Culottes! I Should Have Thought of This Sooner :)

Culottes Saved the Summer

Hellu Pussycats!

As I had mentioned in my previous post, I have
been blessed with big thighs. And, as much as I 
have come to accept my thighs as they are, the summer
heat can often bring about certain challenges.

I love wearing skirts in the summer. 
I live for this time of the year when I can throw on a 
flowy cotton skirt, tank top & flip flops. Heaven!
I think shorts look silly on me and I don't mind capris
but skirts are my favourite.
However, when it is super hot & sticky my thighs
can get really uncomfortable. Oh the chaffe! Booo!

Sooooo....while I was pondering what skirts to sew up with 
 my pretty summer cottons, I was lamenting about the idea
of wearing bike shorts under my skirts. I know lots of gals
do this and it is a perfectly respectable solution.
I was debating whether or not I would have to sew
in linings into the skirts to help hide the bike shorts when
 I had a light bulb moment...Culottes!
Hallelujah!! The BEST of both worlds :)
I immediately started to root thru my many stashes of
vintage patterns in search of a starting off point.

(BTW- Culottes is a word that originated in the French language.
 Historically, "culottes" referred to the knee-breeches commonly worn 
by gentlemen of the European upper-classes from the late 
Middle Ages or Renaissance through the early nineteenth century. )

Voila! I had may base to start from. I decided to go
with the McCall's pattern on the right. I wanted my culottes
to look like a nice full almost circle skirt :)

#1 - 4---> I traced off a copy from the vintage pattern.
I had to make a few adjustments to give me 
a better idea of the look that I wanted for my culottes.
I added fullness to the sides and throughout both the front
 and back skirt. I also added more of a hip curve for a slight
hug over the hips and waist.

#5 ---> I was going to be using lightweight cottons and a rayon blend
for my finished culottes. I chose a fabric for my fitting that would mimic
the cottons I had picked out. I always pick up cheap and "ugly" fabrics from the sale
table or from the GoodWill to use for fittings.
You don't want to use your good fabric for fittings as you will see why
in #8 ;)

#6 ---> A quick tip for beginners: When sewing any item with a crotch, 
the back is always longer than the front. Keep an eye on these so
 you don't sew the back into the front. I admit I have done this many times ;)

#7 & 8 ---> I sewed up my crotch seams and side seams. I tied an elastic around my waist
not only to hold my fitting up but to give my my true waist line. 
You can see trouble right away. There is pulling in the front crotch
and I need to add to the waistline at the center front as well.

#9 ---> I marked the true waist with a marker so I could transfer
that information to my flat pattern.
( This is why you don't use your good fabric for fittings.
You often need to make markings on your fitting and mistakes get made.
 This way you don't ruin your good fabric! ;)

#10 & 14 ---> Back to the drawing board! I added a little bit to the
curve of the front crotch to help ease the pulling in the front crotch.
I added to the waistline at both the front and back. I did take
some of the fullness out as I went a bit overboard with
 how "circley" I wanted it to be ;)
I cut out a new fitting and tied my elastic back on.
I wanted mine to fit right on my true waist above my belly button
so I marked on the second fitting exactly where I wanted the top
of the waistband to sit.

#15 ---> I cut off the waistline the height of my waistband (1 1/2")
so the band doesn't sit too high.

#16 --->I cut my waistband twice the width of my elastic plus 1" for
seam allowance and 1/4" for ease.

#17 ---Once I had everything sitting at the waist where I liked it
it was time to mark the hem. Looks like a pretty sweet skirt....

#18 ---> Oh wait!!! It it's not a skirt, it is a pair of very comfy culottes!

Here is one of the pair finished :)

I was super happy with the end result. So comfortable
and so flowy!! These are perfect for hot summer days and
no sticky thighs rubbing together :)

---> In the end I put the elastic only in the back waistband b/c
I got carried away with the fullness and added too much.
The elastic all the way around made me look like a balloon.
It would have been OK on a taller gal but I looked ridiculous.

* I took some of the fullness from the side seams but added a few
gathers to the sides while sewing on the waistband.

Hope this tutorial was helpful Pussycats!
if you have any questions , I am happy to help.

Have a great afternoon!!
Luv Weezi xo


Monica Toth said...

Loved reading this today; totally put a smile on my face. As a fellow owner of ample, Eastern European immigrant thighs, I too love wearing "flowy" things when the weather turns warm but I will NEVER wear shorts! Love your comments, pictures, and instructions. I'm a knitter, so I'll have to drop by with my daughter to sort through your treasures. It's time that I bring her; I was wearing one of your funky halter tops in the '90s when I met her dad/my I guess I'm passing the tradition of shopping local and funky onto the kid. Hope to see you soon!

Lisa Weezi Gaverluk said...

Thanx Monica! I am thrilled you liked it :) I will wear "gym" shorts but only around the house....yuck!!!
I am thrilled my halter helped pave the path to creating your daughter! hahah!! Look forward to seeing you guys!
thanx for writing, Lisa xo