Monday, June 13, 2016

Testing, testing: Winslow Culottes by Helen's Closet

Maxi skirt? Or maxi trousers? Hard to tell, eh?

These are the Winslow Culottes, the first pattern by Helen's Closet!

The pattern, which will be released in late June, is for wide-legged pants in four lengths, from shorts to full length. The Winslows feature inseam pockets, an invisible zipper, a waistband, and inverted box pleats.

UPDATE: the Winslow Culottes pattern has been released! You can find it here.

For my test version, I opted for View D, the full length pants. I just loved how Helen's sample version of the pants had such dramatic volume, giving the appearance of a maxi skirt. In a drapey fabric, they have so much movement!

I was quite happy with the pattern: it's a simple but dramatic design. A fitted waist expanding into wonderfully wide-legged trousers with elegant box pleats... love it! In addition, Helen's instructions are clear and straightforward, with lots of helpful diagrams.

The fabric I used for my test version is some silky poly with diagonal paisley stripes. I noticed only after I started cutting that there is an issue with the color changing along the length of my piece of fabric such that the front and back of my pants look like they are made from different fabrics! Oops... hopefully it's not that noticeable. In any case, the fabric has great drape for the Winslow Culottes, although it shreds like crazy- my floor is covered in tiny blue threads!

I opted for a few minor changes for my Winslows. I skipped the in-seam pockets, which is just a personal preference... I know some people can't live without them, but I rarely use them and don't need any extra fabric in the hip region, if you know what I mean!

I also substituted the invisible zipper in the center back with a lapped zipper after my traumatic broken invisible zipper experience. The Winslow Culottes use a 5/8" seam allowance, so it was easy to switch to a lapped zip.

Finally, I ended up sewing a slightly smaller hem (serging and turning about 3/8" instead of the 1/2" + 3/8" hem called for in the pattern) because I didn't want to lose any length. To be fair, this is totally my fault because the pattern says it's designed for a 5'6" woman and I am 5'7.5". I really should have added some length so I could double fold the hem. But I think they're a good length now... if they were much longer, I imagine I would trip on them!

Speaking of sizing, I went with a size 18 based on my measurements. The only measurement that really matters here is the waist since there is so much volume at the hip. I measured myself before going on vacation, and after eating and drinking my way through Vietnam, I am a bit bloated in the belly. As such, this pair of Winslows is a bit snug at the waist. I should have re-measured after vacation! Oh well, hopefully I am back to fighting weight soon. A couple Muay Thai sessions should help.

Really my only complaint about this pair of pants has nothing to do with the pattern, but more likely is a result of my fabric. My seams puckered quite a bit. I tried to pull/iron them out, but even with that, the puckering is still causing the side seams to pull upwards and make the hem look a little bit uneven. You can't really see it in the photos, but in real life I can tell.

I'm pretty in love with these Winslows, though! Definitely planning to make the midi version sometime in the very near future! A quick sew with fun and dramatic results! I am wearing it here with my navy Appleton top, but think it would look equally cool with a t-shirt or, better yet, a crop top to show off the high waist and beautiful pleats!