Burda 2012_09 Inspired-by-145

I’m particularly impressed with the September 2012 issue of Burda Style.  There are at least 4 tops/blouses I want to make and this pair of plus size pants, Style 145

This pair of pants was attractively displayed on a plus sized model (OK 14 is not a plus sized woman, but that’s the size the industry uses when they want to model plus sized clothing.) I’m always on the look out for patterns that might be used when I’m short on fabric.  I’ve got pants gussets down to a science…. on me. My first thought was this pattern might really useful in that regard.

I was concerned about the horizontal yoke line.  Often pants will have a flattering, narrow-angled yoke in either front, back or both. But a straight across yoke is rarely seen outside maternity wear.   I don’t wish to give the impression of  expecting a new family member and I’m really cautious about all horizontal lines.  I’m not only a pear shape, but I’m a large, nearly-plus-sized pear. I know others will disagree with me, and maybe it is entirely in my own mind, but I want horizontals falling where I want to look wider which is either bust or shoulders not hips.  So once I identified the pieces on the pattern sheet, traced, and added seam allowance, I taped the legs to the yoke and determined where that horizontal yoke would end on my body.  I was pleased to see that it should be well above the hem of any of my tops. I think if I also make it in a matching color, the line will be nearly invisible.

The suggested fabric is Stretch Nappa Leather for the legs and stretch Jersey for the yokes.  Although there is a dividing line at the knee, I didn’t find it on the pattern sheet. Of course, this could be an oversight on my part, but I believe that from the crotch down is one front piece and one back piece.  The upper portion, yoke, should be stretch Jersey which has me asking, why the waistline darts?  I traced all 4 pieces and then, since I do have a pattern which fits compared with Burda 2011 02 136.

I don’t work a lot with leather and I’ve never used it for clothing (other than gloves or hats).  My understanding is that leather will stretch some and will conform to the body it covers the longest.  But this pattern is at least 2.5″ narrower than my 136’s although the crotch curve including depth and length matches exactly.  Apparently Nappa Leather much have a lot of stretch.  Stretch akin to my tights. I wear tights as underwear. I never adopted the jeggings craze although I do like a narrow skim-the-curves leg. I also notice that the waistline is angled. It’s as if instead of having a diagonal cross the hips and tummy, thereby visually slimming those areas, the line is across the waist. It could be a fitting solution.  But I can’t be sure that is true, until the pants are actually basted together and tried on. This is one of those design features not visible in any pic or line drawing. Still am I willing to sacrafice  2 yards of fabric for a pants pattern that obviously has 5″ less ease than I’m accustomed to having?

In a word:  NO

But I still like the idea of the upper yoke, despite the silly darts. My solution?  I traced a copy of my 136’s.  I measured the length of the yoke for the 145’s. It was 9.5 “.  I made a dot at 9.5 inches down from the top along the straight of grain.  I made another dot 8.5” down at the side.  I connected these two dots with line and split the copied 136’s along this line.  It gives my Inspired-by-145 pants a slightly angled  and  long front yoke.

I will be using my navy blue stretch twill as this is to be my 2nd pair of pants in my 2012 Autumn 6PAC. Well, I’ll be back….


 I’ve realized that I’m often making multiple posts on a single project.  It may be terribly selfish but it is really helpful to me.  Writing my post(s) both documents my process(es) and helps me think through what I’m doing.   


2012 Autumn 6PAC

I need to get started with my Autumn 6PAC.  As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, I’m having health issues of which one side effect is a slow but constant weight gain. The trousers which fit me last year and even this spring, can hardly be buttoned. They are IMO unwearable because they are uncomfortable and not nicely fitting.  So I’m starting by sewing  trousers and using a recently fitted pattern: February 2011 Burda Style 136.

I used this pattern just a few weeks ago to create summer pants of cotton/silk which I absolutely love.  My 6PAC trouser fabrics consist of a navy blue stretch twill and a very interesting weave of navy, cerulean in the weft and a russet warp. From a distance the effect is a dark grey-navy. Up close, you pretty much see whichever color you want.  I chose to start with the second fabric because it was non-stretch and I would be able to recheck the fit (although my weight gain between versions is insignificant). The fabric ravels so I took time to serge finish edges. I also took time to work on nicely finishing the front.

Finished Front outside

The pockets create extra bulk. I used a left over silk charmeuse for the pocket bag which does help reduce some of the bulk.

I also have issues applying a smooth tummy stay.  I’m using the pattern pieces from Burda as drafted.  I’d like to replace the tummy stay fabric with a lycra or other corset elastic, but first I need to be sure my stay fits and I can proper attach it.  This time I attached the stay after the zipper was inserted but before the waist was finished.  It was tough to do and even harder to describe.  I separated the stay and zipper facing from the pant front and sewing in a little hole attached the stay to the zipper facing with the overlock stitch on my sewing machine.  I did find I needed to trim one side of the stay about 1/2″ shorter than the other.  If  I didn’t there was too much distance between facing and pocket.  The stay would not lay flat but bowed creating a rumpled look on the outside. I think if I were using an elastic, both sides of the stay could be trimmed 1/2″ and both would stretch to fit. But until I get to the point of being comfortable with my procedure, I think I’ll plan on trimming as needed.

Although not shown, I reduced the amount of waist elastic. I ran it from front dart, across the sides and backs to the front dart on the opposite side.  I secured the elastic to the facing side of the waistband by using the overlock stitch on my sewing machine. I secured at each elastic end and at the center back.  This will keep the elastic from rolling but still allows for a floating application.  I prefer the floating elastic because it can be easily adjusted or replaced. I also added an inside button and button tab.  I like the way this keeps the zipper from sliding downwards even a little bit.  My issue was always neatly finishing all this, especially since I added the belt loops. Oh they are so much bulk!  I changed to a size 14 Jeans needle to stitch down the waistband.

However I didn’t stitch down the waist band, or serge the side seams until checking the fit.  As I looked at the pics I realized I could almost get away with the first fit.

First Try On

Almost, because I always wear my tops on the outside and with a vest a little more would be covered. But I realized if I left the pants as is I, most likely, would have to replace them in a short period of time (See the first paragraph regarding health issues.) So I hung them on a peg overnight to consider.

I already knew that the seam could not be let out enough.  Adding a self-fabric strip would not be possible either. There simply wasn’t enough fabric left to cut a single piece the length needed and I didn’t want to do the pin-tuck thing I’d done on the red blouse.  The solution for me was a classic.  I added a 7/8″ navy blue grosgrain ribbon into the side seams.


I serged the side seams to the ribbon which removed 1/4″ from each side and 1/2″ from the width of the ribbon.  The net addition is about 3/8″ each side; 3/4″ total. I also needed to shorten the legs.  Was very surprised because I thought I had already shortened the pattern.  I wanted a neat hem and I didn’t want to try easing the hem area higher upon the leg.  This fabric doesn’t have a lot of give.  My past experiences involving slashing off from the bottom and turning up a new hem, weren’t  always elegant.  I chose this time to apply the grosgrain ribbon to the edge of the pants (after slashing off the bottom).  Grosgrain attached nicely, turned beautifully, spread apart like bias to give the extra length needed at the upper edge of the hem (in this case the ribbon) AND wonder of wonders  grosgrain adds a perfect amount of weight to the hem!  I’ve often substituted bias tape at the hem. In the future I think I’ll stock and use grosgrain ribbon.

Most importantly what a difference in fit!

Final Fit

Instantly comfortable!  Until I put these on, I didn’t realize that the unaltered pair were too tight.  Now I knew adding that 3/4″ ease was an excellent decision. You can see kind of a forward pull at the hip along the ribbon. It’s not from lack of ease.  In fact, there may be too much ease right there and the pant slightly collapses.  IRL it is not noticeable. Also, I may need to scoop the back crotch again.  This is one of those adjustments that can vary from pattern to pattern and fabric to fabric. I don’t really mind showing I have a little shape back there, I just don’t want to outline actual private parts.  This pattern is such a winner for me.


Burda 2011_02_136 The thing that drives us away from sewing

More than fit is the fact that you can’t depend upon achieve the same fit from the same pattern. This is the same pattern as I used with the previous pair the difference being fabric.   The first pair was constructed of a woven with 1% Lycra.  I had to sew the wider seams to achieve the desired fit.  The pattern is designed for woven, not knit, or woven-with-stretch, but woven pant weight fabric.  It’s not unreasonable that the first pair (fabric-with-stretch) needed wider seams.  It is unreasonable that this pair constructed with the designated fabric is too tight. Too tight when standing and knee-constricting when sitting down.  Not sure that this pair is salvageable, so I proceeded to another fabric, a nice silk/cotton again no-stretch.  I added 1/2″ ease to both the front and back pieces.  That adds 2″ ease across the torso, 1 ” for the legs.  Much better:
Now the 3 pictures above are from the first fitting. I’ve added belt loops to this version. I changed to using Louise Cuttings waistband elastic, one of the most wonderful products and which I don’t find on her web site.  (I may regret not buying 20 yards of this stuff when I had the opportunity.) It is different.  Her elastic is more comfortable to wear and slightly softer.  Generally the elastic does relax just a bit, moving slightly downwards on your torso and of course taking your pants with it.  I wanted to use her elastic and decided to add the belt loops to this version.  As you can see, I’m going to need a belt.  The pants are dropping slightly, which creates the knee and ankle fluff in front, the drag lines on the side and back.  All that disappears when the pant rear is pulled up.  I may need to scoop just another 1/4″.  What gravity does to a woman’s butt is terrible.

I’m much happier with my front finish:
I may need to move the inside button over just a little bit.  I also need to dig out the instructions for Loes Hinse 5001 European pant and read her finishing instructions.  I understand now why so many of the members of Stitchers Guild just raved about the European pant.  You don’t need to do all the things I did. You don’t have to make buttons, add a zipper or belt loops.  If you don’t do those things, it sew up nearly as fast as the famous CLD One Seams. Honest!  One-seams need the inseams sewn, the crotch sewn and the attached waistband stitched down.  For these add the side seams, maybe 5 extra minutes…
or go hog-wild with the extra touches and make a fantastic pair of pants.