Pattern: McCalls 1887
Made before? Yes, two versions not yet blogged about
Will make again? Yes…but more on this lately
Adjustments? I hacked the pattern into culottes, the method is detailed below.
Inspiration: check out my pinterest board
Fabric: An Ottoman Suiting picked up from Spotlight a few years ago. I was intending to make a circle skirt with it.
Hence these beauties!
I tried a pair of culottes on in Sportsgirl and fell in love with the drape of the fabric, the tie belt at the waist, and comfortable pockets. I spent the whole car drive home with my friend Annie searching for a similar pattern online – and then I remembered this one! It has the pockets, it has the pleats, it just need a few adjustments to take it to culotte level.
The adjustments I made were:
- Widened the bottom hem of each leg by 10cm each side, tapered up until it reached the hip/crotch line (see image)
- Lengthened each pattern piece by 10cm at the top (waist). I added this length first to the crotch seam, and then at the side seams making sure I curved them slightly to match the curves of my body. This pattern sits just above the hips normally, so adding this length brought the culottes to my natural waist.
- Added a zip in the side seam because the pattern is designed for knits and I was using a woven. I didn’t add any extra width or pattern pieces to do this, I just bunged it in there. In retrospect, I should have used an invisible zip, but as I had this one lying around anyway…
- One thing to note if you try this hack, is that the elastic guide will now be entirely too short, because your natural waist is much smaller than your hips. I actually think the elastic guide is too long on this pattern anyway, so I’d recommend measuring it against your body instead.
Here’s a picture of my dodgy zip insertion! I am getting better at zips, or taking more time. For ages I’d worked out how to kind-of do them without a zipper foot – note to new sewists; DO NOT DO THIS. These side seams should have been finished before I inserted the zip, I’m sure. An invisible zip would have been neater, and looked better from the outside.
On the plus side, I’m pretty sure this zip was secondhand from the op-shop, so hey – recycling!
When I was hacking the pattern, I forgot to add the same length to the pockets. I panicked for a good five minutes before I realised I had enough fabric left to add a little extension piece to them, and I’m genuinely surprised by how well that worked. Admittedly, any sewist would notice, but most people don’t. The pattern is organic enough that the lack of pattern-matching isn’t too noticeable either.
To work out what length I wanted, I tried these on with a variety of different shoes. This is incredibly important – heels, clogs, boots, sandals; I need these culottes to be versatile because they simply aren’t a style I’d normally reach for. Anything which could persuade me to take them off and switch to something else, will do exactly that. I need to feel entirely at ease in them.
I decided they were exactly right where they were after this process, so I finished the hem with bias binding to preserve as many millimetres of length as I could. The only shoes these don’t go with are my taller boots – ankle length is fine, but above that, I starting looking dowdy with cankles.
This fabric does crinkle really easily, which is a shame. I feel like I should carry a little hand steamer around with me!
Here’s one last cheeky shot for good measure! I’m wearing them with this RTW top, which I’m planning to replicate by making the Friday Pattern Company Lucida Dress into a top, as I’ve seen on Instagram. I’d also wear these with a Lucia top from Sew Over It, which is on my Make-Nine-in-the-rest-of-2018.
So will I make these again? Possibly. I’ll make view A again, without hacking it into culottes, because I’ve made a couple of versions before which I’ve gotten a lot of wear out of – I’m actually wearing a casual version as I write this, in a knit from The Fabric Store. I might even do the same raising of the waist, as I do get more wear out of garments which sit at my natural waist.
I think in terms of culottes, however, I might try out a culotte-dedicated pattern. I’ve signed up to Sew Over It’s PDF club, and purchased the Ultimate Culottes as my free pattern, so I’m going to try those up in some old fabric I don’t love and see how they work. I’d like a version which is less bulky at the waist, which I can wear with a belt.
Thanks so much for reading! Have you tried culottes, or bought a pair? What do you think – yay or nae? Comment below or shoot me a message on Instagram!