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Where are you from and where do you live? What do you do other than sewing?
I was born in Austria, in a small town called Innsbruck. For the last 12 years, I have lived together with my beloved husband and my cat in Berlin, Germany. Due to a cronic illness (polyneuropathy), I had to stop working about 5 years ago and that brought me to sewing.


A young Ralf!

If we were to come to your town, where would you take us?
First, I would take you to my favorite fabric store: Stoffe Berger at Potsdamer Platz. For me it comes very close to paradise :) My second stop with you during your visit would be our new little summerhouse and garden near Berlin in an area that is called Spreewald. You would be astonished to see so much almost untouched nature so nearby a big city!

Last but not least, I would like you to come over to our place for a great dinner (both, my husband and I LOVE cooking!)

How did you begin you sewing journey?
When I was diagnosed with a chronic illness of my nerves, I suddenly was faced with lots of time. I developed depression due to that, and thought that this would be the end of my life. One of the doctors I was seeing during that time recommended occupational therapy, which brought me back to my childhood, when I loved creating things. One of the first things I made was a very simple pillowcase on an old sewing machine and this was like arriving to where I always wanted to go to. Sewing is now one of the most important things to me in life!


Ralf and his husband

Who or what inspires you?
I have a few names to mention: Coco Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent are only a few of the most important ones to me. To find inspiration for my own work, I check out very old issues of Burda (I have some of my mum’s issues from the ’60s and ’70s!), and I visit BurdaStyle.com on a regular basis. Aside from that, old movies are such a great source of inspiration for me.

What’s your sewing secret weapon?
When I got my new sewing machine I realized how much it makes a difference to have a really good one! I always tried to get the material of a good quality and my machines, scissors, needles and threads are always the best I can afford.

I love using the machine-embroidery part of my sewing machine. This [helps in creating] monograms, borders etc.


Ralf’s sewing machine and serger.

Tell us about your sewing experience.
I do not have a separate sewing room (YET!!!) and so I use our big dining table instead. Before I start, I prepare the room (get my machines ready (sewing machine, serger, steam-iron), I check out that I have classic music on (countertenor Phillip Jaroussky is one of my “heroes”) and than I can forget time and everything around me. I always make myself a cup of strong, hot tea before I start, and am again and again surprised that it’s ice cold before I drink the first sip.


Ralf’s sewing space.

What is your dream sewing project?
I wish I could work with an old fashioned mans tailor for a while and do create my own very classic 3-piece-suit in herringbone Harris-Tweed.

How long have you been a member of BurdaStyle? What keeps you coming back?
I have been a member for 2 years now. My username is my real name. I check out the site twice a day, every day (in the morning and at night). I love that BurdaStyle gives me a chance to “meet” all these amazing talents out there around the world. If I were able to change one thing, than it would be that BurdaStyle should do ONE (1!!!!!) pattern for men per month (but this seems to be an unrealistic dream!).

What is the most frustrating thing about sewing for you? What is the most rewarding?
I do not like to make buttonholes (no matter if machine or hand-sewn once). The most rewarding thing is if I see something going wrong and can correct it right then, as I seem to learn more and more about all this myself!

Discover ralf schmitz’s top ten favorite member projects!

204 Comments

  • 4781_1149372264323_1528091102_366206_1069102_s_large

    Feb 2, 2012, 10.03 AMby mayadaughterofsun

    Congrats! What serger do you use?

    1 Reply
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      Feb 4, 2012, 07.55 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      thank you! it is a very simple one of singer and i am very very happy with it. very fast, very good quality and easy to handle!

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    Feb 2, 2012, 09.55 AMby GeraldineRead

    Wonderful to hear about how you came to sewing – I am a huge fan of your makes, which are always beautifully constructed. And totally with you on the ONE men’s pattern a month!!

    1 Reply
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      Feb 4, 2012, 07.54 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      wow! thank you for your kind words and it amazes me how many people agree with me on the men’s pattern side. hope that the people of burdastyle wake up on that one!

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    Feb 2, 2012, 09.20 AMby RenaissanceBombshell

    Congratulations Ralph! About time you were featured – like everyone says you are such an inspiration. xox

    1 Reply
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      Feb 4, 2012, 07.53 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      thank you, thank you, thank you! :-))))

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    Feb 2, 2012, 06.59 AMby CationDesigns

    I am so glad I’m not the only one suffering from Cold Tea Syndrome! It was lovely reading about your inspiring journey into sewing; thanks for being such an encouraging part of the BurdaStyle Community. I’ve been wondering when they were going to feature you!

    1 Reply
    • Dsc09595avatar_large

      Feb 4, 2012, 07.53 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      and another memeber of the “cold-Tea-Team”. thank you very much for your kind words and compliments! warmest regards here from frozen berlin!

  • Charlie-deeshadows1_large

    Feb 2, 2012, 12.00 AMby smallone

    yay Ralph you are featured! That’s just excellent. You are one of the great members of this site and what really helps make it a true online community.

    1 Reply
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      Feb 4, 2012, 07.52 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      thank you very much smallone! this means a lot to me and i found burdastyle for me as a second family too!

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    Feb 1, 2012, 10.59 PMby suribabe

    Congrats.. Its good to see a man sewing and being featured.. I do like your sewing room. Keep up the good work.

    1 Reply
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      Feb 4, 2012, 07.51 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      thank you very much suribabe! you are very kind with your lovely words!

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    Feb 1, 2012, 10.45 PMby KazztheSpazz

    Ah Ralfie you are an inspiration, what a moving story. You are so damn positive which is just fantastic and a pleasure to read and your work is simple amazing, congrats on being a featured member. Keep being your amazing self. Well done.

    1 Reply
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      Feb 4, 2012, 07.51 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      my dear dear kazz! thank you so much for beeing both: an inspiration and a friend here at burdastyle. i think your work is so creative and special and wonderful and i am proud to have you as a friend! warm regards from icecold berlin!

  • Missing

    Feb 1, 2012, 09.46 PMby chula123

    Herzlichen Glückwunsch Ralf, du hast es total verdient hier vorgestellt zu werden. Deine Kreationen sind einzigartig, nicht nur in der Stoffwahl, sondern auch in der Verarbeitung, die bei jedem Stück absolut perfekt ist ! (Dein Sherlock Holmes Outfit ist dir übrigens ausserordentlich gut gelungen ) Ich finde deine Geschichte sehr emotional aber freue mich, dass du in deinem neuen Hobby Beistand findest und wünsche dir und deinem Mann alles Gute für die Zukunft ! Ganz liebe Grüsse und mach weiter so :-))

    1 Reply
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      Feb 4, 2012, 07.50 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      liebe chula! da werd ich ja ganz rot bei so vielen lieben komentaren : danke vielmals für deine lieben worte. ich bin wirklich berührt davon, wieviele nette menschen (darunter auch du) mir so viel gutes schreiben! danke dafür und liebe grüsse aus berlin!

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    Feb 1, 2012, 06.49 PMby irmchen

    Meinen Glückwunsch zum Featuring! Ich bin ohnehin nachhaltig beeindruckt von deiner Arbeit… du bist richtig gut! Dankeschön, dass du uns an deiner Geschichte teilhaben lässt und natürlich dafür, dass du uns deine Kreationen hier zeigst.

    1 Reply
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      Feb 4, 2012, 07.48 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      liebe irmchen! wir “kennen” uns ja nun schon eine ganze weile und ich möchte dir für deine freundlichen worte und deine unterstützung herzlich danken! freue mich schon auf weiteren austausch und sende liebe grüsse! ralf aus berlin

  • Unt300_crvena-itled-1_large

    Feb 1, 2012, 03.35 PMby FEDRA

    Congratulations! I am so happy for you. Glad to meet you through your moving, unusual and beautiful story. All the best!

    1 Reply
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      Feb 4, 2012, 07.47 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      you are such a kind and lovely person! thank you so much for this comment fedra!

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    Feb 1, 2012, 02.39 PMby shelai

    Very fine article. I love Ralf’s taste in clothes and cottages. Also have that cold tea syndrome when I’m sewing…I appreciate the story on how you came to sewing, and how sewing became so important. Going back to 70’s publications and “redoing” is a hobby we share.

    1 Reply
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      Feb 4, 2012, 07.47 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      dear shelai! looks like we have a lot in commen! wellcome to the “cold-Tea-Team”

      both, the sewing and our little cottage have helped me to overcome all the bad things in my life and i am very thankfull to that! – AND to your lovely comment! warm regards!

  • Louise_brooks_large

    Feb 1, 2012, 02.02 PMby Luiza Grooks

    this is what i keep telling to everybody: sewing is a therapy. your work is just amazing and btw, i don’t like making buttonholes either :)

    and i completely agree that burda should do men patterns as well….at least one bigger issue every 6 months…!

    1 Reply
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      Feb 4, 2012, 07.45 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      dear luiza! thank you for your nice comment on my page! it’s funny to read, that you hate buttonholes as well :-)

      let’s hope, that burda wakes up again and does a little more about menswear!

  • Missing

    Feb 1, 2012, 10.20 AMby rosarini

    Hi Ralf Just loved your work both design wise & quality .It’s amazing how sewing can help with depression & that’s speaking from my experience.I hope 2012 brings you lots of happiness & creativity.

    1 Reply
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      Feb 3, 2012, 07.46 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      dear rosarini! i can not agree more! this is the best medicine i could ever find! thank you for your wishes! the same to you too for 2012 and all the years coming!

  • Missing

    Feb 1, 2012, 09.55 AMby Blindleistung

    Hallo, Grüße aus BaWü nach Berlin! Deine Werke sind wirklich toll, vor allem der Duffle Coat!

    1 Reply
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      Feb 3, 2012, 07.45 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      liebe blindleistung. der duffle coat im anhang an diesen artikel ist nicht von mir. es ist eine creation von jemandem die ich besonders toll gefunden habe, und die ich deshalb in die “top-ten” gewählt hatte von allen schöpfungen hier bei burda, die ich besonders toll fand.

      trotzdem danke für deinen lieben komentar!

  • Ooobop_thatched_house_large

    Feb 1, 2012, 09.32 AMby janene

    Hey Ralf. Lovely to know a little bit more about you. I can imagine that you and your husband are amazing hosts… what a beautiful table. It goes without saying how much I respect your sewing skills and I can completely understand how theraputic it must be for you. I always look forward to seeing your projects, and I agree… that one mens project, at least, a month wouldn’t go amis!!!

    1 Reply
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      Feb 3, 2012, 07.43 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      dear janene! and it goes without saying that i would love to have you as a guest here at ANY time! thank you for beeing a lovely friend here at burda and for your warm comments on my profile!

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    Feb 1, 2012, 08.52 AMby fatticatti

    hi Ralf, Thanks for your courageous article overcoming your darker hours with creating wonderful waistcoats & trousers. Love the summerhouse pix too. Wholeheartedly agree about more men’s patterns needed. Also for us bountiful ladies of the larger size…BURDA wakey-wakey! please listen act upon your fans wishes Please! One men’s one plus-size per month??

    1 Reply
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      Feb 3, 2012, 07.42 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      dear fatticatti! i really hope that the people of burdastyle finally wake up and understand, that there are not only well proporstioned sizes 36 girls out there, but also full sized women and men of all sizes.

      thank you for your encouragement and comment!

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    Feb 1, 2012, 08.11 AMby carolyn-s

    Congratulations on being the featured member, Ralf! Your work is always meticulous and beautiful, and it was wonderful to read more about you. I smiled when I read your comment on the tea, we are like twins in that respect!! I’m looking forward to seeing even more of your terrific creations!

    1 Reply
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      Feb 3, 2012, 07.40 AMby Ralf Schmitz

      and a nother memeber of the “cold-tea-club”! :-)

      thank you very much for your kindness and i can only give the compliment back to you, as it allways is a pleasure, seeing your new creations coming up on your profile!

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