Here you can see the back better with a tucked-in top:
I looked at several patterns, but when I saw the line drawing for Hot Patterns version- the Camera Ready Culottes, I hit the buy button. I like Hot Patterns sizing. It's about as close to ready to wear sizing as I've found. I can make the same size that I wear in RTW with no alterations. I was also intrigued by what the envelope calls "a grown-on and self-faced waist."
This pair is actually a muslin for testing out before I make my "real" pair out of some fine linen. This is a basic slate blue suiting of unknown fabric content that I got in a Mystery Bundle from Fabric Mart. All I know is that it has a very nice drape, which was my primary consideration for choosing it for my muslin. I'm glad that I made a muslin, because I did run into some issues that needed sorting out before I cut into the good stuff.
It's really a pretty simple pattern, but I was thrown off track initially when the pattern for the pocket lining didn't match the shape of the pants front. But, it was an easy enough fix- I just held up the pants front to the pocket lining piece and redrew the cutting line. I'm lucky that I'm experienced enough to know to do that, as I think someone less experienced might have struggled trying to get the shapes to fit together.
I originally cut the pocket lining and pocket back from suiting fabric, instead of a separate lining fabric. But, I realized that when you fold over the waist portion, you are also doubling the thickness of the pocket fabric and pleats in that area. You are looking at 6 layers of fabric in the waist area. I don't know about you, but I don't need any extra padding there! So, I removed the original pockets, and re-cut them from a thin lining. Also, before I folded over the waistband, I trimmed down the top half of the pleats so that there would only be one layer of them inside the waist area. Here's a close-up of the front:
Maybe because of the additional layers, the pattern didn't call for any interfacing to be used at the waist, but when I tried it on, I could tell that it was going to stretch out of shape in no time. So, I cut strips of interfacing, 1-1/2" wide, that I placed at the very top of each section. To finish the waist, you fold down the top sections, and then stitch in the ditch at the side seams, darts, pleats, center front, and pockets. It worked well, but I really do suggest interfacing it. Here's a close-up of the back:
My next decision was the length and whether to keep the cuffs or not. Knee length? Above the knee? Below the knee? Ankle length? I think that this is the real key to getting culottes to work for you. Since I'm tall, I decided to go with below the knee. I shortened the pattern by 2", and I am 5'9" for reference. The cuffs are about 2" wide. If you wanted to make these without cuffs, and shorter, then it would take considerably less than the 2-3/4 yards recommended on the pattern envelope.
Lest you think that these are just wide leg pants that are cut off, here is a photo where the wind picked up the full width of the leg. The finished bottom leg circumference is 36" on each leg! That's about double the typical pant leg circumference.
And last, but not least, what to wear these with? I tried out a bunch of different tops, and I think that it looks best with something tucked in. Either that, or a shorter top that hits right about the waist. Here is another combination that I tried.
I'm happy enough with this muslin to go forward with my linen pair. I like the swingy, swishy feel, that you get when you walk with these. I do think that they will be a nice addition to my wardrobe, but I can see that not everyone will like wearing so much volume on the bottom. As a tall rectangle, I'm okay with the shape on me.
In the end, I got a nod of approval from my 21 year old daughter for these! So, have you jumped on the culotte bandwagon yet?