|Butterick 5681 - highly modified|
I haven't got a lot of chutzpa right now but I find sewing oddly meditative in my meh state. This project was just the ticket.
In truth, it was just the ticked cuz I did all the hard work when I made similar culottes as part of the Spring Basics Palette last year. That's when I carefully reviewed 2 culottes patterns (one vintage and one modern) to discern the differences in construction and fit. In the end, I opted to make the modern version (with lots of modifications) and I just wasn't thrilled. (Note to new readers: I did NUMEROUS posts on this and you can find the whole shebang if you search under "culottes challenge" or "B5681".)
On reflection, I find an inner leg pleat to be very fussy, not easy to walk in - and essentially weaker than a pleat free version. Seriously, who likes to bulk up the inner thigh, hinging at the base of the crotch??? Interestingly, B5681 comes with instructions for a pleat and non-pleat option (unlike the vintage pattern I was also working from, which only came with a pleat).
This time I used this pattern for Version B (the pleat version) - which I carefully and significantly altered right after the last experimentation (as even then I knew I'd be making these again). I also changed up the waist band, to create my patented "Is it a Waistband or Is it a Facing?"
You can see here that I serged the bottom of the inner waistband and, instead of flipping it under (which would add bulk - which is not my scene, like, ever - but esp. with denim). Then, from the front, I stitched in the ditch to affix the "face-band".
While I really like the fit this yields, I've never been able to find instructions on inserting the zipper this way. It would be one thing if there were a seam at the fold line of the top of the waistband (the way it works when you properly do a facing). Then I could use Tasia's awesome method (see here and here). It's another thing when you actually make a waistband that folds right over the top of the pants unit.
My "method" folds the waistband in half but the fold over section is free from the top of the pants unit - hence the hybrid. So I had to make up a method for sewing in the zipper that would allow for all of the weirdness - but wouldn't look hideous. I succeeded because, frankly, I couldn't get worked up about it. I figured: There's a slot for a zipper. There's a zipper. Put it together. And it worked.
Potentially Useful Note: I decided to interface the waistband piece with silk organza - not my usual choice. Thing is, I find that fusible interfacing on denim pulls away after numerous washings and the waistband goes all weird and loses integrity. The organza gives great stand and doesn't bulk things up. It works with the denim but also functions independently. I recommend it esp since I merely serged the edges with the organza over the denim and everything happily affixed without any onerous additional steps.
I have to say the fit on these is spot on. They're slim in the waist and hip and they gracefully widen in the leg. The crotch is the perfect height (sometimes an issue with culottes). The stiffness of the denim gives them a great, retro feel but the colour and composition of the fabric are very modern.
I also really like the pockets:
Note: If you make these, the pattern gives whack instructions on the length of the pocket opening. Add a good 2 inches. I thought it would be too small. I even measured my hand and added 1/2 an inch, but it's still barely adequate for my man-hands.
Here's something I do, when I sew with denim that might shock you:
I use pen to delineate the markings. If you look centre-photo, where the pocket meets the seam, you'll see what I mean. I also draw on the darts with pen. I actually think it's cool - ridiculous, I know - to see these on denim. It's points to the industrial quality of the fabric, IMO.
All in all, these fit really well. They're very nicely constructed - but not finely so - if I do say so myself. And they helped me to muddle through some free time that I might otherwise spend worrying. Oh - and they're the penultimate project of the Fall Capsule Collection. Not bad, I suspect you'll agree...
So, what do you think of them? I know that culottes are divisive, but let's talk good, bad and ugly!
PS: Thank you SO much for your continuing comments and emails re: my mum. I cannot tell you how much we all appreciate your thoughtfulness and great information. It is inspiring to see how many of you have managed through similar situations, so gracefully. I will respond to everyone - just sometimes I need to walk away from the topic for a little while...
PPS: I saw my naturopath yesterday (my hormone panel came back) and the results are quite interesting - and useful! Next post is about this...