Friday, August 19, 2016

Magazine overload

When I first traveled to Europe I scoured the news stands for pattern magazines. My husband was patient and accommodating when I'd pass one and say "just a sec, let me pop in here." Fortunately magazines don't cost a lot and don't take up too much room in a suitcase. I had a subscription to the English version of Burda through GLP News but that was not enough. I wanted Patrones, La Mia Boutique, Knipmode, Ottobre, etc., etc. The clothes in those magazines seemed more interesting and it was fun to see all the different languages and even more fun to find them during our travels. Truth be told, I mostly browsed the magazines like I would a fashion mag and sewed up a few things from a French issue called "Diana Couture."

When I first moved to Europe I still scoured the news stands for pattern magazines. With unreliable and slow mail service to my APO mailbox, I dropped my Burda subscription and started buying the German issues from the news stand. Although I could get a subscription in Germany, buying them gives me a "mission" every month to visit the news stand. Plus I get to discover - and buy - other sewing magazines I see on the shelves. At first I bought just about everything I found, but it turns out there are a lot of sewing magazines available in Germany, and now my shelves are stuffed. Although I have sewn a few more things from non-Burda magazines, I still have acquired far more than I would ever use. I have had to stop. Well...cut down at least.

I'm not kidding that there are a lot of sewing magazines. Actually there are a lot of magazines period in Germany - they really do like their magazines. Still, I was amazed at the number of sewing, knitting, crochet, patchwork, and other craft magazines that are available - they take up the two top rows of the shelf in the picture below. I've noted all the pattern magazines that have women's clothing (there are 10!) with yellow arrows. But that's not even all that are available in Germany (sometime La Mia Boutique in the international section for example), and I didn't point out the magazines exclusively for children's or baby clothes. By the way, this is a magazine rack in a department store, not a specialty news stand. I often buy Burda and a few others at the grocery store.

Lots of magazines!

Overflow of sewing pattern magazines!

The 10 magazines are:
  1. Burdastyle
  2. Budastyle Plus
  3. Burdastyle Easy
  4. Ottobre Design Woman
  5. Fashion Style (Knipmode translated into German)
  6. Meine Nähmode (Simplicity/New Look patterns reprinted and translated into German)
  7. Näh-Style (used to be Diana Moden)
  8. Nähtrends (Patrones translated into German)
  9. Lust auf Handarbeiten
  10. Sabrina Woman
As for the baby and children issues, I saw Burda Kids and Poppy and something with a name like "Nähen Baby", and they'll have the children's Ottobre issues when they're current. I also didn't point out the crafty-type sewing magazines for making decorative items or toys. The rest of the issues on that first shelf are mostly knitting magazines.

If you are interested in these magazines, you can find them here: The site is in English (or German) and it looks like they ship to the US too. I'm not affiliated with them and get nothing in return for sending your business to them.

I've cut my magazine buying down to Burdastyle, Fashion Style (Knipmode), Meine Nähmode and Ottobre Woman. The first two are monthly, there are about 6 Meine Nähmode issues per year and two Ottobre Woman issues - still a lot of magazine buying! The Burda Plus and Easy issues don't provide me anything more interesting than what I get in the regular Burdastyle. Patrones clothing looks to young for me, so I usually pass. I used to get Näh-Style and Sabrina Woman but their clothes are really basic and essentially repeat everything I already have from them. I have sewn a two things from Sabrina Woman, though. I've flipped through Lust auf Handarbeiten, which is a recent publication, and haven't seen anything to prompt me to buy it.

It goes without saying that all of these pattern magazines have a nightmarish mess of pattern lines to trace. Some are better than others. For as much as everyone complains about Burda, I think they're actually the best ones I have experience tracing. Knipmode and Sabrina are the worst. Knipmode because all sizes from 34 to 54 are printed for each style, and Sabrina because they only use black and red. Actually I think Knipmode only uses two colors also.

The instructions are another issue with pattern magazines. They tend to be short because there can be a lot of patterns packed into one magazine. Everyone gripes about short Burda instructions. Sabrina Woman and Näh-Style are also very brief, but the garments are simple. Ottobre have fewer patterns per issue so they devote more space to instructions. Meine Nähmode reprints the Simplicity and New Look instructions translated into German, along with the illustrations, which can be helpful but the illustrations are very small and sometimes Simplicity and New Look over-explain. I've spent lots of time stumped translating the German back to English only to find the instruction was something basic like "turn right side out." The best instructions I have found are in Knipmode. They print instructions with illustrations for basic things like sewing collars or pockets in the beginning of the instruction section and then refer you to read those sections if and when they come up. You do a bit of page flipping but overall I've found the instructions to be more thorough. But I've sewn a grand total of one Knipmode top and read through the instructions for the top I'm currently making, so what do I know?

Though I've "cut back" (32 magazines a year is a lot!), storage is a problem and it's only getting worse. I hesitate to throw away (recycle) any patterns because you never know when I might want to sew one of them, right? I've streamlined some of the issues by digitally photographing the model pictures in the glossy part and saving only the patterns and the instructions. I tried not buying Knipmode but they keep putting great stuff in their magazines and I can't resist. Digital pdf files are an option - all of Burda's patterns are available through online purchase, and some of Knipmode's as well, but I dislike printing and taping pieces of paper together even more than tracing. I made one pdf pattern and wasted a lot paper trying to get the printout correct.

So what to do? Stay away from news stands I guess! And sew more to justify buying them.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Copenhagen Fabric and Yarn "Hop"!

I'm a little late getting around to this post - time flies! In May I went to Copenhagen, Denmark and had my own little "hop", visiting a number of fabric and yarn stores in the walkable area around central Copenhagen. I always intended to blog about it and now I'm finally doing so.

I'd been to Copenhagen once before and visited the "must-see" tourist places, so this time, while my husband was busy during the day attending and speaking at a conference, I indulged my fiber-appetite and went exploring. Since my yarn and fabric stash is already bulging, I didn't need to shop, however a little bit of shopping did happen.

Prior to the trip I did some research and made up a list of stores to visit. Sadly I found a few were no longer in business, but I did stumble on one new one. Most importantly, it was a great way to tour the city and see some neighborhoods I might otherwise have never seen. I plotted the addresses using HERE maps and saved them as a collection. But since I don't know how to share this collection, and some of the stores are gone anyway, you should probably use your own mapping software if you want to go on a similar hop. If I can figure out how to share the map, I'll update this blog with the link.

I started with the first location in the lower left on Dybbolsgade since it was closest to the hotel and then went in a clockwise direction to visit, or attempt to visit, the rest. The very first location was, in fact, a bust! I could not locate the store and believe it is gone. I'm listing them here in case someone visiting this blog has found the names of those stores on other sites, like I did.

1. Stofresten, Dybbølsgade 68

GONE! I'm pretty sure I found the right address, but I didn't find a fabric store.

2. Stoff 2000 Vesterbrogade 41

New! - Not on my list but right down the same street from the next store on the list and the one I was intending to find.

The Stoff 2000 stores appear to be a chain in Denmark - there is also one later in my tour and when I was researching stores I came across others that are farther from the city center. I popped in and browsed briefly. This store in particular is fairly small, but they have garment, home dec, and quilting fabrics as well as the usual notions. Overall it's a nice, clean, well presented fabric store, it just doesn't have a large selection. I would probably consider this a "go-to" store for general sewing though.

Terrible photo, but at least you can see the sign
 3. Stoff&Stil, Vesterbrogade 20

This is a chain store as well, with stores in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Germany (and it turns out there's one a couple hours from me in Cologne). What struck me first about this store was how clean and well lit it was. The fabrics are displayed in rolls by fiber content and color. It's a large store compared to the other fabric stores I visited, but it's still in the city, so maybe not as large as their other chains might be. Thought they looked to have a decent selection of fabrics for garment sewing, including some youthful prints. I browsed but didn't stay long because I had a lot of stores to visit on my list. In the back section they have lots of notions, some craft supplies, and interesting kits with printed fabric panels, which were tempting but I didn't buy any. They also have yarn and a large selection of what look like their own knitting patterns and sewing patterns.

Note the long row of shopping carts!
Well lit and very clean!
Lots of knitting patterns

From here I walked north along the canal. It was a beautiful day!

May in Denmark is still spring.

Lovely flowering trees

4. Textilhuset, Fredriksborggade 39

GONE! No sign of this store anymore, however there is a Panduro Hobby at Fredriksborggade 36, which can satisfy some sewing and knitting needs as well as probably every other crafting need.

5. Stoff 2000, Fredriksborggade 26.

This is a larger store of this chain, with two separate sections for garment fabrics and home dec fabrics.

Bonus! Right across the street is the Torvehallerne food market. Perfect for a lunch stop!

6. Uldstedet, Vendersgade 3

This was the first yarn store on my tour. It's a fairly small shop with some nice yarns, some imported (Rowan, Katia) and some Danish (Isager). I browsed but didn't buy anything.

Worth stopping by if you're in the area!

7. Stofdillen Aps, Nørregade 36 - GONE!

8. City Sycenter, Rosengården 9

The information I found online had this at number 12 and from the description I think it once was larger than it is today and perhaps occupied buildings on both sides of the street. I could only find the small (very small!) store at number 9. But it was worth stopping. They happened to be having their anniversary sale so fabrics were 20% off. I found some knit remnants I really liked and also some sock yarn that is a mix of wool and nettles. I've never seen yarn made from nettles, so I had to buy it - it's very soft!

Knit fabrics with some interesting texture

Yarn from nettles!

9. Skipper Stoffer, Gammel Mønt 19

This is a dangerous store. Designer fabrics! Oh my. But at about $30/meter (200 DK), I knew that I wouldn't be buying some just to buy designer fabric. There were some beautiful fabrics, but nothing that I had to have, especially since I have quite a backlog of projects and a fabric stash on two continents. I did see names like Pucci and Armani...but I walked away.

Designer fabrics!

10. Handler, Vingårdstræde 19

If you find yourself in Copenhagen and are in need of trim, zippers or buttons, this looks like the place to go.

Fairly non-descript building hiding a rainbow of color inside!


Just one small, colorful section of trim.
Only open from 10 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday, but there is a Danish only.

11. Sommerfuglen, Vandkunsten 3

This was the one yarn store I had visited when I was in Copenhagen the first time a few years ago. I remembered that they had Hanne Falkenberg kits - she's a Danish knitwear designer and I recall her kits being popular, albeit expensive, purchases among the knitters at the Stitches knitting conventions. Since the kits are about 1/2 the price when you buy them in Europe, I thought maybe I would buy one from this store. But ultimately I changed my mind when I saw an Isager (another Danish designer) sweater sample on display in the store. I purchased the yarn for it and was able to buy the English version of the instruction book online after I returned home. It's from the book "Amimono Room 606", if you're interested.

Nice yarn store close to the center of Copenhagen
This is the sweater that caught my eye

Yarn for the sweater

Yarn for the cuffs and bands and back yoke

 12. I.W. Hvidberg, Løngangstræde 25

The last stop on my grand fabric and yarn store tour is actually the oldest fabric store in Denmark and maybe even Europe. It dates from 1780. I was a bit intimidated when I stepped inside, because it looked as if it was only a place for ordering fabrics for suits that they would then make for you. But if you wander in farther you'll find a back hallway stuffed full of fabrics and there's a small basement "maze" crammed with silks, cottons and other fabrics. No bargains here, but the fabrics are nice.

The ugly store front certainly doesn't say "1780" 

Serious suit fabrics

Beautiful wool

Whew! It was quite a long day to visit all of these places. I actually did my scouting trip on one day and then returned to City Sycenter and Sommerfglen to buy my goodies.

I hope you enjoyed the tour, and now if you go to Copenhagen, you'll know where to shop!