Burda Style US Edition. Premier Issue Review

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There had been talk about a US version, not just a translation, of the German magazine BurdaStyle (formerly Burda World of Fashion, formerly Burda Moden), and it was supposed to hit the shelves this month.  The sewing forums have been buzzing with questions regarding the publication and the beginning of October came and went without so much as a peep from the publisher.  Well, the magazine is finally out, I picked up a copy today at Jo-Anns’s when I went to get some elastic for a project.  I quickly looked through it and decided to buy it, even though it’s $14.99, which is a heck of a lot for a magazine.  Even the English edition of the German BurdaStyle, which is $90 for a 1 year (12 issues) subscription, is cheaper as it comes in only at $7.50 per issue.

First and foremost, the US Burda Style lacks a very important feature of the European version, the photograph “all styles at a glance” index and the “all styles at a glance” line drawing index.  The only way for you to know what styles are in the magazine is to actually look through it.  Unlike the European version, the US very is not center bound with staples, it is bound like a regular magazine, and the pattern sheets must be torn off the magazine.  The tear line is scored, but unless you use scissors, I can imagine many scenarios in which I end up with a ripped and useless pattern sheet.  These two characteristics of the magazine are flaws, at least for me.

On to the patterns. The European version usually has about 60 patterns, which means you get a lot for your money.  This magazine only has 40, and of those 40, 20  are not actually included in the pattern sheets; instead, they must be downloaded from the Burda Style website using a code that is provided in the magazine.  I really dislike this part because I hate taping printed pattern sheets together on top of adding seam allowances.  On the bright side, the patterns included in the pattern sheets already have seam allowances added, which is super awesome and new to the US version.  Fewer styles and fewer patterns included in the pattern sheets means that the sheets are not crowded like the European version and are easy to trace. This is a plus, but at the expense of having less styles from which to choose.

A quick look at the instructions reveals that they are no better than the European instructions.  Burda Style’s target market is not really the brand new sewists, do not expect detailed instructions like what you get with envelope patterns from the big four (Simplicity, McCall’s, Butterick, and Vogue).

The styles themselves, it seems, are not new but recycled from the European version.  I know for a fact that some of them are already in issues I own, and from the preview of the next issue, I can see that some of the styles that will be on it were in previous issues of the European edition.  Some I have not seen before but they may be from some of the issues that I missed last year and early this year when I let my subscription lapse. Comments from the editor on the Burda Style website say that there will not be any patterns unique to the US edition.  Here is her comment regarding this:

“Because of all the time required for the production of the US version in all aspects of the magazine, our schedule at this point doesn’t allow for us to use Germany’s current nor future months’ content. Also, there won’t be any US-only patterns in the near future. Each of the BurdaStyle patterns created by Burda’s Fashion Factory in Germany are shared with all of the 90 countries the magazine is available in.”

Overall, the magazine is OK, especially considering that it is pioneering pattern magazine publication in the United States, at least as far as I’m aware.  There is one other pattern magazine sold in US stores, My Image, but I believe that one is published in The Netherlands, translated into English, and imported.  This Burda Style is published in the US.  I do not think it’s worth $14.99 per issue, but the subscription rate, according to the subscription card, is $19.99 a year.  There are 4 issues a year, this is a quarterly magazine (unlike the European version, which is monthly), so the subscription price is about $4.99 per issue; that’s much more reasonable if you don’t already get the German version in English.  I do not plan to subscribe unless I let me European BurdaStyle subscription lapse.

From this issue, these are my favorite styles:

I love the coat.  I am a sucker for military style coats.
I like the items separetely, but I like the combination too.
I don’t know that I can pull this one off, but I like the vintage look.  I’d make it in a plain fabric.

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