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Where are you from and/or where do you live now? What do you do other than sewing?
I am originally from the former capital of Kazakhstan, called Alamty, which I left 17 years ago. Currently, I live in Düsseldorf, Germany.

I am a 3D CAD technical drawer of Architecture. This is one of the reasons why I feel comfortable in the construction and design of clothes, like some of the self-made and designed dresses I uploaded on BurdaStyle.


Apfelbluete’s neighborhood.

If we were to come to your town, where would you take us?
Düsseldorf has been known as a European and world wide fashion metropolis since 1946. The entire well known street called Königsallee is almost dedicated to fashion. Quite a lot of notable designers have local affiliates here, like Prada, Gucci, Armani, and Chanel, which is my all time favorite. Whenever I window shop, I am totally amazed. I can’t get enough of its special charm.

Moreover, there are some wonderful haute couture fabric stores, like Stoffe Möller. Every time I am there, it is a great experience. I especially have fun talking to the shop associates, who are really [knowledgeable]. I am a maniac for such high quality fabrics, and love to sew and wear with them.


An inside view of Stoffe Möller

How did you start sewing? What motivates you to sew?
I began to sew at age eleven. My sewing machine was only able to sew a straight stitch, and not even capable of a zig zag. To do so I needed to walk to my [friend’s house and use their machine]. My parents tried to get a better machine for quite some time, but this wasn’t possible before 1988 as they were really rare and hard to get in the former USSR. I almost swooned when a new machine was bought [as a surprise]. My heart was beating and I could not sleep that night. That was a kind of real start for me. As a coincidence, Raissa Gorbatschova and Aenne Burda signed a contract that enabled all women in the USSR to sew and wear modern and fashionable clothes. Nice fabrics were still pretty rare, but we generally looked nicer and much more modern. The Burda magazine wasn’t that simple to buy, but we helped each other, and exchanged and copied the patterns manually.

Sewing in the USSR wasn’t a hobby; it was a matter of necessity. My mother provided me the opportunity to attend a sewing training class for years. During the first year, I learned how to sew professional [garments], comparable to [what I would learn through] a vocational education in Germany. We started with simple constructions and calculations of patterns, and [various other] techniques. The quality of this training was very high and excellent. In the end, we learned construction design, which allowed me to turn my own designs into a real, technically correct pattern.

Without this knowledge I wouldn’t have been able to sew my own clothes, as also clothes were rare to buy during these times. Later on I earned money through sewing. I am able to say that sewing [greatly benefited my life], and Burda [magazines] was of great help, too.

A blouse created, using a 1989 Burda pattern, and modeled by Apfelbluete.

In 1993, I arrived in Germany and recognized that sewing is an expensive hobby and not really needed. With some exceptions (e.g. the skirt below, made in 1998), I wasn’t sewing at all.


The Burda pattern Apfelbluete used in 1998, and the final result.

After a 13 year sewing break, I accidentally discovered beautiful old patterns on Etsy, and realized that my childhood dreams could come true by sewing original dresses from the Fifties.

Do you have a style icon who inspires your sewing projects? Where do you go to get inspired?
Any new look is truly inspirational to me, as well as the Mad Men series. [I also love Fifties and retro looks.]

What’s your sewing secret weapon? What trick or technique do your sewing projects always tend to include?
When something doesn’t work out correctly, I start from scratch, because I know I would not wear it if it is not entirely satisfactory to me.

What’s your sewing experience like?
I like to start on a new project when I am crabby. It feels good to cut a new and nice fabric, or to construct something entirely new. Most of the time, I work on many projects at the same time, which is very practical for me because I don’t need to exchange the [thread] as I try to sew in phases. [My sewing experience involves] cutting, sewing, hand work and stitching. When I’m working, I like to listen to the TV. On the weekend it can get really late in the night. Once a week, I go to a sewing class. My sewing master, Nicola Bettina Kriegleder, teaches me haute couture techniques. There is no issue she can’t resolve. She is truly the best!

It is a lot of fun doing such elaborate work. My sewing classroom looks like this:

It is perfectly equipped and nice to be there.

What is your dream sewing project?
My [big] dream project is pretty simple: the tiny black dress from Dior. It is pure perfection. I don’t need such a dress, but I will sew it once.

My current dream project is more realistic. I am going to sew a Chanel jacket, using haute couture techniques.

How long have you been a member of BurdaStyle?
I have been a BurdaStyle member since 2010. Several times a day I browse the site and get inspiration by other members, and discuss them with my sewing friend, who is also a very active BurdaStyle member. We have done special projects together and published them here, as well. I picked my username in recognition of my former hometown, Alamty, which means “Father of the Apples." Apfelblüte is German and means “apple blossom.”

What is the most frustrating thing about sewing for you? What is the most rewarding?
I get extraordinarily frustrated and unmotivated when I recognize mistakes too late. In such cases, I have to strip down everything and start from scratch. I am really happy if I am 100% truly pleased about my project, but what is most pleasant is good recognition from my sewing master and other BurdaStyle members about my work.

Discover Apfelbluete’s top ten favorite member projects!

53 Comments

  • Charlie-deeshadows1_large

    Nov 13, 2011, 05.35 AMby smallone

    Love your story…and always love your work, so precise and so elegant…..and thank you for solving a mystery….I occasionally find myself on the Russian Burda site, and always notice the high quality of work on there….I’ve always wondered why/how….and so now I know :)

  • Weemee_citizenship_edition_large

    Nov 11, 2011, 04.57 AMby Nermina Croata

    I LOVE your 50’s dresses !!! So elegant.

  • Dscf6507_large

    Nov 8, 2011, 10.24 AMby urbandon

    Congratulations on being featured. Love your style and standard of work. Very nice to learn more about you. Well done!

  • The_artist_with_pansy_large

    Nov 7, 2011, 04.45 PMby ck-paz

    We who sew are connected by a common bond no matter where we reside; I like that thought. Your feature article has brought a certain charm and a fresh perspective to my sewing space here in Temecula, California. I love your style! I always have to thank Burdastyle for bringing “apeflbluete” and other such articles to folks like me.

  • Mee1_large

    Nov 6, 2011, 12.41 PMby fashionfreek

    I liked reading your feature. I have seen your work and your studio has impressive stuff in it. All the best to you.x

  • Photoge01_large

    Nov 5, 2011, 08.13 PMby gedwoods

    Great interview, apfelbluete! I spent some time in Dusseldorf a couple of years ago – I produced a visitor’s exhibit at your Stadtmuseum that focussed on urban cultural mixing and the opportunities that clothes provide to bridge ethnic barriers. So great to see some photos of the Königsallee and other sites around town. Also, you have a very interesting “parcours” – life road, I guess would be the term. Thanks for sharing!

  • 2_dsc_1140_large

    Nov 4, 2011, 07.53 PMby magdamagda

    I enjoyed the tour so much! – Thank you! Love the pics- you were and you are such a doll! It’s so interesting to see what sewing meant for you in different stages of your life.. and I’m glad Etsy had something to do with relighting that fire in you!

  • __large

    Nov 4, 2011, 12.08 PMby bingohalle

    Really nice lady. Most of Kazakhstan women are nice and kind, work hard as I noticed. You are the one too. After reading your story, you made me felt like you are one of my close friend.

    1 Reply
    • Avatar_large

      Nov 4, 2011, 12.17 PMby apfelbluete

      thank you for being interested :-)

  • _mg_9130_large

    Nov 3, 2011, 11.49 PMby wildcatspow

    What a lovely feature! I’m so glad that I got to learn more about you and see your creations! :)

    1 Reply
    • Avatar_large

      Nov 4, 2011, 08.25 AMby apfelbluete

      OMG!:-))
      Thank you so much! I’m very flattered

  • 121407f8bd9_avatar_quadrat_60_large

    Nov 3, 2011, 11.48 PMby luisa59

    Ich gratuliere dir herzlichst, und freue mich ueber deinen Erfolg ! Ich habe wieder mal im russischen Forum gestoebert um das “Werden” deiner Jacke noch genauer zu verfolgen,hoechstinteressant muss ich sagen,ich kann gar nicht aufhoehren zu lesen, dieses Forum ist eine regelrechte “Goldmiene”, bin so froh es gefunden zu haben, irgendwann werde ich mehr Zeit haben,hoffentlich! Ciao luisa

    1 Reply
    • Avatar_large

      Nov 4, 2011, 08.28 AMby apfelbluete

      danke schön!
      ja, das stimme ich dir voll zu. sei aber dir bewusst, dass dieser forum uns verändert. ich glaube er ist der trigger meines perfektionismus. man sieht die fotostrecken der meister und man kann nciht mehr anders…aber man darf spass dabei nicht verlieren! perfektionismus macht den spass kaputt.ich liebe bloss die handarbeit:-)und wenn irgendwas nciht stimmt gibt es mir einfach keine ruhe,auch wennes niemand sieht. wenn ich es so lasse, werde ich das nicht tragen…

  • Butterfly_large

    Nov 2, 2011, 08.40 PMby monikago

    Great read, Apfelbluete. I’m from Germany, Northrhine Westfalia, living in US now. My early memories are visiting the local Restetruhe for remnants to home-sew. I’m taking fashion design classes here, my passion is costume design. Love the sepia dress. And photos of Duesseldorf. Wish you success with the Dior little black dress.

  • Missing

    Nov 2, 2011, 08.11 PMby Antonina Marchuk

    вы просто молодец, желаю вам и дальше творческих успехов

    1 Reply
    • Avatar_large

      Nov 4, 2011, 09.01 AMby apfelbluete

      :-))) Thank you very much.
      Спасибо! очень приятно!

  • Missing

    Nov 2, 2011, 06.36 PMby Olya Grove

    Molodets! Had a similar story, growing up in Belarus :) Loved the article :) Olya

    1 Reply
    • Avatar_large

      Nov 2, 2011, 06.40 PMby apfelbluete

      :-))) Thank you very much.
      Спасибо! очень приятно!

  • Dsc02652_large

    Nov 2, 2011, 04.48 PMby suribabe

    Congrats.. I like your work.. It interestung how you got into sewing, left it for years and picked it up again.. I think a lot of us do that.. Great pictures.. You are very lucky to be in Dusseldorf.. I’ve been there once.. I’d love to visit again and have a look at the fabric shops..

    1 Reply
    • Avatar_large

      Nov 2, 2011, 05.20 PMby apfelbluete

      happy to see you here in town whenever this may happen…

  • Fabiana1_large

    Nov 2, 2011, 09.32 AMby Fabiana Mattos

    I loved your interview, your creations are beautiful. I agree that sewing in Europe is a very expensive hobby. I have lived in Switzerland for six years, and it’s almost impossible to find affordable fabrics in here. Luckily I go back home to Brazil twice a year and bring loads of stuff from there.

    1 Reply
    • Avatar_large

      Nov 2, 2011, 05.19 PMby apfelbluete

      that’s my beloved shop, but there are quite a lot more with less expensive stuff. surely a little bit less quality… bring some nice fabrics with you for me the next time you are in brazil ;-)

  • Bulgaria_and_france_burgundy_2012_101_large

    Nov 2, 2011, 12.03 AMby schnui

    You are a total inspiration to me as well. Like you I have had a break from sewing and have only recently returned to making my own clothes. Living in Australia, we have a very high standard of living and clothing is cheap and readily available in our many shops. But something called to my heart to be creative again and it is through sewing that I feel most creative, hence my wardrobe is beginning to fill with my new creations. I will always think of you and your exceptionally high standard of skill when I am at my sewing machine. I also try to achieve the perfect garment.

    1 Reply
    • Avatar_large

      Nov 2, 2011, 05.16 PMby apfelbluete

      so we are somehow soulmates in our journey to create the perfect one ;-)

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