Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Finished Project: Burda 6951 (Plus size slender pants)

Curvy Sewing Collective Announcement

Hello! As you may have seen yesterday, I have joined the Curvy Sewing Collective as an editor!  I am really looking forward to being involved with this group of talented women and to do what I can to promote curvy sewing and body self-acceptance and positivity no matter what your shape or size. And I'd also like to welcome all of my new readers who have started following my blog since the announcement!

Burda 6951

Let's start this post by checking off all of the SBC cliches related to the type of project that I just finished:
  • "Jeans y'all!"
  • "OMG, you guys, I made jeans!"
  • "I sewed jeans. *drops mic*"
Wearing my new Burda 6951 jeans
This pattern isn't a true jeans pattern, and really, this is more of a wearable muslin given that I've still got a few fit issues that I'm working through with this pattern. But hey, it is wearable in that I've worn them twice already, and I did mostly go through the process of constructing these jeans as if this were a "real" jeans pattern. The big differences between this pattern and a "real" jeans pattern are that this pattern does not include a coin pocket; therefore, these are not a 5-pocket jean, and the instructions don't have you flat-fell your seams, do double topstitching, etc. Where you see double rows of top-stitching along my seams, I stitched, serged to finish the seam, and then top stitched twice with Gutermann poly jeans top-stitching thread (I didn't want to mess with flat felling on a potential muslin).

Back pocket

I stole the back pocket design from Nakisha at SewCraftyChemist; I wanted to do something with the back pockets, but don't own an embroidery machine and didn't want to spend a lot of time on decorative stitching, given that I didn't know how the jeans would turn out. I purchased the rivets and jeans button from CastBullet and used Melissa's tutorial to install them.

Burda 6951 envelope

Here's the line drawing, where you can see the details a bit better:

Burda 6951 line drawing

You can see that my version isn't as close-fitting as the envelope photo, especially through the legs. I can think of two possible reasons for this:
  • The pattern is drafted for stretch, bottom weight fabrics and that draft includes negative ease at the hip in the finished garment measurements. Even though my denim had lycra and plenty of stretch, I kind of freaked out over that and went up a size from the size chart. I realized that I clearly didn't need to do this after wearing them for a bit.
  • I do think that the legs are drafted to not fit as closely shown as they do on the model. If you're a longtime reader of my blog, you've seen my legs plenty of times in dresses and skirts. I do not have disproportionately skinny legs to the rest of my body, but I'm finding that I often (not always) need to take in or grade down the size of legs in pant styles that are meant to be slim-fitting through the legs. I don't have this issue at all in RTW pants and jeans, so I suspect that it's a common issue with plus size and/or larger sized pant patterns.
Another jeans pic

Fabric and Notions Used

I used the following fabric and notions for this version of this pattern:
  • Stretch denim from stash. I'm going to guess that this denim has at least 2% lycra. It was very stretchy and has good recovery (so far). I don't know the weight, but I'd categorize it as a lighter medium weight denim. Maybe about 8 oz? I'm going to guess that I either purchased this at a Yardage Town (from when I was living in San Diego) or from a flat fold table at Michael Levine's during a years-ago shopping trip to the LA fashion district. In any case, it had been in my stash so long that I felt no anxiety about possibly sacrificing this fabric to a muslin if the jeans didn't work out.
  • Facing fabric was leftover cotton shirting from my HP Woven tee.
  • 5" YKK jeans zipper.
  • Jeans button and rivets from CastBullet.
  • Poly Gutermann jeans top-stitching thread.
Please ignore the wonkiness at the edge of the waistband underlap.

Pattern Sizing and Alterations

This is a Burda Plus envelope pattern available in sizes 42-54 (hip sizes 40 1/4"-52 3/4" or 102 cm - 134 cm). My hip measurement (50") should put me in a Burda size 52, but as I mentioned previously, I freaked out over the negative ease in the finished garment measurements and sewed a size 54. I made no other alterations other than shortening the pants inseam by 3" (to 28" hemmed) because I had no idea how these would fit out of the envelope.

One thing that I liked about this pattern is that the front pockets incorporate a tummy panel--one of the pocket pieces extends to the fly facing to help prevent pocket gape and provide tummy support.

For my next version, I'll go down a size to a 52 and add a horizontal wedge to the CB seam to give me better vertical coverage over my bum. I also used the pattern for pocket placement and will be raising the placement of my back pockets in my next version.

Jeans back

Pattern Instructions

The pattern instructions are adequate. If you've never sewn a Burda envelope pattern before, the instructions are far more detailed than the BurdaStyle magazine or download patterns. The envelope patterns also include seam and hem allowances (or at least they do in the US).

I used HotPatterns instructions from another pattern to install the fly zipper, though, because Trudy's method is the only one I've tried where I don't get a weird little pucker where the fold for the fly starts. (Her method is very similar to Sandra Betzina's , but Trudy's incorporates the fly shield at the start of construction.)

Similar Patterns

I'm not sure how many similar patterns there are to this pattern, particularly in a plus size range. The leg profile on the StyleArc Sandra jean should be similar, but that pattern is designed for non-stretch denim. There's also the much-beloved Closet Case Files Ginger jeans, but those appear to be either a true skinny jean or a slightly flared jeans leg. (Fun fact: I chose these Burda jeans to establish a baseline fit for myself when sewing other jeans patterns, such as my plan to tackle the Gingers in coming months.)

Final Thoughts

The fit on these jeans isn't perfect, but I'm pretty happy with it for an out-of-the-envelope first version. I've already made one set of alterations (including going down a size) and have started work on another pair--this time in a bottomweight stretch cotton twill in a fun print.


  1. I think they look darn good for an "out of the envelope sew." I'm anxious to see the next pair as you tweak the fit. congratulations!

    1. Yes, me too. I'm not doing "jeans" for the next pair, so they're going much faster.

  2. They look really good!! Some seriously nice stitching there!!!

    Congrats on becoming a CSC editor!

  3. Fanfreakintastic! Your top stitching looks great. The fit is actually really good. I'm considering getting this pattern now, even though I have real reluctance to tackle jeans. I'm learning a lot from my shorts making extravaganza, so never say never I guess.

    You should be really pleased with these and proud that they look so great-- both on you and in construction and details!

    1. I've been tackling jeans/pants out of necessity, having lost two pairs of RTW jeans to wear-and-tear holes in recent months.

  4. Fabulous job! I'm with you on the legs of plus size patterns. I have big legs (19" calf, thighs are bigger!) but they are *still* huge on me. Sheesh! Your bottom looks a similar shape to mine where the fullness is quite high. Makes pants very tricky to fit. You've done well.

    1. Yeah, the huge high butt is something that's emerged on my body in recent years, so that's a relatively new fitting challenge for me.

      And I'm in the same boat my legs--I mean, I have to buy "extra wide calf" boots to fit my calves, but I can't get a cigarette-style pant pattern leg to skim my calves without having to take them in a bunch???

  5. Fantastic job. I have never been brave enough to sew jeans but maybe one day. I find with pants that i need to take the legs in and I have large thighs, who knows! You are very clever.

    1. I'm starting to suspect that it's a grading issue with the legs--just like how some blouse/top patterns have oversized sleeves when you get to the larger sizes.

  6. That pattern is on my list to make, so I'm glad to see it made up! Actually, I think you recommended this pattern to me. These are awesome! They look like RTW and if this is a muslin, I can't wait to see your "real" pair!

  7. Great jeans, esp. for "out of the envelope."

    1. Thank you. I may end up using your flat seat/fisheye alteration on pair 3, but I want to see where going down a size gets me, first to see how much it's needed at that point.

  8. I'm not a huge fan of stretch jeans, so the two patterns I have are the Boyfried Jeans from Hotpatterns and the jeans from Petite Plus. I'm not petite, but it's easier to add length than do all the other full tummy adjustments, etc. I'm going to make the Petite Plus pattern first, as its seems to be easier but less fashionable.
    Is there a specific reason you want stretch jeans? I'm concerned about the Lycra bagging eventually.

    1. I love the HP Boyfriend jeans, and those are on my shortlist of my Great Jeans Sewing Adventure.

      I like my pant fabric to have some lycra content because I've found that for me, if my pants don't have some lycra, they bag out pretty badly under the bum as the day wears on. Plus, I feel like having a little bit of lycra just makes them more comfortable. I know that the StyleArc Sandra Jeans are designed for non-stretch denim, too, if you're interested in checking those out.

  9. Plus, I completely disagree that these are not jeans. They are close fitting in the bum/crotch, denim, with standard zip and pockets. The fifth pocket is traditional, but not compulsory.

    1. That is true. The instructions also weren't geared towards jean construction, although I took a lot of liberty with those to make them look more like RTW jeans.

  10. These are great out of the envelope! Let me get my 'fangirl' on for Jalie jeans! The pattern is made for stretch denim, but the fit is remarkable. There's no fifth pocket either, but that's an easy addition. Also, the style is boot cut and not skinny, but that too is an easy fix.

    I also wanted to congratulate you for becoming a CSC editor!

    1. Thank you! And you are the queen of that Jalie jeans pattern!

      You know, I've mostly stayed away from Jalie because I've been convinced that they draft for is the opposite of mine, but I know that people love that jeans pattern. And also, there were a few years where bootcut jeans looked really dated, but hey, flared legs are on their way back again (thankfully!)

  11. Great jeans Michelle. Looks fab on you. Loving those pockets.

  12. The fit on the front looks great...that's where I have all of my issues. I think I have the shortest fron crotch length in the world!