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.

  • lsaspacey - I’m confused, on your example the waist size IS 77. So what you’re saying is that Burda’s size chart does not always correspond with thier pattern sizes, right?

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Hi Isaspacey,
    I should have clarified that the pattern doesn’t come in all the sizes. Isn’t that crazy? The pattern only comes in 5 sizes:
    Waist sizes (in centimeters) 72, 76, 80, 84, 88
    So you have to pick your closest size and fit from there.

  • María - Great! Hands on everyone! I started sewing with Burda magazines so I´m perfectly OK with their patterns. I always mark my pieces with tailor marks, tedious, but very reliable because I always have the exact stitching line.
    Thanks Sunni.

  • Claire (aka Seemane)seemane@ym - Thanks for this great post Sunni :)!
    I spent an hour searching for my 07/2010 July BurdaStyle Magazine last night & I have it with me today… so for those that have the magazine…
    The pattern pieces from the magazine are on:
    Sheet B
    Black Pattern Line
    Pattern Pieces 1,2,3,4 and 5
    P.S. The trouser turn-up and hem allowance are already included on the pattern pieces 🙂

  • Claire (aka Seemane) - I believe the reason that this particular pattern doesn;t come in all the “regular” sizes, is because it’s from the “Burda Tall Sizes” (for Height 5ft 9 inches / 176cm) the regular size patterns are for height 5ft 6inches / 168cm.

  • Pam - That is fantastic – thanks for going through this – luckily I’m a 42 (hips) – this is my first time with a Burda so it’s good to do a sew-a-along! I’m excited!

  • Pam - P.S. Those pictures of the pattern cutout (especially Bertha Crowley) are hilarious!

  • Katie - Are the pants lined? I can’t tell from what I’ve ready so far. If not, any chance you’ll do a post covering how to line them? Looking forward to making these! I haven’t made pants in ages!

  • Liz - Lined pants would so so wonderful. I have one pair that are lined and they are the most comfortable thing since cashmere sweaters.
    I saw this pattern on google and immediatly fell in love. But when I saw that it was for tall ladies, I was so dissapointed. My fitting adventure should be interesting since I’m a whopping 4’11” and also pear shape. But I can’t wait to get a nice fitting pair of pants for once. 🙂

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Thank you Claire! Actually I didn’t realize it was for tall folks as it doesn’t say anything on the website about it and I don’t have the mag version. Well, either way, I’ll have those pants. I WILL!

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Thanks for the tip Maria! Like the old adage says, “The long way is the short way.”

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Did not know that either! Thanks so much Claire! Fixing this post right now!

  • The Cupcake Goddess - I know! I laughed so hard! SO HARD!

  • The Cupcake Goddess - The pants, as far as I can tell are not lined, however I’m planning to line my pair, because I love lined pants. I’ll be doing a tutorial for this. Oh how luxurious! Haven’t had a lined pair of pants in years.

  • The Cupcake Goddess - Totally agree about lined pants! They are lovely! I didn’t realize this pattern was for tall folks either! However, I remain undaunted. I will have those pants and will be covering the adjustments for us shorties.

  • Katie - Thank you, that’s excellent! I prefer lined pants and I just think they look and feel much better.

  • Katie - Ok sorry to be a pain but has anyone had problems downloading patterns from burda? I just purchased the pattern, clicked on the download pattern link and…..nothing. Same for the instructions link. Am I missing something? I’ve never bought a pattern from Burda before!

  • Seemane (aka Claire) - Hi Katie,
    Did you purchase the pattern from the site?
    If so, then you download the pattern from within your acount area…
    (1) Login into your account.
    (2) Click on your Username (in red text at the top-right of the webpage) to go to your profile.
    (3) Within your profile, click the ‘My Account’ Tab.
    (4) Then select the ‘Purchase History’ link
    (A shortcut is this URL address:
    – just replace the word ‘yourusername’ with your Username (it should be an all lower-case word).
    (5) You will now see a list of all the patterns from the site that you have purchased – they are displayed in a table format (NB: any of the FREE patterns on the site uploaded by other users that you selected from using the ‘Get It Now’ button are stored in the same list).
    (6) From the ‘Download’ column in the table click on the link you need to download – and you will then be prompted to Save / Open a PDF file.
    (7) You’re all done!!!

  • lakaribane - Sunni, are pants lined all the way through? or to the knee because I have bought some RTW that had bermuda length lining. Also, Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic underlined (I think) a recent pair of pants so that seems to be an option. I do wonder about the stress at the seat. My lined skirts are all grinning under the zipper and I wonder what to do about this. (I’m also fixating on my behind in this pants adventer, to be honest).

  • Katie - Thank you Claire, I so appreciate the help! Katie

  • The Cupcake Goddess - I’m planning to line my pants all the way through, however I’m sure you can adapt the lining to whatever way you like best. I will also be interlining a pair (I’m planning to make two). Many many tutorials, discussions and planning to come! Hip hip hooray!

  • - OMG! Those links re: burda mag patterns made my afternoon!

  • Amanda - Yikes! So the smallest waist and hip measurements are 30 3/4 and 40 1/4, respectively?! Guess I’ll be learning how to grade down 🙂

  • Amanda - Oops, sorry. I just saw Sunni’s first post in the comments saying the waist goes down to 72cm. Phew!

  • Andrea - Hi Sunni,
    I just stopped by to tell you how much I like your blog and your style 🙂 And I linked to your blog a few days ago.
    But then I noticed your Sewalong for those trousers I fell in love the moment I saw them. Although I am right now convinced I am not the type (anymore) for pants …
    Anyway I also noticed a slight mistake: you took the sizing chart the burdastyle side offers. But the sizes for tall ones aren’t in there. That is why you confused the 72 with the 42, I guess.
    Theses trousers are made for tall ones as many others already said. And they start with size 72 which means:
    84 – 66 – 90 (a German size 36 for taller girls)
    and they go up to 88 which is 100 – 82 -106 (German size 44).
    You should also remember that Burda tends to have quite some ease in the waist – most of the girls I know will have to take some cm in.
    Hope I could help a little bit, cannot wait to see the results 🙂

  • 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!