So, as if I don't have enough stuff to do, I decided to embark upon an endeavor like none other before. Well not really, I am making a dress from a pdf pattern purchased online from BurdaStyles. com
I recently learned of BurdaStyles from my German co-worker, apparently Burda is a big name in patterns and DIY crafts here in Germany, offering monthly catalogs on patterns that you can buy at your local news stand. I found one, and also purchased their Burda Plus book that is released twice a year and offers only patterns for sizes 44-56 EU. It was such a bargain, about 30 different patterns for about 5 Euros. There was one minor issue, the book was in German! (well duh, Nicole, you live in Germany)
Now I don't know how familar you guys are with German but it's quite the language. The Germans have this amazing habit of just creating words by compounding 2 to 6 of them together.
Just for demonstration purposes, there is a German word for "the day before yesterday", "vorgestern" which is the combination of vor =before and the word for yesterday = gestern. Now if that weren't enough there is the word "vorvorgestern", which, as you may have guessed, means "2 days before yesterday" or "3 days ago"...sigh. Who does that?
So as you can imagine, standard "layman's" German can be interesting, but German in the context of sewing is just down right ridiculous. I scanned the magazine at home and attempted to use google translate and it practically did my head in. Not to mention that ALL 30 or so patterns come on ONE huge fold out in the middle of the book, all overlapping each other in different hash markings and color codes. You aren't suppose to actually cut the pattern out but trace the appropriate pieces for your desired garment. After considering all the work and brainpower needed on top of the skill required to make an actual garment I decided to pass on the BurdaStyle magazine for the time being, but I still wanted to test out Burda!
Luckily there is this nifty thing called the internet and I found that BurdaStyle had a corresponding US site, that offered many of the patterns online in English, downfall is, I have to pay for each pattern individually, patterns online range from free to about 5 USD a piece. Meh, I decided to purchase one as a tester to see how I liked the directions and if it was a bit more manageable than the magazine I had access to in Germany. So here is the first part of the endeavor, printing and assembling the pdf pattern.
Purchasing from the BurdaStyle website was super easy. After downloading both the pdf directions and pattern, I sent them to the printer. There is an option to send the pattern to a copy shop to get it printed on large scale paper but I didn't want to waste time sending it out and goodness knows how much that would have cost. The patten resulted in about 40 pieces of A4 pages all needing to be taped together. The pattern required no additional scaling or formatting and seam allowance was included. Before taping, you have to check the test patch, funky things can happen with technology, like misalignment and scaling issues. The test patch is there to make sure that everything is in tip top order before you cut and assemble your dress only to find out your pattern had been warped.
It all checked out, my test patch was exactly 4 inches (10cm). I printed out the test patch before and during the printing just to double check that nothing shifted during the printing of the 40 pages. Now it was assembly time. This was fairly easy as well just time consuming, each page had little notches that were suppose to line up to the next page (see above 2e would line up with another 2e on the page below it) . Burda also provides and overview page, just as guide to let you know what it's suppose to look like when done.
So there I was, taping my life away for what seemed like an eternity. The patten was quite large so I decided to assemble the pattern row by row and then line the rows on top of each other. I didn't bother cutting off the margins, you can do so, but I thought having some reinforcement in the paper would be useful. You have to keep in mind that these pages will eventually be cut into pattern pieces. Some pieces span over 9 sheets, I didnt want to run into an issue where I would start cutting and then pieces of the skirt would fall off because it wasn't attached correctly. So yeah, I used a lot of tape.
Finally I was done. All 40 pages lines up and secured to the high heavens. The pattern, looked like a traditional pattern, only thing that bothered me was that the pieces didn't have those nifty grain arrows. It was written on the pieces which direction it was suppose to lay but just having the visual missing kind of annoyed me. I also didn't understand how exactly the notches/arrows on the edge of each page were suppose to line up. I lined up the notches as well as the lines that spanned across the pages and it seemed to work okay. I can say that for 4 bucks it's not bad. On the economy, I purchased a pattern and it was 12 Euro and in German, so to me the bit of extra time I spent on assembling the pattern was worth the money and the ease of use. I haven't starting cutting out my fabric yet but the directions that I downloaded with the pattern seem pretty clear. I will keep you guys posted on the progress of my dress and you will show you the color and fabric I chose in the next post. Stay tuned and wish me luck!!