Tuesday, 30 December 2014

SEWN: THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE COVETTED CULOTTES

It started with Debbie, then Kirsty, then all manner of other inspired makers. I swore I would not be swayed from my belief that these babies would look nothing but awful on me.

You see I remember them from last time they were cool - they were so not cool on me, thank you very much 1980s. But Debbie kept chipping away at me and damn it if I didn't start to covet a pair of my very own.


Humble pie, anyone? Mmmmm, tastes yummy!

I just kept seeing more and more covetable versions popping up in blogland and in the coolest of RTW stores. So I thought...only one way to find out... and I headed out to my local Gorman to try some on. Well, I'll be damned... pick the right style and you might just be able to make it work for you! I took some sneaky measurements in the changeroom (don't you all do that?), hem width, leg length. A speedy side trip to Spotlight later and I was set.

But which pattern? Hello stash!


Behold Vintage Vogue 9661, at a guess dated from the 80's. This was part of a massive bag of vintage patterns I was gifted by an old work colleague. I don't need office or corporate wear, so I'd never looked twice at it. But looky there on the left. It might just work.


For the first time EVER I decided to make a muslin. I don't have time for muslins usually but having only made one pair of pants/shorts before and never sewn a Vogue pattern I thought it'd be a good idea. Thank goodness, as apparently Vogue don't believe in any ease at all. They were definitely not quite right, so I posted pics of my muslin on Instagram and the gorgeous sewing community helped me figure out how to grade the pattern up a bit (thank you Rachel, Debbie, and Rosie), which wasn't as easy as adding more to the side seams. These pockets have a pocket extension flappy thing, but with the help of diagrams (diagrams! hand drawn!) from the lovely Rachel things worked out perfectly. I ended up adding about 1.5cm to each side from the waist down.

The fit is ridiculous. Check it out...


and...


And that's just the front. Check out this...

And this...


Not a freakin' wrinkle or pull line in sight. In fact the most perfectly fitting pair of bottom halves I have ever owned. Squeeeeee!!!!!! I don't even have to yank them around to sit at just the right angle. I didn't re-adjust these culottes once during the photo session. Huzzah!!!!


And the comfort, oh good god, the comfort. Secret pyjamas? I've never owned pyjamas this comfortable.


I think the key to my happiness with these culottes is knowing my own body. Knowing that an a-line type culotte was going to suit way better than a heavily pleated or gathered version, even if I see those on others and adore them. I'd simply look ridiculous.

Being able to try on a few different fits and lengths in RTW was such a huge help. I was able to work out from the start the volume I could handle in each leg and the ideal length for my shape.

And I managed not to give myself a merkin! Yay for doing my best with pattern placement. It means the print is not smoothly kept around the seams of the culottes. But seriously people... avoiding pattern placement faux pax was my priority here.

I'm going out to swish around in my lovely new culottes. They may never come off again...

16 comments:

  1. Hot Dang lady... They look amaaaazing. My next project for sure. Love the fabric..

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  2. Hell yeah! These look so good on you. Nice work.

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  3. Inspiring lady. I love these on you & your back story, inc. sneaky change room measuring, was a great read. That last picture proves you're never taking these off!

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  4. These are pretty incredible..you are really making me want to sew culottes!!

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  5. They look amazing! Wowee (insert wolf whistle here)! The fit is spectacular. and your pattern placement is perfect! I think I need to try some on too, I really want a pair now!!!

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  6. I had to wear a Hideous Pair of culottes as a little trainee Radiographer in the beginning of the 2000s, and they were definitely Not Cool. These, though? I think these just won me over to the Culotte camp! Stunning fabric & pattern choice!

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  7. Oh they're wonderful and definitely merkin free (on an hilarious merkin side note the current Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition in Melbourne has some marvellous beaded merkins....). I do love also your cunning research. You've done so well.

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  8. Oh congratulations! They are spectacular. Perfect fit.

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  9. They look great and the fit is amazing! Oh, and I had to look up the word merkin, so thanks for teaching me a new word I guess! :-D

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  10. They're gorgeous on you! Everything about these just works together beautifully, and the fit is immaculate. And how great that the best fitting pants you've ever owned were made by you - very inspiring!

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  11. Definitely make them your next project! Just find a pattern/shape that works for your body. Then it's all good from there :)

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  12. Thanks Helen, I'm pretty stoked!

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  13. Thanks Anna, I do love me a back story, so I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was scary/amusing when I started using my phone to take photos and forgot to put it on silent. The click of the "shutter" was soooo loud! Woops.

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  14. The fit, Gabrielle, is officially out of this world. At least in my book. Now I know Vogue is a bit snug it'll help with future projects. Get yourself to Gorman, or somewhere similar. They have a few styles to try, which is rather *ahem* handy...

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  15. I hear you, Rebecca, culottes were seriously uncool. But go #teamculottes! So happy if I was able to win you over :)

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