Monday, June 23, 2008

Why Do We Love Burda so Much?

Okay, so Rhonda go me thinking about Burda WOF. I can think of six reasons that I am a die-hard Burda WOF fan.

  1. Fit: They fit my smaller frame better than the Big 4. This is especially true in the shoulders. I have read that they draft their patterns for a 'C' cup but I never have to do an SBA on them even though I'm an 'A' cup. Figure that one out. I have heard that their pants rock. I am waiting until the June issue to try my first pair of BWOF pants (this pair). Some people say they are the best fitting pants they have ever made. Their patterns don't have a ton of ease like the Big 4. For a Big 4 pattern, I usually measure myself, ignore the envelope recommendations, and then make the smallest size offered, usually a 8 or 10. I usually have to grade the BWOF patterns down to a 36 or 34 but it is pretty easy to do since you have to trace them anyhow. Sigrid pointed out that their fit is consistent. For example, I make a size 36 almost every time and it fits the same each time. The Big 4 are not consistent like that.
  2. Challenge: I love a challenge. The directions are challenging and that is not something I always love. The thing that is challenging is all the tiny details on a BWOF. They usually add some details that give it that extra special somthing. Check out this top with tab, this simple cross-top with something extra, this dress with buttons, and this Jalie look-alike to see what I mean. As I sew, I realize that, for me, details are the thing that I love. They have quick, unadorned patterns too but I love the detailed ones.
  3. Style: I find the Big 4 patterns boring and repetitive. I think in their quest to make sewing easy they also made it boring and home-made. There are Vogue patterns that appeal to me and a few of the new-old-vintage re-issues but the rest, nah. They are the same thing over and over again. Even between companies, they are the same. It is like having a Chevy and a GMC; different names, same truck.
  4. Frequency: BWOF comes out every month. 50-70 patterns in each magazine. There are some BWOF duds, don't get me wrong, but out of 50 patterns, I can find a few I like.
  5. Anticipation: They post previews of the coming styles as a slideshow so you can get a sneaky peaky. Then a week or two later, they give you all the pictures. Then before the magazine comes out you can view all the line drawings. Part of this anticipation just makes me crave the new magazine even if I don't like a lot of the patterns. The grass is always greener, eh?
  6. Presentation: Think about KwikSew for a minute. Up until this year, their pattern covers have been a bit dorky. With Burda, you get hot, leggy (ok, sometimes scary) models wearing the clothing. I'm really glad that KwikSew has started using cute models on their covers because I really like their patterns. But it is all about selling the pattern. Legs and cleavage sell while dowdy drawings will not. I can see this being cute in a nice fabric but this drawing doesn't do it for me.
  7. Price (thank you Debbie Cook!): All of the patterns every month for a very reasonable price, even more reasonable if you have a subscription. A subscription is $80 and you get 12 magazines. That is $6.67 per issue. If you make two patterns per issue you are getting each pattern at the rock-bottom price of $3.34 per pattern.
  8. Convenience (thank you Debbie Cook!): With a subscription, they come right to your mailbox. No need to track down sales, fight messy pattern drawers, etc.

Did I miss anything? I know everyone has their own, "Why I love Burda" reasons but these are mine. I added Debbie Cook's comments to the list. Thank you Debbie!


Paula Gardner said...

Leggy models with cleavage don't sell patterns to me. I always look at them and think, "Yeah, but it's not going to look like that on me." And not that I would want to show cleavage anyway. What would sell patterns to me are slightly pudgy models with really short, stocky legs and thick ankles.

Christina said...

A while ago I was trying to explain to someone why Burda is so great and I think you touched on all the points that I told her about.

I *love* the anticipation, the buildup, of the upcoming issue - few things make me giddy these days but BWOF previews are one of them!

I am lucky that, with very minor + easy tweaks if any, the patterns fit me great. You never know what you are getting into w/the Big 4...

And, I even love the tall, skinny models shot on location in the desert, on boats, and in castles. It's a fantasy, and I want to live it too. The styling is what makes the mag so fun to browse.

Mary Beth said...

Dawn, I am also a small-shouldered size A bra gal too! My mom says I was her easiest baby to deliver (must have been those small shoulders). I also sew a size 8 in the Big Four patterns.
Anyhow, I just started getting the Burda WOF magazines. I've traced more than a few patterns, but I haven't actually sewed any...maybe I have more reason to now given what you've just said....

Elaray said...

All Burda- All the Time! That's my motto! I agree with everything you've written. The best thing is that your comments apply the plus size offerings, too.

Dana said...

Maybe I'll become another Burda convert. Maybe it's just the "kick" my garments need. Maybe it doesn't actually take as long as I think to trace those patterns. Or maybe the time is worth it. Aside from the tracing, when I look at the line drawings I usually see a very basic garment that I could make from one of my current collection. But, I do love the way they show the patterns. If a non-sewist saw they magazine they wouldn't new the garments were (don't shoot me)...homemade!

cidell said...

Welcome to the sisterhood :)

Melissa said...

I think you have great points, all of which are reasons I love BWOF too! I was telling my sister how much better BWOF is (she's wanting to start sewing). So I traced off two patterns for her this past weekend for her to try, I know she'll love them! :-)

Debbie Cook said...

Here's one you missed ... Price. All of the patterns every month for a very reasonable price, even more reasonable if you have a subscription.

Oh, another, convenience. With a subscription, they come right to your mailbox. No need to track down sales, fight messy pattern drawers, etc.

Meg said...

I only find a pattern that appeals to me in about every third or fourth issue of BWOF. I feel like they start out with strong designs but then they tinker with them too much, so the end result is often something I'd expect out of an unrestrained FIT student. But if I were younger I would definitely gravitate to BWOF: I feel their audience is the 18-35 range, so that leaves me out, unfortunately.

Lashell said...

Burda is always fashion forward, even the duds. If there is a major trend Burda will have it in the mag. + 50 patterns for $9 who can beat that.

Unknown said...

I'm a recent Burda convert and just traced my first pattern last week. I hope to find some fabric for it soon. The thing I like best about Burda is the presentation. I love their fashion spreads, which are very inspiring to me.

Gretchen the Household Deity said...

Cidell got me hooked on Burda with a gift subscription for my birthday. I don't know whether to love or hate her for it! Heh. On the one hand, I now have all these fabulous patterns (with more coming every month); on the other, now I'm hooked for life! I can never stop subscribing.

I agree with everything you said, and more:

I love that it's a *magazine.* It makes me feel like sewing is a legitimate fashion thing to do. Not that I care about that at all, but somehow, the fashion magazine aspect of it makes me feel cool and hip.

It's great to have an archive that's easy to browse. When I want to knock something off, I can almost always go into my back issues and find a pattern I can tweak (and I only have a year's worth).

The Plus section is awesome. I'm not plus but genetics says I will be eventually and their selections are not just sad little afterthoughts but robust, flattering styles for the curvy woman. I am often envious of the plus choices!

Alex said...

As a beginner sewer I'm still trying to crack them. I have 3 magazines, and have only sewed 1 1/2 pieces. I really need instructons, so I sometimes get a little frustrated and discouraged with Burda, but I'm in love with all their designs.

I also am a big Jalie fan, as they are patterns that actually fit! I could never understand the big 4 sizing!

I don't comment often, but just wanted to say that I enjoy reading your blog!

angie.a said...

Dawn, you can totally do the photoshoppin' tute with Paint.Net! Duplicate Layer is in the little layers palette. And the Levels and Hue/Saturation are under "Adjustments". VERY simple to find! The only tricky part will be the gradient fill. You don't use a fill bucket to do the gradient, Paint.Net is actually more like the uber advanced programs with their gradient.

The gradient is a tool (it's the shaded blue one). Pick the circle one that looks like the tute, and then you place your cursor on the emtpy layer and drag. It will fill the entire screen with a circle gradient. You'll have move handles though, so before you click anywhere else, drag the move handles until you have it more or less looking like the Fill I did.

Then you have to go to Adjustments > Invert Colors, because the default Gradient is the opposite of what we want (make sure you're on the Gradient Layer when you Invert.) Double click the layer & change it from Normal to Overlay and adjust the opacity slider! Done!

It's actually a simpler process in Paint.Net (most things are.) I LOVE this little program. Email me if you need help!

jemimabean at gmail dot com


Sigrid said...

Hi Dawn, of course you can add "my point" of consistency of fit to the items you mentioned. Doesn't feel as something I discovered, it's just a general observation. I love BWOF, and though I was a bit jealous (when restarting sewing for myself) of all the US ladies who could buy their "big 4" patterns so much cheaper than we here in Europe, after experiencing a few in the past year, I'm inclined to skip them in the future. I just love BWOF patterns. I can live with the short instructions. There is so much technical information to be found in books and the internet.

Anonymous said...

I finally cut out my first BWOF pattern. I have two more things to make before I sew it up. I am hoping to be a Burda convert. However, I actually find that the line drawings sell me more on the clothing than seeing them on the models. When I got the June issue, I just wasn't that crazy about anything until I looked at the line drawings, and then I saw several things I liked. that weird?

Rhoto said...

"KwikSew for a minute. Up until this year, their pattern covers have been a bit dorky."
I, for one & only one, LIKE the dorky drawings!! I can figure out what the pattern looks like...
The BURDA patterns are without instructions?? Is that right??
"1. Ignore ironing. Turn on sewing machine.
2. Look back at ironing.
3. Thread machine.
4. Move ironing to another room!!
5. Proceed as follows...
THANKS for such a good answer to my question, eh!!
Rhonda in Montreal (PR)

crescentaluna said...

I'm late to the party here - I agree with *all the above* and would just add: Kid's patterns! Something for my little girl that I'd like to make, not every time but just about every other month, and each with a really distinctive style. And I love that there are petite offerings (though all too infrequently).