Beating a Dead Horse: Burda Website

I try to refrain from the Burda bashing. I still love the magazine and find enough patterns that make it worth the annual expense . But, I hate the new sheets and was SALTY about the merging of the English website with BurdaStyle. Well, Burda has upped the ante by converting the old Russian and French sites to the format.

Let me explain. I don’t read Russian. But, the Italian website was close enough to Spanish that I could muddle through for previews of the magazine and most importantly the photo/ community forum. The forum and website platform were across multiple languages. It was great because the Russian women sew the hell out of Burda with AMAZING results. It’s where I got a lot of my inspiration and was really the best place to see a lot of Burda patterns sewn up. Plus, the modeling of the photos is SERIOUS.  Despite the different languages, the site’s database was the same so I could see photos from everyone (Russian) while on the Italian site.

Well, now with the new site(s) they are all independent. So, I can’t use the Italian site to see what the Russian women are up to. So, with a little help from my Ukrainian friend Anya, I am up on the Russian site and I’m bitter.  I’m bitter because it’s a PITA for me to muddle through it even with Google Translate. But, I’m REALLY bitter because the Russian site is just what I hoped the English Burdastyle would be. Let’s take a gander, shall we?

Conveniently, they both have a posting of the same pattern, 7/2011 #140. A peplum dress I’m actually considering making for a fall wedding. I’m not sure if it will read Mother-of-the-Bride since I’m a good 10 years older than the average friend of the bride 🙂

Above is the Russian site. See the red box? Those are hyperlinks to both the magazine edition and the pattern on the site. Please note the English is via Google translate 🙂

On the Russian site, you get the dress and are able to comment. But, best of all, they link you back to the pattern with the line drawing *and* link other versions of the dress uploaded. The old Burda didn’t do that and the current Burdastyle in English doesn’t either.

The English site (above)  only lets you do this if you have done a pattern that was downloadable.

Look at this too. On the Russian site, you can search by type of pattern and the patterns go back to 2007. Do you know how long I have dreamed of a pattern index for Burda magazine? I have 10 years worth of them!

Sigh. The English Burdastyle is still not my thing. I get that they started off open source and it looks like they are trying to be more like the magazine now. But, they only have the patterns that are for sale. And no links to the actual magazine. But, it’s just not what I need from them yet. If you have the patience to muddle through the language, I recommend the Russian and Italian sites. The Russian site has WAY more traffic and many many great models of the clothes in the magazines.


  1. I’m quite new to sewing and have to admit that I’m yet to hear something good about burda! I’m quite put off ever using their patterns!

    • Oh! That’s brilliant! Thank you. And, coincidentally, as far back ad *my* collection goes 🙂 I always found it frustrating the website wasn’t cataloguing these older editions because I remembered looking at them 10 years ago online!

  2. Ohh “salty” I like that term, I am salty at BurdaStyle too 😉 it was great that they started off as open source and we could still go to the original Burda site but since the merge…sigh!

  3. What I don’t understand is why they have so many different layouts across so many sites. Wouldn’t it be easier (and smarter) to have just one layout supporting different languages? It seems to me like they’re putting in extra work and still making people mad. Or maybe they’re just putting extra effort into making people mad. I’m not sure which.

    • I don’t get it either! The old site used to go across language platforms so you were sharing the same photo forums. These new ones are independent of each other. So, I tried the new Italian site but not as many people were on it so I went to the Russian site. I think I’m going with ‘extra effort into making people mad’.

  4. I’m unclear about something. You said the Russian BurdaStyle site has been removed yet, later you recommended the Russian site. Are you talking about an archived site? I can’t access it at Is there a different URL? I can read a little bit of Russian. I used to use the German site (and way before that, the English one) and I would love to use an archive of the magazines as I have four or five years’ worth of issues.

    • Yes, I was unclear. The Russian site (and former English and Italian sites) were like the current French site. But, they started over and rolled over to a new Russian site. The new Russian site doesn’t share the same database as the other languages so I have to navigate in Russian. Plus, when you use Google Translate with the new site, it kicks you out of your login and you have to browse as a guest. The old site was (I think). The new site is:

      The photo gallery still exists on the Italian site, but the Russian women aren’t posting to it anymore.

  5. I agree with you that the English BurdaStyle website is totally INADEQUATE and not user friendly. Time to brush up on some Russian.

  6. Lots of excellent software developers leftover from the URSS..
    Did you know that if you enter the main site URL into, you can then navigate the site just by clicking on that translated page and it translates automatically for you? It’s no panacea, their vocabulary is limited and the text can be downright weird in many places :-), but it allows you to get a feel for what you’re seeing, and at least navigate. If we all used it, maybe Burda would get the point finally?

    • That’s what I’m hoping! I’ve been using google translate to figure much of my way through and posting comments in both Russian and English.

  7. I agree! The English site is something totally different! I remember how confused I was after the merge.. and disappointed. I can read a little Russian, but WHY would I go through all this, if a simple solution like CGCouture suggests here, is available? And why would sewists from different countries and backgrounds be treated differently?

  8. I’m relatively new to the BurdaStyle magazine party….and I generally prefer their patterns over the big 4…but I agree, they could do so much more to integrate their sites, maximize their users’ experience and increase their revenue by creating one group. Must be some turf war preventing this…. 😦

  9. Burdastyle online has always felt like some VIP club I didn’t have a golden ticket to- I never could navigate it in any language……I ‘m so not one of the cool kids.

  10. You know how much I love BurdaStyle Magazines, but I am so disappointed in the websites. I’ve been using the Italian site since the French site went through its changes. All I’m able to do is download line drawings and garment pics for my index.

  11. I stopped taking Burda because my (ahem) mature eyesight can’t handle the new pattern sheets. And it is very annoying that English readers/speakers are very much second class citizens in terms of Burda’s world. Oh well.

  12. Hey thanks for this….I’ve just been too disillusioned to go through all the different country sites to figure out which one was the best….was using the Italian for a while, but glad to know the Russian is the good one. Went over there, and it’s amazingly well designed. Would love to get the ear of some Burda big-wig to find out exactly what’s going on.

  13. I always just muddle through the Russian site. I love what the Russian women make, it is the same for knitting/crocheting they are the ones making dresses and the complex patterns.

  14. i’ll have some salt on my dish as well, please. i’m from the burdastyle open source camp, just went by yesterday and couldn’t believe how much it had changed. it’s on the fast track to becoming the exact opposite of what lovers of burdastyle are used to. and it’s still vastly different from what lovers of burda sites miss. neither group gets what they want, it boggles the mind.

    there are still free patterns on the open source site, though it’s a trick to find them. they seem to have disappeared from the “patterns” section, but if you go to the “projects” section, you can narrow down your choices to “patterns you can make”, then choose “by members” (for selfish’s coffee date dress, for example). i was going to put this tip on the forum, but i noticed that tips for this sort of thing were taken down or changed. seriously, big brother burda?

    • I found that if you go to the pattern page, by category…they put them on the LAST page of each. Yesterday, I downloaded a dozen patterns (3 purchased) and it was the same for each (dress, blouse and jacket). Maybe it’s chronological order but it looks like entrapment ie you get pages and pages of patterns to buy before you hit the free stuff. Nevermind that the free stuff is what gets you HOOKED!!!!

  15. I was pretty ‘salty’ in my comments on Burdastyle’s English site too. The only thing that I can think is that once they sell the magazine they don’t care about anything but selling their select group of patterns by download. I would assume that they make more money that way.

  16. Renee, you nailed it. You would think that Burda would be thrilled to please its core USA customers and provide customer support on an equal basis across country and language lines. I received the July issue today, and found a preponderance of “bag” tops, dresses, skirts etc. for which no actual pattern is necessary. I “discovered” Burda through PatternReview in 2008, and frantically bought back issues. Since the website merger, magazine offerings have been on a downward trajectory as well. I “get” the need to recruit new sewists to the Burda franchise and take advantage of the reality show inspired interest generated in sewing. The Burda hallmark has been fit, intelligent (do I say it?) continental style (Classic with an edgy soul) not throwaway fashion. Burda can satisfy loyal customers and brand samplers/novice sewists with the same product, if only the product people started listening to actual Burda customers.
    Hallo, Burda, jemand zuhören?
    Salve, Burda, chi ascolta?
    Bonjour, Burda, toute personne qui écoute?
    Здравствуйте, Бурда, у кого-нибудь слушать?

  17. While I like the patterns, I don’t even bother with the website. That’s unfortunate, because I have some sewing friends (Marina, for one) who are active on it. But it’s a morass, and I haven’t enough time in the day to try to navigate it to find useful information. It’s much easier to just google what I’m looking for and go from there

  18. Sigh…. I am newly “back into sewing” and just subsribed to Burda after hearing so much praise in general. I just received my first issue and wasn’t impressed, and having looked through the English website had honestly wondered what all the hoopla was about. Apparently I’m not the only one that isn’t so impressed….. I will remain optimistic that future issues improve!

  19. I don’t think that dress reads mother of the bride at all. I’m still using the old French site which still lets you get at the archives just fine. I have noticed that they stopped putting the line drawings in the more recent issues along with the modeled photos which is really annoying since it’s impossible to see the structure especially in the modeled photos with prints.

  20. For a quick view of the Russian links in English, pass the mouse over the link. An English translation of where the link takes you appears in the lower left-hand area of the window. I browse with the latest version of Firefox.

  21. That dress and vest is very cute and I think would suit you very well. I’m off now to check out the Russian site. Thanks!

  22. That dress is so cute, and will be perfect! I stopped subscribing a year ago, the transitions became too much trouble to fumble thru. I do miss getting my mags every month tho.

  23. The translation is killing me! “After that, the village dress perfectly” — good to know, I was wondering what they were up to.

  24. I really want to like Burda. I really do. But I can’t stand the Burdastyle. I’m too old. Not cool enough I guess. Marfy could take over the world with a little help. Their styles are cool.

    Perhaps it is time to learn Russian. 🙂

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