Saturday, 21 December 2013

Winter Tania Culottes


Diary of a Chainstitcher Black Wool Crepe Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes Sewing Pattern

I've had my eye on the Tania Culottes pattern from Megan Nielson basically since it's release. I've always loved this style of skirt but never got on with it very well due to the potential for knicker flashing with the combination of length and flippy fullness, especially considering the amount of trekking around London in all weathers and lifting around costumes I do. Luckily for me Megan has managed to draft a beautiful culottes pattern which looks exactly like a skirt when worn and my lovely boyfriend treated me to the pattern for my birthday!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Black Wool Crepe Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes Sewing Pattern

Considering my birthday is at the very end of August when we in the UK are just about clinging on to the end of any summer weather we are lucky enough to get, I thought making these up immediately in a lovely voile (which was the vision I'd had in my head) might end up being a bit of a waste. I didn't want to have to wait 9 months to wear my finished garment! However, I couldn't bear to wait 9 months to make them either. I started thinking about more practical autumn/winter weight fabrics with a drape to suit the circle skirt design and settled on some wool crepe. I wanted my culottes to be wearable with a lot of my wardrobe so opted for black. I got 1.5m (which is just about enough for the longest length FYI) from my fave A-One Fabrics on Goldhawk Road. It was a bit of a treat at £18/m but it's the cheapest I've found this quality of wool for and I was using some birthday money!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Black Wool Crepe Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes Sewing Pattern

As I wanted to wear these with tights I decided a lining was in order and used a drapey black poly from my stash which I think I picked up in Walthamstow a while back. At one point during the making of these I was worried that the wool crepe plus a lining would be too thick for this style as most other versions I've seen have been cotton or viscose but I'm so pleased with the fullness and drape of the finished garment. The wool crepe has a lovely body to it which gives the skirt bounce. These are going to see a lot of wear over the next few months but I can't wait for the better weather to come around again now so I can make a lovely lightweight pair in a beautiful print!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Black Wool Crepe Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes Sewing Pattern


I've been itching to work with wool crepe after reading so many rave reviews about it from other bloggers like Lauren and I was not disappointed. This stuff is so dreamy to work with, it feels so soft, cutting it with my lovely Ginghers was a delight and the stitches just sink into the fabric almost invisibly meaning a machined hem doesn't look awful (and trust me, you'll want to machine it, there's a whole lot of curved hem involved). However, the rumours are true, as lovely as this is to sew with it is a NIGHTMARE to unpick stitches from! Especially if it's black. Don't even ask me how I know.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Black Wool Crepe Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes Sewing Pattern

As many other sewing bloggers have pointed out it is a very short skirt made up as is. I'm only 5ft 3" and although I cut a size S I cut the length of the largest size after reading that that was what a few other ladies had done. I was worried that maybe I should have gone even further and adjusted them to an even longer length as the potential for revealing one's bum when bending over at work is high for me, but I'm really happy with the resulting length. There is still some potential for some bum flashing in high winds as obviously the skirt is circular but it's impossible to fully expose your knickers so I'm happy! I'm pretty pleased with the fit around the waist, I could perhaps get away with a smidgen smaller and snugger but they're comfy as they are.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Black Wool Crepe Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes Sewing Pattern
Obligatory silly 'You can't see my knickers!' Tania Culottes shot

It was my first time sewing with a Megan Nielson pattern and I've got to say the drafting and instructions are impressive. The pattern is also printed on nice sturdy paper rather than tissue which I really like as I think I'll be making these again and again. The waistband was constructed in a different way to what I've done before and gives a really nice clean finish especially around the zip. The lining and skirt ware sandwiched between inner and outer waistband and slipstitched closed inside as usual. I found putting the invisible zip into the wool crepe very straight forward and all the seams matched up first time. I used french seams to finish the side seam without the zip and around the zip I bound the edges of the wool crepe and simply pinked the lining.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Black Wool Crepe Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes Sewing Pattern

I was dreading the hemming. That hem is LONG. It's basically a circle skirt plus extra on the between the legs pieces, plus I had double that to do because of the lining. I'd also read on other blogs that the hem ends up all kinds of uneven when left to hang overnight, so I was feeling pretty nervous about levelling that off to start with. My culottes ended up being left to hang for about 3 days rather than the required 24 hours while I procrastinated but I finally got on with it as I realised my desire to wear them outweighed how I felt about the hemming.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Black Wool Crepe Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes Sewing Pattern

It ended up actually being pretty enjoyable. My hem was uneven but not majorly and it was easily rectified by a process of comparing front and back and pinning, trying on and repeating. I used my rolled hem foot on the lining which is always a bit hit a miss but I'm definitely getting better! The wool crepe was too thick for this treatment so I followed the method in the pattern instructions and I'm definitely going to use this method for curved hems from now on! The circular style of these means the circumference at the very edge of the hem is slightly larger than the area you are trying to turn it up into so it won't sit flat naturally. Following Megan's tips of sewing a line of stitching to follow as you press I've ended up with a fairly narrow beautiful hem which I had no trouble easing in at all.

A big thumbs up to the Tania Culottes! I think they might even end up being worn on Christmas Day!

17 comments:

  1. super cute! I love the fabric you chose

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    1. Thanks Olivia, I had my doubts but in the end you just can't go wrong with wool crepe!

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  2. Ooooh I might need to try this pattern out. You've done a great job they look so good!

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    1. Definitely try it out, it's such a clever design. Yo can't tell they're culottes at all!

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  3. Your lovely version reminds me of why this pattern is on my "to make" list! I wouldn't have thought to make it in a heavier weight fabric like this for winter, but it looks like a great idea, especially since you lined it, and in black means you can wear all kinds of fun tights with it. :-) Great job!

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    1. Thank you! I think as long as your fabric has a nice drape to it I think any weight will work. This wool just makes them really nice and full which I love! I think they'll get a lot of wear!

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  4. I really hate the word culottes (which means knickers in French), so I'll just call these a skirt :-) So, this skirt really suits your figure and is beautifully executed. I wish that one day I'll be able to hem a circle skirt that flawlessly!

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    1. Ha! Thank you! I'm sure you can do a hem like this, I hadn't been able to before but I just loved Megan's instructions for doing it, not complicated at all!

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  5. This is gorgeous! I haven't seen this pattern done in a winter version before, but I like it better than the summery one! Beautiful work :)

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    1. Thank you! I love how full and flippy the skirt is in a winter weight fabric with more body, worth the risk of trying it out I think!

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  6. These are absolutely adorable! I hardly ever wear skirts in cold weather, but I'm sorely tempted seeing your culottes! They're so flippy and fun! Love love love!

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    1. I love skirts with thick tights in the winter! And am so happy that now I've got one that can stand up to the blustery winter weather we get over here! This style of skirt would look great on you

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  7. They look great, I was wondering how many pages did the pattern take (as its a pdf)?

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    1. Thank you! I've got the paper copy of the pattern (was lucky enough to get one before they sold out!) so I'm not sure how many pages unfortunately. I'm sure if you emailed Megan she'd let you know. It's a great pattern!

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  8. Hi! I loved your skirt! :)
    I would really like to make one, but I'm still kind of a beginner ... Do you think I'll find it too complicated?

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    1. O no I wouldn't say it was too complicated at all! The instructions are very thorough and well illustrated, it's just fairly simple sewing of seams and pleats really. If you've inserted a zip before you should be fine. The most tricky bit is probably the hemming as there's just so much of it to do! It's really curved as well but I find stitching a line by machine 3/8" away from the raw edge all around the hem and then using that as a guide to press up along really helps to ease it in. Good luck! It's a great pattern and super practical!

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!