Sewing with Faux Fur

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I recently had my first experience sewing with long pile faux fur when I made my faux fur coat, and I learned a lot about sewing with faux fur in the process. Here’s some tips if you want to create a furry masterpiece yourself!

  • Only cut one layer of fabric at a time, with the wrong side facing up. Be sure to cut through the backing only and NOT the fur itself! A flat layout also means you need to duplicate any pattern pieces that would normally be placed along the fold, and other pieces must be cut out as mirror images (ie: one sleeve needs to be cut pattern face down and the other cut pattern face up so you end up with a left and right)
  • After cutting each piece, go outside and run your hands along every cut edge pulling away any excess fur. Then give the whole piece a vigorous shake before bringing it back inside.
  • Use a long stitch length (2.5-3mm)
  • Always sew with the nap of the fur
  • Pin perpendicular to your seam, and pin often!
  • After sewing each seam, from the right side, pull the hairs out of the stitching with a chopstick or blunt pencil to fluff it up and make the seam less noticeable.
  • Use a marker on the fabric backing to mark notches as it won’t be seen through thick fur, or if you need to mark on the right side, tiny pieces of masking tape work great as they’ll come off without removing fur and won’t leave any residue.
  • You should only need a universal needle and standard foot
  • If you’re using a pattern that’s not intended for fur, be sure to choose a simple design with limited seams and no excess pleats, gathers, or darts. Eliminate all buttonholes and or zippers and replace them with fur hooks

You could use these tips to go off an create a furry coat of your own, or perhaps start off by sewing a fur muff, or customizing your favorite coat by making removable fur cuffs and collars. To make these, just trace the existing collars and cuffs onto some newspaper for an impromptu pattern. Then cut out some faux fur for the outside layer and lining fabric for the inside (that will be against your coat and not seen). Sew these right sides together then flip, and sew some inconspicuous snaps onto the lining side of your new furry cuffs and collars, and also onto the existing collars and cuffs of your coat. Now you’ve got an added touch of glamor than can be removed for laundering or rainy days!

Under-where?

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Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and I don’t know how many boys and girls around the world are worrying about their outfits to impress their “Valentines”. But as we all know, it is inner values that count – and Americans seem to think so too: around 16% of money for apparel is spend on lingerie.Oh la la! It’s not that many people see much of it; it’s not that you can really show it off when you walk down the streets. So underwear is really the most hedonistic piece of clothes; in fact, what piece of luxury could make you feel more special than that secret between you and you?

And there are no limits as to what or what not to wear underneath: browsing the web, my attention was caught by some pictures of the 2007 Beijing International Fashion Week that presented underwear inspired by the Chinese Tang Dynastywhich lasted for about 300 years in the 1st century and was renowned for its stability, progress and culture of leisure activities.

But stop – undergarments can have much more meaning and be worn for other purposes than self-satisfaction, seduction or keeping you warm. For members of the Sikh religion that originated in the Punjab region located at the border between India and Pakistan, the Kachera – specially designed cotton underwear – is one of their five articles of faith. It is a knee-long underwear, tightened with a string around the waste and reminds Sikhs that they should think of the opposite sex not as objects of desire but as part of their family. The string serves not just the purpose to hold the undergarment but to give you time to think about what you are doing when you untie it – probably, a little bit of more thought wouldn’t harm anyone of us.

Photo © China.org.cn

Featured Member: MissValentine0601

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

I was born in Osaka, Japan but grew up in sunny Los Angeles, CA my entire life. Recently, I moved to Denver, CO with my boyfriend for a change of pace and scenery. My dream is to move Paris, France and live a bohemian life full of art and beauty.

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

My first ever sewing class was at the back of a JoAnns near my house, and the first thing I ever made was a floor length green floral skirt with an elastic waist and a slit up the side. Hey, we all have to start somewhere! I started sewing because my mom used to sew outfits for us. She was pretty crafty too-always baking and making things. I’d always enjoyed making things and sewing was just a natural progression of that element of self-expression and creativity.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

I’m the girl that would rather stay home on a weekend and work on a project than go clubbing, so sewing is huge to me. Not to mention I studied fashion in college so I practically lived in the school sewing room. To me, sewing is just part of the bigger picture of making things-I also love to draw, knit and illustrate. Sewing is vital for me though, because I love the human form and I love clothing. Everything goes hand and hand.

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

My least favorite thing about sewing is pattern drafting. It’s very very technical and I don’t really enjoy it. It’s a vital part of the sewing process though, so I acknowledge that it’s an important skill to have. Cut and drape is really everything in clothes.

On the other hand, my favorite thing about sewing is the moment I finish a garment and get to try it on. There really isn’t a more accomplished feeling.

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

I enjoy making hand -made gifts for friends and loved ones, and do it often. My baby sister got a new dress for Christmas for one. But right now, if I had the resources, I would make my boyfriend a beautifully tailored wool coat. I love hand-tailoring and wish I could learn more about it.

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

I am looking for like-minded creative individuals with interesting ideas to inspire and be inspired by. College was the last time I was surrounded by creative people and I really enjoyed being around the energy of different artists and their ideas. It’s a very productive and invigorating feeling.

7. What is your motto?

Life is Art. And conversely, “When there’s a will, there’s a way”- works for all sort of sewing problems, haha.

MissValentine0601 has made quite an impression on us through her incredible creations. Check out her ten favorite creations and keep tabs on her through her MySpace, Deviantart Gallery, blog and Etsy shop.

Rethinking Fashion Week

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It’s a whirlwind. A spectacle. When fashion week comes to town in New York city there’s nowhere to hide from all of the madness.

Or is there?

I’ve noticed recently that many fashion labels, small and large alike, are creating alternative methods for showcasing their collections. Gone are the days of Bryant Park’s transformation into a white fashion wonderland, and here, alive & kicking, are the days of more thoughtful, economical & downtown venues with designers hosting presentations. For what good can a 5 minute runway show do for young designers (besides set you back tens of thousands) when all of the big wigs are showing at the same time?

Last winter I hosted my own fashion show in an art gallery in SoHo. I was about to launch my first exclusive collection for Shopbop.com and I was looking for an outlet to showcase the pieces. I asked my friend, gallery owner Jonathan Shorr, if
we could transform his space into a live-model fashion presentation for an evening and he agreed (for free!). Against a backdrop of another artist’s paintings, I dressed my girls and filmed them getting ready and walking around the gallery before the opening. When the doors opened, we projected the video on a blank space of white wall for all to see close-ups of the clothing & jewelry. By the front entrance sits a bay window with a ledge where the models could pose for people outside to catch a glimpse. It lasted about 3 hours, a perfect amount of time for editors and buyers to be able to pop-in between shows, it was really very fun. Cost: $250.

Next week I will cover the fashion presentations of 2 good friends of mine who’ll be doing similar shows. My friends over at Hayden Harnett have rented a room at the Chelsea hotel. Their invitation? A little black leather wallet with a key to the suite!

Survey

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Hi everyone, just wanted to let you know about this opportunity, we are wondering if you would like to share your thoughts for a community research project and help us improve the site. Take this survey and enter to win a gift certificate from Amazon.com!

COAT CHECK

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We’ve noticed a reoccurring theme this season: Tailored jackets, Victorian twists, and men’s wear translated into a feminine silhouette; we’ve designed our monthly theme around these concepts.

We’ve dug through our archives and are excited to delve into coats that you have created and re-explore our double-breasted Talea jacket. There are so many great examples of how you transformed it into the perfect late winter coat. How about making it out of a bold print or bright red, to make the last weeks of winter fun and fresh? You could also crop the pattern for a shorter, mod look and wear it with a voluminous skirt. It is a classic style that will outlast seasonal trends while providing instant satisfaction!

Here are a couple of How Tos which will help you transform the Talea into your very own:

Talea- Variation 2- Double Breasted Pattern Alteration

Sew a zipper in the Talea coat

Lengthen a pattern

Bound Buttonholes

Gathered Sleeves on Ruched top

Sustainable Living Festival/Fashion Jam

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Next weekend i will be attending the Sustainable Living Festival here in Melbourne. On Friday the 20th you will find me in the Federation Square Atrium at the Design Market where i’ll be promoting Wardrobe Refashion and BurdaStyle and will be there from 10 until 6.

On Sunday the 22nd i’ll be at the Fashion Jam hosted by Craft Cartel which is being held in the Federation Square Play Dome from 1:30 until 4pm.
Come say Hi if you’re in the City.

Fashion Students Race Against the Clock

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The Kent State University fashion students worked feverishly through 20 long hours to create a garment to be judged in a fashion show. There were many great entries and prizes, one person even won a scholarship from Coats & Clark!

Theresa Rietschlin, the winner of our prize (pictured above) will help us create a new pattern for the site. Congratulations to all that entered, we are excited to see the pattern that comes from this.

Top Sewing Machines

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In the market for a new machine, but don’t know where to start? Consumer Reports’ March 2009 issue is out and inside is their top seven machines for the year. While you can’t view which ones made the list without looking at the magazine in person or subscribing online, you can read an article on choosing the right machine for your needs. Similar entries can be found on About.com’s Sewing blog as well Not Martha’s guest spot at shelterriffic.

While I realize that buying a sewing machine is kind of like buying a car – everyone has their preferences that are driven by your price range, I’d still love to hear what your favorite machine is!

Custom lingerie for Valentine's Day

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Have you ever thought about sewing your own bras? With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it would certainly be a crafty and unique way to celebrate! I recently sewed my very first bra and I think I’m hooked! It was a lot more straightforward than I thought it would be, and I can’t wait to sew more in lots of fancy fabrics and trims!

Or if starting from scratch sounds a bit too intimidating for you, you could always customize one you’ve already got with fancy trims, fringes, and tassels (ooh la la!). Haberdashery shops have a huge range of fancy trims these days, and you won’t need very much to decorate a bra so you can really splurge on the expensive stuff. Just watch out for any under wires or metal fastenings when you’re attaching the trim or you’ll risk breaking a needle!

Another idea is to sew up some special lingerie in the form of Jane, Bambi, or EmilyKate’s popular Cheeky Panties. Take a bit of fancy fabric and embroider your sweetheart’s name somewhere special inside, and let Cupid do the rest…

And don’t think the ladies have all the fun – Andre in some silky fabric could be the perfect way to impress, gentlemen!

Photos by reggiebaby, floatingworld, and queenb

Outer Space Suits

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The other week when I was looking for some information on gloves I came across a curious announcement, the 2009 Astronaut Glove Challenge, to “promote the development of a highly dexterous and flexible glove for space and planetary surface excursions”. What inspires space suit designers? And is there any inspiration that we can draw from them?

With respect to the first question, the main factor behind space suit design is human survival in space. We probably all know that flying into outer space means dealing with all sort of extraterrestrial challenges but did you know the details: your clothes have to protect you from biological hazards and extreme temperatures: if you turn your back towards the sun it might heat up to about 120 degrees Centigrade; while your belly freezes at MINUS 160 degrees!; micrometeoroids could hit you; and then there is the problem of pressure: up there, pressures is so low that your space suit has to balance it to keep your bodily fluids liquid. In short, you have to carry your own little physical universe that somehow simulates earthly conditions and at the same time let’s you move around, make scientific experiments etc. What a design task!!

The outcome until recently were the chunky not particularly attractive robot type outfits that we know from newspaper or TV pictures that were influenced by diving and aircraft suits.

Today these technical features may be somehow manageable, but a supposedly emerging market for space tourism is creating an entirely new design problem, how to make those outfits comfortable and attractive for the space tourist while still maintaining their functionality. Apparently, when you are up there taking pictures of Mother Earth and you, you don’t want to look like Michelin Man! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that MIT, NASA and some space tourism companies are seriously researching into ways to make the spacesuit leaner, meaner and stylish while maintaining its functionality. (In fact, I couldn’t believe that there actually is a market for space tourism.)

Even if you are not planning to travel into space anytime soon, it is worth checking out the results from the Hyper Space Couture Design Contest that took place in 2006. Maybe you find some inspiration for your Earthly fashion designs, such as chri_stine did for her Denim Space suit.

BurdaStyle featured in Jeff Jarvis' "What Would Google Do"

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We recently added number 180 to our favorites. Why? Because Jeff Jarvis, internet and media expert, mentioned BurdaStyle in his new book “What Would Google Do?” on page 180!

And this is what he writes:

…Another challenge: fashion… Just as the internet democratizes news and entertainment, it is opening up style…See also BurdaStyle.com’s open-source sewing from the German publishing empire Burda, which decided to take copyrights off its dress patterns and invite the public to use them, adapt them, create their own, and share them. The site is filled with patterns, how-tos, and discussion…

If you’re interested to learn more, we highly recommend reading Jeff’s book and his blog Buzzmachine.

Featured Member: Lunatepetal

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

I am originally from Japan. I left home after graduating from high school and studied in Vancouver, Canada, for a few years. Moved down to Oregon and lived there for three years. Then, last year, I moved back to BC with my husband and a precious little life in my belly.

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

I don’t quite remember what the first thing I ever made was really. But I think it was either a dress for a doll or a little purse when I was like five.

I guess sewing was something that I started naturally. My mom wasn’t a sewer (more like a knitter), nor did I have someone to teach me how to sew. However, I remember I often hanged out in a sun room at my grandparent’s house next door, where a stunning old pedaled sewing machine was. It was such a gorgeous machine! Of course I wasn’t allowed to use it because I was too little, but I could stare at it for hours. So, I sat next to it, and started hand sewing projects. I wonder where that machine is now??

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Creative meditation (when I am not frustrated at it!)

I am in a meditative state when cutting out patterns and running a sewing machine. There is some sort of meditative, calming therapeutic quality about it for me.

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

My favorite part is when I get a lot of new ideas for designs, which overwhelmingly excites me. Least favorite part is when I can’t materialize those ideas, which makes me really upset and sad. I need to learn more skills!

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

I have become a mother to a beautiful baby girl as of a month ago. So, I would love to start making little pretty clothes for her (If I could ever find enough time with a newborn!). She will be so spoiled!

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

I am so stoked that Burdastyle offers free and inexpensive patterns every week! (Now, unfortunately the system has changed a bit that most of the cool patterns cost some money. Still affordable though!) I also love seeing other people’s creations and alternations of the Burda patterns, as many of other members have stated as well. It is very inspiring and encouraging!!

Only one thing I could think of to improve the site is some sort of alarm thing (maybe via e-mail or side-pop-up thing?) when someone writes on your wall or sends you a message, so that you will never miss it. Oh, and it also will be great somehow if we could follow up with the creations we left a comment on.

7. What is your motto?

“Be Creative”

Creativity never leaves my life. It is a part of my life, everyday, within everything I do. It is an essential component of my being. I am always up for some form of creative things – sewing, jewelry making, printmaking, or just daydreaming about things I don’t have time for. Creativity is not only about being arty and crafty, but also how you live your life. Even when you face a trouble, be creative! You will find your way through it.

Lunatepetal has some truly incredible creations. The tailoring on her coats is amazing.Take a look at her Top Ten favorite creations and be sure to check out her Etsy shop, it’s jam packed with cool jewelry, prints and clothes.

Beauty and Fashion

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I am very excited this week because I have just been asked to do participate in a super cool project. For now, I must omit the specifics, but I am going to be designing a small collection inspired by a certain beauty product and the pieces will be featured in the September issue of a widely distributed magazine where I’ll style the photo-shoot! It’s almost as good as Project Runway. It is better in some senses, because I have control over what I’ll be designing and I’ll have my seamstresses & production team on hand to stitch those clean, perfect seams, as opposed to the messy, finicky stitches of the over-worked, over-due machines we used on the show. I like to tell a story. I am naturally drawn to styling the final look of my creations, I find the process as important and fulfilling as the designing itself. One month, I was asked to edit the fashion issue of JPG magazine.

JPG features pictures from people all over the world, who like to take photographs. They are the BurdaStyle of photography. I was given a bunch of fashion-related photographs and sifted through them. I began to realize I look for hopeful imagery, visions of mystery unraveling
or a hidden story.

When I lived in Florence, Italy, my roommate Elissa set up a darkroom for us in one of our bathrooms. We acquired an enlarger and began taking photographs in the fir tree lined cemeteries of Florence. This is the first photograph I developed. Our friend Celena is to the right.

Fall In Love With Sewing!

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We are encouraging everyone to fall in love with sewing with three beginner Valentine’s Day inspired projects. These quick, easy and cute gifts are perfect to make for your loved ones, friends or even yourself. Check out the projects : the Pete Valentine Variation, the Valentine’s Flower Bouquet and Valentine’s Day Cards.

Post your gifts up on the site under the “Gifts” category and we will put them all in a slide show!

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