Burda instructions and where to interface

I’m making the pattern below, a 2008 Burda, so it’s a pretty old one. I remember reading lots of online complaining about Burda’s instructions when I first discovered sewing blogs, but once I got good enough at sewing to tackle Burda magazine patterns at all, which would have been a year or two later, I found the instructions were minimal but usually adequate.

Burda 110 5/2008 line art, burdastyle.ru

And then I got my hands on some older Burda issues, back from when it was called Burda World of Fashion, and discovered what people had been complaining about. The older Burda patterns are much easier to trace than the modern ones because the same number of patterns are spread out over twice the number of sheets of paper, but the instructions are definitely worse; I think this particular set even has a minor mistake in that they tell you to attach part of the front band twice, in two different parts of the instructions. And while the current Burda instructions are terse but include every step (apart from finishing seam allowances) the old ones occasionally skip over things.

The pattern above has a lot of fiddly little details: wide belt carriers, shoulder tabs, pocket flaps, and some sort of decorative loop at the back neckline. I picked it in part because of this. Burda made their version in poplin which isn’t the sturdiest fabric for that sort of thing so interfacing is definitely required. And the instructions for interfacing are limited to some shading on the cutting layout to show where to stick the stuff:

Cutting diagram for Burda 110 5/2008

And that’s your lot; there is nothing in the text to remind you to actually apply it. Modern Burda always has a brief line at the start of the pattern instructions which mentions it.

Now if I was making this in poplin I think I’d be happy following the interfacing placement in the original diagram, but I’ve perhaps foolishly decided on something much heavier: an 8oz cotton twill. So do I follow the diagram or cut down on the interfacing? I definitely want it on the collar and zip bands, but I wonder if sticking it on the pocket flaps and tabs is just going to make them difficult to turn out and top stitch. Wish me luck.

22 thoughts on “Burda instructions and where to interface

  1. I think I’d leave it off the pocket flaps and tabs if the fabric has enough weight already. It is so much easier to trace the older patterns, I hadn’t noticed the difference in the instructions.. after my first few attempts I stopped reading them🤣 less confusion!
    I have some magazines from the late 90’s that were never used because they scared me at the time!

  2. Definitely the zipper placket. Why don’t you do a practice run on the scraps with a tab and flap – test the look, feel, weight, turn and top stitching? You could always try a lighter weight interfacing there too.

  3. I usually put interfacing anywhere I plan to put snaps, so even if you don’t interface the pocket flaps in their entirety, I would interface the snap areas. But actually, I’ve only ever regretted interfacing very light fabrics (and that because I picked too heavy an interfacing). Heavier fabrics feel fine with interfacing, as long as the interfacing itself is not too thick.
    Burda instructions are brain-melting. The last time I sewed something of theirs, I didn’t even look at them, I figured it’d be better for my health 🙂

    1. Heh, I find I’m weirdly in tune with whoever writes modern Burda instructions; they just click for me. I do alter the order of construction quite often though, they always seem to have you do the fiddly bits last which makes life so much harder. Why wouldn’t you put your zips in while everything else is flat?

  4. I love to “hear” your thought processes, and look forward to your current adventure! (I usually ‘stick’ interfacing where instructed since I can’t rely on my intuition, haha.) I’m on Team Trace, but intimidated by the Burda pattern sheets. I blame it on poor lighting, but we all know that’s not really the reason!

    1. I trace everything too; I swear by my spiked tracing wheel and a layer of that squishy table protector stuff underneath the pattern and paper.

      1. Well, now I am truly intrigued Catherine! I’ve got a spiky tracing wheel (albeit a bit old & wobbly) but whatever is “squishy table protector stuff”? Does it sit beneath the carbon and tracing papers?

      2. It’s a really thick, water and heat proof heatproof fabric you usually use under a tablecloth. I find it’s a great surface for tracing on because it has a smooth surface with just enough give. John Lewis has it in the furnishing fabric section or if you put ‘table protector’ into Amazon it comes up although so does a lot of stuff you wouldn’t want!

  5. You are getting a wide range of opinions!
    I would put interfacing on the pocket flaps and zipper facings and omit on the epaulets and belt loops, but agree it’s good to have piece of interfacing at the spots where the snaps will go. Unless you are extremely efficient cutting out on the barest minimum of fabric there would be small pieces leftover to test how interfaced 8 oz twill behaves.
    I liked having the shading on the layout diagram to indicate the interfaced pieces and prefer it over to having to read the instructions for it. I’m a visual person, and I guess my garment sewing skills have progressed to the level where I don’t need much guidance on construction order.
    Those pre- 2010 sheets made tracing so much easier. I haven’t compared and measured yet to be certain , but suspect they have shrunken the sheets in the last year or so as so many pattern are made up of two traced piece butted together, like trouser legs or knee length dresses.

    1. Hmm, I hadn’t noticed the sheets being smaller but certainly had to stick a few bits together from the 2020 issues. Back in the day they used to sometimes give slightly incomplete pieces and tell you to extend them; I prefer that to sticking bits together!

  6. I think you could go either way with interfacing but I’d be inclined to use it on all the pieces as long as it’s not too heavy. Love this pattern. There are some gems in those older issues and I’d swap ease of tracing for instructions any day!

  7. As someone who has been sewing for what seems forever, and is now just about to embark on my first Burda magazine pattern, I’ve been interested to read all your comments. I had to note with a chuckle the instructions for the style 107 blouse in the August edition which has an instruction to “Pin inside leg seams …”!
    I’m curious to hear anyone’s thoughts about the amount of ease added to the patterns. I can find no reference to it anywhere in the magazine. I know, of course, that I can measure pattern pieces to work it out but does anyone have any other views as a general rule?
    Sorry, Catherine, I haven’t contributed to your interfacing dilemma, but there seems to be good advice above. I always do enjoy reading your posts and learning from them, but this is the first time I’ve commented.

    1. Generally, I would say that Burda patterns run a size large compared to their stated measurements. But this does vary by pattern, so I’ve been bitten before where I cut my usual “one size down” and it turned out skintight. I’d say that you’d be safer measuring the pattern pieces!

    2. Welcome! I find they’re fairly true to size: I generally make the size the chart recommends whereas in Vogue I go down one. I am tall and pear shaped, and Burda drafts for a taller and differently proportioned figure than Big Four, which I find suits me better.

      1. To my body, also tall, the fit is true to size as well. At least in patterns with wovens. When it comes to patterns for jersey, it is completely different, much smaller. Like they want it tight fit and rely only on negative ease.

  8. Cute pattern, love all the fiddly bits! I just let my fabric guide my interfacing choices and put it where it’s needed. E.g., With an 8 oz twill, interfacing in the small pieces might make them outweigh the shell of the top and distort it. Instructions – I mostly sew PDF Burda’s and am grateful if they are not printed sideways in the smallest text known to man!

Comments are closed.