Helen's Closer Winslow Culottes

A few weeks ago I had no idea that missing from my sewing plans/pattern stash, nay indeed missing from my life, was a pair of culottes. I would have scoffed at any such suggestion. However, after reading the lovely Anya’s experience of pattern testing the Winslows and loving her versions, I began to find myself stalking this pattern online, quickly finding other gorgeous versions floating around the blogosphere. But it was a PDF only pattern which I had a long-standing aversion to. Don’t ask me why as I have no idea why. I mean, really, why?! PDF patterns are awesome! From that first rush of instant gratification on downloading the pattern, to realising, duh, that I wouldn’t have to trace it off. I always trace my paper patterns in order to preserve the original, a process I find incredibly tedious. The Winslow pattern is layered, meaning you have the option of printing just one size. Helen also stipulates which pages you need to print for which length as well, so there’s no need to print the whole thing. I found sticking the pattern together way preferable to fighting with huge pieces of tracing paper. I’m a total and utter convert.


As to the pattern itself, it’s brilliant. I could end this post here.  Get this pattern. You too have a culotte shaped hole in your life.

But I’ll be more specific as I like, clicketyclack, typing away.

There are a few length variations, as you can see from Helen’s gorgeous artwork above, ranging from shorts to full length palazzo style trousers. I went for the midi length which is the view that captivated me from the off. A ‘skirt’ in which I can slouch indecorously with no danger of flashing my underwear? Yes please. The pattern states that it’s designed for the median height of 5 ft 6″. I’m 5 ft 3″ and a bit. Yes, and a bit. I didn’t remove anything from the length though (apart from what my serger trimmed off).

Helen’s instructions, and accompanying Sewalong posts, are pleasingly detailed; they don’t just instruct you on what to do but explain how to do it as well. This pattern should hold no fear for inexperienced sewers (sewists? What do we call ourselves?) This make was also the first time I fully utilised my new overlocker/serger on a proper project. You don’t absolutely need one for this pattern but using one certainly makes a difference to the finishing. The construction is really pleasureable, something hypnotically methodical about constructing each leg piece (two front, two back, four pocket pieces and an interfaced waistband being the sum total of the pattern pieces) before bringing the whole thing together, then attaching the waistband and zipper.

This was my first time putting in an invisible zipper. Seriously. Feel free to roll your eyes. I watched a You Tube video from Aneka at Made to Sew . It’s nearly 43 mins long but, trust me, watching it is akin to having a private one-to-one lesson. By the time I went to insert it I was fully confident I’d do it. It was perfect and I had one of those fist-pumping moments, waving it in front of the husband’s nose, whilst doing my happy dance. He grunted appreciatively and carried on watching the TV.

Concealed zip waistband Winslow culottes

Yes I’m wearing black knickers. Yes, it was a bad idea.

Putting them on and doing up the zip, they fitted perfectly, sitting at the natural waist. The only thing that lets this project down is the fabric. And I hate to say that because I loved it when it first arrived. However pre-washing and air-drying it put in wrinkles that no iron can press out. Ever. Sad face. However it was inexpensive so I’m considering these a wearable muslin. I’m already sourcing more for my next pairs. Pairs, plural.

Helen has also blogged about hacking this pattern into a jumpsuit which looks incredible. I immediately had ‘the vision’ – you know what I’m talking about – so this will definitely figure in my sewing plans at some point.

Are you still reading? Buy this pattern already! 

Until next time

Sarah x

Psst : I’m also active on 📸Instagram – either click here or scroll down to click/tap on one of the photo links at the very bottom of this page to join me there! X

8 thoughts on “Winslow Culottes by Helen’s Closet

  1. Thank you Eva! I agree with a black pair…i’ve ordered some lux black medium weight crepe to make my next pair in! Black, white and grey makes up a lot of my wardrobe. Yeah, there’s certainly a lot more options opened up with the world of PDF patterns; indie pattern companies are producing some awesome stuff right now!


  2. vanesseva says:

    My first time here…love these culottes…everything about them actually…definitely need a black pair for autumn/winter… Thank you for clarifying the pdf version…I, too have be balking at doing that and procrastinating…with the gorgeous pdf patterns abounding out there and I’ve been missing out! Now I will try it.
    Eva http://www.mypaperrosegarden.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anya says:

    You are welcome!! Oooh, black pair! That’s right, you have to have it! haha I love how you just randomly find yourself ripping the wallpaper off the walls. Sounds like it was a long time coming! I looove wallpaper, but I hate ripping it off. I hope its the new kind that just peels off easily and you wont even have to scrub the wall after.
    Oh renos… we haven’t even started really haha we finalized the design ideas and came to an agreement on colors, carpet and tile choices. Now onto permits and, hopefully soon, demolition of the “fabulous” bathroom. Even though nothing is really happening, it is a very welcoming break around here!
    Wine o’clock! Yes!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Anya!!! And thanks for the initial inspiration, lol! I’m currently desperate to make at least two more pairs; got to have a black pair, right?! But today, I went into my daughters room to tidy and found myself suddenly ripping the wallpaper off the walls instead (which I’ve been meaning to do for about a year!) so I’m guessing I’m decorating not sewing for the next couple of days. Hope your reno’s are going ok? Is it wine o’clock yet? 😘😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anya says:

    Your version looks so pretty! I love this color and the length. It’s just perfect. Feels so elegant and yet a little edgy. Good job on the zipper!! I also watched endless amount of invisible zipper videos. And that was after I’ve been putting them in for years. I thought I knew what I was doing, but as it turns out I certainly didn’t. The videos definitely helped 🙂 Your invisible zipper looks ah-mazing! Can’t wait to see the other culottes you make 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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