Hot! Purple Reign Trousers

If I ever become a roller girl, I claim Purple Reign as my name.

Fabric: stretch cotton, $4; stretch lining, $6
Pattern: Colette Clover, $16
Year: 2011
Notions: petersham ribbon, $1.60; invisible zip, $2.60
Time to complete: let’s not talk about that
First worn: February, 2012
Wear again? Yes. I mean, should I? They’re not perfect. And they’re purple. But all of that time, all that energy…

Total price: $14.20, $30.20 incl. pattern

Friends, these trousers have been an epic battle. I think that good has mostly prevailed. But they are not perfect by any stretch cotton. They have been long in the making, and long in the finishing. In fact, I’m quite tired of thinking about them at the moment. But here goes.

I first started my Clovers back in October, as part of my fall/winter palette challenge. How four pieces of cloth could give me so much fitting trouble was doing me in. Discovering I’d made a yardage miscalculation on the red stretch sateen was the last straw. I put them aside. Finishing a six year old pair of jeans gave me a little confidence, but I was still distracted by other projects. Until this week. I’m pretty confident in my sewing abilities. Fit, on the other hand, has been coming in stops and starts. There are so many different diagrams advising different methods, so many interchanging parts on a pair of pants. David P. Coffin: “fitting is a huge challenge that can easily eat up all your available sewing time and block all further progress, if you let it.” Well said. However, I am afraid to even research the price of his personal solution of having a pants pattern drafted. So, I found a steal on some stretch cotton that still matches a color from my fall palette and started from scratch. If you’re afraid to ruin some perfectly good cloth, you shouldn’t sew, right?!

excuse the poor press job... eek!

I wanted to keep the integrity of the Clover. A slim trouser, but not a skinny jean or jegging. This meant trying to strike a delicate balance between slim & flattering, and straight lines falling from the side and under the butt. Too tight, I got lots of horizontal stress lines. Too loose, frump city. The crotch still frowns, even at a neutral still stance. And a diagonal line is still on the butt. Any stance outside of neutral and… whoa! I’ve fiddled a lot with lowering the front crotch depth, larger darts, moving the hip slope down to my thigh (widest part), making sure my muscular quads felt comfy walking, stooping, sitting. I brought up the back waistband to better match the rise of some of my favorite jeans. I like it lower in the front, without fear of bending or sitting. The slow progress was my own hesitation at making a mistake.

Like I said, they aren’t perfect. And maybe the Clover isn’t the best style for me. I’m afraid it accentuates figure areas I don’t love. Or maybe a few more tries, and I’ll get the fit just so.

I used this brilliant method of binding the SA with the interlining fabric. I love the way it looks. Instead of a self facing, I used petersham ribbon from Sunni’s shop on the inside. It feels divine on the skin! My vintage invisible zip met it’s end by me at the last minute. All that, and I probably look like a walking grape. Or a wrinkly raisin. Maybe if I purify myself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka, everything will be okay. [bonus points if you get that reference :) ]



Lavender has sewing in her blood. Raised by a working seamstress, she was always surrounded by the craft, but defiant when it came to learning the proper way to do anything. After years of hacking up t-shirts, jeans, vintage finds and selling tie satchels (gasp!) in a local shop, she packed up her machine. A few years ago, she dusted it off, determined to learn the right way 'round a machine & pattern.


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  1. Says Prince to Appalonia in the “Purple Rain” movie!!! (Or was it the other way around?) Now on to the praise…

    I love that you braved a pair of purple pants. That color is gorgeous and the fit isn’t noticeably bad at all in the photos. Definitely try again when you have more time to fiddle with the fit….the cut of the pants is very flattering.

    By the way, Lynn MacIntyre’s “Easy Guide to Sewing Pants” is the perfect DIY reference book on the subject. She teaches you to flat-pattern measure you way to a great fit.

    • Nailed it!!! I’m venturing into wearing more purple these days, even though my childhood was scarred with EVERYTHING purple, every shade :) Will def add that book to the library. I mainly used The Perfect Fit & Colette’s guide for these.

  2. I love this color on you, Lavender! I’ll admit to feeling intimidated by Clover. I’ve had the pattern on my to-do list since November but I’m waiting to find extremely cheap fabric (that I’d still want to wear) to make my first pair with.

    • Thanks, Lizz! I bet you’ll find the fitting a lot easier than I have. Definitely a work in progress… sigh. I think this came from Denver Fabrics? At $2/yd, I figured it wouldn’t be a huge waste, and I have more for tweaking.

      • I think you’re grossly overestimating my power to fit but I hope you’re right. :-) You’ve convinced me to go for it and I’ve just ordered some fabric (bright yellow). I couldn’t find anything quite as cheap as $2 but cheap enough. Knowing that Colette is generous with their fabric requirements, I’ll probably have plenty leftover.

  3. I think the purple shouldn’t at all stop you. You’re right on top of the bright colored jean/pant trend. I have criticized my Clovers and all their different lines and creases to no end. I’ve noticed that if I try on a few similar RTW pieces from my closet or drawers and start to really look at them, they sometimes have many of the same features that I think make my me-mades imperfect. I’m much more forgiving to them than I am with my own work.

  4. People love to say “Lavender is wearing lavender”… so annoying :) I’ve been doing the same, trying on all my pants and finding whiskers at the crotch, creases under the butt. I should try to be more forgiving, too, even in pursuit of perfect fit.

  5. I love the colour of that purple! It is a pretty wearable colour (I wear it all the time) and I do think the Clover style suits you. Sometimes you have to act confident to feel confident! (I sound like a self help book)

  6. Your body looks great in these and I like the color.

  7. I love the purple! I definitely think you should keep wearing them! They look great :-)

  8. Those purple pants look great on you! You photos are amazing too.

  9. I love your purple pants! (and I love the Purple Rain Reference!)
    I don’t think anyone who has made the Clover pattern hasn’t had some frustration with the fit. Pants are just hard like that. I just made my second pair of clovers and I was freaking out about the frowny crotch lines when I tried them on mid-progress. But once I finished them and wore them around a bit I stopped noticing it and, really, all pants have weird lines at the crotch and butt. You can spend your entire lifetime perfecting your pants! So don’t be hard on yourself – You look fabulous!

    • You are the Clover Queen! All my RTW pants have lines here & there… maybe I shouldn’t take the advice in The Perfect Fit so literally, which insists on straight lines all around, not a crease in sight.

  10. Appalonia in the “Purple Rain” movie, Lake Minnetonka – that movie never gets old. I still love to rewatch it againa no again. That clover pant pattern sounds like a challenge, it seems everyone is doing adjustments with the patteArn to make it work. I think you look great in purple.

    • Yes!! Might have to make my husband watch it this week – he had no idea what I was on about! I think pants in general are just weird, but these are a great place to start.

  11. I bet the next pair you make will be perfect, you look smashing in purple and I love love your photos. I don’t see the walking wrinkly raisin that you discribed but did laugh at your description, you’re funny…ah Purple Rain just one of the many awesome 80’s films I love!!

    • Ha! We’ll see, but Ima keep making these! I do love purple, and am finally starting to embrace wearing it. Lesson: never name your child after a color :D

  12. It looks great! I also started my Clover in October and finished it last week.

  13. The purple is great but I do like the sneaky red inside. Well done, they look good!

  14. Such an epic colour on you! Everything I have read about the Clover says they can be a bit challenging to fit though I think you’ve done a bang up job. Own that purple! Prince would want you to do so!

  15. I adore this color on you – super styling, I think! And bravo for tackling Clover – I have the pattern, but I’m a bit hesitant – your version is pretty fantastic!