Since Glowbug’s our last baby, after she was born, I decided that I would make myself a whole bunch of shorts. And they’d be cute! Not too long (cause I look terrible in long shorts), and not too short (cause I’m not a teenager, hah). After I made myself two pairs of Iris shorts, I promptly lost steam. When I found out about the Tania culottes, they were so cute that they gave me clothes-sewing energy again, so after only a month of dithering, I finally finished them!
I initially wanted to make them out of voile or some other woven since that’s what I’m used to sewing, but I ended up getting this rayon jersey because I liked the print. As you can see, the print is very much not matched up at the seams. This really uses up the recommended yardage, so I didn’t have much extra space to attempt to fussy cut anything. I cut out a small, which probably would have been too tight at the waist if I’d bought a woven, so good thing I had a knit! The small is also a good length for me, but I’ve read other bloggers saying that their culottes came out pretty miniskirt-ey. I’m sure they’re taller, though — I’m (almost) 5’2″.
The jersey is slightly sheer, and I worried for quite a while about whether I should try to line my culottes — it was a stressful idea since I’m not a very experienced clothes sewer and lining isn’t in the pattern, and does anyone line jersey clothes, anyway? I procrasti-googled for a while, and finally found someone who posted some great advice: sometimes the simplest solution is the best; wear a slip. Heh! (I wasn’t able to find a slip-slip, but tights work well enough and look less underclothes-ey when Sunshine lifts the side of my culottes up to my hip.)
I tried using woolly nylon thread in my serger for the first time, and it took me an entire night just figuring out what settings to use. I was so happy when it finally worked! Then, you know how sergery people recommend you make a binder or something to record your serger settings for all the different fabric-thread-stitch type combinations? I had the iDatabase app on my ipod, and it’s so fun for keeping serger settings!
I learned from Four Square Walls that the great thing about making these in a knit is that you can leave off the zipper and just use elastic. Yayyyy! I zigzagged most of my seams on my regular machine and then finished them on my serger, but when I made the waistband, I zigzagged the stitching line first, then zigzagged one inch elastic onto the top seam allowance. That part obviously gets stretched a lot, though, so I’ve been hearing the stitching pop apart when I’ve pulled my culottes on too carelessly. What I should have done was serge the seam with the knife lowered, then serge the elastic on, again with the knife lowered. Next time!
Other bloggers very helpfully mentioned that you have to let bias skirts hang for a day (as a clothes-sewing newbie, I totally didn’t know about that), but then it was an ordeal trying to mark a level hem. I don’t have a dress form and everyone’s asleep when I sew, so I tried this really neat idea to use a chalked string tied across a door (I used the kids’ sidewalk chalk, heh) to mark the hem line, but I couldn’t get it to work. I ended up taping the string between a desk and a chair in front of a mirror, and then guesstimated where to pin mark the hem, since my arms aren’t long enough to reach without bending a little.
My next challenge was to try rolled hems for the first time; this took another full night. I ended up using Line of Selvage‘s settings for when wooly nylon is in both loopers, and that worked perfectly. Whew! For future reference:
- Left needle: no thread
- Right needle: 3.5 (regular serger thread)
- Upper looper: 2 (wooly nylon)
- Lower looper: 5 (wooly nylon)
- Differential feed: 0.7
- Stitch length: R
- Stitch width: 5.5
I’m not sure whether it was my ability (or lack thereof) or whether I was on grain or bias, but sometimes my hem came out straight, and other times it came out wavy-lettucey.
These culottes are sooooo comfy that it’s kind of amazing how cute and fancible they still look (well, would look, if I wore anything besides t-shirts). The box pleat that hides the shortsiness is really cool.
And I can sit down without having to be fussy about it! Hoo boy, I am the opposite of lady-like. No primping for blog pictures here… although I did moisturize my dry knees for you. Mr. Yazoo was sighing at me because I realized after we took a bunch of pictures that my knees were all grey, and I made him wait while I ran inside to put on moisturizer. hehehe.
This was my September goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. Now I have three whole (casual, hot-weather-wearing) things to wear on my bottom half!