I don’t really edit blog photos much – sometimes a little rotation/cropping, or leveling to show details – but I didn’t touch these. These culottes are blue. How blue?
My aesthetic is often neutral and earthy and discreet, like “Oh look at this stoneware, it’s so taupe, how daring”, especially when it comes to pants (“Is this denim medium enough?”) but not today, Kinfolk. These are midi-length MN Tania Culottes in electric blue rayon/linen, and hand to heart they’ve actually faded in the wash.
Enough blue language (waggles eyebrows), let’s talk about the pattern. As you can see, they’re missing the Tania ‘thing’, that clever hidden pleat in front and back. I think it’s really elegant. It’s just one of the elements that didn’t work for me.
First of all, I had what seems to be a common problem – I sewed my size, L, but my fronts and backs were narrower than the waistband. It’s an easy fix, though a little surprising to find in an indie pattern from a high-caliber designer. I narrowed the pleats by 5/8” each (basically, moving the pleat stitch line 5/8” closer to the crotch).
Then my first invisible zipper broke. As always, I kindly implore invisible zippers to go kick a cow. This isn’t particularly high-quality fabric (it was cheap though, party on), and when I unpicked the broken zipper I popped some threads in a couple places. After fusing a patch of self-fabric to the back of each hole and stitching around the patches, I installed a new zipper. This time I got a funny tuck of fabric where the zipper meets the side seam. I didn’t want to risk unpicking again so I am very much living with it!
I used a real potpourri of seam finishes. The zipper side seams are serged separately; the crotch and other side seam are French-seamed. I cut the inseams on the selvages and didn’t finish them at all. The hems are curved gradually enough that I was able to sew a simple double-fold hem with no trouble, which is nice, because there’s two of them and they’re long!
Unfortunately, I didn’t love the finished culottes. The waistband was a little betwixt-and-between – wider than usual, but not quite wide enough to be a statement – the pocket openings were buckling, and the pleat didn’t really suit me. So I wore these very sporadically until I got sick back in January (ordinary flu B). I didn’t have the oomph to sew much but I made a lot of progress with my mending, especially these!
Most importantly I wanted to fix the pockets. I actually bought this pattern before the pocket piece was added, but I didn’t want to reprint, so I just winged my own opening angle/length. So my gapey pockets weren’t the fault of the pattern. It does seem to happen to the ‘official’ pockets, too, but luckily it’s an easy fix.
I just smooshed the excess past the waistline and trimmed it off. While I was in there, I also converted the pleats to gathers. Finally I narrowed the waistband to a finished width of 1.25”. I’m much happier now!
These are really comfortable and easy to move in! Happily, my pockets are smooth now!
I think this color is pretty easy to dress up or down. I actually sewed these for a specific event. When we were briefly in London last summer we were gifted a tea in the Winter Garden Restaurant at the Landmark Hotel. I wore these with a dressy white blouse, and, I’m sure, a big goofy tourist grin. The tea began with two men in top hats simultaneously opening double doors so we could sweep into the lobby, and only got better from there!
There was a piano player taking requests, who I never actually saw because he was hidden in some indoor palm grove. A hushed and scornful man brought us endless vanilla-scented tea and ice cold cream in heavy silver pitchers. Even the air felt fancy. It was delicious and elegant and probably the most memorable meal of my life. I want to go back!
Speaking of wanting to go back, look what finally arrived in the mail…
Well, I’ll wear it in gratitude and hope. And I’ll wear my updated, very blue culottes much more often, too!
I can’t do this in a skirt! Can you tell I’m about to crack up and roll off a wall?
7 weeks into shutdown, the only way out is through! May your tea be hot and your cream cold! ❤
Pattern: MN Tania Culottes
Pattern cost: NA (previously made)
Supplies: 3 yards of cobalt linen/rayon, $15.00, Sewfisticated; thread, zipper, $3.04, Sewfisticated; zipper, $1.50, Gather Here
Total time: 7.5 hours
Total cost: $19.54