Battle Of The Culottes – Round 4

Welcome to Round 4 of Battle of the Culottes !

Wow, we can’t believe that Battle of the Culottes is coming to an end but we are ao excited to bring you the final battle!! Make sure you read to the end where we have lots of tips for styling your culottes for different body shapes (plus you can also read how to style for spring/summer and autumn/winter in previous posts!).

If you’ve not read all about the other rounds, go and check out Round 1 where we battled Comfy Culottes, Round 2 where we battled Split Skirts and Round 3 where we battled Structured Culottes.

The two contenders for the final battle are both lesser known patterns – the Classix Nouveau Camera Ready Culottes by Hot Patterns vs the Tanner Culottes from Designer Stitch.

Let’s see how they get on!

Ding Ding! Round 4!

In this battle we tried to find the most tailored culotte patterns out there. There aren’t that many in this category and they are definitely aimed at the more intermediate level sewist.

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Classic Nouveau Camera Ready Culottes
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Tanner Culottes

 

 

 

 

What patterns did we choose and why?

Rachel chose to make the Classix Nouveau Camera Ready Culottes by Hot Patterns as she totally fell in love with the stylish line drawings. She knows to not get caught out by the sketches alone and always searches online for pictures of real people wearing the patterns, but on this occasion she couldn’t find any. She loved the drawings so much that she decided to take a leap of faith and make them anyway! (We were very kindly gifted the Camera Ready pattern to do this review, but we promise it has in no way biased our opinions and the review is open and honest.)

Nikki bought the Tanner Culottes pattern at the start of the year when she decided to add them to her Make Nine list for 2018! She loved the more fitted slimline silhouette of the design and knew the extra details would be a challenge she would relish and give a boost to her trouser making skills.

What type of culottes are they?

The Classix are the widest culotte of all the patterns yet and definitely fit into the true “culotte” category. The Tanners are definitely more of a “gaucho pant”.

There are not many patterns in the intermediate category, but here are the few others we could find. Some of them are more wide leg trouser than traditional culotte, but we think making them in a shorter length would definitely qualify!

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Alternative Patterns For Tailored Culottes

So, let’s get into Tanners vs Classix Nouveau!

In the red corner….

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The pattern…

The Tanners are described as a “super chic and fashion forward style that is so hot on the catwalks right now”. Nikki picked them for her Make Nine list and final battle as she knew the proportions would be perfect for her – flat front at the waist and just the right width on the leg. She thought they could be the culotte equivalent of jeans, a versatile trouser she could style in lots of different ways.

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The sizing…

The pattern comes in sizes 6-26 and Nikki made a size 14 but again they did come up a little big on the waist so she thinks she might need to blend between sizes on the next pair.

The fabric…

Nikki chose a lovely black and white pinstripe viscose linen for these. She liked how the pinstripe, usually associated with much smarter suiting, looked on the more casual linen fabric. She knew she could dress it up or down as she wanted.

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The instructions…

The instructions were very comprehensive and a little overwhelming on first view, but that is only because each step is so detailed. Clearly sectioned and numbered, each step has it’s own seam allowance and detailed drawings. Just take your time as you work through it and you’ll have everything you need.

The finish…

The finish is very impressive, with lots of details to draw the eye. Nikki chose to have her stripes going in lots of different directions so that the details were even more visible. The yoke, external pockets on back and front, along with the fly front gives you lots to get your teeth stuck into and definitely a huge sense of pride on completion.

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The verdict…

Nikki loves her Tanners every bit as much as she thought she would. Rachel tried them on to see if her theory about them making good jeans would work, and she is a convert too.

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And, in the blue corner…..

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The pattern…

The Classix are described as a “wide-leg, mid-calf length culotte with semi-tailored fit”. They have a centre back zip and a “grown-on self-faced waist”. The front has angled pockets, deep pleats stitched down for a more flattering look and double darts at the back.

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The sizing…

The pattern comes in sizes 6-26 with both flat and circumference measurements provided to help you select your sizing. Rachel made a straight size 14 opting not to blend to a size 16 in the hips as the extra deep pleats means the fit is already very generous in the hip area. The fit was good but due to the stretch in the fabric, some adjustments were required. For a non-stretch fabric the fit would have been bang on.

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The fabric…

For the fabric, Rachel used a red stretch twill. It is a very crisp fabric with lots of body and very little drape, so paired with the super wide leg they were definitely going to make a statement trouser! People can see her coming from some way away!!

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The instructions…

The instructions were simple to follow, and although small and all on one page they were fairly well illustrated. I would recommend zooming in on a device, or enlarging when printing if you want a closer look. There were lots of nice touches including interfacing of hems and pockets edges and the self-faced waist was a new technique that gave a lovely soft comfortable finish at the waist.

The finish…

The trouser have a very striking look, but Rachel spent several hours trying to get the centre fold on the trousers to align with the pleats at the front. After many attempts, she finally cracked it by moving the pleats out to the side seams by 1 3/8” which made them look much sharper and more flattering. She also chose to topstitch the pleats down by 10” rather than the 3” recommended in the pattern as this created a more streamline look on a fuller tummy area. She also topstitched her crease in place so that she never has to press it in again!

The verdict…

Overall, this pattern is a winner and Rachel loves her bright red statement culottes!! Nikki tried them on too thinking they weren’t really her thing, but she was instantly converted and has been trying to steal them ever since!!

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So, who is the winner of this final round?

This is a tough one, with both of us loving our own culottes and each others, so on this occasion we have had to call it a draw! However, we’d love to hear your views!! Please comment below and let us know if you are #teamclassix or #teamtanner!

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If you want to watch the battle and see lots more pictures (including us wearing each others culottes), why not head over and check out the YouTube video at https://www.youtube.com/stitchsisters!

Styling Culottes For Your Body Shape

Since starting the Culottes-Off we have had so many people tell us “I love the idea of culottes, but I couldn’t wear them because…..”. So we thought it was important to include a few ideas about how to wear culottes for ANY body shape, because we genuinely believe that anyone can wear them – it is all about how you style them!

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First, a few words about “body shapes”….

Before we get into the styling, I feel like I should be honest and share my personal view on dressing for your body shape. Personally, I don’t believe in it. I’m not sure when we all became so obsessed with the “rules” of what we can and can’t wear, but it seems to have become so ingrained in our style subconscious. I think that when we worry about it too much then we are cutting ourselves off from trying out new looks and restricting our chances to just have fun with fashion!

I used to be an “hourglass” and as such felt like I was one of the lucky ones, being able to wear most things. But after having children, I definitely become more of a “pear shape” and that led me to impose a whole load of new rules on myself about what I should and shouldn’t wear. I started to reject styles I loved simply because I thought they might add a few pounds, or people might look at me and think “she really shouldn’t be wearing that!”.

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The reality is, I am the size I am and I am the shape I am. There may be a few looks that might possibly give me the illusion of being marginally thinner but no look is going to make me look drastically different from what I really am. So why not just embrace it?!

I have found that the freedom that comes from just wearing what you love and throwing out that rule book develops confidence. And that confidence is what makes you stand straighter, taller, and generally look more comfortable in your own skin. I strongly believe that confidence is the secret to looking good in any outfit. And it makes style and fashion so much more fun!!

Let me stress that I am not saying that dressing for your body shape is wrong, and building confidence takes time. I just know that I am a lot for happier for not worrying about it!

That said, I have looked into what the stylists have to say about wearing culottes and here are a few tips that might make you feel a bit more confident about donning a pair of our favourite short trousers! Whether you are a curvy girl, petite, tall, apple, pear or banana (lol, just kidding with the last one!) – culottes can still work for you! It’s all about balance and how you style them…..

For everyone…

 

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Culottes are usually very wide, so by keeping your top half smaller and wearing something more form fitting you can help balance it out and look like you are wearing the culottes instead of them wearing you.

Crop tops look particularly good with culottes as most of them are high waisted. BUT crop tops don’t need to show any skin if that’s not what you want – the beauty of being a maker is that you can create the perfect length for you. Go for something that will overlap your waistband by a couple of inches and you’ll get the look without showing any skin. Or, you could just wear a fitted top tucked in – or maybe even try a body suit.

 

If you are worried that your culottes are too voluminous and stealing the show, this is where accessories can help tone them down. Opt for a plain colour culotte and pair them with a statement necklace, great shoes and a large handbag. The accessories will be the focus and your culottes won’t seem like such a “big” deal.

Select the width of your shoe carefully. Lots more people feel more comfortable in heels when wearing culottes as it elongates their legs. If you are worried about your legs feeling too wide, then opt for a skinny heel as this will slim the whole leg down.

Whatever your insecurities, a high rise culotte in a flowing fabric will skim your frame and allow you to wear volume without any bulk. Choose a pair in a dark solid colour if you want to play it safe, or go for stripes or florals for more of a statement.

Petite…

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If you are petite, choosing a culotte in a nude or natural colour can give the illusion of elongated legs.

Also, if you are shorter, showing more skin on your legs will stop you from feeling like you’re drowning in the fabric. Opt for a length from below the knee to mid calf to show as much skin as possible.

If you are have short legs, make them up in a fabric with vertical stripes as this will create the illusion of more length. Team it with a cropped top or jacket that hits at your waist.

Pointed toe heels or open toe sandals can keep your legs looking long.

Tall…

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If you are tall, you get away with wearing most culotte styles. If you don’t want your shoes to add extra height try wearing your culottes with sliders or mules to keep your look glam without making you feel any taller. If you want to wear a heel, a kitten heel is a great one to try. Or just embrace your Amazonian proportions and wear whatever the hell you like!!

If you are tall and curvy, vertical stripes are your friend. They will showcase your height whilst balancing your curves. A longline jacket can skim over your hips and bum if you feel less confident about showing those.

Curvy…

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For curvy girls, culottes can be super flattering as they draw your eye to the natural waist. If you have full hips, make sure you choose a size that allows the fabric to flow over them as this will give you a much more effortless look. You can even opt for a bigger size and then take in the waist for good overall fit.

If you are curvy all over, a tie detail at the waist will create a break between your top and bottom curves. Try a bright belt or scarf if your pattern doesn’t have any waist detailing.

Culottes that stop a couple of inches below the knee are going to be the most flattering as they draw your eye to the smallest part of your leg. If comfort is your thing, you could always try a pair made from a stable jersey for a more relaxed fit. Depending on the stretch in your fabric, you could size down and possibly even leave off the zip (when I do this, I always sew up the waistband and check if I can get it over my hips before deciding if a closure is needed).

If you want to pair your culottes with a shirt, wear it tucked in to accentuate your waist. Undoing the buttons is perfect if you have bigger boobs and rolling up the sleeves will show more skin and balance the look.

Athletic…

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For those with more athletic shapes, you guys look awesome in an ankle swinging culottes. Going for less volume, more like a cropped wide leg pant, with a loose fit top would look amazing. If you want to look more curvy, try tucking in your top either completely or just at the front for a french tuck.

Pear…

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If you are pear shaped or conscious of your bottom half, pick a length that avoids hitting the widest part of your leg. A culotte that hits above or below the widest part of your calf will be the most flattering.

Again, culottes will always look better when you give yourself a waist. So whatever you wear on the top half, make sure it is tucked in. A roll neck or tucked in shirt can help balance your proportions if you are smaller on top.

Apple…

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For apple shapes, opt for flat front designs and avoid too much gathering or pleating at the waist. If you love a pattern with pleats, you can always topstitch your pleats down for the first few inches to reduce bulk. Try a looser top or blouse tucked in to help create a little more volume on top and define your waist.

In summary…

Don’t be afraid to try new styles and remember it is not always just about looking your best – clothes that make you feel good are just as important. If you are still not sure what works best for you, why not get down to the high street and try on a few pairs. They might not fit you as well as handmade ones will, but you can at least get a feel for the styles and lengths that suit you – and also try on a few different tops, shoes and accessories to help you figure out what combos you like best.

What next?

So that brings us to the end of Battle Of The Culottes. It’s been epic! An awful lot of work goes into the sewing, filming, researching, writing and editing what ends up being a YouTube video and/or blog post. But if you guys have enjoyed it, then it is worth all the effort!

We’d love to hear from you about what other posts or videos you would like to see from us, so please do leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.

Thanks for stopping by!

Rachel & Nikki x

 

9 thoughts on “Battle Of The Culottes – Round 4”

  1. Great series ladies, love the fact that you have real body shapes and point out the flaws for each pattern and how to fix them, would loved to see the same series for actual trousers/jeans rather than culottes, great comments about body shape Rachael from someone else who has also gone from hour glass to pear in recent years – its lovely to see all the indy pattern makes on women who are not super thin and size 10 – please keep up the good work and … pretty please release that coat pattern!!!! ?

  2. Hi from Berlin, I realy like your vlog and your ig accounts and I would realy enjoy if you would try out ( or battle!) the upcoming day and night dress pattern by gertie, maybe for christmas dresses? Thanks for sharing your passion!

  3. I’m #teamtanner, for sure! I made mine in a really soft, lightweight denim with gold topstitching and I wear them way more often even than I expected.

  4. Loved this series! I only ever wear capri style cropped pants, but I do wear a lot of skirts, so this has given me lots to ponder. Love that y’all have started the blog—it’s so delicious & a great alternative for when video is not the best medium (or I’m in bed & my spouse is sleeping beside me & my earbuds are in the front hall ?)

  5. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this series. I’m still trying to decide which culottes to make. Should I stay safe with a gaucho style or be brave I’m deciding between the tanner and the flint. I’m a shop size 18 with a round tummy ?
    Thanks for your great vlogs and blogs always an inspiration ?

    1. Hey Bridget, it is tricky to decide. Personally I would chose the flints as the pleats allow for a little tummy fullness. The tanner’s are flat front so they would require adjustments for a good fit at the waist. Hope that helps x

  6. Hi Sisters – I love this series and now subscribe to your You Tube channel! I also love the blue & white striped boat neck top that Rachel is wearing. Is that a pattern and if so which one?
    Thank you!

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