Thursday, September 16, 2010

Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?

I wanted the music to play on forever.
Have I stayed too long at the Fair?
I wanted the clown to be constantly clever.
Have I stayed too long at the Fair?
Billy Barnes

The lyrics to this song reflect how I've been feeling about Burda Magazine.  Burda has gone through a lot of changes lately and I'm wondering if I should stay with my favorite pattern company.

First, there was the name change.  Burda World of Fashion to Burda Style was a minor change and easy to accept.  If only they'd stopped there.  But then, the Burda Fashion website was mercilessly killed.  I have tried, but I just don't get the English BurdaStyle website.  Apparently, English-speaking women who sew from the magazine is not the demographic this website is after.   And if changing the website wasn't enough, the magazine itself has also changed.  The magazine now has only one pattern sheet for all of the styles included, which makes tracing a real challenge.   I used to find relaxation in the mindlessness of tracing, but that's gone now and  I have to concentrate more while tracing.  Finally, to add insult to injury, the last issue of Burda Plus Fashion repeated three of the five collections.  I paid a second time for something I already owned.

Burdaphiles are frustrated with the changes.  Some are talking of not renewing their subscriptions.  But, I'm part of a very small niche:  plus size women (and I don't mean size 14) who want to sew their own clothes.    Burda still offers the best variety of fashion forward styles for the larger woman, as shown by these examples.

I don't know of any other pattern company that offers such a variety of plus size designs – certainly not the Big Four.

Giving up on Burda is hard for me.   I am not ready stop my subscription.  Even with the unwelcoming website, vexing pattern sheets and pattern reruns,  Burda still offers the most fashionable plus size patterns. As long as Burda continues to offer this variety of plus size garments,  I will stay at the fair a little longer.


  1. I think the main problem with the website is that it was originally intended to be something other than what it is now. I got into the BurdaStyle community in the early days when it was all about free, open-source patterns and building an online sewing community. I guess kind of like Pattern Review for the younger set, or Ravelry for sewers. I don't think it was a good move on Burda's part to try and merge this with the magazine website, since it basically resulted in most of what was good about the magazine (namely being able to easily preview and see technical drawings of the garments inside) was lost. You're exactly right in saying that women who sew from the magazine is not what the website is about. Nor was it intended to be.

    I've been debating sticking with the magazine myself-- I'm not a plus-sized sewer, and for the last several issues, I've found only a collective handful of things that inspire me. So I'm thinking that once my subscription runs out in March, I'll just buy individual issues (now that we have Barnes & Noble close by, as long as they continue to carry it) or even just individual patterns off of the BurdaStyle website, since they do sell those. And printing them out at home and taping them together may prove to be far less annoying than trying to trace out the new sheets. (I wonder if those come with the added seam allowances?)

  2. I feel the same way. We English speaking Burda sewers have been and are being ill served. I hate the Burda Style site; we are certainly not the demographic that they are after. I love Burda and I am not willing to give up on it yet. It is still the biggest bargain around when it comes to patterns and like you I know exactly what I need to do to get them to fit me. I will say that having recently traced from the new sheets, that it must take me twice as long to do it than it used to take me. The last one was red lines that run over those pink specials and boy was that hard to find.
    That fabulous dress in your top row is #1 up for me to make for my nieces wedding next summer. I sew from the regular as well as the plus. I am firmly in the plus sizes on the bottom but I need to cut a 40 in the upper body, so I really get a lot for my money.
    They don't seem to be big on even the German site. The Russian editors seem to be the only ones who actually make an effort to get the full preview up in a timely fashion these days. The German site still doesn't and the French site doesn't even have any of the previews up. BTW did you see that fabulous leather jacket in the plus size for October? Fabulous. So no I am not about to give up my subscription.

  3. I have always found pattern tracing to be a bit of a bummer. But I too am plus-sized and in the hopes of finding some pattern variety, a year or so ago, I subscribed to BurdaPlus.

    It was expensive for just two issues a year. But then I am plus-size and have learned to take the rough with the smooth.

    I am not a size 14 plus-size nor a 3X. I am a very middling plus-size lady. Which leads me to my point.

    I cut the Burda patterns out at the largest and they were too small! Much, much too small. Like you, I liked the styles, but I was going to have to redraft to get a good fit using a magazine I spent a lot of money for and spent a lot of time tracing.

    I didn't renew my Burda subscription, but I liked the styles and I wish they had some different practices.

  4. I am so in accord with the general feeling re BWOF changes and no longer subscribe; instead I am revisiting all my past issues with fresh eyes and a willingness to adapt/combine, etc, as well as - like Becky - using individual patterns that can be purchased from the website. Sad, but I think they are seeking a new target audience for the magazine that does not include me. Laura from UK

  5. I only arrived at the Burda fair a year ago so I am still in love. I also use Melissa of Fehr Trade blog's method of tracing on top of a carpet using a tracing wheel and eyeballing the SAs when I cut. It's almost as quick as cutting a normal pattern and actually quicker if you have alterations to make. So I think I may stick with Burda for a while (but the BS website is just that! Did they realize how it would be abbrevaited?)

  6. I have to agree with you - being a plus sized person, it is difficult to find anything at all fashionable to sew.

    I also agree with you about feeling ripped off when I got the fall Burda Plus - three collections that I already purchased and paid for. That makes the high price of each issue less than a bargain. I'd gone to the German site and looked at what was coming up, and thought they'd mistakenly posted something from last year. I was not happy when I saw that these same fashions were coming back.

    To my mind, I would rather have gotten up-sized patterns for some of their other designs that they have made elusively for smaller sizes - I can scale them up myself, but geez it would be nice to have it done.

    Didn't realize we are down to one pattern sheet, but that is because I haven't been tracing much this summer.

    BURDA come back and serve the plus size woman well - I know in Germany there are many plus sized women who would agree with us.

    As to the website -I've given up on the English website. I can't find anything related to the magazine, and few things apply to me.

  7. Did anyone notice on page 4 in the new Burda Plus Autumn/Winter 2010 issue that "our next Burda Style Plus Fashion goes on sale in Autumn/Fall 2011"? Can that be true? What about Spring/Summer 2011? I hope they aren't going to publish just one issue a year. My relationship with Burda may be shortlived. The changes they have been making to both Burda Style and Burda Plus are not for the better, that's for sure.

  8. I've just given up on the English language BurdaStyle website-in order to maintain a modicum of sanity, I HAVE to believe that it has nothing to do with the German/French/Russian language website, because I can't believe that an intelligent company would so completely muck up their relationship with a major part of their customer base. (Of course, I'm a native speaker of English from the US, so I'm biased and I believe that that US is a major market for everyone. LOL). I'm sticking with my subscriptions to Burda WOF and Burda Plus. Those print publications just offer more than what I can get from other sources.

    by the way, I enjoy reading your blog and see the garments that you select to sew, as they inspire me to take a second look at different patterns. Thank you for sharing your work!

    Rose in SV

  9. Amen to all of that. Except, I'm not ready to give up my sub yet either. I did give up Burda Plus. I didn't even get this last issue (Fall 2010). I called GLP and had them switch it out for Easy Fashion which was released the same time. (Except is has nothing in it I wanted and I sort of wanted that draped pencil skirt in the Burda Plus. Oh well.)

    I bet they're just going to use the Burda Plus for a compilation issue in the future, and do it once per year. That sucks!

  10. I'm one of those not renewing, but I'll give you some GOOD reasons for continuing your subscription.

    1)It's not just the plus styles for which Burda provides great fashion patterns. But all the sizes. I've seen in Bruda patterns the design lines and accessories that will be popular, months before those same design lines/accessories appear in the stores and fashion magazines. Burda is definitely on the leading edge of fashion.
    2) This great [u]fashion magazine[/u] comes to your house complete with the patterns to create the same fashions.
    3) If you were to actually buy all the patterns included, you'd find that the patterns themselves are bargain priced i.e. In one issue, I think I costed out the patterns at about $1.65 each. Yes you can get patterns cheaper at the 99cent Joann's pattern sales if you have a Joanns close enough to you and if your Joanns doesn't take all the really good patterns out of the drawer the day before the sale.

    4)You could try a 6 month renewal instead of a full year renewal. That would give you time to see if Burda has more "course corrections" to implement or if this newer presentation is what you have to settle for.

  11. I like Burda Magazine and Burda Plus Magazine...however, I think of them as just one of the fashion resources available to me. It is probably why I like them but am not head over heels in love with them...especially since the changes. I also HATE the tracing...Hate, Hate, Hate the tracing.

    I would definitely say that they are aiming themselves at the younger market in America. It's almost like they don't care about your $$$ which is interesting because you have considerably more to spend than a 20 or 30 year old.

    I'm thinking that you are going to have to mine the Burda's that you've traced before and develop a few TNTs! ;)

  12. I just got my subscription renewal card and the price has gone up $10. In the past several issues, there has been little that I have wanted to sew. In fact, I had not even realized that they'd gone to one sheet! I'm frustrated, but mostly disappointed in the direction Burda has taken. One GOOD thing that I liked iin this month's issue is that they included the line drawing right next to the picture and description. I'm not ready to give up Burda yet, but if I pay $90 this year and don't feel like I sew enough of it to get my money's worth, I won't renew next year.