The Lazy Cycling Culottes

I want to spend some time exploring the bike paths when I venture down to Hilton Head next month. Bike shorts are not my style or speed, I plan on leisurely (lazy) rides and wanted a practical, yet cute outfit. Luckily culottes have made a comeback, with the latest incarnation – midi style. I had visions of the longer length catching in the bike and ripping apart as I tumble off the bike, so going with knee length seemed a safer choice. The is-it-a-skirt look was appealing, so I went with Butterick 6178, version A. The top for the outfit is vintage 1964 McCalls 7584, my second time with this pattern.


The vision in my head had the culottes in blue chambray with a floral print top, but fabric karma was not with me and there was no chambray to be found. Don’t you hate it when you have a project design all worked out and something gets in the way? I’ve been seeing lots of cute chambray skirts on Pinterest and Instagram, so maybe I’ll order some and do a skirt later. This project was on a deadline to be done while my husband was off on a golf weekend. So Plan B, find a different fabric combination.


At Haberman Fabrics I found my alternatives. A navy and white (looks gray in the photo) mini checked cotton for the culottes and a striped shirting cotton for the top.

Other than yoga pants in yoga class, I don’t wear pants. I don’t like how they look on me and find them to be uncomfortable, especially for sitting. Although the culottes have a loose fit, the lower torso length could still be an issue. I’m short, but oddly long through the area called the lower torso, aka crotch depth.


Since I haven’t made any garments needing to accommodate this recently, I had to hit the books. Yep, I’m a shorty with a long lower torso. Adjustments needed.


After making a muslin, cutting out the size 12, with the size 14 crotch depth, I made the adjustment to lower the depth a little more. For my normal short person proportion adjustments, I made the waistband 1/4 inch narrower, so it didn’t go up too high on my short waist.

With my husband out of town, I spread out and moved my sewing to the family room to enjoy some rare sunshine. I may get a little sloppy when my husband is gone, but he’ll never know. The coffee table can make a good cutting table with smaller projects like the top.


The top pattern was a repeat, fitting previously done, just layout and cut. I made one minor change in the zipper, using a 14 inch zipper and adding a button and loop at the top of the back. The original pattern instructions call for a separating zipper. I don’t think I’m flexible or coordinated enough to use a separating zipper in the back of a top, even with all the yoga.

button loop

A comfortable outfit for lazily exploring the bike trails in Hilton Head Plantation.

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Me Made May Update

Day 18 – Skirt from Burda 121 my third version of this pattern in cotton from Haberman Fabrics

Day 19 – Top Simplicity 1590, skirt from unmarked pattern in silk from Chicago South Loop Vogue Fabrics

DSC_0283  Day 19

Day 20 – Skirt a hack from dress pattern Vogue 8993 in Amy Butler fabric from Satin Moon in SFO.

Day 21 – Alabama Chanin fitted dress pattern in organic cotton with back stitched reverse applique.

DSC_0108  Day 21

Day 22 – Dress Vogue Patterns 8996 in Oscar de la Renta fabric from Mood. At Habermans Fabrics, checking the drape of the cotton for my culottes.

Day 23 – Dress  Butterick 6582 Retro 1960 in a poly blend.

Day 22  DSC_0047

Day 24 – Details blogged above


One more week of Me Made May.  I’ve enjoyed seeing everyone else’s postings, it’s been fun.



The Side Effects of Me Made May

A sharpened eye, finished UFOs , refashioning, wardrobe deficient identification and self photography fatigue – all side effects of participation in the phenomenon of Me Made May. I was warned, Zoe even mentions some of these  in her Me Made May Sign Up posting.

In my first bout of Me Made May, I thought I would be immune. As the month has progressed, I found myself contemplating what was missing from my wardrobe and spending time observing others’ makes on #MMMay15 Instagram, seeking those also afflicted with the love of pretty print dresses. Then I actually found myself pulling out a dreaded UFO. It had hung in the back of my sewing room closet, incubating for nearly a year.


The top, Butterick 5988, was actually fininshed. What! When did I do that? Have you ever had sewing memory loss?


Although it looks fine on the dress form, somehow on me it didn’t look quite right. Maybe that’s why it had been cast aside. Was it the neckline or maybe the cap sleeves? Just what could be the diagnosis? Further examination revealed it needed 4 inches amputated from the hem. Short people may need proportion adjustments. Having a top end too low on the hip just makes you look even shorter. It had to be chopped off and was instantly much cuter for it.


The skirt was a copy of a RTW skirt from Loft, hacked from Vogue 7937. I had changed it to a single back vent and added the partial yoke in the front and back.





Although the yoke doesn’t show when wearing this top, it helps the fit. The skirt needed to be taken in on the sides, a petersham waistband added and a hem. In all just an afternoon to finish the outfit. Photographing took almost as long. Michigan has an abundance of cloudy, rainy days, our pale faces are seeking the sunlight, along with a location to get some decent photos.


My affliction continues with another attempt to refashion. A skirt my sister passed along. She said it looked dowdy on her and she is four inches taller, so it really looked dumpy on me. There’s a lot of lace there, once I get it all unpicked. Darn those RTW seam finishes.


I’m also following a lot more bloggers, Instagramers and Pinterest boards now. Yikes, how contagious is this? What’s Me Made May doing for your sewing?

The weeks MMM update:

Day 11 – Skirt Burda 121 – Waverly Fabric from Satin Moon in SFO

Day 12 – Pattern Mash up dress, bodice Vogue 8766, Butterick 5982, skirt Butterick 5385. Two layers of fabric, fuschia cotton under navy & white open cut work

Day 11 Day 12

Day 13 – Skirt Burda 121 again, polished cotton from Haberman Fabrics

Day 14 – Skirt Simplicity 2315 in broadcloth, made 4 or 5 years ago.

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Day 15 –  Skirt cloned from RTW in giant peony cotton from Haberman Fabrics

Day 16  – The UFO from above

day 15 DSC_0326

Day 17 – Skirt Butterick 5041 made 5 or 6 years ago, fabric from JoAnns

Day 17



Forget the Planning Vacation Wardrobe

Logically, when planning a vacation wardrobe, it is a good idea to coordinate pieces around one main color, with some compatible secondary colors. After a long, dreary, cold, gray winter, logic was not invited on this vacation.

Hilton Head, South Carolina can still be a little cool in March, but it was warm and sunny enough to chase away the blues of a Michigan winter. I wanted pretty colors and florals, no shoes that went with everything and no mix and match anything.  As for tops, well there is always white.

I used this Burda skirt pattern from the Spring 2014 magazine last year, sewing two skirts at the same time, assembly line style, as blogged here. It’s an easy, unlined skirt with a back zip and slightly curved waistband.


Since leaving my job and no longer sitting for 8 hours a day, I’ve lost a little weight and needed to adjust the pattern. It was easy to change, I just cut off 1/4 inch from the center and side seams.


A little top stitching makes this appear almost like printed denim.


The white top was a quick make using the boat neck top pattern from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. I used a very soft knit and can see getting lots of wear from this. I’ve already made it in another color and will likely make a couple sleeveless versions for summer. This is a fast and easy pattern with great results.


The cornflower blue floral is actually a home dec  fabric by Waverly, which I picked up at Satin Moon in San Francisco. I don’t usually even look at home dec fabric because I’m afraid of looking like a Von Trapp singer wearing the curtains, but I really wanted something for spring.

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The fabric for my second vacation skirt was also from Satin Moon, another floral. This one is by Amy Butler. Both these fabrics wash beautifully and resist wrinkles, a plus on vacation  (not that I did any wash there).The top is just a Target t-shirt, the scarf I found in Hilton Head. Shopping as you travel is a good option when planning an uncoordinated wardrobe.


The pattern is actually part of a dress, Vogue 8993. To make the skirt, I placed the center front on the fold, eliminating the center seam. Instead of a waist band, I faced it with petersham ribbon and skipped the pleats in the back due to lack of yardage. The pocket bags are made from white cotton left from another project.


Skirt three is my favorite. I saw the cotton print on a quick trip to Haberman Fabrics for skirt two’s petersham ribbon. The giant peonies just shouted, “Winter is over!” Peonies will always remind me of my grandmother’s garden, of course these did not have the ants crawling all over them. What is it with peonies and ants?


The skirt is almost a full circle and lined with a cotton blend I had in the stash. The little girl in me wants to twirl around in it, the middle aged mom reminds me I would likely not look cute showing off my undies.  I used a favorite ready to wear skirt to trace off a pattern. The front and back are almost the same, but the back has a center seam to allow for the zipper placement.  The only area to fit was the waist and the large pleats (2 front, 2 back) allowed for some adjusting. The waist band is just a narrow strip cut on the bias. Another easy make.



Besides my new skirts, I also took dresses made last summer, never wore anything twice and managed to get it all in one within the weight limit suitcase. The advantages of warm weather packing.

And what was I looking at off that balcony?  The view of a lovely Carolina salt marsh, so peaceful and pretty. It changes throughout the day, with the tides and light.


After vacationing in Hilton Head for 15 years, we bought the ultimate souvenir –a house.

DSC_000214 view from golf course

It will be a few years before we move there, but for now I’m getting obsessed with decorating ideas and trying to figure out where I’ll put all my sewing stuff. My husband won out of the view, it’s on a golf course. I’ll just need to find a really large painting of a salt marsh to hang in the living room.

19 view from back deck