Ankara Culottes– Butterick 6178

Top: old Navy Tank by Liz Claiborne (via TJMaxx I believe) | Culottes: DIY B6178 | Shoes: D’orsay patent pumps Nine West-Constance (DSW clearance find last year)

Before starting this project I was unsure about culottes, but I kept spotting Ankara culottes online and I finally saved the photo below on my phone as inspiration. I have to say after finally getting around to sewing up a pair and I’m still unsure. Something is definitely off with my pair, I can’t put my finger on it. I may be the rise, the length, the fabric or the fullness of the legs. All I know for sure is I’m not feeling these.

Photo from Julie Jilkes

I had some challenges with my pattern, probably all user error. First of all, y’all know I prefer knits, so working with any type of woven is a challenge for me. Secondly, I still struggle with the fit of pants. Though I’m not working with a lot back there, I always have seat/crotch as well as waist fitting issues. I knew this would be a personal challenge before I started which is why I used my “test” fabric, hoping this would be a wearable muslin. I suppose they are but I will definitely attempt these again to truly be happy.


I used Butterick 6178. I chose this pattern because it was a simple silhouette (back zip, full leg, no pleats). The pants themselves are very easy to construct. I, however, always have an issue determining ease with woven pieces and I tend to err on the side of too much so that I can take it in if needed. This only proved to be a challenge with this project because of the side pockets (which make it difficult to simply take it in on the sides). I started with a size 18, but probably should have went with a 16, the waistband measurement scared me.


I added my typical 1” to the back crotch to accommodate the booty, which I feel worked well. After tacking the front and back pieces together (no pockets or waistband) and slipping them on I realized though they fit the booty well there was too much room the waist. So I shaved off about ¾” off the front and back side pieces added the pockets and continued. They were long in the crotch so they came up to high (I felt at the time) and I shave a about 1- 1/2” off the top. Now looking at the inspiration pair I guess I should have kept that for the high-waisted look. That look usually doesn’t work for me though, so off it went.


Well after adding the waistband it was still a little loose in the waist. I think I should have taken it in another ½”+ at the back center seam, which I could still do but that would require removing and reinserting the zipper. #menolikey that plan so this will have to do. They were also quite long, which I was expecting by the measurements and the pattern illustration, so I cut off about 4-5” before sewing a 1” hem.

It may have felt like spring but it was quite windy today!

If I attempt this look again I will either need to leave the high waist, cut a smaller size, omit the pockets, use another pattern or may be different fabric. All I know right now is there are too many options so I will be moving on to another project though I may revisit Ankara culottes again.

Pattern: Butterick 6178

Pattern Description: Culottes have waistband, side pockets and back zipper. A, B and C: Pleat variations. D: Semi-fitted.

Sizing: 6-14, 14-22

Difficulty: 3/Average (includes interfacing, stitching in the ditch or hand sewing and an invisible zipper)

Fabric Used: Ankara

Does it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope? Not really

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes

Likes: Right now, none (not the patterns fault though)

Dislikes: The high waist.

Pattern alterations or any design changes made: Yes.

  • Added 1” to back crotch
  • Shaved 1” off of the top of pants before adding waistband
  • Shortened pants by 4-5”

Would I sew it again? Probably not

Would I recommend it to others? I guess, if you sew with wovens or understand your pant fit.

Conclusion: Didn’t quite work for me.


13 responses to “Ankara Culottes– Butterick 6178”

  1. Hmm not sure I love the back view
    Of the pants the fit is perfect
    Front looks a little to big but I haven’t started making pants yet lol
    Pretty pattern

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frougiefashionista Avatar

      Thanks for the feedback. I made adjustments to the back but not to the front. That could be the issue.


  2. I’ve never figured out how to style culottes, but I love the fabric and the color combination!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frougiefashionista Avatar

      Thank you. Apparently I haven’t either. LOL 😂


  3. Ankara can be a little stiff. IMHO, Culottes are really pants that look like and fit like a skirt. Culottes should not fit like pants. True culottes are not midi length wide leg pants. (Although nowadays-any name will do). They should be loose and drape/barely touch the hips and thighs. They definitely should fit the waist. The model wearing the ankara culottes in the first photo –they are high waisted and hang almost like a pleated skirt. It seems like your challenge is more of fit problem rather than a fabric problem. I think you should try it again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frougiefashionista Avatar

      Thank you. I think I needed to cut a size smaller.


  4. I agree that they look perfect from the back! Have you seen the Tania culotte pattern by Megan Nielsen? It’s more skirt-like, and seems easier to style with a drapey fabric.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frougiefashionista Avatar

      I haven’t. I’ll look for that.


  5. Before even reading your diagnosis, the first thing I noticed different between your pair and your inspiration pairs is that they sit at the natural waist, and yours sits some inches below it. Sitting at the natural waist emphasizes the smallest part of the body, so there’s a bigger different between it and the fullness of the culottes! And that’s what makes it look cool. Maybe also add back another inch of length at the hem, and go down more in the size of the waist.

    That being said, I feel this is a very brave garment! Culottes can be hard to pull off, but you did that thing. 🙂 Hope you revisit these one day with your adjustments.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frougiefashionista Avatar

      Thank you. I will try again using your suggestions.


  6. I’d call these clamdiggers – wide leg pants for wading at the beach. It’s a tough look for curvy gals like us. I made some last summer and found that I just wore them around the house. Culottes are much fuller, like a skirt with leg holes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like culottes in general so I’m trying to get my perfect fit as well. I have used a pattern by Megan Nielsen called Flint Pants. They look really similar to the Butterick 6178 pattern. The good thing about the Flint Pants is that a lot of people are making them and sharing their adjustments. This website is pretty thorough in how to adjust the rise to get the fit you want: I’m sure you can use this information to make adjustments to the Butterick pattern. Good luck and thanks for sharing.


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