Culottes Tropicana + O.T.S Top

IMG_6256Aloha! Happy New Year! I could begin with waxing on about where I’ve been and why I’ve been a naughty blogger but that’s boring. You know by now my blogging strategy is ‘sporadic with occasional flashes of brilliance’. But good news! I’ve been absent from the blogosphere because I’ve been trying this new thing where I go out and live a life worth blogging about, instead of sewing a wardrobe for the life I wish I was living. Closing the gap, closing the gap. Around the start of my little blog-cation, I felt I needed to step back from the screen and organise things, namely, my life. I picked up some part time work, enrolled back in University but most excitingly, started salsa dancing again. Oh, but I didn’t stop sewing…fifteen! There are FIFTEEN un-blogged hand-makes from last year. Which makes me a big fat tease for posting photos of them all on Instagram throughout the year. Sigh. Ok. 2016. Fresh start…is anyone still out there…echo echo!

IMG_6234ADA SPRAGG | DIY Culottes + Off The Shoulder TopEven though my excitement about seasonal sewing is becoming increasingly more rooted in fantasy than reality (with our eternal summers and my inability to co-ordinate winter sewing), I love the idea of creating a seasonal wardrobe. Actually, it’s also possible I just like making mood boards. This summer wardrobe is deeply inspired by The Reformation, with plenty of bare shoulders, natural fibres, soft hues…and lashings of culottes! I went searching for an vintage off-the-shoulder top in the supplies section of Etsy and came across Simplicity 9967, which couldn’t be more perfect. The fabric is a cotton eyelet by Lover, from The Fabric Store. Time-wise, the top took less than an hour, so naturally I made another one the next day, in a silk print. And I’ll probably make another, maybe plain black. So quick! So good looking! Sewisfaction level 10/10.

IMG_6231The details of how the idea of palm leaf culottes came to be, are hazy. I first spotted this fabric on Erin’s tote bag. Then I spied it in skirt form here. And then suddenly everywhere I looked there was palm print, foliage and tropicana oh my. So I went searching for THE palm leaf print. Which turned up here. It’s called Tommy Bahama ‘swaying palms’, listed as ‘indoor / outdoor’ fabric which should have been my cue to leave it for tote bags and cushion covers and probably not apparel. Code for: stiff A.F. I figured I’d just wash it into submission, which helped, though it’s still a little starchy and mildly exfoliating.
IMG_6104IMG_6244The culottes pattern is Butterick 6178, view D, no pleats. After seeing a whole succession of great fitting pairs come out of Tessuti, I thought maybe they would be The Perfect Culotte Pattern. Totes right! Side pockets, back zipper (invisible), good length and a pretty bang-on fit (size 12) with no modifications. I could do with slightly more length through the seat, but I’m not quite sure whether that’s a simple adjustment of adding a bit more length to the pants at the top, just below the waistband or something more complex through the crotch. Definitely will make these again, in a solid, bottom weight fabric with a slight stretch.
IMG_6063Can we talk for about shoes for a moment. Specifically, shoes and sewing. Admittedly, I don’t own too many pairs, being more of an investment-shoe-buyer. But occasionally I fall in love, like I did with these Shakuhachi flatforms I picked up in Bali, last year. I fell sideways off them the next day, broke one of the straps and then had that strap nailed back on. That’s love. Curiously, as a sewer, shoes have a different relevance than they used to. Now when I find a good pair, they inspire a whole flurry of sewing.  I quite like the idea of building from the ground up and creating fashion around an evocative pair of shoes. And if all my hopes and dreams for an amazing summer could be morphed into shoe-form, this is them! You can expect to see these in 9 out of 10 blogged outfits until autumn arrives, or I fall to my death; whichever comes first. Do shoes ever inspire your hand-makes?

IMG_6347IMG_6354 Binding! Why? Because sewing is penance. And I’ve been very very bad. Sometimes I do wonder if I’m becoming a seam finishing snob. Zig-zagging has its place, yes, over-locking is respectable, of course, but binding…is so damn prettaaaayyy! Never mind that I’m 99% sure those bound centre seams are the reason these pants deliver a spectacular front wedgie when driving.

IMG_5990Gah! The one thing I didn’t think about and wish I had is pattern placement. No faux-ginas here but I don’t love the print being so matchy-matchy at the front. I should have cut the two front pieces out separately instead of having the fabric doubled over where I couldn’t see I was cutting out two identical front pant legs. It’s not a huge deal, I don’t think it’s something you would really think about about unless you’re a sewist.

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  • Joannewrote:

    What a glorious outfit – I love everything about it – the patterns, fabric choices, styling. Looking forward to the drip feed if they’re all as good as this!

  • Blogless Annawrote:

    I’ve missed you. That top. Those culottes. And SHOES! Inspiring as always.

  • Elena (@randomly_happy)wrote:

    Dude! I’ve missed you! Glad to see you back and on top form.

    Go you for living life. xx

  • thewardrobeprojectwrote:

    This outfit is THE bomb! I adore everything! The patterns, the prints, the styling, the colors and THE SHOES! Just amazing! So welcome back Sophie and here’s to a happy, creative new year, with lots of life living!

  • Angewrote:

    Missed your makes…& your humour. Happy your’e back x

  • Fionawrote:

    So pleased you’re back! Your blog posts always inspire me to get sewing!
    Seriously though, good for you for taking some time to enjoy you life!

  • Sandeshwrote:

    welcome back, so happy to hear that you’ve been having fun. love love the cullotes, I’m seriously craving some Palm print fabric in my life now!! God luck with Uni xx

  • Kate Carvalhowrote:

    Stunning!Everything! I’ve been admiring the Tessuti blogged culottes from afar but you’ve tipped me over the edge. I’m going to have to buy that pattern – I love that they have no pleats. Enjoy your salsa dancing!

  • Ingridwrote:

    Hallelujah you’re back! With a bang so to speak. Love the culottes. Love the shoes. I am such a cheap skate when it comes to shoes. I like to buy one pair which lasts for ages, but obviously one pair doesn’t go with everything in ones wardrobe. So.. that often ends up as a problem when getting dressed up especially. Need to work on that! Did I mention it’s nice to have you back?

  • Christywrote:

    No apologies ever needed. We all need to live. Love that top and I’m starting to be swayed by cullottes. No doubt I’ll make my first pair just as the trend completely fades!

  • nicolewrote:

    Gorgeous! both beautiful makes. I’ve had that Tommy Bahama on my pinterest for literally years, love it! How long ago did you get eyelet from The Fabric Store? Just what I’ve been looking for 🙂

  • Nickiwrote:

    Mildly exfoliating! Bahaha! Smashing outfit Sophie.

  • sarahwrote:

    Hay welcome back! And what a triumphant return. The culottes are amazing and look great with the top and the death defiying shoes!

  • raquel from JCwrote:

    pretty pretty! Love your culottes! The fabric is wonderful. Happy dancing !

  • Sashawrote:

    Love this outfit! Nice balance with the big top and those gorgeous big shoes. A perfect silhouette …

  • salliewrote:

    You’re such a freaking dream boat I can’t even stand it! AND THOSE SHOES ARE GIVING ME HEART PALPITATIONS! Really, the entire outfit is making me feel faint and downright envious. How are you so cool? Ugh. Want to be you.

  • Rakelwrote:

  • Ellewrote:

    You’re back! This entire outfit is ON POINT. I commonly base my outfits around my shoe, no shame! Shoes lend an important mood to an outfit…it’s like a mini-mood board for the rest of the outfit 🙂

  • allie J.wrote:

    I’ve seen that print all over the place too and I was SHOCKED when I discovered it was indoor/outdoor. I’m happy to see someone else in the sewing world using it as clothes–lets me off the hook when I inevitable cave and buy some…

    allie J. | alliemjackson.com

  • Amywrote:

    SOPHIEEEE!!!! YOU’RE BAAACK! I’m so glad you came back 🙂 Although living life is important, too. Everything looks great. I loved the binding until you mentioned the center front seam- yow lol. The shoes are fab, love the contrasting colors!

  • Carolinewrote:

    I LOVE that off the shoulder top, OMG (the culottes too obvi they are gorgeous). I recently finally found a strapless bra that feels safe to wear in public and have decided this is the summer of bare shoulders and skinny straps!
    Nice to see you on my blog feed again <3

  • kristinwrote:

    oh hey soph! glad to see you bloggin’ and love the outfit. i want a tropical vacation now!!!

  • Gabrielle UpSewLatewrote:

    Welcome back! Those culottes are stunning – I want some!! The fabric looks amazing, even if it feels heavy, and it looks perfect with those shoes!.

  • Sarahwrote:

    Love everything, especially that you said you were planning to, “live a life worth blogging about, instead of sewing a wardrobe for the life I wish I was living.” Such a beautiful new direction 😊💗

  • Ty Tradeliuswrote:

    Obsessed! I want that shirt in a million colors and textures!

  • Jeanie Simpsonwrote:

    I’m not sure how I stumbled upon your blog, but pretty happy to have found you. Love the outfit – and your writing. Look forward to seeing and reading more.

  • Beth - Sew DIYwrote:

    This is gorgeous! I love the top and the palm print. I’m thinking I might have an old Vogue pattern similar to that top. Gotta go hunt that down. 🙂

  • magwrote:

    Oh yes I am still there and I do love the print of this culottes. Welcome back 😉

  • Nillawrote:

    No, my shoes have never inspired my sewing, but maybe they should! Thank you for the idea, it’s good to have you back 🙂

  • Piawrote:

    Colour combination ace! Shoes swoon! Wolf whistle all around.

  • Carol Swrote:

    Yes I have been know to take a shoe with me when fabric shopping. I have a quite a few non-basic colored shoes. Next up is a pair of grey suede platforms.

  • Rosalindwrote:

    Oh yay, welcome back and thanks for the laugh x

  • Nat from Sewoutnumberedwrote:

    Beautiful sewing and photos as always Sophie! So happy to see you back and feeling your pain over the unblogged makes, although my pile is more like 5 than 15! I’m fast learning the pressure to blog is almost always what we put on ourselves and life is SO much more important. Saying that, I can’t WAIT to see what else you have to show us… when you get the chance 😉

  • Oroma R. R.wrote:

    Those culottes are ahh-mayzing! I recently got a sewing machine and I’m tempted to try out making a similar top.

    / O.R.R. – Life & Style Journal

  • Gailwrote:

    They are pretty darned fabulous!

  • Wacowrote:

    So excited by the pictures that I haven’t even read the post yet – just have to say LOVE THESE SO MUCH. This is the kind of outfit I would totally wear including the shoes, which are the kind of shoes I buy for myself. Great choices and great sewing inside and out. Thanks for sharing with us!

  • ariwrote:

    i love this sophie!! it’s so fun and summer and just, tropical! serious heart eyes over here!!!

  • Debwrote:

    Seriously on point Sophie!! Glad to hear you are living the life, salsa dancing, Uni, part-time work…can’t wait to see where it all takes you. And I recently made my first culottes, now I just want to wear culottes ALL the time 😍. Hugs X

  • Katewrote:

    Oh man I LOVE those pants. The fabric is incredible.

    I have never sewn inspired by my shoes but I have many more shoes now I sew. I think it’s because, now I sew, I have more opportunity to actually be saying something with my clothes, and creating a feel and an outfit, instead of just wearing one or two items that fit and were good enough. So I end up making a great dress and feeling let down by my shoe options. If I think of a kind of shoe I need, and it would work with two or more outfits, I go out and try to find one to buy. Whereas before I only bought as necessary to clothe my feet so I wouldn’t be barefoot!

  • Taking Stock #4 – gingerellawrote:

    […] Ada Spragg’s tropical culottes, and the Hong Kong seam finish is […]

  • poppykettlewrote:

    So here I am, lapping up your gorgeous photos and sewing prowess, and then I come across the photo of the bound insides. I swear my heart skipped a beat. So freaking gorgeous, inside, AND out! The top you’ve paired them with is perfection.
    Never mind that print placement at the front – ’tis the kind of thing you only ever really notice in photos. Movement in real life keeps people’s eyes on the awesomeness instead 🙂

  • Ivonawrote:

    Hi Sophie, just discovered your beautiful blog! I have also based some of my sewing around my shoes (which I have a lot of)! Love your makes and style!

  • Ellenwrote:

    I made these culottes too but they aren’t HALF as good as yours! And what styling inspiration, I had some issues there but you have given me some ideas! A beautiful piece and blog. Ellen

  • Merlinwrote:

    You had me at bound seams..oh how pretty it looks..! I thought I was a snob, serging all my seams..haha…

  • 30 Days of Sundresses | Sutton Dress Hack + A Giveaway | Sewbonwrote:

    […] baring dresses and tops! Ever since seeing the vintage Simplicity 9967 tops that Sophie sewed (here and here), I had been on the hunt for that pattern or something similar but kept coming up empty. […]

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