Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Simplicity of Simplicity ??? Confessions of a Burdaholic

I have to confess- I am addicted to Burda Style magazine patterns. So much so that I will think fifty times before starting on any other brand of patterns, most likely trying to find a similar garment in my Burda magazines collection. It is all about the familiarity, this warm and cozy feeling of knowing how-to's and staying in your comfort zone.

Good or bad? Not great- as I believe that  my opportunities and creativity is somewhat limited and it is a shame not to explore the rest of the sewing pattern world.
If you are wondering why I am disclosing such a cowardly side of mine, I guess the answer is- I need to say it out loud. It is the first step to recovery from my addiction ( but I can't promise it will not relapse).

Here is my detailed confession.

I am used to patterns with no seam allowances included, so having no exact lines to sew over freaks me out . I know- it is very simple and you get used to it and it is actually easier and quicker blah blah blah..... the thought of dealing with it scares the living hell out of me! Enough said!

The next hassle point- remeasuring the pattern and myself, and adjusting. Yes, I do adjustments anyway, always. But with Burda I know exactly where and how much, easy-peasy, no brain damage.

Then the instructions. I find Burda's instructions very comprehensive ( 95% of the time, there is always a dress 119 11/2011 ). Other brands can have pictures and stuff and still not really nail the actual construction technology. Or I am just being bias.

Ok..... I ran out of excuses. Here's the truth. I wanted a tunic for winter, something resembling Audrey Hepburn's grey pullover from "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

After a good search I found a great one, however a bit different from the inspiration. I absolutely loved it!  The pattern is made by Burda, but they don't ship it here. Nor they offer a download option. What a bummer. Then somebody pointed me to the light.

SIMPLICITY 2568 ( kindly provided by Diana Moden magazine, Russian edition 9/2010)

It has three models- two dresses, a tunic and also trousers. I found a download online, printed it and put in a painstaking effort to assemble it all together - makes it harder when it is a scanned in copy  it was not the official download). Aligning- mission  impossible.

I have never used this magazine or Simplicity patterns before, and here I am in a danger zone. When you find yourself unsure, research is the best weapon- so I turned to online forums. It took me a good hour of reading through the posts to come to a few conclusions about these patterns:

  • The ease on the garments is generally very big- if you like tighter fit, you will need to keep this in mind.
  • The allowances are included (1.5cm) unless stated otherwise on the piece. 
  • The back/shoulder width tend to be quite large- adjust for narrow back
  • When printing from a downloaded file make sure the control square on the pattern sheet corresponds to the exact measurements in the magazine/pattern.
  • The measurements for the sizes is only a guideline. Every pattern gives a ready garment measurements chart- make sure you check it and adjust the pattern as needed. 

My challenge number one was the scaling of the pattern sheet image files. I do not really bother to be politically correct about it- if I cannot buy it and there is a scanned copy online- I will get it. My scanned magazines collection is enormous. Sometimes the files come as pdf's, sometimes jpegs, but the way your printer deals with the scaling it always different and it is important to resize images and set up printer correctly for each sheet. It can take ages! Also finding out what that control square measurements should be proved to be a disaster as apparently in that magazine they change their sizes quite often. Mine appeared 5x6.5cm when printed. I am still not sure if it is right.

The next was the  ease allowance. My bust measurement is 82cm and the finished garments 94cm- that is pretty loose, so I took it down to 86cm (4cm on both front and back). I took down another 1cm on the back piece for narrower shoulder width.

The paper pattern doesn't look too loose now, I would like to give it a go in a leftover fabric first to see how it will fit. There is a bit of fabric from my Japanese twisted dress (previous post) left, I might give it a go.

I will start with a top. As the jersey is quite stretchy, I won't be adding the zipper at the back and I might leave the longer sleeve for this one ( like on the checked dress). If the top sits well around the chest and the neck, I can use it for more garments. My husband wants one of them to be definitely a dress. So I am under pressure. I'll keep you posted.


  1. That's is exactly the pattern I was thinking of. I have it in my stash but I couldn't remember the number. And it doesn't appear on the site. I think it's discontinued. Can't wait to see your version.

  2. Well I actually don't think I've ever used a burda pattern strangely enough but I can certainly understand that you are comfy with what you know and that those patterns always work for you, I don't think that makes you cowardly, you just know what you like!

    I do love this style of tunic and as a dress it looks super cute too, I look forward to seeing your finished project!

  3. Imeasured the squaire, it is 6x6.5 cm, if it would help you.


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