Thursday, 19 June 2014

Jeans from a modern pattern

This was scary. Not only had to cut the pattern out, but what are all those lines for?? In The Great British Sewing Bee some contestants freaked out when they were presented with an unprinted pattern. I laughed in a superior fashion of course, but life takes its revenge as usual and presented me with a modern one.

Burda 7050
It was for the daughter of course. She's a funny shape, being 11 and all, so I chose the U.S. size 8, but went up two sizes at the waist. Re-sizing the pattern was such a traumatic experience and I couldn't have done it without the in-house pattern maker. Next I made a "Toile" (pron. "twahl") out of spare fabric (I used off cuts I bought at an op shop) and fitted it for waist width and leg length (and width). Changed the pattern and cut out the denim. Here's the toile fitting:
She wanted the flared legs, unfortunately, so they stayed.
Apparently there's no way a modern domestic machine will sew denim the way my vintage machines did. They just powered through it until I got to the buttonholes.
I was chuffed that I had the 411g and the key hole buttonholer attachment until I attempted to do this. I broke three needles: Four layers of denim is too heavy for the attachment to drag around so I lifted the weight away. It still wouldn't move the fabric so I assisted and this bent the needle just enough to deflect it right onto the needle plate as it descended. Tried various ways of making it easier for the 411 then gave up on it. Took the coffin lid from the 1891 VS2 treadle and attached the 1950s buttonholer. A few minutes later I was looking at several perfect buttonholes! Yes, ol' faithful came through for me again.

The belt was also made. Pattern maker had a kit from the 1970s or '80s for a belt, so I made it out of leftover denim. It looked so good I didn't recognise it the next day, thinking she'd gotten a proper one from her mum's.

The back

and the front
They look amazingly good, and it wasn't because I'm in any way great at sewing: Burda really know what they're doing. Clever Germans. They incorporated couture techniques into the instructions so you can't fail.
The main technique (which I'd adopted anyway) is to hand baste before machine sewing. I read somewhere that you should pin, hand baste then sew (by machine) so that's what I've done for a while now, and I have to say it's a lot easier to get a good result. Slow and steady wins the race. No longer am I interested in short cuts to get a garment finished quickly: It always leads to something I'm not proud of, or having to re-do over and over so it was never going to be worth it.


  1. Nice work!! They look great ;) And I might remember that you've got a 50's buttonholer attachment when I next contemplate buttonholes in denim ;)

  2. Thanks, Nic. The buttonholer I used is for a short shank machine, and the 411 one was for a slant shank. Not sure if your machine would have one. Oh, I think you mean you'd have me do it. Ha, very good :-)