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Burda 7863 jeans – all the details

February 10, 2013

So as promised, here is the epic post about the jeans I made, with all the stuff I can remember. Be warned, it’s pretty boring if you’re not interested in making this pattern, so you might want to go and read something more interesting instead.

Now they’re not perfect, but I’ve been wearing them loads. Here I am enjoying the many and varied delights of Basingstoke station in the rain, and in my jeans.

jeans on station

One thing – I’m sorry, but the pictures for this post are still pretty rubbish. We haven’t seen the sun here for 6 months, it feels like winter in the Game of Thrones universe, and quality photos are a distant memory. Also these are all from my phone so they’re slightly crap. But I was fed up with waiting to get this post up, so hopefully you can put up with it.

Pockets

jeans pockets

I lost the pocket piece that came with the Burda pattern, so I just copied the ones on my favourite Uniqlo pair. They’re very tapered at both sides, especially towards the back seam. This seems pretty common on skinny jeans – these Acne ones have the same shape.

In terms of pocket placement, I relied heavily on this informative post about avoiding ‘long butt’. The basic theory is that you sew the pockets right at the curve of your posterior, avoiding the illusion that your bum is ridiculously long and drawn-out, which is not a good look on anyone.

You can see that the back seam is a bit puckered. This is because I tapered it in too sharply at the top. I’ve drawn in a smoother curve for next time. Next time I’d also sew the pockets a bit closer together.

Fabric

jeans4

It used to be that sewing your own jeans would always result in a tragically handmade look. How would you get the fading and whiskering at home, the rivets, the weird embroidery?

Luckily, following 8 years of despotic rule by our skinny jean overloads, these things are TOTALLY UNCOOL. In fact they’re so uncool, they are starting to come round the other side and wearing a faded 90s pair of light blue denim will gain you massive style points in Dalston. For normal people though, I reckon the solid-colour/minimal embellishment style will stay in for a good few years.

The denim I used was this one from Tissu Fabrics. I think it’s actually a bit too heavy and high quality for the type of jeans I was trying to make. When I look at my Uniqlo jeans, the fabric is very thin and stretchy, and black on the underside.

It’s hard to buy stretch denim and stretch trouser fabric in UK shops. I managed to get some from Mandors when I was up there at Christmas but they don’t sell online, annoyingly. Another good option looks like the Fabricland website. I know it’s insane-looking but if you’re not epileptic you should check it out, they actually have a lot of nice stuff. Check out this page for stretch denim, and this page for stretch cottons in loads of random colours including ‘mango’.

Altering the pattern

So basically I just sewed and hoped.

I did take a customised trousers course a few years ago at the now sadly defunct Oh Sew Brixton, where they took all your measurements and plugged them into a programme that spat out a personalised trouser pattern. Unfortunately, the style was not really my thing (wide, straight-legged trousers), but I did compare the crotch curve on the Burda pattern with the curve on the personalised pattern and tried to make them look similar.

I also narrowed the legs right down, again using my Uniqlo jeans as a guide (just measured each leg and then transferred that to the pattern, plus seam allowance).

I added two inches length to the legs, but it turns out that most of my height must be in my torso rather than my legs, cos they were too long.

jeans 2

The fit is pretty good, but not perfect. I have folds underneath the bum, and they are a bit too high-waisted. There are some wrinkles at the crotch, as you can sort of see in the photos, but they come and go with movement so I’m not that worried about it.

For my next version, I’m shortening the crotch-length by 3cm, which I hope will solve the folds (you can see how to do that here on Sunni’s website). I have also ‘scooped’ out the back crotch cuve a little bit, but I’m not going to elaborate on that because I probably did it wrong. Search patternreview.com for ‘scooping’ and you’ll find loads of baffling information.

Sewing the pattern

So the fly instructions, as usual with Burda, were incomprehensible. They might as well have been in Spanish for all the sense I could make of them. Instead, I used this excellent jeans fly tutorial by Stitches and Seams. You need to draft a fly shield as there isn’t one included in the pattern.

I added a little coin pocket, and sewed the legs up in a slightly different order – inside seams first (then overlocked and top-stitched), then the crotch seam, then the zipper, then the outside legs, and finally the back. The great thing about this pattern is there is a seam in the back waistband to make fitting easier. Thank you Burda! But not for your fly instructions. They were awful.

The strange world of trouser fitting

I will say this about trouser fitting. Researching it online is a short slide to an endless vortex of confusing fitting wrinkles and weirdly-named pattern adjustments (‘clown-butt’, ‘fish-eye’). There is no escape.

Sewing trousers forces you to closely visualise in 3D areas of your body you never gave a second thought to. You’ll start to diagnose yourself with knock knees, bow legs, short crotch, flat bum, high seat, etc etc etc. You’ll find yourself frantically googling weird search terms, peering closely at blog photos of disembodied legs wearing muslin and denim, and combing online shops to examine images of models wearing trousers.

Try and stay strong. Remember, that weird wrinkle you’re obsessing over is unnoticeable by 99% of the population.

Stupid mistakes

Here is a list of dumb mistakes I made, in the hope that others can benefit from my stupidity.

  • I forgot that if you add a fly shield, you need to make the waistband longer to match. So, don’t be like me. I didn’t have any fabric left so I basically stretched my waistband to fit, which made it a bit ripply.
  • The waistband pattern piece includes the facing – you interface it then fold it in half lengthways. This is great, except that I forgot that if you taper the back seam and waistband in, you need to have a waistband facing that tapers out to match it. Handmade by Carolyn explains this better than I can here. Next time I will make a 8 piece waistband (two fronts and two backs, plus facings for all of them) to make fitting easier. I could do with taking in the side seams a bit.
  • I installed a rivet button on the wrong side….TWICE. It took a lot of messing around with pliers to get it off, I can tell you that.
  • I sewed the buttonhole vertically – it should be horizontally, obviously.

Miscellaneous

jeans1

I used a plastic zipper, but next time I’m using a metal trouser zipper for sure. Apparently you can shorten them by removing teeth with a pair of pliers if you can’t get the exact right length. I will report back.

I sewed the pocket linings in a very thin cotton.

The pockets have extensions that reach towards the fly front. However Burda tell you to trim one side down, for some reason to do with their strange fly installation method. Don’t do this – just incorporate both extensions into the zipper when you sew it. It’s like built-in Spanx!

I got my button here from Jaycotts, along with some rivets that I hope to use in future. I am wary of sewing that involves hammering after my last experience, but the neighbours will just have to put up with it.

Haircut – not actually jeans related

You may also notice I’ve had a big old haircut. It was done by Rockalily on Kingsland Road, and they were lovely, and I’m really pleased with it. However I was a bit disconcerted to realise it’s exactly the same as the haircut I had from ages 6-12. Evidence:

katie haircut

I guess classic ‘dos never go out of style (not sure about dodgy coral smocks though…)

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2013 9:07 PM

    Well done on the jeans – very impressive. I’ve got the same haircut I’ve had since I was wee too – despite straying away I always end up coming back to it :)

  2. February 11, 2013 9:05 PM

    I should say that the site fabricland is amazing, it is like the time machine!%)))

  3. February 11, 2013 7:09 PM

    you all making jeans… i am just sooo impressed! one day, maybe. i’m just not that into wearing jeans anymore, as i can’t find a pair that fits well. hm, i guess that is why i would sew a pair, right? anyways, i think yours fit quite nicely! well done!

  4. February 11, 2013 12:50 PM

    These are great! I made some jeans following the craftsy jeanius course, which was so useful but I couldn’t find any denim with the exact amount of stretch as my well-worn favourites. I still need to work out crotch issues, as when I changed mine the waist ended up too high.
    Hair looks great. Last year my haircut was identical to a pic of me when I was 5.

  5. February 11, 2013 10:14 AM

    They’re so impressive and thanks so much for all the trouser-making info, I’ll definitely refer back when I ever get round to making jeans. Love your haircut – I’m a firm believer that classic doesn’t go out of fashion, having had basically the same haircut for 43 years! x

    • February 11, 2013 11:18 AM

      Thanks Jane! There’s so much helpful info out there online now, it’s great.

  6. February 11, 2013 8:18 AM

    Your jeans look amazing! I’m about to start making some trousers so every post I can find on the subject totally helps and this has really inspired me! Oh and I work in Mandors and its our customers biggest annoyance that we don’t sell online. However we can do mail order over the phone if there’s anything we can help you out with! I’ll be noseying at trouser fabric today in the shop for sure! :)

    • February 11, 2013 11:18 AM

      Ah you work in Mandors! I’m v jealous! I love that place but don’t get to visit as much as I used to, living in London now and all. I got some lovely stretch brown cotton there which apparently was used by Burberry for jodphurs… Planning my next trousers in that :)

  7. February 11, 2013 4:01 AM

    Oh man, I know what you mean about becoming obsessed over every little wrinkle and trying to diagnose the “fit issue”–it’s similar to checking webmd about a symptom and finding out that “OHMYGOD I MUST HAVE CANCER!!!!” ;-)

    I think these turned out pretty fantastic for a first time, and it sounds like you know the things you want to fix for next time to be even better. :-)

    • February 11, 2013 11:17 AM

      Yes exactly, it’s a lesson never to get too deeply into Google… :)

  8. February 11, 2013 1:50 AM

    These really look great! I’m so impressed! And I love the new haircut!

  9. February 10, 2013 10:38 PM

    I said it before and I’ll say it again – these are amazing! I am so impressed. Try not to beat yourself up about the “mistakes”. These things are just downright annoying but truly no one else will notice.

    I really hope that at some point I am able to do something similar!

    • February 11, 2013 11:16 AM

      Yeah I’m really happy with them – I did mean them to be a wearable muslin, don’t think there’s any other way with stretch trousers really. Looking forward to making the next pair!

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