BurdaStyle USA: Meh

Fifty percent more expensive($15!); 200% less interesting, and page after page of seriously lackluster  content. I was so thrilled to see this in a USA bookstore, and so utterly disappointed when I went through it.  Costly AND boring; it’s a lousy combination.

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With only a couple of exceptions, the patterns are baggy, boxy and uninteresting — not to mention that most, if not all, appear to have been recycled from previous European editions of BurdaStyle — and not the better examples, at that. PS:  I already have those patterns, which happened to have come with BurdaStyle issues full of other, better, patterns, too.

Just to reduce the value further, there’s no “All Styles at a Glance”, so figuring out exactly what’s in the issue isn’t quick or easy, and, worst of all, half the patterns are *downloads*.  If your dream is to spend hours on your knees taping paper together and you don’t care if your patterns are still accessible in the future, then this edition is for you.  None of this describes my preferences, though.

There’s more editorial in the USA magazine, but I don’t even like the editorial in the European versions; it’s even worse in this North American iteration.  I buy BurdaStyle, Europe, for the patterns and the alternate sensibility the European styles offer.  I don’t even care what language they’re in; I buy them because they’re interesting.  This magazine isn’t.  I sure hope I can still buy European issues when I’m in New York; this “targeted” version costs too much and offers too little for me to give it another glance.

I’m really baffled: why would those of us who still buy the traditional BurdaStyle want this more expensive, watered-down version that doesn’t even include the patterns featured? And why would people who don’t already like the Burda magazine model care about this dull offering?

A month ago, I bought my copy when out of town; my local bookstore got stacks of them in weeks ago, and not a one seems to have sold.  A few years ago, the same store used to stock the English version of European BurdaStyle, but just three copies at a time.  In spite of the fact that they sold out, the store stopped stocking them.  It’s hard to believe that “BurdaStyle USA” will be able fill the empty niche.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m pre-disposed to liking Burda, and this approach seems really off. Without some major changes, I’m guessing that “BurdaStyle USA” isn’t long for this world. Time will tell, I guess.

Can’t we just get better distribution of European BurdaStyle in North America?  It’s a better magazine, a better value in terms of content (visually, in the magazine, and in terms of actual patterns provided), and offered at a better price.

8 Responses to “BurdaStyle USA: Meh”


  • I think this magazine is aimed at a different sewer than Burda style – maybe more of a newbie seamstress who needs the extra help? I’d actually buy this instead of a 12 months a year BS if they are careful to select good patterns.

    • You may be right, Caroline. I guess I’m wondering, partly, exactly who is the magazine’s target. I’m not sure ths is really an effective offering for those new to sewing, especially when there’s such a robust market in “easy-to-sew” patterns in the USA. But, yes, I’d buy this, too, if the pattern offerings were good ones!

  • I, too, appreciate Burda’s European sensibility, and fashion forward designs, but don’t you think Burda has been needing to up its game for a while now? I thought this edition was a breath of fresh air. I found it a more accessible magazine for the home sewer. I actually like the patterns — they seem geared toward real, wearable clothes. No wacky crafts, no silly “let’s go to the circus” layouts that can sometimes ruin Burda and make me feel it’s a waste of money. I also appreciate their efforts to improve the instructions. I want to keep the original Burda, too, but I’m hopeful that this will herald an overall improvement in quality for all editions. Fingers crossed!

    • Burda definitely has its issues, Headquarters — literally and figuratively! I admit to having had to suppress, more than once, my reaction to the “let’s go to the circus” layouts (remember the endless safari “shoots” of a few years ago?) — but, on balance, the traditional Burdas still appeal to me more than not. I’m just not really convinced that this inaugural edition of “USA” suggests that the game is being upped in any direction I want to go . . . (Though I agree that the lack of Burda-style crafts in this debut issue can only be counted as a plus!) It’ll be interesting to see how it goes in future issues.

  • I have been very Burdastyle-phobic, but this issue is letting me try it out on the cheap. For me it was a great deal. You see, the issue that the “old” patterns in this one was from was the one I liked the most of the ones I have seen. And with this issues offer of free downloads and their easily visible code in the magazine, you don’t even have to buy the mag to get them. So I now have most of the patterns I wanted months ago, and hope to try the superior drafting I’ve heard so much about soon! so for me, this was good, but I understand the negatives from Int’l Burda subscribers.

    • It’s great that this worked out so well for you, Isa! You’re a lot more intrepid than I am — I’ve tried one pattern download, and all I have to say is “Never again!” The pattern I tried was extremely simple, but it still took an incredible amount of time to tape the 30 or so sheets of paper together, and taping that much paper while trying to preserve the accuracy of the printout was utter agony.

      Every joint is a chance to make a fraction of an error in the measurements — times 30 — and every page a chance for the print job to be just a tiny bit off. (Times 30 or whatever horrendous number of pages is involved.)

      I can’t even imagine trying to make a tailored garment from a download. Between the likely loss of accuracy, the totally unpleasant experience of pulling the printout together, the stiff, unyielding nature of printer paper, and the additional expense of using my own printer, ink, tape and paper, I can’t persuade myself that there’s any reason at all why I’d ever go there again . . .

  • I also save my downloads on my computer somewhere else, so I don’t have to worry about losing them in the future on their website.

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