Who wears short shorts? Not me…

I spend most of my time in either jeans or skirts/dresses, with my legs covered in thick black tights. That’s fine for nine months out of 12 in Seattle, where I’ve recently moved from the UK, but now that summer’s here it’s time for my pasty-white pins to see the light of day. Now, I will never have the legs of a gazelle and in the summer that means I’m a victim of chub rub. The struggle is real, y’all. I can cope with a London summer, which lasts about two weeks if you’re lucky, but I’m told that we can expect consistently higher temperatures from mid-June well into September. It’s time to try making shorts.

Unlike Homer Simpson, short shorts are really not for me, but knee-length is definitely more within my comfort-zone. And if it can look like a skirt but with the anti-chafing benefits, so much the better. Culottes are the definitely the answer. After seeing so many ace versions around the internet (here, here and here) , I thought I’d give the Winslow culottes by Helen’s Closet a go.

That’s a Grainline Scout tee I’m wearing on top too.

One of the things I like about them is how they can work in a range of lengths – the pattern includes four lengths from short shorts to trousers (and also tells you which PDF pages to print – super useful).  True to form, I cut the knee-length version in bright red rayon which I thought would be light and breezy for when the mercury climbs.

It was quite breezy yesterday so these photos look like I’m standing in a wind tunnel.

With only four pattern pieces and super-clear instructions, sewing up these culottes was a cinch. There are some nice optional features, too. I particularly like the recommendation to put a bar tack in at either end of the in-seam pocket openings to help the pocket to sit forward. Sometimes I think understitching isn’t enough, especially in a slinky fabric, so giving it an extra bit of encouragement is a great idea.

Check out the bar tacks at either end of the pocket opening.

If I had any issues it was with the fabric itself. Rayon is super slinky so obviously I used extra pins where I could, but no matter how many I used I still couldn’t get the pleats to hold together completely through the machine, so they’re not quite as sharp as I would have liked at the waistband. I’m also trying to save a bit of space in my sewing area (it’s a corner of my living room), so at the moment I am overlocking insides in either black or white thread, depending on the colour of the fabric. I went for black in this instance, which seems to have worked out ok, but I think if the fabric was any lighter in weight it’d be noticeable.

I wore these out and about yesterday and felt comfortable all day. It was a reasonably windy day and it was refreshing (ahem) to be able to walk around town without flashing my undies to the good folk of Seattle. I have one change to make for my next pair, which is to raise the crotch by about an inch and a half. At the moment it’s a little bit too low, which means I don’t get any of the anti-chafing benefits. I’m looking forward to that next pair, which will be in a palm-leaf print cotton for a Hawaiian vibe – I’m staring at it longingly as I type.

No more Marilyn moments!

If you’re looking to dip your toe into shorts/trouser-making, this is a great pattern to try. Easy to fit, easy to sew, easy to wear. Recommended!

Check out my other makes on stuffjohasmade.wordpress.com

23 thoughts on “Who wears short shorts? Not me…

  1. Cute! I’ve got culottes on the brain, and you’ve pushed me over the edge on this pattern! I’m finding that there’s so many different variations of culottes, and this a particular cool pattern. The red is so joyful, and the knee length is a great length on you!


  2. These look cool – in both senses! I like the “look like a skirt, but aren’t” vibe. Like the tip of putting a bar tack in at either end of the in-seam pocket openings to help the pocket to sit forward – I have a few garments that would benefit from that.

    We’ve had more than the regulation two weeks of sun here in the UK this year and it’s only the beginning of July. I’ve suddenly discovered that I just don’t have enough summer clothes as this part of my wardrobe got neglected during several years of virtually summerless summers. So, I’ve been weighing up culotte options for a while. Think I might have found what to make here.


    • Typical, I leave the country and suddenly the weather gets better?!

      I’m the same re summer clothes – I’ve got plenty that can be worn for most of the year, but stuff for high summer is sorely lacking. I’m now frantically playing catch up and sewing all the things! Check out the pattern, though, it’s a good’un 😉

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  3. I’ve had a few of those Marilyn moments as well – culottes like these may be the answer!! I love the glowing red rayon you’ve used here – so pretty and flowy – really skirt like. But hope that the fit on your next palm-leaf-print pair will be perfect!


  4. Thanks for the shout out Jo! I also made myself a knee length pair to wear to work in the summer and they are beyond comfortable. It’s like I’m not wearing anything! I can only imagine that yours in rayon are unbelievably floaty and light. I love your whole outfit combination!


    • No, thank you for the inspiration! Mine are indeed very comfy and light – they felt very floaty in the breeze this weekend!!!


    • Thanks! I haven’t tried the Ninni shorts yet, but having seen the article on here the other day I’ve got dreams of making secret jumpsuits using them!


  5. These are great. I dislike shorts but still think they can be very practical in the summer. These could be the answer to my short-wearing woes… Very cute and I love how you styled them. 😊


  6. These look just lovely!
    I’ve made a pair that I dont wear as much as I’d like because of a too low crotch, I really need to make a new, slightly modified pair because these culottes are awesome


    • Thank you! Modifying the pattern is my task for today – always a job I put off, but I’m going to make an effort with these!


    • Thank you! I used to work on a busy road that turned into a roaring wind tunnel when everywhere else just had a light breeze. Think most of London has seen my undies through accidental Marilyn moments! 🙄


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