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Projects & Patterns

Pattern Roundup: Culottes

Culottes are shorter than palazzo pants but longer and looser than Bermuda shorts. They look great year-round, in a range of pant-weight fabrics. Their cropped length highlights your favorite footwear, too, from tall boots to cute sandals. They are particularly fitting for spring—and might be just the transitional piece you need to get from sweatpants to shorts. With winter approaching the halfway mark, now is the time to start thinking about the upcoming season’s wardrobe. Culottes can be made in a variety of lengths and cuts, and fabric colors ranging from plain black to multi-hued statement prints. Your pattern and fabric choices will make them uniquely yours.

Take a look at our picks for the best culotte sewing patterns here.

Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes

Winslow Culottes

The Winslow Culottes are the ideal pattern to bring together comfort and style. They are wide-legged and can be made at any length. This pattern features side-seam pockets, an invisible back zipper, an interfaced waistband, and inverted box pleats in front and back. It is available in women’s sizes 0 to 34 (waist 24 inches to 52 inches, hips 33 inches to 62 inches).


Sew Over It Ultimate Culottes

Sew Over It Culottes

Perfect for beginner sewers, the Ultimate Culottes are an easy-to-sew pair of cropped trousers. They are designed to sit at the natural waist and can be finished with either a waistband that includes wide belt loops or with a waistline facing. Both versions are fitted with a single dart in the front and double darts in the back, plus an invisible side-seam zipper. They can be adjusted for shorts length or palazzo pant length. All you need is a light- to medium-weight woven fabric in your favorite print. This design is available in women’s U.S. sizes 8 to 20 (waist 26 inches to 38 inches, hips 36 inches to 48 inches).


Named Clothing Ninni Elastic Waist Culottes

Named Clothing Ninni Culottes

Another pattern well-suited to beginning sewers, the Ninni culottes are an elastic-waist pant with side pockets. Grab a lightweight to medium-weight drapey knit fabric to give these comfortable pull-on pants a try. Though the pattern is designed for knit fabrics, there are instructions for using wovens as well. Check out some of the examples of this pattern for inspiration. Available in women’s U.S. sizes 0 to 24 (waist 23 5/8 inches to 46 1/2 inches, hips 33 1/8 inches to 55 7/8 inches).


Gobi Culottes from Itch to Stitch

Itch to Stitch Culottes

The Gobi Culottes pattern is meant for intermediate-level sewers. These unique pants feature a contour waistband that sits at the natural waist and a buttoned fly-front opening. The silhouette is reminiscent of an above-the-knee, A-line skirt. This design includes front pleats with topstitching, front pockets, and back seams for shaping. Just add length for a pair suitable for fall. Medium-weight, nonstretch woven fabrics work best for this pattern. The design is available in women’s U.S. sizes 00 to 20 (waist 25 3/8 inches to 40 1/2 inches, hips 33 1/4 inches to 48 inches).


CamiMade’s Mirage Wrap Culottes

Cammimade Mirage Culottes Pattern

CamiMade Mirage Wrap Culottes tie at the front and back, creating two different relaxed but trendy looks, depending on which side you tie first. The overlapping panels on these pants offer full-length coverage while allowing for breezy comfort on hot days. This pattern also includes two darts at the front and back, an inseam, and a double waistband. Read our full review of the CamiMade Mirage Wrap Culottes pattern. The wrap culottes are available in women’s U.S. sizes A to H (waist 24 1/2 inches to 37 3/4 inches, hips 34 1/4 inches to 47 3/4 inches).


Mood Fabrics Maple Culottes

Mood Fabrics Maple Culottes

The Mood Fabrics Maple Culottes are perfect for a business-casual office or a daytime outing. They have a fly-front zipper closure and are fitted snugly through the hips with darts. This versatile pattern can be made in a variety of fabrics; they are shown in wool suiting. Sewing this design in medium-weight fabrics make the culottes a go-to garment for fall. Available in women’s U.S. sizes 2 to 30 (waist 24 1/2 inches to 49 1/2 inches, hips 34 1/2 inches to 63 inches). This free pattern is downloadable from the Mood Designer Fabrics website. (Note: Measurements given on the site don’t specify whether they are body or finished garment measurements. Before cutting, compare your body measurements with the pattern dimensions to be sure you’ve got enough ease.)


As winter progresses, you may have  the urge to start sewing for the transition to spring. Any one of these culottes patterns can make a comfortable, cool-to-warm-weather pant. Just add tights under your culottes on chillier days to extend the seasons you wear them in. Best of all, there is a pattern for any occasion, and many can be styled in more than one way.

Have you made any of these patterns? If so, be sure to share pictures in our Readers Closet gallery, or tag us on Instagram with #memadethreads.

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  1. doreet | | #1

    I wore culottes a long time ago,and I am pretty sure they did NOT HAVE A REAL SEPARATION LIKE PANTS between the legs; I would have remembered that.They were like a skirt that had been folded between the legs so you could ride a bike.--But they weren't PANTS.They were still a type of half-skirt half-pants.--and its why they were "culottes " not "shorts or pants." The whole point was to look like a skirt,but still have enough fabric and "fold"between the legs to ACT LIKE a pair of pants. I am pretty sure at least some of them were made that way.If they had been real pants.I would have remembered that.Some things you remember. Whatever they were, these patterns are NOT REAL CULOTTES. i would check back in history, even in the 60's .I would have remembered these; what I wore were absolutly NOT PANTS LIKE THESE.--Not any of these.

    1. CarolFresia | | #2

      Hi, Doreet,
      It's interesting that you remember culottes as being a skirt that looked like pants. The definition of culottes (we follow Fairchild's Dictionary of Fashion) is actually a divided garment that hangs like a skirt, but is actually pants. (The word is derived from the French for "breeches." )
      When I was a little girl, I had a wonderful pair of culottes made by my mom that looked exactly like an A-line skirt with a box pleat at center front and center back--but it was actually more like wide shorts. I was very sad when I outgrew those! In the days when girls were required to wear skirts or dresses to school, culottes were a perfect work-around. These were not readily available in stores, so I was lucky to have a custom pair.
      Some of the patterns shown here are loosely described as culottes; a couple are probably more accurately "wide-legged pants." However, this is how the term is being used in fashion at the moment, and as a service to our readers, we try to reflect what they might be seeing in ready-to-wear garment options.
      The Winslow culottes at the top look like an excellent choice for a skirt look--I think there might be a pair in my future!
      Carol Fresia, Threads Senior Technical Editor

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