Sewing Projects

A SUMMER UNIFORM

Hello friends. We Montrealers are in the middle of a heat wave. A hot and humid force field of sticky air and sweaty sheets. My cats barely move, I’m showering thrice a day and getting dressed in the morning seems like an exercise in futility. Better, truly, to just be naked all the time, but unfortunately that method garners a lot of unnecessary attention when one is not indoors.

It’s become an interesting dilemma every day. How to survive the heat in style. How to expose as much skin to the air without being naked or getting solicited. The answer my friends, is not blowing in the wind. It’s the wind blowing in my culottes. My Meghan Neilson miracles.

I fugging love these damn things so much, I want to make 800 pairs.

I made them with some DIVINE rayon challis I picked up in San Francisco. It has started me on a rayon bender. I want to get Charles Bukowski on rayon challis. I want to get so drunk on it I wake up in a strange city with Rayon Challis tattooed on my knuckles and no memory of how I got there.  The one thing standing in my way of an utter spiral into rayon challis oblivion is the fact that it is very, very difficult to find. I’ve been hunting online and there is a shameful lack of it. Most prints are a little too mumsy for me. I don’t understand why it’s not available in a million different colours and prints. It’s the best fabric for summer EVER. Drapey, soft, breathable, washable. I love my silk but it’s like a fine lady that needs to be treated carefully and with respect. Rayon challis will take spilled beer, summer sweat and a sudden downpour with a smile.

It will, however, shrink like George Costanza in a cold ocean. I learned this when I spilled a glass of red wine on these bad boys the day they made their debut. They didn’t stain, natch but even though I prewashed them they got a little shorter then before. I’ve since learned that you should really prewash and dry your rayon a few times before cutting just to be on the safe side.

This pattern was really quick to cut and assemble (well, the rolled hems took some time but was weirdly enjoyable on my new Bernina). However, either due to the length of my torso or my tendency to wear everything high on the waist, the crotch is about 1″ higher than I would like.  For my next pair I’m going to drop the crotch and lengthen them an inch or so. They fit like a mini, which is fine for hot summer nights, but not so great for hot summer days in the office.

Also, for anyone interested in making them, you HAVE to let them hang for a day or so before hemming them. Because they are cut on the bias, the fabric will stretch unevenly. I let them hang overnight but one area needs to be re-hemmed as they stretched even further as I wore them.

Paired with my culottes is my first attempt at a bodysuit. Making one has been on my mind since Daughter Fish’s tutorial last year. They really are the best thing to wear under high-waisted skirts if you want a clean line without the bunching that comes with t-shirts.

For research purposes, I tried on an American Apparel short sleeved bodysuit and scared the staff with my uncontrollable giggling. AA girls do not have my prodigious booty. I might as well have been wearing a thong. It was heinous. For this experiment, I used the lining of my Bombshell to draft a full coverage bum. I wanted a boat neck, no sleeves and a low back, and I fiddled with a muslin till I got something workable. I bound the edges with the same black knit, used my Bombshell elastic method on the legs and added a shelf bra. It’s not quite enough support for me – I feel too free booby in it, so I’m trying to find some cups that don’t give me crazy Madonna cone knockers for my next effort. There WILL be a next time – I’m envisioning a few different backless bodysuits to come. I love the unexpected flash of skin.

Have a fantastic weekend! I’ll be at the pool. In one of my Bombshells, naturally.

  • Amy

    These are so adorable, and on everyone that’s made them! Rayon challis is amazing summer fabric. I’ve used it for a beach sarong/towel because it dries so quickly. (Fabric.com often has a bunch of solid colors and it’s nice quality. I went on a bender when they had a deep sale and bought an entire bolt.) Hope you are staying cool. I’ve officially reached the coping stage of summer where even shoes feel too hot.

  • Adrienne from AS+AS

    Could you make a bad project for once in your life!? Seriously, everything you make is amazing and my TO-SEW list keeps growing and growing the more I read your blog. Sheesh.

  • crystalpleats

    Great outfit. I’m in love with these culottes from Megan Nielsen, too. They look fantastic with the ballet style body suit you’ve come up with.

  • yay for culottes! Aren’t they great? Yours are fantastic, I love that fabric!

  • Taracat

    Gorgeous! If you’d asked me six months ago if I’d consider culottes I’d have said No Way. However all these Megan Nielson ones popping up, and especially yours, are making me reconsider. I love these on you.

  • Sassy T
  • ashley akers

    I’m thinking a bodysuit pattern would be awesome!

  • Cirque Du Bebe

    The world needs more RAYONNN! I couldn’t love these more, and you should definitely make 800 pairs. I am right behind you. These are my absolute favourite pattern of MN. Love that print and they look so amaze on you and with the body suit. So we’ll just sit back and wait for a body suit pattern shall we…?

  • A Stitching Odyssey

    I can see why this would become a summer uniform! It’s easy, breezy, cover girl ;o) Love the whole thing my dear (you can’t beat a sexy bodysuit) and I’m dying to try that MN pattern…in a rayon!!!

  • Rachel

    Ahhhh! Another pattern for my list. I wasn’t sure about these, but after seeing yours & Sophie’s I WANT THEM! You look awesome

  • Connie Turner

    I’m betting that hetero men get whiplash whenever you walk by.

  • Sownbrooklyn

    I share your rayon challis LURVE!!! This is an awesome outfit!! I’ve been planning another summer and two fall versions of these culottes (though I can’t sew until it cools the fuck down!!) and just got bodysuits on the brain again.

    Thanks for the AA store experience share, btw. They need to be frightened as much as their ads frighten me!

    Now, for a little enabling:

    http://www.fabric.com/SearchResults2.aspx?Source=Header&SearchText=challis&CategoryID=1d5f47dc-9991-4088-93f3-26a376046a5e

    http://www.denverfabrics.com/search/search.aspx?source=searchbox&keywords=challis

  • goodpurlgonebad

    Gorgeous! I love rayon too.

  • Evelyn Hughes

    Looks awesome!

  • Rebecca

    I love your outfit! Perfect for the summer heat wave! Awesome that you made it yourself, even makes the outfit better!

    Rebecca

    http://www.winnipegstyle.ca

  • Lauren Taylor

    HOTT!! Those culottes (well, the version I sewed up, anyway! 😉 are my favorite thing to wear in this god-forsaken heat. Like wearing next to nothing, except that there is actually a bit of ladylike coverage.

  • Sassy T

    Cute. BTW I have featured your Charlotte Skirt on SSB https://www.facebook.com/SassySewingBees

  • sallieforrer

    You look freaking hot – as always!! I think these culottes might be genius… seriously need to make me a pair so I stop flashing the creepy lechers during my bike commutes!! Also, I’m totally in love with your bodysuit!! Try the bra cups from Sew Sassy, they are relatively human-boobed shaped!

  • Gorjuss. I’m with you on the body suit thing – it really is perfect for high waisted bottoms. Why had I not thought of this before? Must try! The culottes are stunning, so swishy!

  • Your culottes are totally adorable!! So twirl-worthy 🙂

  • This outfit is ridiculously adorable! Love it!

  • Amanda Adams

    All. Kinds. Of. Awesome.