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the tania culottes

Megan Nielsen Tania culottes MN2203 // www.megannielsen.com

My Tania culottes and i have been best buddies all summer and i’m dying to try them out in the cooler weather too. I’m so thrilled to tell you a little bit more about this pattern today! I really loved developing it – it had been on my mind for a long time, and i feel a great amount of success with how they turned out. They might be my favourite “shorts” every. in the history of my life.

Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes InspirationThe idea behind the Tania culottes, is really two stories – that collided and exploded in my brain into the most amazing culottes ever.

This is my dear dear friend Tania (previously of What Would a Nerd Wear). One of the sweetest people, and best friends i’ve been lucky enough to know.  She is also one of those super cute girls you see riding their bikes everywhere. Complete with novels in the basket. I loved that every time we would catch up she’d be there with the bike her fiance built her, and decked out in a perfect outfit. Too cool and too adorable. I often have muses, and this time she was my muse. So of course, i just had to name this pattern after her :) And i’ll give you one guess as to where the lookbook inspiration came from.

You know what kind of a skirt bike riding girls need?! A skirt that won’t result in worrying that you might be flashing your undergarments to the world. A skirt thats really shorts! CULOTTES! Everyone i told my idea to cringed. But i felt it in my gut so i went for it. I’ve always loved the concept of culottes – but hated the execution. I don’t think i’ve ever seen a pair of culottes that were well done. They needed a reinvention. I wanted to be the person to do it.

I’m always telling friends that my best work comes from the feeling that i might be an insane person. Every time i take a risk, and i look at my design and think, am i genius or an idiot?! will people love this or hate it with a burning firey passion?! And after many years i’ve learnt that those feelings are my cue. Thats when i know i’m on to something really good. I think the best creativity lives in the space just before insanity hehehe.

And thats how i felt about these culottes. I couldn’t get them out of my mind, i had to make them because i wanted to wear them yesterday. And lets be honest, i really love short skirts, but sometimes they’re not practical, but these fulfill all my “short skirt but no peekaboo please” wishes.

Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes development

The trouble with culottes is no-one ever took it far enough – you don’t want dorky shorts, you want a crazy cute skirt that is secretly shorts. The crotch is the key :) The seam is never effectively hidden, so you always know you’re looking at shorts. Ew.

After a lot of work (read: really sucky test pieces that almost made me want to give up) i came up with a clever little pleat design to hide the crotch seam. The more i worked, the wider and wider the culottes got – and for good reason. The flow and drape of the fabric adds to the “skirt illusion” i wanted.

This pattern is also a really great example of why pattern testing is so important. After really excellent feedback, i made sure to lengthen the culottes every so slightly in the back to make them more wearable. That way those of us with curvy figures don’t have to be worried about the “too short in the back” issues that can happen sometimes.

I also know that not everyone shares my love of short lengths – so i added instructions for how to add length to the culottes (its so crazy easy) – and the result of that is the culotte + bike outfit you saw in the lookbook.

Megan Nielsen Tania culottes variationsLike all my patterns – variations are endless. I’d really love to try a maxi pair!! I know it’s probably going to take something ridicuous like 5 or 6 metres of fabric, but i kind of don’t care, i think it would be amazing!

Also, these culottes are perfect for hem embelishment – i want to try scallops as well as lace trim. Actually the lace might be the first i do, as one of my first test pieces turned out wayyyy to short, and i think this will be a way to overcome that!

I’d love to make a pair completely out of lace too – or just get crazy, and make a pair out of jersey omitting the zipper and hemmin entirely. I think it would also be interesting to try a pair made from chiffon with a lining underneath – perhaps the chiffon layour a good couple of inches longer you know?

Contrast waistbands need to happen too. just saying.

SO many ideas so little time :)

Megan Nielsen Tania culottes FITTania has a contour waistband, and is intended to be worn high waisted – which means that the top of the waistband should sit at your narrowest part. The fit around the waist should be snug. If you’re more a hip hugging kind of girl, or prefer a looser fit, i suggest making a size or two larger and letting the culottes hang a bit lower.

The standard length is short, and should hit above your mid thigh (depending on your height they may hit lower, our model was 5’9″, but on me they hit mid thigh). Instructions are provided for lengthening.  They are very slightly longer in the back to adjust for the behind :)

They’re fine for sitting down too – unlike a short skirt, the fact that there is a crotch means you never have a “riding up” moment – and everything hangs beautifully in seated position.

Megan Nielsen Tania culottes alterationsI like easy alterations :) Making Tania shorter or longer is a pinch. We provide instructions in the booklet – but the basic gist is the same as for the Cascade, add to hem, don’t slash and spread horizontal to lengthen as it will warp the drape.

If you need to make the pattern larger or smaller width ways, i suggest you do this at the centre front, next to the pleat lines, via a vertical slash line.

Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes stylingThe Tania culottes have become my favourite party trick. There is nothing i love more than someone telling me my skirt is crazy awesome, and me being able to yell back excited freakout replies along the lines of: It’s not a skirt! It’s culottes! i’m so excited! Look thats a crotch seam! (this is a true story, i’m still embarrassed hehehe)

You’re not really limited with styling options in my opinion. It works well with a tucked blouse, but you can also wear an untucked top loose over it to adorable effect. I tried to share both options in the lookbook. The Briar is a pretty perfect pairing too – since the cropped version will sit just at the waistband, and the longer version allows the culottes to be very visible from the front.

It’s also pretty good at double duty: It’s your every day staple, throw on a tshirt and you’re good to go – but it’s also special enough to wear out. If i still worked in a corporate environment nothing would stop me from making these in a wool and wearing them in the office. too rad.

I really can’t wait to show you the different ways i’ve styled this up!

Megan Nielsen Tania culottes thoughtsDo you have any questions about the Tania culottes pattern?! anything you want to know?

We’ve got some great tutorials coming up and styling ideas and basically we’re just super excited hehehe Tania for the win!

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Michelle
9 years ago

Oh gosh, these are too cute! I live in a fairly windy city, so these culottes, that look like circle skirts, would be super nice to wear in the summer!

Sophie-Lee
Sophie-Lee
9 years ago
Reply to  Meg

Oh my lord, thank you – I LOVE culotts (even the ones with an obvious seam) and I’ve been waiting to get around to sewing an 80’s pattern – but the mention of a woollen version of your pattern for work (I’m in a hospital) made me head over to SewSquirrel and pop it in my basket. I’m in Wellington NZ so drapey skirts are often a mistake in the wind – this will fix that!

Marie
9 years ago

This is the pattern I’m most excited about! I think I will definitely make myself a pair of culottes this summer! They look so feminine :)

Kirsty
9 years ago

I do love this pattern and am keen to try a wintery version very soon. Oh and the pattern arrived today.. perfect timing.

Dee Durrant
9 years ago

This is my favourite pattern of the four! I just love culottes…I have a few pair in “crazy” patterns that hide the seem (if you squint and tip your head to the side…okay they aren’t hidden at all!) but they are so functional for me I put up with the hideous seam. I’m ordering mine in the next day or so as soon as I can decide on what other pattern I’m going to get…I’m limiting myself to two…the other one will go on my Xmas list. Unfortunately I don’t think the Cresent will work on me as I have a big bust and high neck tops just don’t work but I love it!

Brigid
9 years ago

This is my favorite pattern that you made for the collection! It’s definitely going on my wishlist of patterns!

Thank you Megan for making such adorable, feminine clothing patterns available!

Blessings,
Brigid

Tania
Tania
9 years ago

Well, with my name I guess this is the pattern for me! I would love to see a photograph showing the back of the culottes – the back view is always the deal-breaker for me with shorts or culottes because of my (ahem) ample derriere. Apart from that, this pattern is beautiful.

Tania
9 years ago
Reply to  Tania

another tania! and spelled the right way, too :)

megan, i am so touched by this! you are the sweetest friend and these are awesome. would be perfect for zooming around my bicycle in DC without flashing all the nice people in suits.

xxxxx

Ali
Ali
9 years ago

I think this might be my favourite item in the new collection. I can’t wait to try it out!

Lauren
9 years ago

I’m in the same boat of forever side-eyeing culottes – I think all the weird stiff versions from the 70s really killed it for me. But these are CUTE. I seriously gasped when I realized they were culottes and not a flippy skirt. As much as I love my flippy skirts – I can’t really wear a short, lightweight skirt without constantly being afraid that my butt is on display. So these are perrrrfect (and from a fellow bicycler – extra perfect for cycling!)! Yay!

scuffsan
9 years ago

I have always had a love/hate relationship to culottes. The idea of them is just so genious, but I’ve never seen a pair I actually like…’til now. These are just lovely! However, I do agree with Tania that a back view would be good.

Linda
Linda
9 years ago

Culottes are tricky. I had a pair when I was nine that looked like a really full western skirt with yoke at the waist, light denim in color with a wide ruffle and lace trim. I think you really nailed the fullness issue as the way to make them work, otherwise they look like dorky shorts. Great job!

Kristen
9 years ago

Can’t wait to see more of these! I was totally surprised when I read “culottes” on the pattern names at the bottom of the lookbook, I thought it was just a skirt. I love that they don’t look like shorts trying to be a skirt, even though they are!

I do have a question, though – how low is the crotch? Part of me is thinking that if it’s a lower crotch than say, your typical pair of shorts, then with all the drapiness a gusty wind could still blow the hem around (or up) a bit more than I’d want… Just trying to envision them a bit better.

crystalpleats
9 years ago

These posts on each piece of the collection are really helping me to see and imagine these patterns, and causing me to fall more in love with them each time. Really wanting to purchase a few soon.

Teresa
9 years ago

Hi! I just discovered your patterns today courtesy of http://madeonthecouch.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/tania-culottes/ I have been wanting skorts/culottes for ages! Hurray! Now for the fun question, how much is international shipping to Brazil for a pattern? I would really love to try this pattern out, as the maxi version for our winter. Brr. You have a beautiful ascetic!

kelly t
kelly t
9 years ago

This is the item from your new collection that caught my eye! I love skirts, but I have 3 young children and anytime I bend over to pick one of them up while wearing a skirt, I feel a bit awkward. This totally solves that problem!

kelly t
kelly t
9 years ago

This is the item from your new collection that caught my eye! I love skirts, but I have 3 young children and anytime I bend over to pick one of them up while wearing a skirt, I feel a bit awkward. This totally solves that problem!

kelly t
kelly t
9 years ago

This is the item from your new collection that caught my eye! I love skirts, but I have 3 young children and anytime I bend over to pick one of them up while wearing a skirt, I feel a bit awkward. This totally solves that problem!

Amy
Amy
9 years ago

Love these! Question: How much yardage of 45 inch fabric would be needed to make the longer version?

Ginger
9 years ago

These are SERIOUSLY cute! I can’t believe that you made cool culottes! That’s ridiculous! You’re a mad genius!

Katja
Katja
9 years ago

Every time I hear culottes I think of that horrible pair of purplish-red corduroy culottes my mom made me wear back in the early 90’s… but your’s are oh so perfect and I saw a great jumpsuit a few days ago with long wide legs, might be kind of another variation. At least I can’t stop thinking of that…

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[…] my dears! So after my post introducing the Tania pattern – i’ve had a few questions asking me to expand on how to lengthen the […]

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[…] few weeks ago when i was chatting to you all about the inspirations and ideas behind the Tania culottes, a few of you brought up the topic of scarring culotte experiences. So […]

Jessica
Jessica
9 years ago

Just curious what your thoughts are on making these out of jersey knit? I bought two fabrics. One is 94% poly, 5% spandex, 1% metallic. The other is 60% cotton and 40% poly. What would your recommendations be?

Trice
9 years ago

I have always been a fan of culottes, tho I might have been the only one. I am not a big skirt or shorts fan because I have always had thick thighs, so culottes were my fav in middle school & high school.

Thanks for bring them back and making them fashionable.

Katie
9 years ago

Just made these, loved the pattern. Thank you! You can peek at them here: http://www.whatkatiedoes.net/2013/06/recent-sews-and-the-shop.html

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[…] with the cuteness of a little flippy skirt is a winner to me. The pattern is the new Megan Nielsen Tania culottes, bought from M is for […]

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[…] i’m not sure if you remember – but when i first chatted to you all about Tania  i mentioned that one of the first samples i made was too […]