Pattern Primer – Burda #127

Before I start talking about fabric, shopping and what you’ll need for trouser making we need to get some things straight with Burda #127. Burda magazine patterns are a bit different from the Big 4 commercial patterns. I’ve decided to go through it step by step with you just in case you’ve never worked with one before.

First off let’s determine the size you’ll need. Burda mag’s size chart is located here on the Burda Style website. Please be aware that the pattern sizes correspond with your waist measurement and the measurement is taken in centimeters but on the size chart they show both measures, centimeters and inches. (Please see this post as the size chart that Burda Style points to is completely wrong) OK. HOLD EVERYTHING. Before you just go cutting this out, for this sewalong, we’re going by the your HIP measurement and not your waist. It will make the fitting process much easier. Ok? Ok. So, take your hip measurement, find the waist size that corresponds with your hip measurement (even if it’s not your actual waist size) and that is the size that you’ll cut. Whew… Close call folks.

One more thing you’re going to encounter. I was looking at the size chart and determining my size. I’m Burda hip size 40 1/4 centimeters. The waist measurement, in centimeters, for this size is 77. Looking at the pattern, my size is ummmm….not there. There is a 76 and an 80, but no 77. What to do? Go with the size that is closest to the measurement size. In this case I’ll be going with a 76. But wait, what if you are perfectly in the middle of these sizes. I mean, what if I was a 78. Oh NO! It’s ok. I’m going to tell you to go with the smaller size as these pants have a good amount of wearing ease. However, if you are going to work with pants that don’t have alot of wearing ease, like jeans, go with the bigger size. Sound good? Good.

Second, we need to get the pattern to a point of being able to cut right? Right. For those of you who have the magazine, there is a big piece of paper in the middle of the mag and it contains all the pattern pieces for every single pattern in your magazine. It’s kind of a jungle looking at it. However there should be a cheat sheet in the magazine that will help you decipher which pattern pieces you’ll need and where they are on the sheet. Then you’ll need to trace your size onto a separate piece of paper. I find that using sheets of tracing paper, my favorite brand is here, and using a japanese hera is the best way for me. You can also use a tracing wheel too. Trace your size onto a large sheet of paper – freezer paper or butcher paper are great for this. And just for your viewable enjoyment, I did a flickr search on tracing patterns. For those of you who have done this before please take a look at this and this while you are alone and can really laugh out loud.

For those of you using the downloadable version from Burda Style, you’ll need to print out all the pages, cut off the excess printless edges of the paper and begin taping the pieces of paper together. You should end up with a big sheet of taped together pages that form the pattern pieces. Yay!

Dressmaking Ruler image courtesy Sew Moni LOVE

BEFORE YOU CUT out your size we need to add seam allowances. Betcha didn’t know that we needed those because usually they just include them for you. Nope, not here. We have to add them. I think the easiest way to add seam allowances to get a red pencil and one of these handy dandy dressmaking rulers. The ruler is the best thing ever invented. Let’s decide on seam allowances shall we? We’re going to use 1 inch seam allowances everywhere but the crotch. We’ll keep 5/8 inch in the crotch. The hem and turn-up allowances have already been added, just for your info, so you won’t need to add allowances to the bottom of the trousers (Thanks Claire). Ok, how to use the ruler. See how it has measurements along the top and bottom short ends and then slits in the middle of the ruler? Your going to sidle up your ruler with those measurements lining up along the seam line (the printed line of your size pattern) and find the slit that corresponds to give you the seam allowance you want. Then you start marking in the slit with you pencil and sliding the ruler up and down along the seamline. Going around curves can be tricky, but just make small marks as you slide your ruler around the curve. Make sense? Have a regular school ruler beside you just to check your work and make sure you’re adding the right amount of seam allowance. OK? k. Now you can cut!

WOW! I didn’t realize this was going to be such a long post. Sorry….Let’s summarize.

  • Determine your size. Use your hip size, not your waist size.
  • Find the pattern size that most closely corresponds to your hip size.
  • Trace your pattern from the magazine or cut and tape your downloaded pieces together.
  • Add your seam allowances. Remember, 1 inch for everything but the crotch. Crotch will be 5/8 inch. No seam allowance for the hem or turn-up, it’s already been added.
  • Cut. Yay!

We won’t cut the muslin until January 3, so you’ve got time. I find its more fun to get the prep work out of the way, that way we just sew and cut and cut and sew. And fit, fit, fit of course. It’ll be fun, just you wait! Need help? You know where to find me.

  • jacq - tell me more about this japanese hera thingy – I have no idea what you do with it. and lined pants???? you guys obviously live in a cold climate – its 33degrees C here today so I cant even begin to imagine that!!!!

  • jo - I was thinking of following along as well, but with a different pattern. Would that still work (especially for a beginner trouser-maker)?

  • Pammie - Hi Sunni – I’m just getting ready to cut tomorrow – whew! This is my first Burda!! I’m not sure I totally understand the hem – in the magazine (I’ll do a post on this on my blog) – there seems to be arrows where the hem should be – so my solution is to draft an edge at the hem area – correct?
    And, what is the best way to trace a Burda (I’ll do a post on the next few days soliciting comments) but I originally outlined the pattern pieces in highlighter – realized I highlighted the wrong pattern pieces – and went back and outlined the correct pattern pieces in black marker. Whew! Makes me feel like a beginner again!
    Thanks for doing this sew-along – it’s forcing me into the world of Burda!