Featured Member: Allie31991

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

I have lived in Portland , OR my entire life and love this city! Next year, though, I am heading off to college in a smaller town south of here, go beavers!

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

The first thing that I can remember making is a pair of pajama pants, though if I remember correctly my mom did most of the sewing. My mom always used to sew me dresses and doll clothes, since I wished to be just like her I decided I too wanted to sew and thus my obsession began. Following this I attempted to make halter tops and other similar pieces (items which my mother would never buy me) during elementary school with little success but by the end of middle school I was much more competent and began sewing more wearable garments.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Sewing plays an important roll in my life as a creative outlet, I love math and science and am planning on studying engineering in college, so a little sewing on the weekends is a wonderful way for me to channel my creativity. Though, I would say the same part of my brain which works out physics problems enjoys figuring out how to make a garment, both activities take creativity in problem solving.

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

My least favorite part of sewing is the finishing aspects (hems etc.), it is just too tedious, and thus many projects sit around a few steps away from being done. My favorite part about sewing is wearing the item the first time; it is so gratifying knowing that I made it myself.

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

Currently, if I could make something for anyone it would be Michelle Obama, I think she is so beautiful and graceful!

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

On Burdastyle I am looking for a space to share my creations and get inspiration for more. I really like the new picture album function of the site. Honestly, I really love this site, but one thing I would suggest is making things more interconnected, like if someone adds another member as a favorite maybe they are notified when they add a new creation or how-to.

7. What is your motto?

Don’t take anything too seriously; it can only end in stress.

Allie31991 has so many wonderful creations (as you can see from her picture.) I think her Ruby Pants are to die for! Check out her top ten favorite creations and keep up the great work!

Caress Me

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Yesterday I went to Cosmopolitan magazine’s headquarters for a photo-shoot of the looks I have designed for Caress soap’s fashion forward Fall ad campaign. Daily Silk, Glowing Touch and Evenly Gorgeous are the products I set about bringing to life through fashion and to life they came. There is something so rewarding about seeing your final look on a model, posing for the camera all done up in hair and make-up. I thoroughly enjoyed the collaborative aspect of the shoot as well. To create an ad, or any fashion editorial spread in fact, you need a team of creative individuals to make it happen. There were the 3 models, photographer (he was amazing) and 2 assistants, 3 hair & make-up folks (they work as a team) Caress’ media people, Cosmo’s art director, Cosmo’s PR people who created the partnership with me and Caress, and a handful of Cosmo’s movers & shakers. And the designer/stylist, moi.

In order to produce a good photograph I feel there needs to be some buzz in the room. I’ve been on shoots before where there was no music playing and the models were having a hard time warming up. I found yesterday that the photographer caressed the models with words of praise, which helped them loosen up, while music charged the air. I must say it’s quite difficult to pose for the camera with, like, 15 people in the room watching. I had to pose for my head shot towards the end and I felt shy trying to “look natural” and “smile!” while my face was blown up in 20" screens. Though when it was all done, I certainly was smiling.

The Fall ad campaign will hit magazine stands this September. I will keep you posted;)

Sneak Peak: Learning Section

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The fourth sneak peak is about Learning. Under this navigation point we folded the content of the original how to and sewpedia sections.

This new learning section is an optimized place to enhance your knowledge of sewing by picking up a new technique or discovering a new definition. It provides a platform for the step by step instructions of the techniques which refer directly to the terms. The filtering system is optimized for you to find easier the techniques you have been looking for.

Because How Tos associated with projects have been separated from those that are teaching a technique, this section is truly devoted to learning. When clicking through the steps on a technique, you will be able to comment on each step, which allows you to ask questions about a particular step, not just about the how to in general.

There will also be a listing of related terms on each Technique. Having the related terms will help if you aren’t sure of a definition in a technique. At the same time you can browse alphabetically for a term. The Terms, just like the sewpedia, will have a photo and definition associated with it, to help correctly illustrate the definition.

We are excited to have the Learning section, making the teaching aspect of BurdaStyle much more streamlined and user friendly.

Bow Ties Sold on Etsy for the American Cancer Society

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You all sent in so many wonderful and fabulous bow ties that everyone could hardly stop themselves from ogling over them the entire night! We are selling the wonderful remaining bow ties (a few at a time) from the Pink and Black Tie Gala on our Etsy store. All the proceeds from sales of the Bow Ties will be donated to the American Cancer Society, so buy yourself or a friend a fabulous handmade bow tie for a great cause.

Fabric Pattern Kits

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Whether I’m putting it in my house, toting it on my arm in the form of a bag, or wearing it as an article of clothing, I have to admit, I adore fun and funky prints. However, it’s sometimes difficult to find unusual materials that are on a scale that will work with clothing – that’s where Clothkits and Minimoderns come in! I stumbled across these sites while reading True Up and was very impressed with the kits they have available – not only do they cater to women and children’s fashions but Mini Moderns sells some of their home decor fabric by the yard!

Prom Mini Blog : Queens of the Silver Screen

Some of my favorite classic movies are “All About Eve”, “Gone with the Wind” and “Rear Window.” The stars of these three films – Vivien Leigh, Grace Kelly and Bette Davis – are all enduring, timeless fashion icons. I took inspiration from each of these queens of the silver screen to create a one-of-a-kind design for my prom dress.

Vivien Leigh! There’s such a fiery personality under that glamorous face. She takes command of any room she enters and that confidence is reflected in her fashion. I want my dress to be bold and make a statement just like Vivien Leigh.

Grace Kelly is everything her name says she is. Her look is angelic and she carries herself with such elegance. She made the perfect real-life princess! I want my dress to be feminine and have a gathered front like Grace Kelly’s.

Bette Davis’s dresses make a statement just like her eyes do. The plunging back and jewel accents in her dress really jazz it up. I decided to make the straps of my dress out of vintage jewelry. Jewels add glamour to any dress. And we all know that girls love sparkles !!!

My mom, Jane Samson, hosts a sewing show for teens on TV. She went to design school in Switzerland in the 70’s and bought up all the vintage patterns she could get her hands on. I am going to dig through those patterns like buried treasure to find pattern elements I can use to construct my unique prom dress design.

You can start your own fashion treasure hunt using these links:


  • Coco Chanel
  • Going Vintage
  • Edith Head
  • Gowns Inspired by Grace Kelly
  • So Vintage Patterns

    More recently, a film that showed the kind of 1930’s glamour I want in my prom dress was “Atonement”. Keira Knightly is so lucky that she gets to wear all of these beautiful dresses in the films she’s in. She and Anne Hathaway have become some of my generation’s super classy Hollywood style icons. My dress will be green silk like Keira’s. I love how silk hugs the body – it’s easy to strike a pose and look like a movie star, and I want my entrance into prom to be memorable!


    -Grace

Editor's Pick: Open Studio

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This week’s Editor’s Pick is an Open Studio project you can make at home with few supplies and scraps of fabric. We have been inspired to create some clever projects to accessorize your formal look this Spring as we know Spring is the season for proms, weddings, baby showers & graduations! What better way to say something meaningful than with a hand-made gift, or add a little sunshine to your own world with this how-to.

If you missed our Gold Clutch How-To this month you can make your own evening bag with the steps provided here. Do you know what a Facinator is? I didn’t either, but it is something charming to wear in your hair, thanks to Layla’s How-to you can make one too.

Fabrics International

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As many of you know, one of our members, Gedwoods, has undertaken quite the cool and large task of making a wiki that covers all types of fabrics, prints and garments from around the world.

Fabrics International is aiming to be the most comprehensive source for fabric information online by not just focusing on the definitions of fabrics but also on providing information about the special challenges of sewing these garments, using these fabrics and prints, and providing links to creations that have been made using them. The information Gedwoods has collected is from across the web as well as classic reference texts such as Sandra Betzina or Claire Shaeffer.

Fabrics International is aiming to be a multilingual site, so all of you to whom English is not a first language, you will have the most complete resource out there, though this part is still in the making. Gedwoods is looking for volunteers to help translate an article or two into whichever languages. Because this is a wiki, the information comes from you. So if you speak more than one language and want to contribute to the early stages of this wonderful site, message Gedwoods or go onto the Fabrics International site.

We are so excited to have watched this grow as quickly as it has and we can’t wait to see it develop further.

Featured Member: Stacey6970

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

I have lived in Poole in Dorset on the south coast of England all my life, apart from 3 years when I lived in Bristol where I studied for my degree in forensic science. I don’t think I could live anywhere else – I try not to take the beautiful beaches and countryside for granted!

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

I think it was a pillow when I was at school! My mum sewed and knitted quite a lot of clothes for me and my brother when we were kids, so I guess I just followed her lead. Just recently I’ve started taking it more seriously, when I first started I would usually just be making something for an occasion that I would wear just that once, but now the things I make are everyday and work clothes that I wear all the time.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

It saves me a lot of money! I am a total shopaholic, so making clothes is definitely a much cheaper option than buying them! Plus if I’m busy sewing I don’t have time to shop! I just really enjoy it – I love the feeling that I have created something – it makes me feel a lot more special when I wear something that I have made, something that is one of a kind and made to measure.

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

My favorite thing is when I get to try the finished garment on, and then when I wear it out for the first time – I feel really proud of myself when I’ve created something I love and it makes me really happy when I wear it and get nice comments from friends.
My least favorite thing is unpicking! I really hate when something goes wrong – not only do I have to re-do something, but I have to un-do it first!!

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

I dream of making my own wedding dress one day, and the bridesmaids dresses too.

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?
<p Initially I joined for the free/cheap patterns – I love the range of styles and that they can be so easily downloaded – and then discovered this fantastic community of people with similar interests! I love looking through the creations and seeing how people interpret the patterns differently and make them their own.
I think it would be cool to be able to search members by location, so you could see if there were any other sewers in your area!>

7. What is your motto?

You can do anything if you put your mind to it. Cheesy – but I think true!! =)

As you can see, Stacey6970 has some amazing creations. Make sure you take a look at the awesome Envelope Clutch Bag pattern that she has posted, as well as her How To on making a Travel Wallet. Check out what inspires her! .

My First Fitting at Cosmo Magazine

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Today I went to Cosmopolitan magazine’s headquarters in the Hearst building, which is quite the fortress itself with sloped fountains trickling downwards, to have a fitting with the models I will be using in an ad campaign I am designing and styling for Caress soap. I have never styled a photo shoot for an ad campaign. I’ve styled my own photo shoots, been behind the camera, in front of the camera, styled friend’s shoots, but I’ve never actually planned out a finished look (or 3 rather), from make-up, to hair, to shoes for editorial.

I have included one of my original sketches along with a sneak peak of the finished look with some jewelry to match. In the next few days I am finalizing what I will be looking for from hair and make-up, jewelery designers and shoes. I’ve got to get to work!

Sneak Peak: Pattern Section

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Pattern Section:

Welcome to our third sneak peak of our new site. At this point we can excitedly share with you that we are at this point transferring the data from the old to the new, which means we already had the pleasure of playing with a completely functional new version of BurdaStyle. Our excitement is endless.

Today we will cover the new pattern section. The section is structurally fairly similar to our current site. However you will find immense improvements on the filter and layout. Similarly to the project section you will be able to find patterns according to Garment Type, Style, Material, Season and Difficulty. Other than the inspiring approach of the project section (even though a pattern will not exist without a project) this section is for you to browse directly for the kind of pattern you are looking for.

The detail page indicates more detailed information about the pattern. Next to the technical drawing, you see the image of the flagship project, the creation that was uploaded to represent the pattern. (Note: no pattern can be uploaded without a flagship project.) On the bottom of the page you can find what other users had made out of it, their interpretations and variations.

In our next sneak peak, we will familiarize you with the Learning section. As we get closer to Launch, we will also provide you with more information on how to prepare your data for the big move.

Stay tuned, it’s getting closer!

American Cancer Society's Pick and Black Tie Gala

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At the American Cancer Societies Pink and Black Tie Gala, we had so many bow ties that they couldn’t all fit on the table! We ended up raising $375, selling the bow ties for $25 a piece. Alden was busy tying ties all night long while Benedikta and Nora pulled people in from all across the room. Everyone was very excited to see the bow ties, even though most brought their own to the event. We rounded the night out by cutting a rug to the awesome musical stylings of the Dexter Lake Club Band. Check out our pictures of the night!

After such a great night, we would like to continue this great energy and have decided to sell the remaining Bow Ties on Etsy with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. Thank you for all your amazing work and creations, we are excited to continue this fundraiser through Etsy. We will let you know when we have all the bow ties listed, so you can get to shopping and promoting this good cause!

BurdaStyle is open for design submissions

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BurdaStyle is open for your design submissions!

You are the talent and we want to give you even more room to show it.

Starting immediately we will at all times accept design submissions. Any time you have a fabulous idea for a new piece, send in a sketch of the piece from the front and back as well as a technical drawing. Think about why that piece is not only a perfect design for you, but for all other members on BurdaStyle and write it up in a short essay. Make sure to mention what category you are designing for (men, women’s, women’s plus, children, accessories) and what fabrics you had in mind.

Your design will be produced into a real Burda pattern, famous for its fit! Please keep in mind, producing one pattern for our site is extremely cost and labor intensive. Each pattern will first be drafted in our studio, sewn up, optimized and redrafted until it reaches perfection, this process takes several months.

Afterward, we take it to Germany where it takes another couple of months to be made into a CAD pattern, graded, trued and set into a pattern pdf. While grading it the studio in Germany sews it up several times to make sure it works in all sizes. For each pattern, the German Team will create instructions and technical drawings.

Therefore, we have to choose carefully and select only the best and most versatile designs from your pool.

Submitting a design does not mean it will automatically be produced, we also don’t guarantee to choose any design. Drawing on our experience, we will choose only designs that are valuable for the community and catalog. No style that could be created by altering an existing pattern will be produced. We will choose designs that are unique, stylish and of interest for our members.

If BurdaStyle chooses to produce the pattern, you will get a grant of $160 dollars. A sample of your design will be made up and shot in a professional photo shoot. You will receive pictures in high resolution that you can use to for your portfolio. You will also be proudly presented as the Designer of the pattern and eternal gratitude of the community is yours.

We are looking forward to many submissions in all categories.

Email the following to submissions(at)BurdaStyle(dot)com:


  • Sketch from the front and back

  • -Technical drawing

  • -Short explanation of design’s value to the community

  • Category and recommended fabrics

Japanese Craft and Sewing Books - Translated!

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I’m so happy to see that more publishers are translating popular Japanese craft books into English. One of the latest? Patchwork Style: 35 Simple Projects for a Cozy and Colorful Life. This was one of the first books that ever piqued my interest in foreign sewing books, but at the time I was too nervous about sewing in any other language so I never purchased it. So, when it became available in English a few weeks ago, I snatched it up – and it was definitely worth the wait! Not only are the pictures gorgeous (I’m in love with the fabrics), but the projects are adorable. Included in this book are instructions for 34 projects including tissue pouches, quilts, pillows, handbags, and cozies all created in a patchwork style. The instructions are easy to follow as all of the steps are illustrated and the measurements have been converted to inches. Now I can finally sew up the little mini handbag that I’ve been eying for years!

Interested in other Japanese sewing titles? Check out Linen, Wool, Cotton: 25 Simple Projects to Sew with Natural Fabrics released by the same publisher. Vertical Publishing has also released several of the Aranzi Aronzo titles including: Cute Stuff, Baby Stuff, Cute Dolls, The Cute Book, and Aranzi Aronzo Fun Dolls. Lastly, there’s My Favorite Felt Sweets – an adorable, calorie free treat!

Show update

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I’ve been back from the Brisbane Stitches and Craft Show for a week. I represented BurdaStyle with a booth and a daily fashion show. I spent a lot of time explaining the ins and outs of BurdaStyle to the older ladies who assumed i was selling the Burda Magazine and they left the booth armed with their postcards and a smile telling me they were off home to check out the site.

The fashion show’s were great and drew big crowds each day. Heaps of school kids on school textiles class excursions watched and got excited and i spotted some BurdaStyle members there too, in particular Caity who was very excited!

Can i tell you how lovely it is to actually see the garments for real!? I’ve fondled some of them and even tried a few on…shhh (if only i could be as tall as the girls in the picture above, i’d want to wear them on the catwalk each day too!) and am patiently waiting the patterns of some of those that are yet to be published here on the site.

Now i’m preparing for the next show in Sydney from August 19th to 23rd. I’m still looking for more volunteers to help with BurdaStyle and Wardrobe Refashion, if you are interested in helping out please email me at nikkishell@burdastyle.com

More photos of the show to come soon.

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