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BurdaStyle Ruby Shorts #6005

July 28, 2010

BurdaStyle Ruby #6005 (Image courtesy of BurdaStyle)

With the holiday season imminent, and shorts being very fashionable at the moment, I decided I needed a pair.  I was reluctant to pay shop prices, and having recently made several items of clothing for myself and others with success, I decided to search out a pattern so that I could make my own shorts.  My first stop was BurdaStyle, and it didn’t let me down.  I found this pattern and loved the look of it.

I measured myself according to the Burda size guide.  I used my hip measurement as my guide and decided to make the shorts in a 42.  I cut the material, only to notice on pattern piece 1 there was a different size guide: the ‘finished garment measurements’.  This threw me, because according to these measurements, the shorts would be 4cm too big on my hips if I made them in a 42.  Who wants a pair of shorts that won’t stay up, I thought to myself.  No-one.  I panicked, cursed myself and BurdaStyle, and trimmed down all my pattern pieces to a 40.  This was a mistake.

I have never made shorts or trousers before, so I was expecting a few difficulties.  There were 13 pieces to the pattern, and I couldn’t imagine at the outset what they were all for.

Thirteen pattern pieces!

Previously, when sewing dresses, I didn’t bother with tailor’s tacks because I knew what I was doing and I was too impatient.  But I wanted to do things properly this time, and besides, the markings looked complicated, so I knew I needed extra precision.

Using tailor tacks to transfer pattern markings

After doing the tailor's tacks, I could completely remove the paper pattern piece

I dutifully (and laboriously) used the tailor’s tacks to help me mark the fabric in the correct places with tailor’s chalk  Getting rid of all those strands of cotton instantly helped me feel calmer!

Tailor's chalk markings

Now I had completed steps 1-5, I felt ready to get stuck in, but I actually only got stuck.  Steps 6 and 7, I have since figured out, are instructions to make a welt pocket (actually more of a jetted pocket) on the front right pant piece.  The instructions given were extremely unclear and imprecise.  It doesn’t help that they are translated from German to English, so you get instructions for the ‘left side’ of the fabric when it means the wrong side, and when it says right side, it sometimes means the correct side, and sometimes it means right.  Confusing!  I had to turn to one of my sewing books to figure out what I was supposed to do.  The pattern’s diagrams were of no use either as they are so small it is impossible to figure them out without enlarging them.  Given that I knew I would not use the pocket, and also that the insertion of a pocket only added minimal detail to the look of the shorts, I opted to skip these steps completely.

I breezed through step 8 (adding a patch pocket) without any hitches but my feelings of success soon came to a halt when I looked at step 9.  The pictures did not correspond to the instructions at all, and I was completely baffled as to why I should be adding on the front waist band before I had even sewn the front pieces together.  I then realised that step 9 is actually step 11 repeated, and that the instructions for step 9 were missing completely.  Naturally I went back to BurdaStyle to find the missing instructions, but there was nothing on the site or in the reviews about this!  I searched forums for help on what to do, but found nothing.  (I have since found Ali’s ‘Notes from a survivor’ which would have been really helpful.  As I hadn’t come across this yet, I had two choices: abandon the project, or make it up.  I chose the latter.  I know I haven’t done this as it was meant to be, but I’m pleased with what I did and it works really well.  So if you’re as stuck as I was, and you want some help, then read on!

Step 9 – my version! NB: You’ll need two extra underlaps (piece 6), both with interfacing.  I think this makes the button fastening sturdier.

Back pant pieces:

  • Pin underlap to right back piece with right sides facing

Underlap (piece 6) with strip of interfacing pinned to back pant piece

  • Stitch in place using 5/8” (1.5cm) seam allowance.
  • Fold underlap in half lengthways along the marked line.  Turn the raw edges of the diagonals inwards and press.  Stitch along the same line as in the previous step (seam 2) and top stitch the slanted edges to hide away the raw edge of the fabric.
  • Fold underlap outwards and press.

The finished underlap on the back pant piece should jut out as shown here

  • Repeat process for other back pant piece.

Front pant pieces:

  • Stitch the long and diagonal edges of the underlap together with right sides facing.  Turn inside out, so the right side is on the outside.  Press.

Only the top edges are raw - these will be enclosed in the waistband in step 11

  • Place the longer edge onto the right side of the front piece in such a way that when underlap is turned inwards, it aligns with the pattern placement markings.  Stitch close to longer edge.
  • Turn underlap to wrong side of front pant piece and press.

This photo was taken after I added the waistband, but hopefully it gives you an idea

  • The front underlap should now be on the inside of the shorts and aligned with the edge.  The back underlap should jut out and lie underneath the front underlap when the finished garment buttons are fastened.
  • Repeat process for other front pant piece.
  • If you like, you can topstitch around the front underlaps for decorative effect.  I didn’t bother!

If anyone else has any other good tips of how to deal with step 9, I’d be interested to hear them!  Or let me know if you found my instructions useful…

Once I had managed that, I didn’t bother to look closely at the rest of the instructions.  I’d had enough!  This led to me sewing the cuff incorrectly, with a small part of the side seam showing.  Luckily both sides of my fabric are the same, so it isn’t too noticeable!  Trying to follow the pattern was quite stressful and I wanted to finish the shorts as quickly as possible, so I didn’t bother making the belt.  With not having sewn the jetted pocket as well, this meant I did not need to use pattern pieces 5, 7, 8, 9, 12 or 13.  So next time (if I can bring myself to have another go!) I won’t bother to cut these out.

I would like to see BurdaStyle address the problem of the missing instructions for step 9, because without these the pattern requires advanced skills.  I should not expect, simply because I only paid $3, to have to make up my own instructions.  In fact, I’m toying with the idea of asking for a refund; not because I am stingy, but because if I was to purchase an incomplete item from a shop I wouldn’t hesitate – and why should downloading from the internet be any different?  Also, the list of materials is somewhat vague: ‘linen, great big golden green buttons’.  It would be useful to know what size buttons are best suited to the project, and that you will also need interfacing.  The instructions for the jetted pocket mention ‘piping tape’, which I can only assume means bias binding and piping cord, but again this should be made clearer.

To conclude, I am really pleased with how these shorts look, but unfortunately they are too tight for me to wear right now!  (This is my own fault for cutting out the wrong size, after getting confused by the ‘finished garment measurements’).

These shorts are lovely if you can make sense of the confusing, incorrect and incomplete pattern.

Gorgeous buttons from Hobbycraft!


  1. Maureen permalink
    June 9, 2011 2:00 am

    THANK YOU. I spent at least five hours trying to puzzle this out to no avail. Your pictures are exactly what i needed. This project left such a bad taste in my mouth for burda patterns I will think hard before getting another.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      June 9, 2011 1:40 pm

      I am so glad that my instructions were helpful to you! I haven’t made anything else from Burdastyle since these shorts – making them scarred me for life! Hope you can at least wear yours when they’re done – mine are too small!!!

  2. August 7, 2011 9:47 am

    Lovely looking shorts despite the difficulties…

    I’ve never tried a Burda pattern. I bought a hoodie pattern for my son 2 years ago. Showed it to my Mum to which she said “good luck, I’ve always found Burda patterns hard to follow”…was starting to feel confident enough to tackle it…after reading your post I may not be so hard on myself when I do mess it up…as it would seem that for once it may actually be the patterns and not me…(except usually I mess things up at the cutting out stage)

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 8, 2011 3:46 pm

      The second dress I ever made was a BurdaStyle download and that was complicated too – of course partly due to my inexperience but definitely difficult-to-decipher instructions too! I think the paper Burda patterns are OK but I’d think twice about using the downloadables now from BurdaStyle! Let me know how you get on with the hoodie if you decide to tackle it!

  3. Nelly Jane permalink
    July 18, 2012 3:59 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was starting to pull my hair out trying to puzzle this one through. I really think Burda have messed up on this one and I am now fearful of ever downloading one of their patterns again. I’m now looking forward to sewing these shorts together rather than dreading it.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      July 18, 2012 5:04 pm

      Hope they turn out well!

      • Nelly Jane permalink
        July 21, 2012 5:30 am

        Thanks Tabatha, I have now finished the shorts and I am happy with the result but after rather a lot of heartache along the way. I have sent a message to Burda registering my complaint about the pattern, I’ll wait to see what response I get.

      • tabathatweedie permalink*
        July 21, 2012 8:13 am

        Let me know what they say, and well done! 🙂

  4. Nelly Jane permalink
    July 26, 2012 6:54 am

    I contacted Burda to complain about the really bad directions and they sent me a pdf file showing the new instructions, they are much clearer and more comprehensive than before. They said that they were now the replacement instructions so I hope others will not have the same problems as we have experienced.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      July 27, 2012 6:20 pm

      Good work! So hopefully anyone downloading the pattern now will get the updated instructions 🙂

    • betty Berger permalink
      September 6, 2017 4:45 am

      how did you get the new sewing instructions please


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