How to Sew Women’s Split Skirt CULOTTES (+ Sewing Pattern)
Last week, I designed a new pattern for a split skirt, and today we will look at how to sew it. Split skirts are very interesting and original garments, and if you like skirts very much and you do not want to give them up even in winter, they could be twice as interesting for you...
You can get my new pattern for women’s split skirt CULOTTES here:
My split skirt is designed to be knee-length, but you can easily lengthen or shorten it.
I recommend using woven fabrics - inelastic materials - with twill or simple canvas weave, suit fabrics, etc.
The pattern for women’s split skirt CULOTTES is designed in a professional program for clothing pattern development and it is available in sizes 32 - 52.
There are two versions of this pattern:
- 1st version – PDF A4 pattern showing individual sizes with seam allowances outlined.
- 2nd version - PDF A4 pattern showing all sizes in one picture without seam allowances.
The skirt has two side pockets and two patch pockets on the back piece.
- 2x front piece
- 2x back piece
- 2x pocket piece - whole
- 2x pocket piece - with opening
- 2x patch pocket
- 2x zipper underlap
- 1x longer waistband
- 1x shorter waistband.
Let's work on the darts first. Sew all four darts and press each of them towards the nearest side seam.
Clean all cutting edges of both patch pockets.
Reinforce the pocket openings of both pockets. Choose suitable interfacing according to the properties of the fabric you are using.
Fold the pocket opening to the reverse side and topstitch it. Work on the other pocket in the same way.
Transfer the patch pocket piece (without seam allowances) to a piece of stiff paper and cut it out.
Place this stencil on the wrong side of the pocket part, fold the edges of the pocket over the stencil and iron the folds thoroughly. Do the same with the other pocket. This ensures that the pockets are identical and well-shaped.
Baste (temporarily stitch) the edges of both pockets to keep them folded.
You can learn more about basting here:
Use tailor’s chalk (or thread) to indicate the future location of the patch pockets. Pay close attention to this - asymmetrically placed pockets are a very noticeable mistake.
Baste the two patch pockets to your back pieces.
Now sew the pockets. Reinforce the upper corners of the pockets with bar tacks (or triangle stitching) so that the pockets don’t start tearing off later.
Prepare the front pieces - reinforce pocket openings with strips of one-sided fusible interfacing. Pocket openings will be stronger and will not start to sag.
Then place pocket pieces with openings on the front pieces (face side to face side) and sew the “L” seam of the pocket opening.
Clean the seam allowances.
Flip the pocket piece over to the reverse side of the front piece and iron it. I recommend using a pressing cloth - place a piece of cloth between the iron and the pieces. Plain woven cotton canvas or muslin works well. You can also use a clean kitchen towel, just make sure your pressing cloth does not contain synthetic fibers.
Place the whole pocket piece on top of the pocket piece with an opening and pin the two pieces to create a pocket pouch. (Pin only the pocket pieces, not the front piece.)
Sew the pocket pouch. Work on the other side pocket in the same way.
Now it's time to form pleats on the front and back pieces. Fold the pieces according to the dashed line marked in the paper pattern. And then fold them again in the opposite direction. Iron the pleats, again I recommend using a pressing cloth.
Reinforce the edges of the zipper underlaps and the parts of the back crotch seam to which the zipper will be attached.
Clean the edges that will form the back crotch seam and the cutting edges of both zipper underlaps.
You will now sew an invisible zipper. The recommended length of the zipper is 16 cm (6.3").
Baste the zipper (face side to face side) to one of the back pieces.
Sew the zipper to the back piece. Try to sew as close to the zipper teeth as possible.
Cover the zipper with one of the underlap pieces - place it face side down and sew it. Now you don’t have to sew as close to the zipper teeth as before.
Flip the zipper with its underlap to the reverse side of the skirt and iron the area.
Sew the other side of the zipper in the same way.
Clean all edges that will form the side seams. Also, clean the crotch seams of both front pieces.
Lay one of the back pieces on one of the front pieces and sew the side seam.
Press the seam allowances open.
Sew the second side seam in the same way.
Instep seams & crotch seams
Now sew and clean both instep seams. Press the seam allowances towards the back pieces.
Turn one of the legs face side out and insert it into the other leg.
Align all parts of the crotch seam and sew it in one go.
You probably didn't manage to get right up to the zipper, but that’s not a problem - turn the skirt face side out and sew the rest of the crotch seam by hand (use mattress stitch, for example).
Temporarily stitch the top parts of the pocket pouches to keep them in place.
Secure the pleats on the front and back pieces in the same way.
Now is the time to perform the first fitting test. Put on your skirt and check that everything is okay. Focus on the waistline and hips - try to sit down. Since there’s no waistband yet, the skirt should feel a bit loose. If it already seems too tight, then it needs to be adjusted - after sewing the waistband it will get even tighter.
If the skirt doesn’t fit as it should, adjust the pleats to make it comfortable. When it seems too big, tighten the pleats a bit (always on both back pieces, both front pieces, or on all four pieces - keep the pleats symmetrical). If the skirt seems too narrow, loosen the pleats a little. If everything is in order, you can start sewing the waistband.
Reinforce both waistband pieces. You can use a special waistband reinforcement (shown below), or classic one-sided fusible interfacing.
Clean the edges that will form their connecting seam (front center seam)
Sew the front center seam to connect the two waistband pieces. Press the seam allowances open.
I recommend folding the waistband in half (lengthwise) and ironing it. This will make your work a little easier later.
Also, clean one of the longer sides of the waistband.
Pin the raw edge of the waistband to the skirt. Start by aligning the front center seam of the waistband and the front crotch seam of the skirt. Then continue towards the side seams and around the back piece.
One side the waistband should reach a bit beyond the rear crotch seam (zipper) - this part will later form the fastening cover.
Baste (temporarily stitch) the waistband to the skirt. (You can now perform another fitting test if you want to...)
Sew the waistband to the skirt and pull out the stitching thread.
Let’s finish the shorter sides of the waistband. Take the side that will later form the fastening cover and fold it in half (lengthwise, face side in). Sew across the folded side to secure it in this position - sew about 3 cm (1.2”) away from the edge of the back piece (zipper). Cut the upper corner of the seam allowances (be careful not to cut the seam) and turn the waistband face side out again.
Work on the other side of the waistband in the same way, but this time sew right at the edge of the back piece (this side will not form a fastening cover).
When both sides are finished, fold the entire waistband in half (lengthwise) and baste it to the skirt. Fold the finished edge of the waistband once more (roll it) at the edge that will form the fastening cover. In the part that reaches over the back piece, the edge will be hidden, but further in the skirt, you can simply let it point downwards.
Now you can attach the edge of the waistband by hand so the seam will not be visible from the face side of the skirt. Or you can topstitch the waistline (exactly along the original waistline seam, or a bit above/below it).
Now you have to finish the bottom hems. I recommend folding the hems to the inside of the legs, basting them, and performing the last fitting test (so you can fine-tune the final length of the skirt).
Then you can simply topstitch the hems, or attach them to the inside of the legs by hand. I like the second way... :)
Now all that remains is to sew the fastening - you can use a decorative button, an iron hook & eye fastening as I did.
And that’s it! Your new split skirt is ready!
You can get this pattern for women’s split skirt CULOTTES here:
Have a nice day, Petra
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