Soline Culottes

Kicking off the new sewing year with these Soline Culottes by Staystitch Pattern Co. has been a dream start! I was lucky enough to win this pattern by participating in the My Makes of the Month challenge hosted by Lou Sheffer of Sew Much to Design. This pattern promises to be, “… your new favourite wardrobe staple! They are effortlessly chic, comfortable, and stylish.” It delivers that in spades. I love the high waisted look with the wide leg profile of these culottes. It has the elasticised paper-bag waistband with drawstring which is so comfortable to wear. I love that the wide waistband sits just above the belly button. This helps to define the waistline and create a flattering shape. It can be styled in so many ways, but my favourite is to tuck a blouse into it. When the weather cools, it could also work well with a chunky sweater partially tucked in.

Constructing the Soline Culottes was so easy and enjoyable. The instructions from Staystitch Pattern Co were very comprehensive. It’s forty-five pages long but there were a lot of extras included and many pocket options. Most of all, I loved the order of construction. As a self-taught sewing enthusiast, this sort of pattern is very educational and the way the instructions have been written could be followed and completed by someone with very little experience.

I started the make with the selection of in-seam pockets. The other options for pockets were a gusseted pocket and patch pockets but I was looking to keep the front and back panels flat to highlight the paper-bag waistband. I really enjoyed the way the inseams were constructed as everything came together so well. Putting together the paper-bag waistband was the final stage and probably took most of my time but again, instructions were well written and logical. It was fun bringing it together.

Sizing was also easy with the positive ease built into the fit. I decided to make the size 10 as my hip measurement of 38 inches was closer to the size 10 fit of 41 inches. My waist measures 33 inches and the size 10 fits 31 inches. Figuring that my slightly larger waistline will be accommodated by the elasticised waistband and seeing that the finished measurements were 45 inches and 45.5 inches, this confirmed to me that the size 10 would be a good fit. 

The fabric I chose was a beautifully soft lyocell linen blend from Spotlight Stores. It comes in 55-inch (140 cm) width and the colour is Brick. It’s a brown with a reddish hue, a lovely part of the colour spectrum. It is a heavier weighted linen so it’s great for a bottom piece. The lyocell in the blend gives it a super soft feel. I used just under 2 meters of the fabric.

This ticks off a first make from my Make Nine Challenge chart under “Casual Trousers”. I’ve decided to use my make nine slightly differently this year. I’ll include more details in a future post and on my Instagram @emsewhappy. Looking forward to another year of fun, learning and sewing.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

Reef Camisole and Shorts

Christmas holidays arrived and here in the Southern Hemisphere, we found ourselves in sweltering summer heat. Needless to say, it was too hot to be at the sewing machine but I managed to sew up the Reef Camisole and Shorts Set from Megan Nielsen Patterns. It was my final sew for the year just in time for my favourite time of the year. I’ve always loved the time after Christmas and the start of the new year where there is a quietness and a temporary lull to give us a bit of respite before the whirring of busy-ness begins again. It was a good time to finish making the Reef Set so I could have my pyjama day.

Motivated to finish by coffee and panettone

As usual, if you’re looking after a comprehensive sew-along, you should look at the Megan Nielsen Blog Site. This was my own sewing process. Before heading into that, I wanted to talk about the fabric that I used. I bought this lovely muslin from Spotlight Stores. It caught my eye because of the beautiful mustard colour and the pattern is reminiscent of a field of dandelions. Muslin is such a thin fabric; it’s often used for children’s clothing or baby wraps and for good reason. It’s soft, made of cotton and is such a breathable light fabric which is why I’ve thought to use it for summer pyjamas. 

I remember when I had just started sewing, I tried to sew with muslin fabric. I ended up cutting it up for cleaning cloths because it did not even survive the first wash! The best way to prepare muslin fabric for sewing is to overlock the raw cut edges before washing on the cool cycle. This preserves the integrity of the muslin fabric which has a loose weave otherwise you would risk your washing machine unravelling some of the thin fabric. After washing, I gave it a light iron and went on the cut out the pattern pieces. Another beginner tip is to check your needle. I made sure I had a 10/70 needle to ensure that I wouldn’t damage the delicate fabric.

Starting with the camisole, which is cut on the bias, watch that you don’t handle the fabric too much and lay it flat as it will stretch if you hang the fabric before sewing. I also made sure to staystitch where needed as this helps to stabilise the fabric. I love the look of bias-cut garments as it drapes beautifully especially with silky materials. 

The crossover back yoke is the distinguishing feature of this camisole. It’s a really satisfying construction. It’s also so comfortable to wear. I’m tempted to sew this camisole as a top if I can find the right fabric like silk. Once the crossover back yoke is completed, it comes together very fast. Topstitching the neckline and armscye was my own addition to help secure this fragile fabric. I tend to wash everything in the machine and have little time for hand washing so this will go a long way of preserving my Reef Set. I also secured the facing by stitching in the ditch at the side seams and stitching down the back panel.

Onto the shorts, I made the View B option which is the mid-rise. The hemline is curved and again an interesting construction with the attachment of facings. It elevates the piece from basic elasticised waisted shorts to luxurious summer pyjamas shorts. It doesn’t stop there; it also has pockets!

A quick note on sizing, I made the size 12 for my measurements of 37-inch bust, 33-inch waist and 38-inch hips. The sizing was a great for the shorts, but I could sew up a size for the camisole top. The camisole has very narrow seams except for the side seams which returns to 5/8 inch. I narrowed the side seam to allow more room in the armscye. It still fits me in the size 12 but there are some horizontal fold lines where the front straps meet the bust line. The other option would be to make a full bust adjustment but I would also like to lengthen the camisole so I feel the best option would be to size up.

Now that the busy Christmas holiday period is over and we have turned over to the New Year, I have a few days of lounging around in my newly minted pyjama set. I’m really enjoying my new book which is the second book by Named Patterns titled, “Building The Pattern”. This is my first sewing book and it’s a gem.

Thank you for reading and wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

X Em