A Year in Review: BurdaStyle Magazine 2012

As my blog fans well know, one of my biggest sewing obsessions is BurdaStyle magazine.  Each month I have been picking a best and worst pattern, and finally it is time to crown the overall winners for 2012.  Like last year, I will be choosing a best and worst individual pattern (nominees are the best/worst from each respective issue) and also my picks for the best and worst overall magazines for the year.  For a recap from each issue, here are links to all my individual reviews:

And here is a look at the nominees for best pattern of the year:
01-2012-114 – Silver Sequin Dress
02-2012-117 – Knit Puzzel Piece Dress
03-2012-115 – Detailed Blue Jacket
04-2012-147 – Draped Silk Dress
05-2012-112 – Ruched Knit Dress
06-2012-121 – Lightweight Linen Jacket
07-2012-133 – Retro Dress
08-2012-102 – Fitted Sheath Dress
09-2012-103 – Classic Trench Coat
10-2012-128 – Pretty Pleated Dress
11-2012-118 – Trench Coat with Pipping
And here are the nominees for worst pattern:
01-2012-121 – Star Trek Uniform Top
02-2012-114 – Hideous Rumple Waisted Trousers
03-2012-124 – Vest of Nonsensical Pocket Placement
04-2012-109 – Ugly Romper Playsuit Thing
05-2012-101 – Ugly Sack Dress of Boring
06-2012-120 – Crazy Fringe Leather Vest
07-2012-123 – The Scrap of Fabric Boob Binder
08-2012-141 – Bunchie Undies
09-2012-140 – Dirndl Style Skirt
10-2012-120 – Hip Warmer
11-2012-103 – Dirty Shag Carpet Vest
12-2012-135 – Poofy Sleeved Vest

Clearly, this was the year of the dress!  Predictably, many of my top picks were coats and jackets (I have a weakness and I admit it), but the remaining top choices were all dresses (which is funny considering how rarely I wear them).  There were so many good dress patterns this year, it will be difficult to choose a top three.  But here it goes anyway.

Honorable Mention:

First, I want to give a special Honorable Mention award to the twist-top dress from the March issue.


In hindsight, this probably should have been my choice for Best of BS from March of this year.  There have been many fabulous versions of this dress popping up on various blogs over the year, and I even made a version of this dress myself.  In fact it was so tempting I made the dress before the month of March was even halfway finished!  I really liked the result and have fabric for future versions.  So, while this pattern is not eligible for the end-of-the-year awards (due to my self-imposed rule that I can only chose patterns from the Best/Worst picks of each month), I wanted to give it a special Honorable Mention in my recap for the Burda review for 2012.

Second Runner Up:

November Trench Coat!

This is the epitome of the classic trench coat.  The pipping details add extra interest, but could easily be left off for a very streamlined, classic look.  Sleeve, shoulder, and flap details can be easily removed or changed to produce an ideal coat for the seamstress.  Fabric choice could yield the ultimate classic trench, or produce a fun trendy coat.  This is a timeless pattern that could easily be made and worn for years to come.

First Runner Up:

February Dress!

This dress has been very popular with sewing bloggers this year, and has seem more than a few great versions pop up on various sites.  Most versions utilize one of the year’s biggest trends – color blocking – to create unique and innovative designs.  However, using a monochromatic fabric palate could produce an interesting and versatile dress that will be wearable for many years to come.  The popularity, versatility, and innovative design definitely make this one of the top designs of the year.

Best of BS 2012:
Gold December Dress!

Let’s face it – we have been collectively swooning over this dress since the preview came out.  It is the perfect holiday dress – modest but fun, elegant and simple, with just enough detail to be interesting.  Since it is from the most recent Burda, there haven’t been many versions as of yet, but I expect this dress will be very popular in the coming year.

And now for the worst patterns of the year.  This was even more challenging than selecting the top patterns – Burda presented us with some real doozies this year.  However, after reviewing the options I have narrowed it down somewhat and present the worst Burda patterns of 2012.

Second Runner Up

June’s Fringe Vest

This vest has nothing going for it – the shape is awkward, the fabric is terrible, and the fringe is downright cheesy.  It would even look tacky as part of a cowgirl Halloween costume.  There is nothing fashionable or chic about this.  Simply terrible.

First Runner Up

August Vintage Undies

Can you say wedgie?  While I do very much enjoy the new “Vintage Burda” pattern feature in the magazines, this particular pattern seems rather a waste of the feature.  I mean, the fabric choice for the top is a bit tragic, but the real problem is the drawers – they are so ridiculously bunchy!  There is no way they could be worn with modern clothing – they would create the worst panty lines imaginable.  I suppose if you wanted to do an historically accurate retro costume I could perhaps understand the usage of this pattern, but it looks like it would incredibly uncomfortable to wear.  I’ll stick to my lycra-including modern undergarments, thanks.

BWTF Award for 2012:

July Boob Binder!

First of all, a strip of fabric barely qualifies as a pattern.  Secondly, it doesn’t provide nearly enough coverage or support for the rather slender model, so I shudder to think how it would look on anyone with even a remotely sizable bust.  Thirdly, it is paired with the “exploding crotch” shorts, which, I suppose, was meant to distract from the fact that the top is barely functional.  Now, instead of having one of those crazy dreams where you are naked and people are staring at you, I will be dreaming that I am wearing this outfit.  Yes, this look is, in fact, giving me nightmares.  Clearly it is the most offensively bad pattern for 2012.

And now, as a final recap of the year, let’s take a look at which months provided the best and worst fashions as a whole.

Let’s start with the least inspiring issues of the year.

Second Runner Up:


The January issue is always in danger of being one of the worst – with a large section dedicated to what are usually terribly bad costumes, it is at a distinct disadvantage.  This year the costume selection wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t terribly inspiring either.  Though it isn’t really the costumes that propel this issue to the bottom, but the other lackluster selections from this magazine.  While the lingerie features always have the potential to be useful, they don’t often inspire much in terms of creativity or innovative design.  The party looks were ok, but after last year’s December issue they seem rather tired and boring. The remaining looks were largely forgettable, and even my choices for Best/Worst pattern aren’t very awe inspiring.  While there were a few good looks (the ruffle collared cardigan and the wrap top come to mind), they weren’t exciting enough to overcome the overall sense of boredom one gets looking through this issue.  It is almost like Burda put so much effort into the holiday issues from last year they they were creatively exhausted by the time January rolled around.

First Runner Up:


The April issue is perhaps the most boring of the year.  The designs fall a bit flat – they show trends that were utilized in the earlier February issue, but don’t really push the envelope stylistically.  Even more disappointing was the fact that, overwhelmingly, most of the reviews I have seen of patterns made from this issue aren’t entirely thrilled with the results.  The designer dress seemed to be a favorite of many Burda lovers (myself included), but most of the made up versions aren’t entirely happy with the excessive volume of this dress.  Other reviews indicate that many of the other patterns that play with sleeve volume and proportion aren’t quite as flattering as they had hoped.  Not to mention – this is the issue with the romper patterns.  Flowery, fruity romper patterns.  Ick.  The end result is one of the least memorable issues of the year.

Worst BurdaStyle Magazine of 2012:


This was definitely the least inspiring issue of the year.  With a large selection of the patterns being constructed of scarves, there was little innovation in pattern drafting or styling.  While I appreciate that it is difficult to simultaneously have interesting clothes that are also easy breezy beach wear, the scarf section really felt like wasted space.  The remaining clothes were boring and shapeless, with only a few exceptions (in the Plus section and the Vintage pattern).  Overall there wasn’t much to get excited about, and in fact most of the patterns from July are unflattering or even somewhat ugly.  On top of all of that this issue contained my pick for the Worst Pattern of the Year.  Definitely the worst issue overall for 2012.

Now that we have looked at the duds, let’s celebrate the excellent issue from 2012 – and some great issues they were too.  The first half of the year was a bit slow, but things definitely picked up in later months.  I would argue that all of the issues from August – December offer some fabulous patterns, and I am very excited to have all of these issues in my collection.

Second Runner Up:


This issue contained a wonderful mix of fall fashions.  The styling was sharp, and the selection of patterns could be appealing to seamstresses with many different stylistic preferences.  There was a great edgy modern collection, a collection of crisp classics, and a fun mod-inspired section as well.  Even the plus section offered some great outerwear in addition to costume-y dirndls.  This issue is great because everything in it is so wearable, even though Burda went a bit extreme (in a good way) with their styling.  There have been tons of reviews for patterns from this issue, and so far everyone is quite pleased with their results.  I have made a few of the tops from this issue, but there are plenty of other patterns I can’t wait to try, and I expect that many people will be making things from this issue for years to come.

First Runner Up:


This was something of a sleeper issue for me – while I initially liked many of the patterns in this issue, I have found that I find even more of them appealing to me as time goes on.  This issue did a fabulous job of giving us trendy patterns (peplums, oh my!) while still making the patterns versatile (surprise – it’s not a dress!).  There was something for everyone, and I feel like the styling and designs were actually inspiring instead of merely just existing for the sake of showing off the pattern.  This felt like an actual fashion magazine, and for me was a real turning point in the year for Burda’s designs and styles.  The finished projects from this issue look to have been real winners, and this is another issue that I think Burda fans will treasure for years to come.

Best BurdaStyle Magazine of 2012:


When I first saw the early preview for this issue I was dreading what the magazine had in store.  Luckily, Burda readers were in for a great surprise – this is a FABULOUS issue.  It has a little bit of everything – quick to sew party looks, elegant evening gowns, classy coats, and colorful casual wear.  Honestly, there are so many patterns I want to make from this issue I barely know where to begin.  It features many of the trends of 2012 (color blocking, metallics, etc.) but in a restrained and elegant way.  Many of the patterns are incredibly versatile – fabric choice could make them an every-day staple or an elegant special occasion piece.  Responses from my readers and on other sewing blogs indicate that this is probably everyone’s favorite issue of the year.  I treasure all of my Burda magazines, but this is up there with some of my all-time favorites.  Burda definitely outdid itself with this one.  It is unquestionably the ultimate issue for 2012.

So, there we have it – the BurdaStyle 2012 recap!  Overall I have to say it was a pretty good year for Burda – especially in the later months.  Most issues had at least a few good patterns though, and I have a lot of patterns in my sewing plans for the new year.  So what do you all think?  Was this a good Burda year or a bad Burda year?  Which issues were your favorites?  Which were the stand-out patterns?  Are any of the 2012 Burda patterns in your sewing plans for the coming year?  Feel free to discuss in the comments!

6 thoughts on “A Year in Review: BurdaStyle Magazine 2012

  1. It's funny, I liked December but it wasn't packed with 'must-sews' for me, unlike a couple of the others. My favourite was February. August was pretty good too. I think it was a really strong year overall. There are certainly a few things I might sew in 2013 if the right fabric comes along.

    I think the best thing this year has been the introduction of the vintage patterns, and I say that as someone who's not into vintage at all. They have picked some great designs.


  2. February was my 4th place issue – I liked a lot of the designs there too. I think December had more classic looks, and February had more fashion forward looks, so in some ways my choice is a bit of a personal preference, but also based somewhat on reader comments and posts on other sewing blogs. Either way I agree that this was a fabulous year for Burda. And I also really like the Vintage patterns, even though, like you, I am not much into sewing vintage patterns. I hope they will continue that into the next year.


  3. I'm thrilled to have discovered your site, and really enjoyed your wrap-up. Overall, I found this a disappointing year, and this was confirmed when my daughter picked up the pile of issues collected while she was away at uni, and flipped through, going, 'Yuk, nope, no thanks…' though I had offered to sew anything she wanted. The only hit with her was that spencer jacket we'd already run up in white serge.
    Thanks again!


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