By the time mid August rolls around and the weather starts to change that I realise that I need to cast aside my summer sewing plans and start planning for the autumn season.
During the summer months I find my sewing generally consists of far too many dresses, which, although I will wear them, their seasonal appropriateness only last for around three months of the year.
Last year saw the culottes trend really explode and I made some Butterick B6178 which was free with an issue of Love Sewing magazine, in a red triple crepe, which I loved and I’ve been wanting to make another pair ever since.
In steps the Winslow culottes by Helen’s Closet , I think the pattern may have been the first one Helen released back in 2016. Since the release of the pattern I’ve seen so many versions made and it really does seem to flatter every shape. I was really attracted to the line drawings which show inverted box pleats to the front which I think help to flatter the stomach area – something the B6178 pair lacks and makes me feel a little self conscious of.
It was my first time making one of Helen’s patterns and it was pleasing to see how detailed and clear the instructions are. The thing that I really liked is that it clearly states in the instruction booklet the height to which the pattern is drafted, along with instructions on how to use layers when printing the pdf document. Layers may not be a new thing, but when the pattern has so many sizes ( 0 – 30 ) it can be more beneficial to be able to see the pattern lines are and save any unnecessary paper being printed.
The fabric I chose is a navy viscose with a floral design which has been in my stash for years. I had two meters and wasn’t particularly precious about it so thought it was worth using for a toile. The sewing of the culottes was very straight forward, I particularly liked the addition of some interfacing on the centre back seam to stabilise the zip. A centre back zip is not something I’ve had much success with in the past, but it worked well here.
I made a straight size 12, based on my waist measurement, my hips would have fallen into the size 14 band, but I figured there was more than enough ease in the size 12 to accommodate them. I had cut the longest length, but had to shorten them by 3cm and piece the waistband together to fit the pattern pieces on the two meters of fabric that I had. Once they were sewn up I hemmed them up by 5cm rather than the 2.5cm as instructed. The end result is that they fall below my mid calf but above my ankle. For reference I am 5ft9 with a 33 inch inside leg measurement.
Overall I’m thrilled with how they have turned out. They are a very wearable toile and I’ve worn them at least half a dozen times since I made them a fortnight ago. I’ve worn them casually for a family picnic (pictured), a sewing marathon at TeesCreatives, dressed up with sparkly heals for cocktails and smartly for the office. I’ve been really pleased at how versatile they have been. Perhaps I’m starting to realise that versatile separates are the way to go.
I think they will transition well into the autumn and I’ve got some black pinstripe viscose earmarked for another pair, which I’d quite to make into a faux jumpsuit… decisions, decisions…