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.