2010-04-143, 2010-06-115, template

3 Shorts in 2.5 Days

originally published7/9/11


So pair one, for which there are no photos at all, turned out wearable.  I know because I’ve already worn them.  Nothing tells me how well a garment is going to fit as does wearing the garment all day.  I’ve tried. Believe me.  I’ve read all kinds of hints. Asked many many people both those I know and some that I just admire greatly.  The bottom line is to determine how well a garment is going to fit and work in my life, I need to wear it all day.


Well guess what??  This pair is usable in my summer wardrobe.But I’m rather surprised that the pattern used for grey corduroy pair tested and fit just a week ago; and wonderfully loved ; was remarkably different from the dark blue interlock made just 3 days ago.  To my great surprise the shorts feel wonderful everywhere EXCEPT the front crotch length.  It feels and acts like it is at least 1/2″ too long. Totally surprised, took off the blue pair and compared it to the grey pair.  The blue pair is narrower (I did remove 3/4″ from the side seams) but otherwise seems to be the same as the grey pair.  However during wearing, the grey corduroy is perfectly comfortable, but the blue knit is just too d@mn long in the front crotch.


Did I say I was astonished?  Well so much so that I folded out 3/4″ from the pattern front and back (vertically so as to remove excess ease) but made no other changes to the basic pattern.  I did add a back pocket and an interesting front pocket otherwise my cut and construction is exactly the same for the black pair as the previous blue pair.  The result?  Neat appearance, fit seems fine everywhere except the front crotch. Which strangely feels only slightly too large. Just slightly; not even enough to measure.  I know what I’m experiencing is the difference that individual fabrics can make.  I’ve decided NOT to change the basic pattern.  I’ve marked the front and back so that I know where to fold out excess ease for knit fabrics; and a note on the pattern for checking the front crotch length.  But the pattern remains the same; just BIG reminders to adjust for fabric idiosyncrasies.


Oh and the pockets?  Of these I’m so pleased:



The back:



Close up of pocket:

Front pocket but you are see it from a side view:


And WOW you notice the back more than the front pocket, which is way, way too bad.  The front pocket extends from inside the waistband to about 4″ above the hem; and from the center front into the side seam. It is a patch pocket i.e. stitched on the outside with a very interesting side opening.  The side opening was a 6″ rectangle on which I free-handed rounded the rectangular curves and then stitched a binding.  I stitched binding right-sides together, then flipped to the wrong side except that I did not press the SA’s to the inside.  That gives a little body to pocket opening.  Well, that and the 4″ of interfacing I fused to the inside of the pocket along that edge.  When I was working with it, I thought the pocket was a good idea but kind of cludgy.  When I finished, I couldn’t have been more pleased.  In fact, I’m so sorry that my pictures don’t show how terrific a pocket this is.  My much lightened picture below shows a little more detail but doesn’t show how great this pocket is IRL.  I will use this pocket finish again.  It’s just THAT good.



Oh and tomorrow will be the 3rd pair of shorts.

2010-04-143, 2010-06-115, template

3 in 2.5

originally published 7/8/11


??? While, as in my last paragraph posted on July 7,  I may be thinking about a very creative project, my sewing has been devoted to necessities… necessities for the season.  Yes indeed, summer has arrived in Midwest USA all the way to the most northern states.  While this isn’t a bad thing (no no no this is a very very good event from many perspectives)  it still requires a few personal changes.  Most notable, I need appropriate wear for 102+ degree heat.  I’m prepared with sleeveless tops (and tanks appropriate for a Midwestern Senior Citizen), but I also need skirts and pants appropriate for the warmer weather.  I’d given up super shorts long ago, but I do most certainly wear and enjoy Bermuda shorts, the ankle length pants and shorts somewhere between knee and ummm  6″ above the knee.  (I definitely prefer to avoid exposing any pub!c fur.)


I still consider Burda 2010-06-115 to be The Perfect Bermuda Shorts for me.  At the same time, I think that if Burda produced a perfect pant for me, other pants designed by Bermuda should be pretty darn good.  So I was extremely surprised when Burda 2010-04-143 looked great, but didn’t feel so good. I made this pattern a short by folding the pattern up at the knee mark and adding a little extra at the hem so it would fold, stitch and hem easily.  Well, the hemming was great.  In fact,  99.9% of the entire pant was great.  I noticed no problems during sewing or fit.  Not until I wore the first of 3 pairs did I realize I had an issue.  My issue?  The back crotch rubbed on my tail bone.  I don’t know how else to explain it.  Photos looked fine; attractive even.  But wear was uncomfortable.  I describe the fit in the link above and I’m not going to repeat that other than to say that for the last 3 days I’ve been sewing shorts for current weather wear because the first 3 pairs didn’t do it for me.


Oy and the new version is terrific.  My first 2 pairs were sewn from beefy cotton/poly interlock knits  I knew when I purchased these 2 fabrics that there wasn’t enough for much more than a tank top or short-shorts. In fact, I was darn happy to be able to carve out the shorts.  My wonderful fabrics (they are that) were in dark blue/navy and black.  I probably could have construct sleeveless tops of some kind, but truth is these two dark color are best used in my wardrobe as bottoms i.e. short shorts.  I used the dark blue first.  I was hoping (ridiculously) that I would be able to play in photoshop and see details.  Good idea, but didn’t work.  Well, here’s the evaluation:


I used the  dark blue, poly-cotton interlock with Burda 2010-04-143 after alterations made to the back crotch as described in the link above.  I made no other alterations to the pattern despite the fact that the pattern was drafted for woven fabrics and I was using a knit.  I cut a separate waistband.  But knowing myself, I fished out a previously used length of 1″wide, non-roll elastic for use in the waistband. I folded the front along the vertical center line and carefully top stitched close to the fold (on both side fronts).  Although I cut along the dart markings at the waistline, I skipped darts both front and back. I just sort of evened off the top waistband and ignored the dart for both this and the black pair next in line. I  serged the fronts, backs, sides, inseams and crotches together and then tried it on.


I was a little concerned about even trying to fit.  My previous experience has been that my best fit is achieved by sewing darts, inserting zipper and attaching pockets permanently and then basting everything, including the waistband and hems.  Although it’s a great deal of trouble, this does produce the best possible fit for me. But I knew these were to be quite similar to gym shorts -no pockets, pull-on, elastic waistband, flexible knit— hard to visualize as attractive but easy to remember how useful they were.


Well, first try said they were humongous.  As in much too large.  I trimmed 3/8″ from the sides, basted and tried again.  OK better, but still much more form concealing than form enhancing.  Another 3/8 side seam trim and baste later, (not more than 15 minutes) and these looked, well not too bad.   NOW UNDERSTAND THIS:  I’m not a pretty young thing (PYT).  It’s been so long since I enjoy that status that I don’t remember it.  In fact, I’m not an up-and-coming anything, i.e a powerful female executive or Middle Aged Community Anchor or anything else.  I am officially a US.. Mid-Western… Senior Citizen (even on the days I feel like a PYT) and I dress like one too.


You know what? Once I stitched the sides and hems permanently, added the waistband and elastic; and tried this first pair on—– I was pleasantly surprised.  They both looked and felt comfortable.   —


OK ’nuff for this post.  Shall we continue tomorrow


(BTW just in case you were wondering about the title: “3 in 2.5” means 3 pairs of shorts in 2.5 days).

2010-06-115, template

Burda Shorts 2010-06-115

originally published 07/02/11


Just a note harkening back to the Burda Shorts I made Burda 2010-06-115

I was pleased with these when my sewing was completed on Jun 16 (posted June 19), but the weather intervened and I was unable to wear them until today.  Wearing is critical in my evaluation of a pattern or even in purchasing a garment.  I’ve found that garments can feel and look fine for the first minutes they are worn -whether the wearing is in the sewing room or the changing room at the store- but as a full day of wearing goes along, the garment reveals it’s very own personality.  (I’m convinced that some garments were crafted by the devil himself and reveal their personalities only when you can be mortified by embarrassment.) So today when wearing these, I’m terrifically pleased.  I did add about 2″ of ease (an extra 1/2″ at each side seam adds up to a full 2″).  I’m pretty sure that ease can be completely removed because the crotch is wonderfully comfortable.  True the microfiber in the micro cord adds to the comfort. But it is the faithful copy and use of the crotch from my perfect Burda Bermuda’s (Burda 2010_06_115) that sealed the deal. I’m quite sure I’ll be trying to copy that crotch again and again. After all, NOTHING SUCCEEDS LIKE SUCCESS.



originally published 6/4/2010

In particular the waistband on my new shorts

I know the first thing I have to do is adjust the waistband.  If I accomplish nothing else, I need the waist to fit perfectly.  I can’t accomplish any other fitting until the waistband fits. In fact, I’ve had to completely rethink my fitting process and understand, truly understand, like deep in my soul understand, that every garment must fit first from the point(s) that it hangs from.  So blouses, dresses, jackets coats, other tops with shoulders must fit at the shoulder first; skirts, pants and and anything else that sits on the waist, must fit at the waist.  It’s actually pointless to make any other adjustments until the hanging point fits.

So I’m contemplating fitting the waistband.  I’m not sure if I stretched the fabric during handling.  I did staystitch immediately and I did cut the interfacing seperately and smooth the fabric to fit the interfacing.  But, there is still that chance that it could have stretched and I should have, but did not, compare the waistband back to the pattern before attaching the shorts.  But it is what it is and what this really boils down to, is that I must fit the waistband on the shorts and then compare back to the pattern and make educated guesses as to how much the pattern needs adjusting.  to that end I measured the shorts waistband 37.5″  Umm that seems large.  I measure my waist.  Sucked in with the tummy touching the backbone, my waist is 34″. Let it out for air and I need 35.5.  Compare the two 37.5 and 35.5 or 34 and I have 2-3 inches of ease at the waist.  Umm, that seems large.  Even my fitting books recommend 1″ at the waist.  I check the magazine. Yes the waistband should be at the natural waist.

So how much should I remove from the shorts waistband?   I decide to measure the pants in my closet.  My new shorts are a woven interfaced fabric.  Nearly all my pants are either stretch fabric or eleastic waistbands.  Oh I do have 3 pants woven fabric pants without elastic waistbands.  That would be the 3 I made earlier this year and must now refit at least the waistband because they are too large and are falling off my hips.  Other than measure and saying “that’s too much at the waist” I don’t think it’s going to help.  Even my 14P “Just My Size” stretch jeans, which were never my waist size, have had elastic added to the waistband,  My 2908’s have a 35″ waistband.  (I’m deperate for something to compare with).  That’s not surprising.  The 4-6% stretch factor would account for the need for zero ease if not negative ease.   I think I’ll go for removing 1.5″.  I can always remove more, if I’m motivated.  Once I stiitch, trim and turn, it’s hard to add fabric back to the waistline.

Ok so 1.5 ” between 2 seams or 4 sides.  I’m not counting the centerback.  The centerback does not have a seam line.  I don’t want to put a seam line there  Besides, I’ve serged the waistband and it’s facing at the topedge and then promptly understitched the serged seam to the facing.  I have lots of little stitches to pick out. I don’t want to rip out anymore than necessary. OMG  I may not be able to do this.  But I don’t want to think about that now.  Right now, I want to do the math 1.5 divided by 4 = .375 or 3/8″.  OK I’m off to do some frogging.  I think I can. I think I can……


That Fabulous First Fitting

originally published 6/2/2010

Ok Ok.  I know that FIRST fittings are usually not fabulous.  Sometimes they are OK.  Sometimes we are inspired to diet, severely, immediately.  One round of fitting made me realize, I’d never be able to find RTW that does fit; I’d have to sew if I wanted clothing that fits.  But before I get to the fitting of these pants, which being the 4th pair probably should be called the 10th fitting or something around that number, before I get to the fitting, I want to brag about my pocket solution.


Let me review.  I traced an interesting pocket from an exiting existing pair of shorts.  The opening curve, the curve the hand would be put into; turned out beautiful.  But the outside curve, the curve that needs eye-catching topstitching to the garment, would provide me no help in turning that curve.  This has always been a problem for me.  If I’m going to use a curve, I want it to be a smooth even curve. Not choppy, lumpy, angley.  I usually accomplish this by fully lining the pocket with a very light weight material, right sides together, stitch and then turn.  But this pocket with a flat outer edge? No lining. Nothing to hang onto?   What to do?  Straight seams are not a problem for me.  I rarely use any kind of guide, well other than the line marked on my throat plate.  I decided to use a little “boot” just at the curved corner. I cut  and pinned my little boot on the right side of the pocket, but I stitched from the wrong side.  Because I could follow the serge finishing and stitch a nice neat curve.  Here it is stitched, but not turned:



I am a firm believer in persuading the curve to turn smoothly.  So I press flat first.  Then apply a little seam (still flat), start the turn, add a lttle more steam, use my bodkin with the round end and run it through the curve. Steam a little more.  Finger press, steam. Bodkin run, steam. Pin, steam.  Lots of steam.  But no weight.  I don’t put any weight on the curve until I’m sure I’ve persuaded it to take the shape I want.  Then I pin it to the ironing board and apply lots of steam, weight and pressure.  The result is a nice crisp curve like this:




Now someone out there is going say “Oh you could have done this with Steam A Seam. It would have been so much faster and easier for you.  Much better for you if you’d used SAS”. Or they will suggest fusible interfacing.  In both cases No It wouldn’t.  SAS or fusibles would have stuck and stuck and stuck again every time I’m tried to steam and turn, steam and turn, steam and turn.  I needed something that would not stick until I’m ready to stitch.  So this is my method and even though I know you mean well, I’m not going to use a fusible of any kind when turning curves.


Now onto the good news.  Well lets just look at these shorts on me:


It’s actually difficult to find anything wrong.  I remember this fabric now.  I underlined it with nylon organza to use as a jacket.  It is light, drapey and wrinkles far too easily. I remembered underlining, I didn’t remember why.  I may wish in the future that I had underlined these shorts.  Curiously, while the fabric acquires many small wrinkles from nothing, (I mean I press, move  the  fabric to press the next section and the first has wrinkles) the center front crease wouldn’t hold.  For the first time in about 20 years, I edgestitch the front crease.  Somethings are design elements.  Somethings are fitting elements. And somethings are fabric specific.  The front crease falls in the 3rd category, fabric specific.  This fabric needed stitching to hold the crease.


The back looks nearly perfect.  I needed to ease the back to the waistband, so I think I need to increase the width of the back darts. There are some vertical wrinkles and I see a little bubble under the center back. But once again, on these shorts,  the waist is too large.  You can see in the picture of the side, I’m holding the shorts up into place. The sides I’m extremely pleased with.  The side seam is vertical. Perfectly vertical.  My hem is perfectly horizontal. All issues on the side were fixed by adding 1/2″ length above the crotch and 1/2″ width front and back. There still seems to be some pulling of the front at the crotch, but that could be from my effort to hold the pants in place at my waistline.  The front crotch feels too long, yet I see the slight pulling.  Also there are extraneous wrinkles that could be from either my holding the shorts up or the fabric wrinkling on it’s own.  I eased the front to the waistband instead of using front tucks as per the pattern.  I’m not entirely pleased with this solution.


Changes to make:

  1. Decrease waistline. Fortunately the waist band is only tacked into place.  I anticpated many changes and basted several places, tacked others.  So I’m going to start with getting that waist band the right size. 
  2. Fix that front crotch.  It feels too long, it is rubbing my inner thigh, but it has small, distinctive pulling lines radiating from the crotch.   I will raise it first and if necessary add length to the inseam.  But whatever the final solution is, I will remove the stress lines at the front crotch.
  3. If the bubble is still under the center back, I’ll relase the center back and pull it up until the bubble is gone. 
  4. Check darts in back, do they need to be deeper?
  5. If vertical wrinkles still exist on the back, I think I’ll take in the center back first.  The alteration on the pattern, however, will be to take out about 1/4″ of the ease I added.


Each of these changes is successive i.e. I can’t do #4 first.  I have to fix #1 the waistband before working on any of the others.  Then go on to #2.  They must be done in order because every change you make affects everything else.  It is quite likely that when I fix #1, the waistband, which will then sit at the waist where it should be, the bubble and vertical wrinkles on the back will disappear.  It’s also quite likely that when the short sits at the waistband – all by itself without help from either me or a belt- that the front crotch will no longer be too long.  The front pull will then be easier to diagnose. 


Least you think otherwise.  I’m very happy with this pair.  It is a FABULOUS FIRST FITTING.  I feel that I’m tweaking the fit.  I can wear these just as they are.  But not today.  South Dakota has re-entered early Spring. Like end of winter.  We are expecting hail again today.  We had hail Saturday, Tuesday and now it is predicted for today.  Temperturare are predicted to be in the mid-60’s.  Like many people, 60-ish is not shorts weather for me.  So while I know what I want to do and I’m eager to start.  I’m going to take ejvc’s advice and go sew something fun and different.


2010-06-115, 2010-06-144

I’m making progress.

originally published 6/1/2010

I made the proposed changes to my pattern. I’m pretty methodical about this.  I use 9×12 envelopes to store my patterns in.  On the outside I write things I want to remember.  Like “use 5/8″ SA” .  That’s different from my usual SA.  It may be months or years before I use a pattern again.  I want something that will jog my memory that something is different. I also list on the right hand side any pattern alterations.  My tops are pretty stand “remove 1′ from BW length; make 1″ narrow shoulder adj”.  So it’s typical that I have 4-5 comments on the envelope fronts.  But pants.  My gosh, with pants I fill out the right hand colum flip the envelope over and start writing on the back.  No I haven’t ever filled up the back yet.  As a matter of fact, I haven’t filled up the front for these particular pants. But  I did list the changes I wanted to make on the envelope and tick them off as the pattern was adjusted.


This is the 3rd pair from this pattern.  I suspect I will wear the first 2 pairs several times and then discard them.  The problem with perfecting a pattern with multiple versions is that eventually I don’t want to wear the first versions.  Nonetheless, I’m making small design changes to each pair.  To the untrained eye, which is about 99% of America, it will look like I’m working a different pattern.  This time I’ve traced off a pocket from a pair of RTW shorts.  You know how black doesn’t photo well?  Dark brown doesn’t either.  So the photo I had, doesn’t tell a story and I didn’t bother to upload it.  Oh how to describe it. It resembles a jean front pocket except that the opening is larger and the pocket is appliqued to the garment. It is a patch pocket.  Typically, I fully line this type pocket with something very light and then turn it inside out so that I get nice smooth curves.  My brown shorts pocket, has a facing at the hand edge.  I thought this was very interesting.  So I traced off the pocket, constructed a facing and stitched the two together.  I topstitched with a gold colored thread (but not real jeans gold).  It looks fabulous. Except now I’m looking at the other side wondering how am I going to get a nice smooth curve on that side.  I had forgotten that I lined this type of pocket just because that was the easiest way for me to get a perfect curve.  Oh let’s face it,  that was the only way I get a perfect curve.  — In case this is a little vague, I stitch the pocket and lining right sides together along both curves leaving the top and side open.  Press. Turn and press some more.  — So now I’m looking at the pocket wondering how I’m going to get the other side to look good. 


Unfortunately, I’ve had disruptions to my sewing.  First I took the day to go to Lake Charles Francis.  Lovely day, relaxing, mind clearing.  I was under shade the entire time and have 2nd degree burns on the tops of my feet, front arms and directly under my chin.  We think the lake must have reflected the light and burned those areas.  I didn’t feel it and DH didn’t see me burning.  End result is I’ve spent the last 3 days hidden in the house.  Even going outisde makes my skin burn.  Last night I was no longer lobster red, just red, and I started itching.  So I’m healing.  You’d think that would give me more sewing time. Well no.  We had a hail storm that broke all windows on 2 sides of the house, beat the siding unmercifully and created 4 bad leaks in the basement.  One of the leaks is in my sewing room.  I spent one day just cleaning up the debrie and tried to use the carpet shampooer to suck up the rain water.  The shampooer didn’t suck very much, but the carpets are still horribly wet in those areas.  I’m reluctant to sew at my electronic, computerized sewing machine while sitting with my feet on a puddle of water.  Also, our house was a rental at onetime, converted to apartments for a while and now once again a single-family-dwelling OURS.  We were told by the former owner that pets were not allowed. Period.  People couldn’t have pets and live in this house.  Yet we are both clearly smelling cat urine.  It is unmistakable.  Even if the insurance company doesn’t pay, we will be replacing those carpets.  We are burning incense.  You’d think we were a couple of hippies from the sixties.  But no, we just trying to cover up the cat urine. 


Back to the shorts. In addition to the patch pockets, I’m going to ease the front to the waistband instead of using the 2 tucks.  I’m using a light blue rayon.  Last fall I sorted fabrics again and this time I pulled out lengths that were under 2 yards and placed them in 1 of 3 stacks 1) under 1 yard 2) 1 yard 3) 1.5 yards

Since then I’ve really been working these small amounts.  Now that I know where they are, if I need a small amount I look in one of these 3 stacks first.  Shorts take between 1 and 1.25 yards.  I went throught 1.5 stack and found a light blue rayon that has a linen look to it.  I haven’t done the burn test, but the drape and what I remember from the first garment I made tells me it’s rayon not linen and not cotton and defintely not polyester.  I probably would have made a blouse out of this, but because I need shorts and need material that I won’t regret using, this fabric is becoming my next version.  I suspect it will again look a little dressy. So I’m also changing the hem.  I will  turn up the hem only once, which will make the shorts just a little longer. At first I planned to straight stitch with matching thread.  But now I’m thinking I should use the blind stitch.  I am doing some contrast top stitching.  Right now I think I will topstitch only the pockets and belt carriers.  I want to be able to easily adjust the front waistband seam and the inseam.  Too much topstitching and I’ll give up on alterations/adjustments.  Especially since I like to use the straight-triple stitch for topstitching. 


Well, I hope I can report more progress tomorrow.  First I’ve got to see if the carpet has dried out .

2010-06-115, 2010-06-144

The Trouble with Long Posts.

originally published 5/29/2010

is that you don’t read them. You try.  But your mind gets bored.  Starts thinking of something else or skipping words.  Please, I’m not mad, critical or even negative. Truth is, I’m assuming that what I would do at your Blog is what you are doing at mine. i.e. I’m equally guilty.  I welcome all your comments.  I love getting all your comments. Even if you don’t have any recommendations, I love that you are taking the time to give me pats on the back or offer moral support in the form of comments.  In fact whether I post or not, I check everyday for your comments.  But the truth is, my Blog is more for me than it is for you.  I blogged at first to record and share my first SWAP experience.  But I found that I truly loved blogging just for the record I’m creating of my sewing projects and the chance to write essays that are meaningful to me.  I love your comments, but I knew when I posted that humongous essay with pictures and links that it wouldn’t be thoroughly read.  So I hopped over to SG , posted a few pictures and asked for help there. BetsyV stopped me in my tracks when she wrote:


    “Well, I just want to reach halfway (or more) across the country and hike that waistband straight up.”



Ummm, in my blog which Betsy didn’t read I said that I had reluctantly added 1/2″ width to the back and the back waistband before cutting out the Microfiber Shorts. Added reluctantly because the waistband felt close but not tight and never uncomfortable. The microfiber shorts, intended to be a wearable muslin, felt fine at the waist. So I didn’t correct the waistband. But I wore and photoed them while wearing a belt. The cotton poly shorts (last pair), I wore and photoed without wearing the belt. The next step seemed obvious to me, check the cotton poly shorts while wearing a belt. That’s what I have for you today, along with my new evaluation of the shorts and changes I’ll be making.


#1 The Side Seam Drift:



With the shorts pulled up to position at the waist,  the side seam nearly straightens. I’m might not know it is still drifting, except I was looking for it up close. It is still a leaning a little forward starting at the high hip and ending at the hem. Since the style of this pant is a straight side seam, I will add an even 1/2″ width to the side and work the excess into the already present waist line tucks.  What is also evident is that I have a prominent tummy and that the front crotch is pulling down.  I’m not sure if I need to add more above the crotch or at the crotch extension.  So I’ll do both.  It is easy to remove a little from one place or the other  rather than trying to add. Miraculously, the hem no longer hangs at an angle.  I felt like I was pulling the pants up in front, but obviouly the back moved further up, because the hem is now hanging perfectly level.


The front, the piece that most concerned me; the piece I felt was getting worse with every change:




I’m thinking the same alterations for the side will fix the front. It’s readily apparent to me that the wrinkles point from my crotch to my tummy.  The front waistband clearly dips, but in RL, my waistline does too.  Adding extra just for that dip may not be the answer. I could find that the extra I add crawls up over my waist or creates a bubble just above the crotch (those are my 2 most common complaints with every pair of pants).  Wrinkles also start at the crotch and point downwards towards the hem; which would seam to indicate that the crotch extension is still a little short.  But I will add both above the crotch and to the front crotch extension. 


The back, formerly nearly picture perfect:


has now developed areas of concern.  I think that I will only add to the length of the crotch for the next pair, but I will also remove  the 1/2″ added to the waist band and add an additional dart to the back.  Curiously, after I pulled the pants up, the bubble directly under the waistband, center-back disappeared.  I’ve see that bubble on several other pairs and always assumed that the crotch should be shortened right there.  I’m wondering now if shortening the waistband length would also have been the fix for those. 


So plan of attack next pair of Burda 2010-06-115 shorts:


   Add 1/2″ width

   Add 1/2″ length above crotch

   Add 1/2″ length to crotch extension


   Add 1/2″ length to crotch

   Add 2nd dart at waistline

Back WaistBand

  Remove 1/2″

Front Waistband

  Distribute the extra pant ease at the waist into the 2 existing front tucks.


Sounds like a plan….


2010-06-115, 2010-06-144

I may have a…..

originally posted 5/27/2010

Burda Butt.


But not a Burda Front. Let me digress. I left you on my last post headed downstairs with the intention of drafting my own pattern. I had the drafting instruction from Trudy Jansen who’s pants I loved so well I thought she must know something special and important about pants drafting. Alas, as I read her instructions in detail, having spent over an hour taking many more measurements than she required, I realized that I would be drafting the same basic draft and then altering according to what I thought were my physical deviations. Oh to be sure, it would start with my measurements, but I would still need to make a muslin and then make further alterations to achieve fit. Isn’t that what I’m already doing with pants patterns?







A flash of inspiration (or was it insanity?) called me to pull out one of my favorite KS patterns. One that I thought fit before I took pictures of my back end, KS3393



I spent at least an hour carefuly comparing my measurements to the pattern measurements.– I digress again. — When I took my measurements I made little tick marks down my side about an inch apart and then I measured and recorded the measurement at each tick. I had detailed, very detailed information to compare. Allowing 1-1.5 inches of ease, the pattern should have fit right out of the envelope. But I was sure I had a pair of shorts cut from this pattern hanging in my closet right now.  They have smile lines in the front and are too tight across my rear (I mean panty-line visible, tight). I was stunned.




Fortunately (??This remains to be proved??), at that moment DH walked in the door with my June issue of Burda Style. We had a short discussion of the magazine including my revlation that I had not traced a single pattern and felt if I didn’t do so soon I shouldn’t renew the subscription. I am very thrifty. OK, I’m cheap. The magazine was worth the cost to me, if I used even a quarter or tenth of the patterns. But to simply use it as a fashion magazine was in my mind a ghastly waste of m-o-n-e-y. Which prompted me to look through the magazine and see if there was an acceptable pair of pants to work with.




 I had heard that Kwik Sew used the same block as Burda. I was told this by a very reliable source. I was so confident of my source, that I’ve even passed the information along. But when I traced Burda 2010-06-115 (left)



and compared it to my KS, the difference at the crotch seam was astonishing!!! Both back and front crotch curves were remarkly different. I did have a Vogue pattern on hand, V8090 and compared just the crotch. The Vogue is very close but there are significant differences. I have not compared any further than that, but yes I intend to dig out my beloved J. Stearns, JSM and Trudy Jansen patterns and compare them as well.




I chose the size 42. My hip is 40″. The Burda charts say this will fit 40.25. Should fit, right? But I know that my hip is smaller than my abdomen. I hesitate, but decide to make a throw away muslin. One that I can cut slash and discard, learning much and investing little because I don’t remember how much I paid for this fabric. It was a quilting cotton that I bought too much of when finishing a quilt. I don’t make nice quilts. All my quilts are scrappy creations born from the guilt of throwing away scraps and thereby “perfectly good money”. Since this fabric was intended to complete a scrappy quilt, it wouldn’t have cost very much. At the most $2 per yard; and I had just under a yard. Perfect.


My first muslin was a surprise. I did not interface anything. I taped the pocket pattern to the front pattern so that I would not even make pockets. I did install a bright orange zipper because I knew I’d have to get in and out at least once. I staystitched the top of the waistband. That is nearly all bias and I didn’t want it to stretch, but I didn’t apply the facing or the button closures. In fact, I even skipped the pleats. I stitched the first muslin together with 1/4″ seams, tried it on, held the top together and took pictures. This was a day of astonishments. The pic below is a composite so you can see back front and side all together.





This is really not all that bad. I do have something weird going-on in the front at the waistband. However, I don’t like to sew clothes with only a 1/4″ seam allowance. I know that RTW comes that way. But I prefer a 3/8″ SA. I’ve found the 1/4 difficult to sew and almost guaranteed to shred at the most embarassing of times. So I re-stitch the muslin together with 3/8″ SA and attached the waistband facing AND stiched the once-folded up hem. Oh yeah, I put the pleats in too.



Again, not real bad. I mean RTW looks worse than that. But I want to look better than RTW. So I note that additional ease is needed across the rear; the crotch while pulling in and having front smiles feels too short and the side seam is just slightly on the back half of the body but it is straight up and down. I’m actually so pleased with this pic, that I stare at it for a long time. I go do housework and come back to stare at it again.



Finally I decide to make it in nearly-good fabric. Something I could wear if my evaluation is right but wouldn’t be too sad to part with if things go wrong. I add 1/4″ in length above the crotch on both front and back; add 1/2″ to the back width by slashing vertically and spreading all the way. That of course will make the waist band the wrong size. Reluctantly, I alter the back waist band the same amount. I’m reluctant because the WB doesn’t feel tight, just close. I stitch my microfiber version together, using my serger this time; use a cute but quick hemming technique, but use only 1 pleat in the front. I love it without even seeing the pictures. This is actually way, way comfortable. Maybe it’s just the microfiber because the photos (considerbly lightened) show me this:


The fabric is actually a dark grey/brown. My thread “Beige Taupe” matches exactly. To see the detail I had to lighten the pictures. The back is looking much better. I didn’t get a side shot. The front however is developing some bad smile lines. I also am not thrilled that the waistband is as wide as it is. But when fully dressed I look like this:

No, not my best. My best is when pants fit me. But this is better than RTW and, I’ve got to tell you, better than I see at the grocery store or the beach. (South Dakota has wonderful beaches on the River and at the lakes). I regret that I did not take a back view. I wore the shorts all day. Despite the drag lines, the shorts were wonderfully comfortable. Which has me internally debating. Is it the crotch? Front crotch? Back Crotch? Ease? Well for ease I can pinch 3/4 at the side hip. Should I have more? My personal experience is that I need a back crotch extension of nearly 2″ with every KS, New Look, or Simplicity pant pattern. I add 1 ” to the JSM’s and 1/2″ to the Jalie 2908’s. But I always need more seating room. Just to test the crotch, I do the quickie fix and take a 1/4″ scoop out of the back curving up to the front meeting exactly with the zipper stitching. That was both too much and not enough. Not enough, because the back improved (you are seeing the improved back above), but the front crotch is now too low and is rubbing on my inner thighs. I plan to wear these the rest of this summer. Oh I may change my mind if I develop the perfect pair. But for now these look better than anything in my closet, but they need some more tweaking.



And then the analytical part of my mind kicks in and says “You know that you used a pattern too small. Yes you did. You knew that 40″ was not going to fit a 42″ stomach” (Hope that’s not TMI. I have no shame and no secrets from my sewing friends). Well that has me hemming and hawing—not the sewing kind; the unable to make up my mind kind. I hunt through the Burda magazines until I find a pants pattern that goes above 42. Most of the pants patterns don’t exceed the size 42. There are a few 44’s and even fewer plus sizes 46 through 52. But I find one. It reminds me of the famous Merkesh pants that Gigi raved about but these are Burda 2010-06-144



I traced only the pattern back size 44, next size up. Wow. Not any difference between the crotch of the size 42. Next I traced the size 46 back. Some but not much difference. So I traced the 48. Now I’m getting somewhere. There is considerable difference in the crotches of 2010-06-115 size 42  and 2010-06-144 size 48. So I trace the whole pattern. Start looking for fabric when DH (the resident cook) calls me for dinner. Actually he stomps 3 times on the ceiling of my sewing room. Like that song “knock 3 times on the ceiling  if you love me, twice on the pipe if you’re not going to show……..” except this is the call to dinner. Ah who needs intercoms or cell phones. Couples find ways to communicate. I drop everything, turn everything off and head up stairs. I’m one of the original chow hounds. I’m not missing dinner for D@!%! Pattern.





Dinner gives time and space for that annoying, aggravating, little voice of reason to say “You are so close. Why runoff to another pattern? Why not see this thing through? If you can make the size 42 work, nearly every Burda pant pattern is available to you. If you go up to a 46 or 48 you’ll be ordering the Burda Plus magazine – more money down the tube- or ordering Burda paper pattern – even more $$$”.


Little voice won out. When I returned to my pattern I added ¾” to the back crotch extension and ¼” to the front. Because I didn’t like the width of the waist band I trimmed it by 3/8” and added the same length to the back and front pattern pieces. I choose a cotton poly twill from my stash. It’s an interesting black/white only more of a dark dark teal. The twill blends all the colors together. Standing alone and with many other colors it looks black/white. Interesting fabric. I’ve purchased nearly the same fabric many times because it sews well, coordinates with many colors;  and makes great jackets and pants. I have a little over a yard left. I cut from my newly altered pattern and this time I add a patch pocket. The patch pocket gives me a little problem with the pleats. I wish I had converted them to darts, but I’m not sure I want to rip out all that serging. But now I Have



OMGosh! The back is looking wonderful. I have a BURDA BUTT.


But what the heck is going on with the side seam and front?


The muslin (on the left) shows that the side seam is nearly vertical but on the back half of the body. The cotton/poly side shows a side seam that begin centered on the body down to about high hip level, then angles forward down to the top of the hem where it is once again vertical. Oh and while it seems to be pulled forwards, there are vertical lines developing on the back under the butt.  That sounds familiar.  Like my major complaint with most pants patterns.  Anybody have any experience with such a thing?


Evolution of the Front


The front has steadily gotten worse! Huh??? Seriously the first muslin, on the left, was better than the microfiber wearable muslin in the center, which is better than the ctn/poly front on the right. How can fixing the back make more smile lines in the front? It’s not a bulge in the fabric, like what happens when the front crotch is too long. Nor is the front crotch rubbing my inner thighs, like it would if it were too long. When I feel down there (is that TMI? Get over it I need your help.) The center crotch feels like it is in the right place. The crotch does not feel too tight. Right now I’m thinking I should correct the obvious and instead of a straight side seam, add a curve. One other thing that I see from the side view, the hem is angled up from center back up to the center front. Is that significant?



AN APOLOGY.  This is a long post with a lot of pictures.  I had and lost many of the links.  I like to give credit to the people who inspire me like Gigi, Jill Stearns, JSM and all the others I mentioned above.  Alas, as Blogger is wont to do, after about an hours worth of writing, linking, uploading; Blogger went BONKERS.  My pics started rearranging themselves.  When my text started appearing anywhere it wanted, I exited Blogger and typed my text in MsWord.  This has to be the only time in my life that I’ve wished something was like an MS product. I finished quickly in Word.  Uploaded and arranged the last of pics and then easily copied my text from my Word document into Bloggers editor.  I probably should make more of an effort to understand and write HTML.  I used to be pretty good, but not having done any in several years I know that I have a learning curve.  I’ve been taking the lazy way out and using Bloggers tools.  When they work well, they are nice.  Today, well today I did some hair-pull accompanied by bad words you won’t let your children say.  BOTTOM LINE:  I apologize for the lost links.  I do wish to honor those of you who contributed to my journey