Thank you to everyone who responded to my last post about feeling the need to slow down a bit. It seemed to have touched a nerve with a few of you and, as always, it was lovely to feel the warmth and snuggles of the online sewing community.
In case you missed it, I have decided to fully embrace slow sewing and will be spending my time making fewer garments in the future. The plan is to work with better quality fabric and, hopefully, really nail the fit. I might even abandon patterns entirely and start making some of my own designs. But before that happens, I still have a couple of recent ‘speedy’ makes to share with you.
First up are these Butterick B6178 culottes, a pattern that was given away free with Love Sewing Magazine last month.
This is a prime example of me being swayed by a trend and giving little thought to how the finished garment is actually going to look on me.
I love all the different versions of this pattern but I went with Option D as I thought they would be the most flattering on me. They are not as billowy as the other views and seemed to be culottes for people who are a bit nervous about trying culottes.
But before I even tackled this pattern I had a feeling they were not going to suit me. My legs have been jokingly described as ‘Northern mill-worker legs’. Short and solid. Not quite cankles but not far off it.
Midi length just doesn’t work for me. It cuts my calves off at their widest part and makes my short dumpy legs look even more Hobbit like. I am not hating on myself here… I like my legs. I can walk, I can run, I can dance, and to be able to do these things is amazing. But if we are just thinking purely in terms of aesthetics, I have learned how to dress to make the most of their appearance.
Why then did I decide to make these midi length culottes? Honestly, I have absolutely no idea. I guess I was blindsided by how good they can look on other people.
Anyway, on to the making.
I chose a beautiful sky blue John Kaldor cotton/linen blend from Minerva Crafts. I ended up using just under two meters.
This is a simple trouser pattern – just two front pieces and two back pieces with a centre crotch seam, pockets, a waistband and a centre back zip. So far, so straightforward. Or at least it should have been.
Unfortunately I cut the wrong size. Two whole sizes too small. Again, what was I thinking with this pattern?
I managed to make it work though by reducing the depth of the darts and sewing a smaller seam allowance of about 5mm through the waist and hips grading out to regular 1.5cm seam allowance on the legs. Luckily the legs are super wide so it worked out fine.
I also shortened the leg length by about 3 inches, which is a standard adjustment for me. (FYI – I am 5ft 5inches tall and my inside leg measurement is 27inches.)
And this was the result…. a pair of lovely culottes that look awful on me. They emphasise the widest part of my hips and the widest part of my calves, as well as truncating my already short legs.
I posted this photo on Instagram and a couple of people suggested that I try them with heels, presumably to try to elongate, and give the appearance of slimming down, my lower leg. I am not a heel wearer though. Flat shoes all the way!
My good friend Caz, who I can always rely on for an honest opinion, told me that, as my friend, she couldn’t let me leave the house dressed in these culottes! Still chuckling over this!
So I put it down to a sewing fail and a ‘what was I thinking?’ moment and vowed to either give them away or unpick them and try to salvage the fabric.
You can’t win them all.
But then, two weeks later, I decided to revisit the culottes and see if there was anything I could do to make them work. I hacked off the bottom and did a new hem, taking the length so it is just at the knee – the most flattering skirt length on me.
And, actually I am pretty pleased with how they look now. They are not quite the mid length nautical looking culottes that I dreamed of but instead I am left with what is a much more flattering and wearable length for me.
One of the best tips I can give any new sewist is to really get to know your body shape. Know which bits to emphasise and which bits to disguise. Also, really get to know what shapes and styles suit you the most. Hit the shops and try a bunch of different styles on if you really haven’t got a clue. Usually I am pretty good at sticking to garments that flatter my figure but this time I definitely should have followed my own advice.