Icons and Idols


This week’s featured dress, Paola, reminds me of a very important women, one of my idols, Diane Von Furstenberg. She is best known for introducing the knitted jersey “”http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/amsp/ho_1997.487.htm">wrap dress" in 1973, an example of which, due to its important influence on women’s fashion, is in the collection of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1976, Newsweek coined her the most “marketable fashion designer since Coco Chanel”.

To my excitement, DVF released her memoirs in 1998, “Diane: A Signature Life” , a good read if you’d like to garner up some inspiration. One important fact about DVF is that she has had career changes, ups and downs, divorces, children, successes and failures, and yet she has maintained her charisma, balance and talent in a beautiful, relentless fashion.

DVF appeared as a guest judge on last season’s Project Runway (I was so sad to have missed her) and was named president of the CFDA in 2006. She is an incredible icon for liberated women, and a woman who has done more in her life thus far than many of us do in our entire lives.

Thinking of DVF’s achievements has gotten my gears churning and I am feeling quite inspired. Dahl & Dane are featured in this February’s issue of SELF magazine and the orders are rolling in! We popped into a magazine shop the other day and blazed through the issue, missing our feature entirely & thinking they’d bumped us out (that happens all the time)! The editor called me today and said to find us on page 28:) Our cut-off date for the “I (heart)” series falls on February 14th and we’re excited to begin our next project: a line of girls & boys separates with prints we’ve designed ourselves. Next we’ll start shopping around for cottons and materials to use in our new line and make some samples of our prints.

In the meantime, we plan to make some 1-off t-shirts to sell in some local stores to generate more interest in our next collaborative series.

Image from Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

We Want Your Input on the Forums


Now is the time to speak up! We have been collecting your suggestions from the forums on how they should function. We are in the midst of planning the forum on the new site and we would love your input. Please leave comments below on what you like, how to improve what you don’t like, and what functions you would like to see.

Featured Creations Slide Show!


Check out the new Best Of slide show for the week of Jan 11-17

The Design and Sew a Suit Variation Contest is.....


Congratulations to Prudencerabbit on winning the Design and Sew a Suit Variation contest! She did such a great job transforming the Eva and the Sidonie patterns into this creation. We had 2,500 votes and Prudencerabbit’s variation received a whopping 44% of them! Chipdale7 and Bola’s variations came in second and third respectively.

Prudencerabbit will have her suit photographed in our photo shoot, receive a look book, get cards of the suit and receive all the high res pictures from the shoot. Congrats again Prudencerabbit!

BurdaStyle goes Downunder!


BurdaStyle is heading Downunder to Australia to attend the Stitches & Craft Shows. I will be representing BurdaStyle at all three shows, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.

If you’d like to be involved by helping me out on the stand or taking part in the fashion show with your BurdaStyle creation(s) please email me at nikkishell@burdastyle.com.

You can find out more about the shows at the Stitches & Craft Show website

CPSIA Legislature Update


In early December I talked a little bit about how the CPSIA legislature will effect the handmade industry. Last week the Consumer Product Safety Commission gave preliminary approval on changes in the law that will take effect in February 10, 2009. Currently they include exempting Items with lead parts that a child cannot access, clothing, toys and other goods made of natural materials such as cotton and wood, and electronics that are impossible to make without lead. You can read more about the changes and upcoming law here.

From rectangles to body shape the history of sewing patterns


Imagine the medieval ages, where fabric was woven on looms in tedious processes. Even if the fabric may have been somewhat crude, it was still precious enough so that clothes would be made using the whole rectangular piece rather than cutting away edges and curves. Finally, in the 15th century, considered by many the dawn of “modernity”, uncut pieces of fabric were replaced by pieces carefully crafted to the body shape.

Up until the Industrial Revolution, if you wanted to have clothes that fitted properly you needed to be rich, since not anyone could afford a tailor who would meticulously fit garments according to your body shape. Ill-fitting clothes remained during the Industrial Revolution: the first industrially used patterns, were inaccurate and badly designed so that factory-made men’s suits were sagging rather unfittingly.

But the ages of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century not only produced commercial mass produced patterns but graded patterns for home sewing that we are using today: in 1863, Ebenezer Butterick born in Massachusetts, launched The Butterick Company creating cardboard templates for children frocks. In 1873 they started to use tissue paper, which was much lighter, foldable and easier to send by mail. On followed James McCall, in 1919, Vogue Patterns, (1899) and Simplicity (1927).

But where is Burda? Aenne Burda , wife of Franz Burda founder of the publishing house, was only waiting for her turn, and what better opportunity could there have been than Germany’s post-war years. Shops were empty, and yet, Aenne knew, women wanted to feel and look beautiful. She created BurdaMode, a magazine that delivered style to the doorsteps of Germany’s post-war women, and today to millions of other women around the world.

BurdaStyle is the logic continuation of the print magazine BurdaMode. Although for Hubert Burda, son of Aenne Burda, it might be a bit more: with BurdaStyle he fulfilled the dream of his mother to establish her idea in the United States. What Aenne Burda could probably not foresee was that thanks to the Internet, the offspring of BurdaMode would ultimately reach out much further than the United States. What personally fascinates me most about BurdaStyle is the diversity of women and men that exchange ideas about sewing, style and fashion.

picture Courtesy of OptiTex

Holiday Giveaway Singer Sewing Machine Winner


Hi everyone!

I hope January is treating you well. Just wanted to announce to you with winner of the Singer Sewing Machine. Congratulations to Pleocatra! She is our lucky winner! Check out her blog to find out more.

CRAFT Magazine presents: 'The Sewing With Nature Contest'!


Dear BurdaStylers,

Our friends at CRAFT Magazine have teamed up with SINGER to put together ‘The Sewing With Nature Contest’! As we all look forward to spring, they are inviting creative and crafty sewers to create a project inspired by nature. They ask that photos of your finished item be posted to ‘The Sewing With Nature Contest’ Flickr group for review.

The Grand Prize winner will receive a brand new SINGER sewing machine, a set of SINGER sewing books, and have their project featured in a SINGER ad in the spring issue of CRAFT. The three runners-up will receive a SINGER dress form and a 1-year subscription to CRAFT Magazine.

The contest is running now through Wednesday, February 4th, so check out the Official Contest Description and Rules here!

Good luck!

Featured Member: Nelliethemermaid


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

I was born in England but my parents emigrated to New Zealand when I was a baby, so that makes me a kiwi through and through. My family home is in Stratford, a small town with a beautiful mountain but now I live in the city of Hamilton with my husband and Oscar the dog.

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

My mom sews, so when I was younger I learnt (basically) how to use a sewing machine by being her assistant in sewing curtains, costumes and my prom dress. The first wearable item I assembled, all by myself, start to finish, were the Jane pajamas about 8 months ago.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

I really enjoy practical, creative things so sewing fits that perfectly. My husband is usually occupied outside in the vegetable garden on the weekend so that leaves me time to have a good sewing session. In the evenings he comes inside and cooks me dinner so I don’t have to stop sewing! I’m sure our friends think we are old before our time.

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

My favourite thing is reading instructions! I love instructions!! Haha. Just by following steps (even if you’re not quite sure what you are doing) you can take a flat piece of material and turn it into a piece of clothing! My least favourite thing is actually fabric shopping! Hard to believe? I love the idea of shopping but once I get to the fabric store I feel a bit overwhelmed and under experienced. I start second guessing my choice of fabric and end up just staring blankly at the bolts.

I do look forward to having the experience to step away from the step by step pattern and be able to make my own adjustments or to adapt and recycle clothing like some of the other members have.

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

Hmmm, something special for my brand new niece (born 7.1.09) as she is just about all that is occupying my thoughts at the moment.

(Also, maybe a pair of tight, leather trousers for Rob Thomas because then perhaps I’d be lucky enough to do an in-person fitting?)

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

I think that if I hadn’t come across Burdastyle then I would not have been so quickly hooked on sewing. It is great to have easy access to patterns and all the helpful tips. Without these, as a beginner, I would have just given up I think.

When trying to decide on a pattern to sew I find it really helpful to browse through all the other members creations of the same pattern, to get a really good idea on what the end article looks like. Much better than the envelope patterns that you buy at a store where there might only be a single illustration.
I love seeing other members’ creations and also find it interesting to read their blogs etc.
Sorry, I really can’t think of anything that can be improved!

7. What is your motto?

To be true to yourself, always follow your own heart, mind and soul.

Nelliethemermaid has some absolutely beautiful creations, my personal favorite is her JJ variation. To see Nelliethemermaid’s top ten favorite creations and inspiration, check out her silde show!

Vote for your Favorite Suit Variation!


The Design and Sew a Suit Variation Contest has come to an end. Check out all the amazing entries in our slide show, once you have made up your mind vote for your favorite! Voting closes 11:59pm this Sunday the 18th!

How Bad Do You Really Want It?


If we were able to sell good ideas, many of us would be rich. It’s getting the idea into object or working project that’s the trick. And when it comes to making a fashion business out of your unique aesthetic and clever sketches or even the one-of-a-kind dresses you sew at the kitchen table, you need more than a few tricks up your sleeve.

I just found this quote on Papierdoll Fashion Magazine in a story about Mary Gehlhar, author of the must-have book The Fashion Designer Survival Guide. Are you willing to do what it takes to take that brilliant little dress of yours through production? Are you prepared for the roadblocks you’ll face from the very vendors who are supposed to be working for you? And are you ready for the reality that less than 5-10% of your working time will be spent actually designing?

These fore warnings got me thinking back to how I started out selling clothes “professionally” when I first moved to Los
Angeles in 2002 after graduating from college(s). All I wanted to do was sew. I quickly became acquainted with downtown LA’s garment district, a special place indeed, and started the first of a series of mini-collections under the name Run R1ot.

I was eager to see what types of boutiques LA held so I went exploring. The first one I came across was Matrushka. At the time the shop was located on a small, hip stretch in Silverlake. Matrushka Construction was founded by Beth Ann Whittaker and Laura S. Howe in February 2003, two friends who shared the desire to provide inexpensive, witty and sweat-shop free items they sewed themselves in the small back room. I was in heaven. I believe the story went like this: I was wearing one of my dresses, introduced myself to the owners, and we instantly formed a friendship & I placed my first collection on consignment in their shop! Consignment is placing your goods in the hand of another, but retaining ownership until the goods are sold.

I proceeded to find many more shops who wanted to replenish their inventory without taking any risks and were happy to
place my mini-collections on consignment, a win-win situation for everyone;) I collected my checks at the end of every month and in the end I was doing quite well with 10 shops carrying my line!

Today you can start selling straight out of your living room with your own website and places like Etsy and Ebay.

I do believe that the Fashion Industry is extremely competitive, audaciously expensive and cut-throat. But if you’re a passionate seamstress who wants to share your beauty with the world, there are ways for you to do it too.

Donate a Bow Tie for the American Cancer Society.


We have set the goal of 150 Bow Ties to donate to the American Cancer Society’s Pink and Black Tie Gala. Help us reach that goal, post your comment below and pledge a bow tie or more! As the Bow Ties come in we will be adding them to our growing bow tie slide show!

Suit Variation Contest Ends Soon!


Just a few more days to submit your suit variation! We have already received some fantastic entries, can’t wait to see what comes in.

Remember you have until 11:59 (est) on January 12th to send a photo of your creation to team (at) burdastyle.com.

First Bow Ties Recieved!


Today we received such an exciting gift! Our first bow ties for the American Cancer Society’s Pink and Black Tie Gala came in! A big thank you to the Ivy Family! We are so glad that you have all taken on this challenge. Keep up the great work!

Want to contribute? Click here!


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