Sad sacks

Now that I have a blog I like to give clothes a bit of a farewell tour before gifting/donating them. Sometimes this has the opposite effect of reminding me I like them. After trying this pair of trousers with 2 buttoned shirts, 3 tanks, and a tee, and rejecting most combinations, though, I’m reminded why I don’t wear these. So long, so pants!

These are a Burda Style pattern from 2015 and if you can find a link to them you’re a better woman than I. The pattern might even be quite good (for evidence, see this wickedly stylish pair) but my iteration is…poor. Is it weird if I offer to email you the PDF, if you want? They’re functionally un-buyable, but is that crimey? Is this the dark web now?!

It’s hard to express exactly what doesn’t work for me about these, style-wise, but it’s not hard to describe what I did wrong – the zipper, the facing, the front pockets, and the pleats. That’s most of the parts. And almost the back darts.

The back darts are meant to be sewn in two passes; first the diagonal lines right at the point, then the back pockets, then most of the rest of the pants including the back facing, and then the part of the dart that attaches to the waistline. I’d never come across something like before!

I won’t say I did it *right* per say, but I did it, and I guess it worked.

The front pockets are another story. The pattern pieces were shaped like an apostrophe that seemed to have no relationship to the front leg (taller than I would have expected, with a straight vertical top section and then a bulging curve). I didn’t understand what to sew, where, so I ended up with a couple short raw edges that I bound with a scrap of rayon.

Basically, I sewed accidental facing pockets, on top of the actual pockets. I’m sure that contributes to the weird pleat, but the pleats would probably be weird either way – I mean, that diagonal line!! I don’t even know WHY. It just IS.

The zipper appears normal from the outside.

It’s not, but I’m not taking responsibility. Here’s the deeply tragic block of instructions dedicated to the zipper. I apologize for the wall of text but it’s a good visual representation of what I was banging my head against. This is presented as is, by the way – without paragraph breaks, photos, or diagrams/illustrations.

Zip slit and upper edge: Press self-facing on slit edges to inside. Stitch along center front on the right and 5 mm before center front on the left. Stitch zip under left slit edge (underlap). Pin slit closed, matching center fronts. Stitch loose zip tape to right facing, not catching shorts piece. Fold underlap piece lengthwise, right side facing in. Stitch across upper and lower ends. Turn right side out. Neaten attachment edges together. Lay underlap under left slit edge and pin to facing. Stitch facing to underlap, close to zip attachment seam. Turn right facing to outside and pin to upper edge. Pin (upper) facing to upper edge of shorts, right sides together. On right slit edge, trim away facing allowance, along center front. Stitch along upper edge of shorts.

??WHAT?? If you can understand that, may I recommend Etruscan for a light read? I can sew a fly front, but I didn’t know how to finish the top edges without the facing also obstructing the zipper action. Reader, I winged it.

More rayon binding, and a definitely odd diagonal fold on one end of the front facing. Later, I purchased M7726; their directions have the zipper end below the front facing edge. If I did that here, though, the zip would be like 3 – 4 inches long. (Can I just say, as an aside, these pants are sapping my enthusiasm for ever making that McCall’s pattern.)

Unlike the petite French lady linked above, I didn’t have enough length for a punchy cuff, so instead I made a lackluster little hem on the outside.

 I almost forgot to mention the called-for sash belt, by the way! I made one, but I periodically lose it, including right before these photos. It usually turns up somewhere, sometime, but to heck with it.

There’s enough fabric in these trousers to remake them, most likely (Brussels Washer linen, by the way; hindsight says to choose something with more body), but I think I probably just kind of won’t bother. To paraphrase Fiona Apple in her song Paper Bag (written, I assume, about these pants), these are a mess I don’t want to clean up. I’d like to be Villanelle in Oxford bags (second season not a patch on the first, though the costumes are still tip-top), but I’m not. I’ve never even murdered anybody. How embarrassing!

Anyway, I’m altogether over these, and I can give them away as-is. Hopefully their next wearer will be more forgiving.

Another quick aside – we’re still all-masks-all-the-time over here in Somerville, and I’ve embraced that same shaped mask everyone sewed. Most recently I’ve added a piece of binding top-stitched onto the nose section, as a channel for a metal nose piece, but on cold days it’s still not quite enough to prevent my glasses from fogging. Any mask-and-glasses wearers out there with innovations for winter weather?

May your pleats hang straight and your underlaps lay under the left slit edge, pinned to facing! (Again, WHAT??)

Pattern: Burda Style paper-bag pants from 2015

Pattern cost: $3.00

Size: ?? unknown (pre-spreadsheet, sorry!)

Supplies: ? yards of Kaufman Brussels Washer linen

Total time: ?

Total cost: unknown, but too much, as it turns out

14 thoughts on “Sad sacks

  1. Bye pants!

    Also, M7266! I’ve made them and I love them. The pattern doesn’t come with the piece that protects your body from the zipper (sorry, I don’t know the name of it!), but I followed some other instructions on the internet for adding that piece. I felt like it was important for my safety 😛


  2. I saw the trousers in the first few photos and thought – oh actually quite nice, then that weird pocket / pleat thing came into view and well….they look a little odd. It’s a shame, because they look like they would be a nice design to wear.

    Your comments on the Burda website and instructions made me laugh. The website is tragic and the instructions are just evil. I was impressed that whoever was the author for the instructions had used the word “lengthwise”. I have a pattern that talks about a weird object called an “along” – nouns aren’t their strong point, there again their use of verbs can be dodgy too.


    1. Ooh first I’ve heard of this! I would honestly settle for ‘relatively unfogged’ at this point, I can’t actually see outdoors on wet days. Thanks for the tip!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sadly, not a good look for my mummy tummy. And those directions are mind scrambling. Thanks for the mask link. I’ve made a similar one, but this definitely has a better “side/elastic channel”. (I get my verbiage from Burda… ha!) So, I have to ask, where is the fab elephant? Definitely a photo op!


    1. Oh good, I’m glad somebody somewhere can speak Burda, and it’s not just like Linear A or something. 😉 And that’s Jumbo, the big elephant sculpture at Tufts! Apparently it’s a replacement for a stuffed elephant that burned down (!!).


      1. When “this is all over” you might visit Lucy in Margate, New Jersey for a photo shoot. She’s a magnificent 65 footer adjacent to the ocean and a great game of putt-putt. (Not as classy as Jumbo, but it gets the kitschy award!)


      2. Thanks for the tip! That sounds like an amazing day out! Not to mention pretty exotic after 8 months spent entirely inside my walking radius.


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