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.



Wedding Dress Make Over – 28th Anniversary Edition

What to do with a 28 year old, 80’s dropped waist, puffy shouldered, polyester lace wedding dress? It was fashionable in it’s time, but I hope the 80’s style never makes a comeback. Could my husband be saying, “Look, it’s Pat Benatar’s hair?”

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My first choice dress proved to be beyond my budget, this was second choice and it has served it’s purpose. I certainly didn’t plan to save it for my daughter, she has her own unique and charming style. Originally I wanted to remake it for my 25th anniversary, but didn’t quite get around to it.

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It actually still fits, well, sort of. It’s a little snug in some places. With the low cut back, I was braless on my wedding day, but that was a much perkier time.


Yep, kept the shoes too. They fit better than the dress and are classic enough to not to scream any certain decade.

The dress had a few problems.

There was large stain, which came out of the lace after soaking in Oxiclean. On the satin it just faded, but was still visible.


The construction is pretty poor in the bodice, but at the time I’m sure I didn’t notice.


 Some of the seams were falling apart, especially on the sleeves, with no lining supporting the seaming. French seams here? Not a chance.


The skirt was in decent enough shape and it was very easy to pick open the seam to separate the skirt and bodice, still keeping the lace and lining together. The original zipper was removed and a new 7 inch zipper inserted.

Measuring out petersham ribbon to fit around my waist, I pinned it to my dress form. Then I pinned the skirt to the petersham, making 2 pleats in the front and 2 in the back, so the waistline fit to the petersham. Foldover and stitch down the petersham, add a hook and eye and it’s done. Very fast.


I wore it out to dinner at the very old school Detroit London Chop House, with a top a made from a vintage 1964 McCalls pattern. I used a blush stretch satin, the shiny side was pretty, but I’ll get more wear out of the more casual looking matte side. So no shine on this top and the lining is more of the same fabric. I could make the top and lining from only 1 yard of 60 inch fabric. The size 12 fit well, just needed a bust adjustment and I added 1 inch to the length to make sure it overlapped the waist of the skirt. Anyone else prefer the 60’s over the 80’s?


I really like the ivory and blush together, but it tends to wash out in photos.


My husband took some pictures, 9 actually. My eyes are closed in every one. After 28 years I should know better than to ask him to play photographer. This was my look for day 2 of Me-Made-May. Had to put it back on the next day for one quick photo, as the camera battery died.