly

      Oh I totally understand about the list!! Mine is long too. I think the Thurlows are a much better pattern than this one, just a lot more professional details.

  • Sarah Jo

    Impressive pants! I would have given up, but I know it’s easy to get drawn in and want to get things right. Your hard work paid off. Love your top, too. Is it handmade? (You may have mentioned it and I missed it.)

    • Kelly

      Yeah, I expected to make at least 2 muslins and really tried to be patient and just make small changes…it’s definitely not a project you can rush through unless you get lucky and find a pattern that fits you well right off the bat! The top is from Emerson Made (now Emerson Fry) from a few years ago…I love love love it so much! It really is handmade, just not by me 🙂 The quality and workmanship is beautiful, and I have worn and washed it so many times but it still looks like new. If it ever starts to look old I will likely copy it!

  • Oh I love these! The fit looks so good on you! I’ve tried this pattern and the wide leg just did not work for me. If I remember right I do believe I had the wedgie problem as well with my muslin. I’ve made Thurlows before and after some modifications with fit I have to say these are probably my favorite pants so far.

    • Kelly

      I would like to give the Thurlows another try, I think that is a great pattern!

  • Those look awesome! They look like they’re really comfortable and the perfect weight for summer. Sorry about all those fitting woes, but I’d say it was all worth it. That is one great looking pair of pants!

    • Kelly

      Thanks Becca!

  • These are beautifully made and your work is impeccable as always but I’d strongly suggest avoiding Colette in the future-from what I can tell they’re designed for women with a much higher boob to waist/ ass to waist ratio than average which seems to be the reason for all the ‘it only fit after x hours of changes and mods’ reviews I keep coming across. For a nice fitting pair of jeans I’d suggest anything by burda particularly their young/petite range-the ratios are lot more like those found in RTW and the fit (ease etc) is way better too. Another thing I’d recommend is getting a flexible curve, bending it to your specific waist-groin-backwaist dimensions and placing that over the patterns seam lines to check what needs to be changed (if anything). It makes modifications a lot easier and clearly, visually defines areas that need changing.
    Best of luck.

    • Kelly

      Thank you! I am done with Colette for now, I’m sure they work for some people but I don’t think I am one of them. I will check out the Burda patterns, thanks for that! The flexible curve sounds like it would be helpful, and I LOVE sewing gadgets, haha. If there is a gadget for it I most likely own it or will own it soon 🙂 Surprisingly the crotch shape/curve was the only thing I didn’t change in this pattern-when I first saw it I thought it looked crazy, it is a “L” shape. But it actually seems to work for me.

  • These were worth every single muslin. They are just astonishingly beautiful.

    • Kelly

      That is so nice, thank you!

  • Your pants are beautiful. The fit is wonderful and the fabric is great. The good news is that we (as observers) can’t see the headaches you had with fitting, we only see great pants. 🙂 I have also read horror stories about fitting Colette pants, and won’t even attempt it. I am pear shaped and Colette is not designed for pears, but Sewaholic is! Try the Thurlows. I made a pair of Thurlow shorts and while they are not quite perfect, my next version will have some tiny tweaks and they will be. The Jalie 2908 is also on my to-do list. It was a Pattern Review Best pattern of 2009 and there are tons of positive reviews.

    I can’t stop thinking about your fabric. I may have to get myself some. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Kelly

      I am definitely making some Thurlows when Fall hits, that is a great pattern. I am trying out drafting a pattern from some old jeans, but if that doesn’t work out I am getting that Jalie pattern- everyone seems to love it! I actually printed out the instructions from their website, to use with my self made jeans pattern 🙂 The fabric is great, but just FYI the Robert Kaufman yarn dyed in denim looks and feels almost exactly the same at half the price….found here:

  • Jaime

    Those are the most gorgeous pair of pants. Great job. I wish I could wear Colette Patterns but they are just too much when I can buy other patterns that fit without lots of adjustments. I want those pants though.

    • Kelly

      I hear you! I was going to try the Clovers, but not now…hehe.

  • Beatrice

    Lovely pants! So sorry to hear about all your difficulty with the pattern. I was eyeing this pattern myself and now am not sure to try it out. At the end of the day it is only some paper for the pattern and some fabric right. As you say you learned a lot. I am a pear shape myself with a small waist and a more fuller bottom 😉 and always have problems to find good fitting pants. Thanks for recommending the thurlow. Happy sewing and good luck finding a good jeans patterns. I will surly check out your blog for that. Bea

    • Kelly

      I would definitely recommend the Thurlow pattern over this one, the details are just so much more professional and they are made for pear shapes! I am pretty much rectangular, haha. No waist to speak of 😉

  • I adore your pants!! I have the same fitting trouble with Collette. Great idea to combo with Thurlow.

    • Kelly

      Thanks! I have been hearing that a lot (fitting trouble with Colette).

  • What a great pair of trousers – I’m in the middle of trying to figure out fitting issues right now. Such an uphill struggle but hearing about yours and seeing how gorgeous these look has given me a bit more inspiration to keep going! Did you make your blouse? It’s so pretty!

    • Kelly

      Sometimes I find it best if I step away for a bit…these were worth it in the end but definitely wasn’t sure if I would get there at times! The blouse is from Emerson Made- (now Emerson Fry) from a few years ago…I love love love it so much! It really is handmade, just not by me. The quality and workmanship is beautiful, if it ever starts to look old I will likely copy it!

  • Wow the fit is perfect and, though it took ages to get right, you can make them again quickly when you need another pair. Congrats on such great pantsssssssssess!

  • Ginger Wise

    Did you make your top? It is so cute. I also love the pants. I am currently trying this pattern. If you made you top can you share what pattern you used?

    • Kelly

      Hi! The top is from Emerson Made (now Emerson Fry) from a few years ago…I love love love it so much! It really is handmade, just not by me 🙂 The quality and workmanship is beautiful, and I have worn and washed it so many times but it still looks like new. If it ever starts to look old I will likely copy it!

  • Julie

    Impressive! Beautiful fit on the pants. (That’s not easy to achieve.)

    • Kelly

      Thank you so much!!

  • Those look like the most perfect pair of pants! It’s a shame that altogether it’s not that one elusive pattern that’s the best of everything. I saw this on Pink Chalk. Thanks for the review and opinions and the heads up on the Thurlows.

    • Kelly


  • Pingback: Your Creations: 5 Favorites for July  |  Coletterie()