culotte coward

Post updated: Some photos replaced to distract you with additional cat cameos and a snazzy door knob.

Culotte coward, that’s me. Twice I started working with a culotte pattern, and twice I chickened out and lengthened the pants. Exhibit A (from this pattern).

And fresh off the machine, exhibit B:

pattern v. reality

Why the culotte avoidance yet again? Well, the right footwear from culottes seems to be either heels or ankle-length boots (and, no, I’m not just saying that because that’s what the ladies on the pattern envelope have). Neither of those are among my top footwear choices, to be honest. When I’m not barefoot and throwing myself off chairs for blog purposes I mostly wear ballet flats.* Not particularly culotte friendly.

Maybe my relationship with culottes is destined to be about sighing from afar and then lengthening the legs? Time will tell.

Bonus photos: welcome to the home of cat toys and shiny door knobs.

I fished this pattern out of my stash after reading Katie’s post about her first pair of these. Katie has no culotte cowardice and has found yet another type of shoe that looks good with the length. I, on the other hand, cut my pants as long as the available fabric allowed.


“Get off my chair, human. What even are ‘pants’?”

So, dear readers, my pants-making odyssey continues. I can’t say I’ve even come close to cracking pant fitting, but I do see it as an achievement that I haven’t totally succumbed to the fear of failure. I’m trying things out and moving along.

These didn’t go without challenges. As you can probably tell even from these photos that leave a lot to be desired, these are pretty loose-fitting. And that’s after I went down two sizes from the his down. Partly it’s the fabric, which is “corduroy” according to the label. I think a slightly more accurate description would be “rubbery corduroy imitation.” This thing is very stretchy and somewhat cool to the touch. I think it has some rayon in it but it  definitely has a lot of polyester. Bought at Joann because I got a gift card from loving family members.

Any advice about how to best photograph new pants while keeping your identity secret greatly appreciated.

Let me tell you a little bit about the waistband. I’m proud of myself for being cautious enough to cut it according to my waist measurement and not smaller. Fitted at those two sizes down that I fitted the hips it was absolutely suffocating.

It’s a bigger topic than this post but Big Four sizing continues to mess with my mind. In a body-shaming kind of way when it comes to the waist. The distribution of ease in these patterns makes my brainbox overheat. I just don’t get it. According to the body measurement chart on the pattern envelope I’m all in one size bracket, in reality that never ever works. Liza made me feel a bit saner when I confessed my waist-fitting woes in the comment thread to the post on her new stunning ’70s pants. Thanks again!

I seem to be neither hip-ful (yeah, not a word) enough nor wasp-waisted enough for these patterns. Sadly, though I try to be body-positive not just in theory but also in practice, I still get pretty self-conscious. Especially about my waist. So I got stuck on the waistband for a while. And, in the end, I fitted it with too much ease. It gaps on the back and pants ride down slightly.

Sigh, work in progress…

Inside details: pocket lining in a precious remnant, bias-tape hem facing from another precious remnant

Imperfect as these are, they will still get a lot of wear. I’ve never had much luck with RTW pants. I seem to only ever see ones I like on other people and never in stores. So this is sewing for the wardrobe gap and for that seasonal list that is bound to work for a chunk of spring. Dress season seems very far off still…

What have you been up to?

*I vaguely recall a romantic comedy with a character played by Rose Byrne snarking on a woman in ballet flats as being “so 2008.” I’d give that character a serious injury from all the eyerolling.



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I write about sewing, knitting, and may sometimes be tempted to talk about books.

19 thoughts on “culotte coward”

  1. I really love those little peeks of fun fabrics on the inside… it’s little things like this that really personalise your wardrobe and will give you a little smile whenever you wear them 🙂


    1. Me, too. Details like those help me warm up to a new make. I’m still struggling through my total criticism phase with these pants. They’re not particularly photogenic (at least through the lens of this amateur photographer) but they are comfortable.


    1. Thank you! I love the 70s vibe of these. I need to give them some time to, um, grow on me. I’m still in that highly critical phase where I keep picking on things I could have sewn better.

      And I absolutely agree: flats forever! But I do love the beautiful clogs I see popping up on my favorite sewing blogs, so I should look into getting a pair 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the flats with the pants. I like the pants too. Seems like the flats would work with a shorter pant length. Or sneakers. Get sporty with it.
    The 70’s culottes and breeches patterns I have are all illustrated with a model wearing knee high boots with a thick heel, like riding boots. That might be something to try, especially if you’re aiming for winter wearability, but I think the flats are doing the job here just fine.
    I’m with you on short-pant-avoidance. There’s the shoe issue, and there’s the chill factor. Also Tim Gunn says we should just never.
    Maybe for summer though, with sandals? Just don’t wear them when you meet Tim at the bar.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Get sporty with it.” Lady, you can be my Tim Gunn.

      I live too far upstate for Tim, I’m afraid. The risk of stumbling into the same bar is very low, so it’s my inner critic I’m concerned about. She’s not that fashion savvy but she makes up for it in bitchiness.

      Luckily, she’s committed to flats for life, rules be damned. So it’s pant length we’re still negotiating about.


  3. Despite the fitting issues you mention, these really look wonderful. I’ve had my eye on this pattern and have loved every pair I’ve seen. I’m only just getting my feet wet with the Big 4, but I do feel intimidated by their sizing habits. I’ve got a few Vogues Im eager to get into.


    1. Thanks, Jess! Looks like we’re getting a flats with culottes club here and I couldn’t be happier about that!

      The Big Four sizing continues to drive me nuts. But since I’ve amassed quite a collection of those pattern through the outrageous sales at Joann Fabrics, I feel compelled to fight my way through 😉 The tissue pattern makes it easy to at least do some initial tissue fitting before cutting into fabric, so that’s a plus. But of course, tissue fitting really isn’t that accurate… whatever the Palmer/Pletsch books say.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. These look great, I love the 70s feel of them too – they make me think of Diane Keaton too, which is never a bad thing! I love the hidden bits we can add too, on pockets and facings. I’m so impressed by all your trouser making – I just wish it would impress me enough to actually get on with it and try to make some myself!


    1. Thanks! And I’m happy to hear that I’ve managed to inspire. I’ve actually run into some trouble with the pair I’m working on right now — but I’m determined to fix what I can. And if it doesn’t work out in the end, well, then it doesn’t. But hopefully I will have learned something 🙂


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