Patterns and Tutorial for Convertible Tops and Dress

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Looking for a dress that gives you more bang for your buck? Try sewing yourself up a convertible dress! Not only is this style all the rage in Hollywood at the moment, but it also allows the wearer to change the look of their outfit just by altering the ties. There are several tutorials for making this frock including Rostitichery’s Infinity Dress and BurdaStyle’s own scriptandserif. Dresses not your style? Try the convertible dresses’ sister tute, the convertible shirt!

We'll Miss You, Michael!

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Yesterday, the whole BurdaStyle office was in shock. It seemed so strange that the King of Pop would be gone so soon. Though his life was plagued with controversy, Michael Jackson has had an undeniable influence on culture, music, and style. Michael Jackson singlehandedly popularized aviator glasses, leather jackets, gloves, and his signature white socks. He resisted fads, sticking to his own edgy and unique take on fashion. Most of us in the office grew up listening to and watching Michael Jackson, and like the rest of the world, we’re still in shock. Rest in peace Michael! We’ll miss you.

BurdaStyle Team

All pictures are from www.gallery.steady-laughing.com.

BurdaStyle Sewing Club Update: The Milwaukee Sewing Club!

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The BurdaStylers of Milwaukee were armed with their sewing gear and ready to mingle at this Tuesday’s very first Sewing Club! This event was packed with a super-fun show-and-tell and conversations on what the next meeting would bring.

This club mixes sewing veterans with beginners, and aims to have fantastic sewing fun for both! Tentative plans for what they may do in the future include sewing quilts for an international adoption agency and baby kimonos for local hospitals. How cute!

At the next meeting, though, the first order of business is to work on the pleated clutch pictured above. Their next meeting will be held July 21st at 7 p.m. If you are in the Milwaukee area and would like to join, please contact Club Leader Tekstile.

For more information on BSC Milwaukee, visit their blog at MilwaukeeSewingClub.wordpress.com.

Keep up the great work guys!

-David
BSC Coordinator

Join one in your neighborhood!

Winner of the Sew News Subscription is....

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Congratulations to Easbrooke! The handy dandy Random number generator helped pick us our winner. Thank you all for entering!

Antique Sewing Machine Collector

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Here is a really cool interview with an antique sewing machine collector over at Collectors Weekly. It’s a really interesting article, with great pictures, I recommend it!

Cut it Out!

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Are you following the Cut-Out trend? A bit ‘80s with a dash of young Lolita’s sex appeal, garments with shoulders cut-out and backs exposed were all over the A/W runways this past winter. Do you dig this look? I designed a few open-back pieces for my S/S 09 collection (pictured far right) and have always been a fan of showing a little unexpected skin, as long as it doesn’t cross the line from intriguing to explicit. How far do you go with cut-outs?

Who is cutting it out best? Decolette, Balenciaga, and Sophomore.

The Traditional Sewing Teqniques of Savile Row

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Today we find ourselves in Savile Row, located in the heart of London, the “golden mile of tailoring”. We enter a little shop through a glass door, a bell rings and Mr S. turns his head to greet us “Good afternoon, Miss. How can I help?”

We are not here to get a suit we are here to learn all about bespoke tailoring and the great tradition of Savile Row. Mr S. is far too passionate about his trade to be disappointed that we want to talk rather than to buy. "…. well, my love, to understand the history of Savile Row and our trade, let me first clarify once and for all, the meaning of bespoke.

Bespoke tailoring is the equivalent to the ladies’ haute couture. We do not use standardized patterns. Oh no, that would be made-to-measure tailoring- we take the individual measures of each and every customer and fit our handmade suits to their very own shape."

“And the word bespoke?

“Jolly good question, my dear. The word bespoke comes from bespeak, which in turn means “to speak for something”; and that means nothing else than “to give order for something to be made”. So, the word although a bit old-fashioned is still spot-on: we tailor what our customers ask for."

“But is this type of tailoring industry not in danger with all the cheap mass production”

“Oh my dear, yes, indeed times have changed and for the bespoke trade it is definitely not getting easier. Our little Savile Row is like a haven of craftsmanship in this fast-paced city where everything that is produced lasts just for a fleeting moment. Our skills may be considered archaic by some, but there are still enough men who appreciate a perfectly fitted suit: the royal family, statesmen, business leaders, actors and singers…. Of course I cannot give you any names to respect the privacy of my customers.

You should note, it is not the suit alone, it is also the quality of our services we offer that makes us unique: we provide expert cloth consultants; offer a choice of at least 2,000 fabrics; keep a customer’s details on record and provide after-care for the suits customers buy. And all that we attempt to protect through the Savile Row Bespoke Association that we founded in 2004."

And while I’m off to chat with the guys from the Savile Row Bespoke Association I recommend you to check out all the great men’s patterns on BurdaStyle, my favorites are Ehren and the Stinchcomb although you might want to try something lighter for the hot summer months.

photo © Kempt

Win a One Year Subscription to Sew News Magazine

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We are giving away a one year subscription to Sew News magazine. All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post by June 25th 2009 11:59pm est to be entered to win. One lucky winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries. Best of luck and happy commenting.

Featured Member: Nimblefingers

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

Originally from the deep south, outside of Savannah, Georgia, I moved to NYC eight years ago. After living in Manhattan for a few years, I made the move to Brooklyn where the living is easy. That’s where I currently live and love all of the extra space for my fabric and yarn

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

I started sewing at an age when it was probably unsafe for my little fingers to be near a sewing machine. However, I had a baby doll with no sleeping arrangements and that sleeping bag wasn’t going to make itself. So, my mom taught me how to turn on the sewing machine and stitch two straight lines and away I went. Suddenly a little square of my granddad’s old golf pants was transformed into the cutest little plaid doll sleeping bag, and I was hooked.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

I grew up mainly making things from scratch from patterns, heavily relying on the precision of the instructions. However, more recently I’ve begun experimenting with my own patterns and also reconstructing existing garments into something new or different. This has opened up a whole new world of possibilities, and now shopping is a new experience for me entirely. A piece of clothing that isn’t the right size, doesn’t fit right, or would look better with a different cut can be easily resized, tailored, or transformed entirely into something new. One of my favorite things to do is wander around thrift shops looking for something that catches my eye, whether it be a striking print or just a silly design, taking it home and transforming into something unique and fun.

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

My favorite thing about sewing is the excitement and anticipation at the very start of a project (you know, before the actual work begins). And of course, the actual wearing of the garment and receiving a compliment to which I can reply, I made this!

I’d have to say that my least favorite thing is finishing seams. I have big problems with completing projects in their entirety (I’ll be 90% done and suddenly another project looks oh-so-enticing), and finishing seams is a major source of that problem. I’ll stitch my garment together, and it looks wearable and good from the outside, but I’ll growl knowing I’ve still got work to do. Sometimes, I’ll just wear it anyway and skip the seams. (I hope my mom isn’t reading this.)

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

Britney Spears a pair of pants. With underwear.

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

I love seeing what other fun things people are up to and getting inspired by their work. Sometimes on burdastyle, I’ll see someone put together an everyday creation in a unique way that makes me think of things in a whole new way. For instance, I’m a pretty avid sewer and knitter, but until I saw Ms. CarotteSauvage’s sailor style coat/cardigan I’d never even thought of combining these two skills. She expertly paired a sewn coat with handknit ribbing for the cuffs and waistband. Genius!

As far as improvements go, I’m a very organized person who is always searching for ways to catalog my ideas, tuck little pieces of knowledge away for future use, and creatively match up materials that I have with projects that I have in mind. I would love if burdastyle had a tagging system to match up creations that I like, to be paired with my own materials & fabrics, all housed in my own personal little online notebook.

7. What is your motto?

Nobody puts baby in a corner.

Nimblefingers has incredible creations. Between her knitting and her sewing, you can tell that she has talent and a keen aesthetic. Check out her fabulous blog and her top ten favorite creations

Faith

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To be honest I don’t feel quite like doing anything this week. Last week ended in epic proportions; Dane & I closed on the 1864 Victorian brownstone (which is full of gorgeous original detail) we’d been trying to buy, and at the same time, my brother-in-law was hit by a car in Manhattan. His improvements are slow, like river water carving a pattern in limestone, but we thank the heavens his injuries are reversible. His head & nervous system weren’t exceptionally damaged. He’ll walk and talk and be Brett again, it’ll just take time. We’re incredibly lucky he’ll recover. I’m desperately trying to focus on that and be positive for my sister, who is 4 months pregnant…

I keep thinking, while I’m sanding the walls of my new studio, or watching Brett in his hospital bed, that the rehabilitation of my home and my sister’s husband are similar. Both require patience, skill and helping hands, and in time, both will be restored to their original beauty. We just need to have faith.

Our new intern Amanda has written some great posts lately, I almost even feel a smidgen inspired (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). I especially liked the one on Illustration. Pictured above: our floor plan; our bedroom & the front stairway detail. I will definitely make some “before & afters” when I can.

Size Range Expanded for Cheeky Panties Patern

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Hey guys,

The cheeky panties pattern originally posted by EmilyKate is now available in sizes 32-46, thanks to ParaNoire! Here’s the link to Cheeky Panties 2.0, and here’s the link to the original pattern . of course, you can still follow EmilyKate’s awesome step-by-step tutorial showing how to make these.

Above: Paranoire’s leopard-print pair!

Everything is Illustrated! A Look at Fashion Illustration

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As we continue to receive entries for BurdaStyle’s call for Design Submissions, it would definitely be best for us to feature the art of fashion illustration.

According to good old trusty wikipedia, fashion illustration’s been around for almost 500 years, but has been on the decline due to the rise of fashion photography. Vogue’s covers, for example, used to be completely illustrated, but after the 1930s they were replaced with photographs.

Of course, fashion illustration still plays a major role in the industry- sketches and technical garments of drawings are still an integral aspect of a young designer’s portfolio, and are definitely a huge help in communicating your designs to others, and helping to visualize the look you have in mind! Although there are some designers who seem to be able to construct a garment without having sketched it, illustrating your ideas is definitely a useful skill to possess.

Recently, fashion illustration seems to be making a comeback. There are quite a few young, talented artists throughout the globe who’ve been receiving a lot of attention for their highly stylized, creative designs.

Check out Ana Laura Perez from Argentina who even designs her own textiles, and the amazing Danny Roberts from California who’s posted his entire sketchbook online so you can map his journey from beginner to expert- super-encouraging!

If you’ve never thought about trying your hand at sketching, now’s your chance! Fashion Era’s a huge resource for budding illustrators. There’s also a very useful how-to on our site for technical drawings.

We’re so excited to see what you come up with! Right now, we’ve got a huge board with all the design submissions posted up, and we can’t stop ourselves from oo-ing and ah-ing over all the cool stuff you’ve sent. Keep ‘em coming!

Pics- Above: Danny Roberts, Bottom: Ana Laura Perez

Amanda,
BurdaStyle team

Get Your BurdaStyle Sewing Club Badge!

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The BurdaStyle Sewing Clubs are up and running! Since we introduced the concept to the BurdaStyle community in April, we have had such a wonderful response from people like you who were willing to share their love of sewing with fellow members. Many of you have begun to establish regular meetings, and have already started to tell us how fun meeting like-minded sewers is. We are truly thrilled, and look forward to hearing more on the progress of your clubs!

In order for you to promote your club on blogs and social networking sites, we have designed a custom Sewing Club Badge for you, which you can display on your blog or website. Each badge contains your specific city and state (or city and country for international leaders), in order for interested people in your area to know about your fabulous BSC. Other people who may not live in your area can follow the link and find a sewing club in their city too!

Sounds good?

Send us an e-mail at team[at]burdastyle[dot.com, Attn: Sewing Club Badge. Include your city and state, or city and country, and we’ll send you the file. Each badge is a 125px square listing your club’s city and state.

And join our BSC Flickr Group too at http://www.flickr.com/groups/burdastylesewingclub/, where you can post pictures of your group projects, snapshots of members and anything else from your Sewing Club fun. Leaders please tell your club members to join as well!

We have also created a Forum group on the BurdaStyle website just for Club issues. Tell us how we could help to make your club a success, and connect with other BurdaStyle members, including prospective members for your club.

We also need to make sure that all our information is up-to-date. To be sure, we need the following from all BSC Leaders:

• The number of members in your club.
• The names of each club member.
• Weekly, Bi-Weekly or Monthly Meeting Dates (if established)
• Meeting Times (if established)
• Meeting Location (This can be the meeting address or, if you prefer, just the city and state)
• Group Website, if created

This information will help us to connect interested members to you, and help us plan future incentives for BurdaStyle clubs, including the upcoming Club Packets.

Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication. We look forward to receiving more updates on your sewing clubs!

Best,

David from the BurdaStyle Team

Sewing Green with Solar

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Sewing can be an important part of living a more ‘green’ lifestyle. Elliot Montgomery and his MicroCycle Project recently set up a small manufacturing kiosk in New York’s Union Square (that’s right, sewing right on the street!). Elliot’s machines were powered by solar panels and and manned by his crew where they used scrap materials and repurposed them into fabric shopping bags – reminding shoppers to minimize waste by using recyclable bags. You can read more about Elliot’s MicroCycle as well as his other projects by visiting his website, but in the mean time, create your own reusable grocery tote by using BurdaStyle’s own free pattern, Charlie!

Knock-Offs Knocked Out!

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Above: left, dress from Anna Sui’s Sring 2007 RTW; right, Forever 21’s Maven Top from nitrolicious.com nitrolicious.com

Below: Acne’s cage skirt; Norwegian Wood’s cage skirt; Topshop’s cage skirt

“It’s time for those who rip off the work of others to know that it just won’t fly anymore." – Zac Posen

Where does inspiration stop and flat-out copying begin?

A bevy of designers, including Zac Posen and Diane Von Furstenberg, have been fighting for the Design Piracy Protection Act for quite some time. Currently, no law exists in the US to protect clothing designs from copyright infringement, which is why it’s so easy to buy a knock- off of the handbag you’ve been coveting on Ebay or Canal St.

If this bill is passed, what does this mean for the indie crafting world, as well as the fashion industry as a whole? On one hand, it would ensure that indie designers, who have quite often been victims of intellectual theft by bigger companies are better protected; it would mean that all the hard work gone into designing and creating clothing for sale are not all attempted in vain.

On the other hand, will the bill potentially stifle the creativity of young designers and crafters? Painters and artists often exchange ideas- in the past, this inspired artistic movements. When asked about their favorite fashion designers or influences, fashion students usually have a long list of names they’re able to recite by rote.

How does one specifically pinpoint where design elements come from, or who they’ve truly been inspired by?

Additionally, there are those who argue that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and that if the clothes made by these high-end designers were made more affordable so that everyone would enjoy them, there’d be no need for knock-offs. What do you guys think?

-Amanda

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