Easy Culottes (aka Divided Skirt) – Free Sewing Pattern

The divided skirt – the name itself doesnot give any doubt as to what it is – a flared skirt which is divided, making it one part skirt and one part trousers.

It was the attire of choice of those equestrian Englishwomen of old times who wanted to ride astride without looking mannish in a man’s trousers.After reading many historical romances these skirts are as familiar to me as if they rode near my neighbourhood. Culottes, as it is also known, is a perfect combination of a pant and a skirt. 

This is a very convenient attire to wear around – being able to keep your feet up in your skirt without loosing your modesty – bliss. Make it long enough and you have a very loose baggy pants


Method 1  – Flat front waistband – elastic back waistband

Step 1

Cut out two pieces for the legs as per the pattern given below. This pattern is for one leg – cut two.

how to sew culottes

make divided skirt

divided skirt

Step 2 

Keep one leg piece right sides together and sew the inseam of the leg together. Do the same for the other leg as well

culotte pattern

culotte skirt sewing tutorial

Step 3 

Join the two leg pieces at the crotch line. Keep them right sides together and stitch the crotch seam with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

divided skirt pattern

Step 4 

You have to add some darts on the front portion. 

Mark two darts on each side.For calculating the darts Take the measure of the circumference of the top edge. Take half of this. This is

Take your real waist measure. Calculate half of this. This is B

Calculate A-B. Divide this by 4. This is the measure of each dart. 

culottes sewing pattern

Press the dart on the back and front so that it looks neat. Donot forget to secure the darts by tying the thread ends of darts together.

Step 5 Make the waistband

Cut out two strips of fabric 3 inches wide. One should be the measure of 1/2 of your real waist measure +1″ (Seam allowance)

The other fabric strip should be 2 * 1/3 of hip round + 1 inch ( This is for the back of the skirt, for the elastic)

culotte skirt sewing pattern

Join the two bands together so that they form a circle (tube)

divided skirt sewing tutorial

make a culotte skirt

Fold it by the middle and press – Now you have a 1.5 inch wide waistband piece. 

You need to cut out a piece of interfacing of 1-inch width for the front part of the waistband. 

Press the interfacing on the inside of the waistband 

Cut out 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch elastic (measuring 1/2 of your waist round minus 1 inch)

culotte pattern for sewing

culotte sewing pattern

Step 6 

Keep the waistband and the skirt right sides together and stitch together. Start from the middle of the front part of both the waistband and the skirt. When you start sewing the elastic side of the waistband you will have to stretch it straight as you end.

Hem the pant bottom edges – you can simply turn the edges twice and stitch or make a blind stitch hem.

culotte sewing pattern

Method 2 Sewing Pattern – elastic waist culottes

culottes pattern

Decide on the length of the pants you need from where you will tie the pants. Mark  A-B = Length + 2.5″ ( extra for hem and waistband).  You will need the measurement of your hip round. Cut two pieces each of the front leg pattern and back leg pattern. You need a piece of elastic the measure of your waist round as well. 


culottes short

culottes shorts pattern

Step 1

Cut out the pattern pieces and stitch front and back pieces to each other along the side seams ( one front piece joined to one back piece). I did a flat fell seam but a regular seam would do as well

You get two pieces like the one in the picture below.  

culottes shorts pattern

Step 2 Make pockets ( if you want to) 

I decided my daughter want some pockets or rather one at least on her divided skirt/ culottes.

For one patch pocket cut two pieces of the pocket pattern.

culottes pattern

 One of the pieces will make the facing – it should be cut from the inside so that you have a facing for the pocket shape.

Keep the facing on top of the pocket right sides together

culottes pattern

Stitch along the edge. Trim the seam allowance. Clip corners and tight spots. 

culotte pattern

Turn it inside out. I also decided to embroider the white patch with individual fly stitch to match the design on the main fabric and then applique this  embroidered piece of fabric on the patch pocket.

culottes sewing pattern

Applique the embroidered fabric by doing a tight zigzag stitch all around.

culottes pattern

Top stitch the pocket in place on the front piece near the side seam

culotte pattern

Step 3

Join the leg seams of the culottes; Just keep the inseams together (rightsides inside) and stitch with a 1/2 inch seam allowance

Now you will have two leg pieces joined at the leg.

culotte pattern

Step 4

Join the crotch seam of the two legs together. Just hold the two legs at the crotch edge (aligning the middle leg seam ) rightsides together and sew from one end to the other

culottes pattern

Step 5

Turn under the waist edge 1/2 inch first and then 1 inch. Stitch the waistband. Leave a 2 inch space unstitched to insert the elastic with a safety pin. You need an elastic which is the measure of your waist round minus 1″ or better keep it round your waist and get a snug fit. Cut it out.

After the elastic is in stitch the hole closed

culotte divided skirt pattern

Step 6

Hem the leg bottom edges.

culottes pattern

Related posts

diy wrap pants pattern easy skirt pattern


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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.