Burda Editorial Trousers

Can you get excited about office wear, specifically basics? I generally can’t and as a result this post is long overdue. I was forced into this make by going down to one pair of trousers suitable for the office and this was problematic in terms of laundry logistics but also in maintaining interest in my outfits. 

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I’ve delayed making trousers because I knew getting the fit right would be a hard task due to my narrow hips and larger waist. Thankfully I was saved from a long headache by attending a trouser fitting session with KellyHannah and Vairë Gwîr. We spent a few hours around the house of the lady who taught me how to pattern draft and all came out with a pattern that fitted or a block that to use in the future. It really did feel like something magical happened that day - I suddenly understood a lot more about my lower body as well as which parts of a trouser pattern I need to pay attention to. I’m now on the hunt for a couple of tried and tested patterns to fall back on. 

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This pattern is the Editorial Pants from Burda 08/2013. I chose them as they are similar in style to my remaining work pair and it is a shape that I love. The main difference is this pattern has front pockets. To get the right fit, I cut the largest size to match my waist measurements and then pinched out the excess at side seams on the front around my hips. The other alteration needed was along the crotch line. I added a small amount to the centre back seam and remove a small amount towards the end of the curve. This worked well as I can comfortably sit and stand. The result is a pair of trousers that fit perfectly in the waist but I'm not sure about the rest of the fit. 

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I should have made another toile to check the changes before committing to finishing this pair. The £2pm poly suiting in my stash persuaded me that a wearable toile would be acceptable - if something went wrong I would be unlikely to cry over lost fabric. The pockets and inside waistband are made from the leftover peacock cotton that Minerva sent me to create my peacock dress. Building in colour and interest somewhere was a necessity to balance all of that black! Anyway, back to the fit. The fit issues I have noticed is a ripple across the front just below the fly, some wrinkling around the back and I wonder if the legs are a little to wide. All things to work on for my next pair. I hope you can see what I'm referring to - photographing black indoors is always tricky! 

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To my surprise, I enjoyed making these. I was convinced that sewing basics, particularly in dark colours, would be dull and uninspiring. Add Burda’s reputation for unclear instructions and welt pockets and that feeling grew stronger. As expected, the instructions were not as clear as you would like them to be. I could, though, follow their instructions for the welt pockets but the text on inserting the fly and adding the waistband was confusing. To make life easier, I followed the instructions from the Thurlow pattern to insert the fly which went in perfectly first time. I added the waistband in the most logical way I could think of. After the welts behaved following an initial hiccough, the rest of the construction was relatively simple. Being a wearable toile, I took a few short cuts. The waistband closes with a large popper as I was too lazy to add a button. All pieces were overlocked or have zigzag stitches within the seam allowance as the fabrics are prone to substantial fraying. As a result the inside isn’t as nice I would normally like but no one but me will know - except of course for everyone reading this post! 

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Even though the fit isn’t right, I’m convinced these will get a lot of wear through necessity if nothing else. I’m now on the hunt for some fabric for another version (after a couple of additional toiles no doubt!) and ideally these won’t be black or another dark colour. Strangely, I seem to be only comfortable wearing dark trousers in the office. I’d love to know if this make sense to you or do you wear brighter colours?

Completed: It's all about the spots blouse

Following my last post I was determined to find time to sew. I wanted something reasonably simple that would become a quick win. Tucked away in my stash was a deep purple chiffon with white spots. I picked this up on a trip to Goldhawk Road with the idea of making a blouse for the office. I looked around for a suitable pattern and settled on this one from Burda. I surprised myself with this choice. Generally I like a more fitted silhouette and this one doesn't have much shape but I've become more accustomed to a looser fit after wearing my Beehive Blazer a lot. The ties are knotted together. I tried a bow but I just wasn't comfortable. I don't really get on with big bows. 

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This was the first time I had used a Burda pattern. I downloaded the pdf which certainly makes it easier than tracing the patterns off the crazy sheets that come with the magazines, although it still took me a while to figure it out. Turns out there are three patterns within the same pdf. Luckily I remembered to add seam allowance before cutting out the pattern. 

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The chiffon was relatively easy to work with as I used all the tips and tricks I learnt when making my summer cocktail dress. I pinned and pinned before basting every seam. I used French seams throughout and that made for a lot of basting! It was worth it though as the chiffon behaved itself at the machine. If I had just pinned, which was very tempting at times, I would have ended up with a mess of chewed up fabric and uneven stitches. 

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I did struggle with the scantly written instructions that came with the pattern. A lot of the steps just didn't make sense to me. I made a toile to check the sizing but mainly to see the order of the construction. After playing around a bit, I threw out the instructions but kept elements of them like sewing the side seams and the arms in a continuous line. It makes the inside look nice! I definitely prefer having diagrams in instructions. 

The design of this blouse is interesting. Half the front yoke and the full length of one tie are from a single pattern piece. This does leave a gap at the front which needs careful attention. According to the instructions, the seam allowances of the front yoke and ties are taken care off right at the beginning and then it calls for bias tape to be added all the way around the neck line. I couldn't figure this out so just added it at the back and the front. It isn't the perfect solution but it works well. 

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I changed the sleeves and the cuff slightly. The design calls for a slash in the sleeve to be closed with covered buttons. I'll be honest, I was feeling far too lazy for this. After removing two inches from the length of the sleeve I added the cuffs. I can get my hands through with ease. 

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I quite like this blouse, the length is just right and I can see me wearing it quite a bit in the office. It will definitely add a pop of colour to my dark trousers and I have a pair of heels that match the purple perfectly!