Sewing for me, is extremely fun.  Patterns and patternmaking is intriguing and challenging at the same time.  I do it because I like to challenge myself, and because there is “always” something new to learn.  However, every time I think about making a pair of pants, I want instant success.  I usually avoid making pants because I don’t want to redraft or go through endless pattern alterations.  Thus, as with anything else I would rather have two, or three, or even four if it means less stress.  Shucks the way I am, I may start wearing a “personal style uniform” as discussed  here (uniform dressing)

This is why I think it important to have that one pattern for every style of clothing, that you wouldn’t mind using over and over again.

After loosing weight you would think that all the pattern alterations would have to begin anew if using the same pattern. Well that is not the case with these pants from least for me. I have found that we usually gain and loose weight over a basic body composition. Meaning that if I gain weight I gain it proportionately. (1″ at the waist, then 1″ at the hip.). The things that changes on me are always proportionate, so when I lost weight I decided to make these pants again using a smaller pattern size.

Pattern Description:
Wide leg pants that are close fitting through the hips.
Pattern Sizing:
34-44, us- 8-18. See my blog entry– “Making the Grade” a matter of size. for the size differences with the Burda Patterns compared to the “big four” pattern companies.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

They do tend to flare out at the hem, I know it’s because this time I used a stiffer linen fabric…the original was a linen blend.

Pattern Review for first pair.

I am really short in the front and the panel tends to crumple down…As it is designed it is two interfaced pieces, sewn together like a pocket and turn right side out through the bottom, then edge stitched. Afterwards, the buttonholes are sewed on before applying to the pants front by sewing only on the bottom and buttoned up the sides. The buttons and holes are still loose.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Since I have made these before, I did not use the instructions, however, I still reiterate if you are a beginner it does take some getting used to to follow Burdas style of instruction. Just take it slow, read all before starting.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The crotch curve is absolutely magnificent! I only did a 1″ rise increase in the back, I was able to leave the curve alone. Normally, I have to extend it to go under the rump roast I carry in the back. They hang wonderfully. I don’t have any dislikes for this pattern. I like the fact that the lap zipper is on the side. (finally, a side zip) I like that the panel can be removed from the front and just show the buttons. There is no functioning zipper opening behind the front panel, so its really just a design detail.

Fabric Used:
I used a Linen. I knew it would have some wrinkling but I was ok with that….I choose not to line the pants as a result. The pattern doesn’t require lining, but I know some people like to line linen to help with wrinkling.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
As I said earlier, I increased the back crotch rise by 1″. I lowered the front by 1 1/2″, this adjustments makes the pattern look really malformed, but it is my body. The gradual decline starts at the side seam, you can’t even tell when they are on the body, the waist actually appears normal….do your adjust and ignore how the pattern “looks”.

I left the hem the same from the original pattern, so that they would work better without heels. The regular length would be just fine for the average 5’5″ person such as myself.
Everytime I think about making pants, I want instant success.  I don’t usually make them because I don’t want to redraft or go through endless pattern alterations.  Thus, as with anything else I would rather have two, or three, or even four if it means less stress.  Shucks the way I am, I may start wearing a “personal style uniform” as discussed  here (uniform dressing)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would definitely sew these again. This pattern has a lapped zipper on the side, I will make with with an invisible zipper next time.

Conclusion: for those who have seen my ordinal post, I encourage to check it out, there is a cute video that will give you a great laugh.Original review

Fitting issues plague everybody.  But those of us that sew for ourselves seem to be on a quest for the perfect fit.  Thus, we sew through pattern after pattern in hopes to find the perfect fit, or make the pattern fit.  Others of us, buy our clothes from mainstream producers of the garment industry and come to those of use who sew, to make that special garment fit using a multitude of alterations.

For those of us that sew, sizing and the pattern “Grade” matters. 

In 2008 I went back to school in hopes of understanding patterns better.  It was a success.  Did I learn everything there? No, but all education is a success in my eyes… As for commercial patterns, I learn more and more from working right here at home.  But the one class that did absolutely teach me the greatest amount of knowledge that has clarified my understanding of the pattern designing and fitting systems, was the class called Pattern Grading.  I shall fondly think of my instructor, Diane Brett, from Houston Community College, everytime I cut into a commercial pattern.  (I can see clearly now….the lines between sizes are no longer blurred.

Ok, I’ll get to the point….I learned that in grading between sizes, the “average” industry standard is to increase sizes incrementally in groups. So, sizes 2-4-6 and 8 have a 1″ size difference between each numbered size.  Sizes starting up from 8 to 10 to 12 is a pattern grade of 1.5″ and from 12 to 14 to 16 to 18 and beyond is graded by 2 inches.  Well this is knowledge that is helpful going into the patternmaking and commercial pattern manipulation process. 

Until today, this system simplified working with commercial patterns. BUT….I noticed that Burda is the bad boy.  The odd man out.  The rebel, the one that skipped that class. You see, since I started school, I had not been buying many patterns, especially Burda.  I just loved taking a coffee break and looking through their magazine, but never traced a pattern.  I don’t like tracing.  (I see now everybody does it, and so I ventured to start tracing some of these beautiful designs….”I want to be part of the “in crowd”.) 

I even went out and purchased a pattern to check out the “J” curve of the crotch…

I love it… This makes sizing this pattern so, so much easier.  But upon closer manipulation I find this…

Sorry, couldn’t get it to turn. 

Now this should be a 2″ Grade from size 12-14, 14-16, 16-18 and so on.  And of course, the average female fashionista would faint if she was told she wears a size 44 pant size.  Whew!  try explaining that one to your custom clothing client, or a model for that matter….

…to be blogged later.. but the skirt is Vogue ??? and the bustier is my design.

Back to the GRADE!   You see, the industry standard of grading is as mentioned earlier: 1″ sz 4-8, 1.5″ sz 8-12 and 2″ sz 12 & up.  What does that mean to us…

  • The main grade, or measurement between each size is either 1″, 1.5″ or 2″ in the finished size.
  • Each main block, i.e. pant, bodice, skirt side seam is divided by 4, giving us 1/4″ per seam for size 6 to 8, 3/8″ per seam for size 10-12, and 1/2″ per seam for size 14-16 and beyond.
  • In this sleeve pattern, the grade changes between sizes, as I learned.  The sideseams, grade different from a sleeve.  But you get the point.
    A simplicity pattern showing the difference in size grades.

    That equates, in the case of Burda, to a loss of 1 1/2″ in the upper sizes in comparison to other pattern companies.

Burda does a “straight grade” for all sizes.  So those of us that have gotten used to having a “weighted grading scale” with the big four.  Sorry, but you now are in a lower percentile ranking.  Thus you have to essentiallly cut a larger size than even the big four.  Burda, says that a 34 is size 8, a 36 is size 10, 38= size 12, 40 = size 14 and thus 42= 16.  Sooooo, now I have to cut a size “46/18!!!!” in burda on the bottom.  Aaaagh!!  So much for vanity.  Shhhhh! Don’t tell.

More to come…