Monday, 5 August 2013


A couple of weeks ago, I finished my first pair of Tania culottes. If you follow me on twitter, you already know that I was rather excitable about them. It wasn't the fact that they look just like a skirt - though they do - or the fact that they twirl just like a skirt - though they do. Nor the supreme easiness of making them, nor even the surprise factor of "nice skirt" - "NO, look at this - it's not!"
What I really love about these is the shock early '90s revival factor. An item that everyone hated at the time and is absolutely not expecting to come back in any acceptable way, shape or form - but why yes, I'M WEARING CULOTTES! For the first time since sporting them under duress aged 8! (It was a family do, the outfit was an unsatisfactory compromise between tomboy me and the parental dress code).
These are my second pair, in a floaty but not-too-light viscose knit with good four-way stretch. I left out the zip and just added a stretch waistband, and if you're planning to do this too I would caution you to carefully consider the weight of your fabric. My yoga-style waistband was not strong/tight enough to hold the skirt up, and as I'd already serged it on, I ended up just picking open the waistband's centre-back seam and inserting some elastic. Were I to do the whole thing again, I'd just plan an elasticated waistband from the start, to get a tidier finish. But it's a tiny niggle. Because MAN, are these comfy. As of Friday I'm officially on my hols, and have been struggling to make myself wear other clothes ever since.
Here's my obligatory 'look at the pleat' picture:
I didn't hem them, just trimmed the stretched-out bias bits with a rotary cutter so it's even all the way round. I didn't want to add any bulk to the smooth drape of it all.
Plus, I believe I mentioned the twirling, no?
My only disappointment right now is that in my rush to pack, I didn't put in my first completed pair - being woven and a bit dressier, they failed to qualify for space in my camping gear. I only realised that this meant no proper photos of them after we'd left. So, here's a just-finished mirror selfie that twitter friends have likely already seen:


The fabric was on sale at the Maison Doree but still 7 euros per metre, which was just on the edge of cheap enough for me to buy two (that and the fact that basically it was lying there in the middle of the shop shouting TANIA TANIA TANIA at me).
I had been planning some midi/maxi culottes too, but having done these (with about 10 cm added length on each), I can't see how it's possible. They absolutely eat fabric, and I ended up cutting them out on the cross grain both times.  But I doubt very much that my Tanias mania will stop here. For a start Kirsty's corduroy pair are rather inspiring, and then, well, the shops are going to be full of lovely lightweight wool too soon, aren't they? I think a cold weather version or two is pretty much inevitable...

Yep, I'm a recent culotte convert. You?


  1. Oh! My! God! The fabric on your first pair has just killed me with its GORGEOUSNESS. Of course you had to get it and make beautiful culottes with it, it was destiny.

    I love the twirlyness of your second pair too. But I will always be *in* love with your first pair.

  2. Love these versions Jo! I also had in mind that I would do a longer version but they do eat fabric :) I think I'll be making a summery pair come spring - but trying to squeeze in a pocket somewhere :)

  3. Hehe we can't hide from the fabric destiny! The first paint-splashed pair are definitely my favourite for impact and fun, such a shame I don't have good pics yet. The knit version are just great summer basics really.

  4. These are great. Have to admit I am super dubious about culottes, but each new pair I see someone make is slowly converting me to try this pattern.

  5. I want culottes too !!

  6. they really look great... and I can't believe you were 8 in the early 90s!! That makes me feel very old... I actually made 2 pairs of culottes in the summer of 92, I was about to start my first job, a year long stage in France, and my mother was convinced I would need skirts, that I couldn't just wear jeans, my concession was 2 pairs of culottes from a burda pattern (one in a purple tropical fish print if I remember correctly). I may have worn them once or twice, but for most of the year I was in chest waders and old clothes!!

  7. haha - I now realise I exaggerated that completely - I date from '77, so either the culottes were earlier or I was older than eight!

  8. phew, that makes me feel a lot better... a 6 year difference is easier to assimilate :)

  9. Fantastic! They are some of the coolest-looking culottes I've seen, Gorgeous floral fabric too btw.

  10. love the coulottes. makes so much sense for us moms. maybe i do need to make some up.

  11. Hi Kelli! Thanks so much for commenting :-) I gotta admit I mostly made them out of curiosity, but I'm totally won over, it' funny just how practical they are. I just started cycling again too and they're great for that!


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