Whole Lotta Cool Culottes

BurdaStyle Pleated Culottes 04/2015 #113

As I began cutting the fabric for these culottes, I knew I was either going to really hate the end result or really love it. My sewing projects lately have been leaps of faith: slightly strange patterns that I wouldn’t normally think I’d wear (yeah, culottes) and often paired with pretty bold fabric choices. (See my satin jogging pants as recent proof.) So it could go either way in terms of wearability or giveawayability. Verdict: LOVE these, and will definitely be wearing a lot!

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This is BurdaStyle pattern 04/2015 #113 – Pleated Culottes. I used a cotton-linen woven I bought at Fabricland last month.

BurdaStyle Pleated Culottes 04/2015 #113A

I had to put a dart in the back of the waistband to improve the fit (this really should have been drafted to be a curved waistband, given how wide the waistband is). Ha, I make it sound like I know enough about sewing to know that, but I learned that from my sewing instructor Dilys at Sew Be It Studio, where I just finished up a 5-week, once-a-week class called Garment Construction. I was more advanced than the other two students but I still learned a lot making these culottes as well as a dress under Dilys’ guidance. She’s also super friendly and so much fun to hang around — one of those people that’s bursting with personality.

BurdaStyle Pleated Culottes 04/2015 #113

Dilys virtually saved these pants by helping me decide what to do about the HORRIBLE GIANT FRONT PLEATS that were poofing out at the front like ridiculous clown pants. I sewed down the front pleats all the way from the waistband to the hem, but if you look at the Burda pattern they are just meant to be pleated at the waist and hanging open down the front. Ugh. As high-waisted pants, the extra volume around the tummy was not the least bit flattering. Sewing the pleats down with some top stitching made all the difference in terms of actually feeling good wearing these.

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This was my first time trying a fly zip! Thank goodness Dilys was there to walk me through it. Despite this pattern being featured in the April 2015 issue of BurdaStyle Magazine (European edition) as the “Sewing Lesson for Beginners” — which means it gets a four-page colour spread with illustrated instructions — I still wouldn’t have known what the hell to do to put the fly zip in.

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Back view. I’m a bit horrified to see that this looks like a front view with backwards feet. What the hell happened to my ass??

With these culottes I am breaking all the rules I ever read for petite gals like me: avoid wide pants cause they make you look shorter, and don’t wear large-scale prints because they will overwhelm your small frame. I CALL BULLSHIT ON THE RULES. If you’ll pardon my giant ego I think I look pretty damn good in these. πŸ˜€

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11 thoughts on “Whole Lotta Cool Culottes

  1. I like these, and I love the fabric. And I’m jealous that you found a good little garment construction class to take. I struggle with the issue of wide pants/short legs too. I’m kind of thinking I can choose to wear wide pants some days, knowing that those days I’ll look shorter than I will look on other days πŸ˜›

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    • Felicia, I’m betting you’d look just as tall as you look on other days. Seriously, I think all this business of avoiding wide pants is a fallacy. It’s like that meme I’ve seen on Facebook recently: “How to Get a Bikini Body: Put a bikini on your body”. Right? We’ve just got to go ahead and sew and wear whatever we feel good in. πŸ™‚

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  2. I think it’s all in how you do it. If you’re short and thin, I think you can get away with it; I’m short and fat, so wide-legged pants just make me look like a cube. These look great on you, though, and getting rid of the extra bulk worked really well. I bet leaving the pleats as is would work okay with a fabric with a lot of drape–you’d just end up with more of a skirt-y look rather than a pant-y one.

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  3. LOVE these. They look terrific on you and the fabric is great. I actually looked at that Burda pattern today and thought, “no way – pleats?” but you solved the problem. Good job!

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  4. They are really cute on you. Wise to stitch those pleats down. I’m going to have to try these in RTW first because I was around the last time these came around!

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  5. You do look good in these! Good choice to stitch those pleats – I did the same thing on my maxi culottes, which also have 2 pleats at the waist. Works great. What a great make for you – zipper! a fly zipper is to touchy, a bad one is awful and a good one is great. Nice culottes and perfect on your petite bod.

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