Hello everyone! Yes, I am still around, and even still sewing. I’ve built up quite a backlog of projects that need time and photos to blog and am hoping this project will be the spark needed to get the rest done.
This was the one I really wasn’t sure of at first. I’d hauled the fabric out of the stash at some point in February, originally to offer to a friend to use for a dress to wear to a 20s themed work do. But she never got to see it. Daughter No1 patted it and cast many admiring glances at it while it was draped over my dressmakers dummy. She wondered if it would make a pair of palazzo pants, 90s style. After rejecting quite a few patterns, because they were too long and too wide, I wondered if culottes were more what she had in mind. She looked at some of the offerings from the independent pattern companies online but none ticked the boxes properly.
Cue the Burda magazine. I suddenly remembered that the February issue had some cropped wider legged trousers. Wouldn’t you believe it, she declared they were the ones to try! The pattern is available to download from Burdastyle (click the link below the picture) if you don’t have the magazine. I traced the 36 and graded down a size to a 34 from waist to hip. Daughter No1 is very slim and this was no guarantee that the pattern would fit. I also needed to shorten the pattern to make it suitable for petite people. Originally I followed the Burdastyle guidelines, 0.5cm in the crotch depth, 1cm between the hip and the knee and 1.5cm between the knee line and the hem. The other change was to omit the fly zip – purely because of the fabric – and go for an invisible side zip instead. She didn’t want the tie or belt loops either. Maybe next time..
The toile revealed I needed to remove an extra 6cm from around the waist, grading to the original seamline by the hipline. The crotch depth also needed to be reduced by another 1cm and the overall length needed to be 5cm shorter. I didn’t want to toile again, so pinned everything together in the paper and we checked again. All signs were positive, so I proceeded to figure out how I was going to cut this odd fabric.
I placed the hip yoke pocket pieces in areas where there were fewer strips and just had to use the rest of the fabric for the trouser pieces. There wasn’t quite as much fabric as I had thought so it was just as well that the pattern had had to be shortened! I tried to make sure the strips weren’t caught awkwardly in the side seams when I started construction. I used a black satin lining fabric for the pocket lining pieces and the facing pieces. To support the side zip opening and pocket openings in this fine fabric, a strip of black fine sheer interfacing was fused to the edges. This interfacing was also used on the facings. It was decided to construct the culottes with the overlocker as much as possible, the fabric was just too keen on fraying.
The construction of the culottes is simple, and even with this fabric, the putting together was quick. There is no lining. Daughter No1 wanted to wear the culottes with cropped leggings underneath. So much time saved! The hem was double turned and handsewn. While the needle was in my hand I used a few small neat stitches to keep the floppy strips away from the zip seam. Once done Daughter No1 put them on and we chose which of the strips needed to be removed (placement issues) or shortened.
So where are these fab culottes going to be worn? Daughter No1 has now officially moved out of our family home and into the new flat with her partner, who is taking her to Prague for her birthday at the end of the month. She wanted something a little different to wear out in the evening. I’m looking forward to pictures of Prague!!
Here are a few detailed shots of the culottes.
Daughter No 1 is pretty chuffed with her new evening trousers, and capitalising on this success, I’m going to make her another pair using a fabric I bought in South Africa last year. The fabric is a black and white elephant print viscose, but I’ve also got a cream coloured cotton sateen from Croft Mill Fabrics, also bought last year that would look good in this pattern. I’m determined to continue to shop my stash at every opportunity this year.