Culottes by Helen's Closet

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Me-Made Mexico : Parrot Culottes

It seams fitting to end my me-made Mexico series with these crazy culottes, we had such a blast and I am really missing all the bright colours, warm weather and family time.  One thing I am happy to be without is the crazy afternoon wind though, it sure made taking photos an interesting challenge.  For this shoot, Laurie and I were fortunate enough to have access to a beautiful beachfront property next to our camping spot.  We hid from the crazy wind in the nooks and crannies of this white palace to get shots of my parrot culottes!

Culottes by Helen's ClosetCulottes by Helen's Closet     Culottes by Helen's ClosetCulottes by Helen's Closet

I have been wanting a nice, full pair of trousers for a while now and I don’t think I am alone in this desire. I didn’t find a pattern I liked so I drafted this one myself.  It was a fairly simple draft because the pants are so loose.  The shaping at the waist comes from a two large box pleats in the front and the back.   This is my first true culotte and I have to admit that I was very skeptical of this trend.  There is something about the mid-calf length that I find strange, it often looks like the pants are just too short!  I do think it comes down to getting the right proportions for your body type, and after this experiment I am a culotte convert!

Wikipedia description of culottes: Culottes describes a split or bifurcated skirt or any garment which hangs like a skirt, but is actually pants. During the Victorian Era, long split skirts were developed for horseback riding so that women could sit astride a man’s saddle rather than riding side-saddle. The term “culottes” was co-opted from the original French definition of the word to describe these split riding skirts.

Culottes by Helen's Closet Culottes by Helen's Closet     Culottes by Helen's Closet

I think this full trouser look works really well with fabrics that have a lot of drape.  I used rayon for my version, and they are super soft and breathable. The fabric is from Blackbird Fabrics, and unfortunately is sold out.  If you live in Vancouver, there is still some available at Dressew Supply if you want it!  The little birdies are too cute, right?  I like that the print is abstract from a distance but is actually charming little parrots up close.

Culottes by Helen's ClosetCulottes by Helen's Closet     Culottes by Helen's Closet
Culottes by Helen's Closet

Do you like the culotte look?  How about wide legged trousers?  I am considering releasing a pattern for these with a few length options (shorts, culottes, and full trousers).  Let me know in the comments if you would be interested!

About the author


Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

19 Comments on “Me-Made Mexico : Parrot Culottes”

  1. These turned out beautifully!! I love them! The print is very fitting with the pant. I would be very interested in the pattern. I’ve never tried cullotes myself but I am slowly converting 🙂

  2. Your self-drafted culottes are amazing! I just bought a simple culotte pattern (Butterick 6178) inspired by Lisa’s blog post at Tessuti, and I’m planning the unpleated view in a firm ponti di roma for the present cold weather. But next summer, I will certainly go with a pleated version in drapey rayon like yours. If you release your own pattern, I can predict a huge success since culottes are so trendy right now. Great work!

  3. Hi there! I just “found” your blog so this is my first comment 🙂 I really love the culottes, I’ve been wanting to make something similar, I’m not going to Mexico, but I am visiting the Philippines and thought culottes would be a pretty great thing to take on my trip but no luck with finding a pattern so I’d totally be keen if you released one!

  4. Oo, I really love these and was going to suggest a pattern if you hadn’t mentioned it! I’d definitely be interested. Culottes look an easier way into trousers, which I haven’t tried so far. Ditto wide leg trousers which I do also like. Pockets, though? I can’t imagine a bottom garment without at least a couple of pockets! Love them. Jen

    1. Thanks, Jen! They are a goo intro to trousers because of the ease around the hips and dropped crotch, there is less fitting issues to worry about. I am definitely planning to add pockets to the pattern.

    1. I totally understand, but I think with the right styling they can look really cool on all body shapes, especially with the pleats at the waist 🙂

  5. Just found you and love the culottes. I’m wheelchair bound which means for me that trousers are my usual wear, culottes like these would be great. The convenience trousers give when I’m transferring but the pretty femininity of a skirt.
    I totally agree with your comment to Idaaia sewing, that they could work for any shape with the right styling and waist pleats. I think different lengths could make a real difference too. I’m thinking a just past the knee in a pretty summery fabric, with the right pleating even a curvy lady (like myself :~) could look lovely.
    Hope you’ll do your pattern soon and will include the less willowy in you sizing :~)

  6. These look amazing on you!! I love the culottes look on lots of people, but I just don’t think it’s right for me. I love that fabric – it’s in my stash in both colour ways!

  7. I love these culottes so much, fantastic job! I’ve been looking for a decent palazzo pant pattern for a while now and I think a full length version of these would be perfect. I sincerely hope you decide to release these as a pattern!

    1. Thanks, Poppy! I am working on this pattern 🙂 They are so much fun to wear! I will put out a call for testers eventually if you are interested.

  8. Yesss I would like a pattern available very very much. I finally clicked through a Pinterest image of a skirt I’ve been coveting for ages and discovered it was actually culottes (though she called them skants – which, ewww). Those deep pleats are giving me cartoon heart-eyes!

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