Casual Trousers to Culottes

I love a midi length skirt, but flowing fabric with added the added practicality of protection from the wind? I'm talking about the culotte craze, which gets a definite yes from me. And look at all the beautiful versions that keep popping up on Pinterest...
Culotte inspiration gathered from Pinterest

One very big encouragement to make a pair was seeing the Mimosa Culottes released as a part of the new Named Clothing collection. Aren't they GREAT?!

Mimosa Culottes - Named Clothing
I'm not quite ready to brave the fly front fastening yet - I'll get there eventually! - so I decided to test the water with a hack of a tried and tested trouser pattern. I've already made a couple of pairs of the Casual Trouser from Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with fabric. They're so comfortable and easy to wear with everything. I even made a detachable bib and braces for one pair to turn them into overalls (I wrote a tutorial here). The fit on the waist/hips/bum is perfect, so it was just a case of altering the shape of the legs.
Culotte reference: McCalls M7131
I looked up a few culotte patterns like the one above as points of reference on altering the leg shape. I found that they generally have a straight inside leg, and it's the outside leg that extends out from the hip - in an almost A-line fashion - to give that voluminous shape.

A rough look at how I hacked the casual trousers
Apologies for the pretty crude drawing (my hacked pattern looked so messy that I didn't take a picture of it) but the dotted line gives a rough idea of how I adjusted the legs. Of course I made matching alterations to both the front and back trouser legs, and took a fair bit off the length too. Et voila, culottes!

Checking out my new culottes
I made them up in a medium weight black crepe, and they feel super luxurious. I love how they move when I walk. Again, like the original casual trousers, they're really comfy thanks to the elasticated waist, but the fabric gives them a bit of a smarter feel. I'd like to get a bit more adventurous with fabric choice and make a second pair.

If you'd like to try out some culottes but are unsure if they'll suit you then I'd definitely recommend altering a TNT trouser pattern. It was really simple and guarantees you the good fit on the waist and hips. I feel comfortable shopping around for a more challenging culotte pattern (I'm talking fly fastening!) now I know I definitely like the style.

Culottes in Amsterdam!
And as a final note, my culottes got some good wear on a weekend in Amsterdam. There was a lot of trawling the fabric shops... more on which to follow soon!

What do you think of the culotte trend? Has anyone else jumped on board and made a pair?

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Sewing Indie Month: The Cressida skirt

We're nearly at the end of it now, but happy Sewing Indie Month! The month is all about celebrating indie sewing patterns, and on top of that, there's been tutorials, sewalongs and some brilliant pattern bundles for sale (with 20% of proceeds going to charity too) - see all the action here

Here's my make from pattern bundle 1 that I snapped up in August - the Cressida Skirt by Jennifer Lauren Vintage Patterns.

The pattern is sweet and feminine, yet simple in design and totally wearable. It also has pockets so it's practical too. You can get plenty of button hole practice in with this make. The pattern offers really thorough instructions on making both versions, but button holes aren't my favourite so I stuck with the single row button placket rather than the double.

I made it up in this sort of twee and slightly unseasonal vintage cotton that I picked up in Oxfam. I've been steering clear of delicate florals, but the retro print really lends itself to the style of the skirt. It's turned out pretty summery, but I think I can get a decent amount of wear out of it when paired with tights.

I was in two minds whether to add the belt loops or not as I thought they looked quite big, but they actually make for a lovely feature. And luckily, I had just enough of these buttons in my stash. They've been hanging around for years, so it's nice to finally put them to use. Also I loved the technical challenge of a neat bit of top stitching.

Another great thing about Sewing Indie Month is that you can enter your makes for the chance to win prizes. I'm going to submit this for the Everyday Casual Category which is being hosted by Mary at Idle Fancy. This category is for 'those pieces that can take you from brunch with friends to a day at the park. Comfortable, chic, and easy to blend into your busy life.' and I think this skirt fits that description pretty well.

Did anyone else manage to grab one of the Bundles?  I'm looking forward to making the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers, and the True Bias Sutton Blouse. What will you be making?

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