Sign petition to Burdastyle

Many seamstresses have been critizing Burdastyle magazine for a number of reasons. After readying the great monthly review Paunnet wrote on the October issue, I thought it was time to act and create an online petition.

Can you sign the online petition? Can you help me spread the word?

I really hope we reach our goal.

Below is the full text with images I could not include due to space constraints.

Dear Hurbert Burda Media and Mr Burda,

as seamstresses we love burdastyle magazine and we have appreciated how it has
evolved over the years to remain a landmark publication for sewing enthusiasts.

However, there are a number of issues that often discourage us from buying the
magazine or taking up a subscription.
Below are the most important:

1. Poor photoshoot that hide important garment details (e.g. covered sleeves for a
sleeved dress)
2. Poor instructions that increase hand sewing and are hard to understand, e.g. Burda
08/12 #133 and #113 (See Fehr Trade for much better construction process)

Loads of had sewing Burda 08/2012 113

3. Lack of detailed technical drawings that make us understand how the dress is
4. Repetitive patterns with non-existent or minimal variation either within the same
issue or after few issues (e.g. 08/2012 #133 and 10/2012 #127)

Swing dress Burda 08-2012-133
How to ruin a dress Burda 10/2012 127

5. Pattern choice that would be suitable for Burda easy (e.g. most of issue 07/2012
or the scarf on 09/2011 #105)

Yes, it’s a scarf pattern design Burda 09/2011 105
Two rectangles and they call it a pattern Burda 07/2012 107

6. Dubious style choice in terms of fabric (10/2012 127)

(c) Burdastyle 10/2012 127

7. Dubious design choice ( Leg warmers 10/2011 #150 or Dirdnl designs 09/2011 or  Pants with a hole right at the wront spot 07/2012

(c) Burdastyle Leg warmers Burda 10/2011 150


Pants with hole right THERE Burda 07/2012 128 (c) Burdastyle


Dirndl and it’s not for carnival!

8. Pattern sheets all on one piece of paper: what a tracing nightmare! Are you trying to test our eye sight? (I could not include this point online)


And a suggestion:

9. In addition, given that Burda nowadays creates all patterns electronically, wouldn’t it be great if patterns were offered in a customisable downloadable version? We
could print out at home our favourite Burda patterns designs by inputting our actual measurement and generate a fitting pattern.

We really hope that you will take into account our requests and offer us an improved
21 century Burda magazine.

The worldwide sewing community

photo credit: Burda Media

17 thoughts on “Sign petition to Burdastyle

  1. I’ve signed this and will share on my blog. I would suggest they also think about the bizarre craft projects too! Congratulations on getting this going…it’s a great idea. Let’s hope they take this on board.


  2. I too have signed this and thank you for setting it up. I haven’t been sewing long and have made a few Burda things but gave up my subscription because of the things you write about. Fingers crossed something happens though it can’t really get worse.


  3. Cool. I see what you’re doing here, and I think that’s rad. Definitely a good idea to let Burda know clearly what we want. I’ll go sign and spread the word a bit…



    I’m of two minds. Or three minds, maybe.. 🙂

    1. While the photoshoots do kind of bug me for the reason you mention, at the same time, I really appreciate that their clothes look like clothes, often high-end. It has to do with the cut and fabric but also the presentation. I get really frustrated by photoshoots in some American pattern magazines that look really “Becky-home-ecky-home-sewing.” I mean… I just don’t want my clothes to look that way… Know what I mean?

    2. Agreed. Those instructions are awful. Usually. Quite awful. I think that puts a LOT of people off sewing Burda. But you’d think if it mattered to Burda, they would have fixed that by now…

    3. Also agreed. But… Burda mag puts out 20 something patterns a month in magazine form. How huge would their magazine get if they had tech construction drawings? Or they’d have to whittle down the # of designs. I sort of see that as “you get what you pay for.” If you know what I mean. I think their patterns are more aimed at people who already sew.

    4. Agreed again. But the same thing as #3… I think it’s probably a cost/benefit analysis on their part. They could offer more varied patterns, but I think it would probably mean they’d offer fewer patterns each month.

    5. Yes. Exactly. Burda, we have the internet and free downloadable patterns that are already rectangles. Up your game.

    6. Yep. Sometimes they hit it right, and sometimes the fabric/style choices are tragic. Part of that is personal taste, I think….

    7. Yes- but #6 again.

    8. Well… Yes… But- and this is a big but- What else are they to do? I think their target audience is more or less advanced sewists who like a bit of interesting style in their lives (but if so, why are they selling us rectangle-top patterns? right?) and if you’re used to sewing and using patterns, the sheets aren’t too big of a deal. I’ve worked with similar sheets from magazines where the lines are all drawn the same (no nice dashed lines) and they’re black (no nice colored lines) and the pattern doesn’t tell you as clearly which lines to follow… So for what they’re doing, I think Burda does an alright job with the pattern sheets.

    9. That would be a logistical nightmare. If you can work out a way to do that, you’ll be a millionaire. Everyone will want to work with you. 🙂


  4. I came here via Steph’s link and… I really agree with some of the issues mentioned here.
    I hope it’s ok I post my thoughts?

    1. Quite often I’m annoyed with the photographs, but then, admittedly, I love looking at the magazine because of the photos. Some other sewing magazines are so poorly photographed that things really look, ah, well, a lot less aspiring to me.

    2. I wonder if this is a translation problem? But then I started sewing with Burda, so most of my knowledge and vocabulary stems from there.

    3. The technical drawings are fine for me, I wouldn’t know where to put more detail in them?

    4. Yeah, annoying. But, the magazine is affordable, and sometimes a design that didn’t appeal to me does after a few little alterations. I fear this is the great drama: A lot of things have already been done 😉

    5. I don’t really get the difference with burda easy and burdastyle. I think it the former is often just aimed at a younger audience and it has nothing to do with the difficulty of the pattern.

    6./7. Different people, different tastes. I don’t mind their fabric choices too much, that’s why I like their technical drawings – I usually refer to them.
    I had to laugh at the Dirndl one – of course I’m German, but hardly anyone in Germany wears these (well, apart from the thousands going to the Oktoberfest). But I have to admit: I like looking at them 😉 Wow, this really makes me weird.
    PS: I don’t work for Burda.

    8. Pattern Sheet: terrible! It used to be so much better. *sigh*

    9. I don’t care for downloadable patterns, I hate sticking them together. But that’s just me, I think they should offer more of them for the people who subscribe.
    Customized? Wow. But also: wow, who develops and pays for the software? Hopefully NOT me.

    I have many bones to pick with Burda and the (German) online site. It’s awful and getting worse. But that is another topic altogether.

    I’ll spread the word, thanks for doing this!


    1. I agree with almost every point frisfris has made. But then, I’ve been sewing with BWOF /Burdastyle for more than five years. I will say the “train tracks” of the center pullout used to be much easier, but back then I thought it was bad too. I shudder to think of what that might mean in 5 more years! ha!

      Cost is a factor in many issues bloggers have with BS. To have better tracing, you’d have to have either more sheets or fewer patterns. Those sort of cancel each other out, because one of the complaints seems to be not enough variety? More variety is going to equal “worse” tracing though, because it will entail even MORE tracing lines. When they offer variations of the same pattern, it’s saving some tracing line room.

      I detest downloadable patterns, hate the taping, so I’m not a fan of that method at all. I much prefer to trace off the sheet! And they already make most of the patterns available for “paid” download. It would be nice if there was a subscriber code for subscribers to download the patterns for free, however. Seems silly to make subscribers pay twice, if for some reason they needed another copy.

      The problem with customizable patterns has already been addressed, whoa. That would be a huge programming nightmare! haha! 😀 But a great idea. Maybe sometime in our lifetime we’ll see that??

      Honestly, I don’t see a ton of negative reviews from experienced seamstresses. I think the translation and the sparse directions (although I have honestly learned some extremely cool techniques over the years) have turned the more beginning seamstress off. The extremely fabulous things I’ve made (and seen on the net) from BurdaStyle will keep me subscribing for now. 🙂


  5. Oh you girls, leave poor 07/2012-107 alone! I love that top! If it wasn’t for that top I probably wouldn’t have gotten that issue!

    True it’s just rectangles with shoulder pieces. But it’s a good reminder that stylish garments aren’t all about complicated patterns and constructions. Sometimes it’s about a beautiful print – and this is the only complaint I have about this top – that the scarf can only be bought online from Germany or Austria. When you have a beautiful print, simple may actually be better.

    And when you’ve been struggling with fitting or more complicated designs like me, you’d appreciate having the occasional simple projects that produce great wearable results fast. In any case, 50 or so patterns for £4.50 is a bargain by any measure. You can even treat this one as a free pattern and still get your money’s worth from just one issue.

    Have to agree with point 8 though. Does my aging, computer-laden eyes in!

    But then again, it’s £4.50 for 50 or so patterns! Maybe we should have been more generous with payment – like buying the pre-printed single-pattern catalog version for example. Otherwise it’s like asking for 21st century version of slave labor – expecting something for nothing, or peanuts at best. I would hate if my work clients expect me to work for so little money and still complain a lot, so I don’t want to do that to other people either.

    As for point 9…I work in IT, and clients frequently think something should be simple when it plainly is not if you know the in’s & out’s of how computers work. You’d need a program / application to do what you want. There are pattern drafting software aimed at the home sewing market. I bought one ages ago. But even with custom measurements, some style still require fitting tweaks. Remember, computers deal with numbers and calculation. They don’t understand anatomy or physics, nor fashion or style. And they’re only as good as the people who program them. I can’t imagine there being many geeks who are also great at pattern drafting.

    I think cheap fashion has made us under-appreciative of the skills and effort that goes into producing clothing, especially great fitting ones.


  6. Oh, that’s a good idea. I’m going to sign it, and share it with my friends !

    I’d add two things :

    – approximate patterns : once the sleeve was wrong (excessive fullness) (I had to re-draw the head, of course after having cut the fabric and tried to sew the sleeve to the bodice), and last time, the lining of the jacket lacked 10cm at the bottom (if you followed closely their explanations)…

    – Plus size special issue contains already (and recently) published patterns. (and the patterns were not that interesting either)

    And I completely agree with the photo problem. When I’m unsure about a pattern, I wait for someone to post photos online… (btw, is great for that !)


  7. Hi – This is interesting. I’ve been sitting on the fence for a while about whether or not I should subscribe to Burda. I was interested in some of their fashions but I’m not sure I should invest if I’m still a kind of newer sewer. I’m just getting the hang of reading and cutting patterns but still learning (slowly) the quirks of fitting my body. I’m trying the clover pants right now and I’m on my second muslin trying to get the fitting right.
    I get the feeling that the Burda patterns are better for very experienced sewers? I would appreciate any feedback/thoughts.


  8. Thanks for bringing this issue to light. I agree with many of the points you outlined. I’ve been a subscriber since 2006 and I’ve been disappointed with recent issues because the designs seem to be more focused on easy projects rather than garments with interesting details that challenge/improve sewing skills. The pattern sheets are terrible now as well — I have decent eye sight but the new pattern sheets are really difficult to trace. I really notice the difference when I trace patterns from some of my older issues!


  9. Thank you for shedding light on this issue! As one of the heavyweights in the sewing world, I believe BurdaStyle is not meeting the standards that partner with their reputation. I do hope they will make changes.


  10. I am new to sewing and have only glanced at the Burda magazine while in my sewing class, but not enough to see what it all entails as of yet. I do have a question about this comment: “Burda nowadays creates all patterns electronically, wouldn’t it be great if patterns were offered in a customisable downloadable version? We
    could print out at home our favourite Burda patterns designs by inputting our actual measurement and generate a fitting pattern.”

    Is there currently anywhere do even do this now? If so, I am REALLY missing out.


  11. Dear Sewing Princess, I am new to your blog (and the blogging community in general) but I cannot but agree with every single point you made about Burda magazine! I have just signed the petition and will prompt those who care to do the same. I was really put off by this magazine lately and no longer buy/subscribe to it. Its older issues are so much better. Thank you for spreading the word. Good luck!


  12. I used to subscribe to Burda for several years but then I felt the same way about the concerns expressed here. I ended my subscription and still enjoy looking at my older issues…….does anyone really throw away old Burdas? :0)


  13. Hi, basically I agree with most of your issues, but as far as dirndl(s) are concerned… well, I will never wear one, but after an holiday spent in Wien, I must confess that I was quite surprised by the number of women in dirndl I saw; let’s face (and accept) that Burda was born in Germany… and dirndl were present in one issue of the magazine out of twelve. In any case… I SIGNED!! – – – – Ciao, sono d’accordo con quasi tutte le tue obiezioni, ma per quanto riguarda i dirndl ho dei dubbi; non credo che ne indosserò mai uno, ma durante una vacanza a Vienna sono rimasta molto colpita da quante donne lo indossassero. Penso possiamo accettare che Burda è nato in Germania, e a volte preserva certe tradizioni… anche perchè i dirndl erano presenti in un numero, su dodici. Per il resto… FIRMATO!!


  14. Yes, I sincerely hope that your horribly arrogant petition fails completely. Burda magazine is probably the single biggest selling sewing magazine worldwide. Just because it is not Anglo-American centered, like the Big 4, you think it must change to suit you. But if it is changed to suit you it will not suit those of us all over Germany, France, Eastern Europe, Russia, the Former Soviet Union and the Middle East who buy it and love it. The thing is we KNOW how to sew and we don’t need lots of instructions. If they gave lots of instructions, we wouldn’t get list of patterns. If you don’t know how to sew and need to learn how to sew from pattern instruction sheets, why don’t you buy their regular envelope patterns. This are intended for people like you. The target audience for Burda magazine is NOT people like you. Please leave us alone and stop being so damn selfish.


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