Burda skirt

Burda #119

I don’t blog nearly everything that I make these days – too many repeat patterns and boring basics to be interesting! But I did want to share this skirt, because I am pretty happy with it, because I don’t make many skirts, and also because have a question and I get such amazing advice on my comments that I may get some guidance here too.

Burda #119

It’s my second Burda #118 05/2102 – coincidentally I made my first almost exactly a year ago (and it does still get worn, although the brightness and print mean it doesn’t go with a whole lot). There are some pattern notes on my previous post if you’re interested. I didn’t alter the fit at all, and I used a thick crossweave denim which helps hold the nice bell shape.

Burda #119

It was a moment of pride because it was the first time I’ve sewn a fly front completely from memory! Usually I have to have the Ginger sewalong or this Sandra Betzina video in front of me, but I did it all by myself this time. Proud.

Burda #119
Burda #119

My question’s this – because I have quite an extreme sway back and a small waist/big bum, I often feel like my skirts ride up at the back and end up visually shorter than the front, which is more apparent in a fitted style like this. What should I do about that? Lengthen the hem at the back, grading to nothing where it hits the side seam? Or slash and spread the extra length in higher up? Has anyone else made that adjustment?

That aside, I’m pleased with this skirt – it’s very wearable and will be a nice autumn/winter workhorse I think as it goes well with tights and a cardi and is a good alternative to denim pants.

coat progress

Slow fashion coat progress update, while I’m here. I had a total change of pattern plan when Grainline Studio released the Tamarack Jacket – props to Jen for getting it out so quickly and straight to PDF. It’s bascially what I would have adjusted the RDC Bernadette to be like anyway, so I decided to use Tamarack instead. I did a quick toile in my usual GL size (4 shoulder, 8 everywhere else) and it was spot on with no adjusting. I’ve cut my outer fabric, applied the fusible batting, and after a few experiments with lining fabrics decided to go with a matching viscose twill which is on order. I have ditched the idea of making it reversible and will probably bind my inside seams. So now I’m just impatiently waiting for the lining fabric so I can get going!

32 thoughts on “Burda skirt

  1. AvatarAnushka

    Hi Katie,
    First the advice. The way to fix this is to understand that the hemline drawn on the pattern is just a suggestion, and that you’ll be marking your own hemline. With your figure, you’ll probably have to cut the back hem with at least an inch more in length, maybe up to as much as 2 1/2″.

    Mark the hem in the final fitting by wearing the skirt, then getting a friend to hold a yardstick straight up from the ground and determining what the measurement is where you want the skirt hem to be. Then, you slowly pivot while your friend keeps on making a mark (in chalk or with a safety pin) at that measurement, all the way round the skirt. This is your hemline.

    If you can’t purloin an assistant, pad your mannequin carefully to match your figure. You can do this by building up layers of wadding, then making a skin out of jersey (hand stitched in place to cover it). Check by measuring and cross-checking from all angles. You turn the mannequin yourself, and mark the hem.

    Basically, your but pushes the fabric out, which causes it to rise upwards, so you add length to compensate. Measuring with a yardstick keeps the hem level all the way round. This is much more noticeable in certain styles. It’s also why well drafted trouser patterns will have much higher waistbands on the back than the front.

    I still enjoy reading your blog even when it’s everyday items. Those are the types of garments that I personally always forget to sew, so it’s nice to have inspiration for this!


  2. AvatarAnne

    Definitely further up. If you imagine you’d made it in a check, you’d need to keep the hem level along a check line as any deviation would be very visible. So you, like me, need to add the extra at the top. Look at the Palmer Pletsch fitting book – they always adjust at the waist by tying a piece of elastic around to find out where the waistband should lie in respect to the skirt (or trouser) fabric. I find I need a lot extra in trousers.

  3. AvatarKris

    I have a skirt pattern that was drafted to fit, and I use it to adjust other patterns. The hip line should, if ran through with a basting stitch, sit perfectly level. So I think of it as an FBA. But for the butt. Extra length between the hip line and the waist at the CB seam, and a little extra width so the hip line actually sits level through the back. Add an extra dart (I prefer 2 per side for fitted skirts, ymmv) or make your darts bigger and take out a little extra in the waist at the side seam to ensure it fits.

  4. AvatarBettina

    Hi, I have a very similar fit issue with a small waist/sway back/big butt. Looking at your pictures, I think you don’t only need to add length to cover your behind, but you also need to take out some length right at the waistline (a sway back adjustment). With this alteration, you will get rid of the wrinkles right below the waistband, and prevent the skirt from riding up. I described my alterations in a recent blogpost:


    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Yes I think you’re right, I have a wrinkle right at the top which should be dealt with too. Thanks for the link!

  5. AvatarHeather

    I think I’m with most people in the comments, an FBA (a full butt adjustment) may be needed. I think you have to slash a spread up high, and that will help with the hem. There are some tutorials on By Hand London and Colette that will probably help you out.
    That being said I love this skirt. It looks like a really good wardrobe staple that will go with a lot and suit all the seasons. Also, I can’t wait to see your Tamarack jacket!!

  6. AvatarAlice

    For those who are saying to do a full butt adjustment and add the length higher up, I have another question. Generally when one does a full bust adjustment there is a side dart. In a skirt that’s a bit odd so where does the extra length go? In order to match the front of the skirt wouldn’t you just have to chop the length off the bottom and end up with the same problem?

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Alice, I think the point is to actually add and retain additional length as that’s what will accommodate the bum curve. However I think you could also pivot the slashed length into a new waist dart like you do with an FBA.

    2. AvatarTracy

      I find that if you add the length at the top of the center back seam and grade it out to the side seams that takes care of any uneveness and extra length where you don’t need it. this means that the side seam will stay the same length and thus match up with the front side seams. I generally add 1.5.inches to my center back length to accommodate my sway back/big bum and this works a treat.

  7. AvatarChris

    I just had a relation reading through the comments! I have the same problem with skirts but never knew what to do about it, which is why I haven’t made a fitted skirt in a while. When making trousers I do exactly as the commenters suggest: slash and spread about 2 – 3 cm of high at the seat and then take off a little bit at the top of the waist to make the waistband come out level. Only now did I realise that of course I can do the exact same thing with skirts! Dough…
    Katie, you are right, comments are the most wonderful resource of information!

  8. Avatarlisa g

    Sometimes I cut a size up for the back and take in extra at the dart (or split the dart) to compensate. You want the grainline to remain horizontal from your widest point down, so adding length on the back hem may look okay, but not be technically correct. Thread tracing the horizontal grainline in a couple places should help point you to the right place to open a wedge and add length. This skirt is super cute though, it looks great!

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      I’ll try the thread tracing grainline tip, it definitely feels hiked up around the top centre so I imagine it’s getting distorted there.

  9. Avatarsallie

    I notice this problem with miniskirts for sure! It sounds like you’ve got lots of good suggestions, so you may want to ignore my totally hack-y solution to this problem! Lol! If I have a deep enough hem I just fold the hem unevenly so it’s longer in the back. Probably more legit to make the adjustment on the actual pattern, especially if it’s a pattern you know you get uneven length with, but I only ever realize this is happening when I try on the finished skirt and am like *head slap*!! Haha!

    Also – loooooove the Tamarack progress! I never thought I wanted a quilted jacket until this pattern, and your fabric choice has me really excited to see the final jacket!!

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Ah I’d totally go for a hack solution like that too, especially if I hadn’t figured out the adjustment ahead of time! But since I like this pattern I’ll probably go and make the adjustment to the paper now for next time.

  10. AvatarVanessa

    The photo from behind gives the clue, I think – the skirt is bunching up in your lower back because it doesn’t have enough room to sit down properly over your lower hips & bottom. If the skirts was fitting well over your hips & bottom, and still a bit short, then the solution would be a bit more length at the hem.
    As per someone above, I think it’s easier to choose a fitted skirt pattern by the hip size and bring the waist in to suit (in side seams, darts or both). I often end up adding 1 cm or so at the centre back hem, graded to nothing at the sides, also.

    With the skirt you have, you are unlikely to be able to add the extra width over your bottom (unless you can take your seam allowances to be very small in this area), so I’d consider rehemming it then wearing with an untucked shirt, jacket or jumper to cover the wrinkles at the back. Do you know the phrase “man on horseback”? Means it’s such a subtle detail that it wouldn’t be noticed by someone riding past, so don’t worry about it :)

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      I think you’re right, thanks for the tips. I have heard that phrase as ‘prancing pony’ before, and I definitely agree!

  11. AvatarLodi Srygley

    When I saw the Tamarack release I immediately thought of your wardrobe jacket plans! (And started to make my own!) I can’t wait to see your results Katie!

  12. AvatarACS Blog

    I love your skirt and I made a very similar denim skirt a few years ago. I usually cut the backside a bit longer because skirts really do have the tendency to go up. I always make it that way so I feel a bit more “protected”.

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