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It often seems to happen to me that I perfect my seasonal wardrobe or find the perfect seasonal sewing pattern at the end of a season. At the beginning of this summer I really struggled with finding what I wanted to wear when it was hot. Most of what I had in my wardrobe made me feel blah. I have been sewing clothes all summer, and each one helped me get a little closer to that perfect summer wardrobe. I was just looking for something that looked like I got ready for the day but was easy and cool. I did make two Flint Pants (pink and striped), and I LOVE them. But made them recently, towards the end of the summer. Well, I found my perfect summer sewing pattern: the Tania Culottes. (This is actually my second, I still need to blog about the first.) It’s knee length shorts that look like a skirt. I look so put together, but I’m so cool and relaxed. I literally want five pairs of Tania Culottes, so I can wear one every day of the week.
Since I’ve made Megan Nielsen’s patterns before I knew I needed to lengthen 1/2″ through the high hip and I added 1/2″ to the hem. These were the perfect adjustments. I chose to make the culottes knee length because this is the length that works the best with little children. I don’t get too hot, but I get just the right amount of coverage.
The Tania Culottes are amazing because they have secret pleats in the front and the back that hide the inseam and crotch seam. They literally look like a skirt, but they are literally shorts. Everytime someone compliments me on my skirt I show them that it’s shorts because I’m so proud of these and this pattern.
The pattern is really easy to put together. It wasn’t a hard construction and the instructions were stellar. I eliminated the zipper, added width to the back and did an elastic back. It makes it easy to pull on and off, but the flat front looks very classy. I also decided to add inseam pockets to each side because I always need pockets.
The fabric I used is a 100% modal from Joann Fabrics. I can’t link to it because I’ve never found it online even when it was in stores but here are some other Modal fabrics* and blue modal fabrics*. I found it about a year ago, fell in love, and bought three yards right away. At first I was planning on making the Cheyenne tunic* because I’ve been dreaming of a light blue chambray shirt that combines both views of the Cheyenne tunic. I’ve been saving it and almost made it this summer. I used a small piece and made something for my daughter and realized that the fabric probably wouldn’t be strong enough to be a Cheyenne. I needed stronger fabric, so I when I was looking for fabric to make more Tania culottes, I realized this fabric would make the perfect basic.
When I sewed up the secret pleats in the front and the back, I added some muslin fabric as interfacing so my pleats won’t pull holes in the fabric. For the pockets, I just made sure I sewed seams where there were multiple layers of fabric instead of making the weight of the pocket (and whatever is in the pocket) hang on one layer of fabric.
When I finished these culottes, I let them hang for more than 24 hours to let the bias part of the fabric settle and stretch. These culottes are a full circle so there’s lots of fabric and lots of bias sections. Then I tried them on and kind of marked the hem by looking in the mirror. You can tell my hem isn’t straight. It looks really good from the front and the back, but the sides are a little shorter. I trimmed a lot off, probably 1.5″ or more, of the bias areas to get the same length all around. This also depends on the fabric because the other pair I made did not stretch out on the bias at all.
If you are interested in culottes, but you’re scared to bite the bullet these are the culottes to try. They literally look like a skirt, wear similarly to a skirt, but are as easy as shorts. I can sit on the floor and bend over and ride bikes with ease. I really love this pattern and love these culottes. You can tell I love them if I use the pattern more than once!