Culottes are fabulous and I need a collection of them ASAP. Of course, these are not the culottes of my childhood in the late 80’s/early 90’s, these are the brilliant and fashionable Tania Culottes designed by Megan Nielsen.
When the Tania Culottes came out about three years ago, I instantly fell in love with the skirt-meets-shorts styling and practicality, and ended up seeing them made up all over the sewing blogosphere. For whatever reason, maybe because I never seemed to find the right fabric, they got pushed out of my memory and I forgot all about them until seeing the pattern again on Indiesew. Culottes and wide-leg pants are having a moment right now (is the fashion pendulum swinging away from the skinny pants and jeans we’ve worn for the past 10+ years?) and I saw lots of stylish women wearing some iteration when I was in NYC over the weekend. So, bring on the culottes!
I love that these culottes look like I’m wearing a floaty circle skirt when in actuality it’s just really full shorts. The pattern drafting is genius; to make it look like it’s a skirt in the front and disguise the leg holes, two darts are sewn on either side of the front and the back that add fullness and folds of fabric across the front. So smart! The construction was super easy, but it was the hemming of these culottes that was a nightmare, as to be expected from anything a) rayon and b) cut on the bias.
Because I knew that the hem of the culottes would get all kinds of wonky because of the bias, I made the knee-length version of the pattern to allow enough “margin” if I needed to really whack off a lot of fabric to even out the hems (plus, I read all of the reviews about the shortest length – I want to be able to wear these to work and not flash my bum!). I hung the culottes up for about 24 hours to allow the bias to settle and wow, these got pretty crazy. Evening them out was a struggle, I hung them up in a door frame, taped one leg to the side of the door frame, and used my shears to eyeball and cut an even hem. That wasn’t enough, so my husband saved the day and evened up the hem with my scissors while I wore them. I honestly don’t know how I would have hemmed these without his help, and I know for sure that this isn’t the most even hem, but I think it passes for being ok-looking!
You can tell a little bit from the back that the hem is not quite even, but heck with it 🙂 I made a baby hem by serging the edges, using the stitching as a guide for turning up the hem 1/4″, and then turned the hem again for a total of a 1/2″ hem. Its the same kind of hem I used for my wedding dress and it’s a pretty easy way to finish the edges on lightweight fabrics.
Would I make these again? I don’t know…with the hem being such a headache, I probably wouldn’t make another short version but would potentially contemplate making the long length out of some kind of light wool crepe. I’m really digging wide-leg pants right now and want to make some for fall (maybe Megan’s Flint pants?). These kinds of shorts/pants are total man-repellers, but I love them!
This post is part of the Indiesew Blogger Network – pattern or fabric may have been provided by Indiesew, however all thoughts and opinions are my own