Grey cargo trousers: Burda 121 02/2018

These cargo trousers are Burda 121 02/2018. It’s an unpromising looking pattern if you go by the model photo, where it’s made up in a rather unlikely silk satin – the notes say it is an ‘evening style’ – but then photographed and styled to look like the model is camping or hiking. But the line drawing is much more appetising.

The project came about after I saw a picture on a Reddit street style group where the poster was wearing an all grey outfit with loose trousers tucked into boots and thought it was a great look: very comfortable and practical but a bit different. What makes it work in my opinion is the shape of the trousers. The Burda pattern with its gathered ankles and utility styling was the closest thing to it I could find in my pattern stash, and as a bonus it’s a Tall pattern so I didn’t need to make many adjustments. I added 2.5cm length and traced my usual size. The fit is about right. They are by no means low rise though, despite what Burda says in the pattern description. Maybe low rise in the current decade means something less extreme than it did in the 1990s?

These trousers have so much detail and require an amazing number of notions. Five zips, a buckle, loads of top stitching thread, petersham ribbon (not elastic despite what the pattern description says) for the ankles, and a button. I substituted a snap from stash for the button, and cotton herringbone weave tape for the petersham because I wasn’t convinced petersham ribbon would knot nicely.

I’m pleased with the zips I found; they have slightly fancy pullers and the grey tape is less harsh against the grey fabric than black would have been. The fabric is a lightish weight grey denim from Sherwood’s Fabrics. I sewed it with a size 90 denim needle and did the top stitching with a size 100 denim needle. I interfaced the waistband, fly underlap, and belt with Vilene F220. The top stitching thread is various shades of grey Coats Double Duty and Gutermann Topstitch I found in my stash so it doesn’t all match if you look too closely.

Here’s a shot of the ankle ties. I probably should have substituted elastic because I suspect they’re going to be annoying to tie and untie, but they do look nice. I guess I could always replace them with elastic later.

I am really pleased with how the trousers came out, but I have to say the pattern isn’t up to Burda’s usual high standards. Burda never provides pattern pieces for any piece that’s a rectangle, just a table of dimensions which confusingly usually include seam allowances although the pieces that are traced don’t. However the dimensions given for the waistband piece in this pattern don’t seem to include seam allowances or even the waistband underlap, so if you cut it according to the table it would be much too short. The fly front underlap piece dimensions are also wrong unless the piece was intended to be cut on the fold, but I couldn’t see that mentioned anywhere, nor is it shown on the fold in the layout. I’m very glad I checked everything before cutting.

I’m also unconvinced by the instruction to make the belt by sewing a long thin tube and turning it out. It would work in the original silk satin, but not in denim. Instead I pressed the seam allowances on the long edge of the belt to the wrong side, folded the belt right sides together, sewed across only the short ends, turned it out, pressed, and then top stitched around the whole thing to close the long edge. No awkward tube turning required.

Another thing I did to make the sewing easier was to make a template for the zip pocket opening markings. It’s just a piece of cardboard with a slot cut out the right size for the zip, but it made it much easier and faster to mark the four pocket openings accurately.

It is of course still distinctly cool in the UK so this is how I actually wore these most of Bank Holiday Monday; with a thick cardigan on top.

I don’t think I’ll make these again in a hurry because they are so very time consuming, but I’ll definitely hang onto the pattern in case the right piece of black denim should come my way. I think I’m going to wear these a lot. Thanks as ever to my husband for taking the photos!

33 thoughts on “Grey cargo trousers: Burda 121 02/2018

  1. Fabulous pants. Love the way they look made in the soft grey wool fabric versus satin or chino. This pattern is on my short list for a planned pair of cargo style pants. So I really appreciate the detailed review. Thanks!

  2. I really love these pants. I think the details are really lovely and I love that colour on you. You could put elastic in the bottom and just sew down the twill tape for the appearance of a tie.. .like they do for kids 🙂

  3. I really like this! The details make it very RTW and the styling with the boots works well.

    1. Thanks! BTW I have been completely failing to comment on your blog lately – something wrong with my browser I think – but I really like your latest jeans

  4. Oh these are great! Just completed my first burda pattern and I do love how they manage to be quite different! These are a great pair of trousers and really suit you.

    1. Thanks! The thigh pockets are excellent. The slightly unusual shape of the hip pockets means they don’t hold as much as you might expect but still you can’t complain about trousers with size pockets.

  5. Awesome pants and you are a human not to be messed with! Why are you not featuring in Kung Fu movies Catherine? Fierce is the word I think!

  6. I love the petersham ankle ties! Maybe you could attach 2 tie ends to elastic so you’d have the benefit of the elastic with the look of the petersham. These pants are really cool and beautifully made. Well done!

  7. Fabulous! This is totally a pattern that I’d overlooked in the original magazine but I’m now so intrigued by the cool pockets and the ankle ties. And thanks for the tips about the weird seam allowance/no seam allowance thing with the Burda rectangles – I’ve also found they *usually* include seam allowances in the “draft your own rectangle” pieces, but it seems they’ve been less consistent with that lately?

    1. The weird thing is that the instructions said it was included, but I suppose those are standard. It’s the first time I’ve known Burda make a mistake like that.

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