Where to begin?
Well, they're not finished and I've been working on them steadily for 2 days (upwards of 12 hrs of actual sewing now). That's to say nothing of the hours I've spent tracing and altering and muslining and blogging. Which ones have I thrown my lot in with? The modern ones - with back crotch curve and darts altered like the McCalls vintage ones.
Fucking pleats! They're like sartorial instruments of torture. Between the spatial reasoning I had to develop to fold them and the fussiness of getting the seams aligned and being careful not to sew the wrong bits (or leave holes in the right bits) - not to mention that this fabric, for its many pluses, does not want to hold a crease - I am spent. I can scarcely care about bringing back the trend.
But we haven't begun to discuss how they actually look, oh no. They're a bit like something that would no doubt have me unceremoniously thrown off Project Runway - or seriously humiliated by Michael Kors.
I should have shortened the crotch length by an additional half an inch, at least. The crotch hangs halfway to my knees. Did I say that I have now taken 5 inches off the bottom (and they're still too long) and 2.5 inches out of each side seam (that's 5 inches of width, over all) and the things just continue to grow? WTF, people. How do these pants keep getting bigger?
OK, note to self: Do not accidentally cut a size up and then say it's ok cuz you're having a fat week. I should have made these in a size 12 - down from my usual size 14 - not a freakin' 16. There is SO MUCH FABRIC. The pleats add, like, a yard of it somehow.
In an effort to smallen them up, I increasingly hacked away at the internal construction, making it look like something out of a freak show. (There are internal side pockets which is why I didn't just easily serge a whack of the side seams and call it a day. Trust me, though, I did consider just serging off the pockets.)
Then there's the fact that, inasmuch as culottes are just like a skirt mixed with pants, culottes are NOT like a skirt, nor are they like pants. Instead of bringing the best of both, in this instance they appear to be a mash up of the worst elements culminating in a kind of sack-like effect. Note: It's not flattering.
Lest you wonder if wearing things large is slimming, I assure you it's not. It's absolutely as volume-adding as garments that are too small.
I've done the best I can with these so I'm going to hem them, add a hook and eye and see if all of my franken-efforts will yield a wearable piece.
OK, let's take 2 minutes to focus on the good, yes?
- If I were to make them again in a size 14, with a shorter crotch and with a creasable fabric minus the pleats, I imagine they would work well.
- As it is, the colour and drape of my fabric is awesome. And it somehow works perfectly with the spring palette colours I chose. It's not too brown - more mulberryish - and I love it.
- I don't have to worry that they're not adequately "retro". Trust me, they're like nothing out of this century or half of the last one.
- It's good to have to work one's brain in a new, painful way every once in a while. It's been a long time since I've been so frustrated and confused during a sewing project. I guess it's about time. Really, there's no learning in an easy project - just fun.
- Given how many challenges I have encountered with this project, I have persisted. Every time the bobbin ran out in the middle of an important seam, every time I had to find some way to alter things half-sewn, each frustrating moment that, initially and arrogantly, I felt insulated from on account of my having made a muslin - I worked through. There's something to be said for that.
Yes, I'm going to show them to you - probably on me, if they are wearable in the end. I just can't do it today. I need to regroup.
Do shower me with your consolation and head pats. Please.