I've wanted to make the Tania Culottes since they were first released, over a year ago now. I'm not one to shy away from funky silhouettes and I did have a big love for the culotte as a kid in the 80s so these are a no-brainer for me. I'm so glad I made these. I love the silhouette and the fabric so much. It's really a match made in heaven.
I bought the pdf pattern when the Breakwater pdf pattern collection was released a couple of months ago and set about finding the perfect fabric. I didn't have anything in my stash with the right drape. So, having already broken my summer stashbust pledge, I found myself at The Fabric Store for their annual sale. They have the loveliest fabrics and it was hard to choose but somehow this red and blue silk print ended up on the cutting table. The fabric has a gentle wrinkle texture built in that I really like. I tried to be careful when ironing so as not to press away the texture and I mostly succeeded. The fabric was easy to work with except that the it was hard to push pins into it. I thought maybe I needed special silk pins. Do any of you kind readers have experience with pins not wanting to go into fabric easily?
For the pattern, I cut a size medium for the shorts and extended the length three inches past the XL line. Sewing these together was fairly easy. I only ran into trouble with the waistband when I confused my fronts and backs and created a bit of a mess. Second time was the charm and with the right pieces in place it came together beautifully.
I inserted the invisible zipper and did a stitch in the ditch to attach the bottom of the waistband lining. By the way, when inserting an invisible zip, I've found that it works very well to stitch one side to the garment. Then baste the other side to the garment, make sure everything lines up the way it should. Then make adjustments and baste again if necessary and then stitch the remaining side.
At last, I tried on the shorts and the crotch was just a tad too high. Yikes! This thing looks so much like a skirt it never occurred to me to think about the crotch depth. I imagined complete easy breeziness but um, not quite. So after some unpicking, basting, internet researching and testing I solved it. I don't make a lot of pants and shorts, mostly because they're harder to fit than skirts so it was a little bit of a puzzle for me to figure out how to adjust the crotch depth. By the way, there are a lot of internet tutorials for people with a shorter torso but not for a longer one. So, usually when something is too tight, you need to stitch a smaller seam allowance. But because the crotch (how many times can I say that word in one post, I wonder) curves upward towards the body, if you need that seam farther away, you must stitch a larger seam allowance. It's kind of a reverse logic thing but it worked. I ended up cutting away about an inch from crotch. Because of the ingenious design of these culottes, you would never be able to tell from the outside that I had to make an adjustment. The crotch seam is completely hidden behind a center pleat.
The hem length isn't perfect. It dips and dives whenever I lean just a bit. And I was too lazy to do anything about it. The only other thing that isn't quite perfect is the waistband is a smidge tight. I mean it fits quite well but I am conscious of it being there which is just a tad annoying. If I make these again I think I would cut the same size but stitch a slightly smaller seam allowance at the sides. Despite that, I love these shorts! I wore them out yesterday and a very friendly barista told me she loved my skirt. I just smiled and said Thank you!