A Year of Burda Magazine Patterns – Challenge Completed!

I (silently) set myself the challenge to sew one garment from each issue of Burda magazine (aka BurdaStyle) in 2012, and I’m proud to say I completed it! I’m not the sort of person to make New Year’s resolutions, or proclaim lofty goals to everyone who’ll listen – I’m more the sort to quietly commit myself to something, and see if anyone notices what I’m up to before the completion… I do know that Kristy has also been keeping up with the Burda challenge this year, and it’s been fun to see which patterns she’s chosen from the same issues (and on occasion we selected the same pattern!).

There were some roaring successes, a few fails (both my fault and not), and some that I changed my mind on only after months of wear. So I thought it was worthwhile to have a look through all the projects from this year, and my thoughts on each looking back from now…


Rating: 9/10
Link to original post: Great Basic – Grey Flannel Trousers

At the time I said: There’s nothing particularly earth-shattering about this design, but I just thought it looked nicely versatile, and something I could wear to business meetings as well as just team with a teeshirt if I fancied it.

My thoughts now: I don’t think these look as nice in the photoshoot as they do in real life. I genuinely love and adore these, and have worn them pretty much nonstop, at least once a week to work, since I made them a year ago. I wouldn’t change a single thing about this pattern, and the silk pocket linings fill me with glee everything I slip my hands inside. I really do need to make some more of these!


Rating: 7/10
Link to original post: The Blue and Black Burda February sheath dress

At the time I said: But really, I just love this dress! It’s so comfortable, and I’ve gotten so many compliments even in just the two occasions I’ve worn it in the past week. I also like it because it reminds me both of my beloved September dress pattern but also of traditional cheongsam dresses…

My thoughts now: I think the pattern is fabulous, but the fabric I chose was too thin, and the upper chest is a bit lumpy where Burda tried to tell me to have a facing when it should’ve just been sewn closed. I wore this a few times a month over the summer, but the short sleeves keep it from being in all-year rotation. I’d really like to sew this pattern again in a ponti jersey, like my other favourite dresses.


Rating: 3/10
Link to original post: Peach flip-turned top and slim brown trousers

At the time I said: I’m not totally in love with these trousers – they’ll do as a nice wardrobe addition for a while, but I’m not reaching for them anywhere near as often as my grey trousers or my Jalie jeans.

My thoughts now: The fit was always weird on these – very low rise at the front waist, and tight just above the knees (I wasn’t the only reviewer to think so, either!). But I hung onto these much longer than I should’ve because they were the last project I made when Bosco was still alive, and I’d had the crazy coincidence to line the pockets with cat-themed fabric. Speaking of pockets – the linings were impossible to keep tucked in, too… But the rational part of me decided that I was in no danger of forgetting either our cat or the memories of sewing this together, and they went off to a charity shop last Fall.


Rating: 1/10
Link to original post: A rare dud of the highest order

At the time I said: Have I saved anyone else from wasting their time on this pattern? Seriously, don’t go there. At the very least, if you still like the sleeves, then you’d be better off trying to put the sleeve pattern here onto something like the Sorbetto, and making up your own placement and pleat lines. It’s much easier to go your own way from the start than try and following wrong ones, rip things out, and end up doing your own thing anyway.

My thoughts now: I used some of the silk for pocket linings on James’s Disco Jacket, then the rest went in the bin! DONE.


Rating: 3/10
Link to original post: High-waisted jersey pencil skirt

At the time I said: What I would recommend, though, is making absolutely sure that your fabric has a lot of lycra and good recovery, because the waist portion of mine really sagged throughout the day (which you can see in these photos, taken after sitting at my desk all day), and the closer you can get the fit, the better. The starburst pleats are really nice though, and I like the design a lot!

My thoughts now: After wearing this skirt a few times to work and having the high waist grow, crumble, and bag around my waist after about an hour at my desk, I stopped wearing it altogether. I think it could’ve been fixed by either chopping off some of the height at the waist, inserting some hidden elastic, or just making it with some sturdier jersey. After mellowing at the bottom of a drawer for a few months, this too went off to the charity shop.


Rating: 5/10
Link to original post: Swirled lines sheath dress – 2nd muslin

At the time I said: I sewed up that basic Burda sheath dress (which fit me very well, as expected), then while it was on my dressform I drew rough design lines on to match.

My thoughts now: I used Burda’s pattern merely as the base to draw my own design lines and adapt the pattern into something else. The muslin reinforced that I’d definitely need a stretch woven (as in the original pattern) but finding a hefty stretch satin with two distinct sides proved difficult. I finally found some in the States, but shipping took over two months (yes, really) and by the time it arrived I was concentrating on other things. Finishing this dress is still high up on my To Sew list, but requires a wide cutting table for the single-layer layout, so I may have to sneak in early and do it at work.

UPDATE: I did eventually complete this dress, in August 2013! Read all about it here!


Rating: 7/10
Link to original post: Black knit trousers & shoe print vest

At the time I said: I absolutely love trousers with fly front zipper openings – I vastly prefer these to side invisible zippers, which tend to irritate my skin, so I was happy to have the chance to do one on a stable knit here. Having worn them to work this week, I can report that these are really super freaking comfortable to wear!

My thoughts now: These are still super comfortable throughout the legs, but I’ve stopped wearing them because the waist is too big and they keep falling down (which I’m fairly certain has less to do with the trousers and more to do with my marathon training)! What I really need to do is rip out the waistband, take them in, then reattach it so they’re smaller. It’s a really small thing to be done, but I’m sure many of you also procrastinate on little alterations jobs like this!


Rating: 9/10
Link to original post: The Peplum Top

At the time I said: A lot of peplum dresses just feature a ring of excess fabric around the hips, but here, the curved waist seam plus the sloped hemline and bias-cut peplum on this particular pattern really sets it above the rest. I also like that it’s separates, so I can pair my top with a skirt, slim trousers, or leggings and get much more wear from it than just a single dress.

My thoughts now: I’ve gotten a lot of wear out of this top, and it attracts compliments like a flame to moths! I’m still proud of the job I did on both the invisible zipper and the lining every time I put it on. The only thing I’d change is that I’d probably line the peplum, too, if I made this again. Which I probably won’t, just because I only need one peplum top in my life for what’s probably going to be a short-lived trend. So I’ll just love and wear this one for as long as I can get away with it!


Rating: 9/10
Link to original post: A Chic Little… Sweatshirt?

At the time I said: I just love the cut of this top – it’s so nicely fitted throughout the body, and the neckline and 3/4 length sleeves really are so chic. So like the title says, it really is a chic little sweatshirt! I’ve only had it for two weeks and already I’ve found myself reaching for it more often than I should. It’s really easy to wear and looks great just thrown on when it’s chilly.

My thoughts now: Aside from my jeans, this is possibly my most-frequently worn garment this year. I wear this all the time, both to the office and just slumming it around the boat. I really want another one in my wardrobe, and my mom’s requested one for herself, too!


Rating: 5/10
Link to original post: A Vintage Painter’s Smock

At the time I said: So why isn’t it finished here? Because the style really doesn’t suit me, and I cannot imagine myself ever wearing it – the oversized look just really isn’t me, it’s too lightweight to be of any warmth (any thicker fabric and the gathers would be a mess!), and with no fastenings, it’d just blow right open anyway. But for someone in a warmer climate with different tastes, I think this is a really nice pattern. It’s just not me, so I’ll be abandoning this without a lining or pocket bags, and I’m fine with that.

My thoughts now: Still the same. It hung around my sewing cave for a few weeks, and then it was lost to the landfill, and without regrets. I enjoyed making it, but I still don’t feel like I’d really wear it.


Rating: 10/10
Link to original post: Vintage Wiggle Dress – Photos

At the time I said: I’m stupidly happy with this dress – it’s the exact right snug, clingy, long sleeved knit sheath dress that I love to wear in winter. For the past two winters, my favourite dress has been the purple September 2010 Burda cover dress and this dress reminds me a lot of it, with a similar fit and feel.

My thoughts now: Still ridiculously, stupidly head-over-heels in love with this dress. It’s replaced my purple September cover dress as my go-to dress for business meetings.


Rating: 8/10
Link to original post: Pale Pink Burda December Cover Dress

At the time I said: Looking at these photos afterwards, I should’ve probably lined or underlined to eliminate all seam allowance & facing showthrough, but I’m okay with this. It’s only going to be an occasional-wear dress (and I’ve bought a replacement bra as the one I’m wearing here it’s showing its age at the cup edges!), so I made a trade-off in the amount of extra time and expense in taking in the making vs the amount of time it’ll be worn, and accepted that a hint of facing show-through is not the end of the world.

My thoughts now: Seeing as how this was just last week, it’s not surprising my feelings haven’t changed – I still like the dress and am okay with my choices!

So there you have it – one woman’s year-long quest to sew one thing from each Burda magazine. It was a fun challenge, and I’m proud of myself for completing it, but I’m looking forward to not forcing myself to sew anything from the lacklustre January issue and getting reacquainted with the other pattern companies and books I neglected in favour of Burda last year. Oh, and sewing up some additional patterns from particularly good issues last year (February, May, August, and September, you lovelies!!).

These weren’t the only garments I made this year, either! Not by a long shot! See my full 2012 roundup here!

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