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The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: How Sewing Changed the Lives of an Afghan Family

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In 2004, political journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon left her ABC News post to pursue an MBA at Harvard. During this time Lemmon began researching women in conflict and post-conflict zones who were starting businesses and establishing entrepreneurial roots in their communities and through her research met Kamila Sidiqi. As a teenager in Afghanistan during the brutal Taliban rule, Sidiqi started a sewing and tailoring business in her home which not only helped her family overcome a sudden and oppressive lifestyle change, but also brought a sense of hope back to a community of women who had been mercilessly stripped of their former way of life. Lemmon tells Kamila’s story in a simple, straight forward way that foregoes grandiose drama and instead focuses on the real, everyday struggles of the Sidiqi family and how they used sewing to reestablish themselves during a fearful and challenging time.

Sewing as a Protest

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BurdaStyle readers, a question: Since so many of us live in parts of the world where clothes can be purchased relatively cheaply and few people are forced by economic necessity to make their own, why are we doing it?

I had this conversation with a friend recently. We agreed that there is a growing do-it-yourself crafts movement afoot and wondered what might be fueling it. My friend wisely pointed out that few of us are doing work that actually involves making anything anymore; we’re writing at a computer, or processing numbers, or providing services. It feels good to create something with our own hands. It’s a form of self-expression.

Join Our Team! BurdaStyle is Searching for Creative Contributors for our Second Book!

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BurdaStyle is seeking creative contributors for our second book!

We are looking for our core writer and designer – it could be a duo or one very talented individual! Ideal applicants will have a background in fashion design with an understanding of patternmaking.

Tips for Sewing Lingerie + Win a Copy of Sweet Nothings!

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Have you tried making your own lingerie yet? It’s delightfully quick and simple to make sexy panties when you use stretch lace. When I developed the book Sweet Nothings, designer Elise Olsen’s Sugarberry Panties inspired me to make my own dainty things. The wide stretch lace trim that forms the body of the panty needs no finishing, which makes it super easy to create these darling little unmentionables.

Featured Member: sewhappyclothes

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Where are you from?
I am a California girl born and raised. I grew up in a small surfing town on the central coast, and attended UC Berkeley for college. I now run a non-profit mentoring program at a middle school. Yet as much grant writing and volunteer recruiting as I do, I like to say that at the end of the day you can’t wear a thesis! At work I try to make a palpable difference in the lives of our students, and at home I like to create for myself—knitting, sewing and working with my hands.

Amazing Lengths: Fabrics, ribbons, beading + lace in hairdos

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I mused today over braiding my hair with strips of printed fabric, as is the current trend, and upon researching this look I found some amazing photos of runway-ready hairdos that incorporate fabric, ribbon, lace and beading into the looks. Read on to see the glamour shots!

Comment to Win Sewing Patterns from Amy Butler!

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Comment on this blog post or connect with us on Twitter to win sewing patterns from the “Midwest Modern” collection by Amy Butler.

Spring Awakening: 7 Fresh New Women's Sewing Patterns

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Today we released 7 brand new patterns for Spring— including a super cute blouson jacket! Read on, get the patterns and see the mood boards…

Independent Designer Kristen Elmer Sets up Shop in NYC

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How many of you have dreamed of quitting your day job and sewing full time? Well, Kristen Elmer did just that when she left her job as a buyer at Lord & Taylor to focus on her dream of designing. A year later, Kristen has set up a pop-up shop in Nolita where she will be selling her line, Silk & Cyanide, through the month of April.

Celebrate Earth Day by Recycling Those Fabric Scraps!

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How many buckets, plastic bins and sacks of fabric scraps do you have lying around? Leftovers from garment projects, dresses gone wrong or pieces that you were sure you’d use (eventually) but have instead ended up relegated to some long lost corner of your sewing nook. Well, get ready to break out those banished scraps because in honor of Earth Day I’ve pulled together some really fun ideas and tutorials from around the crafty web to show you just how many ways you can put those leftover pieces to good use!

Announcing BurdaStyle Day!

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Everyday at the BurdaStyle office, we are amazed at how beautiful the BurdaStyle community is. Not only do we have fantastic sewers, we simply have fantastic people, supportive of each others’ creative journeys, willing to offer help, and willing to share in each others’ frustration, fears and successes. We are an online community with old-neighborhood charm — over 500,000 strong and growing.

In celebration of this supportive environment, we had an idea: Wouldn’t it be fun to have a BurdaStyle Day?

Personal Style: Are You Naughty or Nice?

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So here’s the thing, BurdaStyle readers:

I’ve noticed that most people’s style tends in one of two directions: naughty or — you guessed it! — nice. I’m talking about people’s personal style here, not their personalities. You may be an ax murderer and that would be naughty indeed, but not relevant to the topic at hand.

Hawaii 2.0

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Last week I poked around a textile show here in New York and was a bit surprised to see how many Hawaiian prints were showcased. I suppose if ever there was a time to go ahead and break out the giant florals, it’s summer.

Seeing how textiles are another barometer for what we can expect in the realms of fashion, home and accessories, it looks as though we’re poised for yet another Hawaiian print revival. What do you think about these prints? Are they outdated or on trend? Do you plan to use Hawaiian prints for any of your sewing projects this summer?

Featured Member: dian 1024

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Where are you from and/or where do you live?
“I am from Indonesia, an archipelago country in Southeast Asia. It lies along the equator making the weather warmer, we only have sunny and rainy days. But the city I live is in the highland area, so is not really hot. I work as accountant from Monday to Friday and become a self seamstress in the week end. I wish I can enter into design school someday to improve my sewing skill, because I’m still a beginner.”

Needle Felting

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Felting, the process of matting woolen fibers together, is one one the oldest fiber techniques known, dating back to the 6th Century BC. In fact, prior to the invention of weaving & knitting tools, looms and spinning wheels, felting was the primary process that was used to produce cloth for everything from shoes to hats and rugs to yurts.

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