Winslow Culottes Paperbag Waist

HelenHelen's Makes, Pattern Hacks, Winslow Culottes, Winslow Hacks12 Comments

Winslow Culottes Hack: Paperbag Waist

I have another Winslow hack to share today! This one is a little bit more complex than the elastic waisted versions we have been playing with, but I think for anyone interested in this paperbag waist style, the Winslow is a great base to work with. I have paired this hack with my latest True Bias Ogden Cami and I am loving the combo!

What fabric should I use for this hack? Unlike the original Winslow pattern, this hack is well suited to more structured fabrics like cotton twill, cotton shirting, linen, and even lightweight denim. I used a light cotton twill here and the stiffness really helps to showcase the pleats.

Can I make the culottes or pants length? Yes! I made the shorts length here, but any view of the Winslow Culottes will work for this hack.

Winslow Culottes Paperbag WaistWinslow Culottes Paperbag Waist

Winslow Culottes Paperbag Waist Winslow Culottes Paperbag Waist

Let’s get started!

We are also going to alter the front and back pieces slightly before cutting. You can cut the pockets as-is if you want to keep them in. We are not going to cut the original waistband piece, but we are going to draft a new waistband facing.

Construct the culottes as indicated in the instructions up to step 13, minus the pleats. You can opt to include or not include the inseam pockets; I decided to include them in mine.

Winslow Culottes Paperbag Waist


Starting the pleats a little bit down from the top of the pants allows the pleats to flare out at the waist, creating the paperbag waist effect.

Winslow Culottes Paperbag Waist

Insert the zipper as indicated in the instructions. I like to hand sew the facing to the zipper with the edge folded inside. You can also hand tack the pleats down or you can leave them loose and simply adjust them into place when you put the garment on.

This is one way to make a paperbag waist! You can add details like belt loops and a waist tie, or sew a channel for a belt or tie. I like the sleek look without any embellishments.

Winslow Culottes Paperbag WaistWinslow Culottes Paperbag WaistWinslow Culottes Paperbag WaistWinslow Culottes Paperbag Waist Winslow Culottes Paperbag WaistWinslow Culottes Paperbag WaistWinslow Culottes Paperbag Waist

I hope you like this Winslow Culottes hack. Let me know if you have any questions!

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.

12 Comments on “Winslow Culottes Hack: Paperbag Waist”

  1. I love it. I need to get several versions of these pants made for the summer with at least one version with the paper bag waist. I’d need belt loops and to move the zipper to the side seam or.buttons on the side seam??? belt loops definitely because without a belt I’d be afraid of splitting my zipper. Zippers and I have long standing issues.

    1. I have ordered this pattern in a size 20, how much fabric do I need to make the shorts (roughly) please

  2. Thank you so much for the tutorial! It’s such a great make! I think I’d add belt loops and a self-fabric belt too, for a true paper bag effect. But your look very elegant even without that! Awesome fabric choice too!!

  3. I’m not a massive paper bag waist person.. but I live everything else about these. The waistband facing rather than waistband. The knife pleats in particular. The structured fabric you used. These are divine.

  4. Pingback: The Sew Reporter – 20th May

  5. Hi Helen,

    I’m wondering about how much fabric to take up in the pleats? I want to use the knife pleat on my elastic backed Winslows but I’m struggling with how much to pinch up.


    1. Hi Jonii! I used the same notches for my knife pleats that are used for the box pleats, so the same amount of fabric is taken up. You can measure between the notches for your size to get the number if that is helpful!

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