Today I'm reviewing Megan Nielsen's new Tania Culottes pattern as part of Shorts on The Line...a rockin sewing series and short-love-fest, in it's second season and hosted by Carla of Small and Friendly and Rachael of Imagine Gnats.
Pattern: Tania Culottes. So, what is a culotte when it's at home? Picture a sort of wide-legged pair of shorts that looks like a skirt. More commonly known as a 'skort'. I'm not selling it am I? Okay, so I did some 'research' (googled) and here's a tidbit for ya: Did you know that during the Victorian era women wore these long split skirts so they could actually ride horses facing the way they were going instead of side saddle? What we can take from this is that culottes are meant to look cute and fabulous like a skirt but with the practicality of shorts. And they probably saved lives!
Features: Megan's design here is super clever. When the pieces are laid out it resembles a full circle skirt and when they're on, the short part is completely disguised beneath the folds of fabric in the front and back. Other features to love are the wide waistband and invisible side zipper, which I think make for a flattering and not obviously 'hand-made' finish. I found the instructions clear and Megan Nielsen patterns are always generous with pictures for us visual learners. All in all, a great separate and a fun piece to experiment with prints or solids. I'd like to make another winter version, in a solid.
Fabric: A fav, small country town thrift store find that I can only describe as some wild 80's botanical print, in polyester. I couldn't figure out if it was ugly or lovely which had me intrigued. But at $4, I took a chance on lovely.
Wearability: These pics were taken two months back when it was still warm enough for bare legs and a tee. And now that it's suddenly turned all winter, they've been on even higher rotation. Now I'm enjoying them with leggings and boots and with less fear of flashing at school pick-up. I think my favourite part of this skort idea is you've got everyone guessing 'are they?' or 'aren't they?'. And then you give them one of these...
Now hiss at the same time...you are a beautiful cobra!
Sizing: Sometimes I like to play the game called 'outsmarting sizing charts'. It usually starts with ignoring my measurements and choosing a size based on, um, 'sewers intuition'. And it generally ends well with patterns from the big four, which seem to come with lots of ease, but the risks are higher with independent pattern companies where the sizing is unique to each. So, even though I measured a medium I cut a small in good faith. Which would have been fine if I actually did cut the small. Instead of a small at the front and a LARGE at the back. Don't ask. One of those days when you know you shouldn't be anywhere near a sewing machine. Anyway, I didn't take heed and also melted a huge section of the waistband with a too-hot iron and broke the zip the first time I put it in. The weirdest thing with all that hybrid sizing is they fit like a dream (though the side seams are noticeably towards the front). Which leads me to believe I should have cut the medium in the first place! Ho hum.
The verdict: The Tania culottes are sassy and fabulous and very wearable! But don't think that just because they go by the name 'short's' that you're going to be offered any sort of protection against knicker flashing. Maybe there was a disclaimer somewhere I didn't read: Wear on windy days at your own risk. Megan Nielsen Patterns assumes no responsibility for grievances caused by Marilyn moments...