Featured Member: Stacysews

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

If you talk to my mother, she would mention that when I was little, I used to ‘design’ Barbie clothes. Apparently, I spent a great deal of time drawing elaborate gowns for her and at times trying to sew them up (by hand). I didn’t use a sewing machine until an 8th grade home economics class where we were told to follow a pattern to sew up a sweatshirt. Unfortunately, that garment didn’t turn out quite as expected! I didn’t try using a sewing machine again until 8 or 9 years ago (I made a pajama set for my daughter and had much better results) – and I haven’t stopped sewing since!

2. What role does sewing play in your life?

Sewing is my way to relax, unwind, and express my creative side. I like sewing things for myself, family, and friends – trendy garments, bags, even an occasional quilt…just about anything that requires fabric and thread! If I’m not sewing on my machines, I try to find some time each day to either trace or cut a pattern, read sewing blogs\websites and magazines, cut fabric, or shop for fabric to add to my stash. Did I mention that I’m a self proclaimed fabric junkie?

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

While I don’t mind making modifications in my patterns or even tweeking the fit of a garment during it’s construction, I really don’t like having to make alterations to finished clothing (like ready to wear). I don’t even like having to re-sew on a button if it’s fallen off!

I really like the whole process of taking a piece of fabric and turning it into something new and beautiful. And like everyone else, I can’t wait to get to the point where I can try the garment on and see what it’s going to look like once it’s finished! It’s also very rewarding to be able to wear your new outfit out (or show off a new bag) and be able to tell people that you made it yourself.

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

One of my favorite things to make are costumes. They lend themselves to endless design and embellishment possibilities, not to mention the fact that you can wear absolutely anything and no one will think a thing of it! For quite some time I’ve wanted to make a gown from the Renaissance period – I believe this would be a perfect way to play with lots of fabrics, trims, embroidery designs, and other adornments that will really bring the garment to life. I would also like to try my hand at making an art quilt – I think it’s amazing that you can take scraps of cloth and turn them into fabric portraits, fantastic abstract designs, or landscapes that can hang on a wall!

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

I love the idea that Burda Style is an all inclusive community – you can talk to talented people who share the same passion as you (fashion and sewing), if you don’t know a sewing term you can look it up on the site, you can see other member’s creations, and you can even learn new tips and tricks in the how to section! My favorite part about the site has to be the patterns, though. Not only are they trendy and stylish, but are always available in the comfort of your own home (perfect for those late night sewing inspirations)!

I’m very excited about some of the upcoming changes as Burda Style moves from beta testing to their official launch! What I am most looking forward to getting notification of comments posted to my finished garments, how to’s, and forum threads. I think it will be a perfect way to keep on top of the site!

Stacysews also just created a podcast about BurdaStyle, which you can check out here
If you want to find out more about Stacysews, check her member profile, her website and her
Etsy store!

Featured Member: Mirela

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

As a child, I started sewing using a little toy sewing machine, making pretty dresses for my dolls. I remember as if it was yesterday although it happened about 17 years ago: I was watching my mother sewing a pink outfit for my birthday party and I loved that outfit! It was the first time I showed interest in sewing. Not long after, I started sewing myself and made a circle skirt for my Barbie doll out of leftover pink fabric. The first real clothing item I made for myself was a classic plaid shirt. All along the way, I had benefited from assistance and help from my mother, to whom I cannot give enough thanks for instilling in me her passion for sewing.

What role does sewing play in your life?

I try to keep sewing from taking over my life. Although sewing is my hobby, it requires a lot of time and passion and I try to fit it into my schedule without ignoring my family, friends, or other domestic activities. Sometimes I feel like something is missing if my drawers do not overflow with fabrics. Sewing is a time when I can be myself, with my own imagination trying to shape it into reality and Burda has played a major role in making this possible.

What is your least favorite and what is your most favorite thing about sewing?

I enjoy sewing something from start to end but I dislike making alterations to existing clothes. I’m very patient when I sew, but when it comes to using the seam ripper too often, I can get a little bit frustrated.

After filling a shopping cart with fabrics, my favorite part is seeing them take shape. I like that first fitting session, where I can finally see how the outfit will look like. If it looks good and I get positive feedback from everyone, especially my husband that is the most rewarding experience. It is amazing how Burda patterns speed things up so that I can start sewing in the morning and have a beautiful and unique dress ready for the evening out.

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

Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamt about sewing my own wedding dress and that dream came true. Now, I would love the chance to sew wedding dresses again for my girlfriends when they get married. Even with classic designs, wedding gowns allow so much room for creativity plus they get to be worn at one of the most special events in one’s life. As far as future projects, I’d like to make fun toys and blankets for my nephew Ryan, but also try something different like sewing kite surfing equipment. Right now, I’m working on high waistline dresses in collaboration with a friend who hand crochets the bustier part.

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

I love the fact that BurdaStyle is about open source patterns. I really appreciate the fashion collections and patterns available as a free download. I look for inspiration and ideas on BurdaStyle, and the members are very talented persons from which I have a lot to learn. I also enjoy the tips posted in the How Tos database would love to see more instructional videos added.
As an improvement to the site, I would like to see notifications to help stay in touch with what’s going on in the BurdaStyle community. I’m also looking forward to seeing how BurdaStyle will integrate with Etsy stores.

Mirela is anxious to find out more about other users and said that our last featured user Squirrellypoo almost took the words out of her mouth. If you want to find out more about Mirela (who also shares many How Tos), check her member profile, her website Cutting Edge herphoto gallery of things she’s made and her Etsy store Everywear!

Featured Member: Squirrellypoo

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We would like to introduce to you a new blog category: Featured Member! Many members of the site have been very active and supportive, and we think they should be in the spotlight. We prepared a set of questions that will be posed to the respective user.

Today we are featuring Melissa Fehr, known to the sewing community as Squirrellypoo.

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

Like most people, my first sewing experience was in Home Ec class at school. As part of the curriculum we did a “sewing machine driver’s test” where we had to trace progressively curvier lines on an unthreaded machine and got points deducted for any needle punctures not on theline! My mother always had an ancient 70s green Kenmore sewing machine while I was growing up but I didn’t really get interested in sewing until I moved abroad and my sister-in-law gave me her old machine when she upgraded. So even though I made the odd (very poorly made and often misguided) item on my mother’s machine when I was younger, I count as my first item a kelly green A-line skirt with a white satin ribbon trim since it was the first thing I made myself on my own machine. I wore it every summer right up until last year, when I lost to much weight for it to stay on my hips!

What role does sewing play in your life?

Sewing is my main hobby, and my #1 way to relax in the evenings. I used to be very artistic when I was younger, but lost the knack for drawing when I was at university and too busy to practice much, so sewing is also my main creative outlet. Where others might sit in front of the tv or surf the internet in the evenings, I’m usually in my sewing room,
sewing a seam or two or pressing a few pieces or tracing out the patterns for my next project. I’ve always got at least one project on the go, and I’m always thinking about three projects in advance, so by the time I actually get to sewing something up, I’ve already been thinking about it and planning it in my head for a few weeks!

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

My absolute favourite part is the first time I get to try on the garment I’m making, even though it means getting stuck with pins, as I can actually see how it’s going to work on my body as the finished product. I love my dressmaker’s dummy, but there’s just something about seeing it on yourself for the first time that makes it that much closer to reality.

My least favourite part is any hand-sewn hem! I’m far too impatient to sew at a handstitched pace and the hem is usually the last part of a garment. By that point, the hem just seems like an afterthought that needs doing in order to officially move it into my wardrobe!

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

Last year I actually fulfilled two long-term sewing dreams – I made a full Santa costume for my father, who looks so much like Santa Claus anyway (big belly, white beard, belly laugh, and big red nose!) that on Christmas Eve he fooled my young nice and nephew for about twenty minutes in the costume! My other accomplishment was making the dress of her dreams for a very good friend’s 30th birthday. She chose a pattern and the fabric and was involved at every step and looked absolutely stunning at her big party. She’d done so much for me over the years that it was really fulfilling to do something so nice for her.

So right now I’m still so thrilled with both of those that I haven’t got any huge aspirations beyond my smaller upcoming plans for myself!

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

I really love the whole concept of BurdaStyle, that it’s moving sewing into something that can be hacked and adopted into something that’s completely yours, instead of being rigidly implemented by a few select companies and must be done a the set way. You don’t even need to go out and buy a pattern, you can do it all at home no matter where in the world you are and have something fabulous you can share with others. I love seeing creations that others have made which made me look at patterns in a new way – ones I didn’t consider before are suddenly coming alive in my mind as my next project!

I’m really pleased to hear you’re bringing my suggestion of a fabric-amount-to-pattern calculator into the next phase of the site! That’s something I’ve always wanted, as I tend to overbuy fabric and I’m often left with odd amounts that are too big to throw away but too small for most patterns. So having a way to plug in a measurement and be told what I could make with that amount is really exciting!

You can find out more about Melissa in her blog Fehr Trade and here you can have a glimpse into her sewing room!

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