Pattern Instructions and Assembly:
The Heron Culottes by Afternoon Patternswere amazing! The instructions were so simple and easy to follow. I couldn't believe how little pieces needed cutting out and the pocket construction was so straightforward.
A Few Notes About the Pattern Construction:
To start, I did serge all sides of my fabric. This helped the whole process go a lot smoother.
You can still see the notches that were cut even after serging all sides!
Also, here is a picture of the pleats in case you are confused by how they should look!
A Note on Marking Darts:
I like to cut one side of the dart and fold it over to draw the dart with my chalk. I also can dissect the center of the dart with a ruler and draw a line. The only problem with this method is that you need to flip the pieces over to do the other pant leg if you are cutting through 2 layers! I also snipped the start of the dart legs into the fabric.
Jumping ahead in the pattern, I decided to change how I finished the waistband. I pinned the entire waistband on the inside a little bit past the seam I was covering. Then, I stitched in the ditch on the right side of the garment, leaving the pins in! If you sew slowly, you will not break a needle. I got this tip from a Sew Liberated pattern!
I pinned it and tried them on to make sure I liked the length! Much better than pulling it out later.
I chose to use Italian Sapphire stretch corduroy from Sewing Studio! She has a fabulous fabric shop, great deals, good prices, and weekly sales! I love her and her fabric store!!! I decided on corduroy, because I just cant get enough of it right now. However, as you will see further down, it may have had too much stretch. I think it was a great weight and choice for this pattern! I think a drapey fabric would have given these a completely different look but still great!
Two alterations were made. I added length to the pants and the waist was taken in.
I added about 1.5 inches to the length of the pattern. I wanted them a tad bit longer, so that I could wear it with boots and it wouldn’t be awkwardly short. I don't know if I really needed this length. Length was added at a spot above the notch for the hem. This way I still could cut the notch at the appropriate spot for the hem.
The last alteration made was on the back darts after constructing the pants. It is explained in more detail below.
I cut out the smallest size and my measurements are about a 26.5 waist and 36 hip. I followed the pattern as is, and the directions are very straight forward and easy. Right before you attach the waistband, after you have put in the invisible zipper, you must try the pants on to assess fit (as the pattern states clearly--an excellent tip). At this point in the make, I found the pants were huge!!! After looking closely at my garment, I believe a couple of things could have happened. My material was a stretch corduroy and she clearly states that your material should have no more than 2-4% elastane. I don’t know the percent content of my fabric, but this may have had something to do with the size.
Another place of error would be the pleats. I feel like I could have overlapped them more during construction. Now that the garment is complete, I see that they could have been a little tighter in towards the center notch. I didn’t do it at the time I realized that my pants were too big, because I needed inches to come off and I didn’t think it would make a huge difference.
This far in to the construction, the only place to take in the garment in would be the back darts. The side seams would not be easy to take in as one side had the invisible zipper already and the other side had a completed pocket. I took the back darts in and this took about 4 inches off total. I had to struggle with these back darts a bit because they were starting to pucker and look funny, especially because of my thick fabric choice. I decided to make them a bit longer and sew them down a little bit, almost like a pleat as you see below. This helped!
As I said before, I think my fabric had too much stretch. On the other side of the spectrum, I did not take into account that my waistband was interfaced (with no stretch), so the finished product ended up being a little tight! Hey, it's fine...this is why I tell you these things, so that YOU won't make the same mistakes!
All that being said, they turned out wonderfully! The only thing I would do differently next time is maybe make the pleats a little more pronounced by grabbing more material from each side. Pleats are my favorite!
THOUGHTS ON CORDUROY:
Cutting out your fabric: This fabric has a clear nap, or direction. The corduroy should feel smooth as you run your hand down the pants from waist to ankle (excuse my awful nails!!). You should cut your fabric pieces this way! This does not require any extra fabric from the stated fabric requirements. No pieces need to be placed upside down. Also be mindful of your waistband, and remember which way to place it upon construction.
I did look up briefly how to iron corduroy and came up with a few tips: Iron on the wrong side, Iron with a press cloth, use steam, lift and press. Well I did all of these things on a test piece which is very important to do! I felt as though it was still slightly marking the fabric on the other side. I then decided to only finger press the corduroy. The end on that issue!
I also had to be careful with how I sewed the fabric. I discovered that sewing the corduroy with the good side up was preferable. Otherwise, the feed dogs on my serger and sewing machine made marks on the fabric (as you can see below).
The Seam Ripper is Not Your Friend:
With corduroy, it really damages the fabric if you have to pull out stitches! Trust me, I know this! I had pulled out a dart to make it shorter and I ended up with a hole in my fabric, so then I decided to put the dart back to where it was to hide the hole! Whoops!
Last, but not least, I had to include an antique button for detail! I just love this rose button in gold. It adds the best touch! Sometimes the best things are the details! And I am not even going to talk about doing a buttonhole on sticky corduroy that is layers thick on the waistband. I am not even sure how it even ended up working out and it sure does not look amazing! Just being honest! But…my giant button takes care of that a little bit!
Pattern: Heron Culottes by Afternoon Patterns
Fabric: Italian stretch Sapphire Corduroy from Sewing Studio
1.5 inches to the length
4 inches in at the waist total through the back waist darts.