Bastion Culottes with invisible zip

Just before Christmas, during my lessons I made some Bastion Culottes from Jennifer Lauren Handmade. They’re a fine pin cord from my local fabric shop and I just love them! I’ve worn them so much, they’re great if you want to look smart but don’t want to make the effort to be ladylike. And huge pockets are a bonus! The button detail is really unusual and it’s actually a really good beginner pattern. One of my students has ordered the pattern to give them a go. However I do wish I had lined them in something as the pin-cord does stick to my tights.

For my next pair, I bought a lovely linen from Clover and Co. As it’s from Australia I did have to wait ages but that gave me plenty of time to think about them. I just couldn’t find buttons I liked to go with them. I did consider getting some of the fabric made into covered buttons but the more I thought about it the more I went off the idea of buttons. So I decided to go for a concealed side zip instead. And it was really easy to change over.

How do you figure out a different waistband size?

In the instructions, there is a chart for the finished garment measurements and the finished waist is included. I also already had the benefit of having finished a pair so I knew how the culottes fitted.

I’m making a size 12 so the finished waist is 78.5cm. Onto this measurement I added 3cm, this is for 1.5cm seam allowance on either end, which made it 81.5cm. Once I knew what length to cut my waistband, I just used the included waistband pattern and just extended it to make it the length I wanted. So that’s the easy bit.

Making the culottes

When I was making the culottes, instead of leaving the pocket open at the top to accommodate room to get them on (see photos 1 and 2), I just machined the pockets up the whole way (see photo 3). I hope the photos are clear enough, the print on the pin cord made it all just blend in on camera!

With the pockets finished I secured the top of the pocket with a basting stitch. The back was put together and attached to the right hand side leaving the left hand side open (side openings are traditionally on the left hand side). The waistband was then attached and the zip inserted.

If you want to know how to insert a concealed zip, my post on that is here. The zip goes through the waistband and finishes at the top of the waistband with a hook and eye.

And how does it look?

In hindsight, I probably could’ve got the zip to finish below the waistband and then had an overlap in the waistband for a button. This would’ve eradicated the tricky moment of pulling a concealed zip over the bulk of seam allowance. But the more I’ve worn them (and it’s a lot) the easier it has become.

I will definitely be making these again both with buttons or a zip. I get so many compliments about how flattering the shape is on me.

And I even managed to squeeze a little dress out for mini me from the scraps

Please excuse my lack of ironing, I am a mummy after all!!!

Thanks for reading.

Rosie xx

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