Fall off the Runway into Reality


Fall is coming- I know, I know, you don’t want to hear it, but I have pulled together a transitional outfit you can wear from now until the holiday season and look fresh & cool depending upon how you style it.

1. Have you made your own motorcycle jacket yet? I made one out of stretch satin once which I used to wear all of the time- until I lost it. Now I plan to make a new one with the Larissa motorcycle jacket pattern. Perhaps this time in silk linen, which appears to look instantly “lived in” for a worn & loved look.

Not into the biker chick look? Our Nadine jacket is a terribly cute staple and gorgeous in velvet for the Fall. She comes in PLUS too.

2. You can never have enough of the perfect blouse and making our Amanda top in chiffon in every color of the rainbow wouldn’t be considered over-the-top seeing how much you’ll wear this- with a camisole underneath and your biker jacket on top. Also available, the Amanda Plus.

Spotlight On: Slow & Steady Wins the Race


Have you heard of the conceptual brand Slow and Steady Wins the Race? I am very late catching on to this label but while I was looking for shoes this Spring I kept stumbling upon these cute wedge heels and flats (which are literally labeled “ballet flat”) by a seemingly understated label. I began to dig for information on the brand. As you can see, the website is set up with chapters,

Amuse Me


The images above are photographs of a few of fashion’s extremely influential women. Beneath each photo are a few examples of how these iconic women’s styles have seeped into modern fashion consciousness. These women are certainly not your typical role models- they stood out for their idiosyncratic fashion style and legendary eccentricities; one paraded around Venice with a pair of leashed cheetahs while wearing live snakes as jewellery, one single-handedly pioneered the modern woman’s new look, one became a muse to some of the 20th century’s most distinguished writers and artists, including Wyndham Lewis, Aldous Huxley, Tristan Tzara, Ezra Pound, and Louis Aragon.

Do you know who they are? Whose fashion sense do you admire? Who (or what) is your muse?

The T-Shirt: How do you style it?


How many t-shirts do you own? Lately, and I don’t know if this is only in New York (nevermind- I think Tokyo wins), I have noticed more t-shirts on girls & boys than ever before. Perhaps it is a reflection of the economy- resorting back to our old faves and personalizing them, or we’ve become more laid back in our fashion sense- and what is a better blank canvas for self-expression than the t-shirt? Or perhaps I ignored the countless band & “expression” tees. I’ve never been one to wear many t-shirts (I think I own maybe 5). Being a designer, I wanted to make knit tops, edgy tops, kooky tops- anything but a t-shirt, but now I seem to have a growing appreciation for the basic or iconic statement a t-shirt can make, which, depending upon how it is styled, worn or adorned, is full of room for interpretation.

How do you wear your t-shirt, I would LOVE to see pictures! What images or statements have you seen on t-shirts that resonated with you? Which ones do you want to disappear?

Credits: Style.com, Street Peeper, LOOKBOOK.nu

Summertime Collage


Greetings readers! I am writing to you from the depths of my imagination where I am on a deserted island swathed in silky prints sipping on a piña colada. Aren’t you just the happiest during summer days?

This month I hand-picked some warm weather looks I am dying to recreate for myself. Using this user-generated simple dress pattern you too can make a lovely printed summer frock. Aren’t the pin-tucks on the hip charming?

I’m seeing bold, bright solids floating down the Resort 2010 collection runways and am inspired to make this other user generated bandeau top dress with bow in cherry red or aquamarine.

Missoni knows how to make a dramatic statement in a flowing floor length dress and so can you with this free, simple pattern.

Does the Marc Jacobs bag (pictured far left) not look just like our Anna Boho bag? They could totally be related. I have yet to decide on which canvas print to make this out of…or should it be suede?

Oh! And I saw the most adorable Fabric Postcard on the site today & need to share it with you all. Have you ever seen one so thoughtful? Whoever gets this in the mail is a lucky duck.

Ciao for now my pretties!

Spotlight On: IVANAhelsinki


IVANAhelsinki is currently the single brand which speaks to my own roots fully. Behind the brand is a sweet faced Scandinavian girl with a sneaky dark side, I’m in love. IVANAhelsinki is an exclusive art fashion brand which delicately brings together Slavic rough melancholy and pure Scandinavian moods.

Behind the brand is the artist Paola Ivana Suhonen who pulls from her dark naive mind-landscapes, northern legends and western romantics, doing prints, graphics, short movies and well, everything that is involved with the visuals. Paola runs the family-owned company with older sister Pirjo. Paola has created an exclusive collection for Topshop and has gone so far as to curate Dress-go-Around where 10 girls are given IVANAhelsinki dresses, are documented in them, then the dresses are passed on to loved ones.

Here’s a special slide show of her gorgeous designs as well.

Paola was kind enough to answer some of my questions below. I hope you enjoy this feature as much as I do:

What is your earliest memory?

We were playing lions in the cage of one Finnish film directors backyard- he actually had had there some wild animals, back in the 20´s.

What is your most treasured possession?

My rescued dog “affe” and my belief in eternal love

What would your super power be?

To sense the ghosts- actually I already have it:)

What is a secret treat that you love?

Old whiskey

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

A good-mad man

Who in your life has inspired your sense of style the most?

My mom in her 60´s bold dresses and silk scarves and huge sunglasses being a young psychoalalytic-chick (sic) She rocks

What is the worst job you’ve done?

Selling matches from door to door—and wc paper—oh, that was a bit too much!

Who would play you in the film of your life?

Maja Ivarsson

What is your favorite smell?

Lily-of-the -valley

What keeps you awake at night?

My endless projects which I just can´t get enough of..

Describe IVANAhelsinki in three words.

“dresses for beautiful girls”

Tell us a joke.

I hate jokes. I´m a serious girl:)

Thank you Paola.

Photos courtesy of IVANAhelsinki. Artwork by alison dahl.

Cut it Out!


Are you following the Cut-Out trend? A bit ‘80s with a dash of young Lolita’s sex appeal, garments with shoulders cut-out and backs exposed were all over the A/W runways this past winter. Do you dig this look? I designed a few open-back pieces for my S/S 09 collection (pictured far right) and have always been a fan of showing a little unexpected skin, as long as it doesn’t cross the line from intriguing to explicit. How far do you go with cut-outs?

Who is cutting it out best? Decolette, Balenciaga, and Sophomore.

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie...


“Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” is a novelty song I grew up singing, telling the story of a shy girl in a very revealing bathing suit who stays immersed in the ocean water to hide from view. But we won’t be hiding this summer now will we, because we’ll making our own swimming attire that we’re proud of!

The image on the bottom left is our very own BurdaStyle bikini. You can easily download the Jessica pattern to customize your own look today. I am opting to make this out of a bold, ethnic print like the images in the above collage or a metallic spandex.

As we should all be well aware (I completely forgot), Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday. This may seem a bit daunting to see your old man in swimming attire but if you’re up to the challenge try our men’s swimming trunks pattern!

One of our users actually combined our bikini top with the men’s trunks to make boy shorts. So cute!

Open Studio: Hammered Silk & Lace Wrap


I heart lace. Did you know that lace-making is an ancient craft? A true lace, or passement is created when a thread of flax, cotton, silk, gold or silver is looped, twisted or braided to other threads independently from a backing fabric. Lace was used by the clergy of the ancient Catholic church and was adopted by many different countries in which people would express their unique artistic heritage through their lace. Saint John Francis Regis kept young girls away from corrupt city life of the early 19th century by employing them as lace-makers & embroiderers- hence his becoming the patron saint of lace-making. Read more about the evolution of lace here.

Do you know who the current patron saint of lace-making is? Christian Lacroix. At least in my eyes. The most amazing, complicated, daring and striking collection I have ever seen come out of his atelier appeared this past Autumn/Winter. His models were adorned in floral, spiraling, twisting lace stockings and garments. I nearly lost my breath when I saw these images. I want to look like them.

And we can. This week’s Open Studio is a tutorial to make a conversation starting lace & silk shawl. We found some lace at Mood, discovered some unused hammered silk in our fabric cabinet, and went to town. Check it our HERE!

The Look: How to Make it Yourself


I’ve been so excited for June to come as this month we’re focusing on folk, vintage and ethnic influences in fashion. Ever since my father had me singing Rolling Stones songs & playing his guitar I have romanticized living in the 70’s- from music to fashion, it was a wild time. This post explains what’s we’re channeling from decades past and how to make these looks yourself!

Look 1: There’s nothing more chic than a soft printed shrug to throw on during a cool summer night. Make a 70’s statement and lengthen it and wear it with jeans or drape the short version over your favorite summer dress. Download the Sarah pattern here.

Look 2: Skinny jeans aren’t going anywhere but forward. Try our Anita pattern and customize your own pair in a metallic linen or brocade. Eliminate the pockets for more subtle look. Not sure about skinny jeans? Try our user’s Chudidar Leggings Tutorial and wear a sultry sheath over them.

Look 3: Mila’s dress is your next summer staple. With so much room for colorful personalization this little frock will make you rock. Check out the pattern here.

Look 4: Sex on the beach? Well, at least you can look sexy in our vintage inspired Alison bathing suit. I love Missoni’s swimsuits but I can’t afford them. I’ll make my own in an ethnic print and spend my money on food & drinks (or rent)!

And don’t forget to accessorize with bright vintage scarves!

Fashion spread pictured top: Steven Meisel. Dhani Harrison and Sasha Pivarova “Here Comes the Son”. Gush

Spotlight On: Alabama Chanin Part 2


Below is Part 2 of my interview with Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin, a coveted lifestyle brand which focuses on slow design and sustainability. To read the first part of this interview click here

Today you are not only creating beautiful things but helping others through your Artists Outreach program, Architecture for Humanity and The Kitchen Sisters. I know you’ve studied Environmental Design and film, but how does one relay a political message, while being taken seriously, through fashion?

I am not sure that we truly relay a political message (or can), I just know that it is very, very important to do what you love in a way that protects people and planet. I choose to work by example and then hope that my experience can spread and give others hope that they can do what they love. I have often been asked if I am political in one way or another… As we all know, this is a time of great change and I believe in taking small, baby steps towards initiating that change. Is that grassroots politics? Maybe.

Lastly, how hands-on are you in the production process today, I realize you have a talented team of artisans hand-sewing items for Alabama Chanin, do you create all of these concepts alone or do you have a partner?

We have the most amazing team of employees and artisans who are truly the heart and soul of this company. Without these friends and colleagues, none of the work I do would exist. And while I am the designer/owner and do not technically have a partner; our team is the best example of partnership I have ever experienced.

Click here to see the Behind-The-Scenes Slideshow, trust me, it is not worth missing!

You can view Natalie’s book Alabama Stitch Book in our A-Store.

Spotlight On: Alabama Chanin


Natalie Chanin is a mother, designer, writer, manufacturer; a soulful woman to whom quality of life comes first, as in living, loving, laughing. It comes as no surprise that Natalie has created a coveted lifestyle brand Alabama Chanin, which focuses on slow design and sustainability. Chanin created her first American couture label Project Alabama in 2000, which to much dismay shuttered it’s doors in ’06. Project Alabama came from a cut up t-shirt Natalie manipulated and hand-sewed herself. “That hand-sewn shirt hatched a company, a concept, a clothing line and ultimately brought me back to my family, childhood home and community.”

Natalie was kind enough to answer some of my questions, this is Part 1 of our conversation:

You have been creating garments in the Upcycling vein ever since your first line, “Project Alabama” came to light. These garments, which are literally “passed from hand to hand, and generation to generation” represent something very unique. How did it all begin?

The old story of me cutting apart a t-shirt and sewing it back together again for a party is really the basis of the company I own and run today. I sewed that t-shirt because I wanted something special to wear. What I found out was that it had been a very long time since I had made something with my own two hands. That process of making rather than buying excited me. I got up the next morning and started making another shirt, then the next day another, and the next day another. Those upcycled shirts became a t-shirt line, then a collection and today what I would consider to be a lifestyle.

I remember when “Project Alabama” was nominated for the Council of Fashion Designers in America/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2005 while shortly after the couture line closed its doors. What happened?

Yes, that was a year of highs and lows. We were nominated for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award and were finalists for the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund. Then in September of 2005, had our first fashion show and wound up on the cover of Women’s Wear Daily. One year later, almost to the day, we closed Project Alabama.

As happens, things change, people, companies and concepts grow and take on their own lives. The Project Alabama that I started closed in September of 2006 and the company that I loved grew into what is now Alabama Chanin.

Project Alabama still exists; however, it is no longer produced here in Alabama, as was my original intention (I understand that the total production is now housed in India); the offices are no longer housed in Alabama, as my original vision of community dictated and the line is not designed by me, as many people still believe.

At the time Project Alabama closed, it felt to me like the end of the world; however, sitting here today, it feels that the world is just beginning.

Click here to see the behind-the-scenes slideshow, trust me, it is not worth missing!

You can view Natalie’s book Alabama Stitch Book in our A-Store.

Read on with part 2 of the series.

"It's that damn Hansel. He's so hot right now!" -Zoolander


…and ruffles are so hot right now too. Yes, I am seriously mad about ruffles. You can add them to an existing piece of clothing or to an accessory which you don’t use anymore, or design a new piece inspired by ruffles, like our Kristen dress.
This week we are not only bringing you this darling Curved Ruffle Clutch tutorial, we have also created a Ruffle Overview Extravaganza for those who want to be in the know on how to pucker and purse your way into any fabric.

I would LOVE to see how Burdastylers ruffle their way into these projects. Enjoy.

Editor's Pick: Open Studio


This week’s Editor’s Pick is an Open Studio project you can make at home with few supplies and scraps of fabric. We have been inspired to create some clever projects to accessorize your formal look this Spring as we know Spring is the season for proms, weddings, baby showers & graduations! What better way to say something meaningful than with a hand-made gift, or add a little sunshine to your own world with this how-to.

If you missed our Gold Clutch How-To this month you can make your own evening bag with the steps provided here. Do you know what a Facinator is? I didn’t either, but it is something charming to wear in your hair, thanks to Layla’s How-to you can make one too.

Editor's Pick: Make These Top Looks Yourself!


Match the numbers of the looks above with the pattern numbers below to find patterns, how-tos and inspirational notes for these looks.

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, hand and hand with warmer spring days. This month we are offering a romantic approach to fashion featuring chiffons, ruffles and feminine touches. Whether you want to create a lovely gift for Mom, or need to make the perfect spring accessory, here are some projects to get your juices flowing!


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