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.

Featured Member: Etcpantoufle

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

I am from the Bay Area, although I moved around as a kid, which allowed me to see different fashion cultures. Right now, I’m back in my home base of San Francisco.

The Launch of Social Designer

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Felissimo Design House has just launched, Social Designer: Goods for the Greater Good. It is an online marketplace for designers, artists and consumers who want to make a difference. Social Designer promotes social awareness through hosting weekly rotating design competitions online. They invite all individuals to create original art and products that support meaningful causes. Through the votes from the online community and a panel of judges, a winner will be chosen and receive $2,000 and their design will be featured and sold on the Social Designer website.

Social Designer will donate from 20-50% of profits from sales to participating organizations and charities including UNESCO/Tribute 21 DREAM Centers, the American Cancer Society, Aikido International Foundation, SPCA International, Architecture for Humanity, The Edible Schoolyard, The September Concert Foundation, Kiva and 826 National.

This is a not only a great opportunity it is a great cause with great designs. Check it out!

Prom Mini Blog: Like something out of the movies...

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Follow California Senior, Grace Samson, through her prom journey. Track her progress as she goes from her dream board, to drafting her pattern, to creating her dream dress and sharing the pattern with you.

Hi, I’m Grace Samson – high school senior, future filmmaker, major movie buff.

My prom is on the 22nd of this month. I can’t believe it’s almost here. I have heard so many stories about the big night and it’s hard to believe that this is actually happening to me. In less than a month I will be walking out onto that dance floor, with my date, in a fabulous dress I designed and made myself. .

One of my favorite scenes from a classic movie is from “It’s a Wonderful Life” – Jimmy Stewart walks Donna Reed home from prom after they’ve fallen into the swimming pool. He’s in a soggy, striped football uniform and she’s wearing nothing but a bathrobe. It’s the first time he promises to lasso the moon for her. So romantic.

I hope to avoid a prom situation like the one in “Carrie.” Ha, ha! Good thing I’m not telekinetic! I found a list of the best prom movies of all time on the ELLEGirl magazine website: Top 10 Prom Movies.

Good list, I think. Some of my faves. It still chokes me up in “Pretty in Pink” when Molly Ringwald’s dad buys her that pink prom dress from the thrift store. Ah, the prom dress! So much pressure to have the perfect one, right? This is one of those moments in your life that is a notch on you lifeline. You know it’s up there with the first kiss, your engagement party, your wedding (!).

So, I said to myself “this is a big moment in your life and I know you want it to be a memory”. I decided to start what I call a “dream board”. I have been buying a lot of prom magazines lately and I went though them all and tore out pictures that are ideas for what I want for my dress, my friends and my date.

My dream board (an old bulletin board that I decorated) lets me focus on all the elements that will make my prom night perfect. It seems silly at first, but it works. I want my prom night to be like something out of the movies, and I want my dress to be the height of Hollywood glamour. Check back in with me as I create my own pattern to share with all you BurdaStylers!

Editor's Pick: Make These Top Looks Yourself!

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Match the numbers of the looks above with the pattern numbers below to find patterns, how-tos and inspirational notes for these looks.

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, hand and hand with warmer spring days. This month we are offering a romantic approach to fashion featuring chiffons, ruffles and feminine touches. Whether you want to create a lovely gift for Mom, or need to make the perfect spring accessory, here are some projects to get your juices flowing!

Cotton: the wool that grows on plants

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Cotton candy is magical and so was cotton for Romans and Europeans when traders first brought cotton fabrics from Asia. As old as silk (see last week’s blog) or even older, cotton had been grown, spun and woven in the Indus Valley and Egypt at least 3,000 years bc. In Mexico, first evidence of cultivated cotton dates back to eight thousand bc. Never having seen cotton grow, the “wool that grew on plants” spurred the fantasies of medieval Europeans. John Mandeville the supposed author of a book telling of travels around the world that inspired Christopher Columbus and Marco Polo (published in the late 14th century) writes: “here grew [in India] a wonderful tree which bore tiny lambs on the endes of its branches. These branches were so pliable that they bent down to allow the lambs to feed when they are hungrie.” Today, we are pretty certain that neither John Mandeville nor the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary ever existed, but for people in medieval Europe that was far from clear.

In India a whole cotton industry developed, growing, processing and trading with cotton fabrics. Yet, once the British came to colonize the country in the late 18th century, India’s cotton processing industry faltered, giving way to an absolutely absurd trading system: raw cotton was picked by Indian laborers at petty wages, shipped (in British ships) all the way to Britain on a three week journey; was turned into cloth by English laborers; and shipped back to India were the cloth was sold to Indian kings and landlords. Britain benefited of wages and profits.

Cotton trade with India was soon replaced by cotton production in the United States. Why? Trading routes were shorted and production even cheaper “thanks” to the employment of unpaid slaves. Until the 1950s when machines reliably took over the picking of cotton in the fields, cotton production remained a laborious task which whether officially called “slavery” or not went hand in hand with some sort of exploitational work in the fields, no matter whether workers were black or white.

Today cotton is anywhere either pure or mixed with other fibers: bath towels, denim, socks, underwear, t-shirts, bed sheets, yarn for crochet and knitting, fishnets, coffee filters, tents, gunpowder and in many, many of the BurdaStyle patterns and creations: the Thai Fishermen’s Pants and Light Cotton Summer Dress may be just what you are looking with Summer fast approaching.

Join a BurdaStyle Sewing Club


View BurdaStyle Sewing Clubs in a larger map

[Updated 7/1/2011] There are over 260 BurdaStyle Sewing Clubs (BSCs) throughout the world, and there may be one in your neighborhood, too!

The Club Leaders are listed by State and City, or Country and City. Feel free to message the leaders to sign up for a group, discuss meeting times and find out the location. Don’t see your city listed? Learn how you can use our Meetup Everywhere platform to start your own.

For a visual depiction of just how many BSCs there are, check out our Google Maps!

How to locate the nearest BSC with Google Maps

Find your nearest BSC by entering your city and state in the Google Maps search engine. Click on the BurdaStyle Sewing Club tabs at the bottom left corner, then check the BurdaStyle Sewing Clubs category. Zoom out on the map to see just how far your nearest BSC is!

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