AKA the Cheetah/Cheater Shorts (the shorts you wear when you want to be wearing a skirt…)
So if you were going to the zoo… and riding a bike… what would you choose to make?
Bingo! The Tania Culottes by Megan Nielsen. In animal print no less….
These are kinda kooky & crazy but you know… I think I kinda love them.
I admit, like the Cascade Skirt of Mulletdom, the Tania Culottes held little appeal when the Breakwater Collection by Megan Nielsen was released – obviously I am a nincompoop - or I just need the right burst of inspiration. I have vague memories of culottes (not on me, I am clearly not that traumatised) and recall them being daggy and knee-length. You know… the sensible wardrobe skirt choice for women who don’t want to risk showing their knickers.
You see, I don’t recall culottes looking like this…
I loved wearing these. So comfortable, cute and cool. I suspect they will get a lot of wear – with or without a zoo visit.
These culottes are a bit like wearing two circle skirts around your legs. They swing and swish around your legs as you walk. They are so full it’s hard for the untrained eye to spot the culotte-ness of them! I managed to throw my leg over my unladylike bike all day without sharing my underwear choices with the other zoo visitors (I love those townie bikes but in my life the practicality of a mountain bike with suspension/gears reigns supreme – they are awesome to ride). The zoo circuit is only 5kms long but you are forever jumping on and off your bike (I did pack some ‘backup shorts’ just in case… and they were not required).
Whoopsies Part 1: The waistband… I managed to interface the waistband and the waistband interfacing pieces – yeah I don’t know what I was thinking either. Fortunately it didn’t have any impact on the culottes other than a slightly firmer waistband – which might have actually helped evening up the hems as they sit very nicely indeed.
Whoopsies Part 2: The hemming is hard core. I left them to hang overnight and when I put them on, I swear my drunk monkey had been swinging off the raw edges all night long while swigging his beer.
I cut these shorts as XS with the Large leg length. I am fairly confident they ended up shorter than the ‘large’ leg length due to all the levelling of the hem – lots of fabric was sacrificed! I actually convinced ELH to lend a hand (I know he’s probably the LSH at this point (Long Suffering Husband). I have NO IDEA how I would have managed to even up these hems by myself.
After levelling my hems (I can handle the Cascade skirt but I’m not a mullet hem shorts kinda girl), I overlocked the edges and then hand stitched the hems… yes, it took forever but like my rayon Anna dresses, I think the finish of the garment is much nicer.
The Finishing Touch
This was a truly awesome experience – feeding giraffes… these creatures are just so graceful and beautiful – I fell completely in love with them. It was a little unnerving to stand still while their giant heads swooped down, tongues outstretched searching for a carrot.
I had a lovely time at the Dubbo Western Plains Zoo – it is the country cousin of Taronga Zoo in Sydney. It’s not as shiny and glamorous as Taronga, there are not so many animals, the views not as grand BUT it’s a wonderful day out, there are fewer people, shorter queues and you really do get close to the animals. Plus riding a bicycle around was a delight and made for one of the most pleasant days at the zoo (OK, I confess a few wines in the park with lovely old school friends afterwards might have added to the fun…).
THE LOWDOWN ON THE HIGH-HEMMED CULOTTES
Seriously cute, flirty and fun to wear.
Seriously easy to make – it’s just the hems of horror that are a challenge, all I can say is find a friend to help (or a husband!).
Pattern: Tania Culottes by Megan Nielsen. It’s very hard to get your hands on a printed copy of this now – I searched high and low for mine and got it from Indie Stitches – it’s now sold out there too, I think it’s now ‘out of print’. Megan does sell it as a PDF.
Fabric: Spun Rayon Challis from Lincraft (available online)
Location: Dubbo Western Plains Zoo