There are so many reasons to make Winslow Culottes. No. 1 on my list is how much I love the Love to Sew podcast hosted by Helen & Caroline. Helen owns Helen’s Closet patterns, and one of her most popular patterns is the Winslow Culottes. I was looking for a next step on my pants journey and didn’t want just any pants. I wanted long, flowing and epic pants. These would surely fit the bill.
Helen has a complete sewalong for the pattern, so I knew that would be a big help if I got stuck. I especially appreciate all the extra photos. Sometimes a line drawing just can’t explain things.
I wanted to use a rayon with a lot of great drape. I found a clearance fabric at Joann — beautiful drape, very soft, 100% rayon, 70% off. After washing and ironing the fabric at home, I laid it out on my dining room table. The stripes were all over the place. I would get the horizontal stripes lined up and then the vertical would be off. After probably two hours, I just said “Good Enough” and pinned on the pattern pieces and whacked away with my scissors.
The next day, I unpinned the pattern pieces and it was crazy-town.
Lesson learned: don’t cut out when you’re tired and frustrated. I’m sure Helen has said that on Love to Sew and I didn’t listen. When I started the sewing I had to lay out each piece and re-cut the sides, because there’s no way I could have determined the seam allowance with those hacked-up edges.
After the cutting, things went much better. Dealing with these stripes continued to be the biggest challenge. I sewed the side seam of one pant leg and the stripes were about 1/2″ off. I did remember a directive from Love to Sew at this point, which was the “three-foot rule.” If you can see it from three feet, and it’s going to bother you, fix it. If neither, leave it. I could see it from three feet and so ripped the seam. The second time I used Wonder Tape to stick the stripes together where they should match. Bingo!
When sewing the two completed legs together, Helen tells you to stop sewing at a spot 3/4 of the way around. For this I used a technique from my Sewing School book that I haven’t seen anywhere else: Two pins means stop!
I love this because I never sew past where I should. When I hit the two pins, I know to stop. Awesome.
This was my third invisible zipper and I did pretty well. My only mistake was positioning it way too high, forgetting that the waistband would be folded over and sewn down. I guess I thought the waistband would be 9″ high?? I was just going to cut off the excess zipper at the top, but then when turning over the waistband ends, I accidentally sewed the top of the zipper INSIDE the waistband. Hmm. So my zipper could only zip up to the waistband. I wasn’t that distressed. I thought the waistband looked clean without the zipper going through it, and I would have a chance to use my 15 cent hooks-and-eyes I got at a thrift store.
I will definitely make these culottes again — probably in a shorts version next time or she has a hack for a wrap pant that I’m really feeling. But in a solid color. -rp
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