January’s Version of Burda 2011-02 #136

The wonderful thing about TNT’s or even patterns that you’ve worked with before but haven’t completely fit, is that they take so little time to sew again.  I’ve constructed two pairs of pants in the last two days.  Each pair took less than 3 hours from start to finish. Why?  Because the tracing and major fitting had already been accomplished. Now I’m either creating a duplicate pair for my wardrobe or tweaking the fit.

Burda Style 136 in the 02/2011 issue is very very close to the  famous and beloved Euro’s drafted by Loes Hinse.  Here’s the Burda Schematic:

And the schematic for Loes Hinse European Pants Pattern #5001

I’m pretty sure you’re going to say “That’s not the same.” BUT LH 5001 includes instruction on creating a fly flap, adding several pocket designs, waistband variations, and several other design details that I don’t recall.  I purchased the LH pattern, unfortunately at the beginning of my pants fitting adventure.  The muslin was ghastly and I had no idea how to fix it.  I kept the pattern and consider the dollars for it well spent, VERY WELL SPENT. There is so much information to be had in the construction pages.  Truly, it  is an intensive sewing workshop.

I’ve learned with the Burda magazine, I can’t just look at the glossy pictures and say “I want that” or conversely consider the design a scratch.  I know, from experience that I must look at the schematics on the center pages and then read the sewing instructions. I skip the glossy “runway” shots or pay very little attention to them.   Burda patterns include many wonderful details that are invisible to the casual eye. When reading the sewing instructions,  I realized Burda had incorporated many of the style and sewing designs from Loes Hinse 5001 into this pants style.

Some 4 years after my original purchase of 5001, I traced and easily fit Burda 2011-02 #136.  I say easily because I’d already copied a number of of LH’s sewing techniques to other pants and even other garments. IMO, she is truly a master of simplistic, elegant design. For the first pair of 136’s, I taped the pockets to the front and concentrated on fit.  In subsequent iterations, I added various pockets, tweaked for both woven and stretch fabrics and finally I’ve converted for use with a straight waistband.

Why a straight waistband?  I’m fine with the attached facing  if no pockets or zippers are added/needed. But when I start adding these much-desired-by-me details, I the waist area becomes bulky.  My waist area is naturally bulky.  I’m inclined to reduce the waistline bulk.  I’ve already made #136 with a straight waistband— and liked it. But during wear the front crotch seemed a bit long.  My assumption, since the attached facing is fabulously comfortable, is that I did not remove enough of the attached facing on the front piece.  So for this version, I slashed and overlapped a mere 1/4″ on the front pattern-piece,  just below the zipper.

My chosen fabric falls into the “old” category thereby fulfilling my self-promise to use a knit fabric, an old fabric and a woven fabric. I don’t know how old.  I have two 2.5 yard cuts of the same fabric. I don’t know why I have two cuts.  It’s only been in the last 5 years that I’ve started purchasing 2.5 yards specifically for pants.   The fabric is also a  woven cotton with a Lycra content, I’m not sure how much Lycra.  By pulling hard, I can stretch 4″ to the 5″ mark.  Looks like a 20% stretch and 2-3% Lycra but I”m sure that’s open to other interpretation.  Personally, I like this blend/combination.  Usually there is sufficient Lycra to discourage wrinkling and add comfort during wear while still being able to treat the fabric as a woven (i.e. needle type, stitch length, pattern ease). Too bad I didn’t remember the last fact. But I’ll get back to that.

This was my first try-on and they immediately felt comfortable. (Hey that’s the same blouse I used for yesterday’s pants!)  This dark grey is even closer to black than the moleskin of yesterday.  Today’s fabric definitely does not have a blue undertone. It is a very neutral black with white pin-stripe.  Unfortunately, neither pin stripe or pattern detail is visible. So I lightened the pictures considerably and also lifted my shirt so we can see the fit all the way to the waistline.

There dark patches are due to the pocket area being wet.  During construction I baste the pockets closed with water-soluble thread (WST).  I spritz the WST with water just before try-on.

Yes I see some issues.  First keep in mind that the pants are hemmed at the street-shoe level. For me that’s a heel between 1 and 1.5″.  Worn with these flat house-slippers, the legs are too long and tend to puddle just above the floor and break even further up the leg.  I could use a bit more tummy room.  I used the pattern version tweaked for stretch fabrics. I really should have used the woven version. It probably won’t be an issue because, as seen in the first pic, I usually wear long blouses and even longer vests which cover many ills.    With time and body heat, the torso area is likely to expand and conform to my own.  Overall I’m most concerned about the horizontal wrinkles at the knees. I really thought there was enough ease to disguise my knock-knee condition.  Once again, I’m blaming the fact that I used the stretch version instead of the woven version of the pattern.

I’m really pleased.  I”m counting these as complete and updating the Slate Grey 6PAC


Pants #1 DONE 

Pants #2 DONE

Top1 (Matching)  NEEDED

Top 2 (Print or contrasting) NEEDED

Top 3 Vest NEEDED



Two done, Four to go


Tweaking Burda 2012-12-148

Todays post will underscore what we all know, “What a difference that fabric can make”.

This is the 3rd time I’ve made this pattern. I planned to tweak the pattern more than I did. After the last version I had decided to shorten the front crotch length 1″, the back crotch 1/2″; shorten the legs 1.5″ and add 1/2″ ease to the front.

But my fabric choice has slightly different characteristics.  I’m using the polyester lycra Moleskin from Fabric.com purchased I think about 18 months ago.  This doesn’t qualify as an old fabric, but I do think of it as a woven fabric which fulfills my knit/old/woven self-promise.  Even with 3% lycra content it has only about 20% stretch –and that’s when I pull hard. It is wonderful pants fabric; wonderful to wear. The satin-back finish is silky and smooth slipping over tights or long johns and doesn’t tend to hang up on hips, calves or any other bumps. But I was leery of sewing without the greater stretch of the two previous fabrics. So I shortened the front and back crotches evenly by 1/2″. I made sure to add my belt loops this time and a fly front.  Even with stretch, they are easier to pull up and down if the waist is opened during the process.  I shortened the leg 1″. I did not add ease to the front. Instead I planned, and executed, eliminating the front darts and easing the front pant to the waistband.  I also added 1/2″ to the waistband which wasn’t part of my previous evaluation.

When standing, these pants are comfortable to wear.  I was thrilled during the fitting and eager to finish and take pics for final evaluation.  I don’t know why these pics are blurry. I used the tripod. I hope they are clear enough for you to follow my evaluation. The color was called “Med Grey” however it is to me a dark grey –close to black.  I thought it had a blue undertone but when matching thread I used a dark, very dark green so a touch of yellow in there somehow.  The first pic above is pretty close in actual color. The pics to follow were lighted as much as possible for discussion.

The back is always the most worrisome for me.

I’ll reiterate that these feel comfortable, all 3 pairs.  With the first version I had added to the side seams and shortened the legs about an inch before making up. The first fabric has the greatest stretch and the pant back looks almost nice between waist and thigh. The 2nd pair really suffered from the change to an elastic pull-on waist. I shortened the elastic several times but this 3/4″ elastic was just not enough to keep the pants in place. None the less they too looked relatively OK between waist and thigh.  The third version is bubbling beneath the waistband (despite the crotch length being 1/2″ shorter) and I’m seeing the bu tt vortex develop.  Definitely the 1/2″ must be returned to the back crotch length. I’m inclined to think that this less stretchy fabric (even though the pattern specified 20% stretch) needs more ease.

Shortening the leg length went a long ways towards eliminating the back of leg wrinkles. From knee to ankle is perfect.  I don’t particularly like this length.  When I sit down about 6 inches of leg is exposed.

Both the knee and behind the thigh wrinkles have been reduced. The glaring X wrinkles of version 1 have all but disappeared.  There is still a suggestion of too much ease across the back thigh. Although how can I both add ease for the hip and side without adding a smidgen of ease anything further down is a mystery.  The lessor ease of Fabric 3 may be helping to control the wrinkles.  A known solution for knock knees is to reduce the ease to the point the fabric clings to the leg and can move neither upwards nor downwards.

The side views

…are even more interesting. While the leg now hangs nicely from hip downward, the excess ease across the back thigh is very evident as is the insufficient ease across the tummy. Note again that the pattern ease has not changed, only the stretch factor of the fabric and waistband. Ver 2 is by far the worst of the 3 side views. I think that’s because the waist elastic is not holding the band to the waistline.

The front views

I’m happy with the front view of Ver 3. It’s obvious that I still need a little more tummy room but nearly all of the wrinkles are gone.

I had planned to use Ver 3 as my grey/black pair of pants for the Spring 6 PAC.  But after today, I don’t think so.  Having worn these for a day I can tell I have a fabric/pattern mis-match. The 3% Lycra, 20% stretch is not enough to be comfortable in all body positions.  This has me squirming and pulling at my clothes.  Not an activity I like or am patient about doing for long.   That’s in addition to the crotch pulling down at the center back and the leg hem migrating upward 6″.

I also note this pattern has a leg-hem circumference of 15″. I think for my body that’s just not enough.  I have the knock-knee problem to deal with.  I can either cover it by adding ease at the right place or accept the X-wrinkles in the back. I thoroughly dislike the X wrinkles, so I want to be sure to allow sufficient ease. I would still like to have a pant and pant pattern with a slim leg opening.  While Burda makes a good pant block for my figure, they use a very limited range of hem circumferences.  Burda seems to push the 20-24 hem circumference especially for us in the “women’s”  size range. 20″ is the maximum I think flatters my stature. .  After that my figure takes on a pyramid shape with all the width at the floor.  I think I can chalk this one up as another learning experience or at least the project as a whole (narrow legs)  needs more thought.

I think all 3 pairs will be donated to the Goodwill by the end of winter.  They’re fine for wearing around the house but I know I can do better.