May Burda Style

I treated myself to May’s Burda Style whilst in the papeterie this morning. I’ve no actual need of any more patterns, but after a two and a half hour wait on hold to parley with French administration at the sous prefecture I felt the need of an indulgence. It was that or pain au raisin from the boulangerie next door. It came down to which vow to break, carb reduction or stash reduction. Besides, I like to get something with my lottery ticket, so as not to give the impression that I’m just in there for a desperate last ditch gamble.

I didn’t even bother to flick over to the page of line drawings to see if there was any originality before splashing out. Lunch was beckoning.

Let’s see what’s in store.

116 is a racer back sleeveless, dartless top. Do you need one of these? The back has a soupcon of detail. You make a strap add it to the front and thread it through a loop made in the top at the back, which gives a touch of drape. I don’t know why you don’t just extend the front pieces instead of an extra strap, probably fabric economy.

104 is a short jacket with french darts and a two piece sleeve, double breasted. There’s a back yoke, with inverted pleat, giving it a slight swing back look. I think this looks a little clunky as a short summer jacket.jac

They’ve paired it with culottes (110), which have a scalloped yoke at the top – lost in the stripes.culotte I’m not bowled over. The legs are cut straight. Culottes work better if there’s a flare and/or pleating, so that they hang like a skirt.

Don’t worry it gets better.

Next up there’s a sixties shape dress, 105, waist seam, some pocket flaps inserted meaninglessly, and a side seam pocket, boat neck, short sleeves. stripSound enough if you don’t need an FBA (the bust dart is moved to the waist position, which becomes horrendously huge if you take larger cup sizes). It’s rather ruined by being made up in deckchair stripes, as is a spaghetti strapped sundress.

Things are looking up by page 14, where you get a pretty short sleeved blouse with an overlap at the front neck and an inverted pleat, teamed with some useful shorts.101 The shorts are the last we see of those horizontal stripes. They’re rendered ten times better in broderie anglaise on page 45 where they get teamed with another handy blouse in batiste.102

Here’s the line drawing of the blouse, nothing amazing, but useful and adaptable.blo

107 is described as a masterpiece, probably because the skirt has diagonal and curved panels outlined in piping. I spot another side seam pocket, the bodice has french darts.


111B and 106 get styled as a matching set, giving separates the look of a dress with a twenties feel. Despite having seen a few similar skirts with panels hanging like a casually tied scarf belt over the years, I’m tempted.


The racer back top gets rerun as a jumpsuit and again in a short playsuit version, both winners if you can cope with the underwear challenge. It shows up in a dress too. Burda do like to stretch their ideas.


They must have been peering into my sewing room as I ran up my dog walking pjs because 119 is just the thing, elastic waisted easy trousers. This issue is a fair balance between basic and a bit more challenging.

Another ‘masterpiece’ comes in short and long. Nice enough for anyone’s soiree without being too difficult to fit or sew.


108 hits the easy but elegant spot, if you happen on some really nice jersey. Sensibly, they suggest making it with a strappy camisole to cope with wrap gape.


115 comes as both a top and a dress, and could be another summer days staple, its open batwing sleeves offering some upper arm cover.

dj The dress is on the same page as a leather jacket, interesting for its simplicity. I’m puzzled about the collar arrangement. You need a leather, suede or fake which is ok on both sides, the whole is cut with raw edges, no facings. (editing – on closer look at the layout the front is faced)

There’s a lot of lovely lace in this issue, used with some simple pattern shapes to good effect. The stuff used for this skirt would make me throw the fabric fast to the winds, but I haven’t tracked it down yet.skirt


Sometimes Burda really messes up their fabric selection, but deckchair stripes aside, they’ve done the patterns proud this time.

This lace is used horizontally in a simple dress, then vertically in a poncho. Just right.


The child’s top would be nothing special except for the wonderful lace. It’s such an easy make, perfect for a Mum in a hurry.


Burda plus size offerings are quite often good, this time being no exception. A shawl collar cardi, and some jogging pants – quick and easy. I like the fact that they used linen for the pants and trimmed them to match the cardi. They look relaxed and cool but not sloppy.


This linen dress is a good basic, having princess seams in the bodice should make fitting simpler.


I like this as a top.bucketIt reappears less successfully  in striped jersey as a dress. I’m not sure why the dress bunches up unflatteringly under the bust on the same model.

stripe Probably one of the fit flops we get used to from pattern companies. Another fit flop is a sundress, that could be perfect if they’d FBAd just a little bit and lengthened the strap.

The plus size “masterpiece” is a jumpsuit. I really like this in linen.


On the whole I got the warm fuzzy feeling of 6.50 Euros well spent.**


About jay

I design and draft patterns
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11 Responses to May Burda Style

  1. Steph says:

    Thanks for this. I always appreciate reviews by more experienced sewists, as you notice things that I wouldn’t necessarily. I like the 1920s-referencing dress, although I find I tire of a handkerchief hem pretty quickly. My favourite is probably the drapey 108 and I agree that Burda often does wacky things with fabric. So often they hide design details under some strange print. I often think that the Burda plus sections have the best designs, probably because I like classic styles and colours and they usually stick to these lines in that section


    • jay says:

      Their plus section sometimes has designs I’ve found worth scaling down to my size, they don’t fall into the tent trap, but put in a variety of styles.


  2. fabrickated says:

    Thanks Jay – I like these reviews too and appreciate you dealing with the right fabric for the pattern. I just saw an old Winifred A book about fabric and patterns which was surprisingly interesting. And I love the carbs v stash comment – too much of both in our lives…


  3. thanks for posting such an in depth review. Your comments are really interesting and it’s nice to hear others thoughts. I buy Burda every month but didn’t get this one yet. For me it’s not just about patterns but general inspiration and I like their fashion forward ethic. I like the blouse with the inverted pleat too. A great staple for Summer.


  4. Kim Hood says:

    It’s good to have a good look at an issue again. I cancelled my subscription a while back and there isn’t enough here to make me feel it was a mistake. I think Burda overuse an idea so the number of patterns in an issue isn’t as generous as it seems, and the photos don’t help with a decision to see as much as the line drawings as the details are often obscured. Thanks for sharing.


    • jay says:

      I no longer have a subscription either Kim. Luckily my local papeterie usually has the magazine in, so I can flick to the line drawings and check if it is worth buying.Sometimes I just get it anyway. Very old Burda used to have many more patterns and consequently even more crossing lines on their pattern sheets. I think of them as travel mags, if I’m going to stay with one of the daughters, it’s easier to pack a single mag than a set of blocks.


  5. sew2pro says:

    I love the word papeterie! But – pardon my ignorance – will now have to google it to discover if it’s really a thing or (what it sounds like) franglais!


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