This February I had the pleasure of connecting with Mandi Bharij, the marvelous designer behind the Make with Mandi independent pattern company. Based in the UK, she and I connected through a lovely sewing subscription pack called In A Haystack. Mandi’s Bolt Culotte PDF Pattern was the featured pattern, and The Confident Stitch was the featured US fabric shop! Soon after learning of each other, Mandi read my mind and reached out about collaborating. My answer, of course, was yes! I couldn’t wait to give the Bolt Culottes a try.
In the ‘In A Haystack’ interview Mandi gave, I learned that she grew up in a ‘sew your own wardrobe’ kind of household which then led her to university where she studied fashion. Her love of garment making is clear in each step of the Bolt Culotte process, and she even offers a free 30 minute video call if you need help with her patterns! Perks like these are why we love our Independent Pattern Companies! Psst . . . there may be an extra special offer included with this post – keep on reading!
A World of Possibility
First worn by aristocrats and military officials, Culottes have a long history. Today, we typically recognize them as a wide-legged trouser that falls to just below the knee and gives a split-skirt appearance. Comfy yet fashionable, one could wear culottes, as Princess Di did in 1981, to lighting the Regent St Christmas Lights, or just to lounge around the house. Who doesn’t love a pattern that can be dressed up or down?!
Brussels, Meet Bolt
For this pattern, Mandi suggests using a mid-weight woven like cotton, linen, or chambray. The Bolt Culottes offer a fantastic range of motion which, in a 100% linen, may just seem like extra wrinkle room, but not with our favorite Brussels Washer Linen from Robert Kaufman! A linen/rayon blend, this drapey fabric wrinkles less than 100% linen, washes well, and is great for everything from mid-weight jackets to pants! However, though I’m certainly a Brussels fan, I had something slightly fancier in mind.
Our Eco Superstar
Since I began working at The Confident Stitch, I’ve had my eye on our eco-superstar – Lyocell Twill. Made from a form of rayon that is spun with a non-toxic solvent instead of the usual carbon disulfide, 100% Lyocell is a 100% win to me. It’s drapey, soft, and even shimmers under the light! Once the Bolt Culottes walked into my life, I knew a lyocell pair was a must make – so let’s get to making!
If It All Goes To Plan . . .
Perhaps you recall our Confident Resolutions blog post in which we resolved to be more purposeful when making? If not, it’s okay. I forgot too!
Fabric washed and pattern printed, I planned to lengthen the Bolt Culottes to floor length as @pamalamadingdong had done with her Bolt Culottes hack. But, a proper pattern lengthening process didn’t fit into my self-imposed schedule, so I just laid out my pattern pieces with extra space remaining on the bottom of each leg. Pleased to see my pieces ready for cutting, I grabbed my Kai shears and took to the floor.
Snip snip, snip snip, oh no! My extra 12 inches hadn’t made it to the final cut. My shortcut attempt had instead left my pants cut short. Oh well! I like wearing shorts anyway.
Pausing to listen to what the sewing gods were trying to tell me, I decided to call it a night and return to the Bolt Culottes with a fresh brain.
Making is Better with Friends
Picking up my pieces from the day before, I reviewed the instructions hoping to avoid another shortcut error. With each step, it truly felt like Mandi was in the room with me. Her instructions read just like a good friend talking you through a pattern. Nary a detail is left out of these instructions. She even includes diagrams, photos, and videos for the tricky parts!
The most difficult part of this pattern was sewing the waistband. Mandi, of course, anticipated this and has a wonderful video tutorial to clear up any confusion. With a half-elasticated back, the Bolt Culottes are business in the front, lounging in the back. In step 6, Mandi mentions not catching the elastic with your needle as you sew and suggests using ample pins to prevent this. Typically I adhere to the ‘less pins is more’ school or sewing bit on occasion I find it prudent to break that practice and this is definitely one of those times!
The Cherry On Top
Overall, I love my Bolt Culottes. The Lyocell Twill in Mud is oh-so soft and retains a natural coolness that feels absolutely wonderful after a long day of work. Comfortable, so easy to move in, and cute to boot? How could this make not be one of my favorites?!
And, as a cherry on top, we’ve even created a special offer just for you!
During the 2021 months of April and May we are excited to offer a tandem discount with Mandi! Any orders of Brussels Washer Linen or Lyocell Twill will come with a coupon discount code for 10% off the Bolt Culotte PDF pattern! Likewise, anyone to purchases the Bolt Culotte Pattern from Mandi will receive 10% off our suggested Brussels Washer & Lyocell Twill fabric pairings!
I’m so excited to have discovered Mandi as she begins her Independent Pattern Company journey. The Bolt Culottes are such a versatile pattern and we can’t wait to see her future designs. Hop on over to Make With Mandi to see her other designs and support her journey!