Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Welcome Return of Burda

I know I wasn't the only one who thought the last 6 or so issues of Burda basically sucked out loud. For a magazine that normally provides me with most of my sewing, I haven't even pulled the pattern sheets out of an issue since January (and that attempt ended in a wadder). I don't think I've really been enthused about them since this time last year.

But all that ends tonight.

The May 2010 issue is the best one I've seen in ages. I couldn't believe how many pieces I wanted to make out of this one - including, of course, almost the entire plus section. Not only does the plus section get fashion photography that actually does what I think fashion photography should do: tell a story and show off the clothes, but they actually get the best clothes.

In some respects I think that's good - most of the plus size clothes I see in the stores are just plain wrong, scaled up garments that don't look good even on tiny people or big, sacky, style-less dresses, pants and tops. Now there are some larger ladies out there in the sewing world whose sense of style I respect highly, and they wouldn't be caught dead in most of what's in the stores. (Clothes like those are probably what start a lot of women sewing in the first place).

So I guess it's only fair that Burda makes up for the dearth of interesting clothes out there in RTW land. I just wish they'd make every look in every size - or at least all the sizes feasible for the design.

But that's why we sew, right? And why if you're following basically straight lines, there's no reason grading down shouldn't work.

Stay tuned on that, because . . . one of them (#137, the blue shirt-dress on the right), taken down from a 44 to a 40, is cut out on my table right now. I don't always feel comfortable sizing down plus patterns, but the lines on this one were pretty simple and straightforward, so fingers crossed that it works - because of course I traced it out and cut right into my fabric!

Other patterns I liked from this issue:

The first four dresses pictured are plus - I love that red one - and the blue-and-white bubble hem dress could easily be un-bubbled, and it has the same great neckline as the red dress.

Burda's having another safari moment, but this one strikes me as a bit more interesting than their last 3 or 4 safaris. The two-layer vest definitely has a purpose, but I'm thinking about holding that one off until fall. The dress with the eyelets in the front is whispering sweet nothings to some deep toasty colored linen in my stash.

The blouse with the cutaway shoulders is similar to one they did a few years ago (that I made twice), but I like the style and I'll see what this one has to say.

The other little two-layer vest is cute, but the first thing that caught my eye, I had to say, was that the under-fabric is Liberty. I know that because I have some of that very print.

I'm not sure whether I like the jacket or not. I do - but not in their fabrics. I think that's where the problem is for me. It's a basic shape, with good lines, which works well for me since most of my fabrics are a little less than quiet, shall we say. Lots of style lines tend to get lost in the hectic.

Another piece from the safari line that I'm liking a lot is the trench-styled vest. What is it with Burda and vests? They always have such good ones.

This doesn't want to stay a vest, though - can't you see it lengthened into a trench-styled dress? Yes, I know, Burda has probably done one before - multiple times, no doubt - but it didn't strike me before this issue that I wanted a trench-styled dress, so I'm sure this pattern will give me what I want in the end.

Of course, you see that I have what, 10 or 11 patterns here? What's the likelihood of getting more than 2 of them actually finished anytime soon?

Then again, that's the good thing about Burda. It keeps on the shelf, and this will definitely become a go-to issue when I'm in the mood to sew, but without a particular project in mind.

Naturally, before I tore the plastic wrapping off my magazine tonight and disappeared into my room for a half hour, I had a list of things to sew firmly in the front of my brain. Now, what was on that list?

New black pants for work (using my TNT pattern, which I can knock together in an evening). My old black pants are no longer completely black, and they're too worn to go to the bother of dyeing them black again.

A couple of restyled t-shirts from some really cute XL shirts I picked up at the last half price day at the thrift store. Another quick knit nightie because some day the weather will be warm.

I need to do some tracing - am I the only woman out there who hasn't tried the Jalie jean pattern yet? Plus I have some other new patterns winging their way to me, and they need tracing as well.

I remember once upon a time when I hated the idea of tracing like poison and only wanted to use Big 4 patterns because I could just cut out the tissue and go.

Somewhere along the line, Burda's fit won me over, and I became a tracing convert (I still cut my Big 4 patterns, though). I resisted Jalie for a long time, I think it was just residual distaste for tracing, though their patterns are a breeze compared to Burda, especially the new, economical, let's print twice as many patterns on one piece of paper and see if we can drive them crazy, Burda.

13 comments: said...

**waving** I haven't tried the Jalie jeans yet. But that's because I've only ever made PJ pants - and I only made those once.

I'm a little askeered of making pants.

Elaray said...

I really like Burda's dresses this month, too … especially the blue shirtwaist.

Gigia said...

I agree, thanks for such a good review, I was wondering if Burda May was YEA or NAY. You drove me the right direction.

Anonymous said...

I loved it too!!! Yeah!!!!!

Lisette M said...

You mean I left this issue sit in my mailbox all night? Excuse me I need to go get my mail!

Zegi said...

That red dress is soooo awesome. I can't believe that burda doesn't see the sense in making a pattern that can fit a broader spectrum. Do they think chubby girls don't want to wear what skinny girls wear or vice versa? Dunno. But I also have not made the jalie jeans. Actually I haven't made any jalie patterns at all!

wendy said...

oh boy! i agree, the last few issues have been DIRE. my subscription just lapsed, so i'm going to have to hike into the city to track down this one. thanks for the heads up! ;)

Nancy K said...

You got yours! I am so jealous! I love that lace front dress. A little bit of Celine. Definitely good dresses.

Michelle said...

There are so many dresses in this month's issue that I'm planning on sewing! And I am still hesitating on the Jalie jeans. I have the pattern...I have opened it...I have even unfolded it....but then I folded it back up and put it back in the envelope. Not ready to take the plunge yet!

badmomgoodmom said...

I agree that this is one of their stronger issues this year. There are several things I want to make, too.

Don't you think Burda subscribers should be given pdf downloads for the patterns in the magazine? How hard would it be to offer us a passwd-protected section of their site where we can download selected patterns in selected sizes (perhaps 1-3 sizes per download so we can grade between sizes).

kiltsnquilts said...

Oh no!! I have just cancelled my Burda mag! I can see I am going to have to secure a copy of the May issue - luckily we are a few months behind the rest of the world here in I have time to make sure I get a copy!

Thanks for the heads up :-)

Becky said...

I haven't made the Jalie jeans yet either. Although I may have to try and track down that pattern at some point, since I'm still on a quest for the perfect-fitting pair of jeans!

I actually wasn't too thrilled with this month's Burda...the only thing that initially jumped out at me was the safari vest. And the lace-up dress, although that's more of a "needs tweaking to work on me" sort of thing. I may have to give it another look, maybe it'll grow on me. But I haven't really had much luck with them since the February issue.

Cassie said...

I live in Australia and am about half way through my first annual Burda WoF magazine subscription.

There are two major problems as an Australian reader/dressmaker. The first isn't too bad: I'm about 3 issues behind.

So I'm super exciting - in about 2 months I'll be thrilled when May arrives. Good to hear that it's a great issue in advance :)

The second major problem is that I never ever wear jackets, parkas or vests or long sleeve shirts. Ever. All year around. I'm also not a plus size - which is a shame because I think my shape actually suits the plus size clothing styles better than the regular stuff. And you're right - the plus size styles are absolutely beautiful. So envious.

So I really just flick through the magazine for dresses and skirts, occasionally I'll consider making a pair or pants or shorts, but it's rare.

I just wish they'd put in more unlined (lining is too hot/sweaty for anything but air conditioned offices!) dresses. More!