Growing up in the eighties, I owned my fair share of culottes. I like to describe these hybrid pants as the spork of the clothing world, combining the fit and look a skirt with the comfort and versatility of a pair of shorts. And as a tomboy child, they were the only way that my mother could get me to wear something that at all resembled a skirt.
As an adult, I take a slightly different view of these bottoms. No longer averse to wearing skirts and dresses, I find the appeal of culottes comes from the loose fit and easy styling. Paired with a simple top and sandals, and you have the perfect summer outfit. Or put on some heels and a fancier top, and you look are ready for sophisticated fare.
And you want to know the best secret part of culottes? (Psst, come closer). No thigh rubbing. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you're lucky, but if you do, you should know that culottes give you all the benefits of a skirt in the summer without the need for bloomers, or Spanx, or tights, or whatever you use in the heat to prevent chafing.
So with all the great qualities that culottes have, it seemed only right to pick them as our theme for our June Box. These boxes will go out right as the mercury really starts to rise and they will be a perfect addition to your summer wardrobe. For the four patterns we've picked, there are a range of styles to fit your culotte needs. For those who prefer slimmer fit, we have two patterns that lie somewhere between culotte and wide leg pants. Then if you really want to embrace volume, the other two patterns we have do just that, and will give you more of a skirt look.
So, without further ado, let's take a look at the boxes!!
Lightweight Box: Ninni Culottes from Named Clothing
It's been a little while since we've had a Named Clothing pattern in one of our boxes, but there was no way we would pass up the Ninni Culottes. The pattern has been around for a few years now, but its popularity has yet to wane. And we can see why. Because of the elastic waist and loose styling, they are a great introductory pattern for pants making. And they are destined to become a workhorse of your wardrobe, the thing that you throw on quickly when you have to run to the grocery store or post office. All in all, there's really no denying that the Ninni Culottes are a must for your sewing repertoire.
So, let's talk fabric! The key to fabric for making culottes is drape, so we've chose three options with lovely, soft drape to show off the wide leg without making adding a ton of bulk.
- Sage Green Modal Twill - Telio introduced their line of modal twills about a month ago, and instantly I knew that I wanted to use them in these boxes. Modal is incredibly soft and has an almost fluid drape, but normally, you can only find it in knit fabrics. It's rare that you find it in bottom weight fabric, and that's why I jumped at the chance. In this soft, sage green color, this fabric has an earthy, botanical feel that's perfect for your summer wardrobe. It's just a lovely, simple choice of fabrics.
- Navy Chambray Print Essex Linen - When choosing a bottom weight patterned fabric, it's all about scale and color. That's why we love the balance of this print. It's subtle enough not to be overwhelming but we think the geometric lines add a lot of interest for your culottes. Plus, the linen blend, a combination linen and cotton, will have an ideal breathability for the hot weather of July and August. In short, these will be the pants you turn to when you want the look of jeans, but it's too hot for denim.
- Beige Chevron Striped Rayon Cotton Blend - Summer is all about lighter colors and lighter fabrics, and this viscose has both. Plus, rather than a boring plain beige, this fabric has a herringbone (or chevron) weave, elevating it beyond the khakis you might be used to wearing in the summertime. If you're looking for a wardrobe staple, you honestly need to look no further. These culottes will go with absolutely everything and give you that breezy summer look that we all love.
Medium Weight Box: Emerson Crop Pants from True Bias
Though not a true culotte, the Emerson Crop Pant from True Bias has a lot of the elements that we love about culottes: the wide leg, the cropped length and the easy drape. We also chose this pattern for those out there who are a bit wary about going full volume and want a more tapered cut.
If you've been paying attention to our previous boxes, you'll know that we love the patterns from True Bias. Kelli has amazing taste, and her designs are simple, clean, and vaguely 70s inspired, and all three elements tug at our styling heartstrings. The Emerson Crop Pant is no different and we see it fitting right into your wardrobe as your go-to wide-legged pant. You could even make a pair of shorts if you like and save the extra fabric for something else!
And with that in mind, let's take a look at the fabric options:
- Beetroot Viscose Twill - Summer means fresh vegetables, so why not make a pair of beet red pants to match your fresh beet salad?? Okay, all joking aside, this deep plum color is extraordinary and unique. And the viscose twill fabric is just as lush as the color. Medium weight and silky soft, it will hang beautifully and show off the pleated detail at the waist. Paired with an Ogden Cami (also from True Bias) and you have a stunner of an outfit.
- Sandstone Microstripe Hemp/Cotton Blend - If your style tends towards New England beachy, this the fabric for you. A very subtle light brown stripe adds interest to the simple weave of the hemp, and this fabric has an airiness that is perfect for your next clambake (or summer picnic for those of us who don't live in New England). We can't wait to see them with some strappy sandals and a tank top.
- Slate Blue Tencel Twill - The color of this fabric is like a still lake right before a storm. A bit poetic, yes, but nonetheless true. Straddling somewhere between blue and gray, this fabric option is all about the color. It's also all about the drape. The tencel gives the fabric a fluid, silk-like drape that will look fabulous with the clean lines of the pattern. And you'll look fabulous in these pants, which will be easy to style and a step above your normal neutral pants.
Curvy Box: Winslow Culottes from Helen's Closet
With the Winslow Culottes from Helen's Closet, we have the first of our full volume culotte patterns, and what a pattern it is! Earlier this year, Helen, of the eponymous store, announced that she was expanding her sizing range to go up to size 30. This was really exciting news, and we couldn't wait to use her patterns in our Curvy Box. The Winslow Culottes are one of the patterns that she's rereleasing with the inclusive sizing, and we have the opportunity to offer it in paper format just for our subscribers!
Now, to the pattern: Like most of the patterns from Helen's Closet, the Winslow Culottes are a modern take on wardrobe classics with a TON of customizing options. With this one pattern, you can make anything from shorts to full length pants (and everything in between). And like we said earlier, this pattern embraces the volume of the traditional culotte, making them both incredibly dressy in the right fabric and incredibly comfortable in any fabric.
So let's see the options in the box this month:
- Black Broken Weave Viscose Twill - Unlike the beetroot viscose twill in our Medium Weight Box, this twill does not have the distinctive lines that you normally associate with the fabric. Instead, this twill has a staggered weave, similar to a herringbone, that gives it a lovely texture and an unexpected quality. Add to that a subtle sheen, and you have a lovely fabric for a pair of black culottes. Say hello to your new favorite pair of pants.
- Crosshatch Tencel Denim - This denim is woven with uneven slub yarn giving it a lovely, nubbly texture and a distinctive crosshatch look. But because it's made out of tencel and not cotton, this fabric is wonderfully light and fluid. These are the culottes you want when you want the look of denim but the thought of wearing jeans on a 90° day makes you cringe. These will be your go-to weekend pants for sure.
- Auburn Red Tencel Twill - Falling somewhere between a burnt sienna and a brick red, this tencel fabric is for people who love warm colors in their wardrobe but don't want to go full fire engine. With a matte surface, this twill is reminiscent of sand washed silk, and a similar drape too. But unlike silk, this fabric is medium bodied, making it a great bottom weight choice. Whether you're making the shorts or the full-length culottes, a pair in this fabric will be gorgeous.
Heavyweight Box: Tania Culottes from Megan Nielsen
It's the details that make the patterns from Megan Nielsen so special. Whether it's a unique closure of the Flint Pants, the exposed zipper of the Brumby skirt or the bias cut of the Wattle Skirt, those details really make it all the more fun to sew and style. And the Tania Culottes fit right into that mold. With a hidden pleat in the front to create a clean, flat look and slash pockets on the side with an unexpected, concealed zipper, these culottes are a cut above. And that's what made them perfect for our Heavyweight Box where we combine the best fabric with amazing patterns.
The Tania Culottes are also the most voluminous and skirt-like of the patterns we've chosen. And with that in mind, we chose fabrics that would look wonderful on both pants and skirts, so you can embrace both looks at once.
So, here are the fabrics:
- Solstice Gray Linen Tencel Twill - Though it may look black, this twill weave is actually a dark, chalkboard gray, and because of the tencel in the fabric, it has a matte, washed look, as if someone has written on the chalkboard and erased it. The combination of linen with the tencel give the fabric excellent breathability and just enough body to give your culottes a hint of structure. Embrace the volume with this luscious fabric!
- Paradise Garden Rayon Lawn - If you really want to make your culottes looks like a skirt, there's no better way to do it than with a bold print. And this print is bright, bold, and wonderful. How can it not be? It has a parrot on it! Culottes in this print from Rifle Paper Co for Cotton + Steel will feel tropical and perfect for both the poolside and the sidewalk.
- Whiskey Cupro Tencel Linen Blend - This blend of cupro, tencel, and linen gives you the benefit of all three fabrics: cupro for a sand washed look, tencel for drape, and linen for breathability. Add a slub weave, and a warm, honey color, and you have one incredible fabric. It almost looks like suede from afar. A little bit cowgirl, a little bit Scotch whiskey, a whole lot of beautiful.
Well, those are the boxes for this month. Stay tuned next week where we give you some inspiration for these boxes (and hopefully some style inspiration for you too!). And just a heads up: swatches this month will go out either in your subscription box or near the end of the month. One of our shipments has been delayed and I will be out of town next week. This combination means that you'll have to wait just a few days longer than usual. We hope you understand. : )
Also, if culottes aren't your thing, we are reprising our Shorts Boxes in our Classic Box series. Due to availability, we're only offering two fabrics for each box, but what fabulous fabrics they are!
Until next time...