Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Eyes wide open: sewing magazines

My name is Juliette and I am a Burda Style addict..... I grew up sewing with this wonderful magazine, back in the days when Anne Burda herself participated in creating every issue. It is like home sweet home to me, I love the instructions and all useful master classes. Not to leave alone huge international communities of likewise addicted dressmakers.

As my first language is Russian, I am very lucky to be an active member of Russian Burda site, which is the biggest recourse of everything-to-do with sewing and Burda, they have a great Photo forum, where real people showcase their Burda pattern based creations. It is very useful as some models look absolutely different in real life than on the Burda pages.

Another site is English BurdaStyle.com, again superb online community, however I found it a bit vintage oriented. it is independent from Burda magazine, although it does sell some of Burda's patterns and features exclusively Burda magazine in it's blogs and recommendations.

In spite of this addiction, I have been researching other sewing magazines, as I find that Burda's offerings lately are dominated with very folk-oriented looks, that just look baggy and altogether quite awful to my liking. I like classy stylish looks with a sexy twist on it.  Anything baggy and midi doesn't work for me.  Also Anne Burda's son took over the business and I think they didn't get it right. There's a definite change in models since. They still represent current fashion, but they are just not that brave with it. Also most of the models can be narrowed down to a handful f basic patterns that are slightly modified, and they are very simple.

So I decided to have a browse online, hoping to find anything else.

I have a good few Patrones issues, and I love the magazine, although I only used it's patterns a couple of times as their sizing is very different ( BTW for those who need it I have a link here on my blog to measuring and sizing for Patrones- just check out useful links). I think the last year's issues are not really as good as the few previous years, as hey used to offer real big designer patterns, like Gucci and D&G, to name just a couple. I have a huge collection of digital versions of Patrones. But there's two problems: first is the instructions that are hardly comprehensive, like Burda's and even though I don't speak much Spanish, even having translated those instructions doesn't really clarify it too much. The second - most painful issue- as the issues are scanned on home printers you have to print out 18 A4 sheets and overlap them, and this is a hell of a job! So I have so many issues ( over 25) and no use...

Knip Mode is a new discovery (Thanks to Melissa from Ferh Trade) I remember checking it out a few years ago and I wasn't really impressed. But Melissa's regular blogs about Knip Mode helped me change my mind- the models offered are quite in tune with current fashion trends and also their sizing is a bit larger on the hips, which suits my pear shape. I will be honest, I haven't tried it out myself, but it is definitely in my plans. I have a digital issue of 6/2010 which has an amazing bathing suit, that is on my list for October holiday in Spain. I aslo must mention that all their patterns start at size 34- again a big plus for me!!!! I really do hate altering patterns, I normally only do this  if the garment is amazing. Well that doesn't cover small alterations I make every time for better fit.

My Image is a new sewing magazine from Netherlands It claims that every issue contains patterns according the latest trends. Well, I just received the latest ones, and I have to say I am a bit disappointed. The patterns offered have little to do with the latest fashion trends. They are more timeless classic patterns adaptable with a clever use of fabric. None of them looked supertrendy, just average housewife looking clothes. They offer 16 patterns, I would only choose one of them (the dress on the cover) but merely to justify buying the magazine, not because I wouldn't find something similar in my stack of old magazines ( I would like to make an emphasis on OLD, as their fashion style looks very 90's to me) They also have a kiddies edition.  There is a good review about My Image on Fehr Trade, but Melissa's opinion is not quite the same as mine.

La Mia Boutique didn't really impress me, I find a lot of recent models too wacky. Nothing to do with the beautiful classic italian fashion (the like's of Angelina's outfits in "The Tourist" ,for example). Over the top- but then it is just my own opinion. I had 3 issues and I sold them all on ebay (no regrets) I couldn't find their original website either. More on Fehr Trade
unfortunately, this is NOT what you find in italian La Mia Boutique magazine (((

And finally, all the way from Brazil - Manequim. My absolute winner! The trendiest of all it combines the joy of dressmaking with the latest styling advice and fashion update - it is like if InStyle also included patterns. The drawbacks- it is in Portuguese, impossible to buy individual issues (unless you have a Brazilian friend, which I actually do! Too bad she only goes home once a year) and the patterns come mostly in one (rarely in three) sizes, so grading is nessesary, for my small frame anyway. But the models are quite cool, I don't mind spending time grading. Also there are free patterns to download from their website. Here is just a preview of what they offer, and did I mention that they give you a style advice based on your body shape with their models? How cool is that? I have a digital version of 4/2010 (one shoulder dress below is from that issue) I am going to chance it and I am really thinking of getting an annual subscription for it , it is only €89/$125 per year.

I was looking through my blog reading list and to my absolute delight I discovered there is one more sewing magazine out there that definitely worth more publicity and attention of the dressmakers in the world. With one small, but significant detail- it is totally geared towards up-cycling and re-fashioning. I give you ALTERED COUTURE. I came across this gem while reading the latest post from Ruffles and Stuff who's stunning projects is featured in this magazine regularly, and in my opinion so rightfully deserved. And this is how I went to check out what that publication is about, and how oh so amazing it seems to be. 
The issues are full of superb ideas on up-styling, the instructions are so comprehensive and the photography is superb!!! One of my absolute favourites is this Parisian Rose Shoes up-styling project:
Here is another very easy super stylish ideas:


  1. "I find that Burda's offerings lately are dominated with very folk-oriented looks, that just look baggy and altogether quite awful to my liking."

    Gah, I could not agree more! I mean, I love a little loose tunic, but not as my go-to fashion answer for EVERYTHING.

  2. If you ever change idea on La Mia Boutique just ask me and I'll send it to you. Anyway, I agree with you, the patterns are just unwearable...
    ps. I featured this post on my blog :)


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