Knock-Offs Knocked Out!

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Above: left, dress from Anna Sui’s Sring 2007 RTW; right, Forever 21’s Maven Top from nitrolicious.com nitrolicious.com

Below: Acne’s cage skirt; Norwegian Wood’s cage skirt; Topshop’s cage skirt

“It’s time for those who rip off the work of others to know that it just won’t fly anymore." – Zac Posen

Where does inspiration stop and flat-out copying begin?

A bevy of designers, including Zac Posen and Diane Von Furstenberg, have been fighting for the Design Piracy Protection Act for quite some time. Currently, no law exists in the US to protect clothing designs from copyright infringement, which is why it’s so easy to buy a knock- off of the handbag you’ve been coveting on Ebay or Canal St.

If this bill is passed, what does this mean for the indie crafting world, as well as the fashion industry as a whole? On one hand, it would ensure that indie designers, who have quite often been victims of intellectual theft by bigger companies are better protected; it would mean that all the hard work gone into designing and creating clothing for sale are not all attempted in vain.

On the other hand, will the bill potentially stifle the creativity of young designers and crafters? Painters and artists often exchange ideas- in the past, this inspired artistic movements. When asked about their favorite fashion designers or influences, fashion students usually have a long list of names they’re able to recite by rote.

How does one specifically pinpoint where design elements come from, or who they’ve truly been inspired by?

Additionally, there are those who argue that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and that if the clothes made by these high-end designers were made more affordable so that everyone would enjoy them, there’d be no need for knock-offs. What do you guys think?

-Amanda

Fashion Goes Underground

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A couple of weeks ago, I went to a show called the Underground Runway- an event held by fashion design graduates of Parsons in New York. Usually, Parsons selects a handful of individuals to show their collections upon graduating, but these kids decided to take matters into their own hands. After a year of hard work and planning, this show was born.

It was my first time attending a show like this in New York, and I was pretty excited! All I could do was mentally take note of what the guests were wearing, and see if I could catch a glimpse of someone I recognized (maybe Tim Gunn, even though he’s given up his position of chair of fashion at Parsons). The space itself was thoughtfully decorated- I loved the contrast between the elegance of crystal chandeliers and the edgy, almost subversive nature of the designs. From bloggers, to members of the media, to family and friends, to anxious onlookers like me, the place was packed!

The designs were, for the most part, fresh, varied, and stunning. Most notable was the emphasis on sustainability- lots of organic fabrics, and even recycled inner tube shoes (second pic from above)! Though there were definitely some covetable pieces for women (sleek screen printed dresses and coats, a breathtaking hand-knit gown, and Sarah Wright’s amazing sportswear), the menswear almost stole the show. Check out David Destefano, So Hyun Park, and Jennifer Chun’s stuff… awesome.

Keep an eye out for these kids- you’ll soon be hearing a lot more about them.

Check out the site for more pics, as well as this site for more pics of the event itself.

-Amanda

Photo Credits:From top to bottom- Sarah Wright, Rachel Ford and David Destefano

Seattle Sewing Club!

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We’ve been getting so many requests from people all over the globe to start BurdaStyle sewing clubs that it’s been a bit overwhelming, but we’re so happy that there’s been so much enthusiasm! It’s awesome when we hear about how the clubs are doing, and this e-mail from Christina Thibault of Seattle, WA pretty much made our week. Or month, actually!

A couple weeks ago, Christina hosted her first BurdaStyle club meeting. According to her e-mail, she took a poll and 7 out of the 9 members of the club had used a BurdaStyle pattern- how great is that?

She even sent us a snippet of her planned class outline for upcoming meetings. From sewing terminology to lessons on indie and mainstream patternmakers, Christina’s club seems to have it all covered… wish we lived in Seattle!

For more info, check out Christina’s blog and profile. If you’d like to join a sewing club or start one of your own, check out our list of clubs across the globe.

Keep ‘em coming guys! We want to hear more about how your BurdaStyle sewing clubs are coming along. Don’t forget to send us pictures as well, so we can feature them on the blog.

-Amanda

10 Quick and Easy Sewing Projects for Father's Day

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Well it’s happened again, Father’s Day is right around the corner and I don’t have the perfect gift for my dad. Luckily, BurdaStyle has 10 quick and easy projects for Father’s day.

  1. For the hot summer days, nothing could be better than a Pete T Shirt
  2. And the Andrew Cardigan makes the cool summer nights comfortable and cozy
  3. Don’t have time to make a shirt? Embroider an awesome design on your dad’s ready made shirt using these: Knot stitch and Chain stitch
  4. Classic and easy, the tried and true Father’s day gift, whip him up an Osman Tie.
  5. Gave him a regular old tie last year? Want something different? Old school style or black tie event, it’s timeless. The David Bow Tie is a great gift.
  6. Dad’s often get together to hang out by the grill. Make your dad an easy BBQ Apron and Oven Mitts
  7. Create a coustom mouse pad and wrist rest to make working at a computer and sitting at the office a little easier.
  8. My dad travels all the time, it’s something in our DNA, we just can’t help it. With that much traveling a simple Travel Wallet can be incredibly useful.
  9. When he does travel, he never leaves home without his Dopp Kit. Make one for your dad today!
  10. And lastly, create a fun, personal and unique hat from an old T shirt

I hope these ideas have helped you figure out the perfect gift for your dad. Happy Father’s Day to all of you great dads out there.

Sneak Peek: Blog

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Similar to the rest of the site, the Blog has become clean and sleek. There are such great and fun new features that have made it a pleasure to read and look at!

Articles are not seen in full length. Instead, you can browse easily through all posts and then, if something looks interesting to you, all you have to do it click “Read on and discuss.” From there you will be brought to the full article where you will be able to comment on the article and on other people comments, but more on that latter.

You will also notice that each blog category is clearly noted and color-coded right underneath the article title, this will make it easier to classify articles and see more from the author. There is also a corresponding color-coded list off to the right, which will help you read up on your favorite series.

You can find most of the new, fun features off to the right. Above the color-coded departments box, you will notice a little button to send us a story idea, we know you have great ideas and we are so excited to hear them! Though we won’t be able to write every story, we can’t wait for you to be involved in the process.

Right below the list of departments, you will see a box that shows you the photo albums associated with blog posts, this allows us to share more pictures with you, so more inspiration and more fun to look at! We will also be able to include video.

We are very excited for everyone to get started with the new site and we can’t wait to hear what you think!

Sneak Peek: Discussions

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Coming closer to our launch some info about the discussion section:

The Discussions section replaces the forums our current site. In the forums you were able to find answers, post questions and share your knowledge of sewing. All that will be able to happen in the discussion section as well PLUS some exciting new features that we are thrilled to share with you.

The new Discussion section houses the former help section as well. Offering the help in this format will allow you to comment on our help and ask additional questions as well as help each other out. The help topics will be clearly indicated as BurdaStyle content and will always remain at the same place in the list.

The design and outline of the Discussions section is more organized and streamlined. You will find it much easier to find exactly what you are looking for.

Once you have asked a question, people’s replies will start to come in, the freshest posts bringing the most active topics to the top of the list. You will be able to reply directly to a discussion topic or post, and replies will be visually indicated through indentation.

We are happy to announce that the long awaited “Report as Inappropriate” button will be under each new topic and individual comment. This helps us keep the quality of the forum up by eliminating spammers thereby making it a better place for all you BurdaStylers out there.

With this optimized design, conversations will flow, answers will be found quickly and questions will be answered. We are excited to see you take part in these discussions and watch you all grow as sewers because of it!

Happy Birthday Nikkishell!

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She has been with us since the beginning and we just wanted to take this opportunity to wish one of our fabulous bloggers a wonderful Happy Birthday!

Sneak Peak: Learning Section

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The fourth sneak peak is about Learning. Under this navigation point we folded the content of the original how to and sewpedia sections.

This new learning section is an optimized place to enhance your knowledge of sewing by picking up a new technique or discovering a new definition. It provides a platform for the step by step instructions of the techniques which refer directly to the terms. The filtering system is optimized for you to find easier the techniques you have been looking for.

Because How Tos associated with projects have been separated from those that are teaching a technique, this section is truly devoted to learning. When clicking through the steps on a technique, you will be able to comment on each step, which allows you to ask questions about a particular step, not just about the how to in general.

There will also be a listing of related terms on each Technique. Having the related terms will help if you aren’t sure of a definition in a technique. At the same time you can browse alphabetically for a term. The Terms, just like the sewpedia, will have a photo and definition associated with it, to help correctly illustrate the definition.

We are excited to have the Learning section, making the teaching aspect of BurdaStyle much more streamlined and user friendly.

Bow Ties Sold on Etsy for the American Cancer Society

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You all sent in so many wonderful and fabulous bow ties that everyone could hardly stop themselves from ogling over them the entire night! We are selling the wonderful remaining bow ties (a few at a time) from the Pink and Black Tie Gala on our Etsy store. All the proceeds from sales of the Bow Ties will be donated to the American Cancer Society, so buy yourself or a friend a fabulous handmade bow tie for a great cause.

Sneak Peak: Pattern Section

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Pattern Section:

Welcome to our third sneak peak of our new site. At this point we can excitedly share with you that we are at this point transferring the data from the old to the new, which means we already had the pleasure of playing with a completely functional new version of BurdaStyle. Our excitement is endless.

Today we will cover the new pattern section. The section is structurally fairly similar to our current site. However you will find immense improvements on the filter and layout. Similarly to the project section you will be able to find patterns according to Garment Type, Style, Material, Season and Difficulty. Other than the inspiring approach of the project section (even though a pattern will not exist without a project) this section is for you to browse directly for the kind of pattern you are looking for.

The detail page indicates more detailed information about the pattern. Next to the technical drawing, you see the image of the flagship project, the creation that was uploaded to represent the pattern. (Note: no pattern can be uploaded without a flagship project.) On the bottom of the page you can find what other users had made out of it, their interpretations and variations.

In our next sneak peak, we will familiarize you with the Learning section. As we get closer to Launch, we will also provide you with more information on how to prepare your data for the big move.

Stay tuned, it’s getting closer!

American Cancer Society's Pick and Black Tie Gala

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At the American Cancer Societies Pink and Black Tie Gala, we had so many bow ties that they couldn’t all fit on the table! We ended up raising $375, selling the bow ties for $25 a piece. Alden was busy tying ties all night long while Benedikta and Nora pulled people in from all across the room. Everyone was very excited to see the bow ties, even though most brought their own to the event. We rounded the night out by cutting a rug to the awesome musical stylings of the Dexter Lake Club Band. Check out our pictures of the night!

After such a great night, we would like to continue this great energy and have decided to sell the remaining Bow Ties on Etsy with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. Thank you for all your amazing work and creations, we are excited to continue this fundraiser through Etsy. We will let you know when we have all the bow ties listed, so you can get to shopping and promoting this good cause!

BurdaStyle is open for design submissions

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BurdaStyle is open for your design submissions!

You are the talent and we want to give you even more room to show it.

Starting immediately we will at all times accept design submissions. Any time you have a fabulous idea for a new piece, send in a sketch of the piece from the front and back as well as a technical drawing. Think about why that piece is not only a perfect design for you, but for all other members on BurdaStyle and write it up in a short essay. Make sure to mention what category you are designing for (men, women’s, women’s plus, children, accessories) and what fabrics you had in mind.

Your design will be produced into a real Burda pattern, famous for its fit! Please keep in mind, producing one pattern for our site is extremely cost and labor intensive. Each pattern will first be drafted in our studio, sewn up, optimized and redrafted until it reaches perfection, this process takes several months.

Afterward, we take it to Germany where it takes another couple of months to be made into a CAD pattern, graded, trued and set into a pattern pdf. While grading it the studio in Germany sews it up several times to make sure it works in all sizes. For each pattern, the German Team will create instructions and technical drawings.

Therefore, we have to choose carefully and select only the best and most versatile designs from your pool.

Submitting a design does not mean it will automatically be produced, we also don’t guarantee to choose any design. Drawing on our experience, we will choose only designs that are valuable for the community and catalog. No style that could be created by altering an existing pattern will be produced. We will choose designs that are unique, stylish and of interest for our members.

If BurdaStyle chooses to produce the pattern, you will get a grant of $160 dollars. A sample of your design will be made up and shot in a professional photo shoot. You will receive pictures in high resolution that you can use to for your portfolio. You will also be proudly presented as the Designer of the pattern and eternal gratitude of the community is yours.

We are looking forward to many submissions in all categories.

Email the following to submissions(at)BurdaStyle(dot)com:


  • Sketch from the front and back

  • -Technical drawing

  • -Short explanation of design’s value to the community

  • Category and recommended fabrics

Show update

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I’ve been back from the Brisbane Stitches and Craft Show for a week. I represented BurdaStyle with a booth and a daily fashion show. I spent a lot of time explaining the ins and outs of BurdaStyle to the older ladies who assumed i was selling the Burda Magazine and they left the booth armed with their postcards and a smile telling me they were off home to check out the site.

The fashion show’s were great and drew big crowds each day. Heaps of school kids on school textiles class excursions watched and got excited and i spotted some BurdaStyle members there too, in particular Caity who was very excited!

Can i tell you how lovely it is to actually see the garments for real!? I’ve fondled some of them and even tried a few on…shhh (if only i could be as tall as the girls in the picture above, i’d want to wear them on the catwalk each day too!) and am patiently waiting the patterns of some of those that are yet to be published here on the site.

Now i’m preparing for the next show in Sydney from August 19th to 23rd. I’m still looking for more volunteers to help with BurdaStyle and Wardrobe Refashion, if you are interested in helping out please email me at nikkishell@burdastyle.com

More photos of the show to come soon.

The Launch of Social Designer

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Felissimo Design House has just launched, Social Designer: Goods for the Greater Good. It is an online marketplace for designers, artists and consumers who want to make a difference. Social Designer promotes social awareness through hosting weekly rotating design competitions online. They invite all individuals to create original art and products that support meaningful causes. Through the votes from the online community and a panel of judges, a winner will be chosen and receive $2,000 and their design will be featured and sold on the Social Designer website.

Social Designer will donate from 20-50% of profits from sales to participating organizations and charities including UNESCO/Tribute 21 DREAM Centers, the American Cancer Society, Aikido International Foundation, SPCA International, Architecture for Humanity, The Edible Schoolyard, The September Concert Foundation, Kiva and 826 National.

This is a not only a great opportunity it is a great cause with great designs. Check it out!

Join a BurdaStyle Sewing Club


View BurdaStyle Sewing Clubs in a larger map

[Updated 7/1/2011] There are over 260 BurdaStyle Sewing Clubs (BSCs) throughout the world, and there may be one in your neighborhood, too!

The Club Leaders are listed by State and City, or Country and City. Feel free to message the leaders to sign up for a group, discuss meeting times and find out the location. Don’t see your city listed? Learn how you can use our Meetup Everywhere platform to start your own.

For a visual depiction of just how many BSCs there are, check out our Google Maps!

How to locate the nearest BSC with Google Maps

Find your nearest BSC by entering your city and state in the Google Maps search engine. Click on the BurdaStyle Sewing Club tabs at the bottom left corner, then check the BurdaStyle Sewing Clubs category. Zoom out on the map to see just how far your nearest BSC is!

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