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!