Where do you stand on the culottes trend? I'll be honest, it didn't really appeal to me at first. My main experience of wearing culottes was as part of Brownie/Guide uniforms back in the early 90s. Probably not the sartorial highlight of my life. But then photos of the Winslow culottes from Helen's Closet starting popping up on Instagram. They looked great on everyone I saw wearing them, so I decided to bend my usual "dresses and skirts only" policy and give culottes a chance.
The Winslow culottes are wide-legged, with the volume provided by four inverted box pleats (two each on the front and back), and are designed to be worn at any length from shorts to palazzo pants. The knee length version appealed to me most, probably because it's closest to the full skits and dresses that I'm used to wearing so gave me the chance to try out culottes whilst not really leaving my comfort zone.
The pattern was very straightforward, with thorough instructions and lots of clear illustrations to follow. All the notches and everything lined up perfectly, and the culottes came together really easily.
In terms of sizing, I made a straight size 14 based on my waist measurement. My hips should technically fall into the next size up, but as the instructions state, the wide legs mean there's plenty of room in the hips so there was no need for me to grade up.
I always intended to make a knee length version, but I actually cut out the midi length (view C) because I thought that I'd probably want my version a bit longer than view B, but I wasn't quite sure how much longer. This was both because I'm a couple of inches taller than the 5'6" that the pattern is designed for, and because I wanted knee length rather than above the knee. I made up the culottes, tried them on and then pinned them up to work out the length I wanted. In the end, my version is about 3.5" longer than view B from the pattern.
I chose to use a lovely viscose from Sewn because it drapes beautifully, and I thought that would work well for the culottes. Turns out I was right! It's really great fabric, especially for the price of £5 per metre. I was so impressed with it in the shop that I may have also bought some of the powder blue colourway to use for a top.
Talking of tops, the one I'm wearing here is another scoop-neck hack of the Sew Over It Susie blouse. I made this in exactly the same way as my first version - I'm really happy with how that one turned out and it gets lots of compliments (although I think that's mainly due to the fabric), so there was no need to mess with it.
This one uses some pretty Atelier Brunette fabric that I bought in the Black Friday sales last year and hid away to await the arrival of warmer weather. I'm happy it's now been used, because it's lovely to wear.
My Winslow culottes had their maiden outing last weekend and they were great - all the fullness of a skirt, but with the added practicality of shorts/trousers. Particularly welcome when you're out for a walk on a windy day because it means that you're in much less danger of unintentionally revealing more than you want to! I do love my slightly impractical skirts and dresses though, and these culottes won't do anything to change that, but I'll enjoy wearing them and I'm already thinking of making a shorter version to wear with tights in winter. If you're thinking of giving culottes a go, I'd definitely recommend the Winslow pattern. Are you tempted?