Project: Sailor Pants

Sew Tunes: This American Life podcasts

Pattern: BurdaStyle

Fabric Used: Linen Blend

New to Me: Linen and Pants. Linen Pants.

Trips to Store: 1

Loved One: My little cousin Kayla who continues to amaze me as she moves into adulthood.

Day by Day…

Sunday, July 24:

I cut out the six pattern pieces while watching True Blood at my friend’s place. It was my first time, and with all the vampires and shape shifting, I think I’m hooked (thank you, Christine and Jen).  Sunday nights may become my pattern cutting night.

Monday, July 25:

In true Burda fashion, the cutting diagram is on the pattern tissue rather than on the directions. Another Burda-ism: they make you feel real large. Poor Kayla. She is a size 4, but the pattern has her at a size 12. I chose the size based on her hip measurement. Since the pattern is based on a height of 5’6″, we should be ok with length.

I washed/dried the linen, and then ironed, placed (using the grain line as the guide), and cut the pattern pieces while listening to the most recently aired This American Life episode. It resonated, and kept me working a bit longer than I was expecting this evening.

Thankfully, I grabbed enough fabric (2 and 5/8 yards). I’m very happy about this since this fabric did not come from the bargain table. I am becoming more daring, or maybe just more confident in my sewing.

I didn’t buy the buttons at the fabric shop. I am holding off in hopes of finding some cool vintage anchor buttons. I poked around a bit on, and found these… but the seller is in Israel. With my pattern-a-week timeline, I don’t think this will work out.

Tuesday, July 26:

The first step in the directions was to dart the back panels of the pants. I need to add tailor’s chalk to my bag of tricks, but until then, I am using a pencil to sketch out the dart lines. And I took from the last pattern that helpful hint. Remember:

“To prevent a ‘bubble’ at the point of the dart, make the last few stitches right on the fold and leave the thread ends long enough to tie a knot. Do not back stitch at the point.

Stitch time. I am facing the pins in a way that I can easily remove before the machine needle hits the pin. Thank you for the pointer, momma!

I should probably use navy blue thread, but I am using red thread so it’s easier to see if I need the seam ripper to come to my rescue. If the pattern requires any topstitching, I will switch to navy blue thread.

Now it’s time to stitch the two front sections together for each pant leg (front center and front side). Since it is difficult to tell which is the right side and which is the wrong side of the fabric, I place a piece of tape to the wrong sides before removing the tissue pattern pieces. Also important to note, Burda doesn’t use notches in their patterns, so matching up the pieces is not as easy as Simplicity and McCall’s patterns.

Once stitched, I iron the seams flat. And aha, Burda tells you/reminds you to finish the allowances (every step of the way), so I am going to use the pinking shears because right now, that’s the only sort of finishing I know.

I then stitch the front sections to the back sections along the outer and inner seams, leaving room on the left for the 8″  zipper. This is really too easy.  I am about to call it quits for the night, but before signing off, I stitched the two pant legs together by placing one pant piece into the other pant piece (right sides together).

Thursday, July 28:

Time to stitch in the zipper using the zipper “footh.” Oops, the directions have a typo. I wish Burda would swap editing (me) for patterns for life (them) because I really like their patterns, and their web site is so much fun. The pattern called for an 8″ zipper, but the choices at the fabric store were only 7″ and 9″. I opted for the 7″.

Up until this point, I have not needed to use the seam ripper. (It must be because I used red thread. If I used navy blue, I am sure I would have had a reason to use the ripper. That’s just the way it goes.) Not realizing, I accidentally had two layers under the foot when stitching, so had to use the ripper to separate it. No biggie.

My third zipper ev-ahhh:

I should mention that this fabric is not very photogenic. That’s why there are so few pictures in this post. Plus, I just got a new phone and trying to figure out the camera feature. It seems (or seams) that the only machine I am able to operate these days is a Singer.

After the zipper comes the facing for the waist. Since the last pattern had quite a bit of facing work, I had no real problem. But there were slight imperfections:

  • The seam of the facing did not exactly match the side seam on the pants.
  • I am pretty sure I am not finishing off the zipper area correctly.

Then came the bib. The pattern called for buttonholes, but I  did a bit of poking around on pattern review sites, and found that I really did not need them as they are purely decorative.

Friday, July 29:

Then came the buttons. I broke down and used some very generic ones. We can always switch them out later.

I have never formally learned how to sew a button. I have winged it in the past, but since these 26 weeks are about learning, I watched a video tutorial which is definitely worth a watch. Takeaways: Go through each pair of holes 3 times (I have always gone back and forth between the pair of holes). Then create a shank under the button, between the pants and the button. Interesting! And the backside of the garment looks so much cleaner using this technique – a cross instead of a diamond.

Then the project was complete, minus the hem. I have the hem pinned, but am waiting for Kayla to come over for the “fitting” before stitching.

Wouldn’t the pants look tres cute with a top like this?

Project Wrap-up

Sew Happy:

  • I heart BurdaStyle. They have so much style.
  • Only 12 steps to the pattern. The first step was a confidence boost: darts. I love darts.

Not Sew Happy:

  • Although Burda reminds you to finish the allowances every step of the way, I am still struggling with what that exactly means. Hem? I am going to continue to use my pinking shears until I find out more.
  • The bib did not perfectly line up to the seams on the pants (the seam where the front center panel meets the front side panel). It is off about 1/8th of an inch. I had trouble keeping all the layers together under the machine’s foot. And, my focus was really on not stitching the back of the pants to the front. Since the fabric is so dark, I am hoping it is unnoticeable. We will see when Kayla comes over to try them on.

Helpful Hints (to self)

  • Keep practicing the thread loop on a remnant piece of fabric. The last pattern called for it, and to finish off a button, you should use it. It’s just awkward. But practicing may help it become less awkward.


Kayla modeling the pants…before the alterations. They need to be hemmed and taken in at the waist. I am going to make adjustments to the darts.