Culottes hell to joy!

I was pining after a pair of red culottes all last summer. I even bought red fabric and a Burdastyle pattern in preparation for them. For one of the few occassions in my life I decided to make a toile first to check out the fit.
This is what they looked like according to Burda:

This is what they looked like according to me:


So at this point I went off in the huff for about 12 months.

And yet, and yet….I still had a hankering for culottes. I kept seeing them on these lovely funky ladies and they looked so comfy and yet cool.

Late night browsing on the internet can be dangerous – especially on payday. So I accidentally bought this Butterick culottes pattern 6178. Annoyingly it looks like its the pattern that comes with next month’s Love Sewing magazine but it means I’m helping you all by tackling the pattern in advance.

I learnt my lesson last year and made up a toile in my leftover red fabric. I’d rather hoped it would be a wearable toile and happily skipped off to work for the day to test it out. Of course no one told me that the head honcho of a really important new partner company was stopping by that day to see me. Cue me gaily wandering around in my bright red clown pants trying to pretend I’m a serious and professional consultant. Ummmm. Still at least I wasn’t in jogging bottoms….



So to the pattern – turns out its really quite a small pattern. As a UK size 14 (ish) I was never going to fit them. I ended upsizing the pattern quite a bit – 1.5″ on each side. I also shifted round the crotch rise since I had quite a short rise (due to my flat bum).

Weirdly this pattern has a centre front zip that is fully exposed. I was lazy and didn’t have a red zip so stuck a peach coloured one in – BIG mistake. HUGE. Turns out people can’t help but stare at your crotch.

Second of the weird things are the pockets. They are huge in-seam pockets that hang around your hips. This creates a weird pooling of fabric across the crotch. Again – more people looking at my crotch. Hmmmm. Not good.

So I’ve binned the red toile version and went back to the drawing board a bit.

This time I’ve reshaped the centre front and put a zip fly in – this hides the zip and makes them a bit more like a pair of jeans. I’m seriously proud of myself for this pattern hack – it shows I’m gaining confidence.

Then I changed the pockets from in-seam huge monstrosities to hip rounded pockets. These were a bit of a play and aren’t quite perfect. I should have made the pocket inner larger and the lining smaller as currently the elephant fabric on the inside pokes out a little. But again – stupidly proud of myself for reverse hacking a pattern and making it more wearable.

And the result? I bloody love them.

I mean seriously love them.

They’re awesome.

I appreciate culottes may be divisive but I’m thinking that once you find a style and pattern you like you can be persuaded. It just requires perseverance which is really not my forte!

Having made these ones up I’m coming back round to my idea of red culottes – perhaps red denim??



19 thoughts on “Culottes hell to joy!

  1. Laughed out loud at your description of the focal point of the red wearable toile. You did a terrific job hacking the pattern for your new version, and red denim would be really fun!


  2. Such an awesome hack 👏 They look so good and adding a fly is very clever! You definitely need to go for the red ones too, they are so practical but very stylish 👌

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome hacking skills! Those culottes look great! I must admit I’m coming round to the culottes idea. I found myself looking at culotte patterns yesterday. I’m sure a few years ago I would have ruled them out – but there are so many cool culottes on people as I walk into work and I do love your denim ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s like skinny jeans. I took ages to be persuaded I could wear them but it took the right pair for me to decide I could actually pull them off


  4. They look like a lot of fun to wear! I’m so confused as to why the pattern wants you to place a fully exposed zip in the front there. It was seriously the first place my eyes went to – just like everyone else, it seems! Your version looks much more wearable and a lot more fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yay your denim ones look great! That must be such a good feeling to have changed up the pattern like that. The zip and pockets both look a hundred times better in your altered pattern. I’m really tempted to make some culottes this summer too and am swithering between the Megan Nielsen Flint trousers & new Look 6459.

    Liked by 1 person

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