Sunday, July 27, 2014

Megan Nielsen pattern - Tania Culottes

Summer is time for play clothes, and this pattern definitely fits in that category. Although at first glance it appears to be a skirt, but hiding in plain sight is a pair of culottes.

OK, I look like a dork here with the t-shirt tucked in but I am doing it for you :)  so you can see the waistband of this pattern. Believe me I will not wear them this way.

Tania culottes on me

The pattern is the Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes which I saw sewn up on a blog, the exact one eludes me but I thought, oh hey, those are kind of cute and easy-peasy plus I have this weird lightweight super drapey denim-ish fabric that would be perfect. The designer suggests a lot of lightweight fabrics including voile or lawn. I think it might be a bit see through and those fabrics don't strike me as quite strong enough for a garment such as a this but it definitely needs something drapey. And not too thick because it is a LOT of fabric swirling around. 

Swirling proof:

twirl pic Tania cullotes

Here is a look at the pattern. They are super short and maybe I made them a bit too long but they look so much like a skirt that I figured I would wear it as a skirt, not as shorts.  Believe I added 6 inches and then maybe hemmed off about 2 inches. 

tania culottes pattern

Since they are really shorts I can't get them on my dress form so I just pinned them on here so you can see. The front and back look the same and they have an invisible side seam zipper. In reviews some people mentioned they were too short in the rise but I didn't have any issue. I cut out the size Medium and actually took them in some at the side seams. The hidden pleats are the clever part about this pattern, the center front and back seams form a box pleat that hides the fact that they are culottes.

          culotte on formculotte on form showing pleat

Photo on the right I am holding the side skirt so you can see the center front pleat effect.

This is far from my most meticulous sewing, very quick construction and I just stitched in the ditch to hold down the waistband on the inside. I topstitched about 1/4" from the upper edge, also to hold the waistband together. I go this fabric at a garage sale or something like that, so unknown fiber, maybe a cotton poly blend but it is that faded denim color that goes with everything and seems unwrinkled-able. You know how much I like that.

culotte waistband inside

Another dorky photo but you can see how the skirt is basically a half-circle. So it does take a fair bit of fabric. I think they could easily be made with a reduction in the circumference. I would just take a triangle wedge out of the skirt. Maybe next summer for another version.  And if you noticed in my seersucker jacket post - I am wearing these in those photos as well.

culottes full skirt

Ooooo, it is hot here this week.  100 + degrees Fahrenheit at my house. But closer to 80F just 15 minutes away. Welcome to the bay area ! 

I am seriously thinking about cloning one of my swimsuits next week - my favorite one is getting a little worse for the wear and the style is my favorite. to be determined...

And a BIG Thank You to everyone who left a book recommendations on the previous post. SO many good suggestions. If you are looking for few books to add to your summer reading list check it out and keep adding the suggestions. Lots of commenters said they would return to check out the rest of the suggestions so I will do another post on that in a few weeks. 

happy summer sewing, stay cool,  Beth

Today's SunnyGal garden photo, a red Nicotiana. I have to remember to plant these earlier next year.

red nicotiana


  1. I've been debating culottes for a while now--they just seem super practical. My husband always poo-poos them, but I don't think he'd even guess that this garment is actually shorts, so it might be a winner! And, I do not envy your side of the bay with that triple digit heat!

  2. Love the culottes. Fun and easy going for the summer. Culottes weren't in fashion when I was growing up but I did love wearing their cousin the skort.

  3. I made these last year & adore them. I made mine in rayon... and I do need to be careful in a strong breeze ;-)

  4. I keep looking at this pattern wondering if they would look good on someone who HATES wearing shorts. I LOVE them on you...they just don't look like shorts!

  5. Beth, you look so cute in these! Personally, I love wearing skirts in the summer, with some kind of skimmer underneath. I wear shorts only around the house. So even though I don't think I would make these, I love how you look in them!

  6. These are great Beth. I can see how you can really look wonderful but be relaxed at the same time. They're a winner.

  7. Very cute on you! These should be cool and comfortable for your 100 degree weather. I made this pattern for my daughter and it was super short for even a 21 year old!

  8. Hi Beth, this is truly the first time I've ever seen anyone make culottes look great. So sweet with the swirling!!
    Love it!

  9. I'm with Miss J...most culottes just look sad...these swing and flatter! Great job with the inside as well...who needs couture when RTW stitches in the for me!