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Inside a tailored jacket


I’m such a sucker for quick and easy projects, but every now and then I feel the need to make something that really challenges my sewing skills and forces me to slow down and appreciate the fine details. This year I’m making my own winter coat for the first time, and even though it’s taking me months (mostly because I only have the patience to do a few steps at a time around my quick projects!), I hope that at the end of it I’ll have something I can be proud of.

So I’m incredibly happy that the Spanish professional Couturier and Tailor Paco Peralta has decided to share his methods and secrets to creating the perfect tailored jacket, especially how to get those tricky lapel corners! You can read his original Spanish version here or the Portuguese and English translations on Tany’s site (who’s an impressive sewer herself!).

While I may not be prepared for all that intricate padstitching this time around, it’s great to learn about the truly awesome skill and patience that goes into professional garments, especially as the weather cools for us in the Northern hemisphere and we start looking to wear more jackets and coats.

Frida Kahlo: unintentional fashion icon?


National Independence Day in Mexico, since this is not a history blog I won’t go into any details on Mexico’s Independence, nor about the celebrations itself what comes to my mind though is an “undercover” icon of Mexican culture: Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter (1907-1954). For a long time she was known mainly as wife of Diego Rivera, one of Mexico’s most important Mexican artists thanks to his murals which cover some of the most important political buildings in Mexico City. Some may portray Frida as victim of her diseases, her husband and more general as victim of a chauvinist culture. Others see in her a feminist hero, a fighter, who conquered the agony of her life through her art and incredible will to live. Many of us know her style through her numerous self-portraits, and not least through the film “Frida” directed by and starring Salma Hayek. But hardly anyone knows and she herself might have never imagined it, or maybe she did? that the combination’s of her folkloric costumes have turned her into a “fashion icon”, inspiring not just individual women but the masters of Haute Couture, such as Jean Paul Gaultier.

But let’s look at her style in a little bit more detail: Frida wears dresses inspired by different ethnic groups of Mexico. Two very basic types of dresses are the huipil, a basic rectangle of cloth, handwoven, with openings for the arms and a neckline, decorated with intricate embroidery. The other is the quechquemitl, a shawl type of thing which although in its essence really simple, leaves endless possibilities for variation.

The Museum of Arizona shows nice details of traditional designs of both, the huipil and the quechquemitl – maybe they’ll inspire you to make your own Frida Kahlo collection.

P.S. Can you spot Frida in the painting by Diego Rivera?

Featured Member: Carolinesj


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

I’m originally from Dunedin, a university town in the south of New Zealand, but about a year ago I moved to Nelson, a sunny little town at the top of the island. It’s surrounded by national parks and beaches, which is awesome, but it’s pretty small and lacking in fashion and art so most of my inspiration comes from magazines, blogs and websites.

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

What was the first thing you made? How did you start sewing?
As a kid I did any craft I could get my hands on. My mum taught me to sew and I started with dolls clothes and toys before moving on to clothes for myself. In terms of actual wearable stuff, I made a hoodie and skirt when I was about 13 and realized how easy it was to have cool and different clothes, and I’ve sewn ever since.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

It’s a creative outlet, my favourite hobby and a part-time job! It’s quite calming and really rewarding, especially getting comments about my own clothes and also from people I sew for.

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

When I mail and out-of-town a friend a package of something I’ve made for them I always get a super excited text message when they open it up – such a good feeling! I also love just chilling out in my sewing room with the stereo pumping and forgetting about time, looking through vintage patterns and reworking vintage clothes.
Least favourites:
Being too rushed and messing up a piece of clothing – such a bummer! Sewing at night and making mistakes, or ending up with 10cm less fabric than I need for a project.

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

Nothing special – I would just make amazing dresses for my friends, so when they’re famous they can wear them on tv/stage…! One of my friends is a hairstylist and I work with a photographer so we all collaborate and it’s exciting just seeing my creations with hair, makeup and in nice photos, even if it’s just for fun.

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 checking out other people’s variations of patterns. Free/cheap patterns are the best thing ever, so thank you! BurdaStyle is an amazing form of inspiration and motivation. I really like the blog as well. The site is much faster now – don’t change a thing!

7. What is your motto?

As soon as you make a stupid mistake, you’ve been sewing too long/late. Go to bed or do something else! There’s a reason why you’re sewing the wrong sides together…

Carolinesj has incredible craftsmanship, there is no way around that. Check out her creations to see what I mean. My personal favorite is her yellow Gucci dress (I think I like it better than the original). Update! check out her blog!

Fabric Treatment Ideas for Blouse


Check out this long sleeve blouse for the Holidays. Another treat coming up this fall.

Fall Collection: A Bathrobe as a Christmas Gift


A bathrobe! A piece of clothing that does not get the attention it deserves, since mostly worn when barely anyone else is around. Nevertheless, an important piece of clothing since it may be the first one that greets you in the morning and helps you ease into the day.

Alison Kelly: Wholesale Orders and Finding a Showroom


After the loss, which I mentioned in my last blog, I had what one may call a nervous breakdown. I spent the next couple of months in a fog of worry, fear and anxiety. I had just received my first huge wholesale order from and while that was exciting, it was quite stressful indeed. Generally speaking, retailers place orders from design houses twice a year, in September & February (some design houses create “Resort” collections which fall in the off-seasons). I had received my order in September which meant I would be shipping it out in February. How was I going to pay for the collection to be produced after having my prospective capital stolen? I needed to buy hundreds of yards of silk & cotton, buttons, zippers, linings, and because of my own strong beliefs against outsourcing production to far-away lands (which spells injustice not to mention poorer quality of goods) I had to make sure my factory would take on such a task in a timely fashion, willing to be paid once I was paid (which can be months after you have shipped in some cases!).

Somehow, through an eclectic combination of monetary support from my family, emotional support from my boyfriend & friends, the book “Eat, Pray, Love” (don’t tell) and pure fate, I was able to ship the collection to Shopbop on time and I actually made a good profit off of my first big wholesale account, which is virtually unheard of in this industry (and I was able to pay my parents back before my sister’s wedding that summer, phew!)…maybe I priced my pieces too high? Or maybe I was just lucky. However, a re-order from Shopbop sent me on a much brighter looking path and provided me with some capital to create my next collection. I couldn’t believe I had survived the tumultuous storm. I was elated. I want to zap to the present, now that I have shared with you a couple of experiences that have shaped where I am now and say that I have just signed with my first showroom in New York city and I am very excited to see what the future holds.

Shopping for a showroom is yet another daunting task. I have heard horror stories from my many designer friends who have worked with showrooms who just ate up all of their hard-earned money to come back with no sales, no effort, no support. I didn’t want to make that mistake as well. I shopped around, I loved a very upscale, high-fashion showroom run by an unique family (from mother & father to daughters) be I couldn’t afford their rates…I went to some uber-cool downtown independent showrooms which I loved the aesthetic but not the vibe…By chance, I was out one night when I ran into my friend Jeralyn Gerba from DailyCandy and she was with a woman whom, coincidentally, I had met years before at a Latin dance club in Brooklyn, and learned that she had just started repping designers & was opening a new showroom. One of her clients was an acquaintance of mine, Laura Dawson, whose career I had seen flourishing as of late. I asked around and people seemed to know about this showroom and the woman behind it and they said great things. I met with her, and after seeing how she adored my clothing, and also shared with me that she has been asking around about me as well & already had interested buyers, we sealed the deal. The showroom is in Nolita, one of my favorite areas of Manhattan, and seemed just right. We shall see what happens!

Fall Fashion Week in NYC


Well, last week was fashion week here in the city, the high heels were clicking and the fabric was flowing.
It was my first experience with fashion week, well show’s at least, and let me tell you, it was exhilarating. Layla went to the Vera Wang show at 10 am and I met her my ticket to the Naeem Khan show at 11. Aside from getting lost behind the tent at Bryant park 5 minutes before the start of the show, it was amazing. Hikaru went to Cynthia Rowley and Benedikta went to Zac Posen. Details were in: the use of lace, woven fabric, drapes and ruffles defined the spring 2009 ready to wear collections. Most of the fabric that was chosen went one of two ways, either extra flowy or super stiff. Fashion week is very exciting and I can’t wait to see these looks next spring. Check out for pictures from all the shows.

Finding time


Most days are busy for me but this past month has been a little crazy! Having 3 kids and working from home can have its ups and its downs. I love being home with my girls but it can be difficult to split my time between the two and often they merge together. Sometimes I get time to myself to work but other times I don’t and rather than stress about it (which I still do), I just have to let things go now and again and catch up with it later. My Jorinde muslin is one of those things, it has been hanging in my sewing room almost finished but I just haven’t had time to work on it. But, now that I have a heap of projects out of the way I plan to get to work on it, fingers crossed! I’ve noticed a few others have finished their jackets so rather than keep everyone waiting I’ve added a new thread to the forum for the next sewalong. Pop on over there and suggest what you would like to sew next. I will of course still be adding to jacket sewalong, maybe it can be a long running thread……….

I’m trying to spend more time looking after myself too; it’s easy to get caught up looking after everyone else so I’ve taken up practicing yoga and Pilates. I think a pair of these and a few of these would be good for workout wear. I’m rising earlier (but still failing to go to bed earlier), and trying to eat and drink a healthier diet. I’m doing it little by little and I feel better already.

I was asked by Ghainskomhow to make the yo-yo’s (or Suffolk Puffs) I embellished my dress with last week. They are super easy and you can find my quick How-To here. I’d love to see what you use them on if you make some.

Member Evsaid talks about Marc Jacobs and Fall Fashion


Member evsaid brings us a great new blog talking about Marc Jacobs and everything fall fashion. Check out the first trend listed, you think it will catch on?

Fabric Choice of our October Skirt


This blog is about sharing our everyday life in the design and production studio of BurdaStyle with you. That way you are always up to date on upcoming patterns and projects, AND you can give input in designs and ideas. Collaborative design, that is!

I am sure many interesting conversations will take place!

On Pins And Needles


If you’ve visited the notions isle of your local sewing center recently, you may have noticed the dizzying array of pins and needles out there. This can only lead you to the question, “What do I use this for?”. This article not only gives a great description of each pin style, but also outlines the best types of materials and projects to with each one. Additionally, if you’re at a loss as to what needle to use with your material, then be sure to check out this handy needle chart before starting your next project. Between these two posts, you’ll never be at a loss when shopping for sewing supplies again!

Oktoberfest in Style


It’s time for the Oktoberfest. In the Bavarian dialect, it’s Wiesnîtime – when thousands of tourists descend on Munich to get sick on Bratwurst (sausage) and rollercoasters, dance and fall off benches with uncountable other sweaty bodies Beertents where they drink beer by the litre out of heavy glass mugs called “Mafl” (the fl is equivalent to an “ss” and you pronounce the “a” like a “u” in mug). This is also the best season for second hand vendors of Dirndl and Lederhosen, the traditional Southern-German and Austrian dress, which has gained world fame not least through the musical and film Sound of Music. Lederhosen simply translate to leather trousers. The word Dirndl is derived from the Bavarian word for girl: Dirn. With a little bit of luck you will spot politicians, pop-stars, our most loved BurdaStyle editors, and even “it-girls” like Paris Hilton in Lederhosen or Dirndl.

But whoever considers him or herself a true Bavarian (and there are quite a few) do not only unpack their Dirndl and Lederhosen for the Oktoberfest. Especially in rural areas, people will wear the traditional dress at festive days, for weddings, baptisms, birthdays, and to go to church. But even young urbanites are rediscovering the beauty and romanticism of Dirndls. If you are invited to a wedding in Southern-Germany you might find yourself surrounded by people wearing Dirndl and Lederhosen who in their everyday life run around like you and me, a very interesting double identity.

You can compare this resurrection of the Dirndl and Lederhosen with their first coming out as fashion icons at the end of the 19th century. Before then, they were the working clothes of farmers, lumberjacks and anyone else who did hard physical work. Especially lederhosen, which are made from dark brown or black leather or suede, with intricate embroidery on trousers and suspenders are indestructible and can last for a lifetime. Thanks to the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I. and various other royalties in Southern Germany who started wearing lederhosen at the turn of the 19th century, both became fashionable as summer holiday outfit with urban aristocrats and bourgeoisie who sought relaxation from urban summer dust in the cool Alpine regions.

Yet, there is much more attached to the traditional dress than simply fashion: traditional music, dances, songs, and celebrations which are being preserved until today. Like for example the “Schuhplattler” which could be translated as “shoe clapping”. To see what I mean check out these two videos on You Tube. One showing a dance from Vienna of the 1920s, and another from today.

Featured Member: Miss_B


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

I’m from Slovenia, Europe.

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

I honestly can’t remember when or how I started sewing. It was my mother that got me and my sister (another BurdaStyle member, merita) into sewing. I started very young by making clothes for my dolls and gradually that evolved into sewing clothes for myself.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

It’s a creative outlet and a way to relax after work. Sewing is something I love to do because it’s very rewarding, you actually create something, either for yourself or others.

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

My favorite thing about sewing is the creativity, tweaking the patterns or simply making new ones, experimenting. Least favorite is the fact that you have to iron every seam you make, I find that tedious and boring. And sewing zippers, I hate that.

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

I only sew for myself, the thought of sewing for others makes me nervous and I start doubting my sewing abilities. So if anything, my first goal would be to overcome that fear and actually try sewing for others. And I’d probably start with something simple and straightforward to first gain some confidence.

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 tightly-knit community, people from all over the world ‘bonding’ over sewing. It’s amazing how helpful everyone here is, and how friendly. Sharing everyone’s creations and patterns is great, it gives me new ideas for clothes to make, it’s also challenging when I see a complicated design and I then try to make it myself. I can’t think of anything that would need improvement.

7. What is your motto?

I think the important thing in life is to always give it our best, to be passionate about the things that we do. We may fail, but trying hard is what counts, knowing that you really did the best you could.

Miss_B writes a fabulous blog where she writes of her other passions: photography and writing. She also has an Etsy Shopwhere you can find some of her creations. Thanks Miss_B!

Contest: Design and Sew a Cocktail Variation of the Malissa Dress


We want YOU to get more involved, so we are inviting you to step up to a new challenge.

We are in the midst of designing a new variation, a cocktail dress version, of the Malissa dress, which will post on November 17th and will include the original pattern plus instructions on how to modify it.

Next to that variation we would love to see your idea of what the Malissa dress could look like as a cocktail dress.

Design and sew a variation of the Malissa dress and send a photo to . The dress with the most votes will be part of our professional photo shoot along with the BurdaStyle creation.

Additionally, the winner of the contest will receive a CD of high resolution photographs from the photo shoot, a look book with prints and cards with the image on it for you to hand out to friends.

Send in your photo of your variation to by the 23rd of September, along with a brief description on the pattern changes you have done.
TIP: Keep it simple. If you are the winner, we will ask you to create the how to explaining the pattern changes as well!!

Young Designer's Diary: Alison Kelly


Competing on a reality television series is surreal to say the least, and I do not want my blog
to focus on Project Runway, or the participants, or the creators, but I will say that the show changed
me and looking back I am very thankful for the experience.

To demystify the situation a bit I
admit that it was not very fun to tape the show, but at the same time I am not saying that it
isn’t an incredible opportunity to expose your work, ideas & design aesthetic to millions of
viewers across the globe.

It was challenging to be stripped down to the bare essentials and quite
a task to be creative in an environment full of producers manipulating what you want to be
talking about, sleeping only 4-5 hours a night and literally being under lock & key for 6 weeks.
And being an amazing designer, personality & think tank at the same time.

One thing that still has me in awe is the impact the show has had on my life. I had absolutely
no idea how, as soon as the show aired, I would be bombarded with situations, people, fans,
opportunities, hard-ships, glorified moments, horrified moments & stress. For a normal person,
like myself, the exposure is scary & wonderful. All of a sudden magazines you have read your
entire life want to hear from you; but the catch is, they want gossip, they don’t necessarily
want to praise you for your design ideas & talent. And that part became tricky.

I decided I wanted to focus solely upon re-branding my line and create a wholesale label that
would be attainable to my fans but also to women who wanted something new with an edge.

Shortly after the show aired I made a deal with the popular online designer boutique,
to create an exclusive collection of dresses & tops. I also collaborated with an old high school
friend on a complimentary line of jewelry. I had absolutely no idea how I was going to finance
this collection on my own so I decided to create a capsule collection for a boutique in SoHo. I
was having all of my production made in New York city’s garment district and my factory had
too much work on hand to take up my production so I went to a new factory upon recommendation
from some industry friends.

I went to pick up my dresses one day from the new factory and I realized the door was locked.
I peered inside the window and to my disbelief, I saw the entire factory was empty. They had
moved out in the middle of the night (they were unfortunately an illegal operation and 6 months
behind on rent as I later discovered) and nearly fainted. They had left with all of my patterns, many
bolts of fabric & all of my production.
Lesson number 1. Check.

I want to recommend a book to anyone who is eager to look into becoming a fashion designer
on their own:
The Fashion Designer Survival Guide, Revised and Expanded Edition: Start and Run Your Own Fashion Business


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