Bastion Culottes by Jennifer Lauren Handmade – pattern testing

Hello my crafty friends!
Are you doing ok?? This lock-down is slowly getting on peoples nerves and I can see the shift in behavior every day….anyway, let’s not talk about it here. This is a place for crafting and sewing fun projects.
I had been quiet for couple of weeks, but I am back today to show you one of my latest makes! And what amazing make it is!!! I had been testing the newest pattern for Jennifer Lauren Handmade called Bastion culottes just in time for the British hot weather!

The Bastion Culottes combine everything we love about 1940s sailor pants, 1930s beach pyjamas and the modern A-line skirt.

Jennifer Lauren Handmade

The pattern

Is it a skirt or trousers??? Bastion culottes are designed in such a way that can be easily mistaken for a half circle skirt thanks to a fitted waistline and wide legs which drape over your hips and flare out just like a skirt. My favorite feature and simply what makes this pattern stand out is the Sailor-style buttons. This is a functional opening with build in front pockets, a very deep pockets may I add!

The culottes comes in two lengths: mid calf and above the knee …. in my situation it is below the knee :), but could easily be hacked into a full length pair of trousers.

The Bastion culottes can be made out of variety of fabric, form lightweight viscose to wool suiting, which makes this pattern versatile and not a one season garment. Depending what you wear with it it can be dressed up or down perfect for any occasion!

Fabric choice

When I signed up to be a pattern tester for Bastion culottes I knew instantly that I wanted to make it from! For awhile now I wanted to use this Tencel twill fabric I purchased from The Fabric Room. I had discovered this shop thanks to Tilly and the Buttons ( she made a sample of her Indigo dress using same fabric) and since then I really wanted to try it out, but did not have any specific pattern in mind….till now!

The fabric is medium weight and just perfect for this project. It does crease a lot, but like with linen I do not mind it. It washes and iron well and I have another color in my stash that I will be using in a near future.

I used 2 meters of the fabric to make the shorter version including covering 8 buttons. I tried to save the fabric on the pocket lining and used some scraps from my stash instead.

Pattern adjustments

Since this pattern was a tester version, it surprisingly did not need too many adjustments.

I had cut out size 22 based on my waist measurement, and ignored entirely a hip circumference, because there is a lot of ease in the pattern already. This was a good choice, even if the waistband is slightly too big. This has been rectified now, and the final version includes less ease.

So what adjustments did I make?

To start I had to shorten the crotch length. The pattern is drafted for someone 170 cm tall, and with my petite frame this was inevitable, otherwise the crotch seam would end up between my knees hihihi I took 6 cm from the height, by slashing the front and back at a hip level. Had to change slightly the side seam angle when truing the seam, but in the end it worked out well. The other part I had adjusted was the curve of the front crotch. It seamed way to long on my, so I had shorten it by 5 cm. The back was left as it is. This alternation made the front leg narrower, but as I had mentioned earlier there is a lot of ease build in this pattern already.

Other than that I had shorten the overall culottes length by 3 cm, so it finishes just below my knees.

Sewing the pattern

The Bastion culottes pattern is relatively simple to make. There are no darts or curved seams (apart from the pocket bag), which makes the sewing process straightforward and very enjoyable.

Is 4 hours long to make a pair of culottes? Not in my opinion, especially if you consider making your own covered buttons, like I did.

The instruction for this pattern are spot on, and I did not run into any difficulty, although assembling the front pocket opening made me a bit confused at first because of the extra pocket bag layer. It is a very interesting way of sewing the pattern pieces together and I’m happy to say that it is also very comfortable to wear.

I added a small addition at the end, by hand stitching a pair of snaps on each end of the front waistband to keep it all in place once it is worn.

Final thoughts

It is always a great surprise when I try a new pattern and it fits without making over complicated pattern adjustments. I am learning on how to style it with tops that I already have in my closet, but if I’m honest you can pair Bastion culottes nearly with everything and it always looks great. I am planning to make a full length version one day, out of black or navy fabric that would be more appropriate for an office.

This is one of the patterns that are going to be used again and again and I am already thinking about hacking the pattern by adding a side seam hidden zipper instead of making the button opening. This could be preferred if I chose to make it out of lightweight or more delicate fabric.

What do you think? Are you planning to make a pair of Bastion culottes for the Summer?

Monika xxx

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