Celestina altered-take two

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This week I made my second version of Celestina. I felt I could improve on the alterations I made last week which consisted of shortened cuffed sleeves and increasing the waistline to fit my pregnant belly. The waistline increase did not give as much extra room as I had hoped so this week I decided to omit the side panels and back waist piece of the dress altogether and widen from the armpits down to the hem. And since I was widening the dress there was no need for a zip as I could just slip it on over my head. I lengthened the ties and made them the same length (why are they different in the original pattern?) so I can wrap them around and i moved them up to just under the armpits so they would tie above my bump. I feel the fabric I used this time is more suited to this dress; I used some thrifted chiffon type fabric and it’s wonderfully floaty. Since the fabric is sheer to protect my modesty I made an under dress from some cotton eyelet fabric I had in my stash which I sewed in like a lining. This version was so easy and quick to make, it took me all of one afternoon. I think the only thing I would change is to enlarge the armholes slightly, I’d feel more comfortable. I’m happy with the sleeve length and did toy with the idea of adding elastic but I had none in my stash, so that was that!

I’m really pleased with how this version has turned out, in total it has cost me approximately $8 to make and I can see many of them being made for the summer ahead. Oh just imagine, me with my increasingly pregnant belly floating around in my summery dresses looking fabulous, in reality I’ll most probably be complaining about the heat and be incredibly tired but at least I’ll still look good while I do so.

As I said last week my next challenge is to alter the Steffi jacket, I’ve had a number of suggestions for how to do this and so far my favourites have been to crop the jacket into a bolero or cut away the front of the jacket in a curve from the neckline to the bottom side seams to allow my bump to show. Yes, I know I said I was going to make it for an unsuspecting friend but hey! You wonderful people have so many fabulous ideas that I got selfish and decided it was going to be mine after all. Not many of my clothes fit me now so I really should be making for myself…….back me up please! I’m also going to shorten the sleeves, maybe capped or to the elbow.

Let me know which suggestion you prefer or if you have another altogether. I’d also like fabric suggestions, remember, I’m going to be wearing this in the spring and summer so it needs to be something light.

Laptop Bag- Take 2!

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I’m at it again. With a model and muse like this doll of gal shown here, how could I resist making more and more bags for her to carry! And with such a wonderful goal in mind- to create a How To and bag design intended for children- this project has resulted in a bountiful collection of accessories for this doll and prototypes for the OLPC project.

August - The Best Month for Fabric Hunt!

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Yes, you read correctly, August is the best month for fabric hunt. Because: Everyone is traveling, the stores are empty! Benedikta and I are on the side of the travelers: And we love it, because while we are discovering new continents – Benedikta is in Africa, I will be in Italy, we always look out for new and creative fabrics. We’ll share this with you when we are back end of August.

In the meantime Nayantara and our intern Janina are alone, so have mercy when your mails are not answered right away and when your comments are left unanswered for too long…

And tell us (we are curious), where did you find your nicest and most precious piece of fabric?

TREND: Art Stitch

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Stars in the same galaxy, fashion and art orbit each other constantly, sometimes falling into perfect alignment. The last time that happened, Marc Jacobs sought out reinterpretations of the stodgy Louis Vuitton logo from artists Stephen Sprouse and Takashi Murakami, and splashed their updates on sold-out (and much knocked-off) editions of Vuitton’s classic doctor speedy bag. Not so long ago, all that, but eons according to the fast-moving fashion calendar and still in the early days of the latest – and still upswinging – art boom, a boom the Vuitton bags did much to foment, in fact.

In the years since, the contemporary art market has only gotten hotter. And with this year’s confluence of biennials (notably Venice) and festivals like Art Basel, the influence of art on culture, writ large, seems at last to have reached critical mass. Fashion has taken note: Last season, Rachel Comey worked with gallerist Mirabelle Marden on a capsule collection; next season, perennial art provocateur Damien Hirst will debut his collaboration with Levi’s, for its Warhol Factory X label. Interestingly, however, luxury fashion brands are eschewing the young talent heating up the art scene, preferring instead to look to the past for inspiration. Marc Jacobs’ fall ’07 show for Vuitton fetishized Vermeer; when John Galliano showed Dior couture this summer, he referenced paintings by the Impressionists and Dutch and Spanish masters, pen-and-ink drawings by artists such as Bouche, Bérard, and Cocteau, and the photography of Irving Penn. And in one of the mini Resort season’s loveliest outings, YSL’s Stefano Pilati managed a double homage, casting a loving look back at the original Saint Laurent’s Mondrian dress by making a new one redolent of Cy Twombly. The Ab-Ex clothes comprised a small part of Pilato’s retro-cool collection, but proved just the kick needed to make it feel fresh. For once, the adage rings true: Everything old is new again.

The First Wardrobe Remake

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Hey Everybody and WELCOME to my weekly column, WARDROBE REMAKE.

The purpose of this column is to have fun. The other purpose is to HELP myself and anybody else, who suffers from the delusional mindset of having NOTHING TO WEAR!!! Quite frankly, there are quite a lot of things that I have and that I could wear, if not only I would find a million of little things that are just not quite right about this skirt or that sweater. This is my attempt to prove to myself that there is a lot of fun fashion in my closet, it just needs to be released!!!

This is only the first week of the wardrobe remake. But I am already so inspired by the idea of revamping my wardrobe, that when I enter my closet, I literally feel like my clothes are fighting for my attention to be revamped. There an old skirt, long out of style, but with a little tweak almost as good as new, here this great fitting, yet a bit too boring T…we got lots of work to do.

This week we are giving the little extra to our newly shortened pants.

Follow my how to on making a fabric flower belt, that will bring back the fun into your old pants. Next time you enter your closet, the question what to wear (without spending big bucks) will just have become a little easier.

The Holy Grain

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One of the most important aspects of pattern making and garment constructions lies in one word. Grain. The grain of a woven fabric directs the way the fabric will fall or fold. Pieces need to be cut in a way that the grains correspond, to ensure the garment fits the same (especially after washing) and to maintain a consistent stretch. On patterns you will find that a piece is either cut on the grain line, cross grain, or on the bias. Be sure to keep a look out for these important marks on patterns before you lay them out and begin cutting. And if you decide to upload one of your own patterns to share on BurdaStyle, be sure each pattern piece indicates the grain line!

OLPC and BurdaStyle

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I am so pleased to announce our latest project at BurdaStyle. We’ve just met Lauren Klein, from One Laptop Per Child. This absolutely awesome project aims to provide children all over the world with their very own laptop. It’s been in the making for years now, and children already have these high-tech gadgets in their hands.

Our Greatest Contest Submissions

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The pattern and design contest has been over for some time now, winners were announced and congratulated. Now we have to deal with the wait until we can all make our own versions of the JJ’s blouse and Malissa’s sweater dress. See the winner blouse here and the winner dress here. In order to shorten the sweet time we present you some of our greatest submissions we received.

Here is the key to all those gorgeous drawings:

1) Rachel Godwin
2) Mirela Popovici
3) Roberta Dragan
4) Monica Andrade
5) Yael Fuerst
6) Bryan Liu
7) Caron Watts
8) Pamela Gallagher
9) Akrista L’Abert
10) Yoeng Cen Chua

We congratulate all of you, who participated and thank you again. We are so excited to have so much talent on our site.
Soon we’ll present you the runner ups of the pattern contest….

TREND: Hall Pass

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Vests. Slouchy pants. Hats, maxi skirts and florals. There’s no doubt about it: Annie Hall is in fashion-town again, thanks much to the boyish style of current model and it-girl Irina Lazareau, and thanks a little, too, to the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s recent feting of Ralph Lauren, who designed the clothes worn so famously by Diane Keaton in 1978’s Best Picture Oscar winner.

Annie Hall

style is a great one for thrifters – raid the men’s department at any of your better Goodwills for flat-front khakis, skinny ties and oversize tweed coats and blazers. But to master this particular look, the accessories are key: Watching the film again, costume designer Ruth Morley’s genius is most apparent in the details of Keaton’s outfits – note, for example, the South American woven bag that Annie uses to stow her tennis racket, and especially, those iconic sunglasses, cues for which Woody Allen actually wrote into the script. Small, tortoiseshell and rounded, and made by Colors in Optics, Annie Halls are Most Likely to Succeed the Ray-Ban as the next hot specs. Colors in Optics is banking on that assumption, in fact, re-launching several ‘70s-era frame styles for fall… And if you’re really an Annie fanatic, don’t forget the all-black Erno Laszlo soap: Not only is that soap the thing Alvy Singer finds himself carrying around New York long after Annie’s gone, but it’s also a good reminder that the best accessory to Annie’s boho-prep look was young Diane Keaton’s dewy, make-up free skin.

Monday Night Sewing Session

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Our 4th Monday Night Sewing Session went on yesterday! It was so crowded, there were many new faces! Our member Theresa passed by to help out. A big thank you for that! In the picture you see all attendees from yesterday. From the top left: Sarah, Etsy’s lawyer, Erin, Etsy’s intern, Anna, a great filmmaker, Michelle, a real estate manager, Meg, a design assistant, Benedikta (you know her!), Alison, one of Etsy’s Journalists, Brooke, a cake decorator, me, Veronica, a political science student, and Anders, my German-Swedish friend visiting for a wedding! Oh no, where is Nayantara? She ran around the entire evening helping a great deal. We need to update the picture tomorrow…

You might miss the sewing class video at this point, but due to the site launch and our move to a couple floors down in the building plus video editing taking ages, there was simply no time. Instead, we opened a Flickr account. Check out some pictures here!

Thing-a-ma-bob

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A sewing machine is an essential tool for anyone who makes clothing. Some of us are taught the various terms associated with the parts of a sewing machine from a teacher or family member. There are even more of us, however, who are never taught the exact terms and instead have taught ourselves, giving each part a name that describes what it does or what it resembles. This isn’t a bad thing, but it can be handy to know the technical names for these parts in case you find yourself teaching someone, shopping for parts, or writing a How To to post on this site! So here are some terms you may not have known- and can be found in the Sewpedia:

Tara, altered and refashioned

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After reading all your comments of which there were many coming from various forums I decided to keep things simple for my first alteration. Instead of the flutter sleeves I added wide spaghetti straps with the intention of wearing a long sleeved top underneath. This way I’m not only going to wear it now during the winter but I will also be able to use it as a summer top. As for the neckline, I kept it as it is in the pattern but added a thrifted crochet doily between the bust pieces to help ‘cover up the girls’ a little more.

I used a jersey knit fabric found on a thrift store adventure a while back, it’s warm and I like the way it drapes and feels but I’m not too experienced in sewing this type of fabric, in fact I have only made a few other garments from jersey. I’m learning along the way and yes, there has been a lot of seam ripping and some not so ladylike words muttered throughout the process. I find it hard to keep my stitching straight due to the fabric being so soft and wanting to move around under the sewing needle. I plan on teaching myself more about sewing with knit fabrics and will post some how-to’salong the way. Check out Nayantara’s with recent how-to for adding a rib knit band to t-shirts. You know what they say….practice makes perfect! If you have any tips for me I’d be happy to hear them. Check out the How To to try this out yourself.

My next alteration challenge is Celestina. I LOVE the dress as it is but as this is an alteration challenge I should change something somehow, maybe the sleeves? Whatever I change, if I’m going to be wearing this dress I’m definitely going to have to alter the waistline as mine is growing considerably fast! Nope, I’m not eating too much cake, I’m pregnant!!!! Benedikta, I think I’m going to need the help of your wonderful pattern alteration skills otherwise everything I make from now on will be made in stretchy fabrics. At least I’ll become a pro at sewing knits!

Leave me a comment with your pattern alteration ideas by Wednesday and I’ll show you next week what I came up with.

T-shirt and jeans. . .

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You may know from reading my profile about my sewing beginnings. I’ve really been sewing since I was quite young. I sewed at home, making clothes for dolls and matching clothes for myself (with my mothers help). I took several courses and independent studies in high school, where I actually made a doll that looked like myself (picture coming soon!), amongst other things like prom dresses, backpacks, quilts. . .

TREND: Twinkle, twinkle little bat

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This is a good time for songbirds: Cat Power, Keren Ann, Norah Jones, Lily Allen, El Perro del Mar, Amy Winehouse, Feist, the list goes on. And if you like your chanteuses winsome, a little on the melancholy side and wearing enviable bangs, it’s a veritable golden age. U.K. songstress Natasha Khan – aka Bat For Lashes – fits that profile, to a degree. But she’s got something else going on, too. Khan’s debut album, Fur and Gold, weaves its moody pop into shimmering soundscapes showcasing Khan’s debt to her mentor, experimental music guru Steve Reich. Bjork is a fan, no surprise given the technical ambition of Khan’s sound; so is freak-folkie Devendra Banhart, whose neo-hippie ethos likewise winds through Bat For Lashes songs such as “Prescilla” and “What’s a Girl to Do.” Already a star and sometime fashion icon in the U.K., Khan arrives Stateside this month for a mini-tour on behalf of Fur and Gold, which hits record store shelves July 31st.

New Site Design - Bugs and Bonbons

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We got tons of feedback for the new site design – thanks! – and we are still working on fixing it. We thought it might be of use for our members if we list the main bugs (things that will still change) as well as the great bonbons, so you know what more to expect! For the coming days we will post several updates on that.

Here are a few points with which we ask you to be a little patient with us:

*Pictures in the pattern catalog are fuzzy: We will exchange the fuzzy pictures with technical drawings and all the great pictures of our clothes, full length as well as detail shots will come back. They will be listed under the creation section and will link right to the pattern section (you can download the pattern from either section)

*Recently uploaded creations do not show yet in the ‘creation’ section, we’re fixing that so every creation that is freshly uploaded will appear right away in that section

And now a Bonbon (the German word we use for goodie!):

*The member profile is soo much more flexible! You can create your own home page. Upload pictures of any sort (not creation or How To
related) as well as a banner! You can also upload Flickr and Etsy Minis! We installed a RSS feed that informs you when someone
posted a comment on your creation or in a forum thread that you are participating in. And – you can leave messages on your friend’s wall!

The picture you see in this blog entry is red swirl’s member
home, she was the first one that used our new features just a few hours after launch.

Guess what, there is more to come

*You will be able to search patterns by the amount of fabric you have lying around at home – this will work as soon as we manually managed to fill in
that information. We hope to do that soon, right now we’re fighting the major bug war, the battles (fabric amount, lining, spacing etc.) follow…

Thanks again for all your support and constructive criticism, it really helps!

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