I came across Megan Nielsen’s website and found myself drooling over the new Breakwater Collection. Without much hesitation I ordered two of the patterns in the collection namely Tania Culottes and Cascade Skirt (review yet to follow).
Tania Culottes are the ones I sewed first as I really wanted a pair of divided skirt to add in my summer wardrobe (ok, in UK the summer already ended in August but still…). It was my first pattern from Megan Nielsen and I have to say I was hooked! Clear in-depth instructions, sturdy pattern paper and potential for varying the style by lengthening, what not to love?
The patter is marked as intermediate but I think a competent beginner will easily manage those. It only has four pieces, two skirts and two waist bands. The only tricky parts are the invisible zipper and rolled hem but they were well explained in the booklet and discussed at length in Megan’s blog ( amazing tutorials and tips btw). It was an overall peasy make.
I used a blue/white crepe de chine in my stash. It is only 110cm wide and 2m long so wasn’t enough for anything bigger. I sewed a L waist and XL length, and with careful planning and cutting I managed to use all the fabric with little scrapes left. Note I had to fold the fabric at the cross grain and to flip the back skirt piece upside down in order to fit all the pieces in. It was a bit touch and go.
All pattern pieces fitting in 2m wide fabric (folded at the cross-grain) with nothing to spare
As the Crepe de chine was very very delicate, I used stay tape to reinforce all the seams for longevity , apart from the seams joining the waist band and the skirt (the band has interfacing thus stronger).
My zipper installation and rolled hem are still not very neat, but I think due to the dark colour they are passable. One more photo at the back
The only complaint I have is that I found the side back below the buttocks were significantly longer than the rest of the hemline. They were dangling in a very unattractive way. I checked others’ reviews and apparently I was not the only had this problem. It was quite easy to fix though – I just pin the front and back skirts together and use the front edge as a guide to trim off the extra fabric with my shears. In photo below, you can see the extra bits being cut off. I did’t do it very accurately but the result was ok. Pinning the front with the back was to prevent cutting too much at once so the back ended up shorter than the front
Conclusion: I love love those! The last time I worn culottes I was 12 years old and I have forgotten how cool they were! It was as cute as skirt but got the practicality of pants. I love how they flatter my legs in a way jeans never could. The project was a lot fun, and so different from anything I’ve done. It was also great to showcase my beautiful fabric I bought from the silk market in Hangzhou, China. The market is a seamtress’ dream – hundred and hundred kinds of silk fabric piling up sky high, cheap as chips. If you have a chance going to China, you have to visit. With enough cash and someone who knows haggling, you could get a lifetime supply of silk.