burda spring cigarette pants

i know from experience that changing a trouser pant leg to a skinny or cigarette pant leg is rather challenging. if i knew something about pattern drafting (which i don’t) i suppose it would be cakewalk, but the tweaking and re-sewing and trying on is tiring and very not fun! so even though i have a good handle on the fit of my beloved sewaholic thurlows, i decided to try a new pant pattern. enter the burda “spring cigarette pants” a.k.a. 02/2014 #129B.


the leg shape was exactly what i wanted: clean, slim, and modern. the first thing i did was adjust the rise. these are drafted to hit slightly below the waist. that’s just not a good look for me, so i trimmed 1″ off the back rise and 2″ off the front rise. i usually have to add extra to the back crotch length (the dreaded “big butt adjustment” or worse, “full butt adjustment”), so this was kind of a shortcut. i moved the welt pocket placement and back dart point down by 1″ and re-drew my dart legs.


my measurements fall in between the 40 and 42, so i played it safe and went with the 42. i didn’t want skin tight pants, however these ended up being slightly too big in the waist. so really that is the biggest difference between the thurlow draft and the burda draft. sewaholic drafts for a pear shape while burda is your standard doesn’t-take-any-specific-body-type into consideration draft. that isn’t a knock against burda, just something to keep in mind when choosing a size.


other than waistline placement, the only other adjustment i made was to scoop out the back crotch a tad. when i tried them on it felt like i just couldn’t pull them on all the way without giving myself a wedgie. that’s when the scoop thing clicked for me. chances are, your bum hangs lower than er… your lady bits. so by dropping the curve in the bum area, you make space for where your bum actually sits. i’m pretty sure this explains some of the crotch flap issues i’ve had with my jalie pants perviously, and lesser so with my thurlows. the pants were stopping at my bum, but i still needed a good half inch before they made it to my front side. so much crotch talk… sorry!


i could stand to scoop out the back a tad more (i didn’t want to take out too much because it can affect the width through the thigh), and bring the waist in by a size. overall i am pleased with the drafting. many have praised burda’s pants, and i would definitely recommend this pattern. i particularly love how they shorten the back inseam from crotch to knee, which helps to reduce some of the under bum wrinkles many people complain about when making pants.



i finished the inside waistband with bias tape to reduce bulk and eliminate the need for perfect top stitching. it just so happens that Morgan at Crab&Bee posted a tutorial on this very finish as i was finishing these pants. i differed slightly in finishing the waistband ends by using this tutorial by thread theory (scroll down a ways to get to that part). it’s the same principal used in finishing the ends of the collar stand in grainline studio’s archer.


i figured out how to completely encase the welts inside the pocket bags… i fully intend to write up a tutorial!

final verdict:

  • if you’re more of a pear shape, grade down a size in the waist
  • if you tend to have front crotch flap issues, scoop out the back crotch as a starting point. don’t know how much? hold a ruler, or anything skinny and flat between your legs right up to your bum and parallel to the floor and measure the gap. that should give you a good idea of how much to lower the curve. (note: if you don’t have space there and have a pattern that is giving you excess in the front crotch, then that is mostly likely a different issue.)
  • burda instructions, as always, are brief. find other directions if you need hand holding.
  • the waistband is straight, which is probably okay for the higher rise, but i subbed in the thurlow waistband.
  • i did not alter the pant length and they’re perfect for my leggy 5′ 8″ frame


so will i use this pattern again? partially. i see bright pink pants as a fun thing to have in my wardrobe, so i’m less concerned about fit issues than pants in a basic neutral color that would theoretically get a lot more use. i could stand to lower the rise allover another 1/2″ to closer match the rise on the thurlow, which is perfect on me. i suspect i’ll return to my thurlow and use the leg shape of the burda to get the slim fit i love. in fact, if you want skinny thurlows, it’s worth the price of the burda to not have to figure out the skinny part! (note that the thurlow is drafted for a non-stretch woven, but i’ve determined that going down a size works great for a stretch fabric. skinny pants should always be made in stretch fabric) i’ll finish up by saying that any of my remaining fit tweaks are more about how they feel than about how they look. i think they look great, so i’ll continue to wear them!

a few more gratuitous detail shots…



i need to add an inside bar closure, i just hate sewing those things on

i need to add an inside bar closure, i just hate sewing those things on

forgot to mention anywhere… my fabric is a cotton/lycra sateen, hence why every wrinkle shows! also these pics were taken post-washing and i suck at ironing. oh, and my top is a tiny pocket tank that i haven’t blogged yet. i think i’ve finally perfected the fit though!

one last thing… i realized that my sewing of these coincides with a current pattern review contest. consider these entered!

—lisa g.

43 thoughts on “burda spring cigarette pants

  1. mokosha says:

    love your new pants! great color, and they look lovely on you.. becoming really pants obsessed lately, and the pattern you used is one (of many) on my ‘sew this’ list

  2. debbieiles says:

    Those pants are fantastic! I love cotton sateen, and that colour is gorgeous. Thanks for all the fitting/crotch talk. Some of the things you said made sense to me finally. I am yet to make the perfect pair of jeans/fitted pants, yet have a few patterns on my table I am trying to work the courage up to sew.

    • lisa g says:

      seriously, pant/crotch curve fitting can be so confusing! every once in a while a lightbulb goes off and i’m happy to share it here! i suppose being as tall as you are (you look very tall on your blog at least…) just compounds problems. hope you find the perfect fit someday!

  3. Kelly says:

    You’d think narrowing the legs wouldn’t be quite so challenging, but it is! I’ve been trying to figure out the Thurlows with a narrow leg and just can’t quite get it right. These pants are exactly what I’m wanting, though, and your particular version is really great! The pink is perfect!

  4. Florencia says:

    You did a fantastic job on this pants! Love the color. I never try the Thurlows and I think I should. I have try Burda 7447 many times and it is my to go pattern, you should look in to that one, it has a curved waist, tappered legs and lower waistline.

    Have a great weekend! It is going to be a nice one here in MA.

    • lisa g says:

      thanks for the pattern tip, i’ll check it out! the thurlow gets my highest recommendation, especially if you are pear shaped. it’s also the one pattern i’ve seen that has all the pocket facings, proper zip and fly facing, etc.

  5. Chloe says:

    These are such a great colour and they fit so nicely! Your welt pockets look great, too. Thanks for all the fit details – you’ve given me something to think about for some upcoming projects re. crotch scoop 🙂

  6. teri dodds says:

    Thank you for all of your details! I have the Thurlow shorts on my to do list (hoping to make some progress this weekend!). Once I get those worked out I think I’ll take your advice and use this pattern for the slim leg. I can’t wait for your welt tutorial, too!

  7. Katie says:

    The fit looks great! I don’t know why I overlooked this pattern, but I need skinny pants so might pick it up. Did you do anything around the waistband to stabilise it/prevent stretch-out? I’m still trying a different technique every time to get one I like.

    • lisa g says:

      thanks! i was surprised to see so few makes of it, since it’s such a popular and classic shape. i did fuse the outer waistband with non-stretch fusible, and i go back and forth between fusing the inner waistband… i skipped it here, but probably should have at least fused the waistband ends where the buttons and such are. it’s always good to have extra there but i just forgot!

  8. MrsSmith says:

    So nice! Love the color (and am now trying not to think about a certain bright minty stretch sateen at FabricMart that would make perfect skinny pants!) 🙂

  9. Kristin says:

    Great review and great pants! the part about “your bum hangs lower than er… your lady bits” had me laughing so hard! But it was very descriptively helpful. I am working on some shorts and that may just help out my issue. 🙂 Thanks! Plus you’ve just given me the final push to buy the darn thurlow pattern already (I’m extremely pear shaped).

  10. Mary Danielson says:

    These are so cute! Pink pants are such a fun, unexpected piece. They look so, so cute with your polka-dotted tank. Also, I’m about to cut into my first pair of shorts, so the tip on scooping out the back is way helpful. My mother has always dubbed mine a “bubble butt,” which doesn’t sound much better than a full one!

    • lisa g says:

      nope, bubble butt isn’t any better! how about “classically curved”? we need to figure out a better term, for realz! good luck with the shorts, hope they work out for you!

  11. sizzle says:

    Love the pink, so cheerful!
    I skinnified my Thurlows like this: 1) trace the front and back pieces from the top to lower thighs, for that perfect pear/big thighs fit, 2) lay pattern tissue from skinny legged pants over the top of the tracing (I used Burda 7123 – from the envelope not the magazine), 3) match up the inside crotch point for the front and back piece, and make the grainlines parallel, and then trace the skinny legs from the widest part of the thigh down to the bottom, using the closest size lines as a guide. If that makes sense.
    I had tried to modify Thurlow legs before and ended up with skewed legs that hang funny, so I think keeping the grainlines parallel between the 2 patterns is very important. I also made wide (but not too wide) legged pants using the same method and V8717 and I love love love them so much. And now I have 3 styles of pants to wear! Those Thurlows really are the best. Hopefully this helps you in your pants-making journey.

    • lisa g says:

      thanks for the advice! i adore the fit of my thurlows, so i’ll definitely be returning to them. it’s nice to have interchangeable pant leg patterns!

  12. aliceinthreads says:

    These look great Lisa, and the colour is so vibrant. I hope you get lots if wear out of them. I have just cut mine out, and like you have a smaller waist. I just cut the straight size 40, but May grade the waist down to a 38. My fabric is also a stretch, and I hadn’t taken that into consideration. I will bear that in mind when I sew them up.

    I noticed that you also added in the welt pockets. Good idea, the whole faux welt thing seemed pointless to me. I also like the neatness of the bias trimmed waist band. Looking forward to sewing them up soon. I may send you the odd question if I’m stuck on the instructions, but I think I’ll refer to the Thurlows instructions as a rule.

    • lisa g says:

      thank you! we still get the odd chilly day even in the summer, so it’s nice to have a bright pair of pants! and i’m so not a fan of the faux welt. if i’m going to go to the trouble of making them i want to be able to use then! hope your pants go well!

  13. dokucug says:

    I was really looking forward to this post, and you didn’t disappoint! So much great information! And of course your pants look amazing 🙂

  14. crab&bee says:

    I didn’t realize shortening the back inseam also helped with bum wrinkles! I thought it was mostly for knee mobility. I always learn something from your blog 🙂 Oh, and these pants look fantastic, inside and out!

  15. Katherine says:

    Thanks for this review. I actually did a muslin of this pattern this week and chose size 42 according to my measurements (I usually do a size 40 in Burda but because these were slim fit I decided to go with the larger size). You are right about grading down a size at the waist, I should have just traced size 40 for the whole pants as usual. Anyway I really, really like your pants – colour and fit. Great idea to change the waistband, curved ones seem to suit me better too. You have inspired me to have another go.

  16. aleah says:

    Nice skinnies! I’m glad the Burda worked out but I wouldn’t blame you for returning to our beloved Thurlows 😉 I agree with the earlier comment about maintaining the grainline if you frankenpattern, though – I traced an existing pair of RTW pants to make my skinny Thurlows, with no regard to grainline, and my inseam curves around to the front at the cuff.
    And I know you think pink pants won’t get as much wear as jeans, but you’d be surprised. I wear my yellow pants way more than I expected. Black and white print tops look so great with bright colored pants!

    • lisa g says:

      thanks! i’ll definitely keep the grain line in mind, i have some black sateen i’ve wanted to make into skinnies. and it seems i have more black/white and grey tops than i realized so hopefully these will get their share of use!

  17. cathy says:

    thumbs up! liking the coral/hot pink. after my last cigarette pant attempt, i ended up going to target and found a pair that fit perfectly, so i kind of abandoned it… but after reading this, i want to restart my me-made cigarette pant quest.

  18. Carolyn says:

    Hot pink pants!! These came out great. As you mentioned, it seems like a lot of people like the drafting in Burda pants, so I’m tempted to give them a try if I ever decide to dive into pant sewing (which I hope to do!). I’d love to give the Thurlows a try, but since I’m basically the opposite of pear-shaped, I’m afraid it’ll be way too much work to alter them.

    Anyway, hope you get a lot of great wear of out these pants! The fit looks great, and the color is so cheerful and vibrant. So what if you wear pink pants a few times a week? 🙂

  19. ~Eri says:

    Great pants! Out of curiosity, how much stretch would you recommend on the fabric? I’m thinking of making these up in a houndstooth suiting fabric with some stretch but not a lot.

    • lisa g says:

      It really doesn’t require much stretch. If you’re worried, leave an extra wide side seam allowance to tweak the fit. I usually baste the sides before committing since the stretch factor can vary so much!

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