Burda Stretch Pants

I remember the moment when I saw Elaine’s terrific leather-ponte combo pants. My heart stopped a beat and I decided right there that I have to have something at least remotely similar.

Well, deciding to want something is one thing, but it can be a long way to finally wear what you imagined. But I think I managed in the end.

I didn’ t trust my drafting skills enough to do it the way Selfish Seamstress did, so I had to dig around until I could find a pattern that would allow me to make something similar.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, in winter and early spring there was a long pause in my sewing and in pretty much everything due to some serious things going on in my life. I discovered the suitable pattern much later in BurdaStyle March 2012 issue and by that time had to make a special order from France to get the magazines I had missed and which, after a long time, contained some really interesting patterns.

I think the people at Burda haven’ t really made the most of this pattern (model 126, March 2012 issue) for the magazine. The photo below is the reason I always open a fresh BurdaStyle in the middle where the line drawings are.

The pattern is quite similar to the Helmut Lang pants that inspired the Selfish Seamstress. There are no side seams and each leg consists of three pieces (four, if you consider the divided front piece two).

Since I probably wouldn’ t be able to pull off the leather pants look, I decided to make mine in doubleknit, with some fake leather details. The very first plan was to cut only the front leg details of fake leather, but in the end I also cut the side yokes of the same material and I think it was a good idea.

I didn ‘t expect much of the pattern because several sewists haven’ t been exactly happy with the fit and I was sure I would have a problem as well. The pants turned out to be a little wide around the waist and hips (according to the Burda size chart, my hip measurement should be size 40 or even 42 and based on experience I always cut size 38, and these were still wide!), but that was easy to fix.

A much bigger problem was caused by the fact that I must have cut one of the three leg pieces slightly off grain. This resulted in the good old spiraling pants – the seams were twisting around my calf and it was especially obvious due to the design of the pattern.

I knew what was the reason, but still, hoping that there might be an easy way out or that the twisting might be caused by a different mistake (which hopefully would again be easier to fix), sat down and ran a little search online. Well, it had to be the grainline issue, which most probably happened when I cut out the pieces from double-layered fabric and didn’ t notice that the lower layer was slightly off.

It was rather difficult to determine, which of the three leg pieces was responsible for the twist and of course I couldn’t rule out the possibility of having more than one piece off the grain. Finally I tried my luck with the side piece. But as I had ran out of fabric, I had to go and buy some more of it, wash it, cut the relevant piece etc… a lot of trouble, but I didn’ t give up.

I think I hit the spot of the problem, because after changing the side panel, the twist was gone!

The fake leather I used is the same as for my obi-belt, it has a nice fabric backing and it is slightly elastic, which I figured would match the doubleknit well enough.

As said, I cut the size 38, slightly adjusted the hip and waist width and omitted the back welt pockets altogether. I have never made them yet and I didn’ t want to put this project at more risk.

The pants could have a better fit, but generally I am happy with the outcome, they are wearable and fun. Some could say that maybe they are a tad too short, but this is the way I liked them. I tested them with several shoes and this length seemed to be the best in my eyes.

I didn´t want to stitch through the leather while hemming the pants, so I only stitched the fabric part and used fabric glue on the leather which worked perfectly because it is fabric-backed.

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Zebra Pants

Although I mainly prefer to sew dresses, I got very much inspired by one of the most interesting sewing bloggers, Erica B.  She made a pair of trousers recently, that I loved instantly and after taking a look around at some shops I realized I can make my own at a fraction of the price. At first I liked these Mango snake print pants a lot, but I had already bought a top with a similar print on it and I didn´t manage to find a suitable fabric here in Tartu, either.

Although Erica B. and Mango had opted for an elastic waist, I decided to try out a proper fly closing for my trousers.

The pattern I used is Burda February 2012 issue, model 103B:

In Estonia there is a very simple solution for finding Burda, Diana Moden, Ottobre and some other sewing magazine patterns with zero cost – they are available at most libraries and one can take the magazines home for tracing for 7 days at a time, unlimited amount of issues, free of any charge, only a registration at the library is required. I only wish I had such an opportunity in Greece as well, but I haven´t heard of it so far.

The reason why I mention this here is that although I have this February issue in Athens, I wanted to use the pattern now, being in Estonia and at that moment I was only able to find the Russian edition of Burda magazine at the library – they had given out the English one. So I traced the pattern, but I was pretty concerned about my ability to insert the fly with my poor Russian and the notorious Burda instructions.

Instead of getting myself into trouble, I googled around and came across this video tutorial. Another link to the same think is here. Probably a lot of sewists have seen it already, but it is simply amazing, or amazingly simple way of inserting a fly without any stress.

Here are my trousers:

The pattern was very easy to work with and I didn´t need to make  any alterations, apart from omitting the pockets. The zippers in the side seams were actually unnecessary, because the legs were wide enough, but as I had bought them already, I decided to use them anyway.

The fabric is synthetic charmeuse, very thin and slippery. I normally just zig-zag the seam allowances, but in this case it was impossible, because the fabric was fraying and it didn´t look nice. So, as I have been admiring the perfection of Amanda S.  garments and especially the amazing finishing on the inside, I decided for the first time to use bias tape for the seam allowances. I am so happy with the result, that I will probably start doing it on all of my clothes. It just looks so clean and neat!

So, thanks to some fantastic bloggers and hobby sewists, I got myself a pair of trousers that I am really proud of! And if I add all the expences for fabric and notions, I think the total cost of these was about 10 euros. Not bad!