Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Less Is More Culottes--Happy Birthday, Itch-to-Stitch!

As I have started using pdf patterns more and more I have found there are a few designers I favor. At the top of that list is Itch-to-Stitch. The designs are lovely, the techniques professional, and the pattern quality stellar. Kennis, the fabulous designer behind Itch-to-Stich, released her first pattern a year ago and there have been nine more patterns since then. To celebrate, Kennis is hosting a blog tour, offering a sale, and running a pretty sweet giveaway (found at the bottom of this post). I'm flattered to be a part of the blog tour. We were each asked to hack an Itch-to-Stitch pattern in some way. There are so many options and these patterns lend themselves to hacking so well that I finally gave up trying to make a decision and asked Kennis which one she would like me to tackle. She suggested the Emily Culottes and I'm so pleased. Mother Nature is pretty fickle with the weather around these parts so I decided to make a pair that would work well for the days that still feel a bit like summer...
Wide legs for extra breeze
...as it does for those crisper, more fall-like days. I'm all about transitional clothes that will take me from one season to another. I love that these an be casual to more dressy and are comfortable enough that they feel like pajamas.
Long length for cooler weather.
Whenever I think of hacking a pattern I think of what I can add to it to give it a bit more oomph. This time I decided to take something away. With all the sewing projects I have on my list and four children (can't forget them), sometimes the best thing to do is cut down on the time it takes to construct a project. In this case, the zipper got the hack. I traded the contour waistband for elastic and just eliminated the zipper all together. It was a super simple hack that saved me some time and I'll tell you how to do it too. The other change I made was adding length in the leg. Kennis gives great instructions about how to do that right in the pattern, so no further hacking is required there. The instructions are pretty straightforward so I'm just giving written instructions.

The first thing to do when eliminating the zipper is to choose your fabric. You'll want to use a knit so it can stretch over your hips before sitting on your waist. I chose to use this gorgeous royal blue ponte de roma from Michael Levine for my culottes. It's a great weight for the transition to fall and the knit is stable enough to give me the structure I wanted. Honestly, a ponte would also work very well for the zipper construction but is just as beautiful and functional in my zip-less version.

The next step is to size down. I didn't want the amount of fabric in the culottes to eat me alive. To get the fit I wanted, I ignored the size chart altogether and went straight to the finished garment measurements. You'll want the fabric to just skim your hips, so choose the finished garment measurement that most closely matches your body measurements. The stretch in the knit fabric will give you all the wearing ease you need. As you cut out you'll also need to make sure you eliminate the zipper extension on the left side.
Skimming fit around the boo-tay.
Had my fabric been of a lighter weight and /or the culottes a shorter length, I might have been able to get away with making a yoga waistband. The weight of my culottes really required the support of an elastic waist. To make an elastic waistband, start by eliminating the contour waistband piece. Replace that with a waistband casing that is cut about 3.75 inches tall and as wide as the waistline on your culottes. You could cut it a little more narrow to avoid gathers in the waistband but I didn't bother with that, as I always wear my shirts untucked. With RIGHT sides together, stitch the two narrow edges together to form a loop. Sew the elastic to fit your waist. I ended up pulling mine tighter twice before I was convinced it would hold up the culottes.
The elastic waist still follows the contour of the original waistband.
The elastic and casing are put together before attaching it to the culottes...unless you're me and skip this step. With WRONG sides together, fold the knit casing piece in half along the length and place the elastic inside. Stitch the raw edges together, encasing the elastic. Attach the waistband to the body of the culottes and you're good to go. Pattern: hacked.
I love the comfort of the culottes and the ease of omitting the zipper.
Now for the EXTRA fun stuff. Pop on over to Itch-to-Stitch to take advantage of the sale. you can also take a look below at all the other awesome pattern hacks and the bloggers who created them.
Itch to Stitch Birthday Fun
(scroll to the bottom to enter to win!)
Follow these blogs to see their awesome creations from Itch to Stitch patterns:
Be sure to scroll to the bottom for your chance to win great prizes by these sponsors:
Itch to Stitch First Anniversary Sponsors
The Fabric Store - $100 Gift certificate
Elliott Berman Textiles - Fabric bundle from France & Italy
Craftsy - three online classes of your choice
Girl Charlee Fabrics - $25 Gift certificate
Indie Sew - $25 Gift certificate
UpCraft Club - $25 Gift certificate
Quarto Publishing Group USA - the SHIRTMAKING WORKBOOK by David Page Coffin
The featured designer of the day will give away 2 patterns to a lucky winner:
Follow Itch to Stitch's blog closely to win these patterns!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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