Editor's Pick: Make These Top Looks Yourself!

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Match the numbers of the looks above with the pattern numbers below to find patterns, how-tos and inspirational notes for these looks.

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, hand and hand with warmer spring days. This month we are offering a romantic approach to fashion featuring chiffons, ruffles and feminine touches. Whether you want to create a lovely gift for Mom, or need to make the perfect spring accessory, here are some projects to get your juices flowing!

Cotton: the wool that grows on plants

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Cotton candy is magical and so was cotton for Romans and Europeans when traders first brought cotton fabrics from Asia. As old as silk (see last week’s blog) or even older, cotton had been grown, spun and woven in the Indus Valley and Egypt at least 3,000 years bc. In Mexico, first evidence of cultivated cotton dates back to eight thousand bc. Never having seen cotton grow, the “wool that grew on plants” spurred the fantasies of medieval Europeans. John Mandeville the supposed author of a book telling of travels around the world that inspired Christopher Columbus and Marco Polo (published in the late 14th century) writes: “here grew [in India] a wonderful tree which bore tiny lambs on the endes of its branches. These branches were so pliable that they bent down to allow the lambs to feed when they are hungrie.” Today, we are pretty certain that neither John Mandeville nor the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary ever existed, but for people in medieval Europe that was far from clear.

In India a whole cotton industry developed, growing, processing and trading with cotton fabrics. Yet, once the British came to colonize the country in the late 18th century, India’s cotton processing industry faltered, giving way to an absolutely absurd trading system: raw cotton was picked by Indian laborers at petty wages, shipped (in British ships) all the way to Britain on a three week journey; was turned into cloth by English laborers; and shipped back to India were the cloth was sold to Indian kings and landlords. Britain benefited of wages and profits.

Cotton trade with India was soon replaced by cotton production in the United States. Why? Trading routes were shorted and production even cheaper “thanks” to the employment of unpaid slaves. Until the 1950s when machines reliably took over the picking of cotton in the fields, cotton production remained a laborious task which whether officially called “slavery” or not went hand in hand with some sort of exploitational work in the fields, no matter whether workers were black or white.

Today cotton is anywhere either pure or mixed with other fibers: bath towels, denim, socks, underwear, t-shirts, bed sheets, yarn for crochet and knitting, fishnets, coffee filters, tents, gunpowder and in many, many of the BurdaStyle patterns and creations: the Thai Fishermen’s Pants and Light Cotton Summer Dress may be just what you are looking with Summer fast approaching.

Join a BurdaStyle Sewing Club


View BurdaStyle Sewing Clubs in a larger map

[Updated 7/1/2011] There are over 260 BurdaStyle Sewing Clubs (BSCs) throughout the world, and there may be one in your neighborhood, too!

The Club Leaders are listed by State and City, or Country and City. Feel free to message the leaders to sign up for a group, discuss meeting times and find out the location. Don’t see your city listed? Learn how you can use our Meetup Everywhere platform to start your own.

For a visual depiction of just how many BSCs there are, check out our Google Maps!

How to locate the nearest BSC with Google Maps

Find your nearest BSC by entering your city and state in the Google Maps search engine. Click on the BurdaStyle Sewing Club tabs at the bottom left corner, then check the BurdaStyle Sewing Clubs category. Zoom out on the map to see just how far your nearest BSC is!

US List

Alabama

In Foam Magazine This Month!

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This month a How-To I created for Foam magazine hit the stands. I was asked to create a fun, eco-friendly or upcycled project for the summer so I used the Burdastyle Alison vintage bathing suit pattern and old t-shirts to create (3) multi-colored vintage bathing suits. Why 3 you ask? Because the first time around the camera I was using was not set to a high enough resolution for the images to go to print! I had to do it all over again…why there is still an extra one I just cannot recall… “Stand out on the sand in a homemade (but still so chic) bathing suit. Project Runway alum Alison Kelly shows us how it’s done. ”>Click here for your pattern, and follow the direction in this month’s Foam Magazine to make your own!"

The rest of this week I am prepping for my fitting next Tuesday at Cosmo magazine and praying all of my looks will look amazing. Also, I am looking into bamboo and other eco-friendly textiles for the next Dahl & Dane collection, does anyone have any advice?

Has anyone heard of DOSSIER JOURNAL? My friend blogs for them and the content is quite interesting. These stories caught my eye:

SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE

DO YOU LIKE KIM GORDON?

MY FRIEND CARIS INTERVIEWED BY AN 8-YEAR OLD

Patterns for Reusable Grocery Sacks

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Many states are already charging you a fee for not using recyclable grocery sacks. If you haven’t started using them for yourself, maybe it’s time sew up a few for yourself. There are several styles available: For those who prefer totes,

Made in China

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Sometime around 3,000 bc, a little princess, wife to the great Yellow Emperor of China, was sitting in the palace gardens under her favorite Mulberry Tree sipping tea, chatting, and laughing with her friends, when a cocoon with modest splash fell into her cup of hot tea. Seven faces gathered to cast an eye on the little floating object. Princess Xi Ling Shi carefully caught hold of the thing but just as she was about to drop it into the grass she hesitated to take another look. Moving the creature on her flat hand closer to her eyes, she discovered layers of fine threat, fragile and soft as a cobweb that enclosed whatever was inside. Endlessly slowly she started to unravel the threat into long loops across her hand. So fine it was, yet it lasted, didn’t break until she had reeled the entire cocoon, spun and weaved it into what according to Confucian legend was the first piece of silk.

Even before the Silk Roads were traveled by Chinese traders, silk garments from China reached far beyond the country’s borders, not to the happiness of everyone: as the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger writes “I can see clothes of silk, if materials that do not hide the body, nor even one’s decency, can be called clothes. … (and) a husband has no more acquaintance than any outsider or foreigner with his wife’s body”.

Although it was forbidden by death to smuggle silkworms or the secret of making silk beyond the borders, China gradually lost its monopoly. Yet, Chinese silk was for a long time, some of the finest and most precious thanks to Bombyx mori. This blind and flightless moth – originally unique to China – produces 500 or more minuscule eggs, one ounce of which will produce about 30,000 worms that together eat 1 ton of mulberry leaves and their cocoons produce 12 pounds of the smoothest and finest silk threat, a single one of which can reach between 600 to 900 meters. Not only that, according to Chinese sources already in 1090 they had invented a machine to help with the laborious task of unwinding the silkworms and silk spinning machines were introduced in the 13th century!

The story of silk continues for those who want to know more, the Silk Association of Great Britain has plenty of information.

The painting (12th century) shows women striking and preparing silk

To Bebe or not to Be

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Sarah Livingstone is a fashion designer based out of Los Angeles, California. She was kind enough to share with us her day to day experience working for the huge fashion house Bebe in LA.

Did you go to design school?

I went to FIDM here in Los Angeles. Instead of the normal 2-3 year program, it is an intensive 15 months. I would highly recommend this for prospective students who already have their degree and KNOW they want to be a fashion designer.

New Sneak Peak: Projects

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Sneak Peak number two is about our first newly structured navigation point of our new platform, the “Projects” section.

This section will from now on include all finished sewing projects (currently named creations), meaning both projects that are derived from patterns and projects that are solely based on instructions. The latter is currently living in the how to section.

For that matter, at the moment we are dividing the How To section on the current site into Projects and Techniques. Techniques will be hosted under Learning, but more about that in another sneak peak. The projects data is being transitioned right now to fit the new section and we may be contacting some of you that have projects living in the current how to section, to do the same. No worries! Easy as pie.

To properly host all the necessary information for the projects, each creation has its own step by step instructions if needed. BurdaStyle’s pattern instructions will be posted here, and accessible at all times, even before pattern purchase!

The Project showcase has optimized sorting capabilities and a great filter system, which allows you to sort out projects that you can make from the projects to be inspire by. You will also have the ability to sort projects by season, material, garment type, and style making it much easier to find the projects you are looking for.

As you see, there is a lot to look forward to and please, ask questions as we go along. And don’t forget, we will help you transition slowly and be there all steps on the way.

Stitches & Craft Show Day 1

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I arrived safely in Brisbane and got straight to work setting up the booth at the show. If you’re in Brisbane i’d love to see you so stop by and visit me at stand 106 which is right next to the Service Centre as you enter the hall.

The fashion show runs at 11:30.

Featured Member: Lynds

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I am from Kenya, i was born their. But i have lived in Tanzania, all my life since i was six months old.

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

They first thing i ever made was when i was about 12 and they were a pair of bean baby bunnys. then i didn’t sew for a while cause of school.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Well sewing is something i have always been interested. im a creative person who loves the feeling of making some thing.

Sewing is also some thing that entertains me because of where i live. Which is on a farm far from any thing.

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

my least favorite is when a creation just does not turn out how it was in your mind as well as having to fix mistakes. My favorite is being able to say “i made that” and being able to making something at a fraction of the price which it is in the shop.

Moving On...

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Goodness am I stressed out. Well, it’s not really not that bad but my boyfriend and I are moving to a temporary sublet loft (we’ll finally be rid of roommates!) as we wait for approval on the house we are trying to buy in Brooklyn. Aside from blowing my nose and dizzy spells (I’ve had a horrible cold) all we’ve been doing is packing up our things into countless boxes, found boxes of course. I love that my things fit perfectly into wine boxes, being a wine consumer myself, and they’re quite pretty these boxes…Another good thing that comes from all of this mess is minimizing my belongings. I am sort of a pack rat, my boyfriend is the quintessential pack rat. I have begun to feel extremely liberated each time I part ways with an old piece of clothing and knick knacks I have no use for. I muse over seeing a Williamsberg hipster walking down Bedford Avenue in some of my old frocks or accessories. Or would I be sad?

Blog: Craft Fail

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So as a beginner seamstress and avid crafter I have more crafty skeletons in my closet than I would care to remember (my original 100,000 member tee shirt functions very well as an iron cleaner here at BurdaStyle.) Craft Fail is a place for us to proudly display our miss steps (and get a laugh out of them too!) So laugh it up and enjoy!

Kent University Student Wins “Project Runway”-type Design Challenge

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By participating in the “Project Runway”-type design challenge at Kent State University, one lucky winner has won the opportunity to have a creation of their choice made into a BurdaStyle pattern sponsored by Coats & Clark.

Meet Theresa Rietschlin, an Ohio native and Kent State University student. Most of Theresa’s days are spent drawing and sewing when she is not working for her father’s construction company. Like many of our own stories, Theresa owes her gratitude to her mother, someone who has not only taught her the ABC’s of sewing, but who has encouraged her to cultivate her artistic vision.

How has sewing affected Theresa’s life? “Sewing has been a way for me to express my creativity. Although the process to get the final garment is tedious, the final product is worth every second. To realize that one can create a garment from a piece of fabric is truly wonderful. And of course, without sewing I would not be going to school for fashion design”.

We will be working with Theresa over the next few weeks to create a winning look from which the pattern will be offered to everyone later this year! Congratulations Theresa!

Sneak a Peak at the New Homepage!

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The new launch of our website is finally in sight!

Only being about a month away we wanted to start sharing with you what has been keeping us so busy.

We, along with our agency Area 17, have been working tirelessly for over a year to create the best platform all around sewing projects, patterns, techniques and most importantly, friends.

You will notice quite a few differences. First off is the new look and feel. From Nora and Benedikta’s first attempt in Web-Design we moved on to a more mature, sleek look. After all, we are almost two and a half now.

Secondly, we have optimized functionality and the overall structure of the content. We will introduce you to each evolved component of the site over the next couple of weeks. We will create awareness of every optimization and answer any questions you may have.

You will be excited, the new BurdaStyle is a breeze in finding and organizing inspiration and sewing projects.

Over the course of the following months, we are busy transferring all the content from the current site to the new platform. Meanwhile we will inform you if there is anything that needs to be done on your part to help move your existing content smoothly. However, be assured that all your content, unless specifically mentioned, will be transferred automatically by us.

Once this has been completed, the new site will be launched. Right after launch the current site will coexist with the new site for a good month so that you can take time familiarizing yourself with it. Simultaneously we want to take the time to double check all transferred content and optimize it.

Note that during the coexistence of both websites, you are free to upload new content to either of them. We strongly recommend to use the new one to ensure best results.However there will be an additional data transfer from the old site to the new one before finally switching it off.

All that is left to say is, enjoy the sneak preview and share our anticipation for the new BurdaStyle!

Mother's Day Instructables Contest

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In a little under two weeks, the United States will celebrate Mother’s Day. If you plan on making your mom something homemade this year, why not create a quick tutorial for it and enter in Instructable’s latest contest? The grand prize winner will take home a sewing machine while runners up will win a Singer dress form or Instructables swag. Hurry, the deadline to submit your entry is May 18, 2009.

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