Draping vs Drafting

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“Drape” can mean a lot of things when it comes to sewing – it can be a fancy covering for windows, or the way a fabric folds and falls, or it can describe a technique used to create new garments.

You’re probably familiar with pattern drafting, where the shapes of pattern pieces are drawn on large sheets of paper based on body measurements, but you may not be aware that there’s another approach to designing clothes called draping. I didn’t know much about draping myself until I watched a master draping demonstration at a V&A Museum event last year, and I was mesmerized. The draper started off with just a large sheet of muslin fabric and a dress form, and as he expertly folded and moved the fabric, cutting and pinning as he went along, a beautiful dress began to emerge. After the dress was perfectly pinned on the dress form the way he wanted, he then carefully took it off the form and used those muslin pieces as his pattern to recreate the design in fashion fabric.

While it would take years to learn the craft and skill demonstrated to us that evening, even beginning sewers can learn to drape a basic garment now with the tools available on the internet. Expert sewer Mimi Goodwin has posted a series of videos on Youtube showing How to Drape a Bodice that is clear enough to follow along at home.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how you create your pattern, whether it’s on paper with rulers and curves, or in muslin on a dressform, in the end you’ll still end up with a creation that’s totally yours, and then you can (of course!) upload your pattern for the rest of us to share!

Photo by tanakawho under Creative Commons

Interview with Santa: Where the Red-White Uniform Comes from

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I am reporting directly from the North Pole where hundreds of elves and little helpers have just done an incredible job of finishing and delivering thousands and thousands of presents for children all around the world. Santa Claus returned from his trip a few minutes ago. I had the chance to catch him for an interview just before he goes home to have a hot bath, eat and rest a little while before celebrating Christmas with his family and his friends:



Mr Santa Claus, BurdaStyle members around the world, are curious to know where you find your inspiration year after year, after year.



Well, that is one of a question, which of course I cannot fully answer as not to jeopardize my company’s secrets. But let me tell you that, yes, I have finally discovered the internet as valuable source of inspiration.The greatest difficulty is to maintain individuality when all children around the world are just asking for standardized designer toys and clothes. I say, fashion trends are the straightjackets of free societies.



How do you create individuality?



I have one principle: do it yourself. If at all possible, I don’t fulfill dreams but give kids the tools so that they can make their own wishes come true. I wish, more parents would do that.



We at BurdaStyle are of course most interested in the story of your own dress, is it true…







… that Coca Cola has designed my dress? – HOHOHO, in their dreams!!!



I was already seen in red-and-white outfit in the 19th century as you can see on historic postcards dating from 1897 –written by a father who couldn’t come home for Christmas. You can also see Father Christmas in a red coat in the letters from Father Christmas annually written and illustrated by J.R.R. Tolkien between 1920 and 1942.



Before the media (and Coca Cola) started to standardize me as old, big-bellied man with white beard in red-and white, everyone saw me as s/he wanted to see me. Long time ago, I would come not just in red, but more often in blue, green and brown. In hot regions, like Africa, they saw me completely different since a big fur does not make sense in the blazing sun.



Well, thank you so much Santa Claus – it was delightful talking to you! We wish you a good rest and Merry Christmas!

Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win a Singer Sewing Machine!

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Well this is it! It’s the last day of our Holiday Giveaway Calendar and we have absolutely saved the best for last. Our friends at Singer are giving one of our lucky member’s a Singer Curvy Sewing Machine! To enter, just leave your comment below by midnight EST. Good luck and happy holidays everyone!

Congratulations to satarah on winning the Coats & Clark Thread!

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Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win Coats & Clark Thread!

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Our friends at Coats & Clark are giving away a pack of thread to one of our lucky members! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below by midnight EST.

Congratulations to Lizro on winning Switch Craft.

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Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win Switch Craft: Battery-Powered Crafts to Make and Sew!

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Switch Craft: Battery-Powered Crafts to Make and Sew by Alison Lewis shows you how to make 20 projects which integrate technology into your creations. From a skirt that streaks light to music or a laptop cover that lets you know when there is a wifi signal available. These projects are easy, fun, and a great way to take your sewing to the next level. To enter just leave your comment below by midnight ETS.

Congratulations to The Banana Fairy on winning the BurdaStyle Bow Tie Kit.

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Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win a BurdaStyle Bow Tie Kit!

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Win a BurdaStyle Bow Tie Kit! It comes with in pattern, fabric, instructions and hardware necessary to make this wonderful present for someone! To enter just leave your comment below by midnight (EST)You can also buy a kit in our Etsy shop

Congratulations to dawnsimpson on winning the BurdaStyle Hat and Mittens.

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Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win the Elana Hat and Mittens!

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We just had our first big snow storm of the season here in New York and walking home last night I would have loved to been wearing these warm hat and mittens. As you are probably aware, the pattern for the hat and mittens are up right now, so if you aren’t the chosen winner, you can make them! To enter just leave your comment below by midnight (EST)

Congratulations to the.portable.kiera.jamison on winning Lotta’s Simple Sewing book.

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CPSIA Legislature And You

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If you remember this time last year, thousands of “Made in China” toys were recalled due to high levels of lead found in their paint. The U.S. government has decided to take action against something like this happening again – but at small business owners expense. What does this have to do with sewing and handmade goods and how will it effect you?

CPSIA legislature (which goes into effect February 2009) mandates that all children’s products (toys, diapers, dolls, clothing, bags, etc.) must be tested for lead by a third party and labeled. The costs for these tests will depend on the each particular item but could range from $150-$4,000. While these prices may not seem like much for large manufactures, for those of us who sell goods on eBay, Etsy, or individual websites, this could mean the closure of numerous home-based businesses.

If this new piece of legislature will effect you, someone you know, or you just want to help protect the hand-made industry then be sure to write you local congressman. You can keep up with the latest news via Fashion Incubator (she has also opened up the CPSIA & Consumer Safety section of her forum to non-members) and National Bankruptcy Day.

BurdaStyle Sample Sale!

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That’s right, after 2 years we have too many beautiful creations for our little clothing racks. Been eying the Amin zip up? How about the Yellow Sidonie variation? Well now you can own them! Just check out our Etsy shop to buy your very own BurdaStyle samples! We are also selling our very own bow tie kits, they contain everything you need to make a bow tie for that special person or give the kit to someone crafty so they can make it themselves!

Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing Book!

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Chronicle books has generously supplied us with a copy of Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing. Lotta has put 24 of her most popular sewing patterns into this one book! It comes with reusable pattern sheets, step by step instructions, design ideas and illustrations.

Congratulations to Maga on winning the Dahl and Dane Tote Bag!

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$10 Off Print or Digital Subscriptions to Craft:

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In this New Year, give your favorite crafter – You — a truly unique gift. Get CRAFT magazine at exclusive savings.

$10 Off CRAFT: Magazine
CRAFT magazine is the first project-based magazine dedicated to the modern craft renaissance. CRAFT connects a growing community of highly imaginative people who are transforming traditional crafts. Order now and you’ll start with Volume 10, CELEBRATION, with a feature on Amy Sedaris!!

Now you can get a full year of CRAFT: for only $24.95—a savings of $10 off the regular subscription price! Use code T8DISC3 when ordering to get your discount.

Direct links to offer:

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Ori (paper) + Kami (fold) = Origami

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BUT did you know that before paper was invented in China around 100 BC it was not paper but fabrics and other materials that were folded! So this week’s how to on Fabric Origami is spot on!

How did we get from fabric to paper and from there to Origami? Once paper was invented it took more than half a century until Chinese monks brought paper to Japan (6th century AD) and another 700 years until the art of paper folding became fashionable. Given that paper was an expensive commodity, it is likely that origami back then was part of ceremonial rites rather than an everyday past time.

In fact, paper folding didn’t just develop in Asia but independently from it in Western Europe in the 16th century. But in any case, Origami then was nothing like it is today: techniques were simple and thus the products a bit limited, one of the main themes being the famous crane.

It was Akira Yoshizawa (1911-2005), who not only developed the instructions for origami that we know today but created a whole new league of motives including elephants, monkeys, dogs, you name it. My favourite is definitely the Origami-Yoda.

The distinctive patterns of origami have influenced fashion designers around the world, who print, fold, or decorate their creations with or after origami patterns. From Colombia to Australia star designer such as Akira Isogawa fuse origami features into their collections.

It gets even better: BBC reported in 2001, that the Saint Martins School of Art in the UK had designed a brand new fashion idea: origami bags for MP3 players, cameras, etc folded by customers themselves. You buy a flat bit of material which you transform into your final product. I wonder what became out of the idea??

But as always BurdaStyle members are at least in the flow if not ahead of things, just enter origami in the search engine and you will find some really cool designs by AnaJan and Myk.

P.S. according to legend, if you manage to fold 1,000 origami cranes, the gods will grant you a wish.

picture © Treadless.

Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win a Custom Dahl and Dane Tote Bag

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Our wonderful contributor Alison has generously donated a custom tote bag from Dahl And Dane! The winner will be able to customize the “I heart…” part of the bag. The bags are soft and strong, made from top quality organic cotton and hemp. To enter just leave your comment below by midnight (EST)

Congratulations to Kleinfee on winning the beautiful necklace from Kristin Hanson Jewelry!

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Featured Member: Emlj

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

I come from Sheffield, UK and after much moving and traveling I now live and work in Norwich, UK

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

Well I only just started sewing properly about 6 months ago! I tried to make a skirt a couple of years back but it was a disaster and I just gave up. I thought i’d give things another go now after I came across BurdaStyle and I’m glad I did! I think I started by making the Marie skirt

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Oh really a big role now..it’s a bit addictive right!? I have quite an intense professional job so it’s wonderful to have a creative outlet in the evening to keep happy and sane :-) I’m forever cluttering up our living room with sewing bits and scraps of fabric everywhere!

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

Well, I just love it when a plan comes together…when you can make something that is like you had imagined it to be. I like choosing the fabrics and seeing them for the pieces and putting them together. I think my least favourite is having too many ideas in my head and not enough time or skill to transfer them to real life….and of course when things do not turn out right..and my machine…which constantly breaks and drives me crazy!!

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

I think I would just love to make something for friends and family, something quite special such as a graduation dress for my little sister. I’ve never tried any men’s clothes either so it would be nice to be able to make smart trousers or a shirt for the other half :-)

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

I came looking for free patterns originally and then discovered this whole community on BurdaStyle! I’m rather new to this whole Internet community thing so it is quite wonderful that this place exists and everyone is so willing to share knowledge and their ideas, it’s very admirable. Not quite sure what could be improved really…more patterns?! is that greedy!?

7. What is your motto?

Some days you’re the dog, some days you’re the hydrant!

Emlj has awesome creations, look at these shorts, how cute are those? For a novice she certainly has a great hand for creating.

Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win A Necklace by Kristin Hanson Jewelry

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Kristin Hanson Jewelry has generously supplied a beautiful necklace inspired by nature. This necklace has a starfish, shell and a skull stung on a 42 inch leather chord (though it can be worn shorter if desired). It has a value of $55. To enter just leave your comment below by midnight (EST)

Congratulations to Susisonne on winning the Falke turtleneck.

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