Look at her in that demure a-line skirt. No doubt headed to a Memorial Day picnic, ready to sit in the shade sipping lemonade in all that matchy-matchy, star spangled, red, white, and blue.
Nope! They're culottes! I'm ready to run a three-legged race, spit watermelon seeds, take a spin on the merry-go-round, and ride a bike down a country road (cause that's what all Americans do on flag waving summer holidays.)
Okay, I'm not going to do any of those things, I plan to sit quietly at home. The point is, I could if I wanted to. These are the Nina Culottes, a new pattern from Marte at Compagnie M. Marte very graciously gave me a copy of the pattern (thanks Marte!) to help spread the word about Nina's recent release.
PATTERN: Nina Skirt and Culottes from Compagnie M. The Nina pattern can be a simple a-line skirt or culottes. These are several pocket options for the front waistband and two potions for welt back pockets. You can also choose between a front zip fly with two different waistband overlap options or a hidden side zipper. I went with one of the simplest combinations by using just the side pockets and the hidden side zipper because I wanted them to be sleek. The pattern was very simple. I'm pretty comfortable with hidden zipper installation, but I do them so infrequently I still used Marte's clear instructions for a clean finish inside and out. Marte kicked her pattern formatting up a notch by overlapping the pattern pieces in a similar fashion to Japanese pattern books. I love that it saves printer paper, and the lines are still very clear (unlike some Japanese pattern books).
FABRIC: This is Robert Kaufmann Chambray Union Indigo. It's a medium weight that is great for the volume of these culottes, though probably not sturdy enough for traditional shorts. The waistband facing and pocket lining are from an old men's button down shirt.
SIZE/FIT: I cut based on my measurements, and the result was very close for pants. My waist to hip is usually at least one size different so I graded between sizes. I ended up cutting 1/2 size smaller for the hip to the waistband, then grading the waistband from that point at the bottom to 1" smaller at the top (shown above right). Marte recommends that you make a quick muslin for the culottes, and I couldn't agree more. A few nips and tucks to my muslin resulted in smooth sewing on the "good" fabric, and a perfect fit.
I suppose we should talk about this patriotic flourish of a top for a minute, and I'm just going to say it before my mother does - this top is way to bleeping tight. The hip skimming fit of the culottes seemed to want a body conscious leotard of a shirt. Or, I was looking for an excuse to try the Nettie Bodysuit pattern from Closet Case Patterns. This is my very first attempt at the Nettie, the fabric is crap, and I had a small snafu rethreading my serger at 2 o'clock in the morning ending in my having to sew up with sad specimen on my regular machine (oh, the heartache!). All are factors contributing to a less than stellar outcome. The smoke and mirrors of modern photography makes it look passable, but this guy has a future as a dust cloth. All that negativity aside, I have full confidence in the sew-worthiness of the Nettie. It lends itself to the cinched-at-the-waist gathered skirts I like to wear and I am very pleased with the way it accommodates my curves. It has a full seat, and so do I. Next time I will go up a size in the bust, and use a stretchier knit (to be fair knits with two way stretch are specified in the pattern, I knew I was asking for trouble).
So there ya go, a little red white and blue for this Memorial Day. Something about this outfit is giving me the urge to do time steps.
Follow along with the Nina blog tour for more inspiration!
Bottoms Pattern: Nina Skirt & Culottes by Compagnie M
Bottoms Fabric: Robert Kaufmann Chambray Union Indigo from Fabric.com
Top Pattern: Nettie Bodysuit from Closet Case Patterns
Top Fabric: Cotton Jersey Knit from Fleishman's Woolens (local shop)
Linking up with Imagine Gnats Shorts on the Line on Kollabora!