Letter from the Editors: Support from Members Like You

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We hear it every time we tune into NPR or after watching Antiques Roadshow on PBS, or any other member funded media. “something, something, something. . .with support from members like you.” But its never quite sounded so good until we said it ourself!

Reading a Pattern!

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Oh no! We’ve taught you how to thread a machine and how to

layout the pattern, but now what?! What are all those dashes and dots! Why are there three vertical solid lines?. Don’t worry, it might look like a highly advanced mix of binary and Morse code, but it’s just the pattern talking to you, and the pattern has nothing but nice and helpful things to say! Learning to read a pattern, instead of just guessing, which is what I did when I was in my oh-so-young-and-just-can’t-wait-to-start-sewing-already stage, will help you immensely. Darts and buttonholes, facings and folds! All of these things are indicated on the pattern, and can help you as not only a seamstress, but possibly when you start making your own patterns, which, of course, you will post on BurdaStyle! So follow the instructions in the Reading a Pattern How To, then get to cutting!

NikkiShell's Scrap skirt

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Do you save all of your fabric scraps? I do, with the idea that I’ll make something from them someday. I’ve been working on a quilt and ended up with a heap of fabric pieces and strips left over. On a play date with my girls last week we met a little girl that was wearing a cute patchwork skirt and that light bulb moment came to me! I knew then what my scraps were meant to be.

Check out my simple tutorial to see how I made this cute scrap patchwork skirt. The skills used are patchwork sewing and gathering, very easy. The size could be adjusted to fit anyone, even you. I look forward to seeing your take on it.

NikkiShell's Print Magazine: Get the Mixtapezine!

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Who would’ve thought that our great columnist NikkiShell who’s got 2 children and one of the way, and who is such a prolific writer on Wardrobe Refashion, as well as on her blog has got time for yet another project? Well, apparently she must be sleepless in Australia!

NikkiShell and her publishing partner Justine just printed issue 3 for their DIY magazine Mixtapezine. Interested to find out 10 ways to green your wallet, or How to be more alive? Want to read reviews about eco books, learn about Crafty Lady ‘Gemma Gordon’ or become an accidental gardener?

Then order your issue here or at the Mixtapezine Etsy store. Happy reading!

9 January 2008 Sewing Universe News Feed

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Tweedy fabrics giving you trouble? Trying to sew a buttonhole in tweed can be tedious. Amanda at BeSewStylish has a simple tip to create buttonholes that blend in to, rather than pop out of the tweed background.

Featured Member: Lauriana

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?
I live in the Netherlands, in the city of the Hague (Den Haag in Dutch)

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?
The real first thing must have been some kind of ‘garment’ for a doll, Barbie or stuffed animal toy, but I don’t know what anymore. However, I vividly remember the first items of clothing I made. Those were trousers with a side zipper and an long tunic style blouse I made when I was 14 years old. My mum used to sew a lot back then, so she could give me instructions about the zipper etc. Still, it wasn’t a very succesful project: the shirt fabric was to stiff so it looked awful and the zipper in the trousers would alway bite the flesh of my hip.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?
Quite a big role, at the moment. For the past two years, I’ve been making a lot of my own clothes and after joining a once a week sewing and pattern making course last winter, I’ve become even more obsessed. I used to make clothes from Burda and Knipmode patterns, often altering them to my liking but the lessons I took allowed me to follow my own ideas and have all my patterns perfectly sized for me. I now make all my own clothes and some for my boyfriend and family if they want. I’d love to get better and faster still, so I could do this professionally

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?
My favorite things are designing things and the sewing itself, seeing a garment take shape. I used to hate things like hemming, but after learning how to iron hems and seams in shape, use bias fold tape and sew things like that by hand, I actually find myself enjoying finishing my creations. My least favorite things are (sometimes) cutting fabric and definitely putting in snaps and grommets with a hammer. Oh, and because of a problem with my sewing machine, sewing stretchy knits is really tricky for me, and I would like to use those a bit more and make lingerie.

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

I would love to offer made to measure clothes and pattern to people with all kinds of shapes and sizes. I love tailored clothes and I think they should be available to everyone but I know how difficult that can be if you’re nowhere near ‘standard sizing’

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

I love Burdastyle as an endless source of inspiration. There are so many original creations and how to’s posted all the time! I also enjoy the patterns, even if it’s often just to learn more about
pattern construction. Where that’s concerned: I think it’s great we can all have a say about what patterns we want on the site.

What I think could be improved (other than those bugs we all know and hate) is the rate at which things are posted about contests, design calls and things like that. I absolutely love the fact that there are design calls but we are still waiting for the sweater dress and JJ’s shirt to be posted as patterns. I understand those things take time, but I would like some updates while we’re waiting.

7. What is your motto?
Now that I have to think of it? Well, what about: ‘Failure is always an option, but success doesn’t hurt’ ;)

Editor’s Note: We understand that it must seem like ages have passed since the competition entries make it to the site. We will try to keep you updated through the whole long process for future submissions, and are very happy to announce that both the submissions from the first contest, Malissa’s Sweatshirt dress and JJ’s ruffle blouse, will both be posted in the next two weeks! The reason there is such a delay in posting the patterns after the contest is due to all the steps in our production process, which takes almost 3 to 4 months, after you consider the draping, pattern making, grading, digitalizing, sample sewing, photo shoot location choosing, model fittings, photo editing, and phewww, I’m exhausted already just listing it. . .
But thanks for the advice Lauriana! We will try to keep everyone more informed along the way! Learn more about Lauriana and see some of her awesome creations by viewing her member profile!

Fabric store adventures

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Thanks for your comments on my last post. To tell you the truth I’m not sure if I’ll bother removing the sleeve cuffs, more out of laziness really but you never know I may find a burst of energy and do it before the 9 weeks are up! I have had a few compliments while wearing it which is good.

It wasn’t as hot as it has been yesterday so I managed a trip to the fabric store with my girls which always turns out to be an adventure. I went searching for fabric to make the Jane top which I’ll be altering into a night dress. I was followed around the store by my little munchkins or should I say I ran around the store after them. They like to hide in amongst the fabrics; I’ll lose them then hear little giggles coming from a stack of brightly coloured glittering chiffons. I’m also constantly asked “What are you buying? Is it for me? Will you make me a dress? Can you buy me some of this pink fabric please? Why? Why? Why?”, so what could possibly be a 20 minute visit if I was alone turns into an almost 2 hour cat and mouse chase and a pretty frazzled Mamma at the end.

Anyway, back to the fabric! I ended up choosing lightweight linen to make the nightdresses and bought enough to make 3 in different colours, orange, blue and white. I’m thinking some trim would look nice on these too, maybe something simple like cotton lace or ricrac which I already have in my stash around the hem, what do you think? I made a quick and easy alteration by lengthening the top to 80cm long which should mean the hem will sit halfway down my calf. I think I’m going to leave out the elastic cord under the bust too, I found it a little uncomfortable in the last Jane top I made. I’m going to whip up a muslin with my last $2 cotton sheet to make sure the alteration is ok then it will be full steam ahead.

Don’t forget about the new sewalong, join in and create a pair of sexy skinny jeans for yourself and give me some tips and the incentive to get back into shape once baby arrives. I want skinny jeans but I have a feeling they’re going to have to be made from some very stretchy denim!

If you have little girls to sew for like I do and a ton of scraps of fabric watch out for a post from me later in the week where I’ll be showing you how to make a simple skirt. You could even scale it up for yourself!

8 January 2008 Sewing Universe News Feed

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When I was a kid, I remember – very vividly – that mom’s sewing scissors were OFF LIMITS. If she caught us even thinking of using them to cut paper or something else, there was hell to pay (not really, mom’s a sweetie!) If you need to gently let a non-sewing friend exactly why you cringe when they grab your sewing scissors and head for paper, you can send them to Tim’s post on Final Embrace. He’ll help you set them straight.

FIND THE PERFECT FABRIC FOR YOUR FAVOURITE PATTERN

This is an exciting day for us and for our friends over at Mood! We finally implemented the fabric link, that will lead you guys to the fabrics that make our creations what they are. Our <a href:“http://www.burdastyle.com/creations/show/2146&gt; featured pattern of the week,<a href:”http://www.burdastyle.com/creations/show/2146&gt; the Minna Variation 2 made out of Charmeuse, is the first example for the link. When you scroll down you now find a button “buy fabric” right underneath the creation’s picture, next to the pattern download button. This button will link you over to Mood, who so kindly are working together with us to get beautiful fabrics to you. And this is only the beginning. More fabrics for more creations and hopefully lots of notions are in the coming.

Have so much fun shopping!

7 January 2008 Sewing Universe News Feed

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Here’s a blog to add to your feed reader. Sewer-Sewist is the blog of a sewing couple in Portland. They team blog about various sewing projects and fabric adventures. Between ideas for using up leftover fabrics, testing out new patterns, and even a brief history lesson of fabric manufactures in Oregon, it’s a must-read for sewers everywhere.

Not long to go!

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Not long to go!

Happy New Year to you all! My celebrations weren’t all that exciting, we had planned to go away for a few days but the heat put a stop to that. It was 42 degrees here on New Years Eve and instead of partying I went to sleep underneath the air conditioner in my living room wearing only my undies! Classy huh?! It’s still sweltering and I’m struggling to keep up with things because all I want to do is lay down and crunch ice. Yes I have an ice crunching craving which I also had in my last pregnancy; at least there are no calories, better than a chocolate craving I say.

Did you make any resolutions for 2008? I prefer not to call mine resolutions but goals and I don’t feel so bad if I don’t fulfill them. This year I have a few creative goals:

• Finish the two quilts I’ve started

• Take an overlocker course and learn more about pattern making

• Keep a creative journal

• Make all gifts instead of buying, including cards or buy handmade

• Continue to make my own clothes but also refashion more

• Use up my yarn stash

• Use what I have when and where I can

• Relax more, I’m not superwoman!

I did manage to pluck up enough energy this week to sew up another Desira over the past few days. For this one I used a cute cotton sheet I bought at the thrift store for $3 which I think is a much better fabric for this pattern than the sheet I used for my muslin, which I have been wearing anyway. I decided not to shorten it and added the vents in the side seams. I also added the sleeve cuffs, added a little extra fabric to the side flaps and cut the neck facing on the bias which worked much better, I didn’t even need to gather the bust like I thought I might. All in all I feel this version turned out much better but I’m just not so sure about those sleeve cuffs, I think they look a little odd on me like I’m some character from StarTrek or Flash Gordon! I’m considering taking them off, what do you think?

I’m done with making maternity clothes now. I have around 9 weeks left with this pregnancy and I think I’d rather do with the clothes I have and start making some new clothes for after baby arrives. What I’m thinking of doing first though is making myself some nightwear and a dressing gown for my hospital stay, if I manage to get there in time! Baby number 2 made an appearance within 3 hours of labour starting and I only just managed to get to the hospital in time, I’m thinking this one could be quicker. Looking through the patterns on the site here I’m thinking that Desira could be made into a cute dressing gown by lengthening it to just above the knee and adding some sleeves. It will still be warm here around March so I’ll probably make it from a heavy cotton rather than toweling. As for the nightwear I’ll need something with easy boob access since I’ll be breastfeeding. I’m thinking the Jane top lengthened into a night dress will work well and rather than making the alteration I made last time I’ll just add snaps to the straps so I can flip the bust down to feed bubs. I’ll need a few of these and will make them in colours that compliment the dressing gown. So these will be my project for the coming weeks, maybe I’ll also find the time to make up a washbag using the Carolina pattern.

There were some fantastic aprons made in December for the Layla sewalong. Check out the creations section for pictures! It was hard to choose the pattern for the next sewalong since there were 3 favourites. I won’t be taking part in this sewalong because I have so many things on the go at the moment and I want to wait to make some skinny clothes. I’ve decided to choose the Anita jeans, I really want to make these and by seeing what you all come up with will help me when I do get around to them. If you’d like to take part then head over to the new thread and as usual let us know what you plan to do, any alterations, your fabric choice etc. I look forward to seeing all your creations.

SEWING UNIVERSE NEWS FEED 6 Jan 08

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Lisa at The Domestic Diva’s Disasters has posted a great design worksheet that you can use to keep up with completed steps on long sewing projects. She highlights the post with a great fashion sketch from her 14-year old daughter!

What’s Your New Year's Sewing Resolution?

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Being back at work after a wonderful holiday, a few things right away popped into our mind and face: Nora’s unfinished bikini (Jessica pattern from August is still flying around in the office, same with the half-finished green Vanessa skirt that she urgently needs to finish to show off the striped pleats!

And, there is still this often communicated but never materialized plan: Benedikta’s dream of yet another Talea coat.

Do you have similar skeletons in the closets, or should we say haunting ghosts in your sewing cabinet? Was all that you could think of on New Year’s to quit smoking and to loose weight? Are you in need of a useful New Year’s resolution? It seems that a lot of our members have voiced some in the forum, so we decided to make it all official:

Shout out your the BurdaStyle New Year’s Sewing Resolution 2008! Tell us right here, just comment, what will you make this year. We’ll check in a year to make sure you kept your promise:)

Let us start!

Benedikta: My New Years Sewing Resolution is to replace buying with sewing as much as I can!

Nora: My New Years Sewing Resolution is to finish the Jessica Bikini, the Vanessa skirt, and to sew a Minna dress!

And here all the resolutions from the forum:

Atmomma: My sewing resolution is to correctly make a pair of pants for myself and to make more of my kids clothes instead of buying them.

Clairelovestosew : Mine is to stop being such a fabric addict, and to use up all my existing fabric, and not always rush out to buy all new stuff when I’m on a new project. My other resolution is to not be so lazy – to edge properly, adopt a “black thread means black, not mean the darkest blue I can be bothered to find” policy, not to imagi-pin and then be annoyed when it comes out wonky. etc.

Jj: I’m with Claire for using up fabric stash. Next would be try to design and draft the pattern instead of just knocking off and using commercial pattern as is. The last would be organize the sewing stuffs and keep sewing room neatly.(not a fun project that why it came last).

Maha1965: I hope I can stop being so lazy and do more sewing and don’t take it on my nerves and enjoy it

Oonaballoona: My resolution: to pin fit my patterns before i start, and continue to fit along the way no matter how much i don’t want to take off my !@*%?! sweatshirt for the 80th time. I’m always mad at myself when i finish and then have to Frankenstein it because i was impatient.

Sunnyb64: My main one is also to use up things that I have instead of rushing out to buy more fabric all the time— especially since I have fabric that I bought for projects over a year ago and never sewed! I also want to learn how to make garments more “finished”, especially inside, and finally take the time to work on a jeans pattern enough so I can have a pair that really fits!

Happy new sewing year 2008!

SEWING UNIVERSE NEWS FEED 28 Dec 07

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Craft guru, Kathy Cano-Murillo, is wrapping up her next book which is all about “artful stitching.” She’s requesting submissions of blurbs from folks about their various sewing experiences to sprinkle throughout the book. From her blog: “Something gone bad, a favorite memory, even a favorite book you read that has sewing in it, a lesson learned, a sewing circle you belong to, a trick you learned, etc.” Read more about her book and send your submission via her blog.

Roll on 2008 and being skinny again!

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I hope everyone had a Happyy Christmas! I certainly did, we visited our adopted Aussie family for Christmas Day lunch. Our girls had a wonderful time playing with their friend while I sat on my behind all day being looked after and my husband spent the day getting very very merry! As nice as Christmas is I’m always glad when it’s over and I can breathe a sigh of relief. I spent the last few weeks chained to my sewing machine making gifts for my girls, a mixture of dress up outfits, skirts, aprons and bags. I managed to finish most of what I’d planned and they were really happy with everything. Now I’m itching for 2008 to start, I have so many things I want to do and make but have felt I couldn’t get started on because I had Christmas to get through first.

Then there’s the baby I’ll be having in March, I have around 11 weeks left in my pregnancy and I’m looking forward to getting it over with. I’m feeling a little tired of being pregnant; I want my figure back the way it used to be pre pregnancy, slim! I’m looking forward to making and wearing the Anita skinny jeans and an Alden raincoat since I’ll (hopefully) have my figure back in time for autumn. I’d like to start sewing these before I have baby because I know time will be precious but I don’t want to guess my size as it could take a little while before I get back to my pre pregnancy weight. Since I still have a while to go and I have a limited amount of clothing that fits over my HUGE bump I’m going to make a few more maternity items before I get started on the skinny clothes! This week I made up a muslin of Desira using a cotton sheet I bought at the thrift store a few weeks back for $2. I made the alterations I mentioned in last weeks blog post, the top turned out too long so I shortened it by about 4 or 5 inches, I also left off the sleeve cuffs and gave them a binding instead. I photographed it with and without the belt and I feel there are some changes needed, the neckband gapes which I think could be rectified by cutting the neckband on the bias (which I didn’t do) or maybe I need to make some sort of change to the front pattern piece, what do you think?

The Layla sewalong is almost over and I’ve seen some fantastic aprons posted here on the site. I made my girls miniature versions as Christmas gifts and they love them. If you have made one please post a picture in the creations section and let us know in the forum who you made it for, your choice of fabrics and any alterations you made etc. I have started a new thread for us to choose the pattern for our next project. Head on over there to make your suggestion and I’ll let you know next week what the project will be.

See you next year!

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