High waist Emerson culottes

Hurrah, I have a new project to post! I’ve barely sewn at all since early December to be honest. I don’t feel too bad about it because it was for a catalogue of good reasons: a pre-Xmas holiday to Mexico (which you can read about on my other blog if you’re interested), straight back into Christmas with family, my 32nd birthday a week ago, and also dropping my machine into the shop for a much-needed service. So, I’m back, fired up and inspired after spending some birthday gift money on pretty new fabrics with my #2017makenine list forefront of my mind. I’m glad to get one thing ticked off before the month is out.

(Apologies for the obnoxious phone-gazing in these photos by the way. I discovered my phone can act like a wireless screen and shutter trigger for my camera, but obviously then I have to look at my phone to take the shot. I think I’ll go back to the old remote set-up.)

I picked a simple project and a pattern I’ve made before to ease back into things: the True Bias Emerson culottes, a lovely pattern released by Kelli alongside the super-popular Ogden cami last summer. I never actually shared my first pair, but here’s a quick snap from when I made them.

(Ugh, looking at this makes me miss warm weather and tans…) This pair was made exactly as patterned from a lovely Sevenberry indigo cotton. I wore them a lot when it was warm and they were also perfect for my Mexico holiday. The only thing that bugged me was the rather low waist, which I find limits how I can wear them. They’re great with a cami but nothing works tucked in, and together with the pleats it created some slight crotchal weirdness.

No one wants crotchal weirdness, so in making them again I added two inches to the rise. This is pretty much as simple as slicing the pattern horizontally between crotch and waistline and taping in a strip of paper to make up the length. After doing that I cut out a little rectangle at the front side seam in order to slide the diagonal pocket opening back into place, so the shape of the pocket opening remains the same. If you don’t do this you’ll need to lengthen the pocket lining/facing piece to match the new front pieces. I’m much happier with how they sit now – the front looks nice and smooth thanks to the pattern’s smart flat-front-elastic-back waistband and I can wear all my silly T-shirts tucked in to my heart’s content.

I also cut the pattern down a couple of sizes between waist and hip to take into account the higher rise meaning a smaller waist measurement, but I still had to cinch the elastic quite a lot at the back to make it fit snugly. If I went any smaller I wouldn’t be able to pull them up over my hips though; ah, pear-shape problems. The non-lazy-girl solution would be to add an invisible zip to the side seam, but as it is I’ll usually wear them with a half-tucked tee so the slightly bunchy back is concealed.

They’re made in a heftier-than-usual viscose, a Man Outside Sainsbury’s Of Walthamstow bargain, which I actually used inside-out as I preferred the more subtle side of the ikat-style print. While the fabric is warm, it’s currently hovering close to freezing in London so baring any ankle skin is a pretty foolish idea. That makes it difficult to match up footwear; however once it gets back up a few degrees I’ll happily pair them with brogues or clogs and a flash of dashing white ankle.

18 thoughts on “High waist Emerson culottes

  1. Fabric Tragic

    These are cute on you – clever adjustments. I sadly had mega failure with my emerson shorts. The pleats over my ab were highly unpleasant and the whole lot – toile, pattern and all, went in the bin. :( can’t win them all!

  2. Caroline

    A great pattern hack there Katie. The Taylor Swift homage to Sonic Youth Goo t-shirt is fab!
    Where did you take your machine to get serviced? I really need mine looked at and my usual place in Camden closed down last year.

    1. Katie Post author

      I’m glad you spotted it – I’m more team Sonic Youth then Taylor!

      I go to Maury Sewing on Hackney Road.

  3. Chloe

    You had me at dashing white ankle! I love culottes/short pants, but it’s tough to wear them in the winter for sure. Nice use of the wrong side of the fabric, too – who’s to say which is right, anyway?

  4. Simona

    Welcome back. Happy belated Birthday!
    Love your selection of 9 patterns. They are so you. I am not very big on culottes, so I’ve not attempted them. that hem its the worst for my as I am only 5foot 2 and hems need to me either above knee or maxi. But yours look very comfy and tempting.

  5. Kristi

    Love these! I like the proportion better with the higher waist, but maybe that’s just because I prefer a higher rise, or maybe it’s because I’m pear shaped!?! Great pants.

  6. Saki

    Those culottes are so pretty! Now I’m tempted to make some Emersons too…

    BTW, I can also use my phone as a remote control, but mine has a timer option. It’s a little clunky at times to shove the phone away into a pocket before the photo gets taken, but it’s nice to be able to see what your photos look like as they’re taken! Maybe yours has a timer option too?

  7. Kirsten

    Those look so good Katie! You always pick the best fabric. I might think about copying your high waist adjustment if I make another pair of Emerson Shorts.

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