4.30.2015

just call me crazy culottes

Mood Fabrics

Hey guys! Well, I know I said I wasn't going to apologize anymore for being a bad blogger, but here I am, feeling like a bad blogger and like an apology is in order.  For everyone interested in that Minoru tutorial I swear it's coming! I didn't mean to go AWOL on you this past month, but work got busy and so forth and so on... you know the jig. But I haven't forgotten about you!

In the meantime, here's a crazy new outfit to distract you from my bad blogger ways! Look! Pattern mixing!! *runs in the opposite direction*

Mood Fabrics

This outfit is my contribution to this month's Mood Sewing Network.  The top uses this Ralph Lauren Dazzling Blue/White Striped Viscose Jersey, and the bottoms are this Famous Designer Navy Geometric Cotton Woven.  Fun fact: the mysterious 'famous designer' is none other than Anna Sui, according to the print on the selvedge of this fabric which read "Anna Sui 2012".  I did my best to search Anna Sui's 2012 collections to see if I could spot the fabric anywhere, but no joy.  Perhaps it was used for a garment that went straight to stores? Your guess is as good as mine. But anyway! I've got Ralph Lauren and Anna Sui all in one outfit! Not too shabby for a nondescript Tuesday/Workday!

Mood Fabrics

I actually picked up both of these fabrics with zero idea of what to do with them.  I just thought the blue and white striped jersey seemed like a handy fabric to have on hand, and the print and texture of the cotton looked interesting, and I try to make it my policy, when funds allow, to grab fabrics that look interesting regardless of their practicality.  Generally speaking, however, I'm more of a "buy your fabric with your project in mind" kind of gal.  So this was kind of an anomaly that I went for two fabrics with no intended use in one order. Although it may also have been serendipity, because after my fabrics arrived (and after the standard time allotted for "oohing" and "ahhing" and petting and draping around my torso in front of a mirror that goes into every new fabric acquisition) I carefully folded each yardage and set them on top of my grotesquely disorganized fabric pile, one on top of the other. And it was like lightening struck my brain! Seeing the two of them like that, right next to one another, made me realize that they were meant to be worn together as an outfit.  More specifically, as this outfit, the image of which almost simultaneously came to me at that moment as well. Now if that doesn't sound like divine intervention from the Sewing gods than I don't know what does!

Mood FabricsMood Fabrics

I knew I had to make these two garments, if only to get the outfit out of my head and into reality! The shirt was first.  I used Grainline’s Hemlock Tee – a free, one-size, 3/4 length sleeve, slouchy top pattern.  This came together in no time at all. The Hemlock Tee is a great pattern for a casual top.  I didn't really follow the instructions on the Grainline blog, but just put it together the way I normally do knit tops. To match the stripes I just put a pin in every blue stripe.  It makes for a lot of pins to remove while I’m sewing, but it also ensures that everything is lined up perfectly.

The blue and white viscose jersey was super easy to work with.  I sewed this all together on my serger, using my twin needle for the hem and cuffs.  This jersey has a super smooth, almost silky hand with a slight sheen. It’s surprisingly weighty for viscose, falling in deep fluid folds, making it perfect for an oversized tee like this one (although I can also think of a myriad of other uses for it that would be just as lovely).


Mood Fabrics

Culottes seem to be very trendy at the moment, and I’m clearly guilty of being bit by the bug! For these I used Style Arc’s Erin Woven Culotte pattern.  I love the deep pleats on the front and the way the pockets mirror the pleats.  I also love the jewel bright tones of this cotton woven and how they give these culottes a very bohemian feel.  This fabric has a very loose weave and a slubby, almost jute-like look, though with a much softer hand and drape.  It’s a bit more substantial than what the pattern called for, but I like the body it gives these culottes, while still keeping them airy for our sticky southern spring.

As with all Style Arc patterns, the instructions for these are minimal, and I actually took issue with a few of the steps.  For instance, they instruct you to baste the pockets in place along the top of the pants before doing the pleats, which as far as I could tell would result in your pockets getting folded up in the pleats.  Not only would this be bulky, it would also render those pockets pretty much useless! So just a heads up if you intend to make this pattern.  I honestly didn't fuss with the instructions too much since I've made a fair number of trousers in my sewing days and I'm pretty comfortable with the order of construction, and confident enough to come up with my own methods if I think the instructions don't make sense. However if you're new to sewing pants, these might not be the best ones to start with!  Or, go ahead and make them, just don't fold your pocket up into your pleats!!

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Because of the loose weave, this fabric frayed like it was it’s job.  To combat this I serged all the raw edges as soon as I could, basically right after cutting, and I used fusible interfacing to reinforce the areas that I thought might lose some of it’s shape with wear – like the center back seat seam and the pocket openings.  I also bound the seam allowances at the waist and hems.  This was mostly for looks, since these culottes are unlined, but also to ensure I don’t start to unravel after a few wears.
image2Mood Fabrics
While the fraying may have been a bit of a headache, this cotton took heat and steam like a champ.  I just love how crisp those pleats are! And the stitches literally sank into the weave.  Honestly. Like, I was crossing my fingers I didn’t make any mistakes, because I don’t think I could have found my stitches to unpick if I tried!

Mood Fabrics

I'm glad I got this outfit out of my head and into my closet, if only because it's getting kind of crowded in there - my head, that is.  Although, come to think of it, my closet is a bit crowded these days too! But truly, that is one of my favorite things about sewing.  Before I knew how to sew I still had all these ideas for outfits floating around in my brain, and my only option for getting rid of them was to search the stores to find the closest approximation.  This wasn't particularly good for my wallet or my closet, as it usually ended with me impulse buying something completely different, and nowhere near closer to scratching that sartorial itch.

Although, if I'm being totally and 100% honest with you guys, I'm not completely convinced on the success of this outfit in reality.  I think my shoes and that kooky necklace that my Grandma gave me are really holding it together here.  But separately, I think these are really great pieces.  I've actually been wearing the top multiple days a week since I finished it earlier this month.  And I'm excited to try the culottes with a more structured or sleek silhouette up top - like a crop top or one of my Nettie bodysuits. Aren't separates the best?!

And speaking of handmade outfits - isn't Me Made May coming up??

xx

*Disclaimer: As part of the Mood Sewing Network I receive a monthly allowance to spend on fabric which I sew up into anything I want, then blog about first on the Mood blog, then on my own.  The fabric for this post was bought using my Mood allowance. 

37 comments:

  1. This outfit is absolutely gorgeous! Love it all...great post! (I especially liked the part about draping new fabric in front of the mirror - I always do that too!) :)

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  2. still swooning over here. and those guts!!! THOSE GUTS!!!

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  3. adorable outfit and I do like how the two pieces work together but the Nettie would look fabulous with the cullotes, too.

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  4. Culottes are so popular this season. I def need a pair. Thanks for sharing!

    Liv

    www.livforstyle.net

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  5. Yeah girl. This is great. I actually love the outfit all together but it's definitely a wedge sandal and art teacher necklace type of styling situation. The mix of pattern and texture and shape is really doing it for me. And it was hard to see what the fabric was like in your Mood post so thank you for the detail shots of the guts! Love the wrong side of the fabric....

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  6. I'm going to jump on the whole outfit bandwagon as well, but I've always loved stripes with patterns! Very nicely done, and thanks for the advice on the culottes pattern, as well - I've been debating getting that one, but I might pick a different one if the directions are iffy.

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  7. I have this fabric and I totally DID have to unpick a few things here and there (doing a Frenched-seamed sleeve is a great idea in theory but when you sew things back-to-front and have to take them out again you kiiiiiiiiiiind of want to die) and it was just the WORST. I also bound my seams with bias because I don't have a serger and I shudder to think what would have happened to this if I'd just zig-zagged the seam allowance like I usually do. I love that you made pants! I made a dress :)

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  8. So, I'm like super anti culottes (and wide-legged trousers in general... spent the 90s in oversized pants and I'm not ready to go back to that!), but you're totally killing it in these. I love the necklace, too, and it's so awesome that it came from your grandma!

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  9. i love the trouser bloc style arc have been using lately - they have those gorgeous pleats on a couple of their patterns now and i love seeing it on these wide-legged culottes. i disagree, though, i think the stripes and the 'lottes are rocking, looking chic and comfy. the necklace does help - but i would wear it either way! :-)

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  10. Helen // Grosgrain GreenApril 30, 2015 at 9:09 AM

    Love this outfit. I think they are perfect together. I've been considering culottes patterns and really like this one. Thanks s for the heads up on the instructions though. I don't have lots of trouser sewing experience, but maybe I could figure it out anyway?

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  11. Really cool outfit! I am thinking about culottes as well, after all, they seem perfect for riding a bike... As more and more of the really cool sewing bloggers (like you) start making them they acutally grow on me. We´ll see:-)

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  12. Girl, I'll believe anything you tell me: if you say striped jersey and an Anna Sui printed cotton go together, who am I to argue? ^__^ You are pulling it off, quite nicely :) I love viscose... such a great drape :) And that cotton print is really something special isn't it? Great saturated colours, and those pleats... ah, I'm in love with pleats lately! ^__^ I'm also hard crushing on your shoes :D

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  13. I try not to make any blog related promises anymore- I am destined to break them! It's fine, if your life is getting in the way of blogging that probably means you're having lots of fun :) I love this outfit- I am slowly coming around to the idea of culottes. When they look this good it's hard to resist!

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  14. Dude, I totally put these on and was like, "this is a really weird look, tell me again why these are so popular all of a sudden?" Then I spent all day in them, and especially after shooting these photos I think I kind of got it. They are a pretty fun silhouette. And that necklace has all these little wooden animals throughout it. When my grandma wanted to give it to me I first thought, "this is a little crazy, when am I ever gonna wear this!" Turns out I just needed to make the right outfit for it! I have another one from her that is a giant lions head made of shells... haven't made the right outfit for that one yet...

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  15. I have the
    feeling culottes are going to be the item to make for this summer, I have seen
    a lot of others make a pair. I really like this pattern specially the detail of
    the pockets that hide in the pleats. Seeing the pictures got me tempted to buy
    the pattern but if the instructions are that poor I don’t think I will. I’m not
    experienced in making trousers so I do need good instructions.

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  16. I am still not entirely sold on culottes for myself. I think they might make me look a little frumpy, but I have to image that they are super comfortable! I do, however, really love your simple top! Great summer colors and weight. :)

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  17. Hey, looking good! I'm not sure what I think about this trouser trend... But here it looks nice. But I myself am short and a bit chubby so I don't think these would suit me well :D Love that fabric you used!

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  18. Hey Helen! You could probably figure it out. Style Arc's patterns are always really on trend and drafted really well and give a very professional result, but I really do wish their instructions were a bit more in depth. My main issues with these instructions were the above mentioned pockets before pleats thing, and also the order of constructing the back leg. I ignored their instructions and sewed my pants up this way: 1) sew fronts together at crotch seam 2) do all the pleats/pockets etc. 3) sew back darts 4) sew backs together at crotch seam for just a few inches, leaving the top open for the invisible zip 5) sew fronts to backs at inseam 6) sew fronts to backs at side seams... et voila! Then continue on with their instructions for attaching the waistband and invisible zip.

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  19. Hey Nathalie! Style Arc makes very 'on trend' patterns with a nice modern fit and a professional looking finish, but I really do wish their instructions were more thorough. Since I know what to expect with them I was confident buying the pattern. If you can't seem to find another pattern you like, I'd say that my main advice with this pattern is to avoid the aforementioned pockets before pleats issue, and secondly to do the order of construction as follows: 1) sew fronts together at crotch seam 2) do all the pleats/pockets etc. 3) sew back darts 4) sew backs together at crotch seam for just a few inches at the bottom, leaving the top open for the invisible zip (it also helps if you know how to sew an invisible zip since they don't really tell you - but there are a ton of internet tutorials for that) 5) sew fronts to backs at inseam 6) sew fronts to backs at side seams... et voila! Then continue on with their instructions for attaching the waistband and invisible zip.

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  20. Thanks Kata! It's all in the heels! These would make anyone look frumpy in a flat! I always think anyone can wear any look, especially if you're making it and can control the hemline.

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  21. Love the outfit! The way you finished the hem and waistband seam allowances are so neat!

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  22. I love these two prints together and you are so lucky to have been blessed by the sewing gods divine inspiration. Your necklace looks awesome with it too!

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  23. I think it's fine with your shoes and necklace pull together your outfit - if it works, it works! I am smitten with all the colors and your beautiful finishes.

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  24. I think the whole outfit looks great and yes separates are the best! That culotte fabric is so insanely cool. I haven't been bitten by the culotte bug yet - I'm so short I reckon I'd end up looking like an oompa loompa. This pattern though, with that fabric and thoooose shoes - I might be persuaded...

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  25. Love the culottes. I'm think I'm converted now and am going to try a pair. I actually have a bohemian looking rayon challis print I want to use-- very similar to this. I would wear this whole outfit in a heartbeat!

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  26. The shoes are gorgeous, but the outfit truly does hold its own! I love the combinations, both of print and styles.

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  27. Thank you
    for the instructions, I will let you know if I attempt to make them!

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  28. I totally thought those pants were lightweight silk or rayon until the closeup pic, super awesome! I think you're rocking the look hard, I have no idea how tall you are but if you told me 6' I'd 100% believe you (are you actually 6 feet tall?)

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  29. LOL! No! I think I'm absurdly average in all my dimensions. But thank you. I WISH I was a 6footer!

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  30. I cannot believe it, I have this pattern on my sewing table to be cut out when I get home tomorrow! Love your version though Sallieoh, mine will be a grey linen cotton with circular origami thingies that I picked up while in Japan a year ago! I'd always imagined them with a boxy cropped top with another top under so I don't show my sagging less than youthful belly. I'm with you on the Style Arc instructions - crazy aren't they?

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  31. Love this outfit! Stripes always work. I just bought two culotte patterns...I know...who buys two? Anyway, yours are giving me the urge to shove my current project off of the sewing table and get right to business adding these to my closet too!

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  32. I'd love to see how you wear these culottes with something else! I have the pattern too but I just can't figure out what to wear on top other than a similar silhouette to what you have in this post. Also, Mood is a jobber so a lot of their fabric either has small defects (that we may or may not see) or it wasn't used by the designer, or it's extra and the designer wants to unload it. So that fabric is Anna Suit but I bet she just didn't end up using that print in the end. If you look at that season, you might see stuff that's similar but not that print exactly. A quick google search looks like a lot of things in the same color palette.

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  33. You always inspire me! I love both fabrics and this outfit is perfect. I have been feeling the culotte trend as well but haven't jumped on board yet.

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  34. i love this on you! have made bunch of hemlocks myself, and i'm wearing the hell out of them (i made few cropped, sleeveless versions too, perfect for the summery weather we have these days).. and i love the way these culottes look on you (and i'm totally not into the culottes trend, but you're kind of selling these to me)

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  35. A Stitching OdysseyMay 13, 2015 at 2:01 AM

    You're killing it in culottes...plain and simple! Love the shape and style on you, in fact the whole outfit seems so effortless and cool!

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  36. Love this Sal!! An inspired print on print combo. Best to just follow those whims. And look how smashing it turned out. I've had my eye on the Erin culottes too, and was hoping to make them in something quite hefty like this fabric too so good to know that the pleats will behave themselves. If its not too personal question, can I ask what size you cut in the Erin culottes? xx

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  37. WOW! These look absolutely fantastic! and as usual you're seriously rocking them in your usual cool cool way. First time I've been tempted by the culottes trend. I love these!

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