Bumpy Road to the First Patent on a Sewing Machine

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Check out this WIRED article by Randy Alfred on the first sewing machine patent that was filed by Elias Howe today – 163 years ago.

An earlier inventor in France, Barthelemy Thimonnier, patented a simple hand-stitch machine in 1830, but had to flee for his live after 200 tailors rioted, “destroying 80 sewing machines and throwing the pieces out the windows.” Another inventor, Walter Hunt, was afraid of the massive unemployment of seamstresses and did not pursue his ideas, as well.

Read here how this lovely invention went on quite an adventurous path before it became a mass product affordable for you today!

How a Sewing Machine Works

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Ever wonder how a sewing machine works? We found this really cool animation that shows you exactly what is “going on under the hood” so to speak.

Featured Member: Chri_stine

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?
I grew up and studied in Germany and after graduating from university lived in London for 2 1/2 years. My husband moved to Brooklyn for work in April, and I finally moved to Brooklyn three weeks ago after finishing my project at my job in London.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?
My mother used to sew a lot when I was little so I was always used to hearing the sewing machine and picked up the basics just by watching. One of the first things I really made that I can remember was probably a jacket

Maybe you can help me...

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Do any of you wonderful people sell your wears on Etsy? I have recently opened my first Etsy shop as an outlet to sell some of my favorite pieces from past collections and to promote my line, Dahl, to a new type of audience. I have noticed that many folks are doing very well selling on Etsy, especially in the 1-offs or hand-made categories, including Layla, of Ledthread, who used to make beautiful things for you here at BurdaStyle.



It used to be a dream of mine to stay home all day and just sew for hours on end… Today I see that dream as something entirely reasonable and proven to be quite fruitful- people I know have quit their day jobs because of online sales. You can list your items for “pocket change” on some of these sites while creating an outlet where the entire globe can browse your work. Pretty unbeatable I think.



Now I have a question for you: What sort of questions do any of you have about getting things off the ground as a young or independent designer? What sort of tips or advice are you looking for? I am working on a posting which will cover some of these issues & I want to answer your questions, as you are the future of the sewing world. Thank you!

Cardigans Patterns for the Fall

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Fall is in the air and the leaves are starting to turn. There is nothing better in the cool whether than to cuddle up in a comfy sweater, a good book and warm cup of tea. Before it gets too cold, make one of these for yourself:

Sydney Stitches & Craft Show

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The Sydney Stitches and Craft Show was a huge success. I enjoyed meeting all you new members who have joined since visiting the stand at the show and long time members who came to say hi. I was worn out by the end of the week, it was my first visit to Sydney and my hosts showed me the sights, i visited the Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach and The Opera House at night!
I’d like to thank the volunteers who helped out throughout the week especially Turina and Cynthia who held the fort on Sunday morning so i could have a sleep in and breakfast with my hosts, thanks so much i wouldn’t have managed without you all.
Nikki.xx

National Sewing Month

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September marks National Sewing Month – a declaration started in 1982 by then-President Ronald Regan. The National Sewing Month website, along with the American Sewing Guild, encourages sewers, new and old alike, to celebrate the month by putting to work their sewing machine. They are also challenging everyone Reuse, Remake, Restyle a garment into a new, eco-friendly project. This contest runs until September 30, 2009 with 3 winners taking home a prize package filled with notions, tools, fabrics and more! So what are you waiting for? Get out there and celebrate a whole month devoted to your craft!

Beginner's Sewing Blog: Well, no one can say that I’m not learning anything

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In my last blog I showed you how I successfully made a skirt with wobbly seams which was WAY too big, I certainly have been learning a lot making this project. I learned that when sewing two pieces of checkered fabric together, it is best to not sew at the end of a row but rather right up the middle. When you sew up the middle, the seam fits in as opposed to looking like a thick stripe, it also happens to be much better at hiding wobbly seams. So I went back in and sewed the seams again with this in mind.

BurdaStyle Sewing Club Update: BSC Denver, CO, USA

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Nestled among Colorado’s mountainous landscape, the BSC of Denver, Colorado is creating a lot of sewing magic!

The September Issue

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If one is expecting a psychological breakdown of who Anna Wintour really is and why, one may be disappointed upon viewing R.J. Cutler’s documentary The September Issue. But if one is keen on witnessing the inner-workings and staunch editing that goes on behind the gilded doors of the fashion magazine American Vogue, one will be thoroughly enchanted.



I must begin with the true star of the film (at least in my eyes), Grace Coddington, because honestly, there would be no dreamy editorial spreads gracing the glossies without her. Anna & Grace are like Gilbert & Sullivan- if Gilbert & Sullivan were editor-in-cheif & creative director. The film is based around the high-tension dynamic between Anna, the “pope”, and Grace, the visionary. What is so alluring about their relationship is that Grace is the only person in the film who is not intimidated by Anna. What I found most compelling was the editing room where Grace’s spreads would be laid out only to be later cut by Anna. Grace’s feelings seemed etched into her face-she has a softness about her yet underneath she is fierce and has a vision, a quest for perfection and keen intuition. Grace wants texture and volume, color and light- she’s daring and bold, yet so heart-breakingly romantic it brings tears to my eyes. She is truly one of fashion’s greatest editors- she is the images one conjures up when thinking of high-art fashion editorials. “I’m one of the last remaining fashion editors to dress the girls myself,” she tells the camera in The September Issue, and I hope she remains dressing girls for a long, long time.



Has anyone else see this film? Can you relate to Grace, to Anna?

Featured Member: MinnieTheMinks

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?
I am from the very north of Scotland, any further and you are swimming to Norway. I now live in Wellington, New Zealand, which is a fantastically stylish and fun city.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?
I am quite new to the sewing world as I sewed my first skirt just two and half years ago. I started because I came to New Zealand with a ruck sack and not much money! I was getting fed up of looking at garments that cost so much but were so poorly made, I thought I could do better than that. So enrolled in a sewing night class. The ethics of cheap store bought clothes and the environmental damage it creates put me on the ‘sewing my own’ road too.

Back To School: Dorm Life Essentials

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As important as grades are, making a dorm room feel like home is just as challenging. We compiled a list of essentials to help you get ready for the big move.

Project T-Shirt

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Last week I made a soft, supple t-shirt from my new-found favorite textile Lyocell after having been inspired by Julia & Julie (the film) to sew more. Which brings me to this week; I am (still) quite inspired by the ubiquitous t-shirt , so much so that I continue to design more, and actually, am building a capsule collection entirely based off of the t-shirt.

This week I’ve created a tri-colored t-shirt dress- long enough to wear alone, yet looks lovely paired with opaques and it it so comfortable- the fabric is buttery soft and slightly transparent. While it may sound simple, within a classic pattern live countless pattern variations (not to mention surface design opportunities), and I find that designing within some constraint only opens up more windows of curiosity. It seems to me that this classic statement is not going anywhere, and for the time being, I am thoroughly intrigued. Is anyone else making t-shirts?



Pictured above: my tri-colored t-shirt and inspiration board for Spring/Summer 2010.

Starving Crafter

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It doesn’t matter if you sew, knit, bake, or partake in any other form of crafting, there’s always some sort of contest or giveaway for your hobby to be found on the internet. The question is, “How do you find them?” The Starving Crafter is your answer. Not only are there links to the latest competitions, but also information on places to sell your works, crafting social networks, and magazines that are looking for submissions. Starving Crafter looks to be a relatively new site with lots of room to grow, but it’s a great resource for fun links and a starting off point to finding others with similar interests!

Beginner's Sewing Blog: This Skirt Has Something Against Me

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I started to sew my first wearable project! I’ve been told the easiest thing to sew is a nice, flowy, simple skirt. The Linda skirt seemed to meet all the requirements so I set to work. As easy as the project was, I managed to make it a very, very difficult.

Now, all of you who sew and know what you are doing are going to think of me as absolutely nuts when I tell you this next bit. I decided on using gingham with all those little ¼ inch contrasting boxes; and as if that weren’t enough, it wasn’t the right width so I had to finagle it and add some seams in the front and back.
Between the little boxes and the new seems, I was hunched over the pattern table pinning everything together for over an hour.

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