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Recycle your old clothes!


Refashioning and recycling old clothes has been done for years, but now with a recession looming and eco-chic taking centre stage, we can start to rejoice in the wartime “Make do and mend” lessons our grandmothers learned. Recycling old clothes doesn’t have to be boring, though – a lot of times the resulting garment is even better than the starting one! If you get even one more wear out of it than it counts as a win for the planet and your wallet.

As I mentioned last week, this is the time of year that I assess my wardrobe for the upcoming season, taking note of what I need, and pulling out the clothes I no longer wear or have worn out. These clothes usually just go to the charity shop, but this year I’m going to take an extra step of sifting through them to see what can be refashioned into something new!

In the past I’ve made recycled creations like a dress from an old duvet cover, a beach coverup from a towel, and (famously) a dress from a shower curtain, but I also got some great inspiration from other members who’ve made barrettes from zippers (perfect if you’re using rest of the trousers for something else!), a skirt from Oxford shirts, and a Franzi vest from two skirts! If you stop looking at old clothes as worn out or out of fashion and start looking at them as pieces of fabric with potential, then whole new refashioning worlds start to emerge, especially if you can join a few together.

Right here on BurdaStyle there’s a huge amount of free and open source patterns to use that would be perfect for recycling smaller pieces of fabric from old clothes. I’m thinking…

If you’re inspired to recycle, please tag your creation with “recycled” and I’ll do a roundup post in a few weeks. Start digging!

New Alchemy Request: get paid to make the UTE shirt


Hey everyone,
a new Alchemy request has been posted for an Ute shirt. Make a bid and good luck!

Thread Den fashion show


Well my plans for the sustainable fashion show were put to an end when I rang up for tickets and they were sold out. Note to self: don’t wait, book well in advance! I did however get to the Thread Den’s 57 Chevy laneway fashion show earlier in the evening. A fabulous 50’s style show held in the laneway at the side of the Den. The show was also a launch for Biddy Bags in Australia. Biddy bags connects socially isolated nanas and mature-aged ladies through craft, economic participation and social networking. Check out their site for more details.

It was my first night out without Heidi since before she was born and as you may be able to tell I was pretty excited about that so I dressed up for the occasion. I was given a black dress by a friend sometime last year, sort of 50’s style with a tuille skirt underneath, I think she wore it swing dancing. I thought it was perfect to wear to the show and was fine as it was but I thought it needed a little something to spice it up. I used some black fabric scraps and made a binding to add to the hem then made a few yo-yo’s (or Suffolk puffs) and hand stitched them on near the hem. The whole thing took about 45 minutes, a quick and simple but effective refashion I think. I didn’t have to spend anything on my outfit since everything I wore was free or something I already had. I wore the dress with a thrifted coat I’d bought back while I was pregnant and a bag I found years ago at a car boot sale in the UK for 50p. The shoes came from my wardrobe and some cute handmade jewelry.

After the show I met up with a friend. We saw a cheesy show at the theatre, which was bad enough that we left halfway through and went for coffee and cake at Pellegrini’s, an old Italian coffee shop. I need to dress up and get out kid free more often, it was great fun!

Member Blog: Inspiration Orginization


This is the first in our weekend series of Member Blogs and Stores. Every Saturday we will feature one of our member’s blogs or blog posts, of course this means that you, the member, need to keep supplying us with fresh posts!

This week’s blog is from our wonderful member/designer Mirela. Her blog Shows a quick and easy way to keep your design inspiration organized. Thanks for the post Mirela!

To submit your post send us the link at team (at) We look forward to reading them!



Imagine you would move several times a year. You would have to pack up yours and your families entire wardrobe, your other belongings, your sewing machine. Imagine in addition, that when you move, you move by foot, there is no big truck coming to pick up your things but you and your family will be carrying it. Imagine on top of it all, that the weather is actually pretty hot, since you are living in a semi-desert! What would you do? Probably you would start having as little as possible, to avoid having to carry around all these things every time you move. And maybe it actually would be best to dress you and your family in next to nothing! And that is exactly what the semi-nomadic Himba do, who live in the North of Namibia, an African country that is located in between Angola and South Africa on the west coast of the continent. Yet, do not think that wearing nothing means there is no style or concept of beauty.

Many groups of Himba have retained their traditional lifestyles of cattle herding, moving with the rains to find fresh grazing grounds. And with that many of them, especially women and children have retained their traditional way of clothing: in their infancy, Himba children usually do not wear clothes and their heads are mostly shaven. Yet, already from birth, they are adorned with beaded necklaces which have all sorts of symbolic meanings. Once they get older they will wear leather loin cloths or mini-skirts, made from soft goat or cattle skin and plait their hair in a distinct fashion depending on whether they are girls or boys. Adults don’t wear much more, yet, they are richly decorated with necklaces and bracelets made from metal, leather and shells and even more intricate hair styles. Clothes, jewelry and fashion are not ends in themselves but all have a spiritual meaning or practical function. For example, the thick metal bands around their feet are said to serve as protection against snake bites.

In this world, without garments and fabrics, women have found a most unique way of covering their bodies, to both decorate it and to protect their skin from sun and weather: they cover their entire body, including their thick braids and often even their leather skirts in a thick mixture of butter fat, ocher and aromatic herbs that gives their skin a fascinating earthen-red hue. Words are not really apt to describe the special beauty of this people, but there are plenty of pictures available on flickr.

Sewing for others?


So I’m walking home with my kids and husband after a visit to the coffee shop and park when I get a phone call from a friend. She asks me if I can make a dress for someone she works with. She needed the dress by this weekend for a ball she is attending; the fabric was already bought and cut out by someone that ended up not being able to make it. My first reaction is to say no. Surely my sewing isn’t good enough to be charging someone for making a garment, is it? I’ve always avoided making clothes for others, especially for money for this very reason. After a little encouragement from my husband I agreed to make it.

The dress was to go under an evening dress to act as a slip, very simple. I made it up in an evening, leaving the hem and straps to be adjusted when she tried it on then finished it off in an hour. So quick and easy and she was pleased with the result. I’m wondering why I was so scared and I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. I may even do it again!

So I have some questions for you.

• Do you sew for others?

• What kind of things do you sew?

• How do you do it, from home, in your job?

• If you don’t but would like to what is holding you back?

• Do you have any advice for those wanting to start?



As a novice I am always impressed by people’s skills when it comes to sewing. Smocking mystifies me, I think it adds so much to an outfit with (what I’ve heard) not too much effort. This smocked fan is absolutely breath taking. It was made in a class by the author’s (Liesl Gibson of Disdressed and Oliver+S) grandmother. Someone left a comment directing people to this Etsy store full of smocked jewelry.

To learn how to use smocking, we have two great member produced How To’s. One shows how to smock jersey another shows how to faux smock.

Featured Member: XmasKid74


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

I originally came from Korea about 9 years ago to study in US. After finished my degree, I found a job in Albany, NY which located about 180 miles north from New York. All my family is still staying in Korea so I miss them so much.

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

My mom was a avid knitter when I was little and she taught me how to make knits and pearl stitches. I should say the first thing I ever made was a small knitted scarf for my Barbie. As I grow up, my interests on making things gets greater and greater. I took up every craft such as knitting, crochet, jewelry making, bookmaking and so on. I didn’t start sewing until recently because buying sewing machine intimidated me both financially and emotionally (^^). After I got my new job and started having regular paychecks, I bought my first sewing machine. Since then, I’m sewing only and nonstop.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

It’s the only thing I never get tired of. It’s is so rewarding that you can create the look you dream. So many ideas I want to try and I never get bored. Also there is something therapeutic about sewing. After a long and stressful day, I can be calm and relaxed by focusing on my projects. I once thought about quitting my job and devoting fully to the career in fashion and I even tried to be a part-time student for a while, but I found out that I might enjoy sewing less if this is a real job. Now I can be more easy-going on my not-so-perfect outcomes.

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

I hate putting zippers. I just can’t make it very nice. I’m trying hard to avoid them by using stretch fabrics and elastic bands. Luckily I don’t expose much of my midriff so that I can always substitute pants zippers to the elastic bands. My favorite part of sewing is to put it on after everything is done. It’s such a great feeling of accomplishments.

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

I love to make something to my little niece. She just turned one year old and she is as cute as pie. Good thing is that she can’t complain yet about the uneven hem lines.

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

I searched over internet and so far is the best site and the most valuable site I have ever found. I didn’t do much of pattern modification because I prefer draping, but now I can make clothing a lot quicker just by changing existing patterns. Overall I’m very pleased with One thing can be improved would be the connection speed. Sometimes it takes so long to connect and see the creations.

7. What is your motto?

There is no motto for me in formal words, but I want to live today without looking back. Without worrying too much about future, and without regretting too much about past, I’d like to live today fuller. Also I want to be a person who can fit every corner of the life. I can be very graceful having dinner at Daniel but I can be playful buying hot dogs from the street vender.

XmasKid74 Has some great creations and a great sense of style. She keeps a blog (in Korean) taking a picture of her outfit everyday. Because she has great taste in her outfits, even though I can’t read Korean, it is fun to look at the clothes and gain inspiration. Keep up the great work!

Finding Forgotten Gems in the Pattern Archive


Finding Forgotten Gems in the Pattern Archive

Even though it’s still summer in the Northern Hemisphere, August is the time when my sewing brain starts thinking about fall fashion and what I’d like to make over the next few months. So I’ll take a fresh look at all my pattern envelopes and magazines at home, sift through my fabric stash, and start putting them together based on what I need in my wardrobe. I like to scan my patterns so I can look at them in an online album whenever I find inspiration, but BurdaStyle makes this even easier by having everything about the pattern online already!

With a new pattern every week, it’s easy to become focused on the new and forget about all the great free patterns in the archives, so a few times a year I also like to browse through these patterns past to find ones I’d forgotten all about! Sometimes even just seeing the versions sewn up by other members is enough to make me see a pattern in a whole new way. This weekend I sewed the Marcel sleepmask, which was one of the very first BurdaStyle patterns, for instance. And knowing that my closet is severely lacking in trousers and skirts for Fall, I’m now also eyeing up Nichola, Ellen, and Marie.

So go on and have a look through the archives and see if you can find some forgotten gems!

We Want Your Blogs and Sites!


We are going to be creating a new feature on our blog. Every Saturday and Sunday we will post a members blog, site or store. What this means is if you post something cool on your blog (which I’m sure you do) and you want us to check it out send us the link and maybe you will get chosen for that week’s member blog spot. This goes for stores and sites too, we want to see what you are made of! So if you have something for us to see, send it to us at, we will check it out and the pick the ones for that coming weekend. Have a great long weekend everyone and we will see you back here on Tuesday!

100K Open Studio Party - Check Out the Pix!


Check out the <;&gt;photos

The studio almost burst with the amount of people that came- we had to take out furniture, even our beloved pattern table.

The room was certainly abuzz with creative energy. We had a good turn out of members: (wzrdreams, Kasia26, cmintrator, Desira_Pesta, bellamabella, motozulli, Julia) as well as tons of smart and creative people from DIY, fashion, media and the online scene.

Some of the people who have inspired us through the years joined in our celebration. Admired Esther Dyson came, Robert Kalin, founder of Etsy (who taught Benedikta and Nora Illustrator and got them on the opens source track), Etsy’s new CEO Maria Thomas – super nice and smart! – as well as tons of our Etsy friends.

We were especially happy to welcome independent designers that use BurdaStyle patterns for their line! Check out the following:

- Layla Delridge Ledthread

- Das Design Team ruffeoheartslilsnoty

- Desira Pesta Desira Pesta

And of course our sweet new addition to BurdaStyle contributor Alison Kelly (known from Project Runway, who is always wearing her beautiful line Alison Dahl) and also a young guy named Alex Yoo (founder a fun site where you can design men’s shirt online:

People were certainly having fun and celebrating all that is BurdaStyle: “Awesome party — very colorful! Burdastyle is a fantastic idea, and it’s great to see it flourishing. Viva la DIY!” says Tom Bennett of Pond5.

After Benedikta and Nora introduced team and welcomed the guests we turned up the music and danced like there was no tomorrow. As Robert Kalin from Etsy said, “The dance floor was as jumpin’ as BurdaStyle’s online community, with joy until late in the night.” Unfortunately we did remember there was a tomorrow and decided to pack it in. Though it was certainly hard to get Jeff (Hikru’s fiance) and Mike to stop (break) dancing. As everyone left they got a bag of goodies: personal measurement cards, buttons, and lollipops.

There was a lot of work that went into this party and we just want to take a minute to give the team a shout out: We all worked hard on our customized T-Shirts, playing around with Hikaru’s iconic button design. Alden organized the party with the huge help of Layla. Juniors was responsible for our big super cheese-chocolate cake, picked up by Sabsi. Tristan caught the perfect mood with the perfect music. And finally to everyone who contributed and attended the party, thank you.

There will be a video next week, stay tuned!

Check out pictures:

Antwan Duncan was our photographer and his pics really captured the moment.

And Bre Pettis took some awesome photos, as well!

The most controversial piece of fabric: the veil in fashion.


The most controversial piece of fabric: the veil in fashion.

What comes to your mind when you think about headscarves? Female oppression? Religious extremism? At least in Germany, the controversy about female Muslim teachers wearing headscarves in school has turned this little accessory into one of the most contested pieces of cloth. Yet, this controversy is not new: Just to give you an example, already when the French colonized Algiers in the 19th century, French soldiers dragged women from villages into towns where they had to publicly take off their headscarves. What for the French was a symbol for the liberation of oppressed women, was for Algerian men AND WOMEN a symbolic rape.

Mind you, in Europe, it was not only fashionable but also convention for women to wear headscarves until the 1970s and men would not leave the house without their hats. Some people of world fame still appreciate headscarves not just for their practicality against cold winds and rain but also for their style: a 2007 issue of the British Vogue called Queen Elizabeth II of England, “as glamorous in her brogues and headscarf as she is wearing the crown jewels.”

But not only old queens can look glamorous in headscarves. In fact, where Muslim women have a bit of room for experimenting within their religious dress code, a fully covered body including veiled hair cannot just look incredibly sophisticated but also creates an aura of female mystery. What it looks like to “show the beauty of the flower while covering the flower” shows us Turkish fashion designer Rabia YalÁin who made her debut as at New York’s Fashion week last February. Autumn and winter are coming and why not get inspired by a tradition that searches for and reveals the beauty of a woman in a completely different way than we are used to.

And while you get your patterns and sewing machines ready, just remember for a moment all those women in this world, for whom it is not a question of choice what to wear.

Featured Member: Kgallagher3


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

I’m from Tallahassee, Florida and I’m currently going to school at Georgia Tech and living in Atlanta, GA.

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

I don’t really remember probably a pillow or tote bag out of scraps from my mom. The first thing I remember making on my own was a huge messenger bag for school. I started sewing because I wanted cool clothes and accessories that no one else had, I had always seen my mom sewing so it was easy for me to pick up.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

I literally sew something everyday. I go to a school that is very structured and sewing is my creative outlet, not to mention way cheaper than buying clothes.

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

My favorite thing about sewing is when people ask me where I got something I’m wearing and I get to reply “I made it”. My least favorite thing about sewing is when I mess up and have to spend 30 minutes ripping out seams.

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

I would make a cool sling for my dad (he broke his elbow) because he doesn’t like his black one. I’d also love to make myself a fantabulous wedding dress someday.

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

I’m looking to learn more about sewing, I’ve learned a lot from this site and I look forward to learning more! I can’t think of any improvements I love this site! I love to look at user creations, I think there are so many talented people on this site, I could sit at my computer and flip through the creations all day.

7. What is your motto?

I don’t really have one, I guess it would be never give up, cause I never give up on my sewing projects.

Kgallagher3’s creations are sweet feminine and stylish. Her Potato Stamped Anda was one of my personal favorites for the Anda Sewalong Mini Challenge. Her status say’s she is sewing up fall clothes and I, for one, am excited to see what her fall clothes turn out to be

Alison Kelly: Introduction


I decided I wanted to become a fashion designer by default; having always a strong interest in art, my mother being an extraordinary painter (who also taught me to sew), my father, an English major with an obscure sense of humor in language as well as in illustration, I graduated high school planning to become a sculptor, painter, or jeweler. I moved to San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico, to study fine arts at an international institution and became entranced by silver-smithing. A year went by and I realized that body adornment was extremely important to me, having always worn clothes that had been altered to my liking, or as a teenager, made by myself, I decided I was keen to study fashion design. True to my wandering nature, I enrolled myself in another international program which landed me in the morosely beautiful city of Florence, Italy. Our design rooms were perched upon a striking yellow ocher building which nested at the base of Ponte Vecchio on the river Arno. Learning to drape changed my perspective on fashion design completely. With a few props & tools there are endless patterns and forms to create, it’s incredibly addictive.

To bring my message to you in less than 1000 words, I will sum up the meaning of this explanation by saying that sewing & design changed my life. And created what is meaningful in my life now. To be able to create a unique piece of clothing is invaluable, and being able to wear this creation and interact with the world while in it is incredibly fulfilling, a unique experience unto itself. I have had my own line since the day I graduated from college. I moved to Los Angeles upon getting my BFA and set up shop in a tiny little closet above the stairs in my apartment. I would scour the garment district for old bolts of washed silk and jersey to make limited edition, 1-off collections and bring them around to stores where many buyers placed the limited collections on consignment. I also did many "punk-rock flea markets, and other more upscale flea markets where I’d sell t-shirts and dresses to boys & girls for $20 each.

The popularity of these mini-collections became an issue at a certain point; the buyers always wanted more, yet I had used up the entire roll of a vintage washed silk print and it was gone. Forever. As much as I loved the exclusivity of 1-offs, I decided it was time to transform the line into a wholesale collection. I moved to New York City in the winter of 2006 and while searching for an apartment, I auditioned, much against my own will at first, for Project Runway, the hit fashion design competition series. I found out I had been cast as a contestant in May. Everything changed.

Venus Zine's 4th Annual Craft-Off


Want to win a Singer Sewing Machine? Well here is you chance! Venus Zine has partnered with Singer to bring you the 4th Annual Craft-Off. To enter you need to have a great DIY gift idea which costs less than $40 to produce. The best ideas will be pulled from the submissions and their creators will be featured in the winter issue of Venus Zine. Submission’s are due by the 18th of September, so get crackin!


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