The Perfect Pair // Burda Style 7195

IMG_7468 (2)Now, I’ll try not to be offended if no-one remembers at the start of the year I declared 2014 year of The Perfect Pair. No, not a boob job! That’s next year (jokes). Just the year to sew up as many pairs of shorts as possible from this list, in the hopes of unearthing the perfect go-to pattern. All part of the larger plan to sew more ‘fiercely attractive, mum-friendly clothes’. As it happens to be July and this is my second pair, you can see it’s obviously going swimmingly lol. But good ground has been made! I now know that Burdastyle 7195 is NOT my perfect pair of shorts. Okay, so it’s not all bad. It’s just not all good. I’m not 100% convinced they are flattering and this has everything to do with where they hit on the waist and the rear view. My backside has sufficient volume, thank you, why add more? Sure, an elasticated back eliminates the need for a zipper which makes them ‘easy’. But there was just so much potential here: pleats, cuffs, cute waistband details…they even looked great on the pattern cover! But the back, ohhh the back. I’m having a poofy-puffy-pants-party and you’re invited.


IMG_7502The fabric is a nice plain-jane bottom weight cotton twill (with stretch) in an interesting (SOLID!) color. I bought it with plans to sew something or other to go with the rest of my print-heavy closet. And I really thought that they would be the PERFECT PAIR! But alas, we are in love-hate. I love the pleats, the cuffs and the high waist… in theory. However, and this is going to sound weird, the band hits at this awkward point above my waist, where instead of supporting my post-10lb-baby tummy (which can actually look three months pregnant when I relax..amazing huh?!) like a good waistband should, it makes my tummy just want to chillax and hang out under its little ledge. What’s a little stomach muscle separation between friends, ey? Combine it with front pleats and a tendency to carry any extra weight through the middle (where I store my acorns for the winter) and I feel it’s all a little too ‘bulbous’, borderline uncomfortable, for my liking.


Guys! Do you believe in sewers intuition?! You know, that feeling in your gut when yes you measure size A but you’re going to cut size B anyway. Maybe there’s nothing woo woo about it and its something you get better as judging as you go along and begin to notice differences in sizing between pattern companies. In Vogue patterns I never size down and this has served well so far. Out of the other big ‘four’ I often size down and end up getting closer to the fit I want, first go. Which means I’ve never really had to hone my tweaking and fitting skills. Instead I play the size gambling game. Much more fun! And with good returns mostly, except for when I run into crotch depth issues and its resulting camel toe. Times when I actually probably needed the length of that larger size. Anyway, for this pair I took one look at the pattern pieces, correctly gauged them as being gargantuan and sized down from a 12 to a 10.


There quite a few neat little features of the pattern worth noting. So, there’s the pleats, which extend up into more pleats in the waist-band. And then there’s actually a waist tie, which is supposed to be tied at the front, where it hides all the best details of the pattern. I’ve been tying it at the back where it makes the perfect ‘paper bag’ for the gathered waistband in all its glory, coming up…


In spite of all, they’ve been getting some wear. And I do love the big cuffs! Which probably saved them from the naughty corner. The color also goes with a lot of things I’ve already made. Funny, now that there’s more sewing than buying going on, its totally changed my approach to shopping. I feel like I now shop more for pieces that will compliment things already in the hand-made closet. Pieces that go with everything but I’m not necessarily interested in making, at least for now. Like a navy blazer!



Well, all that extra fabric at the back had to go somewhere. And looks like my bottom has eaten it for lunch! Hmm, there’s not really much else to say here so let’s move onto the insides. Last week I admitted a new found love for binding seams, as a fun, ok, rewarding, way to finish edges and pretty up the insides. So I couldn’t resist adding some contrasting ( store bought this time) binding to this pair. It’s a simple process but takes time.


What are your feels? Have you had similar unflattering fit issues with gathered waists? Or post-partum bellies?!

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  • Bec Stitcheswrote:

    Eep I gotta say I’m not the biggest fan of them, compared to your other shorts… Not really sure why, which is weird I normally know why I’m not a fan of something..but your legs are still smoking as always;) haha

  • oonaballoonawrote:

    okay, i ALWAYS want people to agree with me when i’m not feeling my own me-mades, so i’m gonna be honest and agree with you– you are waaaaaaay too hot for the things these shorts are trying to do to you! the pleats & cuffs are super cute though (and guts wooooooooo).

  • Marillawrote:

    I totally love the colour of these and the leg width. They look so cool! I have fairly bad mum time issues too, but find high waisted non-pleated flatters me more with a boxy top. The less fabric round that area, the better for me, but also the positioning of the waistband is fairly crucial! Have you seen the shorts this week on What Katie Sews blog? Ok, so they do have pleats and completely go against what I’ve just said, but they look so cute and they’re a free pattern. Definitely going to try them. Good luck with your quest for the perfect pair!

  • Mirianawrote:

    I’ve had three kids and when I ‘relax’ I could easily pass for four months!

  • Jennifer Rwrote:

    I’m seeing all the issues you mention and the thing is they are just the pattern fighting your figure in some odd way. Seems like just a little tweaking could make all the difference. I made these shorts once with very good results: http://wkdesigner.wordpress.com/2009/08/05/cuffed-shorts/ (Hard to believe it may have been five years ago and I always thought I’d make them again and again.) Anyway, it’s a similar style but I found them very flattering.

  • katiewrote:

    These are cool! Sometimes you have to say f* it to whether something is the most flattering shape and go for it anyway. I love the perfect tan colour and big turn-ups and how you styled them – brown with navy <3

    As a similar shape with tummy and rump 'issues' (I don't even have the post-partum excuse!) I personally steer clear of anything paper-bag style or overly pleated. Do try the Jimmy pattern next, I think they did wonders for my bum and they're definitely pretty close to my perfect pair.

  • Gabrielle UpSewLatewrote:

    Oh no, so close to being wonderful shorts – the fabric, the pleats, the cuffs, your legs ;). I’ve got one of those mummy tummies too and they are very persistent, and not friends at all with high waists. I reckon the pattern Rachel Pinheiro used in Project Sewn, Burda 07/2012 #127, would look fabulous on you though – they’ve got the pleats, more fitted in the back, and they look to sit lower too! Good luck on your quest 🙂

  • carriewrote:

    Oh man, so close! I love things about them, the paperbag waist and cuffs but I agree with you that they are not the best. The insides are pretty too!

    I am totally with you on the postpartum belly. I sometimes catch myself when I am being lazy and not standing up straight or something and whoops, looks like I am pregnant again. I have a bad case of the separated stomach muscles too which makes my waist always proportionally larger than the rest of me. It is frustrating but I am learning to work with it. I am also doing some exercises for Diastasis recti (stomach muscle separation) and they are slowly working! I have closed the gap about 1.5 inches so far. Oh babies, they are so worth it but the new body shape takes some getting used too.

    Honestly though you have an amazing!!! body and I have never noticed a tummy pooch at all, and your legs look amazing in the shorts no matter the rest (-: Happy sewing and good luck with the perfect pair.

  • Kimwrote:

    Still super cute! I have the same with sime gathered waists, especially if they sit a bit above my natural waistline.. Not flattering! Makes me look like I’m pregnant.. I still think your shorts look good!

  • Gemmawrote:

    I adore the pleats and the colour but you’re right that something is just off. They’re just not you. It’s a pity because they had such potential but onto the next pattern! I’m not a shorts kinda girl (on me I mean) but I can’t wait for your next installment of the perfect pair!

  • Heather Louwrote:

    I absolutely love the colour and front of these but it is a littler weird to see all that bunching over your bum. I adore the cuffs and pleats though – maybe the back access could be turned into darts or pleats?

    I find gathered waists challenging since they put a lot of volume where you don’t necessarily want it. Which is why if I go gathered, I also go short. I just made a micro min gathered skirt and it works since you see so much leg.

  • Janewrote:

    I swear, I wore these exact shorts except as pants – even the same colour – when I was a teeny skinny 13 or 14 year-old in the eighties and they were not flattering then (picture Lady Di flicked hair too). The best thing about these shorts is your great body hidden underneath! I personally could never go back to those sort of pleats and high waists, for many, many reasons. Get thee out from under all that fabric! (I mean that in the nicest possible way, I hope that comes across.) Actually, I do think the tie at the back waist is cute. And your writeup is funny 🙂

  • Kellywrote:

    Sometimes everything seems like it should work well, but somehow it just doesn’t. It’s so close, but yeah, there’s a little something off. The color is great, though! I would never, ever go for a color like that, but seeing it on you makes me want to try. It looks great with my favorite navy!

  • liza janewrote:

    I have to go against the grain and say that I really like them from the front view. Yes, the pleats and high waist do add a little bit of volume, but it looks like intentional volume. Which is a good thing in my book. Like the volume in all those Japanese pattern books. The back elastic is a hard one, though. I just made a pair of shorts with elastic in the back and I have a love/hate relationship with them, too. I think these are a great pair! Maybe not perfect, but definitely great 🙂

  • Gingerwrote:

    Hmmm, these are close, but not 100% there. I really like the pleats and the cuffs, and I love the color on you. The rise doesn’t seem quite right. Is the waistband interfaced? It seems like it could be stiffer as it’s wanting to fold and wrinkle. And the height of the rise seems a little bit in-between, like it’s not quite at the natural waist so it needs to be a little higher or a few cms lower. But only sewers would notice this, I think, and overall they look really fashion-forward!

  • maddiewrote:

    I agree with Sonja, the shorts are close, but not 100% there. I would get upset if the fit wasn’t spot on, and if you’re in that headspace, don’t. Rarely does a silhouette as complicated as this work out the first time. I’ve learned to just deal with the first fitting delay.

    On another note – where did you get this fabric? I actually have a project and have been searching high and low for a fabric that color!

  • Carolinewrote:

    After 4 babies (8 lb 13 up to 9.5 lb), my baby pouch is definitely a permanent fixture on my small frame (although Pilates sure is helping!) I also have no chest, and small hips compared to my waist and am always looking for clothes that distract and flatter. I tried the Salme paper bag waist shorts and kind of love them despite them being a size too big. There are two back darts, no pleats, so the back is nice and sleek even when I cinch the belt. And with a font zipper, the expanse of baby pouch is broken up visually. I love the cuff on the Burda, and some of the pleating looks really nice, you might even be able to merge the two? Anyway, I know the Salme ones were on your list., so maybe give them a go next. Love that fabric colour……

  • ebonyhwrote:

    Well, I have to agree with what’s already been said, your bum deserves better than what’s going on back there. But also, so many goods here! That fabric color is the best and I’ve been hunting through the internet & fabric stores in search of similar and so I am jealous that you have it and I do not. Also, the pleats, the cuffs: yes & yes. I’ve always had trouble with high waists that don’t also have a little bit of a binding element, read: stretch denim or stretch jersey, (or even pocket bags that go all the way across in front, like Maddie wrote about the other week). Soft fabrics on high waists seem to get billowy, which can be bad on any belly.

  • Karenwrote:

    Great make, and I adore those shoes! Have been looking for something like this for summer, can you share the details on make/brand?

  • crab&beewrote:

    I haven’t had any kiddos, but I’m still afraid to try higher-waisted pants/shorts without a fly front because I, too, have a lower abdomen tries to escape constriction! My personal preference is for medium to low-waisted shorts with really wide leg openings. I do love the color, the cuffs and that beautiful finish on your shorts!

  • Tarawrote:

    I just loved this post. So much realness coming from you to love! It’s true what they all say about the color being amazing. It’s neutral but really striking. The overall shape of the shorts is weird though. My separated muscles do the same thing too. Three kids in and I get to be pregnant forever now. Yay! But at least you have some fine legs to lead the eye away from any problems in the middle!

  • Ann T.wrote:

    Since you asked, I do not like these shorts. Your outfit is adorable, both as to color and style, so, if the shorts fit you properly, you would have a winner. I think the pleats may be incompatible with the cuffs. I say this because the pleats tend to bunch up in a rather unflattering way, and I suspect they might fall gracefully, if their flow were not abruptly stopped by the cuffs. I also think the back will lie smoothly, and therefore be more flattering, without the cuffs.

  • Jennywrote:

    You should totally try the Katy & Laney Tap shorts! I’ve made the pleat versions and classic fly front version and I love them both – they’re great for skimming over the tummy, and the rise/length combo worked perfectly for me, although everyone’s different…



  • Kat @ House of Lanewrote:

    Ok so I am totally loving the colour, the pleats, cuffs and high waist……but I can definitely see what you mean about the back. In fact I have made a pair of shorts from a simplicity pattern that have a very similar issue. I only wear them with long tops tucked at the front or long cardis to hide it. But despite that the outfit as a whole is gorgeous! I would never think to buy that colour fabric but will be keeping an eye out for it now.

  • Nicolewrote:

    I actually don’t mind these but have to agree the fit through the back is not quite right. I am wider through the waist ( thanks to post bubba stomach separation, I swear lucky those kids are cute!) and I usually find high waisted shorts are really uncomfortable but I just tried Tessuti’s Esther shorts pattern and I am in love, the fit is great I would definitely recommend!!

  • Lizwrote:

    I don’t know about post-partum belly, but I do know about bellies! I don’t even have an excuse 🙂 I know that I have to stick to a medium rise non-pleated front to even come close to flattering.
    I love the colour and the styling but I am just not loving the shorts on you, they are not hideous, but you have made better. I notice on the pattern envelope the model has the tie lower than her waist, am assuming this is to cover up what I am guessing is an issue with the pattern and she has the same problem.

  • sarahwrote:

    i feel your pain. these are not bad. but i recently attempted the staple dress pattern thinking it would be perfect go- to pattern for me but i am just not sure it sits right on my postpartum c-sectioned belly – uhhh. it is so annoying as i have seen so many looking great. however will adjust and see what i can do.
    wish you every success in your pursuit of the perfect pair!

  • Madywrote:

    I love the color and the pleats, but I have to agree with you. These are not the perfect pair! Not totally unwearable, but not the most flattering pair around!

  • poppykettlewrote:

    After reading through the comments… I’m clearly not thinking like the rest of the commenters! I genuinely like them. Especially how you styled them, which is exceptionally well (I expect no less, really). ok, so theres maybe a fit issue. But hey, we know we certainly don’t win everytime we sew something… and if you’re not feelin’ em, then it’s unlikely they’ll get worn, amirite? There will be other shorts!

  • salliewrote:

    Sophie, you’re so gorgeous, you make everything look good!! I love your styling here – totally nailed it. And I agree that these shorts have SO much potential, but maybe aren’t ‘The One’. Great color fabric, those pleats, tie waist, deep cuffs…. lots of great design details… And its kind of deceptive, right? As a fellow proud owner of a lower belly pooch (but without the baby to show for it!) I sometimes look to high-waisted bottoms with pleats and volume to CONCEAL my pooch – not emphasize it! I’m like you, though, I’d probably wear these shorts regardless of whether I feel like they’re the most flattering – just because they tend to go with what’s in my closet, and they really do make for a cute outfit!!

  • sharon nicholswrote:

    Love the color of these shorts and the combo with blue. Awesome! I do like the shorts but wonder if the front pleats would look better moved in closer to center front? They seem too close to the sides for some reason. Doing so might help eliminate that triangle effect in the center (which you mentioned you didn’t care for)?

  • Rosiwrote:

    Sophie, I love the colour, the pleats and the cuffs. I personally feel that high waisted pants accentuate my post partum tummy and also feel a little uncomfortable. Maybe lowering the waist of these to a mid rise might take them from not perfect to awesome? I don’t think they look bad at all – but it’s how they make you feel when you wear them that’s important I guess. And I did remember you were on the perfect shorts quest as it is a wardrobe staple of mine too – except I’ve made exactly zippo this year. Good luck on the search!

  • Marionwrote:

    This write-up is hysterical, I was laughing so much I couldn’t see any drawbacks of the shorts through the tears. Made my day

  • C @ Oh, She Dabbleswrote:

    I love the color of these. And the length. And the cuffs. But they are not my favorites otherwise. Also, I laughed out loud in the library at your fabric for lunch comment and your legs look amazing as always 🙂

  • Sarahwrote:

    I drafted a similar pair of shorts for myself and had the same issues. I ended up removing the cuffs and making them shorter and I feel a bit more comfortable in them now.

    Regardless I think these are a beautiful make, the fabric is lovely and all the little details make them really interesting and pretty. The mint binding is a lovely touch. Y

    our styling is super chic too 🙂

  • Louisewrote:

    Oh Sopie, you’re speaking my language there! Those acorns for the winter are going NOWHERE for me! Doh. Glad its not just me; I’m still figuring out how to dress for this new body shape (ie that there belly and skinny everything else!). Good luck with your PP search. Oh, and those INSIDES! So lovely!

  • Ceciliawrote:

    Have you tried The Tap Shorts? I haven’t yet (can’t let myself sew summer clothes when it’s so cold outside!) but a few bloggers have tried them and had great results!

    Link is: http://katyandlaney.com/2014/06/11/tap-shorts-pattern/

  • Fionawrote:

    I am not a fan of gathered waists on me at all, and not necessarily because of how thy fit but because of how bulky they feel around my middle to wear. However, I think these look really cute on you! I love the colour, the giant cuffs and the little tie at the back!

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