Burda Magazine 11-2008-126: The Accidental Maternity Pants

I’m going outdoor ice skating and on a cold weather bicycle ride this weekend. How cold? Well, it’s mid 20s F (-2 C) here right now and was like 17 degrees (-8 C) yesterday with the wind chill. The ride is four hours to various bakeries and delis in NE Baltimore city.  I figure we’ll be biking 20 minutes, stopping and eating so it shouldn’t be *too* bad. I realized I was going to need to dig into my supplex and make myself some exercise / yoga pants. I went with the November 2008 Burda pants. I eliminated the pocket because I wanted a quick and dirty project.

I cut a 38 at the waist and graduated to a 44 at the thigh based on my measurements. The good news is this can be made in a couple of hours. The bad news is that as drafted and with my design ideas, they looked like maternity pants.

Yeah. I don’t know what I was thinking. I wanted a pop of pastel yellow color and liked that the pants were bisected. But, instead I made them look like a maternity panel.

It’s not helped with the elastic I cheated with instead of a drawstring. They were also too big at the hips by several inches.

I slept in them overnight and actually got overheated! I also wore them under a dress for my morning commute (I took them off once I got to work). They are very warm and didn’t lose thier shape. When I got home, I removed the waistband and reduced the width by half.

I also took about three inches out at the side and center front seams of the pants and the waistband.

I used the drawstring (actually the remnant from shortening the waistband) they recommended instead of elastic at the top. Whoa. Much better.

Despite making a swayback adjustment of 1.5 inches (the same adjustment also helps for  a full seat), I still needed the drawstring to snug up the back of the pants. I’m concerned about showing my unmentionables in these since they ended up being lower than planned. This supplex is AWESOME. It’s thick enough to lift and support and dark enough to smooth everything out and not show any cottage cheese.

I read several positive reviews on PR about the pattern as drafted. But, for me, it was too big and my bad idea to use such  high waisted contrast.

The belly shot is not intended to show my stomach per se. It’s to show how much lower the pants are with my modification. I prefer them higher waisted. I’m no longer at the point where my mid-section should be seen without me sucking in (as I am doing above). I’m not sure why I feel the need to explain that either though.  I’m generally happy with how these worked out. Especially given how comical they were before. I made a second pair with a two inch sway back adjustment with a blue accent and the waistband is a little higher.

I thought I was going to do the Sticher’s Guild SWAP for a new workout wardrobe. But, I needed to get a jump on my sewing for this weekend. I have a wrap top cut out that I hope to get sewn up in time for Saturday. I’m thinking two coordinating sleeveless tops from the 2006 Burda and leggings from the January 2011 Burda. That should be pretty easy over the Christmas break.


  1. The first version does look like maternity pants, but the redo looks great! I really like that contrast band on the top – it makes the pants look sporty & fun. Enjoy your bike ride. I think you’re nuts for even considering it, but then again I’m in Florida & freeze if the temps drop below 65F!

  2. oh NOOO!!! your before pictures are just too awesome! thank you for sharing that lapse in judgement, you made my morning. love your fixes.

    by the way, have you ever done a post on your sway back adjustment? i’d love to know if there are any special tweaks you do.

  3. I think the modified pants look fantastic!! Thank you so much for posting everything, not just the finished product. Sometimes when I have a run of wadders, I think I should just sell my stash and quit sewing, but then an accomplished sewist like you does a post like this, and it shows me that not everything comes out perfect the first time, and that inspires me to keep trying and work on fixing things that aren’t to my liking the first time.

  4. They look really comfy! I need some new around the house clothes (wish they were for exercising). If you stop my Meuller’s on Harford Rd. I want to hear about it! Have a good time, stay warm!

  5. Whoa, that As Drafted pair are just awful! Great save – your modifications really made these! (oh, and I think you’ve got a temperature typo, because mid 20s F is like -2C not -20. 😉

  6. Mmmm, yes the first construction does indeed look like maternity pants! Thanks for sharing your “before” and “after” photos – the re-worked ones look great on you and shows that we don’t always get it right first time around, no matter how acomlished we are.

  7. Nice save! Your version looks great. Have fun on your bike ride. The pastry part of the ride sounds very appealing…

  8. “cold weather bicycle ride” = my personal definition of torture. My teeth ache just reading it.

    As my father once unhelpfully said about an enormous down coat about which I was complaining: “What difference does it make if YOU know you’re not pregnant?”

    The revised version looks good.

  9. Great save. Your alterations made these perfect. I feel you about the commute. I hate getting into a cold car.

  10. Good for you for fixing your pants instead of turning them into a wadder! Thank you for showing us the “maternity” version as well as your save – it’s amazing to see the difference.

  11. Wow, what an improvement! It just goes to show what a few tweaks and a bit of persistence can do. They fit perfectly now and just right for a bike ride, and that adjustable waistband makes them just right for a pastry tour too!

  12. Don’t you have enough black supplex left for a non-contrast waistband? The new one is much better, but no contrast would probably be best.
    However, for exercise outdoors below 20o, you need PowerStretch and not supplex.. Trust me, that one works for biking, skiing, everything, I’ve never been cold down to zero.

  13. Talk about a “make it work” moment. 😉 I love how they turned out though. I’m a total lulu fiend and you’re right, that supplex is god’s gift to imperfect thighs!

  14. Yikes! That first pair was just awful! But you totally made them work in the end and they look great. Thanks for reminding me about this pattern. I’d forgotten all about the comfy wear in that issue.

  15. I don’t think these look so bad…don’t forget the rule of three – you need two more places on the pants for this white fabric. Can you add some pockets with white trim or even a band of raw edge fabric to the edge to balance it all out?

  16. The redo looks so great, but I’m glad you showed the first version. As a less experienced sewer/sewist, I sometimes think I’m the only one who has to do do-overs. However, I had the same experience with my Christmas tree. It was completely decorated; after a couple of days I realized it needed more lights; we took off every ornament to add more lights around the trunk of the (9 ft.) tree.

    I guess biking and shivering will burn off the calories from the pastries. Have fun!

  17. Good save. They look much better after, but since you want them for cold weather the low waist kind of defeats the purpose, never mind you think that you aren’t thin enough for them! This is the supplex you got at Spandex house? That’s all you had on the bottom in such cold weather? Very cool, or warm I guess.

    • I wish that’s all I needed! LOL. I have a thermal baselayer pants from Eddie Bauer. Between the two they block the wind nicely. And, I got the wool socks you suggested. I’ll also be wearing a base layer shirt, hoodie and polartec jacket.

  18. They worked out well. In BWOF 11-2007 there is a great pair of roll top yoga pants, too. I’ve made them a few times now. I’m going to get some supplex, it looks like the perfect fabric for me.

  19. Nice save! The revised version is very flattering. Isn’t it funny how a vision in your head can look so different once it’s done up in fabric – even for an experienced sewist like you! It’s nice to know it happens to everyone, and great to see you whip them into shape 🙂

  20. I love this post. It makes me feel so much better about the accidental maternity skirt I just made.
    Your fixed version look terrific. I like the contrast lower waistband.

  21. These look really cute after you modified them.

    You mention making a swayback adjustment and that the same adjustment also helps for a full seat. My DD has the same shape as you. I struggle with making her pants. Patterns never seem to fit right. There never seems to be enough fabric to make the back waistband not dip down in the middle. Could you give me an idea of this adjustment that you make to garments, especially pants? She and I would both appreciate it.

  22. Your photos gave me a good laugh. You did a good job of saving a wadder. The pants look terrific now.

  23. RC – sorry I am late (been under the weather). Great save and I love the second version – fits you well and looks great.

  24. It’s astonishing how much good a seam ripper can do. They were truly something else at first, but now cute and stylish. Carry on!
    BTW I also bike in freezing and subzero temps. Gore-Tex mittens and a polarfleece reproduction of RTW neck gaitor get me through (of course with a hat too).

  25. Your save worked well. I made a pair of these pants for my daughter and they looked great first time. She is a very skinny girl.

  26. i could not find the “a” piece for the pattern I’m not as great a seamstress so therefore this is harder for me, just can’t find the “a” part!

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