Helen's Closer Winslow Culottes

Winslow Culottes by Helen’s Closet

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.

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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

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