Burda World of Fashion Magazine and How I Avoid Tracing AT ALL COSTS!

Burda World of Fashion Magazine and How I Avoid Tracing AT ALL COSTS!

*****UPDATE MARCH 2011*****
I now have an updated version of this post which is here

Ever since I subscribed to Burda World of Fashion Magazine about 6 months ago, I’ve been receiving each issue with anticipation and each month have glossed over some of the fantastic patterns. Of course, not all of them are great, but there is always one or two items in each magazine that I like/love, making the high price of subscription worth it. The major downer is tracing the damn patterns. I loathe doing it! And no matter how accurate I try to be, I suck at tracing. I’m also lazy and this just cuts into my free/sewing time way too much. For those who are not familiar, the magazine comes with all the patterns on newsprint type paper on approx. 4 sheets.  Each sheet is labelled with a letter. They are double sided – so Sheet B would be on the underside of Sheet A for example. There are several patterns printed on each sheet, they are distinguishable by color. So say pattern 117 would be on Sheet A in green.



If you were to cut your pattern out, you would not only ruin other patterns on that sheet, you would destroy the other patterns on the underside as well. The only solution is to trace them. Or is there another solution?

I cut them up. Yep, you heard me right.

Initially, I checked if Kinkos had a large size scanner. Hubby had mentioned he saw people scanning architectural drawings. Well, they charge 8 dollars a square foot. Yikes! There goes that idea. So, being the uber geek that I am, I came up with a plan. Careful, this is not for the faint of heart or for those who want to sell their back issues in future. You will need a flatbed scanner, a color printer – either inkjet or preferably laser and transparent tape.. and a photo software program such as Photoshop:

1. I cut the pattern sheet into pieces a little smaller than 81/2 x 11 letter size. This is to leave room on all sides for margins on most printers. I also NUMBER each piece with a highlighter so as not to get mixed up later on.


2. I scan them on my flatbed scanner.



3. Scan them into Photoshop, save each sheet as a .psd file (do not save as .jpg or attempt to reduce the file, it will mess up the print size and you will end up with a Barbie sized pattern!)


4. Send them to the color printer and I now have approximately 16 printed sheets of the pattern


5. This part is a little fiddly. You need transparent tape and a good eye to piece all of the pattern pieces together and make sure all the pattern lines line up correctly. And voila, you have a copy of the pattern sheet which is now on thicker paper AND you can cut out your desired pattern. Also, you now have the sheet on computer – if you want to make another pattern from the same sheet, all you need to do is print it off again. All told, it takes about an hour to scan one sheet. So this may be for you, it may not. I guess it depends on how geeky you are. For me, this saves me hours of tracing and I can scan while I’m watching the tube.

I am lucky that hubby and I both have home offices and the equipment to make this possible.


The Burda company seems to be more technologically advanced than most of the pattern companies out there, considering you can buy patterns on their website for download. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had the option to get the magazine patterns in paper or electronic format? That way I wouldn’t have to bother doing this and they would save some money on paper!

25 thoughts on “Burda World of Fashion Magazine and How I Avoid Tracing AT ALL COSTS!

  1. I agree that tracing is a nightmare. I have an eye disorder that makes straight lines crooked, tracing is not my favorite. I too have been toying with how to scan the patterns. I just started sewing two months ago, bought my first Burda magazine last week and both hubby and I nearly had a heart attack when we saw the pattern mess.

  2. I really like your idea, and will try it next time. Right now, I trace with a thin Crayola marker (from my kids' stash) matched to the ink color they used for the view I'm copying. I then can see this line perfectly when it's lying under a layer of, of all things, french-drain ditch-lining material I found at Home Depot. It's cheaper than the same stuff you buy at fabric stores and I can sew it up as a fitting shell. Next time I'll try your idea right on top of this fabric instead.

  3. Great idea ! I don't mind tracing, though, either, since I alter the pattern at the same time (I'm long waisted). I use clear plastic (drop cloth type stuff) and an advantage to that is you can easily pin it together and try it on before you cut your fabric.

  4. It's great to read every one else's methods for tracing Burda patterns. I buy Pattern Trace and use those rubber pencil holders from habby stores that keep pencils 1.5 cms apart or five eighths if you use imperial. That way you get your seam allowance at the same time as the outline. I'm experimenting with different pencils though. The pattern trace moves a bit even with weights on it. I like the idea of medical paper though.
    Just found this site. Isn't it good?
    Wasn't April' 2010 magazine terrible to trace! They had ALL patterns on one piece of paper. It made my eyes go funny.

  5. Hi this is a very good idea and I actually tried it myself but I didnt see the need to cut the pattern into pieces, I just folded each part of the pattern to scanned into photoshop 18 times which took a while but enables me to keep my orginal pattern. A good alternative since I also hate tracing.

  6. I love Burda WOF and still subscribe even though I don't have much time to sew now.

    I don't mind tracing and bought several rolls of the tissue paper used by doctors for their exam tables at a local medical supply place. The paper is transparent enough to see through, but has some substance to it so doesn't tear easily and one roll has a lot of paper on it. My husband actually added a roller to the edge of my cutting table (works like a paper towel roller) and I just roll the tissue paper over the pattern page to copy it.

    It's easy to read the lines through it and I can copy a pattern in a jiffy.

  7. Please check out the following website for the patterns you seek. I believe you can find them via the search engine on
    http://www.burdafashion.com. Do you want the wrap top from the cover of 1/2008? and Do you want style 122 from 11/2008?

    Style 122 is:
    122 Blouse

    This blouse is a highlight in trendy violet! The empire seam and vertical tucks nicely shape the bust while the cuffs provide a typical Seventies feature. Burda sizes 34 – 42
    found in: Magazines > Archives > burda World of Fashion 11/2008 > Trends
    also check out: http://www.burdastyle.com/ …..why? just because you may find it interesting…..I do.
    Good Luck! I do hope you come back and see this. ;o)

  8. In the spirit of open-source, I love this idea. Are you willing to share? I am looking for pattern 122 from the November 2008 issue. It's a 70s looking blouse and I am thinking about making it for my wedding. Let me know if you are willing to email the files. Thanks so much!

  9. Your idea sounds great, but I think what you are doing seems to be taking as much time, if not more, I think, I haven't tried it yet, but I have a scanner, a color printer and Photoshop, and I picture myself doing what you suggest, and I'd rather just trace a pattern at a time, when I need it. It's a good idea you have, it's just that I find it as time consuming as tracing! I hate tracing when there are too many little pieces and other stuff to mark down, but I don't really mind doing it, I see is as part of the whole process, I do that for all the patterns I buy, because I want to be able to reuse them, and use other sizes.

    I agree with you that Burda should offer individual patterns for download on their website, I sent an email to them suggesting that, because I'm looking for an old issue of BWOF, the January 2008, I want to make a wrap top I like. But I don't necessarily want the whole magazine, just the pattern, so I think they should really consider making them available for downloads. Maybe if everybody would send an email with that suggestion, it could happen!

  10. Hi.. this might seem kinda obvious, but….
    wouldn't it be easier to use the patterns if you saved each COLOUR to a different file? That way you could print out just one pattern at a time 😀

    I guess i just thought of this idea because i have a B&W printer 😉

  11. Wow I just started reading your blog…I'm adding you to my list of blogreads…that's a great idea!

  12. You are clever, I will try your method.
    I buy greaseproof paper, the sort you use for cooking, it's very cheap for 25 metres. I use paper weights and trace with felt tip pens. It doesn't take that long, I add the seam allowances on when I cut the fabric. I save time by using the friskars metal disc cutting system and a cutting board.
    Lisa said she uses brown paper, I used to do what she does and found you can buy rolls of brown paper in carpet shops really cheap. One will last forever! I just found that tracing onto greaseproof a little more accurate – it could be just me.
    As long as we enjoy!!

  13. This tip will save me countless hours of tracing in the years to come — thanks a million! It's especially appreciated as I don't have a large surface available to easily do tracing in my apartment.

    The brown kraft paper idea is also great!

    Thanks again. 🙂

  14. Nice idea

    But I do the following.

    I pin the patern sheet on a brown craft paper sheet and trace the patern with a blunt tracing wheel.(sharp tracing wheels will damage patern sheet)
    Make sure to trace all detais and marks on the paterns.

    Remove the patern sheet and the tracing wheel marks will be left on the brown paper.

    Use a marker to follow the tracing wheel marks on the brown paper and you have your patern wich could be cut
    while your original patern sheet is still in tact.

    Good luck

  15. Girl you are so smart! Thanks so much. I have a whole bunch of Burda's waiting to be scanned 😉


  16. Interesting technique. Me? I'm one of the few souls who doesn't mind tracing. I won't go as far as to say I "like" tracing, but I don't mind it.

    PS: Mimi sent me to this blog. I'm going to look around and I'm sure I'll be visiting again.

  17. Mimi sent me here and I will totally be reading you from now on.
    I hate tracing too, and need to keep the originals intact to make multiple sizes of the same pattern (for my friend's kids) but I just use the photocopier. It takes a little folding and fiddling but in the end I can make as many copies for different sizes as I like and the printer paper lasts longer than the tissue. I may have to be brave next time and start chopping up the originals, sounds like it would save time! You are so good!

  18. Wow, (bonk on forehead) that is probably a better way than mine. Although I still have to trace, which I am lousy at!
    By the way, I lived in Mississauga by Square One for 4 years until I moved to California. I was actually born there (in Clarkson)!

  19. That's an interesting idea, and I agree, not for the faint of heart. I don't trace, I carbon copy. If you go to Staples or something, you can buy sheets of carbon paper – its similar to the pattern transfer paper where you use the tracing wheel and mark onto fabric? Anyway, I just sandwich my pattern sheet, the carbon paper, and the paper I want to draw the pattern on, draw the pattern out onto the pattern sheet, and the carbon paper transfers it. It barely takes me 20 minutes…

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