My Tania culottes and i have been best buddies all summer and i’m dying to try them out in the cooler weather too. I’m so thrilled to tell you a little bit more about this pattern today! I really loved developing it – it had been on my mind for a long time, and i feel a great amount of success with how they turned out. They might be my favourite “shorts” every. in the history of my life.
The idea behind the Tania culottes, is really two stories – that collided and exploded in my brain into the most amazing culottes ever.
This is my dear dear friend Tania (previously of What Would a Nerd Wear). One of the sweetest people, and best friends i’ve been lucky enough to know. She is also one of those super cute girls you see riding their bikes everywhere. Complete with novels in the basket. I loved that every time we would catch up she’d be there with the bike her fiance built her, and decked out in a perfect outfit. Too cool and too adorable. I often have muses, and this time she was my muse. So of course, i just had to name this pattern after her :) And i’ll give you one guess as to where the lookbook inspiration came from.
You know what kind of a skirt bike riding girls need?! A skirt that won’t result in worrying that you might be flashing your undergarments to the world. A skirt thats really shorts! CULOTTES! Everyone i told my idea to cringed. But i felt it in my gut so i went for it. I’ve always loved the concept of culottes – but hated the execution. I don’t think i’ve ever seen a pair of culottes that were well done. They needed a reinvention. I wanted to be the person to do it.
I’m always telling friends that my best work comes from the feeling that i might be an insane person. Every time i take a risk, and i look at my design and think, am i genius or an idiot?! will people love this or hate it with a burning firey passion?! And after many years i’ve learnt that those feelings are my cue. Thats when i know i’m on to something really good. I think the best creativity lives in the space just before insanity hehehe.
And thats how i felt about these culottes. I couldn’t get them out of my mind, i had to make them because i wanted to wear them yesterday. And lets be honest, i really love short skirts, but sometimes they’re not practical, but these fulfill all my “short skirt but no peekaboo please” wishes.
The trouble with culottes is no-one ever took it far enough – you don’t want dorky shorts, you want a crazy cute skirt that is secretly shorts. The crotch is the key :) The seam is never effectively hidden, so you always know you’re looking at shorts. Ew.
After a lot of work (read: really sucky test pieces that almost made me want to give up) i came up with a clever little pleat design to hide the crotch seam. The more i worked, the wider and wider the culottes got – and for good reason. The flow and drape of the fabric adds to the “skirt illusion” i wanted.
This pattern is also a really great example of why pattern testing is so important. After really excellent feedback, i made sure to lengthen the culottes every so slightly in the back to make them more wearable. That way those of us with curvy figures don’t have to be worried about the “too short in the back” issues that can happen sometimes.
I also know that not everyone shares my love of short lengths – so i added instructions for how to add length to the culottes (its so crazy easy) – and the result of that is the culotte + bike outfit you saw in the lookbook.
Like all my patterns – variations are endless. I’d really love to try a maxi pair!! I know it’s probably going to take something ridicuous like 5 or 6 metres of fabric, but i kind of don’t care, i think it would be amazing!
Also, these culottes are perfect for hem embelishment – i want to try scallops as well as lace trim. Actually the lace might be the first i do, as one of my first test pieces turned out wayyyy to short, and i think this will be a way to overcome that!
I’d love to make a pair completely out of lace too – or just get crazy, and make a pair out of jersey omitting the zipper and hemmin entirely. I think it would also be interesting to try a pair made from chiffon with a lining underneath – perhaps the chiffon layour a good couple of inches longer you know?
Contrast waistbands need to happen too. just saying.
SO many ideas so little time :)
Tania has a contour waistband, and is intended to be worn high waisted – which means that the top of the waistband should sit at your narrowest part. The fit around the waist should be snug. If you’re more a hip hugging kind of girl, or prefer a looser fit, i suggest making a size or two larger and letting the culottes hang a bit lower.
The standard length is short, and should hit above your mid thigh (depending on your height they may hit lower, our model was 5’9″, but on me they hit mid thigh). Instructions are provided for lengthening. They are very slightly longer in the back to adjust for the behind :)
They’re fine for sitting down too – unlike a short skirt, the fact that there is a crotch means you never have a “riding up” moment – and everything hangs beautifully in seated position.
I like easy alterations :) Making Tania shorter or longer is a pinch. We provide instructions in the booklet – but the basic gist is the same as for the Cascade, add to hem, don’t slash and spread horizontal to lengthen as it will warp the drape.
If you need to make the pattern larger or smaller width ways, i suggest you do this at the centre front, next to the pleat lines, via a vertical slash line.
The Tania culottes have become my favourite party trick. There is nothing i love more than someone telling me my skirt is crazy awesome, and me being able to yell back excited freakout replies along the lines of: It’s not a skirt! It’s culottes! i’m so excited! Look thats a crotch seam! (this is a true story, i’m still embarrassed hehehe)
You’re not really limited with styling options in my opinion. It works well with a tucked blouse, but you can also wear an untucked top loose over it to adorable effect. I tried to share both options in the lookbook. The Briar is a pretty perfect pairing too – since the cropped version will sit just at the waistband, and the longer version allows the culottes to be very visible from the front.
It’s also pretty good at double duty: It’s your every day staple, throw on a tshirt and you’re good to go – but it’s also special enough to wear out. If i still worked in a corporate environment nothing would stop me from making these in a wool and wearing them in the office. too rad.
I really can’t wait to show you the different ways i’ve styled this up!
Do you have any questions about the Tania culottes pattern?! anything you want to know?
We’ve got some great tutorials coming up and styling ideas and basically we’re just super excited hehehe Tania for the win!