Butterick B6178 culottes

I challenge anyone to find a more perfect culotte pattern than Butterick's B6178 - but seriously, if you do please let me know, because I'm really getting into culottes now. I'm sewing them up like they're going out of fashion (they probably will soon...but I don't care, which is a good job, as I made 2 pairs of these in as many weeks).

First pair of B6178's
Culottes have always stirred up a little interest in me. I made a sort-of pair last year by hacking the GBSB Casual Trousers pattern, and sometimes wear them with a detachable pinafore bib, but they are what they say on the tin - casual. The Named Mimosa Culottes have been on my radar for a while, but they're just a little too voluminous to tempt me. When I came across a pair of B6178s on the Sew Tesutti blog, I was sold, these were the ones.
I made view D - the simplest version, without any additional pleats or tucks - and I think they are spot on, both in volume and fit. The have handy pockets, and fasten with a zip up the back - another opportunity to avoid trying a fly fastening! I thought I would be cutting it quite fine size wise, as my measurements aligned with the size 14... no room for manouever if I needed the next size up as I'd only bought the version of the pattern that went up to size 14. Luckily there's plenty of ease in the culottes, and I although I didn't need to, you could probably attach the waistband with a bit more ease and get an extra inch out of them.

Pair two, worn on holiday in Barcelona
I made pair 1 in a khaki, mid-weight, poly/crepe-feel fabric from the grab bins in Abakhan. I wasn't so sure if I'd definitely like the style and fit, so I didn't want to commit to anything fancy fabric-wise. Anyway, I thought they were great and was wearing them straight away. The fabric was a really good match too as it has a great drape, and hangs really nicely. The culottes are Ease-Stitched into the waistband, basted and then sewn. I managed to catch a few little tucks by accident when sewing, so they're not quite the neatest, but the bits I caught are pretty symmetrical, so I didn't feel the need to unpick the whole thing and sew it again - it's a design feature darling.

Close up of fabric used for my 2nd pair
I took a little bit more care over my second pair. In fact, quite a lot of care over making sure the pinstripes in this lovely Fabworks crepe/viscose were straight. I had such a clear vision of the finished version in this fabric - I was thinking Cos/Comme des Garçons style with a little Vivienne Westwood pirate era thrown in - and I'm so pleased that they match up to it in reality! There's actually a pair just like them in Topshop for around £30 at the minute - mine cost around £12 to make.

Why buy Topshop when you can make your own?
I was sewing pretty fast as I wanted to wear them for a night out, and they only took me about 4-5 hours, including hand-finishing the waistband - I've never slip stitched so fast! It's a great, no-fuss pattern to make up. The only thing I'd do differently next time - yes there's definitely going to be a next time - is to apply heavier interfacing on the waistband. I never really pay attention to the weight of interfacing required, so I have that bunchy waistband problem fairly regularly. 

Pictures taken in the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona
Back view!
I'm currently trying to work out the fit of the By Hand London Flora bodice so I can make a B6178/Flora mash-up to wear to a summer wedding or two - fingers crossed it works!

FBA and fitting adjustments to the Flora bodice
I also have some of the pinstripe fabric left and fancy making a matchy-matchy top - I'm channeling Cos-style again here. It's a decent chunk, but probably less than a metre... Does anyone have any simple top recommendations for woven fabric? Maybe something sleeveless or cropped would work, or perhaps one of the Seamwork patterns..?

Stay in touch!

Mid-way through Me Made May

I'm really enjoying taking part in Me Made May, and as we've reached the half-way point, I thought it would be a good time to share what I've worn so far! So here's week 1 and 2, and a couple of new makes that I've sewn up as a part of my pledge.

Week 1

Top row: days 1, 2 & 3; Bottom Row: days 4, 5, 6 & 7
Day 1 - Rise Turtleneck and self-drafted skirt with pinafore bib; Day 2 - Kielo Wrap Dress and new Driftless Cardigan; Day 3 - self-drafted velvet skirt, Rise Turtleneck and Retro Rucksack; Day 4 - Rise Turtleneck hack, self-drafted skirt; Day 5 - Rise Turtleneck hack and Tilly and the Buttons Miette Skirt (from the pre-blog days!); Day 6 - Nita Wrap Skirt; Day 7 - self-drafted culottes with pinafore bib and Make it Easy top.

Week 2

Top row: days 8, 9 & 10; Bottom Row: days 11, 12, 13 & 14
Day 1 - new Butterick B6178 Culottes (to be blogged) and sleeveless Rise Turtleneck; Day 2 - self-drafted skirt; Day 3 - GBSB casual trousers; Day 4 - Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress; Day 5 - another new pair of Butterick B6178 Culottes (to be blogged); Day 6 - Kielo Wrap Dress; Day 7 - Turia Dungaree Dress.

Things I've noticed so far...

- The daily selfie thing is hard work! I know it's not the main aim of MMMay, but I really do want to document it. I've been enlisting the help of various friends, colleagues and my boyfriend, so it's not just a month of mirror selfies - let's just say I'm spreading the word about MMMay!

- I have very clear favourites - at the minute it's my Butterick B6178 culottes (which I'll post about soon) and one of my new, pledged tops: a sleeveless hack of the Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck. Taking daily pictures has really got me thinking about my regular repeat wears, and encouraged me to pick out some lesser-worn garments to mix in with my new faves.

- I wear A LOT of black. I'm trying to inject a bit more colour into what I wear, so we'll see how the rest of the month goes.

My Pledged Makes

I threw in a sideline pledge to make a couple of tops, to try and fill some of the gaps in my me-made wardrobe. Now the weather's warmed up, I've noticed that I'm particularly lacking in summer-appropriate tops, so that was the driving force behind this sleeveless hack of the Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck (worn on 4 of the first 14 days of MMMay!).

New top with old self-drafted skirt
As a part of my pledge, I also hoped to re-introduce some 'long-lost' makes into regular rotation, so I'm really pleased that this self-drafted floral skirt got it's first spin in a while with my new top! The 'hack' was simple - I re-traced the whole Rise Turtleneck pattern, but adjusted it by tracing the armholes of a TNT sleeveless pattern. I also took in the sides to make the body a bit closer fitting.

The shaded bit shows the adjustment to the armhole.
Top number 2 is made using a Prima Pattern from 1995 - one from of a box full of AMAZING 80's and 90s patterns that was very generously donated to me by my school textiles teacher. I'll do a post on them soon, but for now, here's the ummm.... 'sexy' top that I tried out.

Pattern from Prima Magazine in 1995
I made it with my holiday at the end of May in mind, so I imagine it will make a MMMay appearance then (to be honest, I'm not sure I can get away with it at home!) It was super easy and quick to sew up, and required very little fabric, but it is pretty revealing compared to my usual style!

Holiday top worn with a self-drafted skirt and Butterick B6178 Culottes
I'm feeling really positive about the challenge of Me Made May, particularly due to the kind words and encouragement from fellow sewists/participants in the online sewing community - here's to the second half! I'm going to The Big Simplicity Blog Meet in Manchester on the 21st, so hopefully see some other MMMay-ers there :)

How is everyone else feeling at the half way point?

Stay in touch!

The Driftless Cardigan: When bad fabric happens to good patterns

Happy (Me Made) May everyone! Here's one I made a bit earlier... the Driftless Cardigan by Grainline Studio. My handmade wardrobe is a bit lacking in outerwear/jackets/cardigans, and the pattern looked pretty straightforward so I thought I'd give it a go. Of course, I decided not to make it easy for myself by completely rebelling against the recommended fabrics...

My completed Grainline Studio Driftless Cardigan
But just LOOK at this fabric! I should've been looking for a nice and cosy jersey (the pattern suggests 'medium weight jersey knit fabrics with a minimum of 20% widthwise stretch'), but the temptation was too real on a recent trip to Fabworks. It's pretty synthetic... almost a 'dance' fabric, and definitely not the most suitable for your everyday cardigan, but I just really loved the gold. It's a shame (but also to be expected) that working with it made me want to throw my machine out of the window. The stretch and slip made it really difficult to sew up something that was meant to be so simple!

D R E A M Y  but difficult fabric
I set myself up for frustration, but here are a few things that just about saved this tricky stretch sew:
1. Ball point needle
2. Stretch Stitch
3. Walking foot
4. Hand stitching

First go with my new walking foot - a good investment!
I invested in a walking foot after having a tricky time sewing the Nita Wrap Skirt in faux leather. I was a bit nervous to try it out as you have to unscrew a bit of the foot/arm to fix it in place, and it's pretty intimidating in looks. Although it didn't totally resolve all of my issues, it definitely helped to feed the fabric through with a bit more ease, so I'm glad I had it ready to use.

Side shot with the split hem band
The pattern is wonderful and provides great instructions to make it a very easy sew (thank goodness I wasn't making couture with this fabric)! The design and construction of the cardigan is fun and unusual - there are pockets tucked away where the lower band meets the main cardigan at the front, and I made View B with the split hem that's longer at the back.

A salvaged sew but some slight puckering on the front
The biggest shame is that the stretch and slip in my fabric threw off the fit of the binding that finishes the opening of the cardigan. I hand-finished it as the pattern instructs, but it ended up being a bit over-stretched, so there's some puckering down the front.

Front view
Back view
To be honest, this really should be one of those disastrous-sews-that-never-was, but I've come round to thinking it's so bad that it's good. I put loads of effort into making it work, so I can live with the puckering at the front - I've convinced myself it just looks like the way it's meant to drape. It also gives the cardigan a very slight 'bubble shape', which I quite like.

Finished and worn on #MMMay16 day 2
I wear a lot of black - I'm wearing it with my sleeved Named Clothing Kielo Wrap Dress in these pictures - so it's an easy thing to throw on and jazz up an outfit. Someone from work also told me I looked 'very Ab Fab' in it, which I'm going to choose to take as a compliment...
Next version in gold inspo...(haha)
Thanks Chris for taking my photos (fast becoming my Instagram as well as IRL bf)
I think I owe it to the pattern to make it again in a more suitable fabric, because everyone needs a cosy throw on cardigan don't they? But seriously, I would absolutely recommend both the Driftless Cardigan and the shiny gold fabric to anyone... just maybe not together on the same project!

Does anyone else ever get tempted to stray outside the recommended fabrics? 

Stay in touch!

Thanks for visiting!

Thanks for visiting!