Hot! The “Angels” Culottes | Debi Fry


The Facts

Fabric: 1.5 metres of 100% Cashmere fabric, £8
Pattern: Simplicity 8248 from my Grandma!
Year: c. 1977
Notions: zipper from stash, £.05
Time to complete: 5 hours
First worn: August 2011
Wear again? Yes–though I don't think it will get a heavy rotation!

Total Cost: ~£8

A lot of different things came together for this week's challenge.  First, I was able to use a pattern that my Grandma got for me:

1977 pattern

This pattern is from the year I was born–1977! (Ok, just out of curiosity, does that make me older or younger than you thought? :)

I really wanted to try out a pattern that included an article of clothing very unique to the 70's and I think I found it!! The knee length culotte!

My second inspiration for this week's challenge is another woman that I adore, Jaclyn Smith:

Picture 40
You may remember her from the original Charlie's Angels series.  She's the one on the right.  Oh, how I love her style! She embodies 70's chic to me!

Picture 41

I absolutely love her hair! I tried my best to replicate it but let's just face it…you can never be as cool as Jaclyn or any of the original angels!

The third thing that came together this week was the fabric for my culottes!  Back at the beginning of the summer, I was in Glasgow and just so happened (hehehehe) to be in the neighbourhood of Glasgow's best fabric store, Mandors.  I was delighted.  I spent ages looking at EVERYTHING (if you've ever done any fabric shopping with me, you know how indecisive I can be–my modus operandi is to do a reconnaissance mission first and then I only buy fabric on my second time around)!  Not so on this day.  I was thoroughly inspecting the wool section and lo and behold on the very bottom shelf was this amazing 100% cashmere fabric.  I looked at the price tag and it said £5 per metre!!!! WHA????  The original price of £35 per metre was crossed out!  I kid you not, my breathing actually got shallow!!  Ok, I needed to act cool.  I looked around a bit more.  Then I casually approached the lady for check-out.  I asked her if that was the correct price.  She was just as surprised as me.  Apparently, there were a few bad spots in the fabric–but really, you could hardly notice them and they were few and far between.  As she was unfolding the fabric, I first asked for 5 metres….then I started to hear the staff taking dibs on the fabric and increased my request to 7 metres!  I figured this was probably my only chance in the near future to get to play around with sewing with 100% cashmere so I should buy enough for a suit plus some other projects!   My first experimentation with the cashmere is for these culottes!

The cashmere is so incredibly lightweight and drapey–but also a bit tempermental (needs narrow hems as pins and other pricks show on the right side of the fabric).  It's like butter…it's so smooth.  I really wanted to get a feel for it–so I thought this was the perfect pattern to test it out on (also because this is my most neutral 70's shade in my stash) :)

Angel outside
Overall, I am quite pleased with these.  It's a great pattern to work with–and the instructions were very straightforward.  In retrospect, I think I could have cut one size larger as the pocket area has some creases (you can see in the photo).  Now, the pockets were a bit difficult to insert–so that just may be my bad sewing but I think I probably could have made it one size bigger (and basted my pockets flat before sewing the seam–cashmere like other drapey fabrics likes to shift a bit).

The pattern has a really great yoked waist in the front and the zipper in the back.  The front yoke needs quite a bit of interfacing and twill tape to keep it stable.


David and I had so much fun with these photos.  He had all these 70's poses he was instructing me how to do!  He even brought up the Virgina Slims ads (cigarette company) from the 70's on the computer and said 'they had the best poses'…hehehehehe.  That was loads of fun!  But apparently I need strong ab muscles to do some of the poses without looking strained :)

So….my big question is would you ever wear culottes?  Are you a 70's baby? Or were you rockin' the look in the 70's?


Debi from My Happy Sewing Place

Debi Fry LOVES vintage patterns. She started sewing in 2009 and has been going since. In 2011, she participated in the Sew Weekly challenge and looks forward to the new challenges that lie in store!


Comments are closed.

  1. OMG. I love the culottes! I so rock those as a kid in the 70’s and would deFinately continue to rock them now. I love them boots and there perfect in the winter when they salt the side walks of New York city in winter. They stay clean from the splashes and yuck.

  2. They are great! can I offer you a tiny suggestion, they would sit more like the picture if you pressed the side seams open after sewing. What a fabulous fabric find, I hope they are very useful. I definately want to give culottes a whirl – they would be a good alternative to the shorts I live in in summer – don’t do that many skirts because of Chaffing! How embarassing!

  3. I think these look great! I have a pair of knit culottes and I was born in 79, so it’s not because I’m a 70’s fashionista. They’re just comfy! I really like the waist on these.

  4. You do the “Angels” proud! I’m sure Jaclyn would be very flattered. Great job …. as always.

  5. margueritedesigns

    Oh yes, coz I was there (as Max Boyce would say – Welsh people will know …). You look just like Jaclyn – I knew you were doing her before I read your post! Looks great!

  6. Great job! They look terrific. I so love the yoke on them. I was rocking cullottes in the 70’s, they are so comfy.
    BTW you’re younger than I thought:)

  7. Tee hee, you’re the same year as me! :-) I’ve been toying with the idea of cullottes but haven’t been brave enough yet….. You’re inspiring me to give them a go though!

  8. Well now – these are just the business! I do hope you wear them. I can’t wear culottes because, at my age, people will think I am stuck in a time warp as opposed to “doing vintage”. You are younger than I thought but that’s because I assumed you must be about the same age as me and I am older than I think I am (does that make any sense at all?!):D

  9. I can’t believe your cashmere find. I would die for some of that wool. How clever to buy up swathes of it. I still love the cashmere wool I used for my red dress and skirt – you just can’t beat it.

  10. How great and fun! The 70’s are just a slosh before my time but that makes the styles even more exotic!

  11. Debi..
    wow..what a great job.. Love your cullottes. I had forgotten about cullottes.. But they were definitley in the 70’s.
    I too love Jacyln[and the angels].Since you confessed.. I was married in the early 70’s [I was tooo young to get married,ha].
    You ask would we wear cullottes. I think they are cute..but now..this old woman is too old. lol
    Great job and love your cashmere fabric. Happy Sewing.

  12. Debi, I love your culottes and yes I would wear them in a heartbeat especially in cashmere! You know, you do look a little bit like Jaclyn…I loved that show.
    I just don’t think much about age until there is a cultural reference and then I realize oh so-and-so must be in their 30s or 40s. I think you are a perfect age, whatever it maybe!
    And I love that your Grandma gave you this pattern, sweet!

  13. Fantastic job! I love the culottes and yes I had a pair of denim ones just like Laurie Partridge! I still love this era of clothing (minus the polyester) classic cuts with a touch of the 40s. I’m also a Charlie’s Angels fan – still watch the show, love to see the clothes. Another fave 70s inspiration of Sally MacMillan of MacMillan and Wife – she had some rocking evening dresses. Great job – love the photos!

  14. Cashmere?! Gah!!! What an incredible find!! I really like the culottes on you – you’re rockin’ Jaclyn, to be sure! :) Well done, Debi!

  15. I love the 70’s look! i was born in 1976 which makes you a year younger than me. I confess, i thought you were older Debi, probably because you dress like a grown up, and i am still coming to terms with the fact that i am a grown up!

  16. That makes you 6 years younger than me!! I thought you were younger than me, although you’re sewing experience is possibly longer than mine! Charlies Angels so takes me back and Jaclyn, yep, I’m in agreement. Although I hate bell bottomed trousers, culottes are something different. I loved wearing them. Not sure how I’d feel now though!! And the cashmere find – amazing!

  17. I’ve never really been a fan of the culottes, but I love yours! I would totally wear those! As usual, a great outfit Debi!

  18. Cripes, I am so much older than you. I so remember those shaped yokes. And the earthy colors of the 70s – browns, tans, and black, and don’t forget rust and avocado green!
    The culottes look fantastic and I’m sure they’re the nicest pair ever made. Cashmere!!!

  19. Debi, you make a gorgeous and very convincing Jaclyn! I’m 37 and I figured that you are younger than I am. I adore vintage clothing and an overall vintage aesthetic, however I sometimes wonder if complete details like vintage hairstyles are a bit aging… even on girls in their twenties I notice this effect.

  20. Debi! You look so cool in this – like you could karate kick a bad guy in the face or something! Love it!

  21. I graduated from high school in 1976. I was sewed a lot both in my home ec classes and for FHA style shows. We all wore culottes because we had a very strict dress code at school. Girls were not allowed to wear pants to school until 1972. Granted the dresses did not have to cover our behinds, but pants were strictly forbidden. I loved our 70s style. My favorite designers were Betsey Johnson and Jane Tise. I love those boots and really need them in my life.

  22. Oh you look so chic! I haven’t wore culottes for years but might just give them a try especially after seeing yours!

  23. Love the color, though I’m still not sure if I like culottes or not!
    And we are the same age, I’m so happy to learn this! Turns out, I also have a 1977 pattern I want to make, a knit dress *pulling pattern to top of crumbling pile of To Sew List*

  24. Also, ADORE your shoes!!!

  25. Jaclyn eat your heart out he he, fab job as always Debi. How rad was that price mark?? woohoo got to love a bargain that takes your breath away.

  26. Love everything about this outfit! The black sweater is the classic, the shorts is the original point is, the boots are the strong point …. and your smile is the point that illuminates the whole outfit! Wonderful, as always, Debi!

  27. LOL that makes you and me the same age- which is pretty much what I had figured ;)
    LOL at David making you do those poses though (some DO look uncomfortable!).

  28. I was also born in 1977 too. Great pants, I wish I could rock the culottes like you. I love the fabric.

  29. i love your debi and david photo shoot!!!
    1977: makes my guess just right
    hair styling: makes me highly jealous, you rock that style
    culottes: MAKE ME WANT A PAIR!!!! and i can just see you hastily adding more to your order as the vultures swarmed!

  30. Hee hee! They’re superb! And I too would love a pair, but with my height and thick calves, I know I’d turn into a munchkin from the Wizard of Oz! (I have also tried culottes a few years back! They do not suit us petites!) xoxo

  31. Thanks Krista! Ohhh…I remember NYC winters…yuck!

  32. Thanks Trish! I was a little hesitant with ironing cashmere but it turned out fine. I don’t know why the bottoms don’t flare out like the pattern–I ironed the heck out of them :) I did make the culottes slightly longer to accommodate my shorter boots…so maybe I lost some of the bottom shape in making them longer???

  33. Thanks Kelly! I really the yoked waist too! It’s a very nice feature in this pattern!!

  34. Ooohhh! That’s great! I am so glad you knew I was doing her before you read the post!! yippeee!

  35. awesome! Thanks Shelly!

  36. YAY! So great we are the same age! You should definitely give culottes a go!

  37. You crack me up! :) That last phrase sounds a bit like Bilbo Bagginses’ speech at his birthday party :)

  38. I KNOW! I really loved sewing with the cashmere! It is soft as butter and so light!!!

  39. There’s quite a lot of styles I like from the 70’s! Especially the pussy bow blouses and straight skirts! Very classy!

  40. Thanks Judy :) Culottes are so much fun!!

  41. Thanks Cathe! I love my age now which is saying something! I’m the youngest of five and always feel like the youngest person in the room–so I’ve always been a bit self conscious of being young…which is really funny and a bit reverse of how lots of people think! :)
    I loved the original Charlie’s Angels too…I might just have to go and watch some of the old episodes!!

  42. Thanks Darlene! I am growing to really like this era clothing-wise. And I’m with you on the polyester front. Though I did just find a really neat print fabric in the classic 70’s thick polyester. I am very curious to try it out!!

  43. giggle…thanks Farah!!

  44. Thanks Nikki! The cashmere find was amazing…I still can’t get over it!!!

  45. Awww..thanks Christine!!! Such a sweet comment!

  46. Thanks Kathy!! I love avocado green…such a fun colour!!!

  47. Thanks Ann! This could probably be the reason! Though I must admit I am DELIGHTED to look older than I am…lol. :)

  48. hahahaha! Oh yes!! I definitely am channeling some of the Angels toughness :)

  49. Thanks Kathy! That makes sense that the culottes were a bit of the transition from wearing only skirts to eventually wearing trousers (plus probably pushing the envelope a bit??)

  50. You should definitely give culottes a try! I’ve never been a big fan but love these ones!

  51. Thank you!!! And I know what you mean about the humungous pile in the ‘To Sew List’ ;)

  52. Oh yes!!! I was super duper happy to find that bargain!!!

  53. Thank you Rosy! I LOVED your sunny dress this week with the painted stockings! So LOVELY!

  54. Thanks Rachel! hehehe yes, David went to town with directing the photos…it was so much fun but makes me realise I need to build up my muscle

  55. Thanks Tania! And yay to ’77!!

  56. hehehehe…Yeah, I bet this would be a tough look to pull off for a petit…!! Though, probably a bit of a slimmer culotte with tall boots would be fine!! :)

  57. Hey I have this pattern – in two sizes! I’d never considered making the culottes but you’ve got me reconsidering! You look great, I hope these make it into high rotation – if for nothing else than they’re made from the most super amazing bargain fabric on the face on the earth (100% cashmere? I didn’t even know you could buy that, let alone for the price you paid!). I’m so proud of you venturing out of the 30s-40s!
    PS. I think you look younger! My husband was born in 1977 and I (affectionately) call him foetus face. It’s worse than baby face. Way worse. He was playing under 18s sport at 25. I only get offended when people ask if I’m older than him (I am born in a different decade)!

  58. You should definitely make the pattern! I think the shorter skirt version would look really nice as well!! Foetus Face?? lol. that is REALLY funny. :)