Burda Tailored trousers 11/2012 #107D: style and construction notes

SWAP plans

You may remember I am thinking about a number of trouser options for my SWAP.

  1. a good pair of jeans (although I have two or three already)
  2. a second pair of the Simplicity 6087 trousers but in a different colour
  3. a pair of perfectly fitting tailored trousers
  4. high-waisted trousers
  5. a jumpsuit
  6. a pair of tailored shorts
  7. adapting my curvy pencil skirt to make a trouser pattern.

Tailored trousers – style notes

At the moment I am working on item 3 – the perfectly fitting tailored trousers. If these don’t make the cut I still have the other options, and I have yet to try out numbers 4 to 7.

So I finished 3. the tailored trousers.

Tailored trousers Burda107D 11/2012
Tailored Burda 107D 11/2012

Do they fit perfectly?

They fit comfortably. I cut the size 40, and altered the waist to fit (using the multi-sized pattern to grade down to size 38 at the waist). Otherwise I made no changes. I didn’t even lengthen or shorten the trousers. And surprisingly the fit is excellent. However I did have to take the waist band in by at least a further two inches during the construction. This was not difficult due to the back seam being the last one to be stitched. Actually I machine basted the trousers once the fly and pockets were completed, and tried them on. With the very long seams on trousers unpicking in the event of a poor fit can be tedious  – but I didn’t change leg width. Maybe I should have done.

The lapped fly front is great, and came out really nicely. I have Sandra Betzina to thank for this. She suggested a longer than specified zip – what a breakthrough! This allows all the stitching to be done nice and flat, and then you just cut off the top of the zip. Fantastic. I will never struggle with a little zip again.

I took the construction slowly and was glad of the thread tacking which meant everything was lined up perfectly. Of course it is a nuisance to remove but I have a good pair of tweezers. I really like the colour of the fabric (forest green) and it is a light, smooth wool with just a bit of elastane in it.

The real issue is – do they suit me?

woman in dark green Burda trousers
side view

Esme’s view is that they should be narrower in the leg, to make them look more contemporary. I think she may be right. Let’s have another look at the J Crew Cafe Capri pants description.

Introducing our wildly flattering wool café capri—now your favorite perfect-fitting pant can be worn allyear long. Crafted in lightweight wool and a collection ofcan’t-miss colors, it’s the one piece you’ll need to anchor your wardrobe for fall (and beyond).

  • True to size.
  • City fit—our lowest rise.
  • Sits just above hip.
  • Fitted through hip and thigh, with a skinny, cropped leg.
  • Wool.
  • 27″ inseam.
  • Cuffed

I have noticed a number of J Crew reviewers saying the trousers are too tight on the calf. For the record my calves measure 14 inches and my Burda pants are 15 inches at the cuff. In fact my Burdas are comfortable rather than “fitted through the hip and thigh” with a “skinny” leg. So I could perhaps slim them down as Esme suggests, narrowing the cuff to 12 inches (the same as my 1960s pants) are generally tapering the legs. Maybe.

I really don’t love this look on me. I feel self-conscious about my shape and even with a little heel I feel stocky. Stocky with a large rear. At the moment these trousers are not going into the SWAP. I will wear them for work; I already wore them to meet the housing minister. They may grow on me. But I found them comfortable and practical rather than professional and elegant.

Kate Davies and Brandon LEwi
Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis MP

But in terms of the SWAP it is back to the drawing board. I plan to make the alterations suggested below, but I think I can do better. Next up I going to try option 7 – the adaption of my favourite skirt pattern.

Construction notes

  1. The pockets and fly are really nice. I like the method of putting the turn ups together too. If you look great in trousers this is a good pattern.
  2. If you make them in a nice wool it really makes sense to line them.
  3. I think the rise could be just an inch or so lower to get closer to the J Crew “City fit” – they are advertised as resting on the hips but they came above the navel on me.
  4. The waistband could be more shaped (contour waist band).
  5. If you like to wear a belt they probably need belt loops.
  6. To make them look more contemporary taper the leg by between two and three inches (ie half an inch on each trouser piece) from the knee to cuff.

15 Responses

  1. Jane

    I think removing the turn ups, adding to the length and possibly making them a little narrower would make them feel more elegant. You look to have a good fit in the body and that is the real battle when fitting trousers in my experience.

  2. maryfunt

    I agree with your daughter that they could be a bit more tapered from the knee to the hem. Perhaps a bit shorter also so they stop at your ankle bone. I would experiment with removing the turnups. They are a horizontal line and if you think they make you appear shorter maybe eliminating them. Try making them a bit skinnier and see if that helps. The fit looks good to me and I think you look great in them. I also tend to be hypercritical of my own work.
    I haven’t seen the pattern. Is the waistband a straight strip or countoured? I’ve found that cutting a straight band on the cross grain and stretching it into a contour shape with steam fits me much better and eliminates the gap at the back waist.
    I’m following your SWAP and figuring out my own. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • fabrickated

      Thank you Jane, Catherine and Mary – yes I agree about the turn ups, and narrowing the leg. The waistband is straight and it sort of sticks up a bit, so Mary’s suggestion of cutting it on the cross is a brilliant suggestion. Many thanks. And I am so glad you are in the SWAP too Mary.

  3. Stephanie

    I actually like these on you, but I do think they would also look nice a little bit narrower at the bottom. Mary’s suggestion of very slightly shorter at the bottom is an interesting one. I have a pair of trousers with a similar line and a higher waist, though perhaps slightly wider in the leg, and I wear them quite a bit shorter. I would say three or four inches above the ankle, but I’d have to check. Mine are red and I wear them with nude pumps, which elongates the leg below the pant cuff. When they are exactly ankle-length I like them slimmer and without turn ups. I have a number of pairs of J Crew café capris but in cotton for summertime, that I bought a few years ago. The fit is slim on me and they are a bit shorter and I find the waist to sit a bit too low, at least on me.

  4. amaryllislog

    I think your intuition is correct especially after wearing the trousers. I think they look nice and certainly wearable but it’s the details you mention, especially after giving them a try that would make you happier with the results. They are very impressive especially considering this is your first pass at this pattern. I hope you try to refine them like you have spelled out in this post.

  5. sewruth

    I love narrow legged trousers on the legs but not the hips! So like you Kate, I wear a cardigan to cover the nether regions. Mind you, I’m at least 2 sizes bigger and I think you look fab. Take a reality check – this style really suits you and DOES NOT

  6. Manuela Fridrich

    Kate, I think they look great on you and you nailed the fit well. I agree that tapering the leg and omitting the turn up will look even better. One little thing caught me eye, the pocket is gaping e little. Does the pocket back cover the whole front and is inserted into the CF seam? If not, it’s worth a try.

  7. Kbenco

    These are smart trousers, and look very current to me. I am very impressed with how elegant and well fitting these appear on you and am having great trouble seeing any stockiness or girth issues.

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