January’s Version of Burda 2011-02 #136

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

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

And the schematic for Loes Hinse European Pants Pattern #5001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Pants #1 DONE 

Pants #2 DONE

Top1 (Matching)  NEEDED

Top 2 (Print or contrasting) NEEDED

Top 3 Vest NEEDED



Two done, Four to go


Burda Style Feb 2011 #136 with Waistband!

ETA 11/27/2012:  I’ve had a chance to wear these now and can say I’m really pleased.  They may be a tiny bit too long in the crotch and slightly tight in the waist.  The waist is easy to fix–move the button over.  The crotch depth, I won’t mess with on this pair.  I will trim about 3/16″ from the top of the pattern before making this waistband version a second time.

Sorry no pics.  My fabric is a stretchy, narrow-wale corduroy in espresso — a brown so dark you would swear it was black.  Being that dark the photos all look like blobs.

This is the pattern which has been tweaked to the point of looking and sewing like the famous Loes Hines European pants. I love the fit and styling but sometimes have issues with bulk at the pocket tops and yardage requirements.  For these reasons I decided to adapt the pattern for use with a straight waistband.  I traced the pattern pieces and removed 3″ from the top of the front, back and pocket pieces.   I know that if I’m really tight on fabric I can remove another 2″ from the hem and either face the pant legs or use a grosgrain ribbon.  I still have not adapted the pattern for a crotch gusset, the ultimate fabric conservator (when it comes to pants).  Each piece added, of course adds sewing time– time to cut, time to stitch and time to press.  But with certain fabrics I find the trade desirable.

I serged all the seams together permanently except the waistband.  It’s a bit of over confidence, I know, but I’ve made the pattern so many times that I AM confident in the fit.  I stitched the waistband to the pant using a 3.5 mm stitch length.  I find that length holds but is still easy to rip should I find that to be necessary.  I used a button and buttonhole closure.  I debated at using a hook and eye because they are easily moveable.  I decided the real issue was going to be was the crotch now the right length i.e. had I removed too much or not enough from the top of the pattern to make room for the separate waistband.  Fortunately during fitting the crotch felt fine because I don’t know what I’ll do if the crotch is too short.

Reading that back it sounds confusing. Yes I did try the pants on to check the fit and they felt fine.  My trouble is that I don’t notice a lot of issues until after I’ve worn the garment for a while.  So a neckline isn’t choking when first tried but may be so after several hours of wear. In like manner, a pair of pants my look great and feel fine, but after several hours of wearing feel uncomfortable or I see my privates outlined by the fabric –never a good look.   It is that 3-8 hour wearing that has not yet occurred and will generate the final verdict of did I alter the pattern correctly or not.  It’s possible  I will be returning to this post to add subsequent changes.


Muley Moleskin Pants

As I mentioned on my regular sewing blog, I’m working a Muley-Brown collection.  I’m calling this color Muley-Brown in honor of the animal which is the same color i.e. the Mule Deer of the Midwest (maybe all of America).  It’s a cool brown as opposed to a warm brown like cinnamon. On a scale of 5, it a 3 tonal value.  It’s not dark but not light either. It seems to contain no red, as would  milk-chocolate. As I said the thing in life I’ve seen closest to this color are the Mule Deer which are fondly called Muleys ergo the Muley Brown Collection.

My fabric is a 100% polyester the very thought of which will make some people’s skin crawl.  I do think there are varying types of polyester.  I remember the rough scratchy polyesters of the ’60’s and I’ve had one ITY that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to wear because when it arrived it felt like a garbage bag. Fortunately a time or two through the wash banished the slick plastic feel. My fabric however, is a moleskin and feels so wonderful I can’t believe that it is poly.  It has a suede twill appearance on the public side whilst the inside is a smooth satin. I love moleskin for winter.  It keeps me warm, looks wonderful; because it has some stretch, it is absolute comfort and I can make pants almost a size smaller.

I chose to use Burda Style 136 from Feb 2011 size 46/48 i.e. 46 everywhere except the back inseam is size 48. I’ve tweaked this pattern to perfection. It now closely resembles the fabulous European pants pattern from Loes Hinse both in appearance and construction.   My measurements put me in a Burda size 44, but I prefer a bit more ease so I use a Burda size 46.  I use a size larger for the back inseam because I need a long back crotch extension and I have knock knees.  I still have to scoop the back crotch about 3/8″. But with this sizing and these minor changes, Burda pants nearly always fit me perfectly.

I’m particularly pleased with my finishing details.  I copied the double belt-loops from an Otto pattern:

Pictures are clickable for larger view

Look at the front zipper. The hard work I’ve put into perfecting the finish of the zipper and waistband has finally paid off! It is perfectly beautiful both inside and out.

Apologize for not taking photos of me.  I’ve been spending most of my time playing with my new toy and really other than that beautiful finish there’s not much more to say and show about this pattern.  It is TNT and whips up in record time.


2012 Autumn 6PAC

I need to get started with my Autumn 6PAC.  As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, I’m having health issues of which one side effect is a slow but constant weight gain. The trousers which fit me last year and even this spring, can hardly be buttoned. They are IMO unwearable because they are uncomfortable and not nicely fitting.  So I’m starting by sewing  trousers and using a recently fitted pattern: February 2011 Burda Style 136.

I used this pattern just a few weeks ago to create summer pants of cotton/silk which I absolutely love.  My 6PAC trouser fabrics consist of a navy blue stretch twill and a very interesting weave of navy, cerulean in the weft and a russet warp. From a distance the effect is a dark grey-navy. Up close, you pretty much see whichever color you want.  I chose to start with the second fabric because it was non-stretch and I would be able to recheck the fit (although my weight gain between versions is insignificant). The fabric ravels so I took time to serge finish edges. I also took time to work on nicely finishing the front.

Finished Front outside

The pockets create extra bulk. I used a left over silk charmeuse for the pocket bag which does help reduce some of the bulk.

I also have issues applying a smooth tummy stay.  I’m using the pattern pieces from Burda as drafted.  I’d like to replace the tummy stay fabric with a lycra or other corset elastic, but first I need to be sure my stay fits and I can proper attach it.  This time I attached the stay after the zipper was inserted but before the waist was finished.  It was tough to do and even harder to describe.  I separated the stay and zipper facing from the pant front and sewing in a little hole attached the stay to the zipper facing with the overlock stitch on my sewing machine.  I did find I needed to trim one side of the stay about 1/2″ shorter than the other.  If  I didn’t there was too much distance between facing and pocket.  The stay would not lay flat but bowed creating a rumpled look on the outside. I think if I were using an elastic, both sides of the stay could be trimmed 1/2″ and both would stretch to fit. But until I get to the point of being comfortable with my procedure, I think I’ll plan on trimming as needed.

Although not shown, I reduced the amount of waist elastic. I ran it from front dart, across the sides and backs to the front dart on the opposite side.  I secured the elastic to the facing side of the waistband by using the overlock stitch on my sewing machine. I secured at each elastic end and at the center back.  This will keep the elastic from rolling but still allows for a floating application.  I prefer the floating elastic because it can be easily adjusted or replaced. I also added an inside button and button tab.  I like the way this keeps the zipper from sliding downwards even a little bit.  My issue was always neatly finishing all this, especially since I added the belt loops. Oh they are so much bulk!  I changed to a size 14 Jeans needle to stitch down the waistband.

However I didn’t stitch down the waist band, or serge the side seams until checking the fit.  As I looked at the pics I realized I could almost get away with the first fit.

First Try On

Almost, because I always wear my tops on the outside and with a vest a little more would be covered. But I realized if I left the pants as is I, most likely, would have to replace them in a short period of time (See the first paragraph regarding health issues.) So I hung them on a peg overnight to consider.

I already knew that the seam could not be let out enough.  Adding a self-fabric strip would not be possible either. There simply wasn’t enough fabric left to cut a single piece the length needed and I didn’t want to do the pin-tuck thing I’d done on the red blouse.  The solution for me was a classic.  I added a 7/8″ navy blue grosgrain ribbon into the side seams.


I serged the side seams to the ribbon which removed 1/4″ from each side and 1/2″ from the width of the ribbon.  The net addition is about 3/8″ each side; 3/4″ total. I also needed to shorten the legs.  Was very surprised because I thought I had already shortened the pattern.  I wanted a neat hem and I didn’t want to try easing the hem area higher upon the leg.  This fabric doesn’t have a lot of give.  My past experiences involving slashing off from the bottom and turning up a new hem, weren’t  always elegant.  I chose this time to apply the grosgrain ribbon to the edge of the pants (after slashing off the bottom).  Grosgrain attached nicely, turned beautifully, spread apart like bias to give the extra length needed at the upper edge of the hem (in this case the ribbon) AND wonder of wonders  grosgrain adds a perfect amount of weight to the hem!  I’ve often substituted bias tape at the hem. In the future I think I’ll stock and use grosgrain ribbon.

Most importantly what a difference in fit!

Final Fit

Instantly comfortable!  Until I put these on, I didn’t realize that the unaltered pair were too tight.  Now I knew adding that 3/4″ ease was an excellent decision. You can see kind of a forward pull at the hip along the ribbon. It’s not from lack of ease.  In fact, there may be too much ease right there and the pant slightly collapses.  IRL it is not noticeable. Also, I may need to scoop the back crotch again.  This is one of those adjustments that can vary from pattern to pattern and fabric to fabric. I don’t really mind showing I have a little shape back there, I just don’t want to outline actual private parts.  This pattern is such a winner for me.


Burda 2011_02_136 The thing that drives us away from sewing

More than fit is the fact that you can’t depend upon achieve the same fit from the same pattern. This is the same pattern as I used with the previous pair the difference being fabric.   The first pair was constructed of a woven with 1% Lycra.  I had to sew the wider seams to achieve the desired fit.  The pattern is designed for woven, not knit, or woven-with-stretch, but woven pant weight fabric.  It’s not unreasonable that the first pair (fabric-with-stretch) needed wider seams.  It is unreasonable that this pair constructed with the designated fabric is too tight. Too tight when standing and knee-constricting when sitting down.  Not sure that this pair is salvageable, so I proceeded to another fabric, a nice silk/cotton again no-stretch.  I added 1/2″ ease to both the front and back pieces.  That adds 2″ ease across the torso, 1 ” for the legs.  Much better:
Now the 3 pictures above are from the first fitting. I’ve added belt loops to this version. I changed to using Louise Cuttings waistband elastic, one of the most wonderful products and which I don’t find on her web site.  (I may regret not buying 20 yards of this stuff when I had the opportunity.) It is different.  Her elastic is more comfortable to wear and slightly softer.  Generally the elastic does relax just a bit, moving slightly downwards on your torso and of course taking your pants with it.  I wanted to use her elastic and decided to add the belt loops to this version.  As you can see, I’m going to need a belt.  The pants are dropping slightly, which creates the knee and ankle fluff in front, the drag lines on the side and back.  All that disappears when the pant rear is pulled up.  I may need to scoop just another 1/4″.  What gravity does to a woman’s butt is terrible.

I’m much happier with my front finish:
I may need to move the inside button over just a little bit.  I also need to dig out the instructions for Loes Hinse 5001 European pant and read her finishing instructions.  I understand now why so many of the members of Stitchers Guild just raved about the European pant.  You don’t need to do all the things I did. You don’t have to make buttons, add a zipper or belt loops.  If you don’t do those things, it sew up nearly as fast as the famous CLD One Seams. Honest!  One-seams need the inseams sewn, the crotch sewn and the attached waistband stitched down.  For these add the side seams, maybe 5 extra minutes…
or go hog-wild with the extra touches and make a fantastic pair of pants.


Burda Feb 2011 #136

What I wanted was the exact styling I had developed in my 428’s but not the 24″ hem circumference of that pattern. I know that a certain amount of flare and ease can be removed from the leg.  In actual practice I’ve found that more than 1/2″  from each side (2″ total) starts effecting the hang of the pant.  I want to remove at least 4″ and maybe more. Given my experience, and since I have so many patterns available, it made more sense to look for a new pattern which has been drafted with a narrower leg. I thought I’d found exactly what I wanted in the February 2011 Burda Style #136 pant. It has all the pieces for my favorite the front slant pocket; was specifically drafted for woven fabrics and finishes with hem circumferences of 16″.
I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with Burda Style.  I totally hate their photographic efforts.  Generally I can’t see the details of the garment because it has been created in dark colors and then the model forced into a quirky pose which conceals the features of the garment.  Often the picture seems to focus on the RTW items so that when looking at the photo I think that the pattern will be the RTW item and what’s in the pattern section is entirely different.  BS rearrangement of the on-line site was so completely disconcerting for me that I never re-registered.  I thought others would discover the secrets of the new site and lead the way. I was even more disconcerted to find that most of the other users have been unable to navigate the English BS site and have taken to reading and linking to the other languages sites. Let’s not forget the actual patterns. Which now come on 4 pages and cause me headaches to trace.  I spend as much time hunting for the pieces as tracing them and nearly always miss some important mark.  For this pattern, February 2011 #136, I didn’t find the straight of grain for the back or the front pleat mark which the instructions assure me that I must make on the front and stitching on the inside.  Trying to locate my size back darts from amongst the 10 on the page which were layered over other blue markings was such a nightmare, I decided that I could add darts wherever needed on my own.  Yes there is more than one pattern on that page using the same ink color. I definitely would not recommend Burda Style for the beginner.  But I still love the actual design details of the patterns and the fit of the pants. So I persist…

This pattern has my 4 darts in the back and 2 tucks (which were easily changed to darts) in the front. It also contains a front zipper. Not a true fly but then I never make a true fly anyway.  I thought it would be a near copy of Loes Hinse popular European pants and was disappointed when reading the instructions which revealed that the waist was 1-3/8″ above the natural waistline. This is a big downside for me. I am short-waisted.  Wearing a high-waisted pant usually looks like I don’t even have a midriff area. A really high waist makes my lungs feel constricted and interferes with my breathing.  Sometime during the day of wearing a high-waist garment, I will look down and see that the high waist has folded down and outward becoming a shelf.  So although there is no mention of boning, I know I need to give serious consideration to supporting that high waist or accepting the “shelf” as a design element.  Or I could trim that waist down to my comfort level.  I chose the latter.

I chose to change the design from a high waist to ending at my waist level. The pattern includes facing pieces.  I’ve traced those and I’ll keep them for reference but the actual pant is made with same attached waistband/elastic-casing as I used with my 428’s.  I do like elastic waistlines.  I don’t like the really bulky waistline, but in this type design the elastic solves my problem of fluctuating waistline circumference and also eliminates the need to tweak the waistline/waistband for each fabric.  I used the 428 pattern pieces to compare with the 136’s and  adapted the waistline height and darts. I continued the now proven practice of tracing the pattern 2 sizes larger than the measurement chart indicated I should select and 3 sizes larger for the back inseam. IOW according to Burda’s sizing chart I’m a size 42. I traced a size 46 except I traced the back inseam from the size 48 line.

I have an interesting cotton/poly fabric I want to use for summer pants.  It’s a white and cream irregular stripe but I have enough for only 1 pair of pants.  I don’t want to waste this fabric, so thought to make a wearable muslin from another piece.  I thought of starting my fall 6 PAC by selecting a brown fabric. Didn’t do that either.  No I decided upon reducing the number of navy blue pant weight fabrics which I’ve over stocked thereby changing my Fall 6PAC color scheme from browns to Navy and Royal blues.  My navy blue fabric is a stretch twill of cotton/Lycra.  This fabric is excellent for  fall/early winter use.  It’s one of those really well-behaved fabrics, which cut, sew and press very easily. I gave an extra effort to making the front closure even, smooth, entirely professional.  I measured and chalk marked where the zipper stitching should begin. Stitched accurately, folded and pressed carefully. I’m still not there yet but this is improved.

This picture is from the first fitting. I was terribly terribly pleased. This is the 4th pattern using combined 46 & 48 sizing and it’s perfect. I took pictures, analyzed and made corrections but didn’t take new pics of the final piece. In these pics, I haven’t tightened the waistband elastic. The back therefore drops making for lots of back wrinkles and some poufy sides. The leg is also too long for wear with flats. Not a problem because during the fall and especially winter, I prefer to wear low (1.5-2″)  heeled boots.

Despite the inaccuracy of the pic, I’m sharing my triumph now. Yes I do feel it’s a triumph and I’m really pleased.