Tiramisu Skirt Hack, Or The story of how I drafted culottes

Yup. I’ve joined the culotte bandwagon. Culottes aren’t just for modesty. They’re for being flirty and fun and whimsical.

Look at this pair from Nordstrom, though they advertise these as “gathered shorts”. It’s only in the detailed description that they pull out the word “culottes”. They’re not the culottes people think of, are they? I think they’re fresh and modern and super chic.

I know there’s a really cute new pattern out by Megan Nielsen and I could’ve bought it to make my culottes but I got it in my head that I could just draft some culottes.

Hanging with Heather for a couple of days solidified my need for culottes and now that I’ve made a pair I’m so happy I did. I even have lofty plans of playing with this skirt…err… culotte pattern and making a dress/romper.

After searching the webs for something resembling drafting instructions, I fell on the awesome Petit Main Sauvage and her culotte tutorial. I’ve drafted a circle skirt before but I figured I could just start with the Tiramisu pattern skirt and draft the crotch and front pleat from there. I measured my Hummingbird skirt at 18″ since I like that length and made the skirt 19″ so I could hem it. since the skirt pattern I started with already had seam allowances, I didn’t have to add any. I think the reason why my culottes look longer than 18″ is because I forgot that the Tira skirt sits lower due to the midriff section. The skirt sits 3″ below my (high) natural waist and I like it.

And yeah, it worked! Here’s the draft in progress. I pulled out a couple other books cos I couldn’t just draft one thing at a time. I already started playing with my next project.


I cut out pockets but left them off because I did a side zipper and I don’t know how to  hide a zipper in a pocket yet.

I felt the need for some red booties and the Hubbinator suggested the sporty t-shirt with the floral. Yes, I did go to DePaul University- I started a Master’s in Education but quit when I got pregnant with my 1st kid. I couldn’t stand the morning sickness.

front culottes

What’s so funny, you ask? The Hubbinator.

culottes side front

I’m already full of goofy energy and then he gets involved and there’s pictures like this one of me trying to show you I’m wearing shorts.

culottes Vogue pose

Finger guns cos that’s what people do when wearing skirt short culottes.

side back culottes finger guns

Side zipper cos of the front and back pleats. I know I could’ve easily drafted a waistband but I grabbed the Hummingbird band cos it was there and quick and done. I added a hook and eye to keep the band snug.

side culottes

And more pictures cos I love my culottes.

culottes hair

See, shorts! I can do this!

culottes in grass2

But since I switched out of the red booties and into my flat yellow sandals and pulled back my hair, I thought you should see how I’ll wear my culottes more often. It got pretty windy but no fly ups on account of the Tira skirt being a half circle skirt- a full circle would give everyone a shot of my me-made undies.

culottes actual

You ready to make culottes? Should we stop calling them culottes and call them shorts? Or just own the word and all the elastic waistband assumptions that go along with the term? Do you ever find that you steer clear of a type of garment because of your earlier memories of similar garments from your childhood/teenage life? I fear anything anyone calls “boxy”. Oh, that sends me somewhere dark and lonely. What about you?

46 thoughts on “Tiramisu Skirt Hack, Or The story of how I drafted culottes

  1. Betsy says:

    You did a great job with those. They look great and will be cool and fun and really wearable.
    I was thinking about a flirty pair of summery, flirty palazzo pajamas the other day. This idea would be perfect, made longer, maybe minus waistband,
    Or maybe your romper idea, made sexier and longer. Knit a pretty lace stole or shrug or bolero a la ‘I dream of Jeannie.’

  2. Tanit-Isis says:

    Super cute! I loved Lauriana’s pair, and yours are great, too. I love me a skort, wonder if I can wrap my head around wearing something like these…

  3. Brooke says:

    The word culottes evokes images of mid-calf pants that tried to look like an A-line skirt and failed miserably. The kind of thing that always looks out-of-style and homemade (and not in a good way!). There was a family I knew when I was in high school who wouldn’t let their daughters wear pants (and this was in the ’90s!), but they were allowed to wear the ugly culottes for P.E. Needless to say, I can’t think of the word without thinking of that family I used to know.

    Your culottes are cute, modern, and trendy! I like that you really can’t tell they are shorts. I have a couple favorite summer skirts that look similar but I’m thinking I might need a few pairs of culottes just because I usually feel cooler when I have less skin touching skin and it can be stinking windy here. =)

  4. Gjeometry says:

    I love your culottes! You did a fantastic job. I am madly in love with culottes, and am so happy they are back in style. I have always loved many of the 1970s fashions (think Rhoda) and have a few culottes sewing patterns that I can’t wait to make. But, kudos to you for drafting your own. And thanks for the tutorial link, I have bookmarked it, in case I am going to draft my own instead of using the patterns I have.

    • Leila says:


      You should totally draft your own. Especially if you’re already starting with a 1/2 circle skirt pattern you own. Cos, really, it’s really pretty easy as long as you make sure you remember that you measure out from the original center front, unlike me, which led to a lot of redrawing of lines. hehe

  5. laurahoj says:

    These are great culottes! I’ve seen some horrible ones in my day, but these are not in that category at all. I think the drape of the fabric makes all the difference.

  6. ooobop! says:

    Love these so much. My youngest daughter is waiting patiently for a pair. Haven’t drafted shorts before So looking forward to doing it after seeing yours 🙂

    • Leila says:

      The draft is really quite straightforward. I hope you do draft them and you can start with a 1/2 circle skirt pattern you already have to save you the trouble.

  7. Kristina @nerdysewist says:

    I love these culottes! Definitely not what I think of when you say “culottes,” but I’m a big fan of wearing anything that looks like a skirt or dress but actually has pants built in. I want to make some now! Love all the happy fun photos too 🙂 !!!!

  8. CGCouture says:

    So much cuter than the culottes I remember from childhood! So now the million dollar question–how are they affected by the chub rub? (At least I think it was you that shared that affliction with me, my apologies if not.) Because now I’m thinking these will need to be on my “to make NOW” pile. 😉

  9. Theresa in Mérida says:

    OMG, you are awesome. I just bought a culotte skirt at the flea market for 30 pesos (about. $2.50 usd) I am wearing it so much I was thinking about making one out of some fabric in my stash. then I decide to catch up on my blog reading and here is the perfect post! Thank you.


  10. IngeMaakt says:

    Your culottes are gorgeous! I was on holiday in Japan two weeks ago and the girls there wore a lot of culottes, and I really like them. So practical, no wardrobe malfunctions, no sore tighs from rubbing together when wearing a skirt without tights.. So now I guess I have to make some too. thanks for the link to the tutorial!

  11. Lauriana says:

    Those look great! I’m glad you found my tutorial useful.

    Personally, I don’t have a problem with the word “culottes” but that may just be because I’m not a native speaker of the English language and I first came across the word applied to cute vintage culottes on sewing blogs… So no horrible elastic waistband assumptions there (I do have that problem with the Dutch word for culottes, “broekrok” though…).

    I think yours do what I think good culottes should do: look as cute as any little skirt but be just that little bit more practical.

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