Culottes Tutorial For Autumn Glamour

culottes tutorialCulottes, one of the most trendy styles of the 50's and 60's, are back!  Culottes are flared pants or shorts that can often look like a skirt or a dress when you're wearing them.  I have been trying to help you build a warm-weather wardrobe that is both easy and practical  –and that is easy to make.  Here is another free pattern to add to your collection of projects for the summer.

culottes tutorial

“Culotte” is a French word that means the lower part of a garment or knee-breeches.  They have been fashionable since Henry III made them popular at court in France in the latter part of the 1500s and were worn mostly by the upper class.  Later, in the time leading up to the French revolution in the 18th century, the lower classes who wouldn't have worn culottes became known as “sans-culottes” or literally “without short pants” — a term these partisans and revolutionaries embraced as they manned the street barricades.

There are two things I really like about this culottes tutorial and pattern –there is an option of adding front pockets to the pants without adding bulk to the tummy and you can easily transform them into long pants by adding length at the hem.

culottes tutorialMy choice of fabric is a Jacquard Knit since this pattern is for knits only.  For some ideas of the right sort of fabric to use, please check the link below.


Pattern sizes

These culottes are in size 6 to 22.  The Lower Waist measurement relative to the Hips measurement below may appear unusual to some readers, but for this design to fit right, I can assure you it is correct for the knit fabric I am using.

Finished Garment Measurements

Size Lower Waist Hips Hem Width
6 31″ 52″ 60″
8 32″ 53″ 61″
10 34″ 54″ 63″
12 35 1/2″ 55 1/2″ 64 1/2″
14 37″ 57″ 66″
16 38 1/2″ 58 1/2″ 67 1/2″
18 40″ 60″ 72″
20 42″ 62″ 74″

Pattern Pieces

  • Two backs
  • Two fronts
  • Two pockets front
  • Two pockets back
  • One waistband (not included in the pattern).  Please follow instructions on how to cut your waistband.


  • These pants look like an A-line skirt or amazing super-elongating silhouette palazzo pants.
  • A flattering feature in this pattern is the pockets in the front but they are OPTIONAL.
  • Soft waistband that does not add bulk to the tummy area.
  • For the girls that do not like to wear pants in summer, this is the perfect style to feel very comfortable and still look like you are wearing a skirt.
  • 5/8″ seam allowance in all pattern pieces.

Video Tutorial

Pattern Layout

Culottes tutorial

Step One: Download the pattern

We're going to continue to use the new Payhip webstore to distribute our patterns. As most readers know, Craftsy is changing a lot and they have stopped designers like us from publishing new patterns on their site, so we've had to move to another service.

Our patterns are still free, but now you now have the option of making a small contribution if you like our work! We'd really appreciate it and it will help is keep going with new and fun designs like this. Even a dollar or two really goes a long way.

Thanks so much in advance for helping us out.  You can use any credit card and you don't need a Paypal account, although you can use one if you have one.

Download the pattern HERE

If you need any help with down How to download and print PDF patterns or How to print and assemble a PDF pattern, please check out the linked tutorials.

Step Two: Cut the fabric

Use a rotary cutter or very sharp scissors and as many pins or weights as you can so your fabric does not move while cutting.  Pay special attention to the grain on the fabric indicated in your pattern.

For more guidance on Mistakes to Avoid When Cutting Fabric, please read this guide.

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Cutting Fabric

Step Three: Sew the pocket.

We will start by stabilizing the seam and the opening of the pocket by adding fusible interfacing or stay tape.  This step is a must because this area will stretch and become baggy if you do not use fusible interfacing.Culottes tutorial

Place the front pocket piece right side down on the front side of the pants.  Prints are going to be facing each other.  Sew the front pocket side to the front pants using a 5/8″ seam.Culottes tutorialCulottes tutorial

Turn the pant piece print side down and pin the seam allowance to the pocket. Culottes tutorialIron and stay stitch the seam allowance to 1/8″ from the seam. Trim the seam allowance, turn the pocket and iron.Culottes tutorial

Turn the pocket to the inside of the pants as it is going to hang and make two rows of stitches for decoration and for reinforcing the edge of the pocket.  You can use your twin needle here as well.

For guidance on How to Use a Twin Needle, please follow this guide.

How to Use a Twin Needle

Culottes tutorial

Do the same to the other pocket.

Trim the seam allowance, turn the pocket and iron.

Change your needle to a twin needle and stay stitch on the right side.  The use of a twin needle is optional.  To have the same effect without the twin needle just make 2 rows of stitches.

Turn the front side with the pocket you have been working on print side down, place the back side of pocket on top of the front side of the pocket.  Sew around the pocket at 5/8″.  Culottes tutorial

Culottes tutorial

Zigzag the edges or use the serger.  Please note that many knits do not need the edges to be finished because they do not ravel.  If they do, serge them.

Step Four: Assemble the culottes

Sew the two fronts together but stop two inches from the end.Culottes tutorial

Sew the back pieces the same way, stopping 2 inches from the end.Culottes tutorial

Sew the sides of the culottes and finish the seam either with a zigzag or a serger. Culottes tutorial


Sew the inseam and zigzag the edges or use your serger.Culottes tutorial

Step Five: Check fitting and add the waistband

The pants at the waist should be close to your hips but not tights,  there should be no gaps between the waistline and your hipbones.  Adjust the pants according to your body, then measure the waist Culottes tutorialand cut a band 1″ to 1 1/2″ smaller than the measurement.

Culottes tutorial

Fold the band in half.  Sew the ends at 5/8″.  Culottes tutorial

Fold the band lengthwise in half.Culottes tutorial


Mark the middle top and bottom by making a small notch with your scissors.Culottes tutorial

Pin the band seam to the seam of the back of the culottes and the center mark you did before to the front seam of the pants.

Pull the bands to distribute the stretch of the waistband evenly.Culottes tutorial

Using a small zigzag, stitch sew the waistband to the culottes.  If you have a serger you can finish the seam with it.Culottes tutorial

Culottes tutorialFinish the edge with your serger or using a zigzag stitch.  And there you have it.  Done.

Whether you decide to make the culottes or the palazzo pants you are sure to have an outfit for many occasions.  Team them up with a tank top or pretty blouse and you can go anywhere.


Culottes tutorial

photo credit: Spring and Summer 1955 Lane Bryant via photopin (license)

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I remember my mom sewing and making her culottes to wear back in the 50 ‘s because my Dad would not let her wear pants, so this is the way she got away with wearing pants.


Thank you so much for the Culotte pattern. Great!!
I have European size 48, which size should I print/cut??


Does this pattern only go to saize 20?

Elyne Meulenbergs
Elyne Meulenbergs

Hello, I can’t find it on the site, but are the sizes American or UK? I have measured hips 110cm (43,3″) and lower waist 95cm (37,4″). And it seems that my fabric is stretching diagonal, do you think that will work? I only bought 1,5m (1,9 yards). Thanks for the advice! Greetings, Elyne (Belgium)

Danielle Goldberg
Danielle Goldberg

What are your fabric recommendation for making this in lightweight fabric? How much stretch is ideal for recovery? I have a stock of knit fabrics trying to see what would work best heading into summer.


Thank you for coulottes pattern. I made it from cotton even though you recommended knit. We are staying in because of the virus and I had the fabric already. They turned out adorable. I just had to make sure the waist elastic would stretch over my hips.

Reply to  Linda

I’d love to try them in woven!! Did you go up a size? Did you make any alterations?

Nora Nevers
Nora Nevers

I have always loved culottes. I would love to make some in a light weight woven fabric like chambray or very light denim. Could this pattern be adapted for that or do you already have a pattern for culottes from woven material.

Brenda Jerles
Brenda Jerles

Thank you for the video and the great instructions! I want to make these in a bit longer style for winter. I bought the jacquard fabric and down loaded the pattern.

Cathy Steyn
Cathy Steyn

How wide should I cut the waistband? It looks like maybe 6 inches in the photos?

Danielle Goldberg
Danielle Goldberg
Reply to  Cathy Steyn

In the video it says 6.5 inches high for the waistband.


I love the look. So simple to sew. Do you know the name of the fabric and where I could buy it. The fabric enhances the pattern.
Love it

Carol D.
Carol D.

It would be nice to have pdf instructions to download also, or if there is one – where do we look for it?

Dede Six
Dede Six

These are so stinking cute. Although it is officially fall, here in Texas it is still in the upper 90’s. I think they could also be made from a heavier knit for fall/winter. I will be downloading this pattern, and I will be happy to contribute. I have ordered many patterns from your site.


I noticed thst the culottes do not have elastic in the waist.
How does the waistband keep it’s shape and stay on the body?

Reply to  marilyn

The waistband is cut smaller than your waist so it appears that should keep your pants up. Due to varying stretch, I would feel more comfortable with adding elastic.

Tracy King
Tracy King

Thank you for another stylish and easy pattern and tutorial!


Thanks for the pattern and tutorial, I really want to try making some soon. The pedant in my has to mention that “culottes” in modern French means “knickers”! I had some funny looks there when talking about culottes there before I realised what it meant! ” Camisole” is another good one, in French it now means “straight jacket”!