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Burda magazine question

blessedtosew | Posted in Patterns on

I have always sewn patterns from the 4 big pattern companies, but after reading many sewing blogs I decided to subscribe to Burda World of Fashion magazine.  I got my first issue a couple days ago (4/2008 issue).  I am so discouraged, though, because there are no pictures to go along with the pattern instructions.  I am a very visual person and I gave myself a headache today trying to figure out one of the easier patterns in it.   I was so excited about it because the patterns are more fashion forward than the big 4, but I need pictures.  Do you think I just need to jump in and start sewing one of the patterns and just try to figure it out as I go? I am afraid I will get the fabric cut out and then not be able to sew the pattern.  Thoughts?


  1. rekha | | #1

    Patterns of Burda are pretty self explanatory with some notes in the magazine.

    In fact, they put numbers in each corner of a piece and identical number on another piece that will be attached to it.

    1. blessedtosew | | #2

       I haven't actually made it to removing the pattern piece insert yet.  I have just been reading some instructions. That is pretty neat about the numbers.

      Edited 4/10/2008 3:43 pm ET by blessedtosew

  2. MargieT | | #3

    Can I suggest you start with the illustrated sewing course that comes with each magazine.  Each month a pattern is chosen and in depth instructions are given with some illustrations.  It might be the way to introduce you to the wonderful world of Burda WOF.  I started this way and I now love making their patterns, even without the illustrations.  The patterns are different as you said and they are also very well drafted.

    1. WandaJ | | #5

      I too like the fashion forward designs provided by BWOF, however, I have not subscribed yet, but just visit to site monthly to look at the designs. Are the patterns in the magazine still made in the form that have to be copied off onto your own paper? If so, what are some of the tips that make this copying process easier? The one magazine's patterns I looked at years ago looked so cumbersome that it was a turn-off from there. What's the 'magic' trick for using BWOF patterns before getting to the layout, pinning, cutting and sewing?

      1. starzoe | | #6

        I have used Burda patterns in the distant past, when I had time and patience. I now buy the magazine mainly for seeing the styles and occasionally copy one pattern.It does take time to copy the pattern, you need transparent paper for sure - I have tried tracing paper with opaque paper but transparent is better. You also have to add seam allowances later. The instructions are fine for experienced sewists but I think that others might have a difficult time as there are no pictures to follow, just written instructions. I would think that the most "magic trick" in copying the patterns is to heavily outline in colour the size you want, that makes it easier to transfer.

        1. WandaJ | | #17

          Thanks to everyone that posted their tips/magic :-) for tracing BWOF patterns. Now, the decision is whether or not the effort put forth to do this is worth the end result, i.e., having a particular garment. I seem to have more than my share of 'tissue issues' when trying to fit a pattern from the big 3; however, I've read that BWOF and Burda patterns' fit is terrific with little if any fiddling around. Would you agree?

          1. starzoe | | #18

            Assuming that the Burda pattern books and the commercial Burda patterns follow the same sizes (and I am quite sure they do), why not buy a Burda pattern and see if you like the fit?Also, Burda patterns from the large books at your sewing shop are as up to date as those in the magazine. Buy by your measurements and don't faint when you see the resulting suggested size, just go with it and realize that they aren't in the vanity business as far as sizes go.

          2. WandaJ | | #19

            Thanks for the suggestion. I do have a question about the size to buy. With Burda patterns is it best to use the upper bust measurement to get the best fit through the upper chest?

          3. starzoe | | #20

            Each Burda pattern comes with a sheet to fill in your full measurements, and the magazine also has a page with drawings to tell you where to take the measurements. The instructions are to for tops, use your bust measurment. Not upper bust.

          4. LindaG | | #21

            Hi,I have my set of standard adjustments to patterns and I put them onto my WOF traced patterns, same as I would for a conventional tissue paper pattern. I have to choose the styles carefully, but with my standard adjustments, the finished garments end up looking pretty good. I guess I wouldn't use any $20 or $40 per yard fabrics for something I hadn't previously made. Linda

      2. LindaG | | #7

        Hi Wanda,I was using sheets of white tissue paper that I got in the giftwrap section but then I went wild and bought a 24" wide roll of tracing paper at AC Moore. That made tracing so much easier -- much less taping together.Have fun -- I hardly buy patterns anymore.

        1. Josefly | | #12

          I hadn't heard of AC Moore until your post. I went to the site searching for tracing paper on rolls and couldn't find it. Is it listed under sewing notions? Is there a brand name I could search for. Thanks in advance for your help - I've been looking for this product and haven't seen it anywhere.

          1. LindaG | | #13

            Hi --AC Moore is the local craft chain -- silk flowers, yarn, things to decorate, beads, craft kits, and a few art supplies. In the artists' supply aisle, there were several different widths of translucent paper.For online art supplies, see Dickblick.com (no special recommendation, just the first name I recognized that had what I was thinking about when I did a Google search).The tracing paper is about as durable as the sheets of tissue paper that I was taping together.Linda

          2. Josefly | | #14

            Thank you for the info. I found AC Moore online, but I'll check the artists supplies, and DickBlick. Maybe I could find it at one of our local art supply stores.

          3. rekha | | #22

            You will find the 7lb rolls of canary tracing paper from Seth Cole (google to find site near you) cheaper and usable for tracing purposes

          4. Josefly | | #23

            Thank you for the info on Seth Cole. I did as you suggested and found a website for them, and they show 11 lb, 30 lb, and 37 lb weights of tracing paper, each in many sizes and rolls. I didn't see "canary" tracing paper mentioned - what is that?

          5. rekha | | #24

            Those are too heavy. You need 7lb paper weight.

            Try http://www.scarabgraphics.com/sketchpaper.aspx




            I think the 30" or 36" wide roll would be the best, but you decide

            Also, I use a small steel ball etching tool for tracing rather than the tracing wheel. With this I get better definition of tracing on the paper.

            View Image


            Edited 4/21/2008 5:14 pm ET by rekha

          6. Josefly | | #25

            Thank you again. I'll check all those links.

      3. MargieT | | #8

        Tracing Burda patterns gets easier with practice. Each set of instructions explains which sheet the pattern is on eg `Blue pattern line, sheet B.  pattern pieces 1-6.' The numbers are on the bottom or top of each page in the appropriate colour as well as being on each patten.  I take the patterns out of the magazine and cut them where indicated.  Cutting the sheets makes it much easier to trace.  I use cheap interfacing for tracing.  You just need to make sure that you can see through it.  I find it easier to add the seam allowances as I go - just to make sure that none are missed.  The instructions have recommended seam allowances but there is no need to stick with them - you can choose the s.a that you want. I also mark on the pattern in texta things such as grainlines, darts etc just so that they can be clearly seen when being traced.  There are also seam numbers on the patterns which are mentioned in the instructions.  Each pattern is graded - from 1 to 4 dots.  I usually make 2 or 3 dot patterns.  I know it sounds daunting but the patterns are worth the extra effort. 

        1. starzoe | | #9

          Maybe we should be clear that we cut the sheets apart, not the patterns themselves. It would be impossible to cut each pattern section out as they all overlap each other. Might be confusing for beginners at this.

          1. blessedtosew | | #10

            Do you find it easier to just follow your nose, so to speak, as you go in making clothing from these patterns?  I am kind of scared to start.  I am afraid I will get started, get confused, and not be able to finish.  I am going to start a simple one and just hope I can figure it out along the way without pics.

          2. starzoe | | #11

            You will notice that there are a series of dots on the instructions which tell you how complicated that pattern is. Start off with something simple and if you sew at all you shouldn't have a problem.Read the instructions through and if you don't understand any of it, come back here, some of us have the current issue (mine is the Plus Fashion one).

          3. MargieT | | #15

            Sorry, I should have made myself clear.

          4. starzoe | | #16

            I have been in the same spot myself so don't worry. I just could imagine a newby happily cutting out the pattern pieces!

  3. B | | #4

    Don't know if you noticed the black dots on each item on the page with line drawings (with a key above), but they go from one to four dots so perhaps using the one or two dot items first would help.  Having a basic sewing book handy would also be a good idea, depending on your experience.  Good luck on a great new pattern experience!

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