Patterned Culottes and a Stripey Tee
Hey friends! Hope everyone’s April is winding down nicely. I have a question for all you fabric enthusiasts out there – do you buy fabric with a project in mind, or do you buy fabric, because ooh pretty?? I’d say more often than not I try to buy fabric with a project in mind, or I’ll go browsing online and see if a fabric sparks my interest and becomes the catalyst for some sewing inspiration. But either way, once I hit the ‘buy’ button, I generally have an inkling about what I want the fabric to be used for. Every once in a blue moon I buy something just because. Sometimes those buys never amount to much and just sit in my fabric stash looking glum, but sometimes the stars align. This was the case with both fabrics for this months Mood Sewing Network make.
I bought this Ralph Lauren Dazzling Blue/White Striped Viscose Jersey and this Famous Designer Navy Geometric Cotton Woven (sadly sold out, but this corduroy has a similar look) from Mood Fabrics online with absolutely zero plans for either of them. I bought the striped jersey because it seemed classic and, well, you can never have too many nautical stripes hanging about, and the cotton woven caught my eye because it looked like a fun print with an interesting texture. I bought a few other fabrics in the same order that, to be quite honest, I was more excited about than either of these two. But once they arrived, something magical happened! After admiring each I folded them and set them on my fabric shelf, one on top of the other. Seeing them together like that was like a thunderclap! They looked so good paired with each other. Almost immediately I envisioned this outfit: a slouchy striped tee and full, pleated culottes.
I knew I had to make these two garments, if only to get the outfit out of my head and into reality! The shirt was first. I used Grainline’s Hemlock pattern – a free, one-size, 3/4 length sleeve, slouchy tee pattern. This came together in no time at all. The blue and white viscose jersey was super easy to work with. I sewed this all together on my serger, using my twin needle for the hem and cuffs. This jersey has a super smooth, almost silky hand with a slight sheen. It’s surprisingly weighty for viscose, falling in deep fluid folds, making it perfect for an oversized tee like this one (although I can also think of a myriad of other uses for it that would be just as lovely). To match the stripes I just put a pin in every blue stripe. It makes for a lot of pins to remove while I’m sewing, but it also ensures that everything is lined up perfectly.
Culottes seem to be very trendy at the moment, and I’m clearly guilty of being bit by the bug! For these I used Style Arc’s Erin Culotte pattern. I love the deep pleats on the front and the way the pockets mirror the pleats. I also love the jewel bright tones of this cotton woven and how they give these culottes a very bohemian feel. This fabric has a very loose weave and a slubby, almost jute-like look, though with a much softer hand and drape. It’s a bit more substantial than what the pattern called for, but I like the body it gives these culottes, while still keeping them airy for our sticky southern spring.
Because of the loose weave, this fabric frayed like it was it’s job. To combat this I serged all the raw edges as soon as I could, basically right after cutting, and I used fusible interfacing to reinforce the areas that I thought might loose some of it’s shape with wear – like the center back seat seam and the pocket openings. I also bound the seam allowances at the waist and hems. This was mostly for looks, since these culottes are unlined, but also to ensure I don’t start to unravel after a few wears.
While the fraying may have been a bit of a headache, this cotton took heat and steam like a champ. I just love how crisp those pleats are! And the stitches literally sank into the weave. Honestly. Like, I was crossing my fingers I didn’t make any mistakes, because I don’t think I could have found my stitches to unpick if I tried!
As is so often the case with things that exist in my mind, the reality of these two garments together wasn’t quite what I had hoped for, however I think with a bit of help from some accessories and the right shoes the look pulled together. But the best thing of all is that both of these garments go with quite a lot of other items in my closet. In fact, I finished this tee a few weeks ago and have been wearing it multiple times a week since then! And if I want a less blousy silhouette these culottes look equally as cute with a bodysuit or a crop top. Yay for separates!!
Do you guys ever get outfit inspiration from looking at your fabric stash?