Burda musings

 

Burda patterns then

Burda patterns then

Katui_kiwi from The Curious Kiwi started an interesting discussion about Burda patterns here.

I left a comment on her blog but realized I needed a whole post to develop my views on the matter – so here it goes:

the first Burda magazine I ever bought (date unknown)

the first Burda magazine I ever bought (date unknown)

Perhaps a little bit of history, though. First of all, I am very thankful to Burda. As I said in a previous post I have no training in sewing whatsoever and I learnt to sew by using Burda and Knipmode patterns. I bought the magazine, without skipping an edition, for years. Till Burda changed its pattern policy and crammed 52 or so patterns into four pages. I was disappointed. The magazine which used to provide good service and helped people develop their skills in sewing was doing less. Why? I asked myself.

Burda patterns then

Burda patterns then

I do not share the secrets of power that be but I do not think that Burda’s main concern is to save printing costs. We are in a transition time from the printed matter to digital age and I believe Burda is preparing us for that. Patterns are already available for download but, if my line of reasoning is right, a break in printing patterns would be too abrupt. Not everyone in the world has an Internet connection to be able to download a pattern, and not everyone would be willing to start doing so all of a sudden. Above all it is perhaps cannier to instill the new method slowly. First make it difficult for people to draw patterns so that they will eventually look for another solution and will think of downloading patterns. Do the maths and you realize the profits: pay €6 for a magazine offering 52 patterns and soon one will have to pay €4 per pattern.

April '96

April ’96

Again this is one interpretation. Just one way of looking at things.

But Katui_kiwi and Burda made me think about a couple of things. According to the economic system we live in, what is the supreme, the main goal of a company nowadays? Is that to provide good service? Is that to produce something of value that will benefit a large majority of people? Some companies may cherish this goal but I am not sure the majority of them are primarily concerned with this line of thinking.

February and March '97

February and March ’97

What do we hear overall? Companies and governments, be they of left or right wing, they all share the same goal in one word: growth. A company’s main goal is: growth. How do you translate growth? Benefits. Earnings. Profit. Money. Money is on their worship altar. Service? That’s something we can make do with marketing.

April '97 and August '98

April ’97 and August ’98

Some years ago I was talking to a manager in a company I worked for and wanted to share ideas in how to improve a particular service to our customers. That improvement meant we had to do something extra to the customer. My manager cut me off immediately saying: “if customers are not prepared to pay more for a service we are not going to give them extras.” Plain. Period.

October and November '98

October and November ’98

Take the example of Google, for instance . They earned, in the UK alone, £3.2bn on sales worth whilst they paid only £6m in corporation tax. We need to be in crisis (crisis caused by whom?) for European governments to wake up to the fact that it is not only the middle man who has to pay his fair share of taxes, the big corporations – which make billions of profit – too.

Couture facile pour débutants (date unknown)

Couture facile pour débutants (date unknown)

Google is going to stop Google Reader. Did they ask their users about their advice? Very naïvely I wrote to Burda asking about their change of pattern policy. Did I get an answer back? Only an automatic e-mail reply saying they had received my request. But I never got an answer. It was naïve of me to think they bother about us, faithful readers and buyers of their magazine.

June and November 2004

June and November 2004

Take the example of RTW (“ready to wear”) companies. What is their aim? To produce poor quality clothes in the least expensive way. These clothes are not meant to last long so that people can keep buying clothes. As it is no longer possible to produce clothes cheaply in the developed countries, companies get rid of their original local industries leaving local people unemployed, go offshore where workers are paid unfair wages, work in difficult and dangerous conditions, so that companies can maximize their profits. What are the results of this greedy attitude? Dhaka, Bangladesh is but one example.

March and May 2005

March and May 2005

Sadly enough, Burda is not alone to blame. Burda is but one company in a system of fierce competition where all companies worldwide do the same: compete to see which one makes more profits, embellished into the more academic word ‘growth’. We never think about it but wouldn’t it be a good idea to work together instead of working – almost – against each other? We must outdo our neighbour. Service? People’s well-being? Sustainability? None of our concern.

September and November 2005

September and November 2005

The other day I read an article where the IMF (Institute of Monetary Fund) which is known for its austerity programs and calls to cut government spending, is concerned about the growing inequality between rich and poor: “0,5% of the population owns more than 35% of the wealth. (…) Movements like Occupy Wall Street, the Indignados or the Arab Spring were motivated by this tendency.”

February and March 2006

February and March 2006

Where are we heading to?

I am currently reading an interesting book (Geluk & wijsheid voor beginners: inleiding in de kunst van het filosoferen by Jos Kessels). The author comments about analyses made by the American philosopher Marcuse (1898-1979). These analyses were made some time ago but still apply to our society today. Marcuse says that our society is the richest and the most technically advanced in the whole of history.

September 2006

September 2006

These technical advances give us the opportunity to accomplish and lead a free and satisfactory human existence. For everyone. An existence without coercion, an existence where you are free to pursue, to give meaning and to develop your life. Live yourself your happiness in your own way. An existence without stultifying or unhealthy labour, without exploitation or oppression, without poverty or shortages. (…) That’s all technically possible. (…)

January, June and September 2007

January, June and September 2007

But what do we see? Instead of an enlargement of individual freedom it seems our prosperity results in a reduction of individual freedom. This is evident from the simple example that nobody has time nowadays. Everyone is in a hurry, most eagerly working under tension. Why is that? In the end people strive not to have time to themselves to do what they like. They seek primarily to have money. People find it so important that they have almost no other time. And that means hurry, stress and above all production, the compulsion to perform. There is work to be done, there must be results. And there money should come from.”

March and June 2008

March and June 2008

And I might add… we must keep busy to make sure the 0.5% of the population stay on the top and accumulate more wealth.

May and July 2009

May and July 2009

Of course things are not so simple. But to examine the question thoroughly you would need to write a book and this is only meant to be a post.

August and October 2009

August and October 2009

One last thing, I said above we can look at things through different perspectives. Many of us believe it has become more difficult to draw a pattern out of the 4-page-printed patterns Burda releases. But we can see this change in a positive way as well: printing less pattern pages means less environmental nuisances as less trees are cut down. In the long run when patterns will only be available through download and there may be no more magazines printed, the environmental impact will be even less.

Burda patterns then

Burda patterns then

And there Katui-Kiwi’s advice on how to deal with Burda’s patterns comes in very handy. If it is to save on printing costs and to be sustainable, I’ll be there to support it.

Burda patterns now

Burda patterns now

A positive side as well: do we need to have 52 patterns at our disposal every month? Is it not greedy of us to want to buy 52 patterns? How much patterns do we really use out of one magazine?

Burda patterns now

Burda patterns now

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I no longer buy Burda magazines. Meanwhile, I prefer to support sustainable and independent designers like Deer & Doe for example and to develop my sewing skills by drafting my own patterns.

What about you? What are your views on the subject?

Me Made May and Paradise Lost

 
The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”

― John Milton, Paradise Lost

It may sound intriguing. What does Me Made May has to do with Milton and the above quote from Paradise Lost?

Actually, a couple of things.

self-made jacket and trousers

self-made jacket and trousers

I was asked to give some details on the cream jacket. Errr, a little embarrassing, though. This vest has not one but lots of faults. Faults or mortal sins, as CarmencitaB refers to them here.

self-made jacket and trousers

self-made jacket and trousers

On top of being a sewist who is usually in a hurry, I have no formal training whatsoever in sewing. When I started sewing there were no blogs with fitting information to help you adjust a garment. I only used either Burda or Knipmode and the instructions did not make a lot of sense to me. So like a brave stuntwoman I just delved into sewing. With eyes closed, I’m afraid.

self-made blouse and trousers

self-made blouse and trousers

With the cocktail hurry + no knowledge + a good dose of impatience to finish what I was sewing, the result could be none other than poor. That’s where the hell above comes on stage. That’s why my sewlution for this year was to take things easy, to learn as much as possible and most important, to enjoy the process.

That’s what I am trying to do. Even now, as I write this post.

self-made blouse, jacket and trousers

self-made blouse, jacket and trousers

Back to the cream jacket. It is an old September 2005 Knipmode pattern, no.25. It was my first jacket and I dare not enumerate all of the mistakes and flaws it has. Too many. And yet, as Spring comes, I usually find it to be the perfect garment to put on on chilly mornings. I love the neutral cream colour, the soft and smooth linen fabric and the silky Venezia lining. It is really comfy to wear. So I just overlook the capital sins and dub them into dainty and darling sins. I come to terms with myself and there’s my Paradise Lost back 😉

jacket lining

jacket lining

“L’esprit est à soi-même sa propre demeure ; il peut faire en soi un Ciel de l’Enfer, un Enfer du Ciel.”
– John Milton, Paradise Lost, traduit par Chateaubriand, 1861.

Cela peut sembler intrigant. Qu’est-ce que Me Made May a à voir avec Milton et la citation ci-dessus de Paradise Lost ?

En fait, un certain nombre de choses.

self-made jacket and trousers

self-made jacket and trousers

On m’a demandé de donner des détails sur la veste couleur crème. Euh, un peu gênant, à vrai dire. Cette veste n’en a pas un, mais plusieurs défauts. Trop même. Des défauts ou des «péchés capitaux», pour citer l’expression utilisée par CarmencitaB ici .

self-made jacket and trousers

self-made jacket and trousers

Au-delà d’être une couturière trop souvent à la hâte, je n’ai eu aucune formation en couture. Quand j’ai commencé à coudre, il n’y avait pas de blogs avec des informations de montage pour aider à ajuster un vêtement. Je décalquais les patrons Burda ou Knipmode et les cousais à la machine. En gros c’était ça. Les instructions n’avaient pas beaucoup de sens pour moi, donc tel un cascadeur courageux je plongeais les yeux fermés dans la couture.

self-made blouse and trousers

self-made blouse and trousers

Le cocktail hâte de finir + aucune connaissance + une bonne dose d’impatience pour terminer ce que je faisais ne pouvait donner que des résultats médiocres. C’est là que l’enfer de Milton prend tout son sens. C’est pourquoi ma sewlution pour cette année était de prendre les choses en main, essayer d’apprendre autant que possible et le plus important, prendre plaisir durant tout le processus.

C’est ce que j’essaie de faire. Même maintenant, alors que j’écris ce post.

self-made blouse, jacket and trousers

self-made blouse, jacket and trousers

Retour à la veste crème. C’est un vieux modèle de septembre 2005 de Knipmode , le no.25. C’était ma première veste et je n’ose pas énumérer toutes les erreurs et défauts qu’elle présente. Trop, tout simplement. Et pourtant, dès que le printemps arrive, je la trouve souvent idéale à porter lors des matins frisquets. J’aime la couleur crème neutre, le tissu en lin souple et lisse et la doublure Venezia, si soyeuse. Elle est ainsi très confortable à porter. Je néglige les péchés capitaux et les surnomme péché mignons. Je me réconcilie avec moi-même et retrouve enfin mon paradis perdu. 😉

jacket lining

jacket lining

Me Made May and Happiness

Happiness is not a matter of form, nor does it have anything to do with appearances. Outward appearance, status or wealth does not determine whether one is happy. The essence of happiness, rather, lies in what one feels in the inner recesses of one’s heart, in what lives and reigns in the depth of one’s being.

Daisaku Ikeda

self made jeans trousers and jacket

self made jeans trousers and jacket

Le bonheur n’est pas une question de forme, ni n’a rien à avoir avec les apparences. L’apparence extérieure, le statut ou la richesse ne détermine pas si l’on est heureux. L’essence du bonheur réside plutôt dans ce que l’on ressent dans les recoins profonds de son cœur, dans ce qui vit et règne dans les profondeurs de son être.

Daisaku Ikeda

self made jeans trousers and jacket

self made jeans trousers and jacket

self made jeans trousers and jacket

self made jeans trousers and jacket

So far I am not having trouble standing up for my pledge of wearing at least 1 self-made item for 5 days. I have actually been wearing 1 self-made item every day, thus 7 days a week but… I’m afraid it is not quite manageable to make an outfit photo everyday!

going for a bike ride with self made jeans trousers

going for a bike ride with self made jeans trousers

Jusqu’à présent, je n’ai pas eu de difficulté à tenir mon engagement de porter au moins 1 vêtement réalisé par moi-même pendant 5 jours. En fait, j’ai porté 1 vêtement fait-maison chaque jour, c’est-à-dire, les 7 jours de la semaine. En revanche… ce n’est pas tout à fait gérable de prendre une photo de tenue chaque jour !

going for a bike ride with self made jeans trousers

going for a bike ride with self made jeans trousers

going for a bike ride with self made jeans trousers

going for a bike ride with self made jeans trousers

Me Made May and Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka collapsed building

Dhaka collapsed building

It was a last minute decision. Weeks ago, when I saw the Me Made May logo popping up here and there in the sewing community blogs, I wondered whether I would take part in the challenge or not. I thought about it and decided that, although I appreciated the challenge, I did not want to have “something else” to have to think about on top of all the things I have to do.

Then the tragic event in Dhaka, Bangladesh happened.

Again.

Appaling. Inacceptable that people should risk their lives and die working under such poor security conditions to feed the appetite of the West for cheap clothes.

I decided to stretch my limits and take part in the project. It is a way for me to pay respect to the victims and to protest against the current deplorable working conditions in the sewing industry in poor countries.

This is all the more symbolic as today, May 1st, Labour Day is celebrated in many countries.

This is my pledge:

‘I sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear at least 1 self-made garment for at least 5 days during each week and that for the duration of May 2013’

me-made-may'13

self made blouse and skirt

self made blouse and skirt

Ça a été une décision de dernière minute. Il y a quelques semaines, lorsque j’ai vu le logo Made Me May apparaître un peu partout dans la blogosphère, je me suis demandé si je voulais participer à ce défi ou non. J’ai réfléchi et j’ai décidé que, même si je l’appréciais, je ne voulais pas avoir «encore une chose» supplémentaire à y penser.

Et puis, l’événement tragique à Dhaka, au Bangladesh a eu lieu. Encore une fois.

Effrayant. Inacceptable que les gens risquent leur vie à travailler dans de telles conditions et meurent pour nourrir l’appétit des pays occidentaux pour des vêtements bon marché.

J’ai alors décidé de pousser mes limites et de prendre part au projet. C’est pour moi une façon d’avoir une pensée pour les victimes et de protester contre les conditions de travail déplorables en vigueur dans l’industrie textile dans les pays pauvres.

Cela est d’autant plus symbolique qu’aujourd’hui, le 1er mai, Fête du Travail est célébrée dans des nombreux pays.

Je m’engage à :

«Je m’inscris en tant que participante du Me-Made-May ’13. Je m’efforce de porter au moins 1 vêtement fait par moi-même pendant au moins 5 jours au cours de chaque semaine et ce pendant toute la durée du mois de mai 2013 »

self made blouse and skirt

self made blouse and skirt

self made blouse and skirt

self made blouse and skirt

self made blouse and skirt

self made blouse and skirt