Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Wendy Ward - Culottes

Hi everyone, it is my turn on the blog tour for Wendy's wonderful new book 'A beginners guide to skirts'!

First of all I have been following along with Wendy's progress on this book from the beginning via the magic of Instagram so I was really looking forward to seeing the end product. You can tell as soon as you open the cover that a lot of attention to detail has been paid even down to aaaall the hand drawn illustrations so I was really happy once the book was released and I was offered the chance to review it!

The projects run through the book in order of difficulty, starting with a simple jersey tube skirt and ending with a gathered skirt with button front and pockets, but all look like they could be tackled by an advanced beginner from the offset. What I like about the projects is that they start with a fairly simple template, so my immediate instinct is to imagine what bold fabrics I could use or what pattern adaptions I could make. There is a lot of scope to make your own mark on these styles and as they stand they are really great wardrobe staples. My favourite being the Roehampton culottes I did make and the Rusholme midi A-line with pockets that I have yet to make.

The instructions themselves mainly reside in the back of the book where you are instructed to flick back to for things like inserting zips or making up pockets etc... There is a lot of detail here that could easily be used for projects outside of this book.

I made the knee length culottes in this linen look suiting supplied by Fabworks mill shop. I was trying not to get too excited about the prospect of free fabric and choose something that would slot into my wardrobe nicely and this has a really good heavy drape to it! I even managed to squeeze these out of 1.5 metres of fabric, but this was a risky strategy that I wouldn't advise...

The fit is spot on and the only change I made was to insert a centre back zip instead of in the side seam. I really, really love them! Ok, so that bubble at the top of the zip is annoying and also the waistband overlaps on top instead of underneath. The poppers hopefully make it look intentional, but all I can say is I was deeply distracted by the finale of 'The Fall' (creepy BBC series) whilst making up this area, which if you were watching it too you will understand why I was unable to fully concentrate!

Here we are demonstrating how wide they are!

I personally feel that this style works best in a soft drapey fabric, as they are lovely and swishy, but the book sample does show them in a heavier fabric for comparison.

Because of the plain fabric I had great fun finishing everything nicely with press studs and bias binding on the waistband. I also used a bias binding extension on the centre back seam where it forms the lap over the zip as the seam allowance needs to be wider to account for this (which it is as per the pattern on the side seam). This was only because of my deviation from the pattern, so you probably won't need to worry about that!

 So to sum up this is a great book in my opinion and a great basis for loads of different skirt/wide leg trouser options beyond those in the book!

The only thing that I was not such a fan of was the way the patterns are laid out on the sheets in the back. The leg of the trousers for example are split into a couple of pieces that you need to bring together in the tracing and the lines are all different colours which I found tricky as I was tracing a pale blue line which was difficult to see through my paper. If the publishers offered a link to download the pattern sheets to print at home I would definitely have gone for that and just cut them straight out (note to publishers). Anyway, just a small thing really to improve the user experience when locating the patterns.

Honestly though I really value having this in my collection and just picking it out of the shelf to write this post has filled me with joy and confidence in it's contents!

I hope you enjoyed reading my review and that it has provide you with a rounded view, but if you have any questions then just ask! xxx


Alison G said...

They look great and I love the colour. I have heard lots of good reviews about the book but didn't realise it included culottes, I might add it to my Christmas list!

Radostin said...

Your culottes are wonderful! I do like the different outfits you've shown them in. Your waistband doesn't look wrong to me; surely if the side that overlaps on the waistband is the same side that overlaps the zip, you've got it right, no? If it went under then wouldn't you have an odd lump where the fabric folded from over to under?
Your yellow & grey shoes are just fab!

Elizabeth Made This said...

The culottes have such a nice weight to them in this linen. I love that these are in a skirt book. It's always interested to me how skirt-like culottes seem to be.

Marilla Walker said...

Hey Alison and Elizabeth, it's so great to have these culottes in the book as there is basically something to suit everyone! Culottes are drafted from a skirt block so it makes sense that they are in the book really. The crotch curve is added to the centre back and centre front of the skirt so it's a lot simpler to draft than it looks, although that is not to deflect from the fact that wendy has produced some really well drafted patterns. The other pattern which I didn't show is probably more of a trafitional culottes with pleats to make the lega even roomier. Must make some of those up soon too! ;-)

Marilla Walker said...

Radostin, thanks so much for your comment! You're right of course and there is nothing wrong with my waist band except that I was intending to follow the pattern which has the flap going underneath. No matter though as there really is no right and wrong! 😉

Radostin said...

Ahh, thanks, I've now suddenly managed to visualise that in a way that makes sense. Meant to say also that your yellow top is just stellar!