2011-08-137 IRL (in real life)

Note* I meant to make this post before the I’ve got It post however life interfered so I’m doing my wearing review of not yesterday’s pants, but the pants from last week Burda 2011-08-137

My inclination is to try on pants and start tweaking the fit.  But this time, I chose to wear this pair all day; critique after having lived in them; and then determine a course of action.

My first impressions of too much ease in the front and behind the leg is still correct. This was however perfect for walking  along the beach on a sunny day.  The 100% cotton fabric no doubt contributed to the comfort of these pants.  I felt comfortable and appropriately dressed for the activity. After wearing I think the front crotch might be a smidge too long.  I’m glad I hemmed at 1.75′ instead of 1.25 and I feel perplexed.

I’m feeling perplexed because these have a cuff width of 16.5″. Nearly all patterns that are big enough to cover my rear end, also have 20″ and wider cuffs.  Marlena (wide leg, high waist) pants were popular about 2 years ago.  I didn’t make any then and don’t want any now.  Being short, I find that those wide cuffs make me look even shorter and even wider.  I will not wear a cuff wider than 20″ but finding narrower legs and cuffs is a challenge. It’s almost as if someone has decided that plus size ladies are not allowed to wear narrower cuffs. Why?

I did find that for once, I made the perfect fabric choice! Yes! I’ve had more wadders because I chose the wrong fabric for the pattern.  The soft nature of this fabric allows it to drape nicely; close to my body without outlining any body parts.  In another fabric, I might have been calling these “clown” pants. Because of the fabric, I’m thinking of them as comfortable for sunny, hot days.

In short, I like these pants.   I could work on tweaking the pattern.  But I’m really more interested in knowing if I have a repeatable success formula ie. a near fit every time.

I’ve started trolling through all my Burda issues looking for plus sized pants.  *Just a reminder, I’m not plus sized according to the charts.  I buy a size 14P or Large, but my measurements do not fit me into the plus size category either for RTW or patterns including Burda patterns.  But I need generous crotch rise and extensions.  I really am as deep as I am wide and the plus sized patterns seem to best address that figure feature.  So I’m trolling through all of my Burda collection for plus sized pants.  I find that Burda is pretty generous at always including in every issue at least one outfit for the larger sized ladies.   My sewing angel gave me several Burda Plus and Burda Special issues which are devoted entirely to the larger lady.   You’d think there would be an enormous range of styles. I’m finding that Burda uses the same patterns over and over.  Now sometimes, they are using the same style but drafted for different fabrics.  But mostly it is the same style over and over with the exact same details, for the exact same fabrics over and over.  I don’t know if Burda has decided that large ladies only buy these styles or if they decided that large ladies only look good in these styles.  It’s frustration to me to find that I have over 100  Burda styles, but really only a few different patterns. I can see why Burda Plus and Burda Style have lost readership.  What’s the point of our buying the magazine month after month.  Would I buy, over and over again, the same 5 patterns from the Big 4?

I’m feeling particularly frustrated because I want some jean styling in regular non-stretch denim.  I’d also like pants with narrower cuffs.  All I find are the same 20-27″ cuffs and trouser styling.  I’ve seen the exact same jean, in stretch denim at least 3 times.   Shorts? I can’t find anything above the knee.  Hey Burda, I don’t care if you don’t want to see my lily white legs.  When the temps hit 100+ I need to remove some fabric and cool off.  Would you rather that I just wear my bikini panties?

OK maybe I should be more generous. I don’t have every issue that Burda has ever published.  I have only about 40 issues.  I’m sure that I and many others appreciate the repetition of the best patterns.  It just seems like that number ought to be more than 5; would have many different details and  would contain styles that you might not think look good on us, but that we want to wear anyway.




Ok besides the “bad hair”, I don’t really have anything negative to say. My first glance summarizes me as a middle-aged woman dressed for spring temperatures and a casual outing. In this outfit, I’d be fine touring American Battleships, or sitting in the back yard drinking whatever. These pants are not form fitting. I’m not and am not attempting to be a hot-seductress or Hollywood Movie Star. I’m me: MidWestern, Mid-Age American-Female. I’m happy to be so.

I want to start critiquing this pattern with back. Please remember that this the very first try-on.

The waist feels too loose.  Indeed, I had to ease the pant waist to the waistband. I’m reluctant to make the waistband shorter. I’m the person whose waist seems to fluctuate daily, even hourly.  I have some internal issues which are not life threatening, but they do throw a kink into fitting clothing.

I had substituted the pattern piece with my classic JSM waistband after (inadvertently) clipping into the back pieces which resulted in needing to cut another 2 back pieces and their facings.

I wonder if I made a mistake during tracing.  I wonder, because as I looked at the pattern pieces and compared them with my straight edge, they seemed perfectly straight. I had expected a one-piece straight waist band and was surprised to find a 2 piece waistband with facings.  When I discovered my traced pieces look exactly straight, I decided to use my classic straight waistband instead.  For me, the first thing I must fit on pants is the waist.  The fit of the waist(band) affects how the pants hang and even the length of the rise. For me  to fit the crotch and then add a waistband results in disaster. It’s much better for me to start with a waist(band) that fits. My JSM waistband is so reliable that I’m reluctant to make it shorter even for these pants.  I prefer to rely upon belt loops and a belt to adjust the waist. Who knows, tomorrow I may need 2″ extra waist-ease.

This is important, because when the waist fits, I believe that the wrinkles in the back yoke and upper thigh  will disappear

I’m pleased that the crotch looks perfect. It is neither too loose nor too tight but could stand some expert steaming -me being the expert.

I think that the leg may still be too long.  I”m wearing sandles with 3/4″ thick soles. The back leg buckles just above the heel and repeats  up to the back thigh.  This buckling is not the normal pulling (drag lines) from a too short crotch or too tight hip; or the X-wrinkles of which I constantly complain.

In brief, I’m tremendously pleased with the fit of the back.

the Side view…

gives me critical information.  Because of my shape, I’m sometimes unsure if I need more ease in the back or the front.  Viewing the side seam tells me immediately which part of my body is desperately “borrowing” ease.

This pant doesn’t feel tight and the side seam is perpendicular to the floor with a minor tilt toward the back.  IOW, I have adequate ease in both the front and back. Once I tighten up the waist, the tilt will disappear.

I do start to perceive a bit  too much ease in the front.

I have second thoughts about the waistband. I cut the back yoke as directed and ended up with the lovely bias appearance. I cut the waistband on the grain specified, but I’m not so happy.  I feel like I should have tried to match the stripes. But that would have been impossible. Not only do I have 4 seams to interfere, but there are 2 deep front tucks AND the pattern calls for inseam pockets. All factors which affect my ability to match vertical stripes from hem through waistband.  I wish I had cut the waistband with the strips running horizontally.  However, since I normally dress with waistband covered, I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.

Once again, I think this pant is still a bit long.  I’m undecided as to whether I need to hem it 1/2″, or 1″, or more higher.


.I find the “straight on” front view rather shocking.

I’d say the front is a size or more too large.

Yet the crotch hangs without issue.  It could be that the tucks, which introduced more style-ease, are the sole factor in the too-large appearance.  Most often, pants fit me perfectly in front, but need a bit more effort in the back.

I do see that the grain appears to slightly angle inwards at the hem.  This corresponds with the slight lean I noted on the side seam.  I’m not sure but it could again be the effect of the waistband being too large–today.


ONE THING I WANT TO POINT OUT:  the hem is 16.5″ wide exactly what Burda promised!  This is 3″ larger than the Style Arc pattern.  I’m not really sure I want/need a 13.5″ pant cuff.  I really like these. OTOH, I’m not averse to trying another Burda Pattern with a narrower cuff/hem.






So what am I going to do?  Well first thing I’m doing  is throwing confetti in the air.  I’m at a loss to describe how pleased I am with these pants.  Yes they have issues–MINOR issues. I know that I need to sew yet another Burda pant pattern following the same criteria i.e. pant

  • 2 sizes larger than suggested
  • tracing back inseam 3 sizes larger
  • legs 2″ shorter


But for now, I’m making this pair wearable immediately through.

  • adjusting the belt loops need adjusting (not quite wide enough -my fault entirely. )
  • Hemming at 1.75″ instead of 1.25.
  •  Repllacing all the WST with permanent 2.5mm stitching
  • Oh and I’m subscribing to Burda Plus IMMEDIATELY

Burda 2011-08-137

I’ve chosen an all cotton fabric—not the gabardine as recommended.  Gabardine is defined as a tightly woven wool fabric. It seems to me that Gabardine has a diagonal effect in the weave.  Gabardine is good at resisting wrinkles which is one of the reasons it’s a top choice in pants.  My choice of the cotton fabric starts with the hope this pattern might fit. If so, I want something comfortable to wear this summer.  Summer is pleasant in my-neck-of-the-woods.  We have about 1 week of oppressive high temperatures than weeks of comfortably warm weather.  But I still need a lighter-weight, er cooler fabric for summer; and I need protection from the sun and the bugs.  Cotton will give me everything I need except the exact fabric match.  The missing characteristic I’m concerned about is wool’s (gabardine) inherent elasticity that I won’t experience with the 100% cotton.

I traced my pattern as planned i.e. two sizes larger than recommended for my measurements but 3 sizes larger at the back inseam while shortening the legs 2″ . I know it’s an questionable combination.  Like everyone else, I can use Burda’s suggested size for tops based upon my measurements.  I then make the same adjustments to Burda top patterns that I do to the Big 4.  I’m still formulating a theory or reason for why I need a different approach (size wise) for pants. For starters,  I think that I must like more ease in pants than most women. I’m also using non-stretch fabrics (which shouldn’t matter because I’m also using patterns for non-stretch fabrics) because most of the pants fabrics in my stash are non-stretch.

FWIW,   RTW pants NEVER fit me. I buy RTW pants only when I desperately need something immediately. My problem with RTW is not styling.  I do find things I think are appropriate and cute. I often copy RTW details. My issue with RTW pants  is that they  always burrow into my bu tt–what I like to call the Bu tt vortex.  Without question, I need more depth to my crotch than RTW accomodates and possibly more depth than most women need.  I’m hoping I’ve found the magic combination by which nearly all Burda pants will fit me.  If this combination works, I’ll subscribe to Burda and never buy a pant pattern anywhere else.

I’ve sewn with permanent stitching the zipper and the back yoke to back pant leg.  Everything else is sewn with water-soluble thread in the bobbin.  I find the WST will last through steam-less pressing and multiple try-on. When it’s time to rip out, a good sharp yank on the top thread and I’m done. I folded the hem up at the planned depth (1.25″) and then basted into place with WST. I tell you all this to prepare you for my very first fitting with Burda 2011-08-137:



Burda August 2011 Style 137


I continue to dislike Burda’s photographic policies. This pic above wouldn’t tempt me. But this:
especially when compared to Sytle Arc’s Audrey:

has my interest.   Audrey is described “Ankle length with front tucks, narrow leg and angled pockets; approximate hem circumference: size 10 = 34cm ” (about 13.5 inches)  and suggested fabrics  Melton wool and gabardine.

I like the Audrey for several reasons. I find the front tucks very helpful.  My tummy, in addition to being larger than the standard, seems to start almost immediately after the waistband. I’m always, or so it seems, shortening both the front and back darts.   I also like a straight, narrow waistband and belt loops.  While I have nicely fitting pants patterns, I’m desiring a narrow leg design.  At 13.5″,  Audrey fills my wish. But I’m not making the Audrey.

Both Burda 137 and Audrey patterns suggest gabardine for fabric. Both have similar design lines.  I don’t believe the Audrey has a back yoke and 137 has a wider cuff (16.5″).  But  I bought Audrey a size too small. Style Arc patterns come in only one size. Using the Audrey  would necessitating grading up. A process which I did not do successfully with my other Style Arc pattern.  In the end, I made so many changes to the pattern, I couldn’t be sure it  still was a Style Arc pattern.  I’m reluctant to make another 5 pairs of pants to produce one that I won’t wear.  Burda137 is available in multiple sizes- no grading. While  Burda pants sizing is not always reliable for me, I’ve had enough success to tackle another.  I’ve also made a break through that has me anxious to follow up by testing on a different pattern. My discovery is that I need to choose Burda pants by 2 sizes larger than recommended and 3 sizes larger for the back inseam.  That’s probably confusing.  Think of it this way: if I were a size 0, I would trace  a size 2 pattern except I would trace the back inseam of the size 3 (truing lines as needed).

And so begins my next pants fitting experiment.