originally posted 5/27/2010
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?
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