One thing I love about being a Cali & Co contributor is I am introduced to and use new fabrics I normally wouldn’t think about twice. I have to admit my knowledge of fabric is fairly limited, but I’m slowly learning more and more each year that I sew. I usually rely on my sense of touch to determine if a fabric will work for a certain project, but that can be difficult when you’re shopping online.
Not long ago, I made the Winslow Culottes from Helen’s Closet. I used a mystery fabric from my stash and you can read here what went wrong (or didn’t – you choose!). I’m not saying they’re a total bust, but I’m not exactly reaching for these all the time while I’m getting dressed. I determined I needed to try again with a more suitable fabric for the pattern.
Which brings me to the Karen Klein Designer Crepe on Cali Fabrics! At first, I was set on making my second pair with a swishy 100% rayon fabric – because rayon is one of the semi-new-to-me fabrics I immediately became obsessed with once I made my Rayon Arum Dress. But then I came across the crepe and stopped. OK, well it’s a poly/rayon blend, so technically it’s still rayon-esque but different! I read the description and I made up my mind once I saw “It drapes like a dream!” It should be perfect for long culottes!
And you know what?
This stuff feels fabulous! It does drape like a dream and it’s a dream to sew. I love the subtle texture of the crepe. It makes it feel a lot more expensive than it really is. And the great news is there’s still many yards left in stock!
The pattern is great for a quick sew and is labeled for an advanced beginner (mostly because there’s an invisible zipper insertion in there).
The instructions are impeccable and you only have to worry about fitting your waist measurement! I sewed a size 14 but honestly it’s a little large as it should be sitting higher up on my natural waistline. But I was patting myself on the back once I ate a big lunch and dinner and was still comfortable while sitting!
Oh, and there’s pockets! I love anything with pockets and these are nice and roomy so you can just throw your keys and small wallet in there and not have to worry about lugging around a purse! One thing I didn’t do on this pair that I did on my last was to make bar tacks at the top and bottom of the pocket openings to anchor down the pockets so they don’t keep flopping back and forth on the inside. No matter how many times I tried, a satin stitch on crepe fabric is a difficult thing and it really doesn’t make much of a difference, anyway.
But one thing that is not difficult on this fabric is doing a machine blind hem stitch!
Can you see the stitches? No? That’s the beauty of having a cool texture plus a blind hem stitch!
Here’s the reverse:
I’m sure there’s decent tutorials online so I won’t go too much into detail here, but basically you fold your hem a certain way so only those “v” stitches catch the other part of the fabric. The hem is held up by a dot of stitching every inch or so. My machine came with its own blind hem foot so it’s easier for me to do it on my machine than by hand. Heck, everything is done easier by my machine than by my hand. 😉
So here’s a fun story: Every year, the Tucson Medical Center has a “Mega Raffle” where the tickets are a little pricey, but the chances of winning are pretty high. The prizes include some crazy things like a new house! My husband usually buys a ticket or two and after a few years, he finally won something! We got President’s VIP tickets to all of the Broadway in Tucson shows for the 2016-2017 season! Now, being a theater-geek as a kid, I looooove this prize (my husband was a little less enthused).
We missed the first show, Cabaret, because we were in Europe. But in early December, The Sound of Music was playing and we could both make it! I’ve never been to a production in Tucson, so I wasn’t sure what the dress code would be for a matinee. Remember, Tucson peeps wear t-shirts and shorts to eat $200 steak, so I wasn’t thinking people would get all fancy. I decided to go with this outfit to play it safe – not too casual, not too dressy. I fit in perfectly! Some people were in nice trousers, others in cocktail dresses. Honestly, it was the biggest group of people in Tucson that were dressed that nicely at one time that I’ve seen (sorry, not sorry, Tucson!).
Anyway, the show was amazing and I stayed really warm and comfortable! Now if only I can get all of these songs out of my head…
That about does it for these culottes! I’m happy that my second pair came out more wearable and I’m stoked I’ll have a new pair of comfortable pants to wear to work!
You can follow more of Rachel’s adventures in sewing, cat wrangling, and chicken wooing at sewredy.wordpress.com!