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.
I was reading in Design It Yourself Clothes the other night. Just before going to bed. I’ve been having a little fun coercing my patternmaking skills into submission. I was flipping through the book and just thinking about things I could draft, blah, blah, blah. And then I flipped to the section on pants. It’s the last section of drafting in the book with “extras” behind it which in and of itself I thought interesting and noteworthy for our adventure with trouser making this January. Ms. Patch gave a rather nice preface to the pants section and one which prompted a few questions I wanted to put to her. So I messaged the woman right up and you know what? She was so nice! She graciously answered my queries and was so quick in responding. I find it only appropriate that we now hear her input on those bottoms that seem to bewilder the most advanced seamstress.
A Fashionable Stitch ~ Tell me a little about yourself and how it is that sewing and designing came to be part of your life.
Cal Patch ~ Well, I would really have liked to major in art in college. But despite being creative, I am also very practical, and I knew even at a young age that an art major would leave me without many job prospects. So SOMEHOW I figured out that if I went into Fashion Design (even though i hate the “F” word!) i would be more likely to be gainfully employed. My main rationale was that “everyone wears clothes!”
I didn’t learn to sew properly until I was in college. I still lament the way we were taught to sew; it was very outdated and laborious. I think we should have made a garment per week, but it was more like a garment every three months. To this day I’m very slow at sewing (and everything else I do!) and wish I could go faster.
Basic Pant pattern from Cal’s book Design it Yourself Clothes
A Fashionable Stitch ~ Right into the burning question of today, what is it exactly about pants that makes them hard to draft and hard to fit?
Cal Patch ~ I think the main reason is that pants have to cover an area that is an intersection of 3 cylinders (your torso and two legs) AND it’s probably the section of the body with the most movement. Think about it: you’ve got your waist, hips and knees, and they can all bend and twist so many ways. So we expect our pants to give us a complete range of motion while fitting very closely, which really sounds pretty impossible for a woven fabric! Then there is also the fact that every person has a unique set of measurements, shape and proportion…
Annie Trousers from Cal’s Book
A Fashionable Stitch ~ Have you made a pair of pants for yourself and if so, what kinds of problems did you run into?
Cal Patch ~ Honestly, I’ve made very few pants! The only pants I really wear are jeans, and I kind of think that they are best left to manufacturers like Levi’s because we can’t do all of the hardware and heavy-duty stitching on home sewing machines. But I have made a pair of corduroys from one of the Built by You patterns; they came out great except they don’t fit well! I should have made a muslin but I didn’t. And then I made all of the pants for my book, which I made to my own measurements so they fit me (and didn’t fit the models very well)…
Carla Palazzo pants from Cal’s Book
A Fashionable Stitch ~ Any tips to keep in mind? Things to look for as we sew pants/trousers?
Cal Patch ~ I think the best tip I can give is that pants definitely require a muslin first, so the fit can be checked and adjusted before many hours are wasted. Unlike a top or dress, a lot of pant issues won’t be fixed by adjusting side seams. If the crotch is too low, it can’t be raised because the fabric has already been cut away! The rise seam is often the trickiest bit to get right. Good luck everyone! I’ll check in on your progress and remember, I’m here if you need me ;n)
Thanks Cal! This little question and answer prompted a few questions I would like to put to you now. Have you tried sewing pants? If it ended badly, what was the main problem? Where did the pants pull, bunch or not fit at all well in general?
Don’t forget to check out Cal’s sweet little book on patternmaking! It’s really great for beginners just learning the ropes of how to draft patterns for yourself! Drop by her blog too and Etsy shop!
Next up: shopping list for our trouser sewalong. Oh what fun!
Here it is, in all it’s glory! I feel very studious wearing it too, if I do say so myself. Quite smart, like I could give you a dissertation on why the sky is blue or something.
The jacket itself is practically perfect. I could get technical about what’s not perfect, but that would take away from the total enjoyment you’ll have lusting after this beauty. It was quite the construction project. I kept thinking that I wouldn’t do this or that because it would take too long and then I felt myself being sucked into getting it just right and such. Mr. S gave me huge scare the other night when he said that one of the shoulder puffs was “puffier” than the other. Then he said to go look in the mirror and figure out which one it was. Can you believe the nerve? I ran to the mirror and couldn’t see it and drove myself half crazy trying to figure out which one it was. Then Mr. S said, “How’s that for your OCD?” After that comment it was time to finish the jacket. Even if it didn’t end perfectly. Sigh…
Needless to say, it is and will be a fantastic staple to my wardrobe. I do love the way it turned out. The color looks so much more luscious in the velveteen. It’s soft. The pockets turned out just right. I added that little belt in the back as it looked like it needed it. The lapels are big and generous. And the buttons. They’re those leather ones you know. My dad had several jackets that had these and as a kid I was always so fascinated with them. The jacket just wouldn’t be complete without them.
The jacket inside was inspired by some high end RTW jackets I’ve seen around. I lined the body in polka dot silk twill, the same as the undercollar and for the sleeves I used a fuschia bemberg lining. Just for fun.
The jacket is just screaming for some wide leg plaid trousers or an A-line skirt. I tried putting it with some of my other things and surprisingly they looked just too “girly” up against it even though this boyfriend’s jacket has a decidedly feminine twist. So, I’ve got some plaid wool that’s going to be made into some pants real soon. We’ll get that whole 70s jive going, an era that’s fast becoming a favorite and I didn’t really think it would.
I think I’m finally ready for some easy projects that only take say a week to complete. Which leads me to my next point about how long it takes to finish sewing projects. Is it normal for you to take a long time on your sewing projects? I’ve never been one that could finish things in a week. I have to get the fit just right and use luscious fabric and always put the most time consuming twists on everything that it always takes me quite a while to get things finished. I just won’t wear it otherwise. I just won’t. How about you? What kind of a seamstress are you? A time taker or a time breaker?
So there you have it. My boyfriend’s jacket.
Trousers, pants, bottoms, cigarette pants, bell bottoms…..It is now very official. I have finally decided on a date to begin the trouser sew-a-long (I’m calling them trousers because it’s a little more exciting to say trousers than pants, well, at least to me). Fresh out of the holiday bustle we’re going to start Monday, January 3. It will be more slow-paced than the pencil skirt sew-a-long but fast enough to hold your interest. We’ll start with a fitting, talk about some different trouser styles and then move onto the construction.
For my trouser selection, I’ll be using this Burda pattern here (click here for the German website). This is Burda pattern #127 in the July 2010 issue for those of you with the magazine. I think it would be great if we all used the same pattern, but hey, if you aren’t into this pattern feel free to substitute your own. The fitting issues I’ll be going over can translate into any pattern. Oh and don’t worry, I will look like that model above with mile long legs in my pants, don’t know about you. The fact that she’s surrounded by younger than teenage boys does not help, I’ll definitely round some up when its time for picture taking. I’ve got connections like that you know.
Soon I’ll post a little list for the items you’ll need and then we’ll get started with some fun and fabulous-ness after the holidays. Sound like a plan?
Oh and here’s a button just cause buttons are cute and fun:
And no, pants ain’t just for gents. Right? That’s what I thought. Look whose wearing the pants now! Ready? Set? Let’s sew some pants y’all!
**Update** I had completely forgotten about the Burda “divide.” Claire (Seemane) has very graciously given the links in the comments section of this post to the german website where you can download the pattern in German, English and French. If you are still unable to download the pattern, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see if someone at Burda Style can give us a hand here. Also for you shorties or petites, don’t sweat it, my legs are quite short in comparison to the rest of my body. I’ll be showing this adjustment too. Oh I’m very glad indeed that so many of you are excited to participate! Oh what fun we’ll have!
I simply could not resist doing an interview with Tasia Pona from Sewaholic Patterns. Her debut pattern, the Pendrell Blouse, is on the brink of being shipped to those of us lucky enough to snag one. She’s got serious sewing on the brain and her unrelenting enthusiam for the craft is unbelievably contagious. I simply had to pick her brain about pattern drafting. Had. To. Readers, meet the newest patternmaker on the block:
A Fashionable Stitch ~Just to get started, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in clothing/pattern design?
Sewaholic ~ I’ve always loved sewing, for as long as I can remember. When I graduated from high school, fashion school seemed like the natural next step! I completed a four-year degree in Fashion Design, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Pattern drafting, sewing, costing, sketching, studying the history of clothing – the whole process was fascinating! It was wonderful and inspiring to spend my days surrounded by people who also loved sewing and creating.
A month before I graduated from college, I applied to a real fashion industry position advertised on the school bulletin board, a local company looking for a ‘Design Coordinator’ – and I got the job! So I finished my last month of school while working in the industry a couple of days a week, spending weekends at my part-time job, and evenings sewing up my graduation fashion show pieces. It was hectic but fun!
I worked at that very same job in the fashion industry for eight years, starting at the very bottom and working my way up. It was great hands-on experience learning about the apparel business, working in almost every department, and watching a company grow. When I left, I was managing purchasing and production – dealing with factories, writing orders, negotiating, costing. Exciting and fast-paced work, although not very creative. Yes, I had to be ‘creative’ in solving problems, but not in the way where I was able to create things. That’s when I started my blog Sewaholic, as a creative outlet and a way to stay inspired.
So my background comes from my fashion degree as well as eight years working in the apparel industry. Also, my mother is a talented seamstress, so you could say it’s in my genes!
A Fashionable Stitch~ Are you a drafter, draper or both?
Sewaholic ~ Drafter – that’s the way I learned to make patterns, so that’s where I always start. Though, once the pattern is translated in fabric, there’s often little tweaks to make that involve a little draping.
A Fashionable Stitch ~ I for one am very interested in the process from concept to published pattern. Can you walk us through the design process?
Sewaholic ~ Absolutely!
First, the design is finalized. I draw a sketch and work out the measurements of each part. For example, if there is a ruffle, I figure out how long it should be, and where it should start and stop. This might change, but at least I have a starting point. The first pattern is made, based on the sketch and the measurements.
Then, the fun part! I sew up a muslin version of the first pattern. It’s almost never perfect, so there’s a lot of tweaking, adjusting, and revising that happens at this stage. The pattern is adjusted, and another muslin is made. This goes back and forth until the design is perfect, which can take a while! While I’m making the muslins, I make very rough notes on how it’s constructed, so I have a starting point for the instructions.
Once the design is perfected, a couple of things start happening. One, I start making a real version of the design. I’ll take photos wearing the item, and I’ll also wear-test it for comfort and fit. (If I don’t like wearing it all day, you probably won’t either!) Two, I start writing up the instructions. This takes a long time! I draw up the little pictures for each sewing step, and work out the wording to use.
Then, the pattern is graded into different sizes. I figure out the fabric requirements for each size, view, and fabric width, and work out the fabric cutting layouts.
After all of the information is finalized, the envelope and instruction sheet artwork is created. I have the help of my lovely and talented sister, who is a graphic designer! She’s the talent behind the envelope design, and I couldn’t be happier with how it looks.
Once the art files are ready, they are sent off to print! The printer receives the files, and prints me a test sheet (called a proof) to approve before they proceed. I receive the proof, give them the go-ahead, and printing begins!
I think that’s it – it’s a long process! I’ve learned that everything takes twice as long as you think, but it’s been an eye-opening experience and the next run will go much smoother, I’m sure!
A Fashionable Stitch ~ We are all loving the Pendrell Blouse! What was the inspiration for the Pendrell and was there any reason you chose to debut a blouse pattern instead of say, a dress or skirt?
Sewaholic ~ I’m glad you love the blouse! The inspiration was simple – I was looking for a blouse pattern that I wanted to make over and over with subtle variations, and couldn’t find one that I absolutely loved. I wanted to eliminate the details that make it harder to sew – hemming slippery blouse fabrics, hard-to-sew necklines, and zippers or buttonholes. I figured if I didn’t like hemming sheer or lightweight fabrics, then maybe there were others that felt the same way!
Back when I dreamed up the idea of my own pattern line, my plan was to start with something different. In fact, the first design was originally going to be a dress pattern! However, I was playing with a couple of ideas at once, and the one that immediately came together and fell into place was the blouse. It just felt like the right place to start – a simple pattern with unique design details, that would be easy to sew and fit – so I went for it!
A Fashionable Stitch ~ Where do you see your pattern company in say 5 years? What are your hopes and dreams for Sewaholic Patterns?
Sewaholic ~ My hopes are to run a profitable company, and support myself doing something I love. I hope to never compromise my beliefs and values, and continue to stay approachable even if the business grows. Most importantly, I hope to inspire more people around the world to sew!
I’d like sewing to be cool again. I’d like women to realize that they can feel beautiful in clothing they create, that so-called “figure problems” can be easily tamed when you learn to sew for yourself and fit your body, and that there is no right way to dress. If fashion magazines are saying pastels are in, and all you want is a bright red dress, then make yourself one! I’d love for people to think of sewing not as a cheaper alternative to shopping, or an artsy-craftsy thing, but a way for real, modern women to dress themselves.
Five years from now? Everything is so new that it’s hard to imagine where I will be in five years, I’ll have to re-read this post in a year and see if I’m on track or not! In five years I’d like to have a full line of patterns in the collection – maybe fifteen or twenty styles that make up a complete wardrobe. I’d like to have retailers carry my pattern line in stores. I’d like people who sew to know about Sewaholic Patterns. I’d like to find new and fun ways to share my love of sewing, maybe look into teaching, or designing fabric, or creating new pattern collections. Who knows where the future will take me? I’m just excited to see what happens next.
A Fashionable Stitch ~ Any hints for your next pattern release?
Sewaholic ~ Here’s a hint – you can wear it with your Pendrell Blouse!
Cheers Tasia! Here’s to you and your pattern company! A big thank you for a peek into your design process.