Burda Stats

Catherine Daze recently had an interesting post about her relationship with Burda over on her website.  We all know I am a huge Burda fan, though I haven’t been terribly excited by their fall fashions this year.  I have also amassed a rather large collection of back issues, mostly because of the awesome that is Ebay.  Some issues I love more than others.  Some issues I have acquired only after an all out bidding war that caused my bank account to bleed.  Others have found their way to me when people have sold issues by the lot, and I was willing to accept the rejected magazines in order to get something good.

Which means I have a fairly extensive collection that extends back in time much farther than my actual sewing obsession.  I have examined all of the latest Burdas when their previews are announced, so I have a general sense of how much I am really interested in each issue.  But when I think about issues that I absolutely love and wouldn’t want to do without, a lot of the time they are the older ones.  So after reading Catherine’s post I got to wondering – has Burda really been declining?  She tracked the number of garments she has made in each issue and found that although she has been mostly sewing Burda, it has been from older issues of the magazine.

Her post got me thinking, especially since I have recently been tracing out some patterns from older issues.  I thought I would do something similar, but I also realized that if I only looked at the number of patterns I have actually made it would be quite a small number spread out over quite a few years of magazines.  Also, I have this odd tendency to sew patterns that I originally overlooked, but then found that they were perfect for some fabric I had brought home.  So I thought it would be more beneficial to look at several factors: (1) the number of patterns I have sewn from each magazine, (2) the number of patterns I liked or could see myself possibly using in the future, and (3) the number of patterns I absolutely adore and am truly excited about.  These are the sorts of patterns that stick in the back of your head and come to mind whenever you think about what you want to sew.  Note that all of the patterns in group #3 would also be included in group #2.  Also, ironically, for me most of the patterns from group #1 have come from group #2 rather than group #3.

Everything on one graph.  Kind of looks like a random mess.
Patterns I have made – mostly come from the 2011-2013 issues.
Also, the most patterns I have used from any one issue is 3.
Patterns I like – also looks like a hodge podge mess.
My average number of pattern likes is 9.35.  Not too bad!
Patterns I love – definitely see more top picks from me from 2005-2007.
The average number of swoon worthy patterns is 2.35, though the variance is much higher.

A few things I have realized from these charts:

(1) Some of the magazines I have thought of as being one of my “favorites” actually have very few patterns I want to sew.  A good example is the January 2007 magazine.  I was obsessed with finding this magazine because I specifically wanted the pattern for the 01-2007-121 coat:

Yep, I pretty much swoon every time I see this…

I love this and I have been wanting to sew it ever since I saw the photo online.  But the rest of the stuff in this magazine… actually isn’t that good.  Not even in the basic wardrobe filler sense.  The thing is, I love this pattern so much I don’t even care that the rest of the magazine sort of sucks – one great pattern is enough to justify the shelf space for me.

(2) I expected to see a somewhat cyclical pattern to the data, but that wasn’t really the case.  By this point I have a pretty good sense of which issues I am going to like – January is usually a dud because a large portion is given over to the crazy sauce carnival costumes.  Between February and March there is usually at least one good issue.  I haven’t ever really liked April, but I almost always love May.  Either June or July will be good, and the other will be terrible.  August is usually ok, and either September or October will be exceptional.  I usually like November and December, though sometimes one is much better than the other.  However, actually counting up the number of patterns I like in each issue didn’t really lend itself to justifying my feeling this way.  It really looks more like there are seasonal clumps of data points – issues released near the same time tended to get similar values, unless they were particularly exceptional or terrible.  So perhaps my likes really are based more on the trends of the time rather than on the recurring themes Burda uses in their magazines?  Perhaps I have a more definite sense of style than I originally thought.

(3)  I noticed that there isn’t really any one year that was so much better than the others.  There were some highlights in 2006 and near the end of 2012, but there has been at least a few good issues every year.  One thing to note is that issues containing the largest number of patterns I like doesn’t necessarily correspond to the largest number of patterns I really love.  So I ponder – is it better to get a larger quantity of decent patterns?  Or would you rather get one fantastic pattern and a bunch of duds?

(4)  Most of the patterns I have sewn have come from the 2011-2013 issues.  On one hand, you could argue that it is because these are the most current issues, so I am sewing pieces that are on trend and that I don’t really need all the back issues I have collected.  However, I think that the reason I have sewn more from these issues is because I have had them longer than the older issues which I purchased second hand.  Right now I am planning on sewing a lot of things from magazines published in 2006, and there are definitely a lot of things from 2008 and 2009 I am planning to get to eventually as well.  I don’t know that the things I have made necessarily reflect my trendiness so much as they reflect the length of time a magazine has been wallowing in my stash.  Though, to be fair, the magazines I have sewn the most from are the ones I use right away when I get them.  So perhaps it is actually a combination of both of these things?

(5)  Looking through my magazine stash I have noticed that, for the most part, I have not actually made up my favorite patterns.  I think this is partially because I tend to favor the more complex and detailed patterns in the magazine, but I tend to sew the less complicated and easier patterns as a more practical addition to my wardrobe.  I know that some of this is me holding back – there are a few patterns I don’t want to attempt them until my sewing skills are at a level I find acceptable – and some of it is me getting distracted and busy sewing skating costumes rather than sewing clothes for myself.  Either way there is definitely a disconnect between the things I am actually sewing and the things I am dreaming about sewing.  This is something that needs to be remedied, I think.  Though, to be honest, the next two projects on the cutting table are actually items from my dream projects list, so maybe I actually am finally getting around to the good stuff?  This is definitely something I will need to consider as I plan on future projects.

And, finally, a few Top Ten Lists just for fun:

Top Ten Burda Magazines Based on Patterns Made
1. 07-2011 (3 patterns, all of them are winners!  So good they are worn out and need replacing)
2. 03-2012 (3 patterns, all good and see semi-regular use)
3. 02-2013 (2 patterns, both knit dresses, one was good, one was fantastic)

4. 09-2012 (2 patterns, both knit tops, both fantastic wardrobe additions)
5. 12-2012 (2 patterns, both fleece jackets, both worn often)
6. 03-2013 (2 patterns, made to be worn together, pleased with both, plans for more from this issue)
7. 12-2011 (2 patterns, 2 epic fails that didn’t get past the muslin stage; I want to try other patterns)
8. 05-2013 (2 patterns, 2 knit tops, both worn often during warm weather)
9. 07-2009 (2 patterns, both made this summer, both turned out well, one was for my sister)

10. 10-2011 (1 pattern, used multiple times and worn often; many other great patterns in this issue)

Top Ten Burda Magazines Based on Number of Patterns I Like
1. 12-2012 (17 patterns)
2. 08-2006 (16 patterns)
3. 09-2006 (15 patterns)
4. 11-2012 (15 patterns)
5. 05-2013 (15 patterns)
6. 08-2005 (15 patterns)
7. 03-2009 (14 patterns)
8. 02-2013 (14 patterns)
9. 04-2009 (14 patterns)
10. 01-2008 (14 patterns)

Top Ten Burda Magazines Based on Number of Patterns I Love
1. 09-2006 (10 patterns)
2. 11-2007 (10 patterns)
3. 05-2009 (9 patterns)
4. 08-2006 (7 patterns)
5. 10-2011 (7 patterns)
6. 10-2005 (7 patterns)
7. 02-2013 (6 patterns)
8. 03-2009 (6 patterns)
9. 01-2011 (6 patterns)
10. 12-2012 (5 patterns)

Top 3 Burda Magazines in My Collection

1. 12-2012 – This issue made every list!  I love the garments I made from it and wear them more often than I expected.  There are also a ton of patterns I still want to sew from it.  It was a great issue and I expect to sew from it for many years to come.

2. 10-2011 – This issue has given me the closest thing I have to a TNT pants pattern at the moment, it is full of patterns I would love to sew, and it is the issue that inspired me to actually subscribe to the magazine.  Definitely a sentimental favorite.

3. 09-2006 – This is the issue that inspired me to take to Ebay and second hand markets to find older issues.  There are so many patterns in here that I am just drooling over every time I look through my stash.  I have so many plans for patterns from this magazine, but I have been saving them for the right time.  The things I want to make from here will definitely require a mastery of sewing skills and a lot of attention to detail.  This is the issue that many of the pieces of my fantasy wardrobe would come from.

So dear readers – have any of you assessed the patterns in your Burda stash?  Do you have a favorite year?  Are there some months you look forward to and others you dread?  What is the largest number of patterns you have made from any single issue?  Similarly, do you have any Burda TNT patterns and how many times have you made them?  Do you find yourself sewing only your favorite patterns, or do you (like me) tend to find patterns you never considered when you are looking for something to use with a particular piece of fabric?  Which issues are your all-time favorites?  Feel free to discuss your relationship with Burda in the comments!

One thought on “Burda Stats

  1. Interesting! I hadn't thought of looking at patterns I liked but hadn't sewn. I think my results would be similar though. I'd rather have a dud issue with one great pattern than an 'ok' issue though. I am not as productive as you so I'd never get through more than a pattern or two each issue.

    My favourite issue is February 2012.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.