As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve hit a sort of rocky patch in my relationship with BurdaMag in the last few months. My subscription ran out and I’ve been sort of holding off on re-subscribing until I see an issue with stuff I really want to make. I don’t think there’s anywhere local where I can pick up single issues so a subscription with its not unsubstantial price tag and 12-month commitment is really the only option if I want my Burdas. (Well, that and purchasing the odd back issue off of German eBay which I do from time to time.)

And then I discovered the cheater way to Burdify. As it turns out, once the month’s new Burda issue hits the newsstands (typically around the 20th of the prior month), Burda makes all the patterns from the previous month available online for download for 3 Euros 99 cents (and usually one free one, I think. Go get it!) At first I stupidly thought you could get ALL the patterns from the issue for that price (kind of makes sense because that’s slightly less than the price of an issue in Germany but they’re saving on printing and shipping costs and you don’t get any of the articles or photos or anything), but it’s actually per pattern. Duh.

If you think about it (especially if you are an American and your currency is weak weak weak right now), this is not exactly a great deal – about $5.40 per pattern, roughly half the cost of a full issue of Burda at Barnes and Noble. But if you’re in my situation and there have really only been one or two patterns you’ve been interested in making in the past five or six issues, and a subscription is your only viable alternative, it’s actually a pretty reasonable choice from an economic standpoint. (Plus I’ve got a European bank account and somehow paying Euros for it makes me feel like it costs less than it $5.40, even though that’s really not true. Ah, the little games we play with our money.)

So I like this pattern from the February issue:

And I was kind of curious to try out the new download service, so after a few days of waffling, I took the plunge and bought the pattern. You receive the pattern itself as a pdf after you purchase, and there’s a pdf of the instructions available online as well that you can download:

That’s just a snippet of it there, but as you can see the pattern and instructions include all of the variations of that pattern (even though when you purchase, it looks like you’re just purchasing one variation) and the instructions are exactly what you would get in the magazine (do I hear a collective groan?) You do have to tape all the sheets of paper together, which I know a lot of people hate doing, but it’s no more work than tracing the pieces off of the pattern sheet which is what you have to do anyway if you buy an issue of Burda.

So, there’s the cheater way to get your Burda magazine patterns without a subscription and without access to a store that sells the issues. I have to say, it’s awfully convenient, and now that cute strapless dress from the March issue is getting awfully tempting. But it’s not without its downsides too. For one thing, like I said the patterns are perhaps a bit on the pricey side for something you have to print and tape together yourself, and they’re really not worth it if you think you’ll actually make more than one pattern from the issue. Plus, although the downloadable patterns (unlike the ones in the magazine) are laid out such that the pieces are not overlapping, thus eliminating the need to trace them, they don’t include seam allowance. (Sigh. I wish Burda would just get on the seam allowance bandwagon already.  Are you listening to me, Burda Easy Fashion?) I prefer to have seam allowance on my patterns, rather than add it on the fabric so there’s more work there. (Seriously Burda, if you’re just selling pdfs and don’t have to worry about getting them to fit on your big piece of newsprint, why not just give me the seam allowances? People who don’t want them can cut them off!) Oh, another potential drawback for some- I think the instructions are only available in German and the downloads are only available on the German site so you have to be able to navigate an online purchase in German. Details, details.

But the biggest drawback to this I think is that I really love having back issues of my BurdaMags. I often buy them even when there’s only one pattern in them that I like, but later find other things I want to make from them, or just enjoy flipping through them over and over until they are dog-eared and slipping out of their covers. And while their snippets on sewing and technique may not be as useful as say, Threads, there are often little useful tidbits that I discover after the fact. And when you buy the downloadable pattern, that’s all you get- the pattern. No discovery, no bedtime reading, no added value two years later. 

But then again, maybe my library of sewing magazine back issues doesn’t need to be fed any further  :D

No, that’s not all of them. Not by a long shot. Anyway, I know that I’ll eventually resubscribe, maybe after the summer issues (I’ve always been a bigger fan of their autumn stuff than their summer gear), but during this Burda dry spell, this seems to be a nice option for me to get my Burda fix without the commitment and superfluous blah issues.

How about you?  Anyone else Burdifying the cheater way?  Thinking about it?