I do my best thinking when I’m relaxed and looking not at the problem but at something else. I’m not alone in this. Many people have had the same experience. This time my conscious mind was directed at watching cops and robbers on TV, but it was picking away at the: Why?  Why couldn’t I fit this pattern? Why did it get worse with every change? Why did the Eleanors fit without a hitch? Why did Otto #11 5/2016 Fit easily? Why did I want to continue this mess when I had other patterns which did fit? Eureka! (and not the pants). I realized the Eleanor’s fit because I struggled with them last year. I had learned a lot about that pattern before I started refitting using Peggy Sager’s procedure.  I had a good starting point for the Eleanors:  I knew my size.  There’s another factor at work though. That is both the Eleanors and Otto pants were made with stretch fabrics. Although not the 8″ stretch of my DG2 Jeans, my fabrics had enough give to overcome some fitting/drafting issues.  I chose E047 #418 specifically because it was drafted for a non-stretch fabric.  I may have erred in that a drapey fabric is also recommended. If it really requires a light-weight drapey fabric, I should just throw the pattern away. The only drapey pants fabrics I have are also knits with stretch. “Light-weight” is debatable. My twill is not blouse weight but it’s not heavy either. It is perfect for warm-weather pants. But maybe I greatly erred in selecting this light weight twill.

So could I find a point of success to start with fitting E047-418? I pulled out Pamela’s Patterns 113 to compare. Thankfully, grain lines matched.

Look, I’ve got 4 or 5 different patterns with different crotches that all fit. Some are drafted for knits; some for denim jeans. But they all fit and they all are very different. I know from personal experience that it’s not just the crotch or the ease, it’s how the ease is distributed, how the grain line is placed, how the fabric drapes, moves, breathes;  and how the crotch is shaped. Sometimes I can’t even compare patterns. Comparing a jean to a trouser pattern never works. The back and grain is so canted, I don’t see how the crotches differ. They do differ; and it does matter. Comparing a knit to a trouser isn’t a better proposition either. A pattern drafted for knits will be shorter, narrower, have shallower curves. It’s not just a shrunk version of a non-stretch pattern. You can’t like offset the patterns 1/4″ and see they are the same. It’s comparing apples to oranges. Yeah we’ve got fruit but they taste and digest different.

The patterns aligned fairly easily so I could see important differences. I copied the differences to the 418 tissue. Then took apart the test garment, pressed, and carefully recut.   I had to add a gusset to the back crotch because Burda’s crotch was 1/2″ shorter than Pp113.

Back ——————————————–Front

As you can see from the trimmings above, I removed a lot from the top of the back along with a small sliver down the crotch. Not seen is the 1/2″ added to the crotch extension or how the back crotch was reshaped. The front crotch is boldly reshaped which also required cutting some from the fly.  The whole thing will move the crotch in towards the body about a 1/2″.  A full inch was trimmed from the front side seam. I just went with it. I decided this was my last try. I didn’t care if it worked or not as long as I’d given it my best effort.  I was surprised and pleased when this appeared in my pic files:


Obviously too tight. I’m surprised and not surprised.  I saw the PP113 back was 1″ wider than 418 and didn’t correct the back piece. I have a few PP113’s in my closet that I’m wearing. The pants I’m wearing are quite roomy. I didn’t think I needed to worry about that inch.

The first pic was enough to convince me to keep trying. Truly nice was the loss of the almost-camel-toe front and while I have drag lines in back they aren’t as deep or as many and from butt to waist looks pretty good.  I did think it odd that the back side seam was shorten and not the front after making the changes from PP113’s but I figured my PP113’s didn’t have issues — so let it go.  I can tell from those drag lines on the side front I really should have rewalked the side seams. As a consequence, now I was ripping the side seams, shortening the front via a dart then restitching at a scant 1/4″ hoping to both make the side seams the same length and add enough ease. I took pics at this point but not sharing because I immediately added the 1/2″ deep hip line dart Peggy recommends and took a 2nd set of pics:


Still has room for improvement so I also pinched and then stitched a 1/2″ horseshoe dart at the top of the inseam.


It’s really time for a 2nd test garment/muslin. I’ve made substantial changes. It is so possible to introduce errors during recutting or pinning and basting. I especially remember pinning the horseshoe dart and then changing it slightly before stitching to keep cross grain.  A 2nd muslin with changes applied will eliminate those errors and create mirror changes for example:  both side seams will probably have the same number and depth of wrinkles if the changes are applied to the tissue and the fabric is cut and stitched once as opposed to the multiple try on’s, pressings and cuttings this fabric has experienced.

But I want to think about this first.  My point in making this test was to see if using Peggy Sager’s procedure I could once again fit Burda’s pants patterns quickly.  It would be nice not only because Burda publishes such a wide range of pants styles but also they use the same block. So once I fit this pattern, I would transfer the same changes to every Burda pant pattern I wanted to use. But I see no real value in creating a usable tissue from this pattern. Why?  Well the hem circumference is finishing at 17″ rather than the 11″ listed in the magazine. Probably because I cut the bottom 4″ off instead of  distributing the length adjustment through out the knee.

I actually don’t want an 11″ hem circumference.  I learned that from my encounter with Otto’s Carrot Pants.  A close hem makes my butt look huge. I mean H-U-U-U-UG-E. ( I’m trying to create the impression of balanced shoulder and hip girth. )  My best looks have hem circumferences between 14 and 18 inches. I can go up to a 20″ hem – which does make my butt look smaller but it also makes me look shorter.

Point is, I would need to alter the leg to reach a hem width I like which will end up creating the PP113 pattern I already use which has a 18″ hem circumference. I’ve done lots of work with PP113. I’ve made PP113 into my basic slacks pattern which includes a range of waistbands and pockets to choose from. I don’t need to do that with a Burda pattern. If I want a basic pant, I’ll pull out PP113 which I will point out again is the crotch shape I used to fit 418.   I think I’ll move along.  Not sure how quickly I’ll be working with another Burda but when I do I want to come back here and review

My Personal Procedure for Fitting Burda Pants Patterns

  1. Size: Trace  46; use 50 for back circumference
  2. Waistband:  Use PP113 for Straight Waistband; TJ906 for contoured
  3. Length adjustments
    1. -3″ leg length (leaves 1.25-1.5″ for hem)
    2. Note Size 46 should correct torso length
  4. Circumference Adjustments
    1. Sizing 46/50 should take care of most of that
    2. No front waist dart
    3. May need 2 back waist darts
  5. Crotch Shape
    1. Non-stretch/Wovens Copy from PP113
    2. Stretch/Knits copy from Eleanor
  6. Depth Adjustments
    1. 1/2″ hip line dart (total 1″ removed)
    2. 3/4″ Top of inseam horseshoe dart (total 1.5″) removed
    3. Scoop back crotch equal to hip line dart (1″ if using 1/2″ hip line dart)
  7. Seam Allowances
    1. Waist, waistband and Crotch 3/8″
    2. Side seams 1/2″

Just for fun

Fit 00/Out of the Envelope next to the Last fitting (read for test 2):



Such a huge difference but still a little more work to do



Burda, E047-418

So it wasn’t an adventure…

more like a nightmare. Generally pants will look good (at least) from the front and side views which I can also see in the mirror. It’s the back view that I can’t see very well and have a dickens’ of a time pinning. But I did try

Fit 0 (shared yesterday) and virtually “straight out of the envelope”


since it was from a Burda magazine it was traced, seam allowances added and then seams walked. It was not a beautiful fit but looked like a place to start from especially since the Burda crotch looked good for me.  I can’t use a narrow V crotch nor a U crotch that’s evenly divided between front and back.  My best crotch is a U but the front is just barely a little hook and the back is a long ledge for sitting on. Even when I find such a crotch, I’ll still need to scoop a little. But at least Burda’s crotch looks like I’m starting with the right shape. Eager to work with Peggy Sager’s procedure I first evaluated length. Both front and crotch felt in about the right place. I could tell that the side seams were too long .  The sides collapsed into diagonal which met in a few places across the side seam. I thought the first thing to do was shorten the side seam by offsetting the waist band.  Easy, I ripped the waistband then marked 1/2″ down on the side seam and then replaced the waistband aligning it below the mark just made. Looked good in the mirror so I proceeded with Circumference changes. I took the side seams in 1/2″; then 1″. Not right but better


Now I realized that the crotch was a little low, in fact it seemed as though the upper torso was too long except for center back.  I made a dart starting below back dart, crossing the side at about 1/2″ deep and continuing onto the front also 1/2″ deep. Repeated for the other side.


I can always tell when I’m on the right track. The pant immediately felt better; and that’s even though it felt OK to start with.

Next up the two common adjustments that Peggy recommends 1) adding a 1/2″ deep hip line dart and 2) the 1/2″ deep horseshoe dart at the top of the inseam. I pinned these first but it’s hard to tell in the mirror when looking at the backside. So I basted them in.  To my horror


this was obviously worse. So I return the side seams to their original 1/2″ depth Not good. I added enough to the pattern to have 1″ seam allowances, even worse returning to a 1/2″ SA was no help at all.


OK time to think about this and start over with Round 2 by taking it all back to Fit00 with the 1″ seam allowances.. Looking closely, I could see that despite the 4″ of ease I added, the back was too tight even at Fit 0. Why I didn’t spot this before is beyond me. Also noted on close inspection that the front crotch looks odd. Not exactly camel toe but not very nice either.  I may need to reshape the front crotch, which won’t be easy. Easiest is adding a little ease to the back side.  First I let the seams out 1/2″.


Didn’t help. Front has too much ease back, not enough. So I offset the seams stitching the back seam allowances at 1/4″ front at 1″.


Holy cow. It looks like I’ve added ease to the front. I check to be sure I’m offsetting correctly (yes back SA is 1/4″; front 1″). Time to rethink and start again at Fit00 with Round 3.  I trim 4″ from the leg length. Obviously I’ll need to shorten the leg at some point and I want to be sure that’s not creating some of the leg, drag lines. I remove the waist band, yet again, create a 1/4″ stitched crease line in front (which removes 1/2″ from each front); stitch the side seams at an even 1/2″ and add a back dart which snugs the back of the pant to the waistband when I replace it.


No help? I’m still seeing VPL in back with masses of front ease and that odd not-quite-camel-toe crotch.  I increase the depth of the front crease to 3/8″ which removes a total of 1.5″ ease from the front. I offset the side seams so that I’m stitching along a 1/4″ back SA but maintaining the front 1/2″ SA.

slide9_resizeSeems like I’m drooping everywhere so  I also extend the offset between waistband and pant so that I’m taking in 1/4″ at CB, 1/2″ at side seams and zeroing just before the center front.



This just sucks canal water.  After 3 days, 11 fit and photo sessions, and I think 19 total alterations,  this thing, this test garment is getting worse and worse.  All the things I think I know or have learned about fitting aren’t working.  I’ve stuck to it this far because I’d love to be able to use Burda Pant patterns again. I love the little nuances of design that Burda incorporates. But I can’t get any closer to a decent fit then the very first basting.  I close it down. Put everything away. Even file the pics in the ‘Archive’ subdirectory. I’m really disheartened.

Fortunately, we’ve already made plans for dinner. A few drinks later, a belly full of good food and a few TV episodes (courtesy of Netflix) and I have another idea….

…to be shared tomorrow.



Burda Plus Test

Loving the ease of fitting pants using Peggy Sagers procedure, I’ve decided to tackle fitting Burda pants to my figure.  There was a time I could easily fit Burda pants. That’s long passed and I haven’t been able to fit them even with much effort. I’m hoping that my recent success with the Eleanor and Otto #11 5/2016 are not flukes but a repeatable formula. To that end, I took new measurements and selected my size based on the Burda chart. Not surprisingly (because they both use European sizing and ease) , I use the same size in Burda as in Otto but with Burda I must use their Plus Size magazine patterns while Otto publishes all sizes in one book. I reviewed my Burda Plus magazines for pant patterns but looking specifically for non-stretch fabrics, classic slack styling (waistband at the waist, skim-the-curves ease) and  leg hem-circumference less than 18.   I was hoping for a 14-16″ hem circumference. E047 #418 boasts an 11″ circumference but otherwise filled all my other requirements. I noted that Burda doesn’t really publish many plus sized pants patterns and most of them are very similar. At least, in the magazines that I have. Style 418 was really an anomaly.  Most non-stretch, plus-sized Burda pants stated a hem circumference of 20″ or more.  A plump, 5’3″ senior, I’m not flattered by the extremes.  My best choices, the pants I like the best skim all the curves without revealing underwear and terminate with a 14-18″ hem. (I do have some 20″ hems that are acceptable but I never feel my best in them.)

I traced my size, added a fly front because that’s easier to fit that a side zipper and ignored the zippers at the leg hems. ( I don’t plan to wear this pair and pretty sure, I’m not going to let them finish at the very narrow 11″). Then I added seam allowances

  1. Waist 3/8″
  2. Crotch 3/8
  3. Inseam 1/4″
  4. Side seams
    1. Front 3/4″
    2. Back 1″

I used a different front and back side seam allowance because I’m constantly adding 1/4″ to the back of my patterns. I need extra ease for a prominent seat. The 1/4″ solves the issue. It’s built into my bodice blocks and now I’m adding it to pants. Also,I use a 3/8″ SA at the waist and crotch because typically  I sew those seams at the sewing machine.  That’s the easiest SA to accomplish on the SM. That and the 1/2″ I’ll trim the side seams once I’m sure of fit. I use 1/4″ along the inseams because I serge those. I seldom tamper with inseams, and certainly not at the beginning of fitting pants,  because that seems to be a receipe for disaster. The pattern calls for a straight waistband and gives dimensions. I pulled out my straight waistband from Pamela’s Patterns 113 Pant. It should fit or be really close after all, I am wearing pants made of the same pattern with the same waistband (PP113). It’s great to be able to start with something, anything that works. I walked the seams and made a minor adjustment in length on the side-seam, back piece. Even though I try to keep things from shifting, it’s possible I made a mistake while tracing the pattern. Equally possible to change things slightly when adding seam allowances, which is what I suspect happened because the difference was a mere 1/8″. Not much, but why start with a known error?

From my stack of muslin fabrics, I chose a cotton twill that has acquired fade lines and stains. This was a Walmart $1 fabric from eons ago (OK 25 years). When new it was lovely for pants. I know because I made several. However, time has had a negative effect and the remaining fabric is best used for test-and-dispose projects.

I used white thread in the needle,   water soluble thread in the bobbin through-out the stitching process. I want ripping to be super easy. Also, I want to recover the zipper when the fitting is done. I mean, this is a test. I don’t want to throw away a perfectly good zipper.

Once I stitched the pieces altogether, I made the first try on. This is almost wearable


No this is not a beautiful fit. I’m not ready to hem the legs and walk down to the post office. But the crotch feels the right length both front and back. The butt has sufficient room-I’m not seeing underwear; and the back leg wrinkles are minimal. I did note that I’m experiencing a little gaposis at the back waistband, the front is too large by far and I’m experiencing drooping under the waistband at the side (it makes those odd , short diagonal lines between waist and high hip. The legs are too long by far, but who knows what length they will become once I start making changes.  So it’s not a beautiful fit, but it’s a good place to begin.


… and so the fitting journey starts.



An Embroidery Break

I had to take a break sewing the Otto 2006-02-04 blouse.  Not that I wanted to but the stabiliser I used for the embroidery was dehydrating, shrinking and pulling the fabric out of shape.  I tried to continue but as soon as the steam from the iron passed over the stabiliser shrunk taking the blouse with it.  I was finished the facing and would be fitting next. Except shriveled as it was, fitting was impossible. The only option was to soak away the remaining stabiliser and dry the blouse. Hence, forced to take a sewing break from the blouse.

It just so opportunely or not, happened that I wanted/needed to sew another pair of shorts. The last pair , lovely thought they were, shredded at the pocket during the first wear. You read that correctly, the edge next to the pocket shredded.  These were already close fitting. There isn’t a 1/2″ of ease available to fix the pockets. Especially irking because the reason for the zig zag finishing of the slash edges is to prevent the any such freying. I worse those shorts for about 6 hours and then put them in the trash.

It leaves me short of shorts. IOW, I felt I had the minimum number of shorts in my wardrobe. After the demise of that pair, I didn’t have enough. I still have lots of remnants, though. From the stash I chose a light blue stretch woven. Pretty sure it’s 100% polyester. In its day this made wonderful jacket and pants. No idea why I still have this remnant. It must be 20 years old. I chose it now so that I wouldn’t have to change thread on the machines.

I’m using Burda 2013-02-143 again. I’m anxious to tweak this pattern and have added 1/2″ ease about 5″ down from the waistband and on the back piece only. At the same time I’ve removed another 1/8″ from the center back of the back waistband and increased the depth of both back darts. I need more bu_t room but less waist ease.


Unfortunately since this stretch woven has about 33% stretch, I can’t really be sure how my changes have affected the fit of the basic pattern. It is comfortable and looks slightly better than the previous versions. At the same time instead of the back ease being stretched to cover my rear, it is folding at the left side seam. This wasn’t something that I could photo and it is perplexing. But not visible to anyone but me because my top covers the fold and the fold is only on the left side.

I don’t have matching thread either all purpose sewing or serging thread. I chose not to use the coverstitch machine, because the difference would be obvious. Instead I did a simple 4mm straight stitch to secure the hems and waistband into place.

Did you notice the red arrow above the waistband?  I was trying to point out the new closures I’m using.  I purchased these from WAWAK. I think they are meant for men’s wear but I’ve grown to love them.  I purchased the 10 pack first and ruined about half because I removed them from the package and tossed the directions. Weeks later I couldn’t remember how to put these together. Hence leaning through destruction. Once I got the hang of them though, I was sold. I bought the 50 pack. The hold very well both during wear and through multiple laundry cycles. They’ve become my GOTO waistband fastener/closure.  I can have all 4 pieces secured in less time than it takes to choose a button. Just no dislikes here. Unless I particularly want to use a special button, I”m using this Pant Closure for all my pants.  As usually NAYY



Shorts 2 Finished

Pants are difficult to fit. Most men opt for comfort over looks.  As long as a man’s pants feel comfortable,  they look fine.  But women are different. We not only want are pants to feel good, but they must look good; and the standard for both looking and feeling good are different from person to person.


I finished these by hemming, completing the waistband with closure and scooping the bottom of the crotch 1/4″. A final pressing and into the closet they went, until I was able to finish a coordinating top (to be shared tomorrow on  sdBev.wordpress.com ).


I also walked the side seams and inseams and discovered that the pant front was 3/8″ longer than the pant back.  I ripped the seams open, trimmed 3/8″ from the bottom of the front; pressed out the previous hem fold and created another one all before doing the previously mentioned finishing.  As a result nearly all the side wrinkles are gone. I altered my tissue as well so that future shorts from this pattern, won’t have that particular issues.


I still need to add ease right at the bu-t.  I’m debating on adding 1/4 or 1/2″ only to the back piece.  At the same time, I think the back waist needs to be narrowed just a little more maybe 1/4″ (which would remove a total of 1/2″).  I’m not sure, but think it would be easier to alter the waistband and then increase the depth of the darts. The pattern shows 2 back darts. One of which is no more than 1/8″ wide. I didn’t stitch it because that small amount is easier for me to ease.

Overall I’m pleased with this pair of shorts and plan to wear them for the remainder of summer. When you see tomorrows pictures you’ll understand that despite the still visible drag lines, when worn with a typical T-shirt none of problems are visible.  These are good enough for this summer.


Shorts 2

I immediately cut a 2nd pair but carefully chose a microfiber fabric that would not stretch. I used the same tissues for the leg portion, but altered the waistband according to the changes needed to make the waistband fit yesterday.

The first thing I stitched, were the pockets.  I used the same pattern, but a slightly different procedure.  There was enough fabric to make pockets. Microfiber can be a bit limp, so instead of stitching a strip of matching fabric to the right side of the pocket, I stitched a 3.5″ strip of interfacing to the wrong side. Other than that, I did everything the same on the pockets.  Interestingly, it took less than 7 minutes to complete both. 7 minutes.  How often have you sewn 2 pockets in less than 10 minutes?

In the bank line– a slightly plump, 60-ish woman who is also reading her mail.

After the pockets, I immediately applied interfacing to the hems, inserted the zipper and then serge-finished all the edges.  I fused the waistband and facing with interfacing, serge-finished their edges and then carefully pressed. I trimmed by re-aligning the pattern pieces on top of the waistband pieces. That’s a trick Louise Cutting taught me (and of course, thousands of others).  It’s amazing at how much these small pieces can change in size and shape just due to initial handling. Every piece was trimmed at least slightly. But I’m positive now that I’m starting with waistband pieces that match the pattern. The pockets and zipper are permanently stitched into place.  The hem is fused. The side seams, inseams and waistband were all sewn at a 3.5mm stitch length. I pressed. Then pressed again.  The waistband and facing needed to be worked on for nearly 10 minutes. I mean, I spent more time pressing these shorts prior to the first try-on, then I did inserting the pockets. My fabric is a remnant from pants long ago. I don’t remember investing this much time into the pressing of the original pair. But having been confused as to was I looking at fit issues or pressing issues yesterday, well I decided to invest more time today.

What’s really nice, is that with this fabric due to it’s light color and zero stretch, I can really tell what is happening with this pattern.  For one thing, I know that I’m pulling them up.  I felt when I did it and deliberately pulled down at the sides for the photos. So #1 for my ease of mind, I need to add more height.  For now though, let’s look at what these need to be worn this summer.  First from the side:

I’ve almost corrected the angle of the side seam.  It still leans back a little at the bu_t and forward a little at the waist. The forward inclination is really minor and certainly hardly noticed. What I’m more concerned about is the multitude of little lines coming from the side towards the front. These lines are on both sides of the pant. It’s as if I’ve ease the side seams together.  I noticed this on the last pair, but it wasn’t present on the LL (long legged) original version.  My immediate thought, is I need to walk those seams and make sure that where I drew the Shorts Line, is indeed in the same place on both front and back.

I’m getting the impression that the crotch is too short (possibly my pulling it up?) and that I don’t have quite enough ease across the hip.  In the side view, the side seam leaned back. One clear indication that not enough ease was available on the back. There is also the matter of the slight dimples towards center back and below the waistband. These could be that the crotch upright is too long or it maybe that  the crotch is being pushed upward and the pant tries to find enough ease for my bu_t.  All things considered, I’m more inclined to believe I could use just a little more ease for the bu_t.


The front view completes the story.  First all the drag lines pointing to the crotch assure me that the crotch extensions need more length.  I’m also looking at the diagonals below the waist and above the hips.  The previous 2 pants had the same diagonals but they were pointed in the opposite direction i.e. from crotch to hip, a forward slant /. Whiles these are from hip to crotch, a backward slant \.  OK so I could be looking at the fact that this pattern is not designed to sit where I want it to sit.  If so that’s a future correction to the tissue. I won’t be doing today.

Today I will be scooping out the crotch both front and back. I will walk the tissue side seams. I will be hemming the legs, stitching down the facing and adding a closure. Honestly, I don’t look any worse than anyone else down at the bank. In fact I look better than 9 out of 10 customers. At least that’s what the tellers all say.


Final Alterations for 143 Shorts

I was really perplexed with how these shorts fit compared with the first long-legged version of the same pattern. After thinking about it, I removed the waistband and waistband facing. Then unpicked every single stitch made during alterations.  I pressed the legs carefully and hung them up.

I took the waistband and facing apart and carefully pressed each piece before comparing them to my tissues.  Whoa and Holy Cow. These pieces had grown in length by about 1.75″ on the front and another 3/4″ on the back. Further more, that growth occurred overnight between when I cut the fabric and when I cut/applied interfacing.  No wonder I was struggling.  The waist band pieces clearly were wrong.

After I  had the waistband/facing pieces unpicked, pressed trimmed to the correct size, I stitched their side seams again and tried to align them along the top of the pants fabric. Wouldn’t work. Clearly now the top of the pant had been stretched an equal or greater amount.  I ran a gathering line just over 1/4″ from the edge along the pants top.  Then I was able to gather the pants top to the waistband; fold down, press and pin the facing into place; and  again take fitting pictures.  The pictures above are what you’d see in the bank line (I might should reconsider wearing that shirt). The pics below are taken to expose the pant for criticism.


Already, I’m beginning to hate these pants.  I pressed the pieces when they were unpicked.  I pressed the pieces when they were sewn together.  I pressed everything, again just before the first set of 4th Alteration photos. I had to take 2 more sets of photos and iron the shorts that many times more to get viewable pics. This fabric wants to wrinkle. I swear it does. Those are not panty lines visible on the back or side. The fabric has folded in those places and refuses to hang any better despite the 3 pressings and 3 sets of photos At least the diagonal lines of the LL version have disappeared from all views. I’m not really sure what to think of the remaining wrinkles. For one thing, these shorts don’t look that bad when I look in the mirror. It’s possible that the camera is picking up subtle shadows that I don’t notice.  I am pleased that I can magnify all views and not see any feminine parts, other body parts or evidence of underwear being worn.  This is a humid, mid-level heat (86F) day. Perhaps the fabric is responding to the humidity.  I’m wondering if the fabric stretched this much from handling (admittedly a lot) or from the humidity and what will happen when it is laundered and baked dry. (Trust me. At some point DH will do laundry during which all fabric items are washed on the hot, sanitary setting and then  baked dry for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Whether they need it or not.)

This is disappointing in another way. I was hoping to at least be able to tell if the back crotch needed scooping.  As expected the LL pair softened and shaped itself to my body as the day wore on. But should I expect that or should I scoop the crotch?  I also wanted to know what was causing the diagonal lines on front and back between waist and hip. Still can’t be sure. Thirdly, I wanted to know if the drag line around the knee on the LL pants, is a knee issue or a bu_t issue. The way wrinkles have appeared, disappeared and reappeared, I still can’t tell about that either.

As much as I’m disappointed with these pictures, the bank line pictures above are satisfactory.  I did think I was closer to achieving perfect fit with this pattern. Now I wonder if I simply didn’t see the fitting issues on the previous pair because they were so dark. Then again, this fabric is something else. I’m not likely to photo these shorts again.  I will finish them and I will wear them (the bank pics aren’t so bad). But I will not make changes to the tissue. In fact I’ve already chosen the next fabric, a microfiber twill with ZERO stretch to make the exact same shorts.

Am I stubborn or what?


Fitting 2013-02-143 for Shorts

I’m perplexed and need a moment to think.  I expected these shorts to be easy to fit.  I transferred the changes made to the long legged version back to the pattern, and reduced the seam allowances to 1/4″. When it came time to cut the fabric, I added 1/4″ to the side seams giving me 1/2 inch of fitting room.  My fabric is a stretch cotton sateen. Not a big stretch, just 1% Lycra.  Normally that little bit of Lycra is just enough so that the pants will recover their shape whenever the body moves around.

But from the first try on and through 6 sessions of ripping and stitching,  these have defeated me. The first time I slipped them up to my waist and clipped the waistband together in front, the pants fell to my crotch. Obviously, the waist was too large. The whole pant felt too large.  I took in the side seams twice for a total of 3/4″ and took a big dart in the center back waistband just to get these to stay up. That’s when I took my first pics. To my horror, while the pants actually felt comfortable they looked pretty bad. I had removed  too much ease.

So side seams get ripped out and returned to the 1/4″ seam allowance. I left the center back dart because the waist band gaped pretty badly.  Next I made two alterations ripping out side seam from top of waistband to about 4″ down. I’d resew  with ever deeper seam allowances trying to narrow the waist enough to keep my pants up.  I had just finished my yet another ripping session when dinner was announced.  Sometimes I return to sewing after dinner. This was one of those not times. Which was a good thing. Over night I realized that I probably had two issues. First, when I transferred  my fitting changes of the long legged (LL) version, to the tissue the front waistband did not look as I expected. I rechecked my calculations. They seemed correct so I left the front waistband as altered and continued with this shorts version. A second hint that the front waistband was incorrect, occurred as I stitched the shorts waistband to the top of the shorts.  I should have been able to ease the two with the waistband being the shorter piece. Instead they were equal. So the front waistband was too long to being with

The second issue occurred way back while I was still trying to fit the LL version. There were diagonal lines beneath the waistband on front and back, but most prominently on the front. I assumed part of the issue was that the pants were drooping slightly due to the several alterations in the area and that possibly the side seams were too long.  I was attempting to work on this particular issue, when the seam between waistband and pant frayed practically beyond redemption and I was forced to call those done.

Now there was  3rd issues as well: the fabric itself. Generally, I don’t like to work with stretch fabrics early in the basic fitting process. By basic, I mean a standard set of sleeved blouse, sleeveless blouse, slacks and jeans. I’m pretty far along that list, having already fit or close to fitting all 4. Still I hadn’t resolved the issues of this particular pattern and probably should not have introduced the stretch factor. So here’s what I’m facing. Each picture shows the first, 2nd and 3rd fittings which correspond to sides seams, side waist fitting and 3rd altering the front waistband.

I’m astonished that throughout the fittings, what feels good, actually looks too tight across the rear. In fittings 1 and 2, my panty line is at least faintly visible.   With the 3rd fitting, the dipping back waistband would suggest that the back crotch is too short. however, those diagonal lines above only disappear when the pant back can be further hiked up or shortened. Below the waistband and above the hip are the diagonal wrinkles which I started trying to eliminate in the LL version.

Moving to the fronts, I actually like the first and 2nd fittings slightly better. It’s possible that pressing the front would make the 3rd look a little better. But the front is eased to the waistband on the 3rd version, instead of the 1:1 ratio previous.  It’ eased close to the gathering point. I’m not sure that pressing is going to help that issue. During the first and 2nd alterations, the front crotch had felt too long. On the 3rd alteration I offset the waistband/pant seam which had the effect of shortening the front crotch 1/4″. Obviously, not the answer I was looking for.

Onto the side. The side seam remains fairly upright through each alteration.  Many of the side wrinkles have disappeared, yet there are still diagonal lines above the hip and beneath the waistband, the same wrinkles discussed previously.

Oddly, these shorts sit lower, much lower than the LL version. Burda describes these as sitting 1CM below the natural waist. That is my preferred position, i.e. a mere 1/4 to 3/8″ below my waist. It is possible that I’m creating the diagonal wrinkles through unconsciously pulling the sides up, or maybe the sides travel upward on their own???

At this point, I’m just not sure how to fix my various issues.  That’s why I decided to write this post and upload these pics.  I’m hoping some insight will occur.

2013-02-143, Pockets

Summer Shorts with Another Easy, Low Bulk Pocket

… now rapidly becoming essential, I converted Burda 2013-02-143 into shorts pattern.  I aligned my ruler with the knee tic marks on the pattern and drew a Shorts Line 3.5″ above. Then I aligned a 3.5″ strip of tissue with the Shorts Line, taped it into place and trimmed the sides perpendicular to the Shorts Line.

After that, it’s a matter of folding up and pinning the lower leg  above the newly created Shorts Line


My next thought was, What fabric am I going to use? I can make shorts in as little as 2/3 yard of fabric. So the first place I check is that stash of less than 2 yard fabrics I create.  In case you didn’t read this elsewhere, I arrange my fabrics by color and usage.  So all the fabrics I know will be used for coats are in a stack by themselves. As is all the fabrics intended for Home Dec projects.  From the stash of dressmaking fabrics I pull the cuts that are 1 7/8 yard or less and stack on a shelf I think of as the “Under 2’s”. This is also the shelf where I place large remnants from previous projects.  I had been organizing these strictly by length as in anything less than 2 yards but greater than 1.5 yards. Anything 1.5 yards or less but greater than 1 yard; and a 3rd area, anything less than 1 yard.  However when starting this project, I knew I would want to make several pairs of shorts all at once. Why? Well I didn’t even try on shorts from last summer.  I figured if all the long legged pants constructed before April 2013 didn’t fit, the shorts wouldn’t either. All my previous shorts were separated into donate and rag piles and summarily disposed. With this in mind, I pulled the mess of fabrics from the area ( and it was a mess) and started pulling out fabrics that would be acceptable for summer shorts.  I neatly folded and returned the rest of the fabrics to the shelf. Boy was I surprised. What previously had been one big, messy messy mess, was now not only neatly arranged but taking at least a third less storage space:


To say I’m pleased with myself, is an understatement. From the stack on the far left, I chose a 50″ X 1- yard cotton/lycra sateen in a lovely light blue. (You’ll see it later). I’m still concerned about the fit of the pattern. I know that with shorts, I don’t have to worry about the diagonal pulls at the knee. Now by choosing a stretch fabric, I think I shouldn’t make any more pattern adjustments but should fit the shorts to me.  That is, I know that lycra will really affect the pattern fit. If I change the pattern to accommodate the stretch sateen, it won’t be right for non-stretch fabrics. So I laid out the tissue pieces and immediately  discovered I would be short on fabric. The first thing I did was the lay the waistband opposite the specified grain.  That gave me enough for waistband but not facings or pockets.  From the  Under 2’s I pulled another remnant, the last remains from HAF2 completed last week.  I don’t really care for these two fabrics together but facings will be not be visible.

Then I decide, I really want a pocket. Pockets are so handy during the summer. Well all year, but I’m outside a whole lot more during summer and fall weather.  Having a place to tuck a Kleenex or key is practically invaluable.  I fret about pockets.I don’t have enough fabric to make a pocket of any kind. I’m down to strips slightly larger than needed for belt loops. What can I do?  I recall a particular inside pocket, that almost hides completely inside a slit. It isn’t a welt. Just a slit with the pocket inside. I have enough of the 2nd remnant to make this pocket but again I fret. This I fret because my experience has been that the heart, interior hidden or ear pocket will show just a little on the outside. What to do?

I start by constructing my own pattern. I know that women’s pockets usually have an opening at least 6″ long/wide (depends on pocket orientation). Also children’s pocket should have the same minimum because who do you think will be emptying their 3″ pockets? Mom will and Mom needs at least 6″.  So I know that my pocket needs to be at least 6″ long and wide.  Since I want to be able to put something besides my hands in my pocket and not have that something fall out, I decide my pocket should be longer/deeper than 6″. In my tissue scraps (if you sew, you end up with several stashes) was a scrap 10″ X29. I want to double check and be sure of the width, so I lay my hand upon the tissue and make a little tick mark

I rotate the ruler and draw a line the width of the tissue

It’s a small matter than to fold on the line and trim the excess length.

From here the pocket can assume various shapes. I could leave it rectangular as above, or draw a heart shape

Several shapes are possible, my favorite is the rounded bottom corner.

I like this shape because things (dirt, fuzz, lint etc) tend to accumulate in sharp-corner pockets.   The heart shape pocket with the point inserted into the waistband, has the least bulk along the waist. I prefer the wider top. I think it gives my tummy a little more support and believe me, my tummy appreciates any support it can get.

When unfolded, it looks like this:

and can be placed on the fabric either in the open, unfolded position

or positioned on a fabric fold with the tissue also folded.

.Either way once the fabric is cut, I mark the center of the pocket.

Then remember how concerned I was about the pocket showing on the outside?  And the fact I had only strips of the shorts fabric left?  The solution is to cut strips of the shorts fabrics and apply it to the center, right side of the fabric.

I fused and then stitched using one of the edge finishing stitches.  I think it’s possible to fuse only or even straight stitch those edges.  I use Steam A Seam 2 to fuse such things. My experience has been that SAS will last several washings, but eventually the joined pieces will pull free.  I do think I need to stitch the pieces together. I also prefer an edge finishing stitch rather than straight. Again my experience, but there seems to be some raveling with just a straight stitch. Maybe the amount of raveling, won’t bother you.

Once the strip is satisfactorily attached, mark the pant where you want the pocket to be.  I marked from the side inward 3.5″ and from the waist down 7″. I know I said 6″, but the seam allowance at the top will eat up some of that extra inch and another 3/4″ for inserting and removing my hand will not cause a problem.

.Align the pant and pocket right sides together along the line just drawn and the center line previously drawn on the pocket.

I don’t just guess.  I insert a pin in the top (usually the back side of the pocket fabric) and then lift that fabric and make sure my pin “nails” the line on the 2nd fabric, usually my pants.

This is one of those times when close enough, is not good enough. If I don’t do it right, now I will have problems later on.  However 3 pins is usually enough, one at the top, one in the middle and one exactly where I want my stitching to end. Then it’s onto the sewing machine where, like sewing a neckline plackett, I like to sew 1/8″ on either side of the center line.  I like to frey check the bottom

.before cutting down the center and finishing the edges.

.I also used a narrow zig zag stitch to finish those edges (after pressing) because it can be hard to keep those narrow less than 1/8″ edges contained. The zig zag nicely finishes those edges and with a pressing, looks professional.

.Oh and yes I did cut the bottom box with triangles just like a bound button hole and I used my Ruby’s tack stitch to lock the triangles into position again just like a bound button hole. I hope the next steps are easy enough not to need a series of photos. Because once the pocket looks like it does above, then the pocket is folded in half and the long side/curve is serged together. Followed by aligning the pocket in place along the top and stay stitched. Here you see that I’ve already serged the top edge of the pant and pocket. I want the edge finished during fitting.

.On the outside view, you’ll see that my pockets tend to separate just a little so that the interior of the pocket is visible.

.Maybe that’s just something weird I always do to this easy pocket.  That’s why I made the effort o put the strips of pant fabric inside the pocket.  Had I used matching fabric, that extra strip wouldn’t have been needed.

Also, I know with all these pics, the pocket seemed like a big deal. But really, the first you work it through you’ll wonder why I bothered. It is a very simple pocket, that looks good and doesn’t add a lot of bulk to any of the seams.  I know that various designers have included this pocket in their designs. Often with a slightly different shape and interesting name.  I really feel this pocket must be in the public domain.  I’ve been using a variation of it since I was a teen.

OK I’m off to work on fitting.


Burda 2013-02-143 Finished

Well, this is where I quit tweaking:

In truth, I didn’t finish any seams before beginning the fit process. The front seam between waistband and pant leg started falling apart so it became necessary to finish up and make a final analysis. Pictures above is the Bank Line View. Below, the pic’s have been lightened to the max and I removed my belt so that the waistband is visible.

This was a good hair day. I almost didn’t cut off my head but decided I wanted to show pants so the head had to go. Without the belt, the pants drop a little from the waist. The waist needs to be a little tighter. I’ve accepted that I will always need something to help hold the waist into place because my waist fluctuates in size throughout the day. With the belt on, the back is flat (no little side dimple) and the tummy invisible. Most of the diagonal lines between waist and hip line, are just the pant settling downward because the waistband is slightly too large.  Really and truly, other than the drag lines at the back knee, this pant is dang near perfect.  These pants look good even having been on and off several times through-out the days and laying on the ironing board overnight.  The fabric is excellent: soft, comfortable to wear and recovers from body sitting, standing stooping walking, etc. This fabric came from FashionFabricsClub, but I”m not sure which fabric .  What I am sure is that I love to have more in several colors.

As I’m wearing the pants today, I note that while they look fabulous they are pulling right above the ta_l bone. This often happens to me. The pant will look perfect (yes I do eventually get perfect pants) but the back will be uncomfortable.  I’m hoping that wear will stretch these a little right where needed.  If not, I may be scooping the crotch not right in the bottom but at the back where it curves. I’m sure if this fabric had any lycra at all, I wouldn’t be feeling that pull.

This pattern is a keeper for me.  I transferred the changes for the tummy to the tissue and trimmed the excess tissue from the side seams which were cut 1.5″ wide. I’m eager to use the pattern again and see if I can fix the pull lines at the knee. One other thing, I cut the belt loops 3.5″ long. That’s too much. I need to make them no more than 3″ long and more like 2.5″.  One of the nice things about the contoured waistband with facing is that the belt loops are so easy to sew. Just pin them between seams and sew-on!