Featured Member: Yoshimi

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?
I am a molecular biologist who was born in Japan. I am married to a
husband, who is also a molecular biologist. He has been very
supportive to my sewing and taken all photographs of my creations. We
moved to UK 10 years ago with our daugther as we both got jobs as
researchers there and stayed for about 5 years. Since we came back to
Japan, we have been living in Mishima city. I started sewing half a
year later after coming back to Japan, because I could only find
similar clothes in similar colors with only 1 or 2 average sizes in
the shops. I didn’t like those clothes, besides, they didn’t have my
size. Eventually I stopped moaning and decided to make myself what I
want to wear instead.
3 years ago, I went to see a color analyst who tells which colors
would suit you by seeing your colors of eyes, skin, hair, etc.,
thinking knowing what color would suit me might be useful for sewing.
She then condemned me to stop wearing bold colors and black. She also
showed me the colors that suit me perfectly, and I had to admit I was
way too far better in pink and pale blue. The effect of the colors on
my face was too obvious. As I had been such a black wearer, I was
utterly flattened by the verdict. My wardrobe was full of blacks at
that time. But I realized for the first time that I had been wearing
what I thought was cool, not what was making myself look better. I
started to wear soft pale colors experimentally and my life has
changed so much. I’m getting lots of compliments on what I wear (not
on me, that’s the point I have to laugh at), and I’m happy with
myself looking a bit better, now.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?
I really liked hand-crafting ever since I was a child. I sewed my
first garment when I was 12 years old. It was a bikini, made of blue
piled cotton (fabric for towels!). I was really lucky because it
didn’t get torn in the crowded pool!

3. What role does sewing play in your life?
Because I make myself all clothes but underwear and woolen sweaters,
sewing plays very important role in my life now. It’s the chance of
self-realization, too. I seriously try to think what to sew before
getting started. I use better fabrics as far as my budget permits, so
that I can drive myself into a corner. Otherwise I tend to sew
something with just a curiosity, might get something nice but
wouldn’t work as my wardrobe. I don’t like to abuse the natural
resources in that way (but it happens so easily). Thus I learn the
way of self-control by sewing as well. Did I forget to mention sewing
garments itself makes me relaxed and gives a jolly good time?

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?
My least favorite part of sewing is cutting! I’d be so nervous
because it’s the time for no going back. My favorite part is the time
for assembling those 2D into 3D and seeing a dramatic change.

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

I am secretly sewing a tie for my husband for Valentine’s day. It’s a
cute one, with many many little penguins.

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

I love the fact that BurdaStyle is giving us such a great place where
we can talk about our passion for sewing, as well as providing many
free pattern downloads. I have been inspired so much by others
creations, and always thankful to everybody for sharing their
information. I can even hold back my desire for black clothes by
applauding others creations! Thank you, BurdaStyle!

7. What is your motto?
“I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.” (Socrates)

Learn more about Yoshimi and see the wonderful creations she has made (many in pinks and pale blues!) by visiting her member profile. You should also check out her blog; even if you can’t read Japanese, you might be inspired by some of the beautiful photos!

Sewing Universe News Feed 12 February 2008

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NPR looking for Sewers in D.C. Area

Erica at Erica B.’s DIY Style posts about being approached by an NPR producer looking for people who have changed the way they shop or have started sewing because of the increase in high fashion in popular culture (shows like Project Runway , What Not to Wear, etc.) For a bit more info and contact information, see her blog

Nikkishell: Denim Sidonie

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Do you remember last week when I showed you a tiny sample piece of the fabric I had ordered for my JJ blouse? Well that along with another piece of fabric I had intended to use for the new Sidonie skirt seems to have been lost in the abyss that is known as Australia Post, sob! But fear not for I do have my fabric stash although it does seem to be wilting away and looking very drab recently, I think I may need to do some new fabric and thrift fabric shopping sometime soon.

The new Sidonie skirt pattern is perfect for me and I have many ideas for many skirts buzzing around in my head. Oh and one of the best parts about it is how quickly it can be made up. I used some denim fabric that I have had sitting on the shelf for far too long waiting to be transformed into something wonderful, a few hours of my time (with a much needed nap in between!) and I have a new skirt for my autumn/winter wardrobe. I left out the lining and ended up cutting 2 waistbands, the first was not long enough even though I cut from the pattern, strange! I also noticed my skirt turned out longer than that on the model here on BurdaStyle (she’s obviously MUCH taller than I am) which suits me fine, I would have made it longer since I’m not one for flashing my legs too much and this saved me time. I do intend to wear it with tights or knee length stockings/socks though, any idea where to find cute colourful ones?

It doesn’t look much in the photo, I think it looks far better in real life but still it seems to be lacking something, it needs a little embellishment. I spent another hour at least playing around with trims from my box pinning them on randomly with the help of Mia and Esme which I think may be the reason it took so long! I have a number of knitted swatches that I was given a few years back and I thought one sewn onto the skirt as a pocket would work, i’ll show you the finished skirt next week. I have plans to make at least two more skirts using this pattern, one from the fabric I ordered from Tessuti Fabrics and another from recycled fabrics, thrift stores here I come!

As well as making up Sidonie my sewing machine has been running hot this past week whipping up some much needed things for baby, sheets, hats, blankets and a sling (in the same denim fabric!). I have also been frantically working on an order of yoga products for my physiotherapist/yoga teacher neighbour. My sewing room floor is covered in flax seeds (eye pillows), wheat (wheat bags), scraps of bias binding (blankets) and lavender, oh it smells divine but it’s extremely messy! Then there was the fabric Valentine’s card I made for my husband, new dish towels to replace my old ugly ones that are falling apart and some clown trousers for Mia. Phew! I’m worn out just typing that and I still have so much more to do. Stay in there for the next month little one, I should be about ready for you then….maybe.

Letter from the Editors: Love Thy Member

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Hiya, BurdaStyle-rs! This week, we are of course excited to share with you our new basic pattern, the Sidonie skirt, an essential pattern for all of you who like to build up from the basics. Its sweet and simple, and perfect for the spring, which isn’t coming soon enough, after the weather we’ve been having. . .

But that’s not all!

Nikkishell: Fabric Valentine's card

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Valentine’s Day is almost upon us! My husband and I don’t make a big deal of it, there are no big presents or dinners out or any of that mushy stuff. What we do like to do though is make something for each other, usually a card. What is even better is when the card I make can be made using things I have around my home which in turn is saving me money and using up materials that may otherwise end up in the landfill.

I have been making a quilt from red and white fabrics and what better way to use up the scraps (which I always keep) than to use them on my card. I played around with the fabrics, cutting and placing them onto a piece of plain black wool until I was happy with the design. The next step was to sew each piece onto the wool using the different stitches on my sewing machine. It’s best not to think too much about what you are doing and just ‘Go with it’, stitch over the edges, across the middle, do some crazy quilting, whatever takes your fancy! Once I had the main pieces sewn on I added the red heart which I stuffed slightly with a little bit of toy stuffing. To do this I sewed most of the way around the heart leaving a small hole for stuffing then sewed it closed, simple! Then it was time for some hand stitching, there’s no need to be precise, I do mine freestyle. I added the word ‘Love’, sewed on some buttons, tiny bells and a jewel I found lurking in the bottom of my sewing box. Then it’s simply a matter of sewing your love creation onto a piece of card (I used an old magazine holder that was falling apart), trimming the edges and writing your message on the back.

Love and Kisses. xx

How To: Bind the French Way!

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It’s a week until Valentine’s Day, and love is certainly in the air! Every other commercial on television reminds men how much women like diamonds (not us though, we prefer something handmade, right!) and restaurants are clamoring for your attendance at their special Valentine’s day fea

Featured Member: Ctee

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?
I live in Sydney, Australia

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?
The first thing I made was this horrible cowl neck dress which was probably about two years ago. It was basically two rectangles sewn together. I started sewing when my auntie lent me her sewing machine to me.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?
Haha, well basically everything I wear I have made, never go shopping anymore, which is good. I have saved so much money.

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?
My favourite thing about sewing is when you had a design in your head but it turns out even better than what you were expecting. Oh my least favourite thing would be ending up with something I wouldn’t wear and then feel as if it was a waste of perfectly good fabric.

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

My good friend Lane, she’s really into flannels. I started cutting it out but i havent started sewing yet. I have to keep persuading her not to buy a blue flannel.

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

I really like how everyone here is so nice, and they give you constructive criticism and people take in the criticism without the attitude.

7. What is your motto?
No pain, No gain =)

Learn more about Ctee by visiting her blog, or viewing or her unique creations and member profile!

Nikkishell: Finished night gown and wardrobe planning

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I finished off my Desira night gown this week. It was very easy; I made it shorter and added sleeves. For the sleeves I used the Lydia pattern that I have already cut out (but have not yet used) and shortened them to just above my elbows. So now I have a night dress and a nightgown ready for my hospital bag and nothing else! Yep, I still haven’t put together my hospital bag and to be honest I’ve not done much else to prepare for this baby arriving. I mean, why would I want to do something as necessary as that when I can be sewing up a storm!? But really I could get onto it this week since I only have about 5 weeks left to go but feel I could POP any time.

Nayantara mentioned that it is Fashion week in New York. Personally I don’t really follow the fashion trends. I never buy fashion magazines, preferring to come up with my own style (if you can call it that), and at the moment I have no style at all or if I do it’s called ‘pregnant frump’. In a bid to have some kind of style once baby has arrived I am planning and making my autumn/winter wardrobe although there’s more planning than making going on. I thought I’d take a peek at what is on show at the fashion week online to see if I could find some inspiration. There are of course many, many beautiful outfits most of which would be great if I had no kids and went to lots of parties but of course I do have kids and never go to parties, sniff. What I need are comfortable, stylish clothes that are practical at the same time. I need to have boob access for feeding time so most dresses are out of the question. I need tops that can be pulled up or down. Collections that are inspiring me are those by Donna Karan, Alexander Wang and Diane Von Furstenburg in particular the bubble skirts and Greta Garbo style high waist trousers.

I’m starting off my new wardrobe by joining in the Sew along and will be making the JJ blouse with the silk/cotton voile you see pictured above. I purchased it from my new favourite dress fabric shop Tessuti Fabrics in Sydney. Colette has been wonderful by sending me heaps of fabric samples for me to paw and drool over. This could be very dangerous indeed! I want to make trousers, skirts, a jacket, a coat (maybe the new version of Talia), tops, cardigans…..the list goes on. I have no idea where I will find the time to make all these things; I may just have to settle with thinking about most of them. Another idea I had came to me when I was looking at my Desira night gown. I was thinking I could make a dress from this pattern with a jersey top half and a skirt attached, maybe using a different fabric? Do you think it could work?

Anyway, I’d love to hear what you have in mind for your wardrobe for next season. Leave me a comment to let me know.

Letter From the Editors: Fashion Week

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It’s Fashion Week here in New York, and BurdaStyle is feeling the rush! We’ve not only got a few exciting fashion shows to attend (we’ll be sure to share the trends we see with you. . .) but also an exciting BUST Magazine Issue launch party to attend. We hooked our friends up at BUST with some awesome goodie bags containing the Charlie Grocery Bag along with some fun BurdaStyle pins and stickers to give to their readers, and in exchange, we get to go party with them!

Nikkishell: Pajama's for baby

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I’ve been working on making some of my own patterns recently. Quick and easy stuff to start with and what better to start with than some baby clothes! This week I made up a pair of baby pajamas or they could even pass for day wear. I used a thrifted cotton sheet and a spare piece of fabric from my stash which I made into binding to trim the kimono style top.

I used Nayantara’s wonderful tutorial for making and uploading your own pattern to the site. The only difference being that I don’t have Photoshop, hmm a slight problem. Instead I used the GIMP program to scan my tiles and the PDFCreator program I have on my computer. It was a learning curve let me tell you and on many occasions my language was not for my children’s ears. I spent most of the day trying to figure out these programs and finally I have something to show for it. It is by no means perfect and I have heaps more learning to do but I am pleased to have finally taken the plunge and uploaded a pattern of my own. Maybe my next one will be much better and a little more adventurous

Please check it out and let me know what you think, constructive criticism is always welcome but be kind, remember I have a heap of hormones raging through my pregnant body! Anything that will help me improve will be greatly accepted. I’m so excited to be doing this that I’ve been searching out pattern making books and found some on Ebay today that I was almost prepared to purchase at full price in the bookstore. Learning pattern making is one of my goals for this year and since I won’t be able to get to a class on a regular basis teaching myself by reading books, websites and just ‘having a go’ as I usually do with most things I want to learn.

I take my hat off to those of you that have successfully uploaded your own patterns and I hope to see many more in the future from other members too.

How To: Hem Jeans for Your Loved Ones

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Not-so-long-ago, I learned a valuable lesson. As a student living on the largest college dorm floor East of the Mississippi River, it is not a good idea to advertise the fact that you can sew, unless you’ve got a lot of time on your hands. (Or, a laundry list of favors you could ask for in return- perhaps, even, getting someone to do your laundry.) I say this because you will inevitably be asked a dozen times a week to hem a pair of jeans for Cute-Boy-in-Room-Across-from-the Elevator or Girl-Who Always-Looks-Great-No-Matter-How-Windy-and-Cold-It-is-Outside down the hall, not including the requests you’ll get from your friends and classmates!

Featured Member: ClaireLovesToSew

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?
I grew up with my parents who live just outside London and I came to Plymouth to study,and have been living here by the sea ever since.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?
My mum set me up well by teaching me the basics of sewing,and encouraging an interest in craft in general. I used to make dresses for my Sindy doll out of handkerchiefs, but the first thing I ever really sewed for myself was a plaid miniskirt, which I made out of an old granny skirt. I’m not entirely sure my mum knew I was chopping it up while she was in the next room!There seems to be a tradition of crafting on my mums side, my old bedroom is filled with amazing crochet books from the 1910s and suitcases of fabric handed down from grandmas and aunts…

3. What role does sewing play in your life?
An increasing one! Most of the time I was at uni, I didn’thave a machine, and ever since I got my own, I’ve been making up for lost time!I sew practically every weekend, but in my head I’m sewing 24/7. I’m sewingmore and more for myself these days – I feel guilty buying sweatshop clothes on the high street, so I’m fighting back!

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?
I am a bit under-skilled/lazy, so I take shortcuts and then I get annoyed when the shortcuts don’t work out. I should start being more strict with myself, in order that I can appreciate better pieces when they are finished.

My favourite thing has to be just the fascination in seeing a flat piece of fabric become 3D and moving and structured. It’s like origami to me.

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

They don’t call them classics for nothing – I’d love to have yards and yards of a beautiful silk or something and create an Oscar-winning dress. Possibly for an actress who happened to be exactly the same size as me,and then suddenly couldn’t go to the Oscars at the last minute so I could wear it! Muhahhahaha…

Closer to home, I’d like to get my ability to a level, where I’m confident enough to make stuff for other people, my friends and family. It’sall a bit experimental at the moment.

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

I love that Burdastyle aims to teach as well as to share. My learning curve is so steep since I found the wealth of information available tome here, and that Burda-ians seem so happy to help each other. Nowadays I use two machines when sewing – the sewing machine and the laptop! I hope you guys can iron out the kinks soon, just keep being the pioneering site you are and move onwards and upwards!

7. What is your motto?
I guess my friends would say “Every day’s a schoolday”.

Learn more about ClaireLovesToSew, and the super cool creations she makes on her “70’s-tastic sewing machine” by viewing her member profile!

Nikkishell: Night gown in the making

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Ah, I had all the good intentions of having a weekend of sewing but my body decided otherwise. I seem to be forgetting that I’m heavily pregnant, less than 7 weeks to go, and that I can’t do as much as I usually can or as fast. So rather than sitting at my sewing machine all weekend making the Desira night gown I spent my time that wasn’t spent napping with my feet up watching movies and getting some hand sewing done instead. I managed to whip up a bag using the Carolina pattern but instead of using it as it is intended, a wash bag, I made it into a regular bag. I used a thrifted table cloth I’ve had lingering in my sewing room for far too long; I lined it, used Timtex to stiffen it and added a flap to the front leaving off the zip. I had planned to embellish it a little more using ribbon, yarn and lace but I felt it looked better plain. I also finally finished sewing the binding onto my little girl’s quilt which I had intended to give her at Christmas, better late than never I say!

I got to work on my night gown today. I decided to leave off the neck band and instead I have curved the front pieces down towards the hem rather than have them form into points at the waist like I did with my Maternity Desira tops. I will shorten the gown a little more, I was going to have it knee length but I think I like it longer. The sleeves I have still not yet decided on, but considering the limited amount of fabric I have left I know they’re going to be shorter than elbow length. You will also notice I have used the white linen I had intended to use for another night dress. I didn’t manage to get to the fabric store so used what I had, I now realize that maybe a white night gown is probably not the best choice for wearing with a newborn baby! Duh….I blame my decision on the many hormones raging around my tired body. So I should have this finished by next week and ready to put in my (non existent at the moment) hospital bag, hmm….I should really get onto that soon.

The Anita sewalong has now come to an end but there seems that many of you are still working on your versions. I did notice that Olar has finished hers and they look fabulous!!! You can take a peek at them here, and you can read all about the alterations she made to get them to fit her perfectly in the sewalong thread. The next sew along is of course JJ’s cute ruffle blouse, there was no competition! It will run throughout the month of February so if you want to take part head on over to the new thread. Let us all know what plans you have for your version, your fabric choice and any alterations you may make etc. I will be taking part in this sew along (if baby allows!) and plan to use some fabulous fabric from a new to me fabric store here in Australia that I would dearly love to get lost in, it’s probably a good thing (for my bank balance) that it’s in Sydney and I’m in Melbourne!

Letter from the Editors: Cupid's Shot BurdaStyle!

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Your heart’s a flutter! You’re singing in the rain! You’ve got a special Valentine to spend the 14th of February with! And to show him or her just how loved they are, you want to make a special something!

How To: Make your mark, without leaving a mark!

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Oh no!

For all of my pattern reading and pattern grading how tos, I seem to have forgot one of the most important tutorials! What to do once you have cut out your pattern, read the markings, and threaded your machine?!. Well, of course, you need to transfer the marks! Grab a pair of snippers, or at least very pointy scissors, and perhaps a needle and contrasting thread. Then click on this quick and easy How To illustrating the basic way of transferring the darts, buttonholes, notches, center fronts, center backs, fold lines, and pocket placements you see all over your pattern.

Now, you are really ready to start sewing!

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