The Perfect Pair // Rust Dot Culottes


Just as suddenly as you may find yourself a mum, you may find yourself required to contort into all sorts of compromising positions during a day. Most likely you will be retrieving something from the ground, sometimes a child, sometimes a snack, sometimes a child with a snack. Whatever it is, rest assured, said incidence will occur at a. school pick up b. school drop off  c. any place you don’t want to hang around with your butt skyward. It is the nature of the beast, there’s nothing you can do. But, if you’re a moderate to quick learner, you’ll only do it, mmm, maybe nine or ten times in a mid thigh skirt / dress.
Until the day you wake up and you realise that you are not the same person you were six short years and a lifetime ago. Clothes that were perfectly comfortable, even practical pre-kids, now fall short, literally. There’s been no dramatic change, just a million small ones that has lead to feeling like I’m on the cusp of a new era of dressing. I mean, I don’t feel that different than I did at 22, sure I’m a little older, a little wiser, maybe. And there are physical changes, like going from being busty with no hippage to hippy with no bustage. But mostly there feels less of a need to scream sexy from the mountaintops. Sure, I still want to feel attractive but mostly I’m too frickin tired to get to the mountaintops. And if I’m screaming, its probably at my kids to stop fighting in my bed first thing in the morning. Joking, mostly. No, they really do fight in my bed.
IMG_9197 IMG_9218
One thing I’ve been noticing more than ever, is how important it is to dress for the day. And, in things that allow me to get on with the day. When I get up in the morning and put on something I feel good in, it colors the whole day. I stand up straighter, smile more, take things less to heart, look out for fun, am more productive and, here’s the big one…I parent, completely differently. Last year I found dressing for the day challenging. Most of the clothes I sewed, fell into the ‘too good’ for every day category. I thought maybe I could start celebrating the everyday by breaking out these clothes but then I thought I might cry if Hudson smeared butter chicken on La Sylphide. This year the plan is balance; sewing more every day clothes for the hand-made wardrobe.
What has all this got to do with shorts? Well, since a day in the life can involve all sorts of weird and wonderful outings / acrobatics it demands a wardrobe to match. And SHORTS are the way forward. The perfect pair can tick ALL the boxes, all two of them: mum friendly and fiercely attractive. This is a fugly shorts free zone, friends. Besides the practicalities, there are a lot of great looking shorts patterns out there that keep getting shoved down the queue by more exciting projects. So I figure, divide and conquer.  I’m aiming to make 4-5 pairs, in the hopes of finding a staple go-to, never-fail shorts pattern for ever more. And where do you start when you want to make yourself some dandy shorts? Here is a list, mostly from independent pattern companies because we love them so…
Fabric // Floaty delicious rayon from here
Size // M (a size up from this version)
Mods // 1.5 inches added to length.

First up, an oldie but a goodie: After this version, which turned out very very short and haven’t been worn much, I’ve been wanting to another go at the Tania’s. The bones are good: the fit is nice, the wide waistband feels secure and the invisible side zip is flattering. Mostly I’ve been waiting to hoe into this amazing rayon, which is so soft and drapey and delicious and I am sad that it’s over but glad it was the Tania’s that did it. If you’re making the Tania’s, you will need something flowy otherwise you’ll get poofy. I let the hems hang for a day or two and decided I rather liked them lower and higher in parts. Also because I wished I had cut them another inch longer so places where the hem dropped kind of made up for it. The upshot: I’ve been wearing them weekly!

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  • angelawrote:

    These are darling! I love that they are so practice too! Even sans kids I go for comfort, theses look perfect.

  • juleswrote:

    Super cute! I might just have a go at these, albeit a bit longer than yours 😉

  • Kelli Wardwrote:

    man, love these so much. I want to find a kid culotte pattern too. Once it gets warm I am really going to make these up myself though. like you said, the perfect mom cute pattern.

  • Minnietheminkswrote:

    I was slowly coming to the shorts with kids realisation myself and planning to make some shorts.. I will look forward to your makes and check out those patterns. My body changling was my feet, one size bigger and only my maternity birkenstocks would fit, I wept at all those shoes. Great material and I like the uneven hem too.

  • Madalynnewrote:

    I have to first point out, you look so warm!! Can you break me off a piece of that weather, please and thank you!

    If this is what parenting looks like, then sign me up. I know you said you’re bodies changed and from where I’m sitting it’s for the better. Culottes have a bad rap, but you’re totally knocking it down.

  • awfully nicewrote:

    I love everything about this outfit. You are really making me want to make culottes and I never DREAMED that would be a sentence I’d say, and I want your shoes. You’ve got style.

  • Kellywrote:

    Oh boy can I relate to this post!! I’ve definitely been going through the same process with my closet. After seeing both your versions these are on my list to make when the weather warms up here for sure.

  • Laurenwrote:

    So very well said!! Cute shorts, too! 🙂

  • Sew little timewrote:

    Great shorts! Have you seen the new Named pattern release? Lots more cute shorts to add to your list!

  • whatmissamydidwrote:

    Gorgeous as usual! You’ve got the holy grail of sewing with this one: great fabric in a pattern that makes you look fab and that you can wear all the time 🙂

  • Kimwrote:

    Supercute! And smokin’ hot too 😉 Haha! I think I have to add those to my never-ending to make list.. I find myself in trouble sometimes in summer when I’m walking the dogs, wearing a skirt and then having to pick up after them.. Not very sexy indeed..

  • ellewrote:

    These are gorgeous – I’m sold. And I love your top as well! Is that a version of the scout tee?

  • mokoshawrote:

    these are fabulous! growing up, i used to have a similar shorts in royal blue, wore them for years and loved them to pieces.. i agree, shorts are a way to go, until last year i used to be only a skirt or a dress kind of a gal, but then i discovered shorts (and now the wind and all unplanned squats can do me no harm).. and now i wanna sew and wear a pair of every kind of shorts ever invented

  • oonaballoonawrote:

    beautiful, every last bit.

  • Rachelwrote:

    You look gorgeous – they are fantastic culottes, and I really love the rayon. It is funny about comfort post-kidlets. I don’t like anything too firm around my waist any more. The skin, fat, body tissue, and whatever there seems so much more sensitive. I wore a waisted skirt to work last week and spent the whole day adjusting where it sat. Or maybe it is because I’m just not used to it anymore. Either way, you look fabulous – I think I need that pattern now!

  • lisa g.wrote:

    i adore this post. it’s exactly how i feel as a fellow child wrangling mom. these culottes are just perfect! love the outfit.

  • opportunityknitswrote:

    Such pretty shorts, they look like a skirt. the fabric looks so soft and comfy, I love rayon, it drapes so beautifully. Enjoy your new culottes!

  • Scruffybadgerwrote:

    It’s true, they are the perfect shorts: gorgeous and girly but with that additional practicality . I love yours, fabric is cute!

  • rachelinred.comwrote:

    I am so with you on sewing a every day wardrobe. Gosh, that’s hard! I like the fancy shiny clothes too much. But they don’t get a lot of wear.
    I love you culottes and am looking forward to the other every day clothes you will be making this year!! Good luck!

  • dressingtherolewrote:

    Wonderful post! It’s interesting how our wardrobe needs change as we go through different phases of life. I’m actually on the opposite end of the spectrum right now – I’ve realized I need to sew more “fancy” work clothes, since I have a job that requires upscale dressing. (if it were up to me, I’d just make a Lady Skater out of every knit I could find and call it a day) I love the culottes, though – they seem like a great compromise between “practical” and “pizzazz.” Those are on my sewing to-do list for sure!

  • Heather Louwrote:

    I love this pattern – they are, absolutely, the most functional shorts I’ve ever worn. Love something that flutters in the wind but won’t do the full Marilyn. Love this print too! Here’s to functional fashion in 2014!

  • emily.mariewrote:

    Oh, these are so pretty! I’ve made quite a few pairs of shorts (some didn’t get further than a muslin), but this is one pattern I really want to try! I’m not afraid to admit my longtime affinity for skorts. 🙂 I am a huge rayon fan as well and that’s a great print! A good printed rayon challis can be SO difficult to find.

  • Bec Hemwrote:

    Love! Totally agree shorts can making occupational hazards of meing a mum a little less revealing! Great round up, will definitely be having a looksee at some of these!

  • Julia Bobbinwrote:

    These are gorgeous and you are gorgeous. I totally know what you mean about the changing wardrobe. I wore a pair of heels the other day for the first time in ages and I had a woman say to me ‘A mother wearing heels, crazy’. I have to start wearing more practical things clearly!

  • BusyLizziewrote:

    These are so perfect! I am so tempted by this pattern, but not sure it would work with my larger thighs they probably won’t hang as nicely as they do on you, dammit! Still I will just drool over yours instead and live vicariously wishing my legs were thinner, but not having the inclination to do much about it 🙂
    Great shorts round up too, super useful

  • Stephaniewrote:

    They are darling and sound perfectly practical! I don’t have any kiddos, but I work from home and sometimes it’s a challenge for me to get dressed for the day! I’m trying to get better. 🙂

  • gingermakeswrote:

    These are so, so cute! They seem completely practical, too. I don’t know how you hot moms do it– I have a feeling that if I had kids, I’d be in some sort of food-smeared sweatsuit all day every day!

  • Katwrote:

    It is like you have read my mind with this post! My style has completely changed since having Imogen because all my old clothes just aren’t practical now. I basically live in shorts these days. Practical sewing is my plan for 2014 too! I love these shorts. They are definitely on my to sew list. I have sewn the Movie in the Park shorts too and quite liked the pattern. You should definitely give that one a go too.

  • tidytipsywrote:

    Practical sounds great! I don’t have kids yet but I still find when I sew dressy clothes I don’t wear them often…I always go for the comfortable ones.
    Love the shorts!

  • Marionwrote:

    I want a pair NOW! I wonder what these would look like on someone who’s a bit hippy (ie pear-shaped, not the smokin’ variety) and even more so after xmas …hmmm?

  • Tarawrote:

    These and you: both amazing! You’re so right about being a mom changing the need to scream sexy from the mountain tops. I definitely feel like a woman now. Just less of a need to be THE one in the room. Too busy wiping puke off of myself I guess

  • Bethwrote:

    I love the culottes! I’ve been wanting to try the Tania pattern ever since it came out.

  • Inèswrote:

    love your shorts! i just discovered your blog and i really like it! You have a new follower! xo

  • sallie oleta barbeewrote:

    Sorry I’m late to this party! Just have to say that I LOVE your new Tania’s – and that rayon is perfect for culottes (and practical too, no?) Also love reading your musings on dressing for your life. I think no matter where you are in life, but especially if you have kiddos, there’s always this weird dance around an aspirational wardrobe and a practical wardrobe – it’s something I’ve been trying to come to grips with this year too. Can’t wait to see how your short trials go!

  • Lamouettewrote:

    I am totally in love with these culottes! For a French born in the seventies, culottes would only ring bells of awful high-waisted ankle-lenght babycord interpretations that your mum would make you wear when you hit middle-school years… not good.
    But not the Tania! I must give these a go very soon, they may even look good with tights in a thin wool fabric and I would not need to wait for Summer.
    Your choice of fabric is very nice!
    I am also planning to try Chataigned and the Scalloped hem short for summer- can t wait to see yours!
    The hemmed-in kittiwake

  • Otis Lovewrote:

    Wow, awesome. I am so impressed that you make so much of your wardrobe ! I can not wait to have those kind of skills one day.


  • The Perfect Pair // Burda Style 7195 - Ada Spraggwrote:

    […] That’s next year (jokes). Just the year to sew up as many pairs of shorts as possible from this list, in the hopes of unearthing the perfect go-to pattern. All part of the larger plan to sew more […]

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