How To Cut Slippery Fabric

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On with the season of weddings, graduations and parties, this also means flawless skirts and dresses. These creations all involve one thing: slippery fabrics. Whether creating a lining or a silk dress, this week’s How To will show you a simple way to cut fabrics which can be hard to keep a hold of. Enjoy!

Vintage Sewing and Hatmaking books online for browsing

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When you’re studying an art or craft, it can help to take a look back through history for inspiration, resources and just general fun, “can you believe they did that?” Lucky for us, the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin has put a collection of three dozen sewing and hatmaking books online. The publication dates range from the 1890s to the mid 1940s. Scrolling through the books can be a little tedious, but there are real gems in there worth finding. [via]

Featured Member: Sunnyb64

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?
I’ve lived my entire life in northern Delaware, on the east coast of the US.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?
I grew up with it-my mother’s sewed for my whole life, as does my grandmother and my aunt. So she started teaching me how to use the machine when I was about seven years old. The first thing I clearly remember making was a Barbie dress that I hand-sewed from white felt scraps and seafoam-green yarn. I had to cut it off the Barbie later because I forgot to leave an opening to take it off. I think the first thing I sewed on the machine was probably an awful pair of elastic-waist shorts in the horrible neon colors they had in the 80s-so it’s probably a good thing I wasn’t taking pictures of my creations back then!

3. What role does sewing play in your life?
When I was growing up, making clothes was a huge personal expression thing for me-I really hated the thought of wearing the same generic mall clothes as my classmates. Plus it made it really easy to have skirts that were long enough for my school’s dress code! Now, I work in a creative-based field (I’m a musician/music teacher), so it’s really nice to have something creative that’s purely for fun. Plus the clothes in stores still generally either bore me or annoy me when I know I could make them better (and often cheaper!)

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?
Planning the project is a lot of fun for me, whether trying to decide what to do with a gorgeous piece of fabric, what to use for a certain pattern, or trying to come up with my own design altogether. I also really enjoy the machine work, and I love finishing things so I can wear them out of the house! My least favorites are cutting out the patterns and ironing. Especially ironing-I know it’s necessary, but it still annoys me.

5. If you could make something for anyone, who would it be and what would you make?
The ever-elusive perfect-fitting pair of jeans! I’d also love to be more adventurous in sewing for other people in general, as fitting anyone other than myself usually scares me.

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?
Besides the free/inexpensive patterns, the best thing is the sense of community, hands-down. Everyone is so encouraging of everyone else’s work and willing to share their knowledge and ideas, and I just love that. I also really love that experimentation with the patterns is encouraged, and seeing the different variations on the same pattern that people come up with! I’d really like to see a feature where how-tos connected to particular patterns can be linked from the main page of that pattern, if possible. And I want more mini-challenges!

7. What is your motto?
Borrowing from John Lennon, since I believe it really applies to sewing too. “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”

For more info on Sunnyb64, take a look at her profile. If that is not enough for you, make sure you check out her blog!

Swap-O-Rama-Rama heading to NYC this week

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New York readers – it’s time to get your swap on. The famous Swap-O-Rama-Rama clothing swap is happening this week. Grab your unwanted clothes and head down to NYU for a giant clothing swap and series of DIY Workshops. It’s a great chance to recycle and reuse clothing. See the Swap-o-rama-rama site for details on what you can bring and what to expect. [via]

Get your creation published!

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Some of you already noticed that every month we fill up a page with BurdaStyle fun stuff in the German Burda Modemagazin. And since BurdaStyle is all about our members, we have featured some of you already, and want to continue! Along with beautful pictures of your BurdaStyle creations, we love to tell you story and to show everyone what’s unique about you. Maybe you are a cake decorator, a forest ranger, you use BurdaStyle patterns for your own line, tell us!

We are looking for your story and your pictures! Since it is a print magazine, the pictures should be in high resolution (300 dpi) and aesthetically pleasing, charming, fun!

The people with the nicest pix and coolest stories will be featured in Burda Modemagazin! Send them to us to answers@burdastyle.com.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Happy Earth Day!

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Happy Earth Day!

We at BurdaStyle would like to congratulate you, all our members, on making a difference in the world. Because you all make your clothes, even one t-shirt or one pair of pants, you are contributing to a cleaner planet. Making clothes yourself helps decrease the emission of Carbon Dioxide and various by-products of mass production that harm the environment.

Burda News Feed: 100 Skirt Project

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Depending on which fashion site you read, 2008 is going to be the year of the skirt. If you follow this season’s trend, no doubt you’ll be sewing up at least one of these garments for yourself, but while you’re at it why not sew up a skirt for someone else? Vintage Threads has started the 100 skirt project – she’ll be making embellished skirts (with coordinating tops) ranging is sizes 3T to misses small, wrapping and numbering each set, and sending all of them to an orphanage in Guatemala. As she began documenting her progress, readers of her site began taking an interest in her projects and began to send skirts to her cause. If you’re interested in contributing to this charitable project, then be sure to read this entry where Charity lists what sizes are still needed before the 100 skirt project is complete!

Prom Dress Pattern Variation!

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Hi Everyone!

Well it’s that time of the year again; over the next couple of months those of you in high school have many a momentous occasion arising. All eyes will be on you from prom to graduation, flash bulbs will be flying every which way, are you ready for it? If not, we have great news for you and anyone who needs a dress for a special occasion. The BurdaStyle team decided that since we know how incredibly talented and fun you all are, that you would appreciate a dress that spoke of your elegance as well.

Sewing Universe News Feed: 14 April 2008

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On a recent Ellen, program host, Ellen DeGeneres, expressed her extreme dislike for anything with sparkles or glitter Ever since, Crafty Chica has been on a mission to bring “Glitter Awareness” to the world. On the 8th, the Crafty Chica herself, along with other LA crafters gathered outside NBC’s Burbank studio to bring her message to everyone. Those in the area gathered their handmade glittered goods and signs to “promote glitter awareness and safe sparkle alternatives” and headed on out to the rally. For more details about gathering check out this entry on the Crafty Chica.

Nikkishell: Pressing tools and sew along update

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Where has the past week gone?! Life seems to be so full at the moment that time just goes by in a flash. I still haven’t managed to work on my Jorinde blazer or finish my JJ blouse. I did however manage to make myself a tailor’s ham. I figure that since I’ve spent a lot of money on the fabrics I’m using for the blazer I should really make sure I do a good job of making it. The most important part of making a garment look good is pressing as you go so I decided to look into the tools of the trade. I came across these posts on The Sewing Diva’s website with heaps of info.

I’m in the process of making my own set of tools and will post how-to’s here on BurdaStyle so you can make your own. A tailor’s ham is probably the most often used pressing tool, it is used for pressing any seams that you find hard to press on a flat ironing board, you will find my how-to here, it is very easy to make. Next is a seam roll, useful for pressing long seams such as sleeves and pant legs. I have partly made my own version using a rolled up newspaper, batting and cotton fabric, I have just a few last minute touches to make and need to take a photograph of the finished roll and I’ll post my how-to. Next I’m going to make a few pressing cloths which are basically just squares of lint free fabric such as muslin or cotton drill. I’ll also make a pressing mitt using some terry toweling. I’m not sure how much I need the wooden tools such as a clapper or press blocks, although I do like the idea of beating the hell out of a piece of fabric, it would be great stress relief! If and when I do need such tools I’ll look into making them myself or having someone make them for me locally. Do you use pressing tools when you sew? Do you have any tips or recommendations?

Now, onto the sew along. April’s sew along pattern, ’Nichola’ has been quite popular and has also had an extra few weeks running time due to me not being around but now it’s time for something new. I have set up a new thread in the forum for our new sew along which will be the Ellinor blouse. For those about to enjoy the summer months this could be made in a light weight fabric and for those of us about to enjoy winter it could be made in a heavier fabric. I’ve made one of these before and hopefully will find the time to make another for this sew along. Let us know your plans for sewing this pattern, show us your fabric choice and tell us of any changes you plan to make. Don’t be shy and ask questions if you are unsure of anything.

Make sure you take the time to check out the Nichola pants of member that took part in April’s sew along. You can also read about any problems members came across, their solutions and any changes they made while sewing this pattern in the forum.

Featured Member: EmilyKate

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?
I’m from Melbourne, Australia, which seems to be a very crafty city- I’ve noticed there are a lot of BurdaStyle members who live here too!

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?
The first thing I ever made was a ruched midriff-baring peasant top from a floral chintz fabric that in retrospect I think might have been designed with quilters in mind. It looked just as horrible as it sounds, though in my defense the whole Year 8 Textiles class had to make the same thing, and theirs looked just as awful. A couple of weeks after assessment my mum did up a batch of homemade jam and cut the peasant top up to make pretty lid-covers for the jars.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?
What role does sewing play in my life? Its a bit of a paradox in that it helps me unwind AND it keeps my mind going a million miles an hour! For awhile there I thought I might go into the fashion biz, so I did the fashion school thing, but while learning about mass-production I realised the joy for me is very simple, it’s in the process of sewing and pattern-drafting- I love the fiddling-about of construction and creating things that are unique. While I have a real fascination with the stunning capabilities of the industrial “Fashion Machine”, I can’t help but think that in a world of contracting resources, we gotta be a little careful and we have to love our stuff longer- which happens naturally and beautifully when you make it yourself!

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?
My favourite thing about sewing… sewing encompasses so much of what I love, its difficult to pick out one thing! I’m a fabricaholic (is anyone immune?), but I also nerd right out on the technical aspects- I LOVE patternmaking, and that was my best subject at school. I love reading about couture techniques and cool little hacks that make my sewing life easier. I’m also into collecting vintage sewing machines and notions, and trying to figure out how all the mechanical gizmos work is a lot of fun. As for what I hate… um, I’m not crazy about grading patterns once I’ve drafted them, and hemming is a drag. But that’s it!

5. If you could make something for anyone, who would it be and what would you make?
If I could make something for anyone, it would be for my fella, and it would be something he could actually wear. That hasn’t happened yet. I’ve made dozens of things for other people but for some reason the things I make for him are, like, jinxed or something. The first shirt I made him, the buttons all popped off and skittered across the room. I sewed them back on but he was still wary, so it ended up going to the op-shop. I knitted him a hat, and when he put it on, his normal, friendly face was immediately transformed into that of an armed robber. The next shirt I embroidered various cactuses onto. Yeah, I don’t what came over me with that idea, either. Op-shop! I’m considering trying to make him the Jakob shirt, maybe that will break the curse?

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?
The BurdaStyle site is kinda scary, cos it’s like, the fulfillment of my very id or something!! It’s got everything a sewing-crazy person could want- constantly-changing eye-candy in the form of members posting their creations, members helping eachother out, members admiring eachother’s work (because as we know, while it’s great when your friends and family compliment your creations, only another sewer REALLY knows the work involved). The free patterns are great. And whoever came up with the How To interface, can I hug you? it really is a gift!! I check the blog every day because I always find out something useful. The real strength of the site I think will be the forums, and once they get sorted out that’ll be great. Sewers are in general, social, helpful folk and anything that aids their communication on the site will enhance the growth of community. And in particular, the BurdaStyle members are an exceptionally creative, energetic and friendly bunch! Everyone has something great to share.

7. What is your motto?
It isn’t really a motto, but it’s the simplest, truest and most useful piece of advice I’ve ever been given in relation to sewing: you’ve gotta press your seams as you sew! If you’re not in the habit of doing it, start now and make it your mantra – it’s the secret to having your creations go from looking ‘homemade’ to looking expertly hand-crafted!

For more info on Emily Kate, check out her profile. She has such awesome creations, and has taught us all how to make those wonderful cheeky panties

Wearable Technology: Blythe Church – Electronic Objects Reinvisioned as Soft Sculpture

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Blythe Church – Electronic Objects Reinvisioned as Soft Sculpture

Blythe Church, a Canadian artist working in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia has made some lovely soft replicas of household objects, cameras and robots. Church says her work is inspired by the art of Claes Oldenburg, who has made such sculptures as the Soft Bathtub and Clothespin (a giant sculpture of a Clothespin displayed outside of Philadelphia’s City Hall). Church, who has an upcoming show, was kind enough to answer some questions about her work.

Sewing Universe News Feed: 10 April 2008

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As the sun starts to make a brighter appearance in the sky this spring, your sewing and wardrobe will likely start to brighten up as well. If you’re working with a lot of whites this season, be sure to check out the article from Threads about sewing with whites. From prepping your work area to making sure your marks don’t stick around permanently, there are a lot of great tips for working with white fabrics.

Letter From the Editors: Pricing

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Hey there everyone!

Today we just wanted to preempt some questions that might be coming up. We wanted to explain why some patterns cost money and why some are free of charge. Though we would love to give every single pattern away for free, there are some costs that a website must cover in order to stay in business. The majority of our patterns (both Basic and User Designed) are completely free but about once a month a trend piece will be offered at a low cost.

Nikkishell: Back in the saddle and setting up shop

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Hey there! I’m back in the saddle after having a little break to have my baby. Heidi Grace was born five days past my due date but made up for that by arriving after a very quick 50 minute labour on the bedroom floor in the presence of four paramedics and my husband. Talk about eventful! We’re settling well into being a family of five and life is good! Do you know what else is good? I’m skinny again!! YAY!! Well, not quite back to my pre pregnancy self yet but I’ve joined the gym and should be there soon. I do fit into the Sidonie skirts and Lydia tops (which I have yet to photograph) I made while still pregnant; it’s so nice to wear regular clothes again.

In the few weeks leading up to and after the birth my sewing machine has collected a good layer of dust. After the disaster with my JJ blouse I decided my mind just wasn’t able to concentrate on anything that required attention to detail, I was also too big to be able to sit at the machine comfortably for anything longer than ten minutes at a time. So, the machine was put to one side and instead I took to knitting, stitching and trying to relax on the sofa. It was actually quite nice to be able to do this, I had not knit much in almost a year and a half but once I got into it the bug bit me. At the moment I’m knitting a pair of socks using some of my stash that I organized.

Oh yes! I forgot to tell you, I organized my sewing room after my last post. I spent that night dreaming of it and the next morning I woke up, rolled out of bed and straight into my sewing room. I don’t think I came out except for food, drink and the odd visit (ok, they were pretty regular) to the loo until 8pm that evening. I rearranged my shelves; transferring books to one book shelf, removing the books destined for EBay and used the other bookshelf to store my fabric stash. I organized my yarn stash, my knitting needles and embroidery floss. Magazines, paperwork and bowls of ‘stuff’ and boxes were sorted through and I found stuff I didn’t know I had. I hung my BurdaStyle patterns from hangers in the closet, a friend of mine found me a spool holder which she is delivering to me next week and I stuck a tape measure to the edge of my desk for easy measuring. It may not look like I did much but it was a big job.

I’m more organized now and I know exactly what I have in my stash. I have so much stuff that I have decided to start using it to make items to sell in my online store that I’ve been planning in my head and on paper. It may take a little while longer to get it off the ground but I’m good with that. I plan on taking it easy; I want it to fit in around my family life. I’m not going to pressure myself to get things made and up in the shop by a certain date, I’ll do it as and when I can and build up from there if I feel comfortable. I’ll be doing this for fun, to create just because I can and want to, to use up some supplies and of course I hope to make a little extra money in the process.

I’m thinking of opening a Big Cartel store that I will link to from my website. I have an Etsy store but it has sat empty for longer than I can remember. There are pros and cons to both. First of all the cost, Big Cartel has a set monthly fee which depends on the amount of items you want to sell and they do not charge a listing fee per item, just one payment per month and that’s it. Etsy have no monthly fee but charge per item listed and if you’re listing a lot of items this can get quite expensive. Next up is the exposure, with Big Cartel my store will only be seen by those that visit my website whereas Etsy has an enormous amount of visitors each day increasing the chance of my goods being seen and bought. Another option is to go with the new PayPal storefront widget which is a badge that you display in the sidebar of your blog or on your website. I think this would be great for those that only sell a few items and do so infrequently. So, I need to weigh up these pro’s and con’s and decide what is going to be best for me, a little more research is needed. As I work towards opening my online store I’ll be discussing this subject in future posts. I’m interested to hear from those of you already doing this and I especially want to hear from those of you that are using BurdaStyle patterns to make and sell, so if you are doing wither please leave me a comment and tell me about it.

Now, I’m off to catch up on everything I have missed here on BurdaStyle. I’ll give you a sew along update next week and we’ll decide on a new project. I’m also going to get back into my sewing room. I have a Jorinde jacket to make, a JJ blouse to finish and many other projects to finish that have been sitting idle for far too long. I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things!

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