I have been desiring culottes for a while, especially as I have been cycling a bit more, and they are just much more practical than a skirt on a bike! The best ones look pretty and feminine like a skirt, just a lot less likely to accidentally show off your underwear! Having looked at a few options, I settled on the Winslow Culottes by Helens Closet who is another new to me pattern designer.
I wanted these culottes to sit a little below my natural waist and to be loose and comfortable for summer so I sized up a little and used the size 8 pieces. I figured that if it was a little larger than I planned, with those big pleats it would be easy to just shorten the waistband and take a little more fabric into the pleat.
The fabric is a little special. The only souvenir that I brought home from Italy was this 1.3m remnant of fabric. The shop that we visited was very close to Milan city centre and was understandably mostly out of my price range. There were some stunning silks and velvets, but I could only really justify looking though their remnants.
This smallish piece of cotton was my prize though. It is just lovely to touch. Soft and drapey, and made in Italy, so a very appropriate holiday souvenir. The yardage was pretty much perfect for these shorter culottes (view B).
These have been a very quick and efficient sew. I prewashed the fabric in the morning, then ironed and cut before lunch and spent the afternoon sewing them up. I would say that this was a pretty beginner friendly pattern. The trickiest part is probably inserting the invisible zip, but the instructions and illustrations are excellent.
In terms of fit, I am fairly happy. The waistband fits a little strangely, because it sits at a slightly strange in-between height. I can live with that though, but next time I will need to contour the waistband slightly so that it sits against my body a little better. It is just a narrow straight band, so there isn’t any shaping included in the pattern.
When I hemmed these culottes, I did take quite a bit of length off. They are designed with a narrow 1/2″ hem, but I ended up with a deep 3 1/2″ hem instead to bring the length up above my knee a little. That might be partially because the waistband is sitting a little lower than my natural waist.
The fabric makes these so special for me. There are a couple of hidden features, like including the selvedge into the pockets as a special holiday reminder. It was beautiful to work with, and is a great weight, draping really nicely in the finished skirt. The deep pleats are very flattering, so I think I will be making this pattern up agin next summer.
These pictures do remind me that sadly summer is drawing to a close. The culottes did perform really well on our ride, along with my Rowan bodysuit, but we did get soaked in a rain shower on the way home!