Burda 2015-11-107 high-waisted flare trousers

It seems like pants / trousers-making is on my secret 2016 SWAP / New Year Resolution list. Maybe I’ll even get around to making a pair of Ginger jean and/or Birkin jean this year WooHoo! But let’s not talk too much of plans lest the rebel in me finds out.

The Pattern

Actually, Burda 2015-11-116 wasn’t the trousers I wanted to make. The one my heart lusted was Burda 2015-11-106, which seems like its knit cousin & features a different closure treatment. But as this is only my second attempt at trouser-making in recent memories, I thought I give tissue-fitting another go. And of course tissues can’t stretch, so there’s no way I’d be able to tissue-fit a pattern designed for stretch woven. (I’m assuming there is slight difference in sizing since the instruction sheets called for different patterns to be traced.) So my logic goes: figure out what standard deviations I have in pants/trousers in general with this pattern for regular woven fabrics, then apply the same to the pattern for stretch wovens. So here goes…

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1-2 Refashioned halter top;

WORN WITH: 3 Burda 2015-10-109 sweater; 4 Burda 2012-05-109 top, Zara jacket; 5 Self-drafted raglan T-shirt;

WORN WITH: 6-7 Self-drafted bolero jacket, Burda 2012-05-109 top;

And now a fuller set of mug shots…just to illustrate how difficult it is to know what a good fitting fitted trousers look like. Which wrinkle in what position is acceptable / to be expected and which really shouldn’t be there?

Size Used

36, as recommended by the sizing chart.

Changes Made

I did say I was going to tissue-fit this pair didn’t I? Sorry but I didn’t take any research photos this time. Which is just as well since it didn’t really work that well. Fitting trousers by oneself is just PITA. Fitting fitted trousers with tissue paper is even worse: With only one side of the trouser it’s hard to tell if there’s just enough or it’s a bit anemic or just too much.

I think this first set of fitting photos were taken after the tissue paper tweaks that included:

  • full tummy: increased Front crotch length (at CF to nothing at side seam), & resulting increase in Front dart
  • narrow hip: decreased width at side seam from waist downward
  • torso that’s deeper front-back than side-side: increased Front & Back crotch lengths & scooped Front & Back crotch curves deeper at crotch level
  • wrinkles that points to inner thighs: shifted widths from side seams to inseams.

The result as you can see isn’t great. But by this point the fabric was cut, and even with 1″ seam allowances further tweaks were limited – especially any that involves tilting & removing/adding wedges. So my subsequent attempt trying out bendy-ruler crotch-curve tweak per instruction in Fitting & Pattern Alteration book was limited in scope. Which was just as well since I was too timid to try out the weird protrusion at CF from waist to hip that this method would have me do to accommodate my protruding tummy!

I have to say though, having multiple fitting books confusing distracting me with different miracle cures didn’t really help the fitting process! I tried & untried so many different tweaks along the way that I can’t remember what changes were made at what stage & advised by which books. So as this particular experiment in pants-fitting was rather inconclusive, I’ll spare you most of the gruesome details & skip to my final changes on this wearable muslin…

Final Fitting Changes

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  1. Full Tumy: as above.
  2. Narrow Hip: as above.
  3. Torso deeper Front-Back than Side-Side: added slightly less at inseam than before, also shifted some Front amount to Back so
    that neither angle at the Crotch-Inseam point would be too extreme.
  4. Wrinkles pointing to Inner Thighs: increased amount shifted from side seams to inseams & also increased width added at inseams.
  5. Flat Droopy Bum: decreased Back Crotch Height tapering to nothing at side seam (ie remove horizontal wedge at hip level). Also reshaped
    Crotch & Princess Seam curves above hip to match the hollow in my lower back / high hip so the bum area won’t droop so much & cause more
    wrinkles below the bum. Front darts were also reshaped for the same reason, but I might have over done it a bit – the high waist now feels too tight to breath freely. Oops.
  6. Short legs: shortened at knees instead of at hem for more flattering shaping.
  7. Big Calfs: increased widths below knees at Back Princess Seams. Not sure this has done the trick. Judging from the final mug shots I wonder if perhaps I needed a combination of Prominent Thigh + Hyperextended Knee/Prominent Calf alterations (as shown in Fitting & Pattern Alteration) instead.
  8. Moved Front darts more towards the sides to make the pin-tuck appear straighter. Not sure what body shape deviation caused the problem…

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

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  • For fly front instruction, I’d recommend look elsewhere. Burda’s instruction was a bit useless because of the number of steps & all the similarly named pieces involved. I ended up referring to my Singer Sewing Pants That Fit book which has clear step-by-step photo instruction. But I complicated things by adding a lining, so some steps could not be performed before the lining was in place. Didn’t realize this at the time, so out with the seam ripper again. Oops. Maybe next time I’ll document the fly front construction as reference for anyone wanting a fly front with french fly shield for lined pants/trousers.
  • Burda instruction on front pleat tuck stitch doesn’t make clear if it should continue to the waistline. I continued mine because it looked better, but this may have contributed to too tight a fit from waist up. Oops.
  • Another oops happened with the hem. You know how they say to try it on with shoe height you’re going to wear with the pants to determine best length? Well I decided I wanted high heel & no break in the front, which meant uneven hem allowance & not enough in my lining. I had to patch on bias facing to the lining hem to hide this booboo.

The Verdict

Overall I have to say this pair is a Fail. While the final result doesn’t look disastrous, there’s definitely room for improvements. But it’s not the wrinkles that bother me the most. It’s not being able to breath in this thing! That and the fact that the pair of shoes I hemmed this for is impossible to walk in.

So I’m considering shortening this pair from both ends – chop off the high waist & shortening the legs…Possibly like these Alexander McQueen creations?5-fix-inspire

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Reversible Burda 2015-10-109 Sweater

This one snuck in just as I resumed my SWAP Fall/Winter 2014…Because a slouchy pullover seemed so overwhelmingly right for this double-sided sweater knit.

The Pattern

To be honest I wasn’t entirely sure about this sweater pattern. I can’t decide if it’s ugly or is it cool. The low-lying horizontal styleline might draw too much attention to my low-hanging boob / middle age spread. This + the curved shoulder seams also look a bit American footballer-ish at the same time constrictive – as I’ve learnt from a previous Burda cape project with similar shoulder shaping. But as I’m using a knit, & I’m not afraid to tinker with commercial patterns, I thought I’d give it a go. I can always test with muslin first.

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 TopShop Martha jeans; 2 Self-drafted straight skirt; 3 Re-fashioned gore skirt;

WORN WITH: 4 Burda 2015-03-116 flare trousers; 5 Self-drafted mock-wrap skirt, Burda 2013-11-117 jacket, Self-drafted hat, Self-drafted mittens; 6-7 Self-drafted petticoat skirt; 8 Refashioned straight skirt;

Size Used

34 rather than recommended 36.

Changes Made

With the above doubts in mind, I was merciless with the pattern tweak even before I sewn up the first muslin.

Changes
  1. Shorten Yokes: Initially I remove an equal 2″. But when I made up the muslin, the styleline dip at the biceps & front. So I ended up shortening the front & sides further. Also, raising this seam lines also shortens them. As I was concerned about looking short-waisted & chunky – especially in a thick sweater knit – I opted to slim down the bodices & sleeves to match.
  2. Raise armholes: Again, paranoid looking short, I raised the armholes on the bodice & slim the sleeves the same amount to match so it won’t look like I only have like 3″ of torso.
  3. Forward shoulder adjustment: In the muslin the equivalent of shoulder seams definitely wanted to lie towards the back. So I move the seam slightly towards the Front (widen Back Yoke & narrow Front Yoke).
  4. Flatten shoulder curve: The muslin also shows weird bumps at the biceps as if the sleeves were mis-shapened set-in sleeves. I rather it look like slouchy kimono sleeves. So I flattened the shoulder curves on the Yokes.

For my wearable muslin made in a rather unstable cotton interlock from Tia Knight / Tissu Fabrics I stopped here. For the final reversible sweater I made some minor changes:

  1. For a more slouchy yet elongating look…Lengthened the bodices & sleeves, and exaggerated the high-low hem a bit more. I also smooth the transition of the hem at CF & CB for a less overtly edgy look.
  2. Cut Front & Back bodices on straight-grain on the CF/CB fold. Not sure the bias in the original adds anything if you’re not using a fabric with obvious pattern for that symmetrical chevron look. For mine it would just gobble up precious fabric & leave me not enough for 3 garments + 2 accessories!
  3. Because I want mine to be reversible & my fabric is too thick / spongy to double up, I cut the Yokes off at the fold lines.

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

  • For the Wearable Muslin I followed Burda’s illustrated instruction exactly. And I kind of regret it. The stay tape on the Back Yoke-Bodice seams feel restrictive when I slouch / reach forward. It may be due to my alterations, I don’t know. Anyway, this step didn’t suited me. So in my final Reversible Sweater I omitted the stay tape on the Front/Back Yoke-Bodice seams.
  • And the obligatory Oops: This would have been a really quick make had I known ahead of time that the zipper wasn’t going to work with my sweater knit. The invisible zip worked fine in my Wearable Muslin (though I don’t seem to ever wear it unzipped). But for some reason the reversible zipper I used for the the final make was too stiff for the fabric. I did put it in, then had to take it out & redo the seam like on the other side. So in the end my Reversible Sweater has a symmetrical funnel neck. And I should have sewn in this order…
    2-steps

The Verdict

I like the sports lux feel of the final make. It reminds me of Alexander Wang aesthetic. Looking at the photos, I’m still not 100% about the silhouette. But it certainly feels very cozy & comforting to wear! And I got a slouchy-day wearable muslin along the way. I wear that like other non-office-workers wear their sweats. It most certainly is in heavy rotation around here 🙂

I think my fitting/design tweaks worked well.

  • Moving the styleline away from the fullest part of my upper torso was definitely the right thing to do. While my middle is still short & wide (in the side view), at least this sweater isn’t shouting about it.
  • And slimming the bodices & sleeves down in the process was a plus. It still has a ‘Relax-fit’. I can’t imagine how huge this would have been if I hadn’t done this. Maybe the original width would have worked in a drapier fabric. For my fabric however I think this sizing is just about right.
  • Lengthwise I probably have added back most of the length I removed from the Yoke to the hem, except in the CF. This does look a tiny bit short. I might lengthen CF next time. (This could also be due to the fact that I didn’t make any FBA. But I still haven’t decided where I sit when it comes to FBA on a slouchy oversized design – would it make the garment way to big?)

So yeah, overall I think it’s a pattern I could make again – when these two went to garment heaven, or if the perfect fabric comes along.

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Reversible Burda 2013-11-117 Jacket

Next up is the jacket. Because one was planned in my SWAP Fall/Winter 2014 even though I ended up using neither of the pattern candidates & was perfectly willing to sacrifice the idea of a jacket when I decided maybe a pull-over would suit this fabric better. I was lucky my frugal layout allowed me to squeeze in a Burda 2013-11-117 jacket which I had made once before.

The Pattern

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 Self-drafted mock-wrap skirt; 2 Self-drafted pencil skirt, Burda 2012-05-109 top; 3 Self-drafted petticoat skirt; 4 Self-drafted mock-wrap skirt, Burda 2015-10-109 sweater, Self-drafted hat, Self-drafted mittens;

Size Used

34 rather than recommended 36.

Changes Made

My starting point this time is the altered Burda 2013-11-117 I used for the Teal + Brown Floral Print Reversible Moto Jacket. To recap, part from modifying the bodice to fit my torso better, I also eliminated the peplum waist seams & changed the sleeve fit to a more conventional jacket sleeve look rather than the extra long & tighter fit of the Burda design. More details about these fitting alterations in this post.

Fitting changes
  1. The fit of that Teal/Brown jacket was a little bit off in the back neckline with a bump of fabric just below the CB neckline. Seems like the CB was too long & back neckline too wide.  Removing the equivalent of a vertical CB neckline dart + horizontal fish-eye dart seems to fix this (see photo illustrations above). The back neckline in the collar areas of the Center Fronts were shortened to match.
  2. The back collar wasn’t sitting right, exposing the back neckline seam. Pivoting at the shoulder-neck point & effectively increasing the length of the outer / bottom edge of the collar seems to fix this.
  3. Although the waistline is technically correct where it was, my low-hanging boobs & short-torso above waist make this placement look unbalanced. My intention to lengthen the bodice got lost in the piles of pattern alterations, so I had to extend the narrowest bit of the bodice down a bit instead. Still look a bit off though.
  4. Narrowed back waist a little bit for a less-boxy fit.
Design changes
  1. Zip closure on both sides

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

2-steps a

  • Again, apart from the general sewing problems I had with this fabric, the other main tricky bit are the zipper princess seams. I did these the same way I put in the zipper on the skirt – with mock flatlock seams that are essentially overlocked edges to fake the flatlock look, then zipper & princess seams assembled with hand fell-stitches. The rest again is fairly straightforward, though the shoulder – back neckline – shoulder seams were much harder to flatlock than the teal / brown jacket because of the spongy fabric.
  • And the Oops?
    • Well, I forgot that the two zippers should be one on each side of the reversible jacket. I was so smug having neatly inserted both zippers on the orange side – it looked so satisfyingly symmetrical. Thank God I basted & tried on & discovered I couldn’t zip both zippers this way. Rip & redo time!
    • The other drama came in form of zipper tape choice. Originally I was going to use the tape from Quest Outfitter’s waterproof one-way separating zipper. This has one presentable shiny side which I thought could do away with the need for something to hide the zipper tape & finish the collar edge on the reverse (black) side. Unfortunately separating tapes always has the slider on the left side of the teeth. So I couldn’t reverse it & still get the same look for left & right sides of the jacket. I had to go back to a standard separating tape that looks the same on both sides of the tape and petersham ribbon to cover the zipper tape / finish the collar edge on the revers (black) side. All this added lots of extra waiting time &  shipping costs. Bah.

The Verdict

It’s OK. I would have liked the jacket a little bit longer. And I was all out of ideas in terms of styling. But I know I’ll wear it plenty. Just like I wore the Teal/Brown version plenty. It’s so comfy without the usual tailoring that goes into a standard jacket. And it’s got just the right amount of lux (thanks to the fabric) & edge (thanks to the pattern) to keep me happy.

But I think next time I want a biker style jacket I might try a new pattern. Two of  this huge collar one are probably enough for a while. Maybe when these two are ready to go to garment heaven then I might make this pattern again.

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Barely There Python ruched panel skirt (Burda 2011-08-121)

This should have been an easy make. But my fabrics conspired against me. So this snake missed the  Jungle January 2015 party.

The Pattern

Again this pattern wasn’t my first choice. When I thought I’d go ruching & front panel I had in mind the skirt portion of Burdastyle 2014-05/115 asymmetric dress. But I wasn’t sure the one-sided ruching would look as nice in a plain pencil skirt. It might have appealed to me initially because one shoulder bodice drive home the asymmetry point. Without that it might lack conviction and look like a mistake. Plus it would eat up my precious print. So I went with this simpler symmetrical rusching skirt.

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 Self-drafted Alexander Wang S/S 2010 Wannabe sweater, tote v2; 2 Burda 2013-11-111 shrug, Burda 2012-05-109 top ; 3 Burda 2013-11-117 jacket ; 4 Self-drafted Martin Margiela SS 1997 Wannabe top / jacket ; 5 Self-drafted Vivienne Westwood – Comme des Garcons Love Child top ; 6 Burda 2013-12-119 top ; 7 Self-drafted Dolce & Gabanna Wannabe cardi

Size Used

34 as it was closest to Psychedelic Leopard 2: Burdastyle 2012-05-113 draped skirt I made previously which fitted well.

Changes Made

1-patAlt

Fitting changes
  1. Tweaks in widths which probably weren’t necessary.
  2. Sway-Back Alteration: Lowered waistline at CB tapering to nothing at Side Seam.
Design changes
  1. Extended the length to below knee, which is almost the same length as #122. I checked the ruching length. It was about 1.5 times longer than the corresponding front panel length. So I increased the ruching panel length accordingly.
  2. Pegged the side seam for a more shapely skirt. Hem is 2″ smaller.
  3. Omitted the vent. My fabric had enough stretch to accommodate walking.
  4. Added a facing to the lining instead of edge to edge lining. Wasn’t necessary, but since I didn’t manage to squeeze a snake into the front ruching panel I had to sneak the snake back in this way!
  5. I also ended up removing the extended waist. The high waist wasn’t doing anything for my short-waisted torso. More importantly I screwed up on the ruching so it started too low and looks really weird. Plus I stretched the skirt through over-handling. Lowing the waist hid these mistakes.

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

  • Pencil skirts are so easy so I didn’t really follow the instruction, especially as I made some design changes like extra top-stitching along the princess seams & omitting the vent.
  • 2-sew-details-2But I did follow the instruction for facing the upper skirt edge. I’ve had trouble getting a clean finish to the zipper opening at the waist before. This instruction gave me a tidy finish there. So thumbs up – I will be using it again.
  • I kept the zipper even though it might not be necessary in a knit skirt, especially with my narrow hip. I like my waist snug. So I didn’t want it stretched out of shape with fabrics of questionable stretch recovery rate.
  • 2-sew-details-1My New World Snake might not have been the ideal fabric for the ruched panel. Despite the narrower pattern (presumably the horizontal stretch would keep the ruching under tension & help it fight gravity) my snake sagged. While some might like the sweep the floor drape look, it’s not my cup of tea. I don’t like my drapes too low. So I had to tack the ruching in place along the CF at multiple points.
  • 2-sew-details-3My lining gave me hell. I originally chose a lighter weight tricot. But it doesn’t seem to have much stretch, but when sewn up the stitching lines all seem too tight. The fabric would sag between the vertical seams with draglines pointing to the seams. I could have tried my serger. But I was too crossed with the fabric to give it a second chance. I went with the same lining fabric I used for the Turquoise Leopard skirt and this time overlocked the seams. But no luck overlocking the hem. Twin needle stitch was NG as well. I resorted to hand blind catch stitch.

The Verdict

Despite the hassle this snake gave me I’m chaffed with the result. Not sure I can wear it over tights or anything bulky or bumpy. But nothing like a knit skirt to give a straight up & down girl some shape right?

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Crouching Batwing Hidden Python top (Burda 2013-12-119)

The Sun has finally decided to come out in London today. So I can finally finish this post. Sorry to keep you guys waiting.

Of all the s Jungle January 2015 snakes this one was the most laid back and agreeable thanks to the ready-made pattern with a loose fit. It was the last one conceived yet the first one finished.

The Pattern

Originally I was going to make Burda 2014-04/111 asymmetric funnel neck top. But even the talented ladies on Russian Burdastyle couldn’t make this look comfortable & chic, with the asymmetry frequently too subtle to look like a feature & more often look like a sewing Oops. So I gave up on that pattern.

Thank goodness I had mentally bookmarked Tia Dia’s fabulous party bronze version of this cowl-neck batwing top before. I drooled over hers, not Burda’s. I hadn’t even bought this issue. Anyway, it now came in handy. I wanted drape. The original Vivienne Westwood dress inspiration had drape. The fabric craved drape. So this is perfect, even if it lacks the asymmetry that I liked in the VW original.

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 Self-drafted skirt; 2 Burda 2011-08-121 skirt; 3 Burda 2012-04-128a dress; 4 RTW pants; 5 Self-drafted skirt

Size Used

Mindful of the generous ease & off the shoulder tendency that Tia Dia mentioned I graded down to a 34 (my usual size selection for Burda stretch garments).

Changes Made

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Fitting changes
  1. Short-Waist Adjustment: Shortened Front & Back Bodices at the same level (in this case bust) & narrowed Sleeve same amount at corresponding points at cap tapering to nothing at wrist.
  2. Forward Shoulder / Neck Adjustment: Shortened Front Bodice at cross-front level & narrow Sleeve again the same way as 1.

Now my adjustments to the sleeve might be unorthodox. I get rather confused about how to alter sleeve when I’ve made changes to the armscye – eg raising under arm, decrease front length at chest/cross-front, increase width at side seam, drop shoulder. Do you adjust the cap height, extend the sleeve seam length, extend the sleeve width, etc.? In this case, since I was worried about the bat-wing swamping me, I chose the two birds one stone approach of reducing width. There’s not much of a cap height to reduce anyway. This also saves on fabric required, allowing me to get more for my money. Me like!

Design changes
  1. Like Tia Dia I also shortened the hip band to high hip length because I like her version.
  2. I also raised the underarm seam / narrowed the Sleeve at armscye. Too chicken to go full bat-wing at waist level, this change raised it so that the bat-wing starts at under-bust rather than waist level.
  3. Shortened sleeve. My arm is shorter than standard. But this top seem to have extra long sleeve anyway – maybe as part of the drape design. Again, to avoid being swamped I removed some of the extra length.
  4. Narrowed/ensured the Sleeve has no ease at wrist so that I can also wear this with the sleeve pushed up to 3/4 length. I did this on the Back only to cater for my inward rotating arm.
  5. Mindful of Tia Dia’s warning about off the shoulder tendency I double checked on the B bodice where the shoulder seam starts & bring it in another 1/4″ as insurance. I was also prepared to add bra stays if necessary. But seems like my grading down to size 34 + the 1/4″ adjustment were more than enough to keep the neck opening on my shoulders.

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

For a change I followed most of the instruction given. The only deviation was location of the gap for inserting the waist elastic – I left a gap in the casing’s side seam instead of the casing top-stitching. I also overlocked most of the seams.

2-sew-detailsSome people don’t like how Burda finishes the neck edges, preferring bindings that mimic RTW. But I don’t mind it. The instruction gives a clean finish. It only looks homemade if you’ve been brainwashed by RTW on how things should look.

With troubled birthing elsewhere I was happy to mindlessly follow this top’s instruction. Hence it’s the first one hatched.

The Verdict

Yeap, I can live with this python bat. I don’t feel swamped in this, both size-wise and pattern-wise. The drapy fabric helps.

I don’t know if I would make more of these. How many bats do I need nesting in my closet at any one time? But it’s good to have alternatives to fitted tops. I would definitely make it again if this bat flies away.

I might need to fix that pooling of fabric at my hollow lower back though. It’s bad enough not having enough padding on my bum to counter balance that thickening boob / middle at the front. I don’t need no fabric puddle shouting about it.

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