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Peter's 30 Sewing Dos and Don'ts

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Editor’s Note: I want to start this post by saying what a pleasure it has been having Peter on board with us here at BurdaStyle. He has brought a unique and personal approach to both sewing and fashion and we will miss his weekly doses of witty commentary and technical prowess. Thanks again, Peter!

75 Sex Tips!

55 Things You Can Learn About Him in 10 Minutes!!

38 Ways to Get Rid of Belly Fat!!

If you read magazines, you know that people love a good list. And lists are just as much fun to write as they are to read. Well, almost.

Couture Classes

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You may prefer quick sewing to lengthy couture hand sewing, but one thing is sure – couture sewing classes are in demand.

Earlier this April I contacted Claire Shaeffer, author of Couture Sewing Techniques and instructor, asking for information on her Chanel suit class. Imagine my surprise when I learned that all classes for 2011 were full and the first available class was in January 2012!

Pre-Shrinking Interfacing -- Do You or Don't You?

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Readers, you know that saying that goes “the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know”?

A while back, I was interfacing the collar and cuffs of a cotton shirt I was making, using a hot iron at a medium-low setting, no steam, and pressing for 10 seconds. (The way I’d always done it, which I’d learned…I can’t remember where!) The results were not encouraging.

Learning to Sew: Peter's Top Ten Tips!

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I am often asked how I learned to sew and what advice I would give beginners. Since I started sewing only two years ago, it’s all very fresh in my mind!

So here, in no particular order, is my entirely subjective, highly biased top ten tips list:

Into the Cloth: The Science Behind Various Fibers

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Jeremy Fordham is an engineer who is excited about encouraging dialogue in unique spaces. He contributes to resources promoting Ph.D. programs and is an advocate of sustainability and green energy.

Fabrics are an essential part of everyday life. From their functional purposes as clothing, carpets and curtains to their to aesthetic incarnations as wearable art, fabrics have enriched human existence for centuries. While cotton, wool, silk and linen have been utilized by cultures around the world for generations, scientific research over the last century has yielded a plethora of new, synthetic fibers. While these innovations have made lives infinitely richer, they have also greatly complicated the arts of sewing and fabric design.

Toile, Anyone?

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Do all garments you sew fit perfectly, readers? Pockets are where you wanted them to be, the neckline is not gapping and is high enough, and there is no ugly pulling on the back of your pants?

I have to confess, my early sewing attempts had a rather low success rate. Whatever didn’t end up in a UFO bin, was worn once at most. This is when I started this self-imposed couture challenge – I really wanted to wear every project I cut, with dresses that fit, trousers that don’t pull, and jackets that have flattering proportions for my figure. Have I achieved it? Yes! With the help of a toile [twal], or trial garment.

Avoid the Homemade Look with the Right Sewing Tools

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Getting asked “Did you make that?” by friends and family is a loaded question: Are they asking us because they know we sew and are making pleasant conversation, or because it looks—horrors—homemade? Michael Kors routinely cuts Project Runway contestants down to size by telling them their fashions look “Becky Home Ecky.” A popular fashion blog recently described a celebrity’s clothes as having “a tendency to look a little home sewn…you can see the darts at 20 paces.”

Why I Bother Sewing With a Treadle

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Readers, have you ever sewn with a vintage treadle sewing machine? Have you ever wanted to?

I bought a 1920’s-era Singer treadle a few months ago, and I use it all the time. It’s not the only sewing machine I sew with, but it is one of my favorites.

I was making men’s shirt on it recently, and I thought to myself: Why am I putting myself through the trials of treadling? I could certainly make an equally-good-if-not-better-looking shirt faster on one of my many mechanical machines, like my precise, fully-electrified Singer 15-91. It’s not as old as my 1920 Singer 66 treadle, but it’s still nearly 60. Isn’t that enough? The short answer is no!

Grommets: A Hole Lotta Style

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I thought it was about time to write a short, simple post on an unheralded style trend of which I’m quite fond: grommets. Now, there’s nothing terribly exciting about a grommet, which probably explains its lack of broader adoption in the fashion world. This functional little ringlet, whose name originates from early the 17th century French word “grommette,” (i.e. the curb of a bridle), made its debut as functional detail on saddles, armor, bridles and tents. Later, its highly functional usage began appearing on flags and luggage.

Tips for Sewing Lingerie + Win a Copy of Sweet Nothings!

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Have you tried making your own lingerie yet? It’s delightfully quick and simple to make sexy panties when you use stretch lace. When I developed the book Sweet Nothings, designer Elise Olsen’s Sugarberry Panties inspired me to make my own dainty things. The wide stretch lace trim that forms the body of the panty needs no finishing, which makes it super easy to create these darling little unmentionables.

Needle Felting

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Felting, the process of matting woolen fibers together, is one one the oldest fiber techniques known, dating back to the 6th Century BC. In fact, prior to the invention of weaving & knitting tools, looms and spinning wheels, felting was the primary process that was used to produce cloth for everything from shoes to hats and rugs to yurts.

Zipper Accessories

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I’m not the first to say this, nor will I be the last…but zippers are here to stay (and I don’t mean to simply close pieces of fabric together). From the design studios of Philip Lim, Versace and Balmain to jewelry designers and hobbyists throughout the world, zippers are leaving the seams and taking a prominent place as decorative elements and fashion accessories in their own right.

A Little Bias(ed)

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I admit…I’m a little bias about bias. As someone who has spent the better part of their life involved in sewing and quilting, I absolutely love bias tape. For so many patterns, projects and quilts, a coordinating or contrasting binding can really add a lovely and distinctive finishing touch.

Tips for Online Fabric Shopping

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Buying fabrics online will never replace the satisfaction of shopping in a well-stocked fabric store, because seriously, who can resist petting, fondling and draping fabric in person. But you know what comes close? Ordering fabric online, opening the package when it arrives, and discovering yay!, it’s just what you wanted. Online fabric shops are a boon to home sewers in areas where the nearest fabric store is miles away. Just follow these tips and you’ll become an online fabric shopping pro in no time.

Close Knit

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Do you knit? We don’t talk much about knitting here on BurdaStyle, being the seamstresses & seamsters that we are, but I must say I am so impressed by all of the cool knitting projects I have discovered on the site!

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