Featured Member: Nelliethemermaid

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I was born in England but my parents emigrated to New Zealand when I was a baby, so that makes me a kiwi through and through. My family home is in Stratford, a small town with a beautiful mountain but now I live in the city of Hamilton with my husband and Oscar the dog.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?

My mom sews, so when I was younger I learnt (basically) how to use a sewing machine by being her assistant in sewing curtains, costumes and my prom dress. The first wearable item I assembled, all by myself, start to finish, were the Jane pajamas about 8 months ago.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

I really enjoy practical, creative things so sewing fits that perfectly. My husband is usually occupied outside in the vegetable garden on the weekend so that leaves me time to have a good sewing session. In the evenings he comes inside and cooks me dinner so I don’t have to stop sewing! I’m sure our friends think we are old before our time.

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?

My favourite thing is reading instructions! I love instructions!! Haha. Just by following steps (even if you’re not quite sure what you are doing) you can take a flat piece of material and turn it into a piece of clothing! My least favourite thing is actually fabric shopping! Hard to believe? I love the idea of shopping but once I get to the fabric store I feel a bit overwhelmed and under experienced. I start second guessing my choice of fabric and end up just staring blankly at the bolts.

I do look forward to having the experience to step away from the step by step pattern and be able to make my own adjustments or to adapt and recycle clothing like some of the other members have.

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

Hmmm, something special for my brand new niece (born 7.1.09) as she is just about all that is occupying my thoughts at the moment.

(Also, maybe a pair of tight, leather trousers for Rob Thomas because then perhaps I’d be lucky enough to do an in-person fitting?)

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

I think that if I hadn’t come across Burdastyle then I would not have been so quickly hooked on sewing. It is great to have easy access to patterns and all the helpful tips. Without these, as a beginner, I would have just given up I think.

When trying to decide on a pattern to sew I find it really helpful to browse through all the other members creations of the same pattern, to get a really good idea on what the end article looks like. Much better than the envelope patterns that you buy at a store where there might only be a single illustration.
I love seeing other members’ creations and also find it interesting to read their blogs etc.
Sorry, I really can’t think of anything that can be improved!

7. What is your motto?

To be true to yourself, always follow your own heart, mind and soul.

Nelliethemermaid has some absolutely beautiful creations, my personal favorite is her JJ variation. To see Nelliethemermaid’s top ten favorite creations and inspiration, check out her silde show!

Featured Member: Emrichkh

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I live right on the foothills of the Rockies in Loveland, Colorado 45 min outside of Denver and 30 min from Rocky Mountain National Park. Its a beautiful place to live.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?

My first post on BurdaStyle was first creation, a little bag for my daughter. My grandmother is a very talented seamstress and quilter but I have never tried my hand at sewing until just recently. In school I studied graphic design. I made my own portfolio book and wanted to use fabric on the cover. I then discovered Amy Butler which led to other fabric designers and I was in love! I had a feeling that I would really enjoy sewing and already knew that I thoroughly enjoyed fabric. My mom surprised me with a machine this past Mother’s Day and I’ve been sewing ever since.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Sewing is a huge creative outlet for me. It was a difficult transition from being a full-time art student, a social one at that, to being a full-time stay-at-home mom. I love being able to make beautiful, or darn cute, things and then watch them get used, worn, and loved on. I especially enjoy making things for my kids. They inspire much of my creativity.

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?

My favorite part is watching a piece come together and take form, especially when it’s coming along nicely :). My least favorite part, in agreement with many others, is ripping seams. Refilling bobbins can be a nuisance as well and always seem to run out right in the middle of a project.

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

I’d like to make myself a piece of clothing eventually. I’d also like to make something nice for my husband. I haven’t gone there yet because it takes more fabric and time. I have a two-hour naptime window to work with :). My daughter is almost three and she gets so excited when I’m making her something and then lights up when she sees it finished and gets to use it, so she’s my favorite person to sew for right now.

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

Initially I was looking online for free patterns. For the record you provide the most beautiful patterns out there. I found so much more than that on this site. I love seeing everyone’s creations and ideas. I also really like being able to see the patterns constructed and worn by everyday people, it gives me a better idea of how the clothes fit and look. It’s great to see all the variations and creative license people take as well. My favorite part about BurdaStyle is giving and receiving comments. It’s fun to “meet” so many different people and everyone is so encouraging, it’s great. No complaints here :).

7. What is your motto?

I don’t really have a motto. I’d say currently mine seems to be, “Why clean house when you can sew?"

Check out Emrichkh’s Top Ten favorite creations on BurdaStyle. She also has a great blog in which she talks about her life, kids and of course creating.

Featured Member: fabricaddict

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I was born in Durban South Africa (on the coast), and still live here – South Africa is a beautiful part of the world. I spent a year in Houston TX as an exchange student after finishing high school and enjoyed experiencing the American way of life.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?

My mom sews very well – she has a magnificent Bernina sewing machine that she got for her 21st birthday! When I was younger she tried to teach me to sew but I would always get impatient and she would end up finishing the task for me. About 5 years ago I joined a sewing class and started learning to sew properly. The first thing I made was a knee length straight skirt with darts. I still go to sewing class every Wednesday with 6 other ladies, we have a brilliant sewing teacher. We often do more talking and drinking tea than sewing but everyone looks forward to our ‘girl time’ on Wednesday nights!

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

I don’t know what I would do with myself if I didn’t sew!! I am always thinking of things to make and dreaming up outfits and if a weekend goes by that I don’t get to sew it doesn’t feel like a proper weekend! I try not to buy clothes, if I see a garment I like at the shop I come home and try to make something similar. It is hard to justify paying a lot for clothes when you sew! The problem is I am running out of wardrobe space because I have way too many clothes now!! I am currently making myself some maternity clothes.

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?

My very favourite thing about sewing is fabric shopping – I have an obsene amount of fabric and have run out of storage space – my husband threatens to ban me from going to any more fabric shops until I use up my stash!! I love seeing how a garment of clothing that fits perfecly is born from a roll of fabric simply lying at the store. I also really love Indian saris – my mom and I go to the fleamarket at 7am on a Sunday to find these treasures (which are always less than a dollar each!). I also love embellishing garments with sequins, lace or ribbon and adding small details to make items unique. My least favourite thing is finishing items like the hemming or the button holes…(my very worst!) although my Bernina makes nice button holes and this has lessened my phobia slightly!

Last year I started my own clothing range called Yay! clothing. I had a seamstress who helped sew but I was cutting out all the garments myself every evening and on weekends, and sewing the samples. On Saturdays I would have Open Days where people could come and buy the clothing. I really enjoyed doing this and sold over 200 garments but it got too tiring and stressful because I also have a full time 8-5 job in marketing. One day I would love to do something like this again, my dream is to open a shop that only sells beautiful dresses – to wear in the day or evening.

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

I am having a baby in April and am really looking forward to making this new little person in our lives some clothes and toys and decorating the nursery. We are finding out if it’s a girl or boy tomorrow and then I can go fabric shopping for nursery material! I can’t wait! If it’s a girl I am hoping that she will grow up to love sewing as much as I do.

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

I really really love the BurdaStyle site! The patterns are amazing and always fit so well and there are such fashionable designs. I am very inspired by all the members who sew – I love viewing other peoples’ creations, seeing their unique take on garments and I love the fact that BurdaStyle is a community of like-minded people from all over the world.

I don’t think there is much to improve at all – I love the new design of the site. I would like there to be a list of members somewhere, maybe categorized by country? I would also like to see what patterns people use if they are non Burda patterns.

7. What is your motto?

“Be compassionate and take responsibility for each other. If we only learned these lessons, the world would be so much better a place” – I’m not sure who the author of this quote is but I try to live my life like this. In SA we have many problems, but if we all helped each other out and shared more, things would be better.

fabricaddict has over 50 incredible creations that she has shared with the community, and some really cute dogs. She has inspired many people and I hope she keeps up the great work

Featured Member: Emlj

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I come from Sheffield, UK and after much moving and traveling I now live and work in Norwich, UK

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?

Well I only just started sewing properly about 6 months ago! I tried to make a skirt a couple of years back but it was a disaster and I just gave up. I thought i’d give things another go now after I came across BurdaStyle and I’m glad I did! I think I started by making the Marie skirt

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Oh really a big role now..it’s a bit addictive right!? I have quite an intense professional job so it’s wonderful to have a creative outlet in the evening to keep happy and sane :-) I’m forever cluttering up our living room with sewing bits and scraps of fabric everywhere!

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?

Well, I just love it when a plan comes together…when you can make something that is like you had imagined it to be. I like choosing the fabrics and seeing them for the pieces and putting them together. I think my least favourite is having too many ideas in my head and not enough time or skill to transfer them to real life….and of course when things do not turn out right..and my machine…which constantly breaks and drives me crazy!!

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

I think I would just love to make something for friends and family, something quite special such as a graduation dress for my little sister. I’ve never tried any men’s clothes either so it would be nice to be able to make smart trousers or a shirt for the other half :-)

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

I came looking for free patterns originally and then discovered this whole community on BurdaStyle! I’m rather new to this whole Internet community thing so it is quite wonderful that this place exists and everyone is so willing to share knowledge and their ideas, it’s very admirable. Not quite sure what could be improved really…more patterns?! is that greedy!?

7. What is your motto?

Some days you’re the dog, some days you’re the hydrant!

Emlj has awesome creations, look at these shorts, how cute are those? For a novice she certainly has a great hand for creating.

Featured Member: fraufröhlich

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I was born in Vienna Austria and am back living in Vienna Austria

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?

The very 1st thing I made was an old baby sock of mine I decorated with a few stitches in light blue wool with a very thick needle. I must have been 4 years old or so. my grandmother was a seamstress and my mum had a huge drawer with needles, buttons, threads, wool, fabric scraps, felt flowers and so on. luckily I was allowed to go in and out of there as my heart desired – it was sort of mine after a while. my mum had 2 left hands when it came to knitting and sewing. so I also taught myself crocheting and knitting when I was about 6. I sewed skirts and curtains for my Barbies until finally at age 11 we were doing a skirt in school. after that my mum decided it was time to unpack my grandma’s old sewing machine. and that was the stepping-stone for my future. at age 15 I attended a fashion school and graduated age 19.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

sewing plays a very big role in my live. it always did. I am always looking at clothes: how the seams are done and new sleeves solution. I do it all the time, during the television, on the street even in my daughter’s school. it is something I cannot stop doing. if someone would take me away from sewing I think I would wilt like a flower.

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?

my favorite is that I can work with different materials, colors and transform a female body into a stunning woman. I can transform ideas myself whenever I want to. the least favorite thing is that I have so many ideas coming in my head that I am not quick enough to see the finished project as fast as I would like to. I guess I am a bit impatient ;)

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

I love making clothes for you, you and you if you are a girl or woman.
there is no special person I would want to see in my clothes, cos I think there are enough famous and rich designers already who let stars shine. whoever would want to wear something I made is heartily welcome, famous or not. I love dresses.

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

on your site I am looking for pattern techniques and, as always, inspiration. I would also love to help others; one problem is only that all the talent I have in sewing and designing I very much lack in computing. so I cannot picture myself making a how to or uploading a pattern. I have two left hands and no brains for that ;oD I don’t think there is anything to improve since I am absolutely happy with what you have done for everyone but it would be cool and I guess helpful though if BurdaStyle would have some kind of information point, were young designers could ask for things like “how do I take the next step” or “how do I best get organized to find a shop which will sell my clothes” or “where are the next trade shows /exhibitions in my location” (for example I as a member could give the information that in April 2009 there is “modepalast” in Vienna, which is a 3 day exhibition for young designers to present, sell & market their creations)

7. What is your motto?

my motto???? life is great and it gets better with every day. I also really like the fact that every day we are getting up, we get a new chance to make things better or different.

I would dare to say that fraufröhlich is one of, if not the most prolific member on BurdaStyle. Her simple-chick creations are so interesting and soothing. It has been a lot of fun watching her work progress. Wanna get to know her better? Take a look at her sewing room and fabric stash Check out her site for more information (it is in German but with be translated soon)

Featured Member: AnaJan

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I was born in Belgrade, Serbia, and that’s where I’ve been living ever since.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?

I suppose I started as a really young child, when I was 5 – 6 years old. I remember I used to make clothes for my Barbie dolls. I have always been interested in various creative hobbies – knitting, weaving, painting. When I was 15 I started sewing for real. I had a huge stash of Burda magazines that my father had been buying to my mother during the years, even though she didn’t sew clothes. So, that was my starting point. I used to recycle old garments and make new ones out of them. I had no one to guide me, so I had to learn by try-and-error method.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Oh, it’s a major thing to me. It is a way to express my creativity, more than a way to save the money (though it does save my money!). Plus, I love manual work, it calms me down when I’m nervous or sad. And the result always cheers me up :).

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?

I don’t like to cut the fabric and interface the pieces – especially when there’s a lot of pieces. I find it very boring. And I love the sewing process and its outcome. Sometimes I can’t force myself to stop and take a break; I get so involved with sewing that I don’t eat nor sleep before the garment is finished.

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

I don’t have any particular person on my mind. But, I love costume parties, and I’d love to make some avantgarde costumes.

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

Ever since I joined this site I increased my sewing skills so much. Members are so cooperative and kind, and I am so grateful for their devotion and time they take to write instructions for some tricky details. In return, I’m trying to participate as much as I can. And, of course, I’m always getting new ideas while browsing through other members’ creations.

And site improvements? Recently I participated in one forum post on the site, and my wish list out there :).

7. What is your motto?

Break your own bounds!

AnaJan has uploaded 69 of her amazing creations on to BurdaStyle. In addition to that she has created two great How Tos and two very popular patterns. Thank you for contributing so much to this site, we can’t wait to see what comes next from you!

Featured Member: Bola

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I live in a town called Thornhill which is south of Leeds in West Yorkshire UK, although I was born in south east London and moved up to Yorkshire a year ago.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?

I think the first thing I made was a scarf. A family friend came to stay for a while when I was young (about 7 years old) and while she was with us she taught me how to knit. I think this is when I started to make things with textiles, before I would just make crafty paper objects and toys. Before I had a sewing machine I would sew cushion covers by hand but they looked awful! I never really thought I would be able to make actual clothing but then my mum (after much pleading) bought me a sewing machine in my mid teens and I started buying simple patterns and trying them out. The first good things I made were a couple of skirts. I got the fabric for the brown skirt from a market stall in Lewisham and for the grey skirt – I found the fabric on the floor after the market had packed away! -although cheap, I still wear these skirts today!! (see homepage pics)

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Quite a big role! I have always thought of my sewing as just a hobby, however since discovering BurdaStyle and all the great creations on the site and on members blogs I would really like to take it further and combine it with my graphic design work. Before I got back into sewing I would only knit things every now and again but now i’m sewing everyday and trying things I really thought I would never be able to make, like jackets and trousers.

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?

My favourite thing would be the sewing up of the garment. I just love how the pieces suddenly transform into something that can be worn. And also altering patterns to see what interesting shapes and details you can come up with . My least favourite would be unpicking seams, it just feels like your not making any progress.

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

I would like to make some dungarees for my husband. He has wanted them for a while but I can’t find a pattern anywhere for him, so if anyone knows please let me know! I would like to try menswear a bit more but at the moment there’s lots for me to learn about womenswear first.

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

I, like some other members was looking for free patterns to use, but I not only found that, but also a wealth of great creations made by people of different backgrounds and abilities – this is what I love! the fact that there are so many inspiring creations and you can easily have your own page to show your creations to others and get feedback, even from those who are thousands of miles away!. Every member has different influences which surround them in their community and country but with the BurdaStyle site even if you’re not in the same country you can still link up and be influenced by them and their creations.

7. What is your motto?

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”
William Morris

I would always seek to try and make beautifully useful things!

Bola only joined a short while ago, but has quickly become one of our most prolific members. Her great eye for design is evident in all of her creations. Visit her at RedBubble to purchase some of her graphic designs.

Featured Member: Annika

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I grew up in a small town called Sundsvall in Sweden. Nowadays I live in Umeå, an equally small town further north.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?

The first thing I made was a midnight blue, asymmetrical absolutely smashing evening gown for my Barbie. In my teens I sewed a little for myself, and I took it up again a couple of years ago, all thanks to BurdaStyle. My grandmother was a source of inspiration. She sewed clothing for me when I was a kid.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

I have a busy professional life, and sewing helps me relax and distracts my mind. And it is very nice to create something with your hands. For many years I tried different crafts, like embroidery, crocheting, but it was all too monotonous for me. Another aspect is the question of consumption. I try to sew more and buy less. I think of sewing my own clothing as ”slow consumption”, (you know, like slow food, only clothing). First there is the shopping of fabrics – fun! Then there´s the entertainment of sewing – more fun! And then wearing your own unique clothing – even more fun!

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?

My favourite things is collecting fabric and planning projects in my head. And sewing them of course. And putting the scissors in a fresh new fabric. My least favourite thing is transferring the pattern to the fabric. I do it on the floor, because I don’t have a big enough table, and it makes my back hurt.

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

A collection of stylish and personal office clothing in eco-friendly materials, for myself. Or something for my husband, a button down shirt maybe. Or for my little brother, who is a very picky customer. That would be a challenge.

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

I come to BurdaStyle for patterns, inspiration from all the member’s creations. I’ve recently started to read more and more ”how to’s”. I also read the blog and the forum. Basically everything on BurdaStyle is of interest. The forum is a bit difficult to navigate. I suspect that some interesting threads are buried. Maybe change the forum so you more easily find recently written replies?

7. What is your motto?

When it comes to sewing, my motto is: ”When in doubt, baste!”. I’m a painfully slow and cautious sewer, and I almost always make a test piece in some old fabric, before starting with the real fabric. I wish I could be more daring, and just whip something up.

Annika’s great creations combine the perfect amount of color and style to create a balanced stylish look. Great Job!

Featured Member: Verypurpleperson

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I’m originally from Jakarta, Indonesia. Earlier this year, I got married to my present husband who’s been living in Tokyo, Japan, for about 10 years; so my son and I moved to our new home here. We’ve been living here for about six months now.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?

I think it was patchwork owl and cat dolls that I sew entirely by hand about 12 years ago. After that, I did take a fashion course for a year. When graduated, I got a job as a fashion stylist in a magazine. Since then, I stopped sewing because I was busy with the job and couldn’t find the time nor the spirit to sew again.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

I’m almost obsessed with it. After moving to Japan, suddenly I have more than enough time for myself. So about 4 months ago, I bought a sewing machine and started sewing again. I sew almost everyday now, sometimes I have to force myself to stop and take a walk outside or do something else. Since I started sewing again haven’t bought any new clothes and I don’t think I want to. Sewing also gives me the chance to make nice outfit for my five year old son.

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?

My least favorite part is when I make mistakes with the buttonholes and have to unpick them, hate those tight zigzag stitches that I have to unpick carefully one by one.

One of my favorite parts is taking pictures of the process. I love taking pictures of fabric pieces after they’re just being cut. Then I know that they will somehow transform into something that we can wear. It’s almost magic to me, and I am part of the magic.

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

A jacket for my husband and more clothes for him. Menswear is more difficult than womenswear or kidswear because the lines and look are so different. Making dresses is easier, I can add ruffles or lace or embroidery to make it interesting, but men’s clothing has to be simple, the details are subtler. It’s a nice challenge, though.

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

Since I found Burdastyle, I visit it everyday to check on other’s creations, reading the how-tos, and of course downloading the patterns. I also like to download the instructions that come along with every pattern, just to read it and learn the technique. I learn so many things from this site. The only thing that I think should be improved is the usability of the site. The forum is a bit confusing now, and it’ll also be nice if we can have date on every post, and maybe some announcement on the front page when our favourite members have just posted a new creation.

7. What is your motto?

If you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up

Verypurpleperson has the cutest collection of clothes I have seen in a very long time. From upcycling to menswear her creations are incredible! Her blog:Verypurplestuffs.blogspot.com provides a a great step by step look at all her creations.

Featured Member: Purplecrayon

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I currently live in Sheffield in the UK but am leaving next year to someplace else when I go to university. My life’s mission is to live in Stroud, a pretty little place in Gloucestershire or somewhere like that.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?

The very first thing I made I think was a pin cushion. It had ‘J’ appliquéd on it. Everyone should have a pin cushion. They’re amazingly useful and save lives:)

I think like so many people I began sewing in secondary school. In my textiles class I really excelled. It was so different from my other more academic subjects and the hands on approach of actually making something individual and useful appealed to me. So I took off from there and have recently been trying to improve my techniques.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Right now it takes up a great deal of my time. I’m either dreaming about choosing fabrics, actually in my local fabric shop buying something or sewing my latest “creation”. I can’t seem to stop mid-project either, this is probably a bad thing, but I’m always too impatient to stop, I need to see the end product ASAP. I’m on my gap year now and so from now up till next Spring I’ll be sewing, sewing, sewing… and wasting too much money J Then I get to travel to Malaysia, yay! I am considering opening an etsy shop later on this year to get a bit of money and join the hand-making craze but I don’t know if I’ll be good enough…. I hope so.

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?

My favourite, like everybody else’s, would be trying whatever I’ve made on the first time and having it fit. Least favourite would be doing all the prep work-marking and cutting, etc. It takes soooo long and can be boring even though I know it’s an essential part of sewing. Oh, no- thought of something worse-unpicking!! That is a curse.

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

That’s a difficult one. I would say a dressing gown for my dad. He rarely buys clothes and since my mum chucked his old holey one away I think he deserves another, better version. He used to live in his dressing gown. And I hear you have one on the way as a future pattern…..?

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

I stumbled across your site by accident looking for free sewing patterns. I was ecstatic when I realized what your site offered. The whole community feel to BurdaStyle works so well and I love that you can see what everyone else makes and draw inspiration from them. I love how the creations make you think outside of yourself too, you get different perspectives of a pattern from a person’s personality. Improvements: maybe a pattern a day? lol

7. What is your motto?

Don’t worry, be happy!

Purplecrayon’s sewing creations can be seen here. We are excited to see more of your work in the future, keep it up!

Featured Member: Ms. Cleaver

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I grew up in Napa, California; spent a few years in Salem, Oregon and Chicago, Illinois; and currently reside in Portland, Maine, where it is the peak of autumn right now and absolutely gorgeous.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?

My mother is an excellent sewer, as is my fraternal grandmother, so I’ve always been around it – I used to to tape together their fabric scraps into outfits for my stuffed animals and dolls. I didn’t really start sewing myself until later. I was fortunate to have a home economics course in 7th grade, so my first official sewing project was a nine-patch pillow cover for class – I got an A. I took up sewing again in high school, took a break for several years, and started going full-bore at it again about a year and a half ago, when I bought my own machine, and I don’t look to be stopping again any time soon!

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

It keeps me lookin’ sharp, often, though not always, for less moolah.

It’s also creative outlet – both in making items and in blogging about them. I keep a blog called Ms. Cleaver Chronicles and I love that blogging about my domestic endeavors, including sewing, knitting, baking and cooking, have helped me to not only connect better with family and friends, but has allowed me entrance into the wonderful world of craft bloggers. It keeps me feeling connected.

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?

My favorite things about sewing are having control of my wardrobe – when I make it myself and I do it well, everything fits right and the shape, style, and fabrics are all exactly what I want. I also love vintage clothes, particularly from the 50s and early 60s, but it’s often difficult to find them in my size, so I love that being able to sew gives me the opportunity to fake it. I’d love it if I could get to where my wardrobe is entirely handmade or vintage.

My least favorite thing is cutting out fabric. I don’t have access to a table large enough, so I usually have to cut out my patterns on the floor, which can get mighty uncomfortable. I also dislike seam-ripping, but it’s a necessary evil.

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

Right now I’m a pretty selfish seamstress, but I would love to reach the skill level where I could design and sell my own clothes or patterns for the everyday Jills and Janes out there. I’d probably start out with some Dior New-Look inspired frock, with a big circle skirt and a scalloped neckline. Though I’m also loving all of pleating and texture in fashion right now, so maybe I’d do something in that vein instead.

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

I really like that all the projects are linked to the patterns – I find it enjoyable and helpful to see what other people have done before I jump into a project myself. I also enjoy the sew-a-longs and mini-challenges, because they push me to do things I might not otherwise have considered. And it’s wonderful having quality free patterns.

I think that the comments section could be improved so it’s easier to find suggestions pertaining to making the garments/pattern review – ie separate, the “you’ll probably need to add darts” from the “can’t wait to make this!” Both are important feedback, but serve different purposes, I think. I’d also love it if non-Burda patterns could be listed or linked in the project pages – sometimes I see a project I love, but it’s non-Burda and I’d like to be able to know if it’s self-designed or a commercially available pattern.

7. What is your motto?

“To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.” -Anatole France

I found this quote on a ring I bought myself as a graduation present. I was about three weeks away from finishing college and had no idea what was going to happen next in my life. it felt very fitting, and it’s still appropriate three years later.

Keep up with Ms. Cleaver on her blog, Ms. Cleaver Chronicles. She doesn’t only sew you know, she also knits very well. Her projects and designs can be found on Ravelry as well.

Featured Member: Lalunanueva

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I was born in Belgrade, Serbia, which is where I live now. I spent a couple of years in NYC and I go there as often as I can.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?

I am not sure what was the first thing I made by myself, as I started sewing when I was very young, helping my mum and aunt. I devoted more time to sewing by myself only a few years ago, when I found the perfect piece of fabric. Its funny, but my sewing machine was broken at the time, so I made a T-shirt by hand.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Sewing is one of the few things in life that I can dedicate myself to completely, and that I enjoy in whole

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?

I dislike the beginning of the process. I don’t like doing the patterns… but, when it comes down to buying the fabrics and finishing of the piece I simply adore it and am capable of working for hours without taking a break until its finished.

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

Nothing special, but I like designing clothes for my friends. It makes them very happy to own something I designed especially for them. At the same time they are one of a kind and unique presents.

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

Thank you, thank you, thank you… I remember the period when I discovered your website, and since then I keep being inspired by all the artistic people on your website.

7. What is your motto?

Reuse, recycle, reduce. At least a third of the things I own (furniture, clothes…) I found at flea markets or found them on the street left all alone in the pouring rain… I love re-designing my mum’s and grandmum’s old clothes, for them to have a more modern look.

Lalunanueva‘s awesome creations are fun and lively, take a look at this pete shirt she created! She has recently made a women’s version of the pete which totally rocks

Featured Member: QueenB

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I live in Laakdal, a small village in the Flemish part of Belgium. The cities of Antwerp and Hasselt are just a 30 minute drive away. We bought our 1950’s house 4 years ago and have completely renovated it ourselves. At least my husband did, I was his clumsy sidekick…

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?

As a young teenager I used to wear skirts all the time. So the first thing I made was a skirt made of a pair of old jeans. My mom showed me how to do it. It was my first experience using the sewing machine.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Sewing didn’t play a big role in my life until a couple of years ago. Before I only sewed to shorten pants or to make curtains. Now it is a true addiction. I’m totally hooked on it. In 2006 I started making lingerie and I opened an online shop on Etsy a year ago. My little enterprise takes up every free second of my time. I’m always designing, promoting, sewing,… and trying to combine it with a full time job as an administrative coordinator.

Besides my lingerie I try to make myself some regular clothing from time to time, using patterns from Burda WOF-magazine and other similar magazines. Most of those projects are posted here on BurdaStyle.

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?

My least favorite thing is transferring pattern on to fabric and cutting it out. It always takes up so much time and I can hardly wait to start sewing.

My most favorite thing is being able to make something exactly how I pictured it in my head. When that happens I can feel really proud. It’s so rewarding making things yourself.

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

If my youngest sister would ever get married, I would love to make her wedding dress. That would be a real challenge, but I’m up for it. Now I only have to wait for her boyfriend to ask her…

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

I visit BurdaStyle a lot, for a lot of things: to find original patterns, for tips/how to’s on sewing techniques that I’m struggling with, to look at other people’s creations (which can be very inspiring!!!), … I have really learned a lot of things visiting this site. And looking at creations from other people has really showed me things that I never even thought of. I like that sewers worldwide now have a channel to communicate and learn from each other.

7. What is your motto?

‘Life is just a moment in space’

I don’t know where I ever heard this, but it says everything for me. I try to take the day as it comes and enjoy life. Life is so short, so you better make the best of it.

QueenB’s work is so much fun, she really knows how to use vibrant color and prints to their full advantage. As she mentioned she has a great online shop full of her fun/funky lingerie.

Featured Member: Serendipity

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I’m from Germany and live in Bavaria.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?

Like every child I sewed some easy things at primary school, for example cushions. But I only started sewing clothes one year ago at a sewing class where I made a skirt and a coat. But the sewing process took so long so I got sick of them and haven’t finished them yet.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

It plays a very big part in my life as I always seem to be thinking about how to sew something or what to do next. I sometimes even cannnot fall asleep at night when I’m in the middle of a project and it won’t get off my mind.

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?

My favorite thing is to find new projects and the right fabric for them and also to alter patterns. The thing I dislike the most is when the whole process of sewing just doesn’t seem to come to an end and all this little details have to be done to get a good result.

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

I’ve sewn some pajama pants for my sisters. But at the moment I wouldn’t dare to make anything else for another person. I don’t have enough practice for that.

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

Every week I look forward to the newest pattern and I really appreciate all the how tos from which you can learn a lot of new techniques. It would be good if the posting dates were shown for every creations.

7. What is your motto?

Am I bovvered?

Serendipity has some wonderful creations! Her creations come from Burda World of Fashion, BurdaStyle and various How Tos.

Featured Member: MadameWu

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I was born in Chojnice, Poland. Chojnice is approximately one hundred thirty kilometers from Toruń where I am studying at Nicolaus Copernicus University.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?

I started sewing when I was six – seven years old. My first models were my dolls and Barbies :). I remember that my grandmother was knitting some tiny sweaters for them too.
I always wanted to sew but I started it for real last year when I realized that we have a sewing machine at home. My very first clothing was a long skirt for my mother – she loved it! That was a success! :) Then I made a dress for Her…, and then I had a few months break. When this year’s summer holiday started I decided that I needed to do something in my free time and then I saw my sewing machine. I guess that was the moment… it became my most important hobby.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Very big! While sewing I forget about stress. It is so calming and relaxing.

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?

My least favorite thing is basting or pinning… when something, for example Anita’s trousers that I made, have a lot of parts… I don’t like cutting either. And my favorite thing about sewing? Well I like putting parts of fabric together… and jump into new clothes or watch other people in them! Especially when they suit well.

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

For everybody who would like to wear my clothes! And well it would always be my mother. I’d like to (maybe soon) try to do something for men. And if I should choose celebrity it would be… I don’t know, maybe Cameron Diaz. She is so slim and beautiful.

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

I found this site when I was looking for some free patterns and inspiration. In my opinion, a site like this is a great place for people who like sewing. It is so interesting to see what other members are doing with basic patterns or at their projects.

7. What is your motto?

My motto is a verse of Wisława Szymborska’s poem “Nic dwa razy” – “Nothing Twice”.

Why are you, the bad hour,

mingling with needless fear?

You are here now – but will be gone.

You will be gone – and that’s beautiful!

MadameWu ’s creations can often be seen on the front page. When you look at her work you can tell she is having fun. Keep up the great work, we are excited to see what comes next!

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