Sunday, April 5, 2015

Camera-Ready Culottes Hot Patterns 1187

Have you caught culotte fever yet?   I wore culottes when I was a teenager and loved them.  But, I wasn't so sure that I could pull them off a second time around.  When I told my daughters that I was making culottes, I got some skeptical looks.  For the generation of skinny jeans, this has got to be a monumental leap of fashion acceptance. I made this pair using  Hot Patterns Camera-Ready Culottes pattern.  I'm also wearing the swing top that I just made from the Ottobre magazine last month.  The jacket is an unlined linen jacket made years ago before I started blogging and keeping track of such things. 

Here you can see the back better with a tucked-in top:

I looked at several patterns, but when I saw the line drawing for Hot Patterns version- the Camera Ready Culottes, I hit the buy button. I like Hot Patterns sizing.  It's about as close to ready to wear sizing as I've found.  I can make the same size that I wear in RTW with no alterations.  I was also intrigued by what the envelope calls "a grown-on and self-faced waist."

This pair is actually a muslin for testing out before I make my "real" pair out of some fine linen.  This is a basic slate blue suiting of unknown fabric content that I got in a Mystery Bundle from Fabric Mart.  All I know is that it has a very nice drape, which was my primary consideration for choosing it for my muslin.  I'm glad that I made a muslin, because I did run into some issues that needed sorting out before I cut into the good stuff.

It's really a pretty simple pattern, but I was thrown off track initially when the pattern for the pocket lining didn't match the shape of the pants front.  But, it was an easy enough fix- I just held up the pants front to the pocket lining piece and redrew the cutting line.  I'm lucky that I'm experienced enough to know to do that, as I think someone less experienced might have struggled trying to get the shapes to fit together.

I originally cut the pocket lining and pocket back from suiting fabric, instead of a separate lining fabric.   But, I realized that when you fold over the waist portion, you are also doubling the thickness of the pocket fabric and pleats in that area.  You are looking at 6 layers of fabric in the waist area. I don't know about you, but I don't need any extra padding there!  So, I removed the original pockets, and re-cut them from a thin lining.  Also, before I folded over the waistband, I trimmed down the top half of the pleats  so that there would only be one layer of them inside the waist area.  Here's a close-up of the front:

Maybe because of the additional layers, the pattern didn't call for any interfacing to be used at the waist, but when I tried it on, I could tell that it was going to stretch out of shape in no time.  So, I cut strips of interfacing, 1-1/2" wide, that I placed at the very top of each section.   To finish the waist, you fold down the top sections, and then stitch in the ditch at the side seams, darts, pleats, center front, and pockets.  It worked well, but I really do suggest interfacing it. Here's a close-up of the back:

My next decision was the length and whether to keep the cuffs or not.  Knee length?  Above the knee?  Below the knee?  Ankle length?  I think that this is the real key to getting culottes to work for you.  Since I'm tall, I decided to go with below the knee.  I shortened the pattern by 2", and I am 5'9" for reference.    The cuffs are about 2" wide.  If you wanted to make these without cuffs, and shorter, then it would take considerably less than the 2-3/4 yards recommended on the pattern envelope.

Lest you think that these are just wide leg pants that are cut off, here is a photo where the wind picked up the full width of the leg.  The finished bottom leg circumference is 36" on each leg!  That's about double the typical pant leg circumference.

And last, but not least, what to wear these with?  I tried out a bunch of different tops, and I think that it looks best with something tucked in.  Either that, or a shorter top that hits right about the waist.  Here is another combination that I tried.

I'm happy enough with this muslin to go forward with my linen pair.  I like the swingy, swishy feel, that you get when you walk with these.  I do think that they will be a nice addition to my wardrobe, but I can see that not everyone will like wearing so much volume on the bottom.  As a tall rectangle, I'm okay with the shape on me.

In the end, I got a nod of approval from my 21 year old daughter for these!  So, have you jumped on the culotte bandwagon yet?

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Shorts and Tops from Ottobre Woman 2/2015

Can you believe it's the last day of March?  It's finally a balmy 63 degrees here in Illinois- shorts weather!   I was on Spring Break last week, and made my first pair of shorts this year and a couple of new knit tops from the latest Ottobre Woman pattern magazine.  Here are the garments from the magazine:

 And here are my versions:

 I started with design #19, the Due Tone Long Sleeve Jersey top.  The fabric is a rayon/lycra striped jersey in lime and off white that I bought from Hancock Fabrics in their value fabrics section.  It's very soft and silky, and I love the wide stripe.  I've gotten some good deals from that section lately.  I think this was about $4/yd and this design takes 1-1/2 yards, so I spent about $6 for the fabric.

I interfaced the pocket and used double needle stitching to finish the wide hem and neckband.  I think it turned out pretty nice!

Next up was #17, the Faded Stripes Jersey Top.   This top has a separate shoulder yoke and uses ribbing to bind the neck and armholes.  This is a 100% cotton jersey that I've had in my stash for a few years.  Luckily, we had a coordinating ribbing at SewBaby that just blends in perfectly.

My favorite of this bunch of items is #18, Gym and Sport Sweat Shorts.  These have a lot of details, but because of the raw edge construction, they aren't too difficult.  I used a super soft sherpa knit, with white ribbing, both from SewBaby.  I added 3 inches to the length, as the original design is super short.  I used a very lightweight interfacing to interface both the front and the back pockets.  I knew that would make them easier to sew in place.  The raw edges are topstitched with a double needle, and I'm sure that after they are washed, they will roll a little so you'll be able to see the fleecy side of the fabric.

The waistband has two small grommets for threading the tie made from the ribbing.  You run a line of stitching halfway up the waistband to make a smaller casing for the tie to go through.
I left the edges unfinished on the hem and the pockets, running a double needle stitching line near the edge of both.  You really would not believe how comfortable these are!   Here's a photo of the inside, so you can see the sherpa texture there.

Here they are on me.  I thought that my legs would be the same shade of white as the shorts, but I can see a difference in the photos!  These have a real retro feel to them that I like.  With all of the new slick techno fabrics available, you hardly ever see a pair of soft fleecy shorts in the stores.  They are probably not the best for real exercising because they won't wick away moisture, but they will be fine for lounging around and leisurely walks.

We sold out of the first shipment of this Ottobre issue, but expect our new issue any day now, if you'd like to preorder a copy.   I love this issue!  I posted a couple of weeks ago about the first few items that I made from it here.  These shirts will work with the skirt and linen pants that I made from that group as well.

Do you ever sew your own shorts?  If you do, what patterns have you liked?

Happy Sewing!


Monday, March 23, 2015

Vogue 8379 in a Striped Silk Jersey

Hello everyone and happy Spring!

This is the first time that I've taken photos outdoors since October.  It feels so nice to be outside again!  To celebrate the long awaited arrival of Spring, I just had to make a new dress.  One of the most versatile dresses that I think you can own is a wrap dress.  They work for all seasons- just throw on a jacket or cardigan in the winter, and you can make a wrap dress work all year long.  So for this time of year where the temperature is up one day and down the next, a wrap dress is perfect.

The wrap dress was made popular by Diane Von Furstenberg in the 70's.  Have you ever seen a real DVF Wrap dress?  If you go to the Wrap Shop you can see that the average price is $400, and all of the gorgeous variations that they offer.  The one thing that I noticed that they all have in common, is that they are made from silk jersey.

I actually tried on an authentic DVF wrap dress once, and found out what silk jersey really feels like.  It's a lot like an ITY jersey in feel, but it has a lot less stretch. The colors in silk always seem to be richer, and that makes the DVF dresses look so much more vibrant than others.  I really had my heart set on making a wrap dress from a real silk jersey, and as usual, FabricMart had the perfect fabric- a striped silk jersey in my favorite colors (see below for a close-up).  Looks a lot like my blog background, don't you agree?

My favorite pattern for this style is Vogue 8379.  I've taught a class using it before, and amazingly, every size and shape looked great in it!  I did have to make adjustments to the pattern.  I did a full bust adjustment, a full biceps adjustment, and added length to the skirt.  But after my adjustments, I got a much better fit than I could ever have gotten buying an authentic DVF wrap dress. The McCall Pattern company blog is currently running a Wrap Dress Sewalong with some great information about fitting this particular style.

Since my fabric was striped, I had visions of trying to match the stripes in a chevron effect at all of the seams.  But when I got it, I saw that the stripes were quite curved.  So instead of trying to match the stripes at the seams, I decided to just try to play around with the direction of the stripes.  Here's what my fabric looked like on the cutting table:

Since the bodice and sleeves are fitted closely, I decided to lay the back bodice and sleeves in the direction of the maximum stretch- which was horizontally.  I oriented the front bodice so that the stripes would line up with the direction of the wrap- almost a 45 degree angle.  The skirt was a challenge.  I omitted the seam in the back, and cut it all in a single layer with the stripes at a slight angle.   Then I tried to match the sides in whatever direction the stripes were going in.  It didn't turn out perfect, but I'm pretty happy with it.  It has a kind of ice cream swirl effect.

Lastly, I cut the tie and facings with the stripes going horizontally. My front facing does turn out (even though it's not supposed to!), but it looks intentional with the horizontal facing.

Of course, you do need to pay attention to the skirt when you are sitting, but there is plenty of overlap so that you can stay covered up.  And if it is a windy day, well, you might just want to wear another dress!

 Have you made a wrap dress?   What is your favorite wrap dress pattern and fabric?

Here is the picture of the Bodice front after I did a Full Bust adjustment:

Happy Sewing!

Sew, what's new? Patterns, Ann's projects and more!