Blingtastic jeans

Burda 103-07-2010 front view

With some makes the pattern comes first and with others it’s the fabric. In this case it was definitely the fabric. It’s a fairly heavy-weight stretch denim with a thick coat of gold paint. The underlying fabric is a brownish black, not that you can tell. I’m a sucker for anything metallic, and stretch denim in any colour other than blue is scarce in the UK, so I snapped this up as soon as I saw it. Originally I thought I might make a jacket, but I eventually realised that jeans would get far more wear. These are Burda 103-07-2010, a skinny trouser pattern with a little extra seam interest. It’s a really good pattern; I’ve made it a few times. Technically speaking it’s not actually a jeans pattern as there are no flat-felled seams or rivets involved, but made up in denim it certainly gives a similar look.

The side seams are shifted a long way forwards and there’s an extra seam down the back of the leg. I made view C where all seams except the inseam are top-stitched. Here’s the line art, which omits the top-stitching:

Burda 103-07-2010 line art

You can see how far forward the side seams are in this shot.

Burda 103-7-2010 side view

I added back patch pockets and lowered the waist about an inch. The original pattern is designed to hit the natural waist. I also added a bit of length to the legs beyond my standard adjustment for extra height.

Burda 103-07-2010 back view

I had a bit of trouble choosing top-stitching thread. The gold paint is bound to wear off over the lifetime of the garment so I wanted to pick a colour that would work with both the gold and the base fabric. My first choices were black or a bright brown, but the black was too harsh with the gold and the bright brown clashed. I ended up with a dull brown which looks fine with the gold but not so good with the brownish-black base fabric. I guess I’ll just have to wash these as little as I can get away with.

I bought a new packet of size 90 denim needles for this make and broke most of them doing the top-stitching; the waistband was particularly difficult. I had to switch to size 100 in the end which worked a lot better. Here are some detail shots:

Burda 103-07-2010 top-stitching
Burda 103-07-2010 top-stitching

The belt loops were slightly tricky. The pattern would have you sew a skinny tube and turn it out. I tried, but the fabric was far too thick to turn. It might have worked if I’d cut the belt loops on the bias but I didn’t want to waste fabric. In the end I cut a rectangle three times the width I wanted, overlocked one edge, and folded it in three as in the picture below. When I top-stitched the belt loops I was careful to go far enough in to catch down the overlocked edge.

Belt loop construction

But the real question is how practical are these? I made them a few weeks before writing this post and they have actually had some wear at weekends. I think they look best dressed down with boots and a sweater.

I’ve got two more metres of the fabric left…maybe a skirt?

Burda 103-07-2010 front view

An apology to Burda 117-11-2014

Burda 117-11-2014 front

This is a project that didn’t quite work. The fabric isn’t quite right. It’s a stretch denim that is too lightweight for the style and an odd shade of black. The fit isn’t quite right either. I don’t think it’s the fault of the original pattern, which is Burda 117-11-2014, described as ‘skinny pants with insets’; more what I did to it. Sorry, Burda. Here’s the line art:

Burda 117-11-2014 line art

I liked the overall shape in the drawing but not the placement of the insets, so I decided to go for some padding and quilting at the knees instead. I traced the quilting lines from another Burda pattern, 106-03-2013. Unfortunately I did it very slightly too high up the leg and the padding I used was a bit thin: just a layer of boiled wool left over from another project, backed with cotton. As a practical feature it just about works – I was very grateful for the padding when I found myself having to kneel down on a concrete floor to reach something at work recently – but it would work a lot better if it was a few centimetres lower.

Burda 117-11-2014 close up

The sizing is off because I’ve increased in circumference this year and the last two pairs of Burda trousers I made came up much too small. Determined not to make the same mistake with these I measured myself and decided to cut a size and a half larger than normal. I did not think to measure the pattern. I may have cut too generously, or perhaps there’s more ease in the pattern than one might expect from trousers described as ‘skin-tight down to the ankle’; of course they are much too large. It’s not all bad though. It might look sunny but was extremely cold when we took these and I was able to get two layers – tights and leggings – on under them. But yeah, look at those wrinkles. Skin tight they are not. I also added less length than I usually do, because Burda trousers always seem to turn out longer than I expect. This was the ‘correct’ decision because objectively on me they are exactly the length the pattern is intended to be, but I want them to be longer! I normally wear them tucked into knee boots because they feel too short.

Burda 117-11-2014 back

Although it may sound like these are a complete failure they’re not. I made them a couple of months ago and have worn them about once a week, mostly at work. And denim trousers usually get better with age.

Burda 117-11-2014 front

Burda 116-12-2009 or maybe 115-12-2009

Burda 116-12-2009 front

I don’t often make a pattern twice, despite my best intentions; and fabric that lasts more than a few months in my stash rarely gets made up. So this make is doubly unusual in that it’s a repeat of a pattern I made earlier in the year and fabric from deep, deep stash. So deep that I actually gave it away to my mother at one point, but she gave it back! It’s a very heavy cotton twill in a greeny brown colour. It’s definitely the sort of fabric that sews better with a denim needle.

The funny thing about this fabric is that the colour is impossible to match. I couldn’t find a remotely matching thread in the entire Gutermann range. I ended up sewing it with dark brown thread, overlocking in beige, and top stitching in a lighter brown. If you can’t buy anything that matches you might as well use what you’ve already got. The zip is green and the button is grey. But they look all right together.

The pattern is a mixture of Burda 115-12-2009 and 116-12-2009. The line art below is 116. The two patterns have the same basic pattern pieces but 116 has a lot more detail, including top-stitching, belt loops, thigh pockets, and flaps on the inseam pockets. I skipped the thigh pockets and the flaps, not wanting all the extra bulk.

Burda 116-12-2009 tech drawing

I kept all the top-stitching. It’s not too clear in the photos but there are three rows down the back leg seam. I failed completely to get the spacing even, but both legs are wonky in the same way so it looks intentional.

Burda 116-12-2009 back

After my previous attempt at these, which came out a bit tight, I added quite a bit to the pattern at the side seams. But I failed to take into account that the previous fabric had stretch and this one very definitely doesn’t, so they are still very slightly smaller than I intended. The pockets are gaping a bit even after letting the side seams out. They’re also a bit tight over the front of the thigh. I’m very glad I didn’t add the thigh pockets.

Burda 116-12-2009 side

I think I’m done with this pattern now. The fit is good enough to be wearable, but there are a whole bunch of niggles that I can’t be bothered to go back and make a third version to sort out. It was an enjoyable sew and I’ve got two perfectly wearable pairs of trousers out of it but now it’s definitely time for something new. You’ll be seeing the fabric again in the near future though.

Burda 116-12-2009 front

Burda 115-12-2009

Burda 115-12-2009 front view

I’ll admit I’m mildly obsessed with making shiny trousers. Up until now my experiments have all been skinny jeans made from Burda 103-07-2010. This however is Burda 115-12-2009, a pattern for wide legged trousers with interesting curved seams. Sadly I can’t find it in the Burda online pattern store or I’d link to it. The technical drawing will have to do.

Burda 115-12-2009 line drawing

What you can’t see on the drawing is that here are no side seams; the side front panel wraps round the back to the inside leg seam. I always think trousers look better with a bit of detail on the back. The curved yoke seam on these is much faster to sew than back pockets but has the same effect of breaking up the expanse of backside. And I never use back pockets anyway. Instead there are nifty little inseam pockets in the front yoke. They look lovely but they’re unfortunately a little on the small side. OK for keys and cards but I wouldn’t get my phone in them.

Burda 115-12-2009 back view

The trousers are made from yet more of the metallic stretch twill fabric I got from Truro Fabrics recently. Technically speaking it’s not a great choice for this style. The shine means that every single wrinkle is hugely visible. I swear they’re not too small – they feel fine on – but in these pictures they certainly look a bit clingy. I think the pattern was intended for a sturdier fabric. The pattern instructions simply say ‘trouser fabrics’ (thanks for that insight, Burda!) but the finished garments in the magazine are made from gaberdine and corduroy; ie heavier weight than my twill and lacking stretch. This all sounds negative, but in fact I like my version a lot. I was going for a practical style with a twist; a colleague described them as looking ‘industrial’ which on reflection I think is a success.

Burda 115-12-2009 side view

One thing I still haven’t got the hang of with Burda is how much length to add to their trousers. I know exactly how much length I need to add to bodices for Burda, and based on that plus the difference between my height and the height they design for I should be able work out exactly how much length to add to the legs. But it always comes out too much. I took an inch off these before hemming them and I’m wearing them with platform boots here. Still, better too long than the opposite. I know I should just add less to the length, regardless of calculations, but I’m always paranoid that the next pair are going to be the ones to come up disastrously short.

Burda 115-12-2009 side view on climbing frame

These seem to be passing the wearability test with flying colours. I’m keeping them for work because of the pockets – I still don’t have enough clothes with pockets – but I’d happily wear them at the weekend too. I might make this pattern again one day. There’s an alternative view with combat trouser details (side pockets with flaps, bellows pockets on the thighs, belt loops) which I’m quite tempted by, to the extent that I’ve traced off the extra pieces. Might have to go up a size though!

Burda 115-12-2009 on climbing frame

Baggy trousers – Vogue 1417 again

Vogue 1417 trousers

I bought Vogue 1417 for the caped top I blogged about a few weeks ago, but there’s also a trouser pattern in the envelope. And being in need of more trousers I thought I’d give it a go.

This pattern is not my usual style. I normally wear skinny trousers and these are more than roomy. They also have an uncomfortable resemblance to tracksuit bottoms. However they have pockets and looked like a quick sew with little or no fitting required so worth a try.

Vogue 1417 view b line art

I made these up in a polyester double knit from Tissu Fabrics. The pattern is designed for ‘moderate stretch knits’. I think these would be great in a wool double knit if I could find such a thing – polyester isn’t the warmest thing to wear in the winter. I’m unconvinced by the pattern envelope suggestion of cotton knit. In my experience 100% cotton knit goes baggy as soon as you look at it. Maybe one with some lycra in would work.

The pattern runs enormously large. With a Vogue pattern I normally go down one size from what the size chart tells me to make. For this one I went down two sizes after checking the flat pattern measurements, and they still sit a little below where they should on the waist. Good length though. I added my usual two inches to the length. They look a bit long here because I’m wearing them over boots rather than heels, but they’ve come up similar in length to the ones in the pattern photo.

I think the most interesting feature of these is the very deep front pleats. All of that fancy back seaming might as well not be there if you make them in black. I can’t see it at all in the pictures, nor do I notice it when putting them on or washing them.

Vogue 1417 back view

I love the pockets. The pocket bag is made of lining fabric to reduce bulk. They are nice and deep, and constructed in a clever way that reinforces the opening edge and gives a very clean finish inside.

Vogue 1417 side view

These have been getting a lot of wear since I made them. They come out at least once a week because they’re comfortable and practical. However I still wonder if they’re too casual for work. (This is ‘too casual’ purely in my own eyes. There is no dress code whatsoever.) So this is a strange pattern that I’m wearing to death but I doubt I’ll make again. At least not unless I find some wool doubleknit.

Wearability: trousers

A while ago I muttered something about some day reporting on the wearability of some of the more unusual designs I’ve made. And as we’ve been unable to photograph any new makes for the blog for a couple of weeks it seems like a good time for that post. I’m going to concentrate on trousers this time around and have picked out three patterns I’ve made in the last 12 months.

The clear winner in the wearability stakes is a surprise: my Burda wrap trousers. This is style 120-112-2013 made up in black satin-backed crepe. I made these in September and they come out at least once a week despite being slightly too large. I think the thing that works so well about these is that they’re unusual enough that they give the impression I’ve made an effort. In practice though they’re just as easy to wear as jeans.

Burda 120-11-2013 front

Second place goes to my neoprene Vogue 1378 skinny trousers. The big problem with these is that they lack pockets and so are not a lot of use for wearing to work. In addition the fit is not perfect: I could do with making the back rise higher. But recently these have starting getting a lot of wear because they are warm and almost entirely waterproof. I need to look out for more of the thin neoprene I made them out of! If I’d made these in a doubleknit I doubt they’d be such favourites.

Vogue 1378

The pair that have barely left the wardrobe are the Apple Peel leggings from Pattern Magic. They’re neither good trousers nor good leggings: too form-fitting to be worn alone, but they don’t work under skirts or dresses either. They also require frequent adjusting! They were a fun experiment but definitely not a wardrobe workhorse.

Apple Peel Leggings front view

Lower body coverings: Burda 120-11-2013

Burda 120-11-2013 top half

Is it a skirt? Is it trousers? No, it’s Burda 120-11-2013!

Burda 120-11-2013 front

Burda describes these variously as crossover trousers and wrap trousers. I’m not sure what I’d call them, but I like them. They are made from a satin-backed crepe I’ve had lurking in my stash for a while. It was originally intended for an impractical Pamela Rolland designer dress that I never got around to making. These, err, lower body coverings are a much better use for it.

This is a Tall pattern and it really is one for the long of leg. I normally have to lengthen Tall patterns, never mind the regular ones, but not these. What you’re seeing here is the length as drafted less about an inch. I could easily have hemmed them shorter still, but I quite like the slouchy effect.

Part of the cause of the extra length is that they’re slightly too big. They are drafted to sit above the natural waist but mine definitely don’t. Another time I’d go down a size at the waist in these. I made what should have been the right size for me but made the mistake of not double-checking the waistband length in the pattern itself. It doesn’t help that the many folds of fabric in the crossover mean there’s a lot of weight hanging off that waistband and pulling it down so you need it to fit closely.

For trousers these are a fairly easy sew. There’s no fly front and the pockets are inseam pockets. I’m finding I get a bit of gapping with the pockets. It doesn’t really matter in practice because there’s so much else going on at the hips with these, but I notice that in the magazine photo the model has her hands in the pockets so perhaps it’s the pattern. You can see the gapping in the side view below.

Burda 120-11-2013 side view

The back is completely plain. Normally I think it looks a bit odd not to have back pockets on trousers, but with these it doesn’t bother me, probably because they are such an unusual shape.

Burda 120-11-2013 back view

The closure is just a couple of snaps. I wasn’t convinced that a snap would be secure enough to hold these up so I switched the outer snap to a hefty trouser hook and bar. Under the wrap section there’s a narrow slot in the right front so you can get in and out of them. I was deeply unconvinced by Burda’s directions for the slot: the pattern has you cut down the centre line of the slot and across at the ends, and then turn the edges of the cut under and stitch them down. That leaves the end of the slot completely unfinished. The end is where the maximum stress is; I can’t see that lasting long without tearing! I faced my slot instead and also interfaced the shell fabric in that area so it ended up looking like this.

Wrong side (before top-stitching):

Faced slot wrong side

Right side:

Faced slot right side

So how do these wear? So far, surprisingly well. They can do some strange things when you sit down, as can be seen below, but they’re really comfortable. The acid test will be whether I can cycle in them which I have yet to try. They’re plenty warm (all that fabric around the hips) so I should get a lot of wear out of them this autumn and winter. In fact strange as they are I can see myself making a second pair at some point.

Burda 120-11-2013 sitting