Shorts from Burda 2000-11-140

I’m eager to test my pant’s fitting theory on other Burda pant patterns, but summer arrived.  Every year I’ve lived in the Mid-West we have 1 week springs.  We have deep winter with snow and then the weather warms a bit and we have cold rain and hail. Old Man Winter fools us by letting in a few warm days here and there over a period of weeks, months. OK what most people would think is spring time.  Then suddenly the temperatures climb. I mean they climb like 20 degrees from one day to the next and—-summer is here in about 7 days time.  This year I realized that my wardrobe wasn’t ready for summer temps.  I gained about 8 pounds last Christmas and began dieting in May.  I lost about 3 pounds almost immediately and then leveled off neither gaining nor losing for the longest time while still restricting calories and exercising as weather permitted. The end result is the shorts I planned to wear when summer arrived are too tight to be comfortable and I need new ones immediately.

Having just fitted Burda 2000-11-140, I decided to adapt it for summer shorts.  I drew a line between the knee marks and folded up the leg at that line.  Then I added 1.25″ length shaping for a turned up hem.   Shorts and tanks tops are perfect for a smaller cuts and left-over remnants of fabrics so I sorted through the Under2’s and retrieved a  turquoise cotton twill, a peach cotton-poly sheeting and a khaki-colored polyester twill.  Since I’d already fitted the pattern, I felt it was time to do some creative stuff.  I embroidered the back pockets of the turquoise and peach shorts.
I started to embroider back pockets on the polyester twill but had issues.  The embroidery started off fine, but then about half way through the bobbin insisted upon coming to the top.  I changed needles and started it again.  It was stitching out beautifully so I continued to sew the already embroidered shorts.  To my disgust when the machine stopped the bobbin thread once again was coming to the top.  I really didn’t want to spend an hour removing the stitching and tried some corrective action with fabric markers.  Didn’t like the results. Nope. Not one bit. So I’m frowning at the messed up embroidery and decide that this polyester twill would look better without back pockets.  I confined my embellishments to two rows of stitching.
After wearing I found the shorts to be too long.  They felt fine but looked dumpy in the mirror. The proportion of my normal-length tops and the shorts was just off.  I decided to remove 5 inches in length.  Now of course I didn’t have the width for a nice turned up hem.  I serged the raw edge and turned up a 1/2″ hem.  Not my favorite but it does well enough for badly needed summer shorts.   Here you see the turquoise and peach before the length change; the khaki shorts above have been shortened.
Oddly I’m also finding the waist to be loose.  Oddly, because I used my classic straight waistband, the same waistband which worked so well with the previous pairs that I spent time basting and fitting.  I’m not sure if it’s a fabric issue or if I’ve just drunk enough water to begin flushing out my insides.
I’ve also found during wear that all versions of 2011-11-140 feel slightly tight across my bu tt. The serging of the original pair have actually separated at the seam. The solution is scooping out the crotch a mere 1/4″. As I’ve written in previous posts, I think my rear is shaped differently. It may be due to having broken the ta il bone some 12 years ago. Whatever, the 1/4″ scoop makes a difference not in how the pants look, but in how they feel. I’m not upset with this. Future Burda pants patterns that I make will automatically include making the back inseam one size larger AND scooping the back crotch 1/4″.


Pant Pattern Success

I’ve had time to contemplate the thrilling near perfect fit of Burda 2000-11-140.  This success is overwhelming because I’ve struggled for so long to find a reliable, simple fitting procedure for pants.  My recurring complaint is that I know why my tops don’t fit and therefore I know exactly what to do to fit tops BUT pants remain a mystery. With this success I’ve found a few more clues; a few more cause and effect solutions.

I  know that I’m 2 or 3 inches shorter than the industry standard.  That explains why I must shorten the back waist length in tops and shorten the leg in pants.  I’m OK with this and do it without question or thought.  Shortening the leg length 2″ solves a problem neatly, cleanly.

I know that my waist is tilted.  It’s my posture which results in a shorter front crotch than back crotch.  Interesting, most  pattern companies now recognize that this is standard.  But for many years I removed 1″ from the front crotch length and added 1″ to the back crotch length. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is that nearly all pants patterns are now adapted for the tilted waist –the way most bodies really are. But the point is my waist is tilted, which results in the front crotch being too long and the back too short. Shortening the front 1″  and adding 1″ to the back crotch length solves the fitting problem neatly, cleanly.

I know I have as much depth as width.   It explains why I seem to always be adding length to the back extension. But the recommended procedure is unsatisfying.  The recommended procedure is to slash and spread the back crotch and thereby the upper leg (or thigh).  This procedure adds the length I need for the crotch but it creates another problem by  adding additional ease to the back thigh.  So while it fixes one issue, it creates  another.  Not clean. Not neat. Not finished

I know that I”m not typically knock-kneed, but I do have fitting-symptoms of the condition.  My knee structure is straight whereas the diagnosis of knock-knee specifies that the knee will turn inward.  What I have is a saddle bag of fat on the inseam of each knee.  I have the fit effect of knock-knees no matter  the true diagnosis.  Thing is, I don’t have knock knee fitting issues with every pant. A puzzling difference because I don’t know when to alter for knock knees, when to ignore and when to blame fabric/pattern and throw it all in the trash.  I can’t fix the issue at the tissue stage, like I do with leg length and tilted waist, because I don’t know if I’m going to have issues until after I make the pattern.  Even then some fabrics will work well and others create those horrible X wrinkles.  Puzzling. Confusing. Not clean. Not neat. Not finished.

It’s these last two (body depth and knee saddle bags) which I think I’ve neatly solved, at least with Burda patterns. Making the pant one additional size larger, only on the back inseam, adds the body depth I need at the crotch and adds ease for the knee saddle bags at the same time without causing another issue.  By making one change, I’m fixing two issues  without creating another issue. Fabric choice doesn’t seem to have an effect.  This is similar to my narrow shoulder adjustment in that one change solves multiple issues …. neatly, cleanly.

I also have a question about this fitting procedure with Burda pants patterns is: Why do I need to choose a Burda PANTS pattern two sizes larger than the chart?  I don’t do that for tops. For tops, I trace the recommended size, shorten the back-waist length and make a narrow shoulder adjustment.  With 2 quick alterations, the same alterations I use for the Big 4,  I nearly always have a top pattern which fits me (I’m ignoring Burda’s habit of plunging necklines for everything except pajamas).  Why doesn’t that happen with Burda pant patterns?   I think the answer may be in my desired fit.  I prefer a looser fit than that of my European cousins. I don’t like to feel my clothes rubbing against my body. This may be because  I have some health issues (trying to avoid TMI here) which benefit from a bit of ease and natural fibers. When my clothes are too tight, health issues flare.  I also have a mental set of “tight enough to show a woman, loose enough to be a lady”;  an attitude fostered by years in the work force where in clothing could derail careers.   But I’ve also heard numerous complaints that the American Big 4 have “ridiculous” amounts of ease. It could be that I’m accustomed to more ease even if I complain about it.

Pant Fitting Issue Summary

  • Height
    • 2-3″ shorter than the industry standard
        • leg length is too long
          • shorten leg 2″
  • Waist circumference
    • waist is larger than dimensions on the charts
  • Tilted waist
    • crotch is 1″ longer in back and 1″ shorter in front
      • front has a bubble while center back pulls down at waist
        • shorten front 1″ add 1″ length to back crotch (included in many patterns_
  • Body depth
    • body is as deep as wide
      • bu tt vortex i.e. pant is pulled into crotch resulting in diagonal wrinkles forming around the an__ 0ra_ice
        • add length to the back extension or make the back inseam one size larger
  • KnockKnees
    • Pouches of fat on inner knee have effect of knock knees
      • diagonal wrinkles from between knee and calves; in conjunction with the body depth issues, the famous X wrinkles are readily apparent
        • slash tissue at knee and move bottom half inward; true all lines; or since body depth is an issue make the back inseam one size larger

I think I may have solved and understand all but 1 of my fitting issues:  that of my waist.  My waist is larger than the dimensions on the industry charts. Oddly I’m often adding darts rather than adding ease at the waist.  I also find that my straight waistband needs more length in front than the back; and that I frequently shorten the darts (both front and back) by 1 inch.  I find fitting the waist-band/facing to be critical in fitting the rest of the pant.  When the waist fits, the pant hangs correctly from my body. If the waist doesn’t fit the pant drops puddling below my bu tt in back and above the hip-joint in front.  Places that fit when the pant is in the correct waistline alignment, become too small when they drop lower.

As I pursue this 2012 goal of understanding why my pants fit or don’t, my perspective has changed.  Before I was looking at wrinkles (and vortexes).  Now I’m seeing my body is shaped ___ The industry standard is ___  I have ___ wrinkle I fix the wrinkles by ___.  I”m pleased with this change.  I don’t feel like I fully understand but the picture is getting a little more clear.


I think I’ve Got It!

That is I think I’ve got a routine for fitting Burda pants.

I chose Burda issue November 2000 style 140 for it’s jeans styling.  This is not a jean pattern but it has elements of the styling and a narrow leg. It should (and does) finish at 17.25″

It was demonstrated in leather with the instructions to make a muslin before cutting the leather. I did some research, asked for advice at Stitcher’s Guild and came to the conclusion that a denim or other firmly woven fabric would work well.  My fabric is 100% cotton.  It is similar to denim in that the warp is yarn dyed threads but the weft is white.  The weave produces a subtle twill pattern.  This fabric is lightweight. Not like gauze or voile but a  comfortable weight for summer pants.

As I said this is not a jean pattern, but it does have  jean styling elements. Note the curved front pocket, back yoke and pockets; the fly zipper. Burda gives directions for a 3-piece straight waistband.   I’m using my faithful straight waistband from my JSM pattern.  As with the two previous Burda pants patterns, I cut 2 sizes larger, except for the back inseam. I cut the back inseam 3 sizes larger. I shortened the leg by 2″.  I did not cut a hem, although I added it to the pattern.  For this version, I decided to use a bias facing.

Someone please, strike up the band ! We’re looking at the first try-on, no hems; lots of basting; no accoutrements and the back looks:


  EXCELLENT.  Really, I don’t think I need to fix a thing. I think I need to put on a belt and smooth the fabric into place. (Maybe pull the leg hem out of sandle strap) With just a little dressing effort, it’s going to be great.

I’m equally pleased with the side:
That old side seam looks perpendicular to the floor and I’m pretty sure it’s bisecting my leg nearly perfectly

Can’t complain about the unfinished front either:

I had to ease the waist to my waistband. The pant waist is, surprisingly, slightly too large.  I say surprising because my waist and hips do not have the same proportion as the standard.  According to the standard my waist is much too large and so I’m expecting to let out the waist. But  the opposite is necessary.

I promise to finish these pants and take pictures when properly styled i.e. hair, face, belt ,shoes — the little things which make such a difference.  I was so excited by these pictures, I had to share.  These pants have hardly been pressed; no effort was  made for the photos.  I was checking to see how the bu tt and crotch fit, if the leg was the right length and just general fitting.  I was thrilled to see that I have a good pair of pants to wear; and even more thrilled by the distinct probability that I have a good procedure to reach that destination pant after pant.

Burda I love your pants.