Fashion in the Recession

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With our upcoming election here in the USA I have been preoccupied with thoughts of the next Depression. The economy here has reached
a startling low and we’ve all really begun to feel it. It makes me question fashion: what does it mean to me, to the world, why is it important and what can I do to feel as if I am doing something that is not disposable, excessive or outright rude during times like these.

My latest project (Dahl & Dane) has really got me thinking about a utilitarian fashion design mentality. Utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its contribution to overall utility: that is, its contribution to happiness or pleasure as summed among all persons. All persons is quite a huge undertaking, but to be able to reach some, and create a positive reaction, is what I aim to do with my work.

My wholesale line, which can be classified as a high-end collection, is made up of material formations of my ideal…or dreamworld. Dresses & tops that involve much work to be put together, hand-crocheted elements and open backed dresses; they speak a specific dialect that only some seem to understand or speak themselves…The Dahl & Dane organic t-shirts and totes line has gotten much adoration from greater amounts of people from all walks of life who understand our language. It is not too expensive, the items are hand screen-printed with thought & care, and it gives a chance for someone to express their love. That reaction is what has planted a seed of thought in my mind about where, at this point in time, should one in my position go in terms of creating fashion designs?

I have decided to strip down the high-fashion and get to the grit of what people want. I have been asking around to friends about what they wear the most & what is lacking out there…I have decided to create a more utilitarian line that will be made up of more staples, like a soft bamboo extra long t-shirt and creating my own prints…

What do you like to wear everyday?

Congratulations the Winners of the Pick the Right Thread Sweepstakes

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Congratulations the Winners of the Coats & Clark® Pick the Right Thread sweepstakes! Almost all of the lucky winners are members here at BurdaStyle. Thank you to all who entered and congratulations to:

mommy2two

punkxoxoxoxo

yerin

catedid

bitterbunny

sewwcrafty

Laurilye

Lizzie

The winners will receive 18 spools of Coats & Clark® Dual Duty XP worth $50. The How To will remain on the site available to make sure that everyone always picks the right thread.

Tell us which pattern to create next!

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BurdaStyle’s Fall Shoot went down last week. We spent one full day working hard to present the upcoming fall pieces to you in the best light. The first result of the shoot just went live, a Bathrobe named Allie!

Christmas sewalong

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Oh man! Where do i start!? What a crazy few weeks I’ve had. Each member of my family has been ill with Gastroenteritis, all except me who had to take care of them all. Poor little Heidi even ended up in the emergency department for a night. I’ve also had some major computer problems where my laptop died, i bought a new one while it was being repaired and earlier this week it was returned to me and i was able to retrieve all my work. Thank goodness i did, i won’t go into the gory details but let’s just say that laptops and vomit don’t mix. So, i’ve been busy but not sewing, in fact i think my machine has collected a good layer of dust this past fortnight. I have been itching to sew and have so many things to work on but alas taking care of my poor sick family comes first.

I’m incredibly impressed with the entries for the recycle mini challenge and i’m look forward to seeing who the winner is. Of course i think you all deserve a prize! I have started a new sewalong in the forum, this time we’re having a Christmas theme, between now and the end of the year we will be sewing Christmas related projects. If you plan to sew Christmas gifts or party outfits then head over there and tell us all about it. I truly can’t believe that Christmas is almost upon us already, it feels like this year has gone by in a flash.

I plan to make my girls a waldorf doll each amongst other things although this year we are simplifying the gift giving after spending far too much in previous years on gifts that now clutter our home or ended up as waste because they did not pass the kiddy test. The one person i struggle to sew for is my husband Kev, he’s a little fussy about what he wears, he’s a jeans and t-shirt guy so i’m thinking i will use the Pete pattern and make up a few simple t-shirts for him. If they pass the fit and fabric touch tests then they should be a winner. I’ll be borrowing one of his favourite t-shirts to compare fit but first i must find some good quality knit fabric, some of the stuff i’ve seen is just not up to scratch. A call to one of my favourite fabric stores, Tessuti is in order, i think they have some lovely organic knits.

What Christmas sewing do you have planned? Do you have gifts in mind for your children, family and friends? Leave a comment and tell us about it or even better go join in the sewalong!

African Halloween

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Halloween, night of disguise – Thanks to the latest Batman film, the Dark Knight is definitely going to be among the favorite costumes and given the current election fever according to surveys half a million people plan to dress as political figure. Total Halloween spending for 2008 is estimated to reach $5.77 billion in the US!

But why do we disguise ourselves? More specifically, apart from all those little princesses, cowboys and French maids that you are likely to encounter, why do we enjoy dressing up as scary monsters and ugly ghosts? – There are definitely a countless number of reasons for changing ones ordinary clothes and adopting a whole new personality through an outrageous outfit for an evening, some rooted in traditions, some in simply having fun to be someone or something else for a change.

Interestingly, many events with historic origins such as Halloween, carnival and even African rituals for which people dress up have or had some sort of relation with ghosts and spirits. The ancient Gaels (even if they may not have dressed up then) believed that on the day today celebrated as Halloween the boundary between life and death dissolved. Supposedly, they wore costumes and masks to mimic and pacify these evil spirits; although, some argue that people only started to wear Halloween costumes in the early 1900s.

African masks were, and sometimes still are, part and parcel of various ceremonies in which they represent the spirits of the ancestors and are used to control good and evil forces. Some masks combine human and animal features to express man’s intricate bond with nature. Their abstract design influenced various European artists such as Pablo Picasso and could very well inspire you for a new Halloween disguise. For some hints on how to create your own African mask check out this step by step guide.

Featured Member: Ms. Cleaver

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

I grew up in Napa, California; spent a few years in Salem, Oregon and Chicago, Illinois; and currently reside in Portland, Maine, where it is the peak of autumn right now and absolutely gorgeous.

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

My mother is an excellent sewer, as is my fraternal grandmother, so I’ve always been around it – I used to to tape together their fabric scraps into outfits for my stuffed animals and dolls. I didn’t really start sewing myself until later. I was fortunate to have a home economics course in 7th grade, so my first official sewing project was a nine-patch pillow cover for class – I got an A. I took up sewing again in high school, took a break for several years, and started going full-bore at it again about a year and a half ago, when I bought my own machine, and I don’t look to be stopping again any time soon!

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

It keeps me lookin’ sharp, often, though not always, for less moolah.

It’s also creative outlet – both in making items and in blogging about them. I keep a blog called Ms. Cleaver Chronicles and I love that blogging about my domestic endeavors, including sewing, knitting, baking and cooking, have helped me to not only connect better with family and friends, but has allowed me entrance into the wonderful world of craft bloggers. It keeps me feeling connected.

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

My favorite things about sewing are having control of my wardrobe – when I make it myself and I do it well, everything fits right and the shape, style, and fabrics are all exactly what I want. I also love vintage clothes, particularly from the 50s and early 60s, but it’s often difficult to find them in my size, so I love that being able to sew gives me the opportunity to fake it. I’d love it if I could get to where my wardrobe is entirely handmade or vintage.

My least favorite thing is cutting out fabric. I don’t have access to a table large enough, so I usually have to cut out my patterns on the floor, which can get mighty uncomfortable. I also dislike seam-ripping, but it’s a necessary evil.

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

Right now I’m a pretty selfish seamstress, but I would love to reach the skill level where I could design and sell my own clothes or patterns for the everyday Jills and Janes out there. I’d probably start out with some Dior New-Look inspired frock, with a big circle skirt and a scalloped neckline. Though I’m also loving all of pleating and texture in fashion right now, so maybe I’d do something in that vein instead.

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

I really like that all the projects are linked to the patterns – I find it enjoyable and helpful to see what other people have done before I jump into a project myself. I also enjoy the sew-a-longs and mini-challenges, because they push me to do things I might not otherwise have considered. And it’s wonderful having quality free patterns.

I think that the comments section could be improved so it’s easier to find suggestions pertaining to making the garments/pattern review – ie separate, the “you’ll probably need to add darts” from the “can’t wait to make this!” Both are important feedback, but serve different purposes, I think. I’d also love it if non-Burda patterns could be listed or linked in the project pages – sometimes I see a project I love, but it’s non-Burda and I’d like to be able to know if it’s self-designed or a commercially available pattern.

7. What is your motto?

“To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.” -Anatole France

I found this quote on a ring I bought myself as a graduation present. I was about three weeks away from finishing college and had no idea what was going to happen next in my life. it felt very fitting, and it’s still appropriate three years later.

Keep up with Ms. Cleaver on her blog, Ms. Cleaver Chronicles. She doesn’t only sew you know, she also knits very well. Her projects and designs can be found on Ravelry as well.

Upcycle that Old Tee Into a Tote - Featured at CRAFT:

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In this month’s issue of CRAFT: magazine BurdaStyle’s T-Shirt Tote bag is featured! We say thank you to our great intern Katie Leaver, who produced this. She is at Parsons in Paris at the moment. Salut! If you want to check out our How To and recycle your T-Shirts, click here.

Watch the Video of Our 100,000 Member Open Studio Party

A few weeks ago we celebrated our 100,000th member party here in our Brooklyn studio. Members, friends, and partners all came and celebrated till late! See what went on, check out our cake and listen to what people say about us!

Video editing by Gabriella Kessler
Music by Les Gadjos

Vote for your Favorite in the Recycled Mini Challenge

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Vote for your favorite recycled creations in the Recycle Mini Challenge! You have until 11:59 pm on the 4th of November, that’s only one week! You can browse through all the entries by going to the Creations section and clicking the “Mini Challenge” category, the pictures are also displayed when you cast your vote!

The Metal Shop

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Today my rep asked me if I would like to participate in a pop-up store called THE METAL SHOP curated by an arts organization called Performa. Performa is the first non-profit visual and performance art organization in NYC with board members including RoseLee Goldberg, Yoko Ono, Cindy Sherman and many world-renowned artists. This year, along with the Bauhaus inspired Metal Ball, they are launching a pop-up store which will take place at the Issey Miyake Tribeca Flagship store, where there are a lot of metal architectural designs and fixtures…In the shop they have asked various artists & designers to provide them with metallic pieces of art, clothing or accessories. Today is October 27th…can I have something ready by November 6th?!

They have asked me to show some of my jewelry. The pieces will be on sale in the pop-up shop on consignment. I provide a wholesale price & they add on a small percentage, thus if the piece sells, they will donate their small percentage to their foundation and the designers take their share. As well as a good amount of press. A win-win situation for all. It seems to be getting a lot of attention & I am anxious to have some of my work in the shop- and in Issey Miyake‘s flagship store? It’s amazing! He is one of the most innovative artists designing clothing…I have this book called Radical Fashion, the pages full of my most favorite designers, and he has a spread of an amazing installation he did with gigantic rolls of knitwear he designed- look it up! I believe the accompanying installations are at the V&A Museum in London at the moment. Oh, the Chanel Pod has arrived in Central Park, has anyone been? I am trying to find the time to check it out myself.

Vintage sewing videos

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Does anyone else absolutely love vintage sewing information? I’ve got a small collection of vintage patterns and sewing books of my own, but I just love seeing how our mothers and grandmothers sewed in their time with the fashions of the day. I’m proud to carry on this tradition in my family, but I was never lucky enough to be gifted with much more than a pattern or two…

But vintage fashion isn’t just restricted to printed materials – thanks to the internet, we can now watch some great vintage sewing videos, too! Archive.org have a lot of pre-1975 fashion videos (including this home sewing gem from 1948!), and over on my side of the Atlantic,

the BBC have a “What We Wore” archive collection (UK viewers only, I’m afraid!) including a series of “Clothes That Count” shows from the late sixties that demonstrate how to sew your own shirt waister, suits, and coats using only “paper patterns”!

If you’re still wanting more, have a look at these vintage sewing ads on YouTube. I’ll have to start thinking of BurdaStyle as “our own private club” now, like the Sewing Center shown in the ad!

LAST DAY!!!!

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Don’t forget that today is the last day to submit your creation for the recycle mini challenge. Have it uploaded by midnight tonight to be in the running for some fabulous prizes! See more details here.


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Details about how to vote will come soon.

Threadbanger Halloween Party: Win a Sewing Machine Costume Contest

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Our friends from Threadbanger are throwing a very promising DIY Halloween party. They promise a Zombie transformation booth, a DJ, The Delyle Sisters, Live band Midnight Fistfight, organic catering, goody bags, plus a costume contest where you can win a sewing machine!

If you’re in New York next Thursday October, 30th pass by the Mercury Lounge in New York City at 8 PM.

Featured Member: Lalunanueva

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

I was born in Belgrade, Serbia, which is where I live now. I spent a couple of years in NYC and I go there as often as I can.

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

I am not sure what was the first thing I made by myself, as I started sewing when I was very young, helping my mum and aunt. I devoted more time to sewing by myself only a few years ago, when I found the perfect piece of fabric. Its funny, but my sewing machine was broken at the time, so I made a T-shirt by hand.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Sewing is one of the few things in life that I can dedicate myself to completely, and that I enjoy in whole

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

I dislike the beginning of the process. I don’t like doing the patterns… but, when it comes down to buying the fabrics and finishing of the piece I simply adore it and am capable of working for hours without taking a break until its finished.

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

Nothing special, but I like designing clothes for my friends. It makes them very happy to own something I designed especially for them. At the same time they are one of a kind and unique presents.

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

Thank you, thank you, thank you… I remember the period when I discovered your website, and since then I keep being inspired by all the artistic people on your website.

7. What is your motto?

Reuse, recycle, reduce. At least a third of the things I own (furniture, clothes…) I found at flea markets or found them on the street left all alone in the pouring rain… I love re-designing my mum’s and grandmum’s old clothes, for them to have a more modern look.

Lalunanueva‘s awesome creations are fun and lively, take a look at this pete shirt she created! She has recently made a women’s version of the pete which totally rocks

Quality Thread

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If you’re like me, when I start a sewing project, I put very little thought into the type of thread I might use. However, quality thread, along with proper needle size will make a world of difference in your finished garment. This article, written by YLI, discuses how thread is made, it’s types, sizes and weight, and needle sizes. All the information (and more) that you need to arm yourself for your next project.

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