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Forum Manager: Sew4my3


Hi Everyone! We are so happy to introduce you to (though many of you already know her) our new forum manager: Sew4my3. You will see her around the forums Monday through Fridays, helping out and answering your questions. Without further ado, here is a little background and welcome Sew4my3!

I was born in Flint, Michigan USA in the late 60’s to hippie parents. Let’s just say creative thinking has always been a part of my life. Throughout my childhood I lived in many places, much like traveling gypsies and gaining insight into how many people live. Sewing has always been a part of my life. My grandmother, who had her own techniques for sewing, taught me to make doll clothes when I was six years old. She taught me to use the sewing machine, which I had sewn my finger right in to.

By the time I reached high school the desire to create my own clothing was strong and my parents fueled the fire by taking me to local fabric stores to purchase needed supplies. After high school, I soon married and started a family with twin girls being my first born. They were premature and required very tiny baby clothes, that either was not available or extremely expensive to purchase, so I began making their clothes. Five years later, we added a son to our family and I learned to appreciate the talent that goes into making boys clothing. Over the years I found sewing classes wherever we have lived to learn new techniques such as smocking and embroidery.

When all three of my children were in school I took the job of a pre-k teacher and was able to be at home when my children were home. Today, I live in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA and am still married to my high school sweetheart since 1986. My twin daughters are in college and my son is in high school. My son is also a member of and you can check out his creations by searching for “”">NathanL".

I became a member of BurdaStyle to continue learning new techniques and found so much more, including a job! I am so flattered to be asked to be the “Forum Manager” and a part of the BurdaStyle team. My job is to help provide answers to questions and respond to concerns that the community has in regards to sewing and the site. Please be patient as I learn the ins and outs of my new job and I will try to provide you with the best services possible in the BurdaStyle spirit.

Happy Sewing!


Magazines We Loved And Lost


Over the past two years there’s been a disheartening trend – the demise of crafty magazines. Some of the most popular titles, Adorn, SewStylish, Martha Stewart’s Blueprint, and most recently Craft have ceased production. What’s the cause? Is it the economy? A shift away from DIY? or could it be that blogs and online sites are just as interesting and chock full of information as their ‘paper’ counterparts?

What’s your take on the situation? How do you feel about the demise of craft magazines and the popularity of online blogs and communities? And most importantly, would you pay to see your favorite magazine go digital?

Seam Rippers


They say there are no mistakes, just life offering us lessons big and small. This is certainly true for the budding home sewer. And to deal with and enhance these ‘lessons’ we have tools such as the stitch or seam ripper. On a forgiving piece of fabric it allows us to take out stitches and start over or correct misalignments. There have also been periods in history where garment details such as collars and trims were routinely changed by the wearer or her maid, depending upon her station. The seam or stitch ripper was probably crucial to this kind of formal refashioning of an existing garment. The ripper has changed shape over time but it is still a simple yet indispensable sewing tool.

Aside from the invention of the sewing machine and the needle which far predates it, the ripper is my favorite sewing tool. When I packed the notions case that was going away with me to college, I searched deep in the bowels of my mother’s sewing chest to find and appropriated the familial ripper. It was really a nice one. I still have it to this day. It had a distinctive square — instead of cylindrical — handle and a nice neat cap to prevent the accidental cuts I am so prone to.

For me the ripper has been a creative tool promoting the design and testing processes. Before the advent of BurdaStyle and the guidance it offers, I once came up with a one seam skirt pattern based on the circumference of the hip and a few darts near the waist. There was much trial and error but it was all a breeze thanks to my trusty ripper. And the ankle length skirt that hung like a tube on the body was finally born. Ah, creativity…Then there was the time. When I craved a new style of sweat pant but was not prepared to invest my allowance in the mod, wide leg affairs that were double the price. I simply took my handy ripper and opened up the seam creating the rubber casing at the bottom of my old sweats. Et voila! The sweat pants of my dreams hanging freely at the ankle.

There were many such moments in my early home sewing career as I graduated to more challenging projects like suits. I have guarded the old family ripper with my life and still enjoy using it when altering or when a full-on sewing effort needs adjustment. Today there are so many different kinds available that a ripper can be a very personal expression of your sewing attitude.

Open Studio: From His to Hers


It’s fashion week here in New York and all over the runways the trend is clear: tailored garments. Much of the women’s wear that is strutting down the runway clearly takes it’s inspiration from classic menswear. This androgynous look is achieved through the material choice, tailoring and simple elements like shoulder pads.

Don’t get us wrong, just because the fashions are inspired by menswear does not mean that they can’t be feminine as well. Check out how our members have transformed men’s patterns, clothing and style into their very own.

Check out these patterns for ideas:












And these How Tos:

Change a Mens Shirt into a Dress

Anda Out of Old Dress Shirt

Emily Recycled

Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure: The Zipper


Thank you, theclosetseamstress, for uploading your centered zipper How To and supplying me with a wonderful blog idea: the zipper. The zipper had a similarly turbulent history as the sewing machine. In fact, remember Elias Howe, who patented the first sewing machine? He also patented the first zipper, which was then called (hold your breath) “an Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure”. That sounds more like a children’s poem than something practical and indeed, it wasn’t practical: it didn’t have the essential thing, the slider, but a number of clasps on both sides to be joined by a string that you had to pull to fasten two sides of your clothes (see the picture!).

The next better thing was the “C-curity Fastener” which was based on the hook and eye model. That wasn’t too useful either since it came apart easily when the clothes were loose. Finally in 1914, a Swedish born American immigrant Gideon Sundback came up with the idea to design a zipper with interlocking teeth, the same system that our zippers use today. “Hookless Nr 2” solved all the defects of earlier models: it held garments together without them needing to be stretched, it didn’t wear out, and was easy to zip and unzip.

Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973), Italian surrealist fashion designer, supposedly loved new inventions. She was one of the first couturiers to use colored plastic zippers in her designs thus really boosting their popularity in the 1930s. Supposedly she was paid by zip-manufacturers to use and promote them.

In contrast, the clergy (as so often) didn’t really appreciate the ease with which people could unzip their clothes, they thought it would facilitate illicit sexual activity. Of course the ones who have to bear the backlash were women for whom it was inappropriate to wear zipped clothes until the 1950s. I guess, the underlying assumptions are debatable and definitely diverge from reality, feel free to discuss!!

Photo ©MaryBellis

ANDREA ZITTEL's ‘Smockshop Berlin’


Sprüth Magers Berlin is delighted to host Andrea Zittel’s artistic enterprise, ‘Smockshop’. This is the first time the Smockshop has set up its stall outside North America. Two artisans will work in the gallery for the first four days of the exhibition making the smocks that are available for purchase right after their production. The double wrap-around garments designed by Zittel collectively represent an aesthetically diverse yet functionally uniform body of work.

Each smock conforms to the same basic shape and form, but there is nonetheless an infinite array of colour, texture and pattern possibilities, as their method of manufacture derives from Zittel’s principle that ‘rules make us more creative’. Since it was founded in 2007, almost 300 smocks have been made by the collective. The process of making is collaborative, as each smocker is given license to interpret and rework Zittel’s designs according to their own interests and skills.

Featured Member: Smvphotography


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

I was born and my whole family lives in Switzerland. When I was 17 I did an exchange year in Lincoln, Nebraska. Ever since I visited New York for the first time I knew I wanted to live there. I ended up going to college there thanks to my generous family. I actually went to FIT but majored in photography and never took a fashion design class there… My husband and I decided that after a wonderful few years in New York we had enough of the craziness of the City and we moved to the Catskills about 2 hours north. Now we have a wonderful little house that we share with our two black cats, Doggie and Mitzie.

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

I think it was in third grade. We hand-sewed and embroidered a little bag. I still use it!

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

I’m a photo researcher so I do a lot of research on the computer all day. Sewing is my opposite to that. I get to create instead of collecting things that are already there. It’s my hobby and who knows, if I’d ever be able to make a little money with it that would be amazing. I’m dreaming of maybe having my own store one day.

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

I love imagining and preparing my next project the most. And wearing it in the end! The worst is if there is something that just doesn’t look as great as I imagined it!

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

Well, I really like to make clothes for myself! And sadly I don’t really have enough time to make things for other people. I’d love to make something really special for my mom, she’s been such an inspiration and such a great help! Of course like a lot of people I’d love to make a super fancy red carpet dress that gets photographed a ton, but then again I really like to make clothes people can wear everyday because why spend so much time and love on it when it only gets worn once…

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

I always love looking at everybody’s creations and the BurdaStyle patterns have been such a wonderful inspirations and a great help and I’m sure will be in the future. One thing I would love would be some easy search for members in my area. I’m a jacket junkie and I’d love to see more jacket patterns!

7. What is your motto?

Just try it!

It is always such a joy to see a new creation, comment or post from Smvphotography. Her many wonderful creations run the gamut from accessories to menswear to dresses and coats. Check out her choices for top ten creations!

Handmade Help


The wildfires that have spread throughout Australia has not only taken over 180 lives, but has also destroyed 2,000 homes. There are a large number of crafters from all over the world that have come together to help those effected by the devastation. Handmade Help was created to keep track of the donations, crafty auctions, money raised, and a call for needed items. If you’re interested in finding ways to help the cause be sure to read this Handmade Help entry or lean how you can donate items.

Fashion Week and the Independent Designer


Fashion week in NYC has officially begun and the most exciting aspect for me was going to my best friend’s fashion presentation:

Safe by Rebecca Turbow A/W09-10 at the Moeller Snow Gallery. As I mentioned last week, many labels young & old have taken to galleries and more intimate spaces to showcase their collections. What was nice about the Moeller Snow Gallery were the multiple levels (one staircase leads to a balcony where the dj set up, another to an area for the models to change), and the long rectangular shape. Platforms were set up against 3 walls for the band of gray, black & silver clad models to ascend and pose for onlookers. The live show lasted about 2 hours, provided ample alcohol for the drunkenistas and was a success indeed. I was in awe of the accessories Rebecca’s intern created for the show (as pictured above) and the ensembles were the most romantic pieces I’ve seen come out of her monotone world, which has recently switched from exclusively turquoise & white (which I admit after the fact was quite martian-like) to everything silver, gray & white. Bravo!

Sewing and Stitchery Expo Here We Come!


We are busy getting everything ready for the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, Washington. This annual conference has over 32,000 passionate sewers, over 100 seminars a day, hands on workshops, 200 plus exhibitors…it’s going to be awesome! Stop by our booth 232, right near the food court in the Showplex or hear Nora and Benedikta speak! February 26th – March 1st from 9am -6 pm at the Puyallup Fair & Events Center. See you there!

Sewing with Faux Fur


I recently had my first experience sewing with long pile faux fur when I made my faux fur coat, and I learned a lot about sewing with faux fur in the process. Here’s some tips if you want to create a furry masterpiece yourself!

  • Only cut one layer of fabric at a time, with the wrong side facing up. Be sure to cut through the backing only and NOT the fur itself! A flat layout also means you need to duplicate any pattern pieces that would normally be placed along the fold, and other pieces must be cut out as mirror images (ie: one sleeve needs to be cut pattern face down and the other cut pattern face up so you end up with a left and right)
  • After cutting each piece, go outside and run your hands along every cut edge pulling away any excess fur. Then give the whole piece a vigorous shake before bringing it back inside.
  • Use a long stitch length (2.5-3mm)
  • Always sew with the nap of the fur
  • Pin perpendicular to your seam, and pin often!
  • After sewing each seam, from the right side, pull the hairs out of the stitching with a chopstick or blunt pencil to fluff it up and make the seam less noticeable.
  • Use a marker on the fabric backing to mark notches as it won’t be seen through thick fur, or if you need to mark on the right side, tiny pieces of masking tape work great as they’ll come off without removing fur and won’t leave any residue.
  • You should only need a universal needle and standard foot
  • If you’re using a pattern that’s not intended for fur, be sure to choose a simple design with limited seams and no excess pleats, gathers, or darts. Eliminate all buttonholes and or zippers and replace them with fur hooks

You could use these tips to go off an create a furry coat of your own, or perhaps start off by sewing a fur muff, or customizing your favorite coat by making removable fur cuffs and collars. To make these, just trace the existing collars and cuffs onto some newspaper for an impromptu pattern. Then cut out some faux fur for the outside layer and lining fabric for the inside (that will be against your coat and not seen). Sew these right sides together then flip, and sew some inconspicuous snaps onto the lining side of your new furry cuffs and collars, and also onto the existing collars and cuffs of your coat. Now you’ve got an added touch of glamor than can be removed for laundering or rainy days!



Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and I don’t know how many boys and girls around the world are worrying about their outfits to impress their “Valentines”. But as we all know, it is inner values that count – and Americans seem to think so too: around 16% of money for apparel is spend on lingerie.Oh la la! It’s not that many people see much of it; it’s not that you can really show it off when you walk down the streets. So underwear is really the most hedonistic piece of clothes; in fact, what piece of luxury could make you feel more special than that secret between you and you?

And there are no limits as to what or what not to wear underneath: browsing the web, my attention was caught by some pictures of the 2007 Beijing International Fashion Week that presented underwear inspired by the Chinese Tang Dynastywhich lasted for about 300 years in the 1st century and was renowned for its stability, progress and culture of leisure activities.

But stop – undergarments can have much more meaning and be worn for other purposes than self-satisfaction, seduction or keeping you warm. For members of the Sikh religion that originated in the Punjab region located at the border between India and Pakistan, the Kachera – specially designed cotton underwear – is one of their five articles of faith. It is a knee-long underwear, tightened with a string around the waste and reminds Sikhs that they should think of the opposite sex not as objects of desire but as part of their family. The string serves not just the purpose to hold the undergarment but to give you time to think about what you are doing when you untie it – probably, a little bit of more thought wouldn’t harm anyone of us.

Photo ©

Featured Member: MissValentine0601


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

I was born in Osaka, Japan but grew up in sunny Los Angeles, CA my entire life. Recently, I moved to Denver, CO with my boyfriend for a change of pace and scenery. My dream is to move Paris, France and live a bohemian life full of art and beauty.

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

My first ever sewing class was at the back of a JoAnns near my house, and the first thing I ever made was a floor length green floral skirt with an elastic waist and a slit up the side. Hey, we all have to start somewhere! I started sewing because my mom used to sew outfits for us. She was pretty crafty too-always baking and making things. I’d always enjoyed making things and sewing was just a natural progression of that element of self-expression and creativity.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

I’m the girl that would rather stay home on a weekend and work on a project than go clubbing, so sewing is huge to me. Not to mention I studied fashion in college so I practically lived in the school sewing room. To me, sewing is just part of the bigger picture of making things-I also love to draw, knit and illustrate. Sewing is vital for me though, because I love the human form and I love clothing. Everything goes hand and hand.

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

My least favorite thing about sewing is pattern drafting. It’s very very technical and I don’t really enjoy it. It’s a vital part of the sewing process though, so I acknowledge that it’s an important skill to have. Cut and drape is really everything in clothes.

On the other hand, my favorite thing about sewing is the moment I finish a garment and get to try it on. There really isn’t a more accomplished feeling.

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

I enjoy making hand -made gifts for friends and loved ones, and do it often. My baby sister got a new dress for Christmas for one. But right now, if I had the resources, I would make my boyfriend a beautifully tailored wool coat. I love hand-tailoring and wish I could learn more about it.

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

I am looking for like-minded creative individuals with interesting ideas to inspire and be inspired by. College was the last time I was surrounded by creative people and I really enjoyed being around the energy of different artists and their ideas. It’s a very productive and invigorating feeling.

7. What is your motto?

Life is Art. And conversely, “When there’s a will, there’s a way”- works for all sort of sewing problems, haha.

MissValentine0601 has made quite an impression on us through her incredible creations. Check out her ten favorite creations and keep tabs on her through her MySpace, Deviantart Gallery, blog and Etsy shop.

Rethinking Fashion Week


It’s a whirlwind. A spectacle. When fashion week comes to town in New York city there’s nowhere to hide from all of the madness.

Or is there?

I’ve noticed recently that many fashion labels, small and large alike, are creating alternative methods for showcasing their collections. Gone are the days of Bryant Park’s transformation into a white fashion wonderland, and here, alive & kicking, are the days of more thoughtful, economical & downtown venues with designers hosting presentations. For what good can a 5 minute runway show do for young designers (besides set you back tens of thousands) when all of the big wigs are showing at the same time?

Last winter I hosted my own fashion show in an art gallery in SoHo. I was about to launch my first exclusive collection for and I was looking for an outlet to showcase the pieces. I asked my friend, gallery owner Jonathan Shorr, if
we could transform his space into a live-model fashion presentation for an evening and he agreed (for free!). Against a backdrop of another artist’s paintings, I dressed my girls and filmed them getting ready and walking around the gallery before the opening. When the doors opened, we projected the video on a blank space of white wall for all to see close-ups of the clothing & jewelry. By the front entrance sits a bay window with a ledge where the models could pose for people outside to catch a glimpse. It lasted about 3 hours, a perfect amount of time for editors and buyers to be able to pop-in between shows, it was really very fun. Cost: $250.

Next week I will cover the fashion presentations of 2 good friends of mine who’ll be doing similar shows. My friends over at Hayden Harnett have rented a room at the Chelsea hotel. Their invitation? A little black leather wallet with a key to the suite!



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