Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Cocktail Culottes

Semi-formal, Black Tie Preferred, Coastal Cocktail, Dressy Casual...

Between the destination wedding craze and the Pinterest inspired mason-jar/burlap trend, wedding attire has become C A S U A L.

In July I attended a (husband's) family wedding in Lancaster Pennsylvania.  The couple didn't specify dress code and I am not close enough to have a sense of their style.  I knew that the venue was a hotel, the ceremony began at 3pm, and the invitation wording was informal ;)

What to wear?

C U L O T T E S of course!

Helen from Helen's Closet recently released her Winslow Culottes.  I chose View D, the palazzo pant style.

The pattern requires 4.5 yards of 54" fabric, but I managed with 4 yards of 54" for the size 8.  I think I could have used less yardage if I weren't trying to match a border print.  I purchased the first 2 yards from Kashi at Metro Textiles several years ago and the final 2 yards from AK Fabrics.  Kashi told me that this was a lovely "Italian silk."  I did a quick burn test and the fabric burned too quickly to be silk.  Silk or synthetic, I still love it.  Especially since it travels nicely and doesn't wrinkle.

I french seamed the outer and inner pant leg seams and finished the curved crotch seams with a narrow hem before joining the crotch seams. I may have made an error when cutting out because the pant circumference didn't quite match the waistband length.  Next time I make these, I will map the paper pattern pieces against one another and cut the waistband a few inches longer. Instead of commercial interfacing, I used a heavy silk organza to interface the waistband.  I chose not to sew the pockets because I didn't want the added bulk.

To dress the culottes up for the wedding, I opted for a quick top in a stretch green charmeuse from the stash. This literally took one hour to make.  I loosely cut an "A-Frame" of the fabric for the front and a rectangle for the back.  Next, I removed the charm from an old black organza ribbon necklace and knotted the charmeuse fabric around the necklace to secure it in the front.  Then, I sewed up the side seams, trying the top on several times as I widdled it down to fit.


One of my favorite things about sewing is that it allows me to make a small $ investment in trendy clothes that I otherwise wouldn't have bought off the rack.  I am slowly figuring out the styles that I feel most comfortable and confident wearing. This one is a winner for sure!

So much so that I wore it to our last wedding of the season (phheww!) over Labor Day Weekend.  My cocktail culottes were perfect for the venue (Prospect Park, Brooklyn), time (4:30pm), and relaxed vibe of the wedding.  Hoping to finish a silk pair this week just in time for an engagement party and am already envisioning another pair for the fall in suede...


  1. The fabric is perfect. Dressy culottes are so stylish. Can't wait to see them in suede.

  2. Thank you Annie! Yea, I'm super excited about trying the suede ones. This pattern is definitely going to be a workhorse for me, especially since it's so forgiving in terms of fit!

  3. Fab culottes!

    Have made two pairs (views A and C) already! Didn't have zips handy so swapped for elasticated waist instead. Can't wait to make palazzo/ankle length version!

    1. Glad to hear someone else is on the Winslow culottes boat. That's a good idea to use an elasticated waist--hadn't thought of that.