Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pattern test - culottes! Friend, or foe? And a bonus sewing machine review.

I've been desperately in love with everyone's Tania Culottes projects.  As I highly enjoy to ride my bike (but don't enjoy flashing passersby), I've been searching for a clothing solution other than a dress and leggings wacked off to be knee length as appropriate cycling wear.  Sadly, the Tania pattern is only available as a downloadble file, and I am a moron when it comes to piecing tiled patterns.  Instant gratification or bust, kids!  I'd done some preliminary research into mod'ing a circle skirt pattern, when I came across a new addition to the McCall line, M6965.

It's about time!
Culottes!  Oh joy, oh rapture!  And three different lengths!  I bought two copies of the pattern, since they were on sale for 99 cents, pulled out some drapey suiting I've had for years and years, shoved my current dress project to the side (again), and spent three hours on Saturday working away.

It's hard to tell, but there's silver thread in there.

Pattern layout, on the new (adjustable height) table
I cut a size 12, because that's what I normally made in bottoms.  Unbeknownst to me, even though my weight is similar to when I last made a non-dress project, they came out HUGE in the waist/hip.  Of course, I tried them on completely assembled and finished, because I was entirely confident about the sizing.  Nope.  Whatever, these are for cycling - so I threw 4 darts in the waistband (2 front, 2 back) and called it good.  Room in the hips will just make it easier to pedal, right?  Right.

Gratuitous crotch shot

They were incredibly easy to put together, although I managed to spectacularly flub the zipper insertion.  Cause I got skills.

FAIL action shot
For some unknown reason (no, not vodka), I didn't leave enough at the top of the waistband to clear the zipper after the facing was attached.  In non-Kelli speak, that meant the zipper was now too long to fold the facing over.  Dumb. So I had to trim more off of the top of the zip, then handsew stops into the zipper tape (because the metal stops were cut off).  And the whole zipper insertion is kind of wonky - I was really in a rush to get these made.

Close enough for government work, as they say
I think these will look better in a more fluid fabric, but even though they make me look a bit..um...wide, I still really like these.  The biggest problem with culottes is the optical illusion created by all that extra fabric at the hip/thigh region.  Your eye is drawn to the width of the fabric, which makes it look like that's the width of your thighs.  However, I don't really care.  They're comfy as all getout and you can project a movie on the back - bonus!  I'd like to make the shorter version for tennis as well.  I also think with a better fit and finish, they will be adorable for fall with tights.

Bam!  Baby got back. For days.
And now for something completely different:

I sewed these entirely on my new toy, a Janome 4030P (the P is for "pink" - this was a special model for breast cancer awareness).  Which I love.  LOVE.  I want to run away to the coast with it and buy it presents.  I pet it and sing it lullabies at night.  It reminds me - in all the best ways - of my workhorse Kenmore that I started sewing with umpteen years ago.

That machine would have sewn through aluminum siding if I wanted; I toted that sweet baby with me from college dorm rooms, apartments, and couch surfing, up until the metal housing that worked the needle up and down finally cracked after almost 15 years of abu...I mean heavy use.

Janome, I <3 you
Now, Janome made machines for Kenmore (which have gone the way of the dodo), which may account for the instant amorous deja vu.  I've sewn on Vikings for about 11 years now, and while they are superior machines to many, I've found that I long to return to the simpler functionality of a machine like the mid-range Janome. I don't quilt, so 300 decorative stitches go entirely unused, and while automatic EVERYTHING is an amazing feature, I have missed being able to make slight adjustments and really get to know my machine.  Vikings are also notorious divas, and will only produce the best stitch quality if you give it expensive thread and take it out on the town so it feels pretty.  I had these culottes two-thirds of the way sewn on the Janome before I noticed I had it threaded wrong.  Yup, I am so used to being able to wind a bobbin with the needles threaded (one Viking feature I will miss) that I had the thread wound on the wrong tension post.  And you know what?  Not. One. Missed. Stitch.  This machine purred along happily; I only noticed the threading because I stopped to actually pay attention to the threading path.  That's my kind of machine.

Threading guide.  Apparently, only a suggestion.
So this is the correct path.  I still had wound around the shiny metal tension knob you see at the top.  Did I mention my amazing skills?  Spongebob Cthulhu was mightily amused.

Plus, it's pink and I think it's adorable.  Now, if pink isn't your thing, it is offered as the DC4030, no pink faceplate.  Although I think it's discontinued.  But that's what the internet is for.

Sigh.....so cute

Look at those sexy, accessible inner workings.  Take that, Viking!

See that lever with "2, 1, 0"?  That's to adjust the pressure foot pressure.  Aw, yeah.  Momma like.  Momma also likes the ability to open that up and actually clean the inside.  No Viking I've used or could remotely afford has that.

So that's it for now.  I have my linen maxi dress halfway done - things at the Stitchery have been in a state of mild upheaval recently and I haven't been able to sit down and work.  Hopefully that will be remedied soon and I will have a lovely new dress post soon - I'm having machine withdrawals!

No comments:

Post a Comment