148 Ver F

I’ve labeled my versions of Burda 12/2012 Style 148 with alpha characters. I started with the very first muslin made at the end of December.  By that reasoning I’m now on Version F.

On Version E ,I first started applying Lena (TheSewingSpace) method of measuring and checking a trouser pattern. I drafted my own waistband with Zero ease and then subtracted 1/4″ at the first fitting.  Then I discovered Lena’s suggestions for my figure problems.  Version F starts with the measuring and checking done, a waistband fitted to my own comfort and now adds the Knock Knee Adjustment of 3/4″ and the Balanced waists (+1″ to  -3/4″ back/front crotch lengths respectively). I wanted to see if/what a difference the new alterations made so I immediately constructed a new muslin.

I’m using a a very old stash fabric of cotton twill.  I know this is very old because I have 5 yards of a 68″ material. Initially when Walmart had their Dollar Fabrics I bought 5 yards.  In less than a year I realized I had “all these 1 yard pieces” sitting around.  I decided that 4 yard suit-making-cuts would be a better choice for me.  That this is 5 yards  tells me that I’ve had it between 15 and 20 years.   That it still here, tells me it has never been suitable for use. Why? I think it’s the color.  It is a tan with a greenish cast. Most greens make me look slightly ill and I avoid placing them near my face. With 5 yards I must have been planning a suit consisting of jacket with pants.  I”m no longer sewing jackets so I have 5 yards for pants. Pants in a greenish tan color.  I’ve decided to use the fabric as a muslin but it still has a sever short-coming.  No Stretch.  Burda says to use a fabric with horizontal stretch. On my first fitting I discovered why.  While I can stand up and walk around, sitting is uncomfortable. The pants definitely bind at the knees and back of the calve. At first I thought to discard the muslin as well. Then I decided it might be possible to pursue basic fitting with this shell.

So camera in hand I went up stairs to compare this muslin Ver F with the previous muslin Ver E:

This is the new Version:

For the record, I wouldn’t wear these even in the house.  I’m particularly anxious to see is how the two new alterations affect the pants fitting. So lets start with the front.

Version E (all the colored lines) contains a multiple of drag lines from the ankle, around the knee, the upper leg and side.  It’s also displays the  camel toe feature beneath the zipper.  The hem of version F has been turned up and basted at 2″ instead of the 1.25″ used on Ver E. That could account for the smoother lower leg. But look at the knees. The reduction in wrinkles is amazing. The camel toe is gone, but there are still multiple side drag lines and I don’t know why the fabric is following the contour of my abdomen.

The drag lines on the side are significant on side views. However there are many fewer wrinkles on the new version F (right). I’m surprised that the pant looks smaller. As I recall, I removed the tape from the previous crotch wedges and and carefully placed the sections back together in their original formation before proceeding with the knee and balance alterations. The first fabric is a soft corduroy with a little stretch. I serged the edges of Ver E together at the serger. I planned not to keep this VerF and basted the seams at the sewing machine. It is possible (even likely) that the seam allowances are wider and therefore the pant would be tighter.  Of significance to me is that on first glance I would assume the pant on the right was too tight across the abdomen. Whereas with the pant on the left, I assumed there was plenty of ease and start trying to find another answer.  So even though Ver F looks tight I will be making two adjustments, that letting out the side seam and raising it.

I want to look closer at the side seam of Ver F

The side seam is still leaning, this time in two directions.  AT the moment I’m going to assume that this fabric lacks the needed ease and is causing the bend at the knee. But I’m going to assume that the line leaning from hip to waist is an issued retained from VerE.  At the same time I lift the side seam I want to move it towards the back.  I know there is excess waistline ease in the back.  I plan to add a second, narrow dart in the back.

There is no doubt that Ver F back is better looking than Ver E still I don’t want to wear this pant especially while standing in the bank line. It shows the diagonal drag lines on the side as well as the back bubble which had nearly disappeared at the end of fitting 4 on Ver E.

Over all I think the two alterations made a significant improvement in the first fitting.  I’m thinking that I need to carefully note the fitting alterations.  I had to take my own measurements. I know that means there were most likely errors. (You try measuring the distance between your ankles while standing upright.)  I’m really thinking I need to add the changes to the original calculations and use the total when fitting the next pattern.


New Muslin for 148’s

When I retired, I thought I’d be able to sew all day long any day I wanted.  What really happens is that I sew for 3-4 hours,about that many days a week. Writing my own blog(s) requires a surprising amount of time and then I follow a large number of blogs.  So I measured and adjusted the pattern on day 1. On day 2 I did my first muslin.

I began fitting at the waist.  Actually the waistband felt pretty good. It was drafted with Zero ease.  I like a waistband that hugs me and doesn’t slide either down or upwards. But I did think it needed to be just a smidge tighter.  I removed 1/8″ from each end, total 1/4″ length from the waistband. Ah just right.  Then I began working on the front/side wrinkles


These wrinkles occur with just about every pair of pants I make. Usually not so bad. In fact sometimes they are barely visible. I never know how to get rid of them. I’m always perplexed because they extend mid-front across mid-thigh

The side looks amazingly different and only 1/4″ has been removed from the top, at the side seam.

I always thought that I needed just a bit more ease across the tummy. This particular time though it was obvious at the start the pant has too much ease everywhere. So I begin smoothing the wrinkle in various directions and found that I could smooth straight up and into the waistband! The great surprise was that by smoothing away this front-to-side wrinkle caused the back bubble (which occurs frequently when I’m making pants)  to disappear

Here’s something interesting. On the right the pants are obviously too tight, yet the wrinkles above are nearly all gone. Unfortunately the wrinkles underneath are worse

The front/side wrinkle probably needs to be smoothed a bit more maybe all the way to the center back, but then my back and front crotch are obviously too short. Do I dare lift even more, even further?  So far I’ve been lifting only the side from about front dart to back dart.

To tell the truth, it actually took 4 fittings and photo sessions to get from the pics on the left to the pics on the right. In addition to smoothing that front wrinkle, I increased and decreased the side seam allowance; and while the front and side were improving the back wrinkles over the thigh were getting worse.

I had continue to read the blog at TheSewingSpace and found that Lena described in her blog posts her methods of altering for my figure problems: the tilted waist and knock knees.

Lena addresses my tilted waist through a process she calls Skirt Balance . She provides a great method for calculating the amount to adjust the balance and then shows the pattern alteration.  I followed her instruction.  While moving the top parts of my pants patterns into their new positions, I suddenly realized that her method would correct the front/side wrinkle, shorten the front crotch, and lengthen the back crotch in one adjustment. I prefer a single alteration to many. My method is to slash and overlap a front wedge; then slash and spread a back wedge.  Usually I tackled the back bubble, which shortens the back crotch then I need to scoop the crotch some more. This time I lifted the waist 3 times to smooth out the wrinkles.  Which took care of the side wrinkles and back bubble, but if you look closely on the side seam, you will see that my side seam is leaning forward.  I still need to do something to straight the side seam.

Granted, the entire seam appears to be leaning forward, but especially it veers forward sharply around the front/side wrinkle level.

Lena has a method of measuring and calculating the knock knee adjustment that I’ve never seen before.  I came up with a distance of 3/4″. This kind of makes sense. By tracing the back inseam of the next size larger (my usual method with Burda patterns) I was extending the back crotch and adding 3/8″ ease for the knee. Unfortunately that also added 3/8″ to the inner thigh and adds to all those back-of-the-thigh AKA under-the-butt wrinkles. I didn’t really follow her instructions for the alteration. I mean I couldn’t. Instead of the step-by-step process she used for the Skirt Balance, she provides a laundry list and a schematic. I think I maybe confused by all the numbers and labels  on the schematic and then a formulation at the end. Next time when I’m fresh, I’ll go through her Knock Knee adjustment again. This time I did the slash and slide method. I moved the bottom half of the leg towards the inseam 3/4″ and then trued the seam lines.

And now I’m ready for muslin #2.

I have lots of praise the The SewingSpace and Lena.  There is much free information and, available for purchase, the well written ebooks .


Pattern Measurements

ETA see last paragrah

In my last post I admitted that I needed to get smarter, more analytical about pants. It’s not enough to simply trust the sizing charts, even when I’ve previously had success with a chosen size.  The fabric has to be factored in the equation.  Stretch can be calculated. The effect (of stretch) should be able to be calculated. But I don’t want to draft a pattern. I don’t want to decide on the hundreds of details which make up a pattern, I just want to buy a commercial pattern and tweak it to fit me to my satisfaction. But how to get smart enough to make those tweaks.

Someone at SG made a comment about the The Sewing Space a blog by an enthusiastic dressmaker who sews both for herself and for others, owned by  Lena. I surfed to her blog and found this intriguing ebook “How to Adjust Trouser Patterns to Personal Measurements”.  She gives just a few hints as to the contents but that few hints was enough for me to want to download and read the rest. After reading I decided to try out her ideas.

I pulled out the last tracing of Burda 12/2012 #148 and began measuring and adding the balance lines Lena uses.  Lena says to use the seat line because it’s always drawn. Well, not on Burda Master Pattern Sheets.  There is a mark on the side seam that might be around the hip line but I think it is the zipper placement line. Fortunately, Lena includes instruction for how to manually calculate these lines with the caution they might be off since we don’t really know where the pattern cutter placed their seat line.   As expected, the Burda pattern met Lena’s standards with one exception. The grain line of the back piece does not bisect the leg hem.  It’s about 2″ off.  I feel if I took the  time to register for a class and attend (i.e. download the book, read and try out the instruction) then I really should follow through and continue to use teacher’s instructions.  When the class is over, I can always decide to return to my former ways. So for now, I drew the grain line where Lena wants it which parallels the Burda grain line but is separated by about 2″.  One thing that really concerned me is how angled the top of the back pant pattern piece is. I can clearly see that it juts out and almost lays over on its side.  Very unlike any jean, trouser or slack pattern I’ve ever used.  This makes me feel uneasy about the fashion design itself but I continue.

I continue by measuring all the places Lena suggests and a few more.  I add to the list of measurements my abdomen and it’s distance from the seat line. I also measure from center front to side seam across the abdomen and center back to side seam across my prominent rear. Since knees always are an issue, I measured my knees. Knowing that my waist is tilted, I measure the front of the crotch separately from the back and then added the two figures together for the total crotch curve.

Lena provides a formula to check the amount of pattern ease.  I started checking and realized I had traced the wrong size pattern!  I weigh the same today as I did on November 1.  I gained 3 pounds over the holidays and spent the last 2 months shedding the same 3 pounds. My weight is the same, but my measurements have drastically changed.  I’m need a pattern 1.5 sizes larger.

I chose to retrace the pattern using the size larger than my measurements. I redrew all the balance lines and checked all the pattern measurements.  Finally I calculated the pattern ease and started comparing the pattern measurements with my measurements. I found that even though the pattern is a half-size larger than I should use, most of the circumferences were correct when the pattern ease was added to my own measurements.  The waist is too large. I opted not to adjust the waist at this time.

I did measure the crotch. The total length is fine but when I compare front crotch to front and back crotch to back, the front crotch is 1″ too long and the back 1″ too short. Lena only address the total length.  I know if I do not fix this now, there is no way the pants will be comfortable to wear. They will ride up in front, pull down in back and the back will be cutting into my crotch i.e. the bu tt vortex. I contemplate what action to take. I’m unwilling to discard years of experience even for this new teacher.  It’s quite obvious from my side view that my waist is tilted.  It is seldom that I do not need to adapt for my tilted waist.  So with heavy heart, I changed the crotch adding 1″ to the back by adding a wedge up where the crotch line is straight and removing  a 1″ wedge from the front crotch also where the crotch line straightens. I know the instructions usually show drawing the wedges lower down, but then you must true the crotch curve. My making the adjustment where the crotch curve is straight creates little or no need to true the crotch.

One other observation on the crotch. For some time now, I’ve traced the back inseam one size larger. When do Lena’s measuring and comparing,  I realized that tracing the larger back inseam almost made the back crotch long enough. It might still be 1/4″ too short, which I then correct at the first fitting by scooping the back crotch. It was interesting to see and really understand what I was creating/doing instead of just doing something because it works.

I  compared leg measurements and was surprised to find that the seat to knee measurement was fine but the knee to hem line was 2″ too long. Because of all the wrinkling under the butt, I’ve thought for ages that my pant legs need to be reduced on both sides of the knee. Since the measures corresponded,  I made the entire change below the knee and  trued the lines.

At this point I added a front fly flap (the pattern is designed for a side zip. I want a front zip).  I added the hem and seam allowances.

I followed Lena’s lead and drafted my waistband with zero ease.  I like an under/over lap and so I added 2″ to the end of waistband. Then I clearly marked the waistband pattern with center back, side seams, center front and where I planned belt loop placement.

I have some reservations about this process.  Lena is providing a basic process that doesn’t address such things as knock knees, tilted waists and prominent booties.  I’m sure there are other physical anomalies that should be on the list. (See the ETA below)  The ebook will provide a draft that is the basically long and wide enough over all. I have slim hopes that this first version will make me proud. Nonetheless, I like what she’s written in the ebook. It is the beginning of a good pattern-measurement check list. I love the fact that I’m completing this analysis before even laying out the fabric. I’ve had patterns that were doomed to be wadders before I pulled them out of the envelope.   I love the fact that I’m making sure this pattern  has a ghost of a chance to be come a wearable garment. So even knowing my pattern probably still has issues, I whole heartedly recommend this little ebook ” How to Adjust Trouser Patterns to Personal Measurements” and commend Lena for her effort to create a logical, understandable process for altering trouser patterns to fit. Thank you Lena.

ETA: I’ve returned to Lena’s Blog site TheSewingSpace. She addresses my fitting issues of tilted waist and knock knees in blog posts. Also her ebook “All About Body Measurements” covers the tilted waist. Lena uses the term “Balance” to describe the tilted waist.  I would have had an even more favorable review of the Trousers ebook had I purchased and used the AABM ebook first. Lena seems to have the attitude that she need not mention those things in the Trousers ebook because she’s already written about it in the AABM. I bought the AABM. I think both books are essential. Interestingly she was inspired to develop these books and her method because she was frustrated at not being able to quickly and accurately fit commercial patterns.  Sound like anyone you know??  Her site is a wealth of information and does have a tutorials index tab.  Perhaps I should have explored her site in full before attempting to use the Trousers ebook.  

Next up is sewing and first fitting.


Analyzing Burda 12/2012 Style 148

Since I’m struggling with fit, yet again, I’ve decided to reevaluate this amazing style.  I made the first pair shortly after the magazine landed in my hands.  I have been hunting for a slim legged pant in Burda plus sizes.  Once I discovered the solution to fitting Burda pants to my figure, I’ve been totally enamoured and avoiding other brands.  Unfortunately it seems the Burda philosophy is that plus sized ladies, whom they note as “Women’s Sizes” should only wear trousers with wide legs. Granted, trousers and wide legs are easier to fit but they are not really attractive.  Me, the pear-shaped women, look like a short, wide bell. My weight visually increases by a few hundred pounds. Wide legs are not the plus womans friend. (Neither are jeggings but that’s another story.)  So I set about fitting for me this style:

In retrospect, I do see many leg wrinkles on this lady, whom I’m sure is not wearing a women’s size. (Also pretty sure she is taller than 5’3″)> But Burda, being Burda, has put her in black with an eye-catching tan vest covering her from shoulder to nearly the knee. Also, a back view is never shown.

Even so my first pair of stretch, wide-wale corduroy, didn’t turn out all that badly.

Version 1

Not really horrible, but I do know that I can fit pants better.  The worst on the back is the excess fabric between butt and knee.  There is some pulling at the knee. The side indicates the excess on the back thigh, buckling (like the knee problem is too long a leg), and a few horizontal pull lines at the top below the waistline.  The front view has me thinking, once again, that these are simply too long. I’m seeing horizontal folds beneath the waistband but the pants feel like they are too long in the crotch (as well as the leg). Overall, my pants have less wrinkles than do Burda’s model.   Still I don’t like publicly wearing pants with those drag lines on the back of the leg.  I decided these could be for house wear and, as it was winter, worn outside under a car coat.

A short time later, I completed pair #2

Optimistically, I converted the pattern to pull on pants by removing the front zipper flap and ignoring the darts.  I shortened the leg another inch, scooped out the crotch again and added just a wee bit of ease to the side seams at the waist.  I felt the pair above bordered on excellent.  Most of the back wrinkles were gone. There is some pulling at the knee still; and something still going on just below the waistband. It could be resulting from using my standard waistband which finishes at 1.5″ instead of the recommended 1″.  Unfortunately I did not add enough ease at the waist for a pull on pant. Also my elastic was terrible. It would not recover properly.  I wore these several times before cutting the the 3rd pair:

I shortened the leg another inch and took 1/2″ out of both back and front crotch length.  These look good although I think I’m beginning to see a need for ease around the tummy. I think all the back wrinkling is originating at my knock knees.  The torso still looks too long, but I can’t shorten the crotch again or it will be too short. So something is going on between hip and waist but I don’t know what it is or how to fix it. I made this pair from an expensive  satin-backed moleskin. I added the zipper and belt loops.  I’d felt that Ver2 was really good and Ver3 would be near perfect. However, when I sat down the moleskin didn’t stretch enough and the leg would rise to mid calve -not a look or feel I like.  I could not wear them a second time. I blamed the fabric and looked for something in my stash with substantial stretch.

My 4th version is constructed from a cotton/lycra twill.  I think it’s lycra.  The fabric has been in my stash for some time.  If it were the old rubber stuff, it would have hardened, cracked and flaked by now. It stretches from 4″ to 5.5″ which is 20+%.  Burda says only to be sure to use a pant weight fabric with horizontal stretch.  I do wish they’d be more specific.

When I stitched this fabric together, my machines complained.  I could hear the serger pounding away.  I changed the needles to a size 14 Elx705.  No help. I decided to serge the edges, single layer and complete the remaining construction at the SM (Designer Ruby).  Ruby complained. I had frequent “motor overload” messages.  I changed from a size 12 to 14, to jeans 14, to 16.  Basting the waistband was nearly impossible. Belt loop plus interfaced-waistband plus dart was simply too much.  I didn’t think this fabric was particularly heavy or thick. Not like fleece, fur or wool blanketing. But it’s construction is so tight I will not be finishing the fitting.  I’m also not sure the following issues are pattern or body fitting problems. I think the fabric has a tremendous effect on:

Version 4

While reviewing the 3 previous versions and also all the Otto 5/2007 #16 versions, I noted that the side seams were not bisecting my side. There appeared to be more front fabric than back fabric.  The seams didn’t lean. They were straight up and down, it was more like I was not correctly positioned in front of the camera– in every side view. OK I may miss once or twice, but I’ve got both the floor where I stand and the camera position marked so I can set up the photo shoot the same every time. I decided that it’s entirely possible I need the back side to be one size larger.  I’m already tracing the inseam one size larger,  what happens if I make the entire back piece one size larger? That’s what is seen in Version 4.  I also added 3/4″ ease to the front pattern side between hip and waist.  Looking at those pics of Otto 5/2007#16 I was pretty sure I’m needing more ease at the front waist.  It’s only been 2 weeks between the construction of Ver 3 and Ver4.  I’ve not gained a full pound during that time. So why does this pair look like it has so much less ease?  Has to be the fabric. Ver4 has the worst combination of too tight rear, excess back thigh ease, knee wrinkles and pull lines beneath the waistband. I’m more than tempted to lay it all on the fabric. Considering the issues at the serger and sewing machine, who could blame me?  But I also realize I need a better way of evaluating patterns. I used 4 different fabrics, all with measures of stretch, and I have had 4 different results. I’m not ready to quit on this pattern. I just need to get smarter.


Tweaking Burda 2012-12-148

Todays post will underscore what we all know, “What a difference that fabric can make”.

This is the 3rd time I’ve made this pattern. I planned to tweak the pattern more than I did. After the last version I had decided to shorten the front crotch length 1″, the back crotch 1/2″; shorten the legs 1.5″ and add 1/2″ ease to the front.

But my fabric choice has slightly different characteristics.  I’m using the polyester lycra Moleskin from Fabric.com purchased I think about 18 months ago.  This doesn’t qualify as an old fabric, but I do think of it as a woven fabric which fulfills my knit/old/woven self-promise.  Even with 3% lycra content it has only about 20% stretch –and that’s when I pull hard. It is wonderful pants fabric; wonderful to wear. The satin-back finish is silky and smooth slipping over tights or long johns and doesn’t tend to hang up on hips, calves or any other bumps. But I was leery of sewing without the greater stretch of the two previous fabrics. So I shortened the front and back crotches evenly by 1/2″. I made sure to add my belt loops this time and a fly front.  Even with stretch, they are easier to pull up and down if the waist is opened during the process.  I shortened the leg 1″. I did not add ease to the front. Instead I planned, and executed, eliminating the front darts and easing the front pant to the waistband.  I also added 1/2″ to the waistband which wasn’t part of my previous evaluation.

When standing, these pants are comfortable to wear.  I was thrilled during the fitting and eager to finish and take pics for final evaluation.  I don’t know why these pics are blurry. I used the tripod. I hope they are clear enough for you to follow my evaluation. The color was called “Med Grey” however it is to me a dark grey –close to black.  I thought it had a blue undertone but when matching thread I used a dark, very dark green so a touch of yellow in there somehow.  The first pic above is pretty close in actual color. The pics to follow were lighted as much as possible for discussion.

The back is always the most worrisome for me.

I’ll reiterate that these feel comfortable, all 3 pairs.  With the first version I had added to the side seams and shortened the legs about an inch before making up. The first fabric has the greatest stretch and the pant back looks almost nice between waist and thigh. The 2nd pair really suffered from the change to an elastic pull-on waist. I shortened the elastic several times but this 3/4″ elastic was just not enough to keep the pants in place. None the less they too looked relatively OK between waist and thigh.  The third version is bubbling beneath the waistband (despite the crotch length being 1/2″ shorter) and I’m seeing the bu tt vortex develop.  Definitely the 1/2″ must be returned to the back crotch length. I’m inclined to think that this less stretchy fabric (even though the pattern specified 20% stretch) needs more ease.

Shortening the leg length went a long ways towards eliminating the back of leg wrinkles. From knee to ankle is perfect.  I don’t particularly like this length.  When I sit down about 6 inches of leg is exposed.

Both the knee and behind the thigh wrinkles have been reduced. The glaring X wrinkles of version 1 have all but disappeared.  There is still a suggestion of too much ease across the back thigh. Although how can I both add ease for the hip and side without adding a smidgen of ease anything further down is a mystery.  The lessor ease of Fabric 3 may be helping to control the wrinkles.  A known solution for knock knees is to reduce the ease to the point the fabric clings to the leg and can move neither upwards nor downwards.

The side views

…are even more interesting. While the leg now hangs nicely from hip downward, the excess ease across the back thigh is very evident as is the insufficient ease across the tummy. Note again that the pattern ease has not changed, only the stretch factor of the fabric and waistband. Ver 2 is by far the worst of the 3 side views. I think that’s because the waist elastic is not holding the band to the waistline.

The front views

I’m happy with the front view of Ver 3. It’s obvious that I still need a little more tummy room but nearly all of the wrinkles are gone.

I had planned to use Ver 3 as my grey/black pair of pants for the Spring 6 PAC.  But after today, I don’t think so.  Having worn these for a day I can tell I have a fabric/pattern mis-match. The 3% Lycra, 20% stretch is not enough to be comfortable in all body positions.  This has me squirming and pulling at my clothes.  Not an activity I like or am patient about doing for long.   That’s in addition to the crotch pulling down at the center back and the leg hem migrating upward 6″.

I also note this pattern has a leg-hem circumference of 15″. I think for my body that’s just not enough.  I have the knock-knee problem to deal with.  I can either cover it by adding ease at the right place or accept the X-wrinkles in the back. I thoroughly dislike the X wrinkles, so I want to be sure to allow sufficient ease. I would still like to have a pant and pant pattern with a slim leg opening.  While Burda makes a good pant block for my figure, they use a very limited range of hem circumferences.  Burda seems to push the 20-24 hem circumference especially for us in the “women’s”  size range. 20″ is the maximum I think flatters my stature. .  After that my figure takes on a pyramid shape with all the width at the floor.  I think I can chalk this one up as another learning experience or at least the project as a whole (narrow legs)  needs more thought.

I think all 3 pairs will be donated to the Goodwill by the end of winter.  They’re fine for wearing around the house but I know I can do better.


Version 2 2012-12-148


While the first pair were slightly disappointing, this second pair are bordering on excellent! First let me talk about the changes to the changes.  The first pair was cut using a size 46 tracing with a size 48 back inseam.During cutting, I add 1/2″ to the seam allowances.  Even with the tremendous stretch of the fabric, the waist of the first pair was tight.  I had to release the darts and cut a new waistband.  The pair was comfy, but developed the despised X-wrinkles in the back leg.   I have at least 5 Burda pants patterns that fit perfectly using the 46/48 tracing.  I wasn’t sure if the fabric created the problems or the larger seam allowances or if maybe this style just doesn’t work with my body.


I also noted that the leg length of the first pair might seem a little long because the narrower leg did not allow the pant to slide down all the way.  The first change then was to add the hem vents.  I also hemmed this pair at 1.25″ instead of 1″.

I decided that I needed extra ease only between my tummy and my waist. On the pattern I slashed along the grain line from waist to hip level and spread 3/4″ at the waist.  I cut this second pair without any extra for the seam allowances.

My fabric for the 2nd pair is a baby corduroy purchased 2 years ago.  I think it said 27 wale which is so fine you think velvet, but so short and cottony you know it isn’t.  It boast 30% stretch and a good yank can make it stretch even further.  This is important because at sewing I decided to change from zipper front opening to just pull on pants.  I did not stitch any of the darts. The pant is entirely completed at the serger and coverstitch with one exception.  I like to be able to adjust the elastic and never serge it to the garment.  I create a casing and insert the elastic into the casing.  I find the easiest method for me is to create a buttonhole in the back of the waistband for elastic insertion.  So only the buttonhole and the elastic join were created at the sewing machine.


The waistband was folded to the back, secured with Steam A Seam and then cover stitched on the front.  Which I pull these pants on the waistband will only stretch so much.  I’m not sure if that’s the Steam A Seam or the cover stitching.  I’ll find that out after the first laundering.  I’m making note to myself that I might want to do that stitching at the sewing machine as well.


No pockets, no zipper and cover stitch finishing makes for very little sewing time. Or would have.  I made the mistake of sewing the back inseams together and the front inseams together.  Much that I hated to, I spent some time ripping out these seams so they could be correctly stitched to each other.  I had scooped out the back crotch pattern about as much as the final crotch on the first pair. When stitching the crotch it had an awkward convex bump.  I needed to smooth the crotch during  joining front and back.  I’m not sure how to copy this back to the pattern but am making note of it now so that I will at least consider this issue the next time I make the pants.


Usually, I critique the pant from each view (front, side, back)  but I think we are seeing the same issues in each view.

1) The pants are hugging my knees.  The diagonal lines radiating from the knee suggest that the pant leg could be made slimmer.  I’m not sure I want it any slimmer.  I don’t wear jeggings.  I wear tights but under a skirt or pants not under a tunic or other top.  I’m of an age and mind where I want my clothes to say I’m still alive. Still Active. Still aware of the world and still participating NOT” I’ll spread my legs for you”.

2) The hem of this pair has a 13″ circumference.  Even with the vent they cannot slide down to the level I prefer which is 1/2″ above the floor. They’re trying but clearly they are stacked between shoe and knee. I’m thinking just because they are a slim fitting leg, they need to be shortened another 3/4-1″.

3) They are too long from crotch to waist.  I’m listing this next even though I see those other diagonal wrinkles, because this is clearly an issue not only in the pic’s but as I’m wearing.  The front crotch needs to be shortened another 1″. The back only about 1/2″.  It’s possible to remove this waistband, trim the top edge and replace the waistband, but not until the first laundry when the Steam A Seam has loosened it’s death grip.  I did have to trim the waist elastic twice.  I started with 35″. Overlapped it 2″. Then pulled it back out and trimmed another 2″. I’m guessing that this elastic, a 3/4″ non-rolling purchase from Walmart, stretches more than I’m accustomed and needs to be 30″ long–for me. Your Mileage WILL Vary.

4) Part of those diagonal wrinkles are from the excess torso length, but I’m looking at some and the way the side seam wants to swing forward just at the waist and I think maybe the front needs a bit more ease? Or could that be corrected by rearranging the fabric along the elastic?

On thing I have noticed is that most slim pants have more wrinkles.  More wrinkles than jeggings and more wrinkles than trousers.  I’m wondering if that’s just inherent to the slim pant or if we really can tweak out all those drag lines.

I’m really pleased with this pair.  The first pair is comfy and will get wear at least this year. But this pair are decent enough to be worn outside the house and still comfy.  After the first pair I was considering discarding this pattern. But now my faith in Burda has been renewed and I will be making more.


Burda 2012-12-148

Oh I didn’t mean to drop the ball on this.  I’ve finished the first pair.  Yes, first because despite the problems, which I will describe, I like these. I added 1/2″ to the side seams for the first pair.  When I serged the sides together I didn’t trim any fabric.  Although I wondered if the darts were really necessary, I stitched them in but didn’t hem the legs or add a buttonhole/button to the waistband.  I took pictures of the first fitting despite the unsatisfactory result. With 2 inches added to the torso, the waistband was too tight.  I had to leave the waistband unsecure which I believed contributed to


all the wrinkles in the back. Even the front


had issues and from the side


the drag lines from the waist are really visible.  However it did tell me that I had the length right, the crotch needed scooping a little (so what’s new?)  and I liked the feel of the pants themselves.  Lycra makes a difference. Oh yes it does.

So I took the time to rip the waistband and cut a new one.  I let out the darts in front.  When I replaced the waistband, I inserted elastic.  My waist circumference changes a lot, from day to day, sometimes hour to hour.  I’ve learned to live with it and having not planned nor cut belt loops, the elastic alternative is welcome. When I replaced the waistband, I also added a hook and eye closure and hemmed the pants.  In retrospect, I was a bit optimistic.  Front final fitting


still shows some diagonals pointing to my rotund belly and wrinkles between knee and ankle.  I think the legs may be a bit long.  They are also hanging up on my socks. Corduroy is a little velcro-like and it’s showing here.  But then my knock-kneedness is being revealed by the closer fitting leg.  The hems finished at 14″ (that includes the extra added to side seams and back inseam).  The side


confirms what we were seeing on front complete with diagonals pointing to tummy and knee buckling.  Again, perhaps the leg is too long and perhaps the tighter leg is revealing my knees and perhaps the corduroy tackiness is preventing this from being truly lovely. Then the back


makes me grit my teeth.  Yes I scooped. I scooped twice.  At least my girly parts aren’t highlighted front, side or back.  The pants now feel comfortable at the waist.  They do highlight the divot on my side.  That’s me. My side kind of swoops in right there above the joint.  I think my tush itself looks good, but all those diagonal X wrinkles emanating from the knee,,, well GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. I spent so much time and effort. I finally thought I’d found the perfect answer (Burda size 46 with size 48 back inseam) and BLAMMMMO  they’re back.

So what to do.  Well sneak peak with top and vest


they’re not so bad.  It even helps to stand naturally instead of all posed so that “things’ can hang. I’m leaving this pair like they are. For starters even with all the wrinkles I look better in these than 90% of the other people in the grocery line.  I need to do something about the length.  I don’t really want  shorter pants, so perhaps a hem vent (the pattern originally called for hem zippers).  I think the back crotch needs to be scooped, yet again.  The trouble with scooping is that it must be done in small amounts (1/4″ at a time) and the fabric itself can make a difference as to how much needs to be scooped. Scary part is you have to scoop and trim. This is not one that can be tested. You have to wade in on blind faith and scoop another 1/4″ until the crotch sits the way you want it.  Despite the inherent stretch of this fabric (about 40%), I needed a larger waist. 2″ was enough for the waist but I still need a bit more for the tummy and if I don’t want my hip divot to show, I need a bit more in that area BUT it all needs to taper away before the knee.  With the knock knee issue either you need lots of ease so the fabric skims past the knee or you need very little ease so the fabric hugs the knee tightly and refuses to migrate either up or down.  I think an easier solution will be adding a dart like wedge starting at the knee and widening at the waist to about 3/4”.   It’s one of those things I’ll just have to plink with until I get it right.

But this is one of the pant styles I really want in my wardrobe.  A slimmer leg looks much better with the billowing




Burda Dec 2012 Style 148


I was very focused on OttobreDesign patterns before the December 2012 issue of Burda Style arrived.  I subscribe to both the Burda Style and Burda Plus magazines, for now. I do this because while my measurements put me in the top of the Burda Style sizes (44) I’m more comfortable wearing Burda pants which are one size larger. My size pant is rarely in Burda Style so I was somewhat astonished to see these.  You could have knocked me over with a feather, though, when I realized that these are slim fitting.  For some reason Burda has decided that women over a size 44 should not be allowed to make slim fitting pants.  OK that’s my opinion but it’s based on the fact that I have 3 current years, 3 old years and numerous plus sized issues (dating back to 1992) none of which contain a slim fitting pant for the larger ladies.    I always think this is odd.  The average woman is 5’5″ and 150 pounds.  Put a billowing leg on her and she looks 4’5″ and 550 pounds.  But I digress…

I was thrilled to find this pattern.  The magazine has only been in my hands 3 days. I’ve already traced the pattern (size 46 everywhere except tracing size 48 back inseam and scooping just a bit out of the back crotch curve).   I’ve also selected my fabric.  It is a light-blue narrow-wale corduroy.  Pretty sure I picked this up thinking jacket. But since I rarely wear jackets, I’ve started using such cuts for pants.  Did I mention this was a stretch cotton?  Lots of stretch, at least 30% which will work perfectly for this pattern.

This fabric has been in my stash a long time. At least 10 years.  I think it may have languished there because I wear corduroy only in the winter months and therefore sew with it for only about 6-8 weeks each year.   But also this is an odd blue.  It doesn’t match easily; hasn’t matched with any other garment I’ve sewn.  This blue has been diluted with a dab of some other color and then has been lightened considerably.  It is a very complex color and would work best with a contrasting color. Being that I like to dress monochromatically, I was pleased to have a big ol- left over piece.  I had enough to also cut one of my favorite vests, Kwik Sew  3185. But I’ll discuss that on my other blog.

The pattern calls for a straight waistband.  I know some of you ladies despise that the straight waistband so it’s only fair to warn you about the issue.  The pattern calls for a 2″ wide waistband (folded in half and stitched down) located at the natural waist.  I prefer a slightly wider waistband and made mine 3″.   There are also 4 darts (2 front 2 back) which I think might be dispensed with, depending upon the stretch of the fabric.  It’s an idea for a future pair but already I’m thinking this pattern has potential as a pull-on pant.

It also has a side zipper. Even though I’m fairly confident with how Burda pants fit me, I’m still cautious especially with the first use of any pattern.  Pants are tricky to fit on me.  Add to that the stretch in one fabric is almost guaranteed not to match the stretch of another and I decide to add a fudge factor.  For the first pair, I cut the side seam allowances 3/4″ wide.  I’ll serge the side seams at 1/4″ and then take the sides in as needed.  Can’t do that easily if I have a side zipper.  I did consider using a back zipper, but to be honest, the front fly zipper is my favorite and really easy to adapt.  So I changed the zipper to a front zipper and ignored the zippered lower legs.  I may use  all those zipper options in the future, but not this first pair.

Being that I’m shorter than the Burda standard, I did not add additional for the hems.  I will forever be grateful to Nancy Erickson who made this hemming suggestion: “straighten the last 3″ on each side of the leg”.  You’re really only adding one to 3/8″ at the very bottom of the leg.  So the flare is not greatly affected. However your hemming is.  When stitching you don’t have to angle in and then angle out.  If the hem needs to be shorter it easily turns up without anything wonky at the seams.  Similarly if the leg turns out to be a bit short, it easy to add a grosgrain ribbon or facing without any wonkiness in the legs where you did that angle in angle out stitching.

On the downside, I’m hoping this is not a legging/jegging. I certainly didn’t catch that by looking at the models.  Then of course, I  can rarely tell what a garment really looks like based on Burda’s Fashion Fotos. Nonetheless, I don’t care to wear pants as tight as my long johns.  These are stated to finish at 12 7/8″.  I’m presuming that’s the size 44 and each size will be slightly larger.  With the half-inch side seams, I’ve already added 2″ to the torso and 1″ to each leg.  Then because I use a back inseam 1 size larger, another 3/8″ is added to each leg.  Instead of 12 7/8″, my leg should finish 14″.  14″ is close, but not jegging.  Wish me luck!