Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tracing through the years

I have a small collection of Burda magazines from the late 70's and early 80's.  These were bought new back then by my mother for her own use and I have them now for safe-keeping.  I loved looking through these magazines, and still do!  These were absolutely fascinating to my younger self, and part of the inspiration behind my decision to sew for myself.  Along with, naturally, my mother herself; hugely influential to my creative self.  A very inspiring lady who was always either spinning, weaving, dyeing, knitting, sewing, or all of the above; magnificent creations for her own wardrobe.  And still does today!
Something that interests me now is that the very garments that I loved the most back then are still my same favourites today.  What does that say about me?  That my tastes have not changed much?  I would like to think I am so happily consistent and not all over the place like a dog's dinner which is how I sometimes feel sums up my tastes...  Looking closely at my chosen favourites I can see I'm attracted to a simplicity of line, an absence of clutter in the silhouette, and a certain... something else.  I guess what that nebulous "something" is; is my "style" that I am still trying to define today.  I did notice that something made up in neutral colours and particularly in white, always attracts my attention, and is almost guaranteed to be one of my long-term "favourites"; LOL!  That predilection has not changed!
Back then, the patterns came in one size, or two if you were lucky.  The patterns did not come in all sizes, nested together like they do today.  So, say one might see a dress that one simply had to have.  Looking at the small print, one would then either be transported with joy to discover that it was indeed blessedly in one's own size, or at least close enough to enable one to fudge-fit it to oneself; oh happy day!  One the other hand, one might be plunged into doom to see that the one dress you loved the most was only available five sizes too big.  Darn!
Another thing; the pattern sheets themselves.  You think today's Burdastyle patterns are difficult to trace?  Take a look at this!
That is a pattern sheet from the May, 1977 issue.  Compared to Burdastyle magazine today.  05/2010, to be more accurate...
I've put my tape measure in there for an idea of scale....
I think we've got it easy today, girls!
Just for fun, here are some of those 70's styles.  I would welcome these two garments happily into my wardrobe.
Some other lovelies from the Spring/Summer 1977 issue...

Finally, I have decided to go ahead with putting out here my wardrobe addition costs, as outlined here.  So, completing my summary for January...  I think doing a monthly overview will be better than giving a cost each time... a better distribution  :)

My Darling Clementine top
Fabric $34.60 (includes a portion of the shipping cost)
Pattern; Vogue 1247, first time used $7.00
Thread; $3.20
Total cost: $44.80
A Sludgy Little Skirt
Fabric; all leftovers
Pattern; Vogue 1247 used before
Zip; $1.00
Dye; $7.77 (bought during Spotlight's 40% off sale)
Total cost: $8.77


  1. Those 70s styles are bringing back memories. I certainly loved fashion even then...but could not afford to dress exactly the way I wanted to. But I did recently come across a photo of me at a party sitting with my organic chem partner, looking quite chic in a red evening gown and smoking!

    Your financial report is interesting-you spent 44.80 for the blouse, but if you make it again, that amount will decrease. And, what about recycling garments? I can't bear to be that specific-I would be astonished and immediately have to budget!!

  2. Wow, you're right. Those 70's Burda pattern sheets are no laughing matter...
    It's great to see these. There are definately some looks there which could still work today.

    I wonder when pattern magazines started printing multisize patterns. Obviously Burda and Marion didn't in the 1970's but I remember my mother used to subscribe to Knippie (Knipmode's children's magazine) and Marion in the mid-80's and I seem to remember those were multisize patterns (four or five sizes for each garment I thought).

  3. I remember making a few garments from Burda magazines in the 80's and oh the frustration with those sheets! The styles you picked out could very easily blend with todays fashions.

  4. Those pattern sheets are migraine inducing. If the patterns only came in one size, did you get more styles in each issue?

  5. Wow, I've never seen a Burda magazine in real life. I think the old ones would definitely have put me off sewing! I'm guessing one has to subscribe to Burda? And that the patterns aren't for beginners? The information you've given about the costs of your sewing is useful in that it tells me that if I can crack the fabric issue, it's quite reasonable in price.

    I think that *something* is what makes your sewing so beautiful - the unusual seams or the mixing of fabric, or the dying all make your items unique, but then I think that's what sewing is about.

  6. Wow! We should quit complaining about the pattern sheets today. Those old ones are pretty intimidating. And I wouldn't like to have to grade every pattern either!

  7. OMG, those pattern sheets were insane!!

  8. Wow, we do indeed have it easy with today's Burdas! And I love those 70's styles - the summer frocks are very close to what I would have been wearing then.

    As to your "something else"; I'm not sure what it is either, but some of the thoughts that come to mind are exquisite detailing in both your work & the little touches, excellent fit, and a look that is both crisp and casual at the same time. You wear your creations well, and they are always a joy to see :)

  9. I was allowed to borrow Burda magazines way back when from a family friend. I loved the styles, but those sheets of patterns were far too intimidating to even contemplate. I also figured out that nothing was ever even close to my size, so I gave up even drooling over those pictures.

  10. Very interesting to see the older Burdas. I just purchased the newest issue, my very first Burda magazine, so the tracing looks a bit painful - but now I can console myself with your comparison, not so bad now! And the styles, I am always attracted to the easy-breezy 70's styles so they look good to me. Regarding costs, I definitely calculate the total cost of sewn items and also mentally calculate a cost per wear, which later contributes to my choices on pattern re-makes.

  11. Hmm, I've heard Burda patterns are a bear to trace but the modern ones really don't look that bad. The older ones ... yikes!

    My favorite is the blue floral in the fold, third pic from the bottom. That dress is so lovely!

  12. Man, seeing that sheet brought back flashbacks of trying to sew when I was a kid. Every time I have sewn recently I've been like - this seems easy why did I think it was so hard........well you've shown me part of the reasons, the patterns are so much more straight forward and easier to use. Thank you so much as always for all of your output and support. Your mother surely had a huge influence on you and from what I've seen your father is very creative too!

  13. such a delightful post. Thank you for sharing your burda collection with us.... I just can't get over that pattern tracing sheet!

  14. I think I would rather go naked than try to trace off one of those old Burda Patterns, and it's cold where I live 8-). I love some of those clothes and loathe others, I never have been one for tiered gathered skirts, though I'm sure they would be lovely on someone else.

  15. My Mum, my Sewing Oracle, bought Burda magazines throughout the 70s and 80s (and Neue Mode, which seems to be defunct). I recognise that May '77 cover, definitely. I was 11 years old. A lot of my time was spent choosing the styles I wanted her to make me ...which she did, God love her! Yep, those pattern sheets were a pain, but she didn't complain. She had heaps of Burda back issues, which she had stored in the garage. Dad got rid of them in an uncharacteristic purge. Sad but true. Yes, they are still married.

  16. Holy cow I don't know how people trace out patterns back then, thats crazy! I do love the looks of these garments, a lady at work brought a sewing magazine in from the 70's that had patterns with it and I'm thinking I should trace some of them off and take their fabulousness home with me!

  17. I've never seen Burda mags anywhere, but I shall start looking harder! Thanks.

  18. I had a good laugh on reading all the comments about the Burda patterns. They certainly looked complicated, and I dont think that I actually made any of them. It just seemed like a good idea at the time. Caroly's Mum

  19. I love looking through old fashion/pattern/crafting magazines! I have very distinct memories of endless hours spent looking through 60's and 70's crocheting, beading and sewing magazines as a teen. Sadly, my mother did not keep even one copy and I don't remember what they were called!

  20. Reading sewing blogs, it seems to be quite a common theme that the sewer/writer's mother is also a keenly into textiles in some way or another. I love it! Such a sense of continuity and value of these skills.

    Interesting to read your accounting, too.

    And wow about the old burda! I'm rather glad I'm using the modern ones!

  21. I have a couple of copies of Burda from the early 80s when the pattern sheets looked like this. I could never bring myself to deal with trying to trace patterns from these magazines but I loved the styles. I only have a couple because they weren't as popular and easy to find in America then as they are now. Thanks for the memories!

  22. Fantastic Burda's! I have a collection of 90's Burda mags heading my way courtesy of a blog reader :)

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