My first item for the summer of basics was supposed to be the Ninni culottes by Named, and low and behold: I stuck to that plan! Here they are!
I’ll be honest, when culottes made their (re)appearance in fashion and by extension in the sewing world I didn’t think they were for me. I wear dresses most of the time, and just wasn’t tempted to make any type of trousers. I did like their look on on other people, but it was just not something I thought I would ever sew for myself. But then came the record heat and this dry, never-ending heatwave of a summer we’ve been having, and I realised I needed more and more diverse summer clothing to get me through these months. That, combined with my low-key style exploration prompted me to try some things that I hadn’t thought to make before.
Whether you call this loose type of pants culottes, palazzo pants or anything else, my sister-in-law calls them “wiebelbroek” – literally translated: wiggle pants. Last year when she was on holiday in Italy, and also heavily pregnant, she bought a handmade one in a shop there and came back home with buckets of enthusiasm for wiebelbroeken. (She also came back with a live baby, as some of you might remember). Her enthusiasm for wide trousers was definitely contagious as it basically planted the seed of making a pair in my head. (Her influence reaches further, as this household now only refers to any kind of loose pants as “wiebelbroek”).
The Ninni-pattern has the reputation of being an easy pattern and it truly is. I finished most of this in a day, and then only had to stop because my elastic hadn’t arrived yet. It turns out that 3.5 cm wide elastic is very hard to find in my city. Who knew? I went to a couple of places and watched baffled shop keepers rummage through a couple of boxes, with loads of different sized elastics but not that elusive 3.5. I had to order some online and that took a bit longer than I expected.
While Ninni is an easy pattern, I did have to make some changes. Named patterns are designed for women whose height is more on the tall side of the lenght spectrum.
Which is great if you are tall.
I am not.
Holding the pattern pieces in front of me ensued in some hysterical giggles, as it was over full length on me. I think I took about 15 centimetres off of the length. There are no lengthening or shortening lines on the pattern, but as it is just a straight leg I took most of it off the bottom. Using a pyjama pants as a guide I also took of some at the waist, to make the crotch a little less low.
This is a viscose (rayon) fabric. I hadn’t sewn with viscose before, but I do own retail wear made with it. I’m kinda in two minds about it: both with sewing and knitting I tend to shy away from synthetic fibres because of environmental reasons, and I don’t find them as comfortable as natural fibres. Viscose occupies that weird in-between state; it is at the same time natural and man-made fibre, and therefore it doesn’t properly belong in either categories. I like wearing viscose: it is tied with linen as my favourite summer fabric. My options where I live regarding fabric are not as wide as in other places, particularly if you are looking to buy natural fibres on a budget: so for now I’ve decided to keep using viscose fabrics in my sewing.
I chose the print and colour to go for a more classic look. I was kinda weary of “Is she wearing her boyfriends swim shorts or did she make a pants from the curtains in her Airbnb?” vibes. Don’t get me wrong, I like wacky prints and colours, but for some reason am really averse to them in trousers for myself. I noticed this when I was looking at retail culottes, to decide what look to go for. (Can you tell I was nervous about this, by how serious I took the planning?). I noticed that I gravitated to dark main colours and small prints so that is what I went for.
I wish I had bought more of this fabric when it was still in stock. I have zero shame in owning different things in the same print, or alternatively owning the same item in different prints if it is something that I wear a lot. I even knitted the same sweater multiple times. When I finished the culottes, I thought the print would also make an awesome Reeta Shirtdress, but alas the fabric had sold out. Oh well, just got to keep my eyes peeled for other suitable fabric!
I have been wearing them already and I have to admit I did feel a bit weird at the beginning, because it is a slight deviation of what I usually wear. I’m still trying to figure out how to best style them. Looking at the pictures, I’m more okay with how it looks than how I felt about it at the time. I guess most of it is just a matter getting used to and figuring out how to wear them with what’s already in my wardrobe. I recently figured out that I don’t typically like my shirts tucked in wide skirts, but while wearing these I found that I like it a lot better with culottes. I also think I might like cropped shirts or a hem-tie shirts to wear with this kinda style, so maybe I should put one of those on my to make list.
In the time it took me to get this project photographed and up on the blog I’ve also finished project 2 of the summer of basics and traced the pattern for my third project, which I hope to make good progress on over the weekend. So I’m quite positive about getting all 3 projects done before the end of august! My documenting of finished makes has been lacking spectacularly the past few months though, and this is actually the part that I’m most worried about. I’m glad that I finally broke through my reluctance to take finished project photos and hopefully this will give me the motivation to also document the non-summer of basics makes that have accumulated over the past months!