Review: J.Crew Minnie in Bi-stretch Wool and Cafe Capri in Wool

I wasn’t going to post about these but since I haven’t had a whole lot to post about lately, I thought I would just go ahead and do it anyway. Plus, since I reviewed the Minnie in stretch twill, I thought it would only be fair. 


 Back not great after a few hours of wear (blurry, sorry):

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The bi-stretch wool Minnie fits almost exactly the same as the twill in 00P. They fit pretty well overall, but the length, although they’re supposed to be ankle-length (24″ inseam), they definitely are not on me (I have almost a 31″ inseam in flats). I’m not a huge fan of capris, but these aren’t so terrible, I guess. At this length, and even if I let out the inseam an inch, it doesn’t have a whole lot of versatility particularly for the office. For me, that makes it pretty much a deal-breaker because that’s where I would actually like to wear these pants!

As to the material, two points need to be made. One, they do seem to hold their shape a little bit better than the twill. I see it start to bag a little bit, but it isn’t so bad. The second point is that because it’s wool, it’s a little itchy. I’m finding myself a little bit more sensitive to wool as I get older, and I was scratching a bit while wearing it. These pants are not lined, so this is definitely something to think about it if you are sensitive to wool. They’re nice pants, but I just wish they were about 3 inches longer. I can’t do much with these otherwise even if I do tuck them into boots in the winter, so these will have to go back.

The second pair of pants I ordered was the Cafe Capri in 00P. Kelly from AlterationsNeeded reviewed these and seeing how they were on her, I thought these would be big on me also although my measurements are a bit larger than Kelly’s. Nonetheless, I was interested and didn’t want to keep wondering, so I ordered them.

When I first put them on, my first thought was that I looked like a jester. Cee from ToBrightenMyDay and I had a good laugh over these on Twitter as I tweeted a photo with striped socks for full effect. As I put these on again for this post, I started to see a bit of potential in them:

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The color is “Port Wine”, a little bit more purple and less red than it might look on your computer screen on the J.Crew website. The material is similar to the bi-stretch, just with much less stretch and actually less itchy, but it could be that it’s just because they aren’t super snug to my legs. They are too big around the hips and the thighs (my hips at it’s widest point is 32.75″), the rise is a bit too high for me, and the back looks like mom pants. But I took some pins to it and realized that these could possibly work with a bit of alterations. I don’t know if I mentioned this, but I recently purchased a sewing machine. I’ve wanted to learn to sew since I was a little girl, but one day I became really irritated with one of my tailors (I have two, one in DC and one in Toronto). In Toronto, I take my clothes to Stitch-it (a chain, I’m sure all the Canadians are familiar with). I love the way they do a Euro-hem for jeans, but I always forget that I’m not all that impressed with some of their other work. I pay my tailors a lot of money to get things to fit, but let’s be honest, if I wanted a crooked hem I would have done it myself. =/ And so after a failed tailoring attempt (two fails for one skirt), I decided that I will do it myself!…At least for more basic alterations; I certainly don’t think I would ever be skilled enough to alter a fully lined coat.

Anyway, as I mentioned, I took some pins to the pants and this is what I got:

Not bad. And since these pants have a cuff, I can actually take these down about 2.5″. So it would go from 25″ to maybe a little longer than 27.5″ making it a pretty decent ankle pant.  So what do you ladies think? Should I engage in some DIY slimming and lengthening? Keep in mind, I am a newbie and have never slimmed pants before and these after sale discount is about $90. At the risk of tooting my own horn, I think I’m pretty good for a beginner, but I’m certainly not incredibly skilled at sewing yet. Should I risk it?


  1. Sandy a la Mode December 7, 2011

    i can’t wait to have this baby so i can wear colored pants!! 😀

  2. Alterations Needed December 7, 2011

    Hehe. Chuckling at how much shorter these look on leggy you than they did on short me! I think letting down the hem should be easy for you to do (might need some intense ironing to press out that cuff crease), but slimming would scare me! If you attempt it, you’re one brave chica!

  3. Solotaj December 7, 2011

    If they were a bit less expensive, I would definitely say yes… But the price point would make me stress about it being a failed attempt. With that said, they’re really cute! Maybe try to snag them on sale after Christmas?

  4. Beans December 8, 2011

    I think they are expensive for something you are going to have to do some alterations.  As for slimming the pants yourself, it is not hard, as long as you can sew a straight line.  Turn the pants inside out, take a ruler and a piece of tailor chalk, mark where you will take in the most, from that point, draw a line to almost your hip (i assume the hip fit), from that point again, draw a line to almost your knee.  The goal is to have the new sew line, slightly sloped from the hip, to the deepest take in point, then slightly sloped to your knee.  Mark the other leg and repeat.  If you want to take in the hip as well (i assume there are pockets there) then forget about it.  Don’t touch the pockets.  Good luck

  5. GirlieBlogger December 8, 2011

    I think they fit you pretty well. I don’t like it when pants rise high either. But I think these work well for your body type.

  6. Really Petite December 8, 2011

    The color is super pretty. I think slimming pants is tricky but hats off to you for attempting;)

  7. Rites of Beauty Blogger December 8, 2011

    I think both pairs are too short and may still be too short after lengthening, so I’d be wary. I do love the colours, though …

  8. Little Nashua December 8, 2011

    I would not do my first alteration on something like those pants. I find alterations trickier than sewing from a pattern, because there is a fair amount of reverse engineering involved.  If you are really set on doing them yourself, find another pair of pants you don’t care about to practice on so you understand exactly what you can do when tailoring. A lot of times we pin out the excess fabric and think  “oh, better fit” then you go to actually sew it and there are other things that get involved, like pockets and thicker seams.

    When I do alterations I tend to deconstruct the original seam entirely, along with any facings, then sew the new desired seam, then put the thing back together as if I were sewing it from scratch. And even then I have to do some creative stuff with things like facings and pockets to make it all work, and from the inside things often look messy.

  9. TOBeautyReviews December 8, 2011

    Wow I really love the colour of both these pants, but the wool thing….ack!!  As for slimming the 2nd pants – I would be scared to do it, especially for the price you already paid.  Can you experiment on slimming with a pair of less expensive pants first?  Or a least make it so that you can un-do the slimming (if you can even do that!) – remember – this advice from a girl that can’t sew on a button 😛

  10. Cee December 8, 2011

    Loving the pinned version you. I bet if you go back and wore that with striped socks, jester wouldn’t even cross your mind lol. I’d probably not have the guts to try alterations on a nice pair of pants. If for some reason you couldn’t get it to look right, would a tailor be able to fix it without much trouble? If so, then I guess it doesn’t hurt to try. I’d just hate the pants to be holey if they have to redo some parts.

    PS – Where are the nude shoes from? I like the color.

  11. Aubrey Dang December 8, 2011

    toot toot.  hahaha. 

    not sure what i would do…  i’m not much of a risk taker, even though I think i’m pretty good at sewing for a beginner as well.  so I would say take ’em to the tailors or return.

  12. gen December 8, 2011

    delurking to say, practice on a cheaper pair first, for the slimming portion.  The cuff should be easy though.

  13. Cher December 8, 2011

    Haha. I don’t think I’m brave enough for $90!

  14. Cher December 8, 2011

    Yea, I think I may try for it when it goes on sale. They’re a bit pricey to be experimenting with them.

  15. Cher December 8, 2011

    There are pockets, but they aren’t on seam pockets. I took a critical eye to them and I don’t think the pockets will be a problem…but what do I know?? LOL. I figure slimming them would be somewhat similar to slimming a skirt just with legs, which I have done a few times already. But, since I’ve never done it before, I can’t say for sure. Haha.

  16. Cher December 8, 2011

    It’s not really my very first alteration,  just my first slimming of pants at the hips! LOL.  But I do know what you mean when you say alterations are a different beast then actually putting a garment together from scratch. Things just start poking out from everywhere and it’s not nearly as smooth as it would have been if you had just taken the entire thing apart and put it back together.

  17. Cher December 8, 2011

    Haha. I was actually going to do a trial run on my GAP Really Skinny Pants that stretch out like crazy to see how complicated it would get. But, IDK, I might just wait until the pants go on sale and then maybe try it. Then I won’t kick myself so hard if I mess up. 😛

  18. Cher December 8, 2011

    I think if I don’t cut anything, it shouldn’t be a problem to fix (as long as I don’t tear a giant hole in it with the sewing machine!) I am scared to do it though, so I think I will just return them until I have more confidence.

    The shoes are from the AT Factory Outlet. 😉

  19. Cher December 8, 2011

    Probably return is a better idea, huh? 🙁

  20. Cher December 8, 2011

    Haha. Thanks for delurking, Gen! But yes, I think I’m going to try slimming another pair of pants I’m not so worried about before I jump into a more expensive pair.

  21. Cee December 8, 2011

    AT factory, huh? I thought the underside of the heels looked familiar. I kept staring at your pics but couldn’t figure it out. Thanks Cher!

  22. Callandra December 10, 2011

    When I first saw those pants on you I was thinking “too bad, such a great color” but after seeing how they could look after a bit of tailoring I say definitely give it a go!  A simple stitch can easily be pulled out if you find the alterations aren’t going to be as easy as it looked 😉


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