Finished projects

Culotte or Cool-Not?

I never thought I would be one to make culottes nevermind wear them. There was something off about them that I just couldn’t put my finger on. I noticed the culotte trend was going strong in Japan when I visited last March and I shrugged, thinking, “Well, the Japanese can pull off anything weird.”

But then I came across Helen’s blog, Helen’s Closet. She was fairly new at sewing and dove into more complex projects in order to up her learning curve, much like I did in the first couple of years I started sewing seriously. Then she drafted her own culotte pattern and started to slowly post different versions of it. My interest was slightly piqued. Then, she made it a commercial pattern and put a call out for pattern testers, naming them the Winslow Culottes. Now, I’ve never pattern tested before (although I’ve dreamed about it), but I was this close to signing up right away. I decided against it because I was working lots of overtime and wasn’t sure if I had enough free time to make it in the time frame allotted. I thought about it on and off, then a few days later I decided to bite the bullet and sign up to be a tester. Unfortunately, enough testers had signed up, so I was out of luck. *Shrug* no worries. The culotte trend was never really my thing, anyway.

Then I started seeing teases of the tester’s versions along with more culottes from Helen. I was especially intrigued by Chui’s version at Wear the Ducky Tie that looks like a skirt and can camouflage itself into appropriate business casual attire. A cool culotte that could pass at work? I was sold.

I gotta say, Helen, you’re a darn smart saleslady.

Also wearing my Catarina Camisole here!

Needless to say, I ended up buying the pattern and couldn’t wait to get started. The pattern comes with 4 choices for the length – a shorts/short length, above the knee, cropped capris, or full-on pants. All versions call for drapey fabric, but the instructions said I could get away with a less drapey fabric in the shorter versions. Done.


I had this… what is it? I don’t even know… it’s a kinda stretchy, kinda polyester-y bottom weight fabric I picked up at my local SAS Fabrics for stupid cheap years ago. I think I got about 5 yards of this for $15. It’s black with little pink polka dots, my kinda thang.


But I think it might be a little too stiff. This stuff holds its shape well and I think it would make a great pair of Thurlows, but I’m not sure I’m sold on it as culottes.


But hey! It’s got pockets!


The pattern is super easy and super fast to make up and Helen did an awesome job with the instructions as well as giving you sewing tips and even tips on how to style the Winslows. I think she understands culottes are a little… different… and not everyone can imagine themselves in them.

That volume tho

When DD and I shot these pictures, I was thinking I made a mistake and probably wouldn’t wear these much if at all. But now I have to say after editing the photos and having some time away from the Winslows, I don’t think they look too bad at all… but dang… that volume! Something my generous badunkadunk doesn’t need. Or does it?


Who knows?


All I know is I want to give these another shot. I’m thinking some swishy rayon culotte pants… or maybe I should see where this pair takes me?


So what do you think? Are culottes cool or not? Funky-awesome or geeky-bad? (Well, ain’t nothing wrong with being geeky, right?)



19 thoughts on “Culotte or Cool-Not?

  1. Ahh culottes: a thing I love on other people, but would never ever wear myself. ๐Ÿ˜€ I guess I just can’t get past the whole “They’re pants but people will think they’re a skirt, *wink*!” thing. I can handle a full skirt, but my pants need to be fairly slim fitting* or I feel…wrong! (Maybe it’s the fact that skirts don’t have crotch seams? I don’t know!!) Having said that, I really liked the Winslow pattern when it came out: I think the pleats are really flattering (both in placement and size) and look great with the fullness of the legs. Clearly very thoughtfully designed to look good in a wide range of fabrics in all the lengths!

    I think yours are really cute and super well-made (those tacks on the pockets–damn, girl!!!), but I also understand the mixed feelings given that it’s your first pair and the fabric has a lot of body. I say try a pair in some challis (or something else that’s good and drapey) and then decide how you feel about this style on yourself!

    *Some exceptions are made for fabulous 1970’s pants. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your first sentence is exactly how I thought my whole life! I guess there’s something about the sewing community that makes you want to try new (and sometimes weird) things. God bless them for that. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I did end up getting some crepe to make a second pair, this time full-length. Actually, it’s all cut out and ready to sew for tonight! Here’s hoping those will make me feel less… unique… and more fabulously fashionable. Plus I could really go for a pair of work pants that I don’t feel squished in!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a huge fan of culottes. While they feel huge on, I always think they look super chic. And they only feel huge because we all been poured into skinnys for so long. I think these are awesome! And you ass looks great in them. Go for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the compliment! ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s hard to see what’s going on back there sometimes, haha! I’m wondering if dressing these up with some heels would make them feel more chic for me. I haven’t given up on these yet!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love them! I made the Megan Nielsen ones a while back and they take a bit of getting used to – those ones are basically a circle skirt on each leg. But they are excellent for work (I’m a photographer) because I can squat down and move around without worrying about flashing anyone too much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember seeing the Megan Nielsen ones going around a little while ago. I contemplated those, too! I see the benefit of having shorts that are as dressy as a skirt but provide that extra security when you’re moving around. Tucson gets crazy windy sometimes and I have been known to accidentally flash the public while wearing dresses. I know my culottes will never betray me like that!


  4. These look great. I made some culottes from simple Sew in the summer and have only worn them a few times. I think I need to take them in to fit higher on my waist to look more flattering but I do like them. I was quite tempted by this pattern when I saw a few posts on them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I think the higher waist on these really help nip the silhouette in because it gets crazy from the waist down. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s also forcing me to tuck in my shirts and not look sloppy – I went so many years with never tucking in a shirt!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Same here, I have made loads of sew over it cami tops to tuck in to trousers and skirts and look smarter at work. Thinking I might try my culottes with tights underneath for winter….

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I think a drapier rayon is needed to really get a good idea of what this style can do. It’s totally got a Japanese vibe! The pleats flow really beautifully, and you sewed them really well. I have to say I’m intrigued–in your climate, I can totally see the advantage of a more voluminous shorts silhouette–take that 100 degree days!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I agree with the drape. I’m going to make a pair in crepe really soon so fingers crossed I fall in love right away!

      I think I wouldn’t feel as self-conscious in these if I was in an edgier place like Japan. Tucson is the land of t-shirts, skinny jeans, and pajama pants. No one even dresses up to go to fancy restaurants here! I’m feeling fashion-deprived, lol! Thank God for the internet and sewing inspiration. But these ARE perfect for those God-awful summers here. Now the weather is finally behaving and it’s getting a little too cool to wear these. I’m wondering how colored tights and boots would look with these…. hmmmm..


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