Video: Tracing Burdastyle patterns – How to master it

March 26, 2017 10 Comments

Video: Tracing Burdastyle patterns – How to master it

March 26, 2017 10 Comments


Feel intimidatd by Burdastyle’s pattern sheets and wonder how us pattern magazines fans do it without losing our minds? Then then this video tutorial about tracing Burdastyle patterns is for you! In it I explain all the nuts and bolts of how it works. Plus give you tips on paper, pens and show you some hacks that will make adding  seam allowance both easier and quicker.

In my Burdastyle pattern tracing tutorial I talk about

  • A really good and cheap tracing paper
  • The importance of using the right pencil
  • Why you shouldn’t trust Burdastyle’s seam allowance suggestions and instead use the best seam allowance for each seam type or project.
  • How to find the lines and sizes in an easy way
  • How to hack the seam allowance process using some simple “cheats”
  • And much more!

But as I say in the video, there are many ways to do it, so I recommend trying out different methods and there are plenty of suggestions on-line. My approach is pretty old school and uses no fancy gadgets and and unusual methods.

Some people prefer using builder’s plastic as tracing “paper” for instance or trace hard-to-see lines by placing the pattern on a window in lieu of a light box.  I don’t feel the need to do that, but just to say that there are plenty of ideas out there.

Links related to tracing Burdastyle patterns

Tools I use for adding seam allowance

Pattern magazine nostalgia (yes the pattern sheets were way worse in the 80’s)

Adding seam allowance on knits

Adding seam allowance on skirts

Johanna Lundström

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  • JenL March 26, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    Thank you for this for this. When I first started using the Burdastyle magazine patterns I was so confused, and there was very little info on the web for how to properly or efficiently trace them then. I’m sure it will be a helpful video, particularly for new users. I’ve tried several techniques over the years, and I still change it up from time to time. My favorite is colored pencils with Swedish tracing paper, but that paper is a bit pricey here. I tend to save it for patterns that I think I may reuse. I think that the paper shown in the video may called “parchment paper” in the U.S. It is used for lining baking pans and such, and can be found in most grocery stores. Definitely more affordable.

    • Johanna March 27, 2017 at 7:57 am

      Yes that non-woven paper cost quite a bit here too and just like you I save them for patterns that I might reuse. Colored pencils sounds like great idea, must make all the different markings easier to see? I too change it from time to time, but I have yet to go wild with see-through plastic and permanent ink and stuff 🙂

  • Andrea March 26, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    Another way to add sewing allowances is using a drawing compass – I find I can add them much quicker this way.

    I trace patterns to wrapping tissue paper that I buy in bulk, it’s the cheapest tracing paper I can source in my country. I also tried ikea roll of paper and waxed transfer paper but in the end I prefer to have the tracing paper on top.

    Thank you for your videos, is always nice how other people work 🙂

    • Johanna March 27, 2017 at 8:02 am

      Ah a drawing compass, that makes me nostalgic, have not used one since school. That is a clever idea for sure! I am the same way, I want to have the tracing paper on top and just do it the old school way. The trick is as you say to find something that doesn’t break the bank and still works. Using a really good paper is great of course, but I think most of us will only sew most patterns once or twice and for that purpose, budget tracing paper works

  • frifris March 27, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    I love your tutorials!

  • Sarah March 28, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Great tutorial thankyou! I often trace patterns with very cheap interfacing, as I can baste it for tissue fitting too. I really should use more Burda patterns!

    • Johanna March 30, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      Interfacing is so great for doing this, perfect for both purposes! We don’t have any cheap stuff in Sweden that I know of though, And yes to Burda, they are classy and fashion forward I think and very true to size.

  • PsychicSewerKathleen June 5, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    I have never used these Burda style patterns but I have several books that use a similar presentation for their patterns. That tip about the 4H size pencil I’m going to take note of… I’ve struggled to find markers that don’t go through the paper onto my cutting mat which is annoying! I’ve looked at this parchment paper here and thought about it but considered it too narrow however now I see why it is useful for smaller size pieces to the pattern and would certainly be an inexpensive way to supplement the more expensive wider types of paper. Another fabulous video Johanna – thank you!

    • Johanna June 7, 2017 at 9:24 am

      The 4B is my preferred choice for sure, it can rub off a bit, but way better than permanent markers. And pattern tissue paper can cost a lot, especially if we won’t use the pattern again. For those I might re-use I usually transfer them to non-woven or stiff paper for better longevity

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