Fair is fashionable

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Last time I advocated home-made clothing for the environment’s sake, today I will tell you that buying clothes overseas can contribute to the livelihoods of those who need it most. I am not talking about so called “sweatshops” – synonym for inhumane working conditions that have stained brand names like Nike, H&M, Gap. I want to tell you about fashion that can have a big impact for the better in a number of people’s lives.

Take the story of <a href = “http://www.bibirussell.org/bibi_gallery.html&#8221;&gt; Bibi Russell, ex-top model from Bangladesh who featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan and modeled for Yves Saint Lauren, Lagerfeld and Armani in the 70s and 80s. In the 90s she returned to her native country where she opened her own fashion company that is currently employing some 35,000 women across Bangladesh. Yet, that’s not enough, just recently she launched Bibi for WE a brand that will design and produce bags employing women with HIV/Aids in Cambodia who are stigmatized in their communities and have to fight for work and health treatment. Check out some of Bibi’s colourful designs which are based on Bangladeshi traditional techniques, and textiles on <a href = “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmq2ADAoUqc&#8221;&gt;You tube.

But it is not only, fashion icons that can make a difference <a href = “http://handcraftingjustice.cedris.org/index.php&#8221;&gt; Handcrafting Justice , a New York based NGO is supporting women from around the world by creating a virtual market place in which they can sell their handcrafted products for a fair price.

BurdaStyle members can make a difference too! Check out the fantastic Bra that ashchaser donated to the American Cancer Foundation and pinkerton1996’s <a href = “http://www.burdastyle.com/creations/show/15084&#8221;&gt;Christmas Decoration from Project African Wilderness.

And if you want to make a difference too, why don’t you contribute a Bow Tie to the Pink and Black Tie Gala of the <a href = “http://www.burdastyle.com/blog/show/723&#8221;&gt;American Cancer Society or by a Christmas present at Handcrafting Justice.

p>P.S: Anybody said eco lacks style? Check out those fantastic wallets made from recycled ties and for more stylish consciousness visit the Sustainable Style Foundation.

Fotos courtesy of www.bibirussell.org.

Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win Delicious German Gingerbread!

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What holiday would be complete without some kind of gingerbread? This traditional soft German gingerbread has a long history, dating back to the 14th century (though we assure you this is quite fresh). To enter to win this delicious treat, just leave your comment below by midnight (EST)

Congratulations to Minnietheminks on winning the Ledthread Obi belt!

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Featured Member: fraufröhlich

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

I was born in Vienna Austria and am back living in Vienna Austria

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

The very 1st thing I made was an old baby sock of mine I decorated with a few stitches in light blue wool with a very thick needle. I must have been 4 years old or so. my grandmother was a seamstress and my mum had a huge drawer with needles, buttons, threads, wool, fabric scraps, felt flowers and so on. luckily I was allowed to go in and out of there as my heart desired – it was sort of mine after a while. my mum had 2 left hands when it came to knitting and sewing. so I also taught myself crocheting and knitting when I was about 6. I sewed skirts and curtains for my Barbies until finally at age 11 we were doing a skirt in school. after that my mum decided it was time to unpack my grandma’s old sewing machine. and that was the stepping-stone for my future. at age 15 I attended a fashion school and graduated age 19.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

sewing plays a very big role in my live. it always did. I am always looking at clothes: how the seams are done and new sleeves solution. I do it all the time, during the television, on the street even in my daughter’s school. it is something I cannot stop doing. if someone would take me away from sewing I think I would wilt like a flower.

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

my favorite is that I can work with different materials, colors and transform a female body into a stunning woman. I can transform ideas myself whenever I want to. the least favorite thing is that I have so many ideas coming in my head that I am not quick enough to see the finished project as fast as I would like to. I guess I am a bit impatient ;)

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

I love making clothes for you, you and you if you are a girl or woman.
there is no special person I would want to see in my clothes, cos I think there are enough famous and rich designers already who let stars shine. whoever would want to wear something I made is heartily welcome, famous or not. I love dresses.

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

on your site I am looking for pattern techniques and, as always, inspiration. I would also love to help others; one problem is only that all the talent I have in sewing and designing I very much lack in computing. so I cannot picture myself making a how to or uploading a pattern. I have two left hands and no brains for that ;oD I don’t think there is anything to improve since I am absolutely happy with what you have done for everyone but it would be cool and I guess helpful though if BurdaStyle would have some kind of information point, were young designers could ask for things like “how do I take the next step” or “how do I best get organized to find a shop which will sell my clothes” or “where are the next trade shows /exhibitions in my location” (for example I as a member could give the information that in April 2009 there is “modepalast” in Vienna, which is a 3 day exhibition for young designers to present, sell & market their creations)

7. What is your motto?

my motto???? life is great and it gets better with every day. I also really like the fact that every day we are getting up, we get a new chance to make things better or different.

I would dare to say that fraufröhlich is one of, if not the most prolific member on BurdaStyle. Her simple-chick creations are so interesting and soothing. It has been a lot of fun watching her work progress. Wanna get to know her better? Take a look at her sewing room and fabric stash Check out her site for more information (it is in German but with be translated soon)

Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win an Obi Belt from Ledthread!

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Every time she post one of these on the site, she gets tons of requests. So here it is, Ledthread has generously donated the beautiful leather Obi belt, pictured above, to the holiday giveaway contest. Just leave your comment by midnight (EST) to be entered to win.

For all those not lucky enough to get picked for this awesome prize, check out her shop to buy your very own belt.

Congratulations to redbean009 on winning the Singer Rolling Sewing Machine Tote Bag.

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Contest: Design and Sew a Suit Variation

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We are in the midst of designing our spring collection and we need your help! Pair any of the patterns on our site to create your perfect variation on the traditional pant or skirt suit.

Design and sew a variation of your suit and send a photo to team@burdastyle.com. Once all the pictures are received, they will be put up for you to vote on. The suit with the most votes will be part of our professional photo shoot along with the BurdaStyle creation.

Additionally, the winner of the contest will receive a CD of high resolution photographs from the photo shoot, a look book with prints and cards with the image on it for you to hand out to friends.

Send in your photo of your variation to team@BurdaStyle.com by the 5th 12th of January, along with a brief description on the pattern changes you have done. TIP: Keep it simple. If you are the winner, we will ask you to create the how to explaining the pattern changes as well!!

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BurdaStyle at the Bust Holiday Craftacular!

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BurdaStyle will be at the 2008 Bust Holiday Craftacular in New York City! Over 200 unique crafters from across the country will be coming together for this day of fun and shopping. BurdaStyle will be there, spreading the word and selling our new bow tie kits! The kit comes in a variety of fabrics and with pretty much everything you would need to make it!

Where: The Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th street, NYC)
When: This Sunday, December 14th 10:00am – 7:30pm

Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win a Singer Rolling Sewing Machine Tote Bag!

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Today our friends at Singer have offered an awesome Rolling Sewing Machine Tote Bag. This bag enables you to take your sewing machine with you anywhere you want! Originally designed for the Singer Futura, it will fit almost all makes and models providing quick and easy storage and transportation. It also has 3 zipper storage pockets for scissors tools and thread. The measurements are 21-1/2”L x 15"W x 17"H. To enter, just leave your comment below by midnight (EST).

Congratulations to galaxy_grrrl for winning a one year subscription to Craft:

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Sew and Help: BurdaStyle is Teaming Up with the American Cancer Society!

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We are asking out members and friends to donate a handmade bow ties to be auctioned off at the ACS Pink and Black Tie Gala on May 7th 2009.

Want to help?
Download the David Bow Tie pattern
Sew it up in pink and/or black fabric and send it to us here at BurdaStyle by May 4th 2009.

BurdaStyle
325 Gold st
Suite 201
Brooklyn, NY. 11201

If you would like to include a personal story with your bow tie you are more than welcome to. Write it on a note card, that way, whoever wears your bow tie will know the story behind it.

We are so excited to be helping out with this great cause and we are very happy that our members can be involved.

How To Save Money Sewing AKA How To Be Frugal During Hard Times

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No matter which country you live in, we’ve all be experiencing economic hard times. With the news that “things are going to get worse, before they get better,” I’ve been putting more thought into how I can still enjoy my hobbies (sewing, fashion, new clothes) with spending little to no money. Here’s a few thoughts:

1) Use what you have:

For most sewers, we’ve accumulated fabrics over time – those pieces of material that we couldn’t live without or bargains that screamed our name. Now’s the time to ‘shop our stash’ and use some of those fabrics that are accumulating dust.

This is also a great opportunity to revive patterns that you haven’t used in awhile (or at all) and pull out pattern books and magazines that have sitting lonely on a shelf.

2) Recycle:

Before you throw out clothing that is too small, shows wear, or is out of style, think about how it can be re-purposed. Making a few tweeks to a ‘dated’ shirt or pants can breathe new life into a garment while other clothes can be cut up and used for their material. Zippers, elastics, and buttons can all be recycled for future endeavors.

3) Look for bargains:

Almost every sewing center and website has pattern and fabric sales at one time or another. Take advantage of these times to purchase the designs you’ve been eyeing. Don’t forget to check out bargain and clearance areas for fabric steals!

Visiting your local thrift stores and garage sales can also turn up incredible sewing finds. Just be sure to skip the thread – it can weaken over time and may not produce quality stitches (and there’s nothing worse than having your garment fall apart after all that hard work you put into it).

4) Free is always good:

Don’t forget the internet is a treasure trove of free tutorials and patterns, just as long as you’re willing to hunt for them.

Have any other ways to be thrifty with your sewing? I’d love to hear them!

Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win a One-Year Subscription to Craft:

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Our good friends at Craft: have generously donated a one-year subscription to one of our members! If you are not familiar with this magazine, you definitely should be. This quarterly magazine celebrates all things DIY. Their 160 pages are jam packed with projects, interviews, how tos and much more! To enter, just leave your comment below by midnight (EST)

Congratulations to sewingbee29 on winning the Christstollen!

Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win Delicious German Sweets!

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Nora and Benedikta are returning from Burda’s birthplace in Offenburg, Germany with some traditional cakes and sweets for you, our members. Today we have a delectable German cake called Christstollen. This buttery, marzipan deliciousness is a perfect pre-Christmas treat. Leave your comment below to be entered to win the yummy cake!

Congratulations to graciesmom for winning Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones.

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Business Profile-Thread Den

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Turning down a small alleyway in North Melbourne the last thing you would expect to come across is a sewing lounge but if that alleyway is just off Errol Street then that is exactly what you will find. Climb your way up the stairs to find a cosy but organised place selling an array of beautiful vintage and original fashions and a light filled space equipped with sewing machines and overlockers for hire. Thread Den opened in November 2007 and is the creation of Melissa Kramer, Kylie Shepherd, Erica Menting and Tennille Rohde.

You can hire a sewing machine by the hour or attend one of their Many classes, they have previously used BurdaStyle patterns which include the Anita jeans. They also offer private lessons and in January will have a week full summer holiday program suitable for kids and teens.

www.threadden.com

Level 1, 16 Errol St

North Melbourne

(Entrance via Webbs Lane)

Tel: +61 3 9329 5305

Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones!

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Today we are giving away a copy of Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones from Chronicle Books. This book describes 20 projects perfect for little ones and their surroundings. With 7 patterns folded right into the book and advice on things like picking the right kind of fabric for a baby’s sensitive skin, this book is full of helpful tips techniques and instructions. Just leave your comment below to be entered to win this great book!

Congratulations to Ludosti for winning the Etsy Gift basket!

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Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win an Etsy Gift Basket!

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Who wouldn’t love to win an Etsy gift basket? Well that is exactly what is being offered today. Our wonderful friends upstairs are giving away a fully loaded Etsy gift basket. As you know, all you have to do is leave your comment here by midnight (EST) to be entered to win this awesome prize!

Don’t forget to check back this weekend, just because it’s not part of the workweek doesn’t mean we wont be giving away prizes!

Congratulations to youhungerdefinesyou for winning the VenusZine subscription!

Carbon Stains

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First of all, thanks for all your creative comments and ideas I will try to accommodate all of them in the course of developing this blog. Some will come earlier, some later. And do keep the ideas coming!

But let’s get straight into today’s topic, something dear to my heart: Christmas is coming, and with it (at least in the Northern hemisphere) the cold short days that provide this fantastic excuse to cuddle up in comfy winter clothes with a big mug of hot tea, and wait for Santa Claus to come along and bring a bout of crystal clear air full of snow, even in the Southern hemisphere (I am reporting from Mexico and Namibia) you will find Christmas associated with snow and you will find Santa Claus packed in his fury red coat riding in a reindeer through the desert. Well, that’s what WE associate with Christmas!! But imagine all that can change pretty quickly: some decades down the line, Santa Claus might exchange his fur coat for swimming trunks and his sledge with water skis. IF WE DON’T START ACTING ON GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS! Yes, some of you may start arguing with me about the actual causes of climate change. But I agree with that side of science that argues that humans cause climate change.

AND WHAT HAS ALL OF THIS TO DO WITH FASHION??? HOLD ON, Don’t go away here comes the connection: Ever considered the CO2 footprint of your clothes? Take a simple t-shirt produced in Asia for example: the shirt is probably made from man-made fiber (polyester), based on some oil derivative emitting CO2 – stitched somewhere in China, Taiwan or Sri Lanka, shipped by container ship to a port in the US another big source of CO2 from the port, it is being trucked across to the shop where you buy it, – more CO2 and the story continues with the number of times you wash your shirt, etc. etc. Bottom line: a shirt produced in Asia travels something like 12,000 km to be sold in the States or Europe and the amount of CO2 that is generated by its production equals about 3.5 pounds or 1.6kg!

If you want to visualize all this, check out examples of Eco-footprints of different clothes through the Footprint Chronicles.

Well then, how to reduce your carbon footprint? – MAKING CLOHTES AT HOME (CONGRATS BURDASTYLE MEMBERS!!), using natural fibres, recycling materials, making clothes that last longer, turning off lights when you are not sewing, …. there are many more practical and easy to implement possibilities on the web ñ if you have any further ideas how to reduce the eco footprint of your clothes DO SHARE THEM!!

P.S. For those interested, there are tons of Eco-Footprint calculators online, just google “ecofootprint calculator” or check out the <a href = “http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/calculators/”>Global Footprint Network

P.P.S. if you want to find out what’s happening at the Climate Conference that is currently taking place in Poland check out this blog .

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