Thursday, August 27, 2015

Emily Culottes

Well hello there!

It's probably been obvious to most of you that I've transferred much of my crafting (sewing) posts over to Instagram.  That's partly because for quite a few months, I just haven't been inspired to write anything.  But mostly because, while I've done a fair bit of sewing over the last 6 months, none of it is really anything new, or anything I felt warranted a longer post than what I can do on Instagram.  I made a few more Archer shirts; a couple more blazers; a few Alabama Chanin garments; a few Named Blair Batwing t-shirts.

But last weekend I made something entirely new to me - a pair of culottes!  I have a few things to say about this pattern, so blog post it is!


The pattern is Emily Culottes by Itch to Stitch.  I think it's a relatively new pattern; I became aware of it through the IndieSew blog.  Allie, from that blog, made a super cute pair - cute enough to make me buy the PDF.  I've been trying to limit how many I buy these days because they tend to sit on my computer, unused.

Itch to Stitch is a new-to-me pattern designer.  And I have to say, I was really impressed with the pattern.  It has a few innovations which I think are fantastic:  you can "turn off" the sizes you don't need to print (useful, since there are 12 sizes included, 00 - 20), and there are only 23 pages to print, because only the pattern for the shorts length is given.  (I used the copyshop option and had my pattern printed at Kinko's.)  Included are instructions on lengthening the leg to any length you like.  There are also several design options:  two different styles of pockets and three waistband options, as well as pleat-front and unpleated.  The instructions themselves are very detailed.  I admit that I didn't follow them at all, since I know how to make pants.  But I skimmed through them, and it looks like they walk you clearly through all steps, so that even a beginner could make these.

Before cutting into my fabric - a nice, weighty, drapey linen I got from JoAnn - I traced the pattern and did a tissue fit.  According to my measurements, I should have used a size 4 waist and size 8 hip - pretty normal for me.  But when I tried on my tissue, it seemed that the waist was too tight and the hip too loose.  So I retraced a straight size 6, which is what you see here.  The shape is very A-line, so I could get away with it.  So, good to know for us pear-shaped ladies - we can save ourselves some grading work on this one! 

It's hard to see, since my culottes are black, but I made the non-pleated, completely unembellished version, and added 8" to the leg length.  I didn't want to spend a lot of time on extras because these are really a wearable muslin.  I'm not 100% convinced I love this style on me; I think I need to wear them a bit before I make the final decision.


I think if I do make these again, I will go back down to a size 4 though.  These are a little loose on me.  The pattern shows how to use twill tape to keep the waistband from stretching out during the day, but since I hate tight waistbands, I skipped that part.  After I was done, I wished I'd done it!  As is, they sit just below my natural waist.  Tissue fitting on pants really baffles me - it doesn't seem as accurate as bodice fitting somehow.  I'm hoping to work on that this fall.  I really need pants!

Something I'm not quite sure about is the crotch - it is very deep, falling about 3" below my body.  Is this normal for culottes?  Never having made or worn them, I'm not sure.  I don't think the viewer can tell, but it feels a tiny bit odd.  I might consider decreasing the crotch depth if I make these again.  Here you can see how deep that crotch curve is, and how wide the leg is.


Here's a side view:


And an alternate outfit:


If I make this pattern again, I will probably narrow the leg like Allie did.  This wide-legged look is OK, but I think a narrower leg would be more flattering on me, and more fashionable. 

Have any of you made culottes?  Are you pro or con?  Can anybody answer my crotch depth question?  I'm so curious about it!



34 comments:

  1. Hi!
    I love culottes! . I have made 2 , one in linnen fabric and other in gabardine-cotton fabric. I really enjoy with this garment, is confortable for wear. I think you pattern is good. Mine are similar. ☺you look gorgeous in this culottes! !

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  2. Your culottes are awesome! I think the width is just right. Also, I think that culottes are drafted to have a larger crotch depth because they are looser fitting. It may also help give the impression of a skirt rather than trousers with a smaller crotch depth. I've made culottes and a culotte jumpsuit (both of which are on my blog www.ladysewalot.blogspot.co.uk). Both of them have actually had tons of wear this summer, and you have just inspired me to make some winter ones, maybe in a grey wool. Hmm...

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    1. Thanks, Lauren! I took a look and love yours too - especially the jumpsuit. And winter culottes hadn't occurred to me either, but now you've got me thinking . . . Thanks for the opinion on the crotch depth. That seems to be the consensus from those with more culotte experience than I !

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  3. You look great. I do agree on the culotte width though - but that could just be a personal preference - I like the narrower, more sleeker leg these days....although that probably technically turns them into a pair of wide leg pants or gaucho ;-). I still think your version looks lovely with the fitted shirt.

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    1. Thanks, Debbie! I wore these to dinner last night, and I did like the swishy feeling while I was walking. And I think they look OK, but I do agree that a narrower leg would probably suit me better. I think it's a lot of fabric, kind of overwhelming for a short person like me. I have another piece of linen for a second pair, and those will likely get narrowed.

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  4. Your culottes is lovely! Your fabric drapes so well for the design. I think you can afford to take it in at the hips though.

    I have made 3 pairs of culotes, each different. First pair with deep pleats - I found it was too voluminous but comfy. 2nd pair is like this pair of yours but no waistband and more fitted at waist to hips and flared out like Aline from there. I liked it much better than the first. My 3rd one was elastic waist and straighter legs than the 2 previous versions. I liked the legs, but maybe my choice of fabric wasn't right, or maybe it was the elastic waist, it was too casual. So maybe I will mash my version 2 waist to hips 2 with version 3 legs.

    I have found culottes difficult to style for work. I think it needs some kind of waist length semi fitted top which I am lacking. And of course heels, everything looks better with heels :)

    As for the crotch, they are lower than normal pants, especially if they have more volume. That makes them more comfy and they fall better. My 3rd pair with the straight legs has crotch length like pants. In effect, they are more like wide leg pants that are copped in length!

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    1. Thanks, Erin! Yes, I was really pleased with the drape of this fabric. For anything with more body, you're right - I'd definitely need to take it in. It's interesting how many style variations there are with this garment, isn't it? I liked all of your culottes, and they are all different!

      Thanks for the crotch depth info - I thought that might be the case, but wasn't 100% sure.

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  5. well, I am not on Instagram so I am thrilled to see a post!
    Love the culottes, my mom use to sew them all the time.

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    1. Thanks, Tracey! I find Instagram so much more convenient for quick, show-and-tell posts! But I always plan to come back here when I have something more to say!

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  6. Great to see you blogging again, I love seeing what you're doing on Instagram, but I missed your blog posts.

    Love these culottes, they look great on you. I think they are supposed to have a lower crotch than trousers so that they look more skirt-like... I'm trying to think back to the ones I had in the 80's (which is the last time I wore culottes. I'm quite tempted by a pair now, although I tried a pair on in a shop a while ago and they looked awful on me.

    I can't get on with tissue fitting trousers either, I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll have to make multiple muslins!

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    1. Thanks, Sam!

      I think I missed something - I didn't wear culottes in the '80s! I did have a pair of "gauchos" in the '90s though - basically a trouser cut below the knee, so much more fitted. These really did feel like a skirt when I wore them last night, with the benefit of knowing that it wouldn't blow up in the wind!

      I have the PP book on tissue fitting trousers; I guess I should read it ;-) I really do intend to get my head around fitting trousers for myself this fall, even if it means muslin making.

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    2. I've got that book, but it doesn't seem to be helping me. I'm almost on the verge of taking a well fitting pair of RTW trousers apart and making a pattern from them.

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    3. I'd do that, if I had any well-fitting trousers! I actually bought the Craftsy class on creating a trouser block the other day. I'm hoping that might help.

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  7. Gail's back, Gail's back! I missed your posts even though I enjoy your instagram :) these look good and get me thinking I would like to try culottes! I bet a winter pair would be warmer than a skirt, and bonus, no risk of flashing the world! Haha! No idea on the crotch length, but I guess better too low than too tight!

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    1. Hi Jo! OMG - you would look adorable in these! You've got to try it! You and Lauren (above) have me considering a pair for winter - never thought of it before. Would look very cool with tall boots I think, very '70s. And you're right - I wore these last night and it was breezy, but I didn't worry about flashing anyone!

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  8. I've missed your blog, Gail! But I've been enjoying your IG feed as I joined a while ago and find it's a great way to easily connect and share

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    1. Thanks, Kerry! IG is so easy and quick - I've really loved being able to keep in touch with everyone in the community that way. I don't think anybody needs to read a post about my gazillionth Archer shirt, but it's fun to do show-and-tell over there.

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  9. Very cute. I think the key to good culottes is length. They have to be just the right proportion to your body. These don't look "too full" but I get wanting them a little more narrow.

    I tried those culottes from the plus section of the June Burda. But they had a slightly dropped crotch and I hated that. Hated! And the crossover front wasn't very flattering on me.

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    1. Thanks! I was in love with those Burda culottes too - until I saw your post about it! I think we got scammed by some tricky photography on that one. They looked so fantastic on the model.

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  10. These look fantastic, Gail! I considered making culottes earlier in the season, but I never got around to them. Maybe next year, if the trend hangs on. :-D

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! This was a thing that was on my last year's sewing list, LOL!

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  11. I do like these, especially with the tucked in blouse, but I think I agree that they would be better with a narrower leg. I kind of like the idea of a winter version with boots; could be very chic!

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    1. Yes, I've definitely decided that the second pair will have a narrower leg, after wearing them around for a day. It's so much fabric!

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  12. It's great to see you back on here, Gail! I really like your culottes. Never made any myself but used to own a few pairs growing up and have fond memories of them. Yours look really comfy and cool!

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  13. These are great, they look smashing on you. I used to live in culottes in the 90s! So weird to see them fashionable again. But they all had lower crotch depth too.

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    1. Thanks, Louise! I agree - I was anti-culotte at first because I remembered them from the first (70s) and second (90s) go round! But I saw so many cute ones around that I decided to give it a go.

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  15. Culottes aren't my personal cup of tea but I've loved seeing the different versions popping up. Yours look great - I prefer look 1 with the blouse and a more defined waist - you don't want to be swamped in fabric!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I agree - I was hoping these would go with this old, beloved top, but as you say, it's too much fabric for a shorty like me.

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