DIY Chambray Culottes

Hello sewists! Today I have the second completed item from my Fall Sewing Plans. Be sure to check out my fringe clutch (there’s a tutorial too!). I’m definitely not going in order but so far it’s coming together nicely. I have four things made and four to go. I’ve kind of done the easiest ones first so fingers crossed the rest will go smoothly. Today, I’m sharing the Emily Culottes made in a light weight dot chambray. I love the comfort and the relaxed look of a wide leg trouser so I was super excited to try out this pattern. 

The Emily Culottes pattern by Itch to Stitch features a lot options including a patch pocket, welt pocket, waist tie and waist tabs. There is also the option to include a pleat at the center (I skipped it). There aren’t specific views per se–you just choose which features you want to include. Thus the instructions include steps for all options and you skip the ones that don’t apply to what you’re doing. The instructions are very detailed with over 80 steps. I’m sure a lot of people find that level of detail very helpful but it was a little overwhelming for me. I also have a tendency of skipping around so that I can assembly line the sewing as much as possible and I would lose my place (totally my fault). 

I made the waist tabs and I really like the added detail. It’s also a great way to use up my immense button collection. These gorgeous buttons are kind of a grey shell and I’m pretty confident they’re vintage although I have no idea how I acquired them. One side note on the pockets, it’s a little hard to tell from the illustrations but the pocket options are only for the front. There aren’t any back pocket options. It would be easy enough to take a pocket from another pattern and sew it on the back.

The technique for interfacing the facings was different than I had ever done before. It has you stitch the interfacing to the waistband facings with right sides together at a 1/8 inch seam allowance. You then turn it right sides together and iron on the interfacing. I was nervous about how to get the seam along the curve pressed out without messing up the interfacing. But it actually worked and the interfacing didn’t get wrinkled. At the time, I didn’t think it was worth taking the extra steps but I do like how clean the finish is in the end. And you don’t have to turn up the facing on the inside. So it’s not really taking any extra time.

This pair of culottes is my second pair. I made a wearable muslin first, cutting a straight size 6 and the shortest length. By the way, the pattern goes from a size 00 to a 20. For my second pair, I lengthened them and narrowed the width of the leg (Allie from Indie Sew did this too and I really like the look of hers). I’m very pleased with the amount of fullness in this narrowed version. My muslin version is a little wider than I like. For my second pair, I also dropped the crotch by about 1 inch, changed the seam allowance to 5/8 inch and eliminated the zipper extension. Maybe I’m super old school about this but I just don’t like sewing with a 3/8 inch seam allowance. There’s no room to let a seam if needed and very little for finishing the seams.

The fabric is a dot chambray from Imagine Gnats. It’s a lovely fabric but not super stable. I’m actually a little worried that the center back seam along the bum is starting to pull. Does anyone have a tip about how to stabilize that seam? I seem to recall some patterns instructing to stitch a double line.

For this pair, I made the welt pockets on the front. I feel pretty meh about these pockets. I did a practice one which was ok but I never figured out how to make it lay really flat at the sides. (By the way I took pictures of my process while making the test pocket. Let me know if you’re interested and I can put them into a post.) So, on the culottes I just went for the pockets and I did forget to apply interfacing to the pants. OOPS! And the pockets each look ok except that one is about half an inch higher. OOPS! But you can’t really tell unless you look very closely.

Overall, I’m really happy with how these turned out and expect to be wearing them a lot. I’ll also try to put together a post for my wearable muslin so you can see the difference in leg width. Have you tried this pattern? How do you feel about the culottes look? (Personally, I loved wearing them as a kid so I'm pleased as punch to have them back in fashion.)

Disclosure: I received this pattern for free courtesy of the great folks at IndieSew but all thoughts/opinions are my own.