Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Cocktail Culottes

Semi-formal, Black Tie Preferred, Coastal Cocktail, Dressy Casual...

Between the destination wedding craze and the Pinterest inspired mason-jar/burlap trend, wedding attire has become C A S U A L.

In July I attended a (husband's) family wedding in Lancaster Pennsylvania.  The couple didn't specify dress code and I am not close enough to have a sense of their style.  I knew that the venue was a hotel, the ceremony began at 3pm, and the invitation wording was informal ;)

What to wear?

C U L O T T E S of course!

Helen from Helen's Closet recently released her Winslow Culottes.  I chose View D, the palazzo pant style.

The pattern requires 4.5 yards of 54" fabric, but I managed with 4 yards of 54" for the size 8.  I think I could have used less yardage if I weren't trying to match a border print.  I purchased the first 2 yards from Kashi at Metro Textiles several years ago and the final 2 yards from AK Fabrics.  Kashi told me that this was a lovely "Italian silk."  I did a quick burn test and the fabric burned too quickly to be silk.  Silk or synthetic, I still love it.  Especially since it travels nicely and doesn't wrinkle.

I french seamed the outer and inner pant leg seams and finished the curved crotch seams with a narrow hem before joining the crotch seams. I may have made an error when cutting out because the pant circumference didn't quite match the waistband length.  Next time I make these, I will map the paper pattern pieces against one another and cut the waistband a few inches longer. Instead of commercial interfacing, I used a heavy silk organza to interface the waistband.  I chose not to sew the pockets because I didn't want the added bulk.

To dress the culottes up for the wedding, I opted for a quick top in a stretch green charmeuse from the stash. This literally took one hour to make.  I loosely cut an "A-Frame" of the fabric for the front and a rectangle for the back.  Next, I removed the charm from an old black organza ribbon necklace and knotted the charmeuse fabric around the necklace to secure it in the front.  Then, I sewed up the side seams, trying the top on several times as I widdled it down to fit.


One of my favorite things about sewing is that it allows me to make a small $ investment in trendy clothes that I otherwise wouldn't have bought off the rack.  I am slowly figuring out the styles that I feel most comfortable and confident wearing. This one is a winner for sure!

So much so that I wore it to our last wedding of the season (phheww!) over Labor Day Weekend.  My cocktail culottes were perfect for the venue (Prospect Park, Brooklyn), time (4:30pm), and relaxed vibe of the wedding.  Hoping to finish a silk pair this week just in time for an engagement party and am already envisioning another pair for the fall in suede...