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!

Take BurdaStyle Shopping with You!

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We’re happy to introduce a one-size-fits-all pattern to the BurdaStyle Pattern Database, because not only will it fit you- it will fit in your bag as well! The Charlie Reusable Grocery Bag Pattern is BurdaStyle’s contribution to the movement to reduce the consumption of plastic bags- which is especially high in the United States! Do your part to help by making this bag for you, your friends, your family, your neighbors. . . anyone you know who could stand to say Bye Bye to the boring and bad plastic shopping bag! Best thing about it?!- It has a pouch inside so the bag can tuck into itself! Now you can carry it with you everywhere!

Download the pattern here! Learn how to make it by following the simple instructions in this How To and be sure to post pictures in the Creations section.

P.S. Check out this version of Charlie, specially embroidered by our friends Jenny Hart and Sublime Stitching!

Featured Member: Lilo

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?
I was born in Romania in a city (Oradea) only 20 km from the Hungarian border; many people who live there are hungarian, my family as well, so my mother tongue is hungarian. I learnt romanian later at the childrengarden and basic school.
I moved to Sweden when I was 20 years old, so my passport and my university degree are swedish. Much later, when the idiot at Scania told me I didn’t have the right education when solicitating for a job as engineer in scientific computing (I am a MSc in guess what? Scientific Computing!!) I gave up on both trying to find a job in Sweden and my precious education.
I took a job in the pharmaceutical industry as modeling & simulation scientist (pharmacokinetics) in Germany in 2004. It didn’t klick though with my (actually dutch!) boss, so I started working and living in the Netherlands, Nijmegen in 2005 and do that ever since.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?
My first clothes were made for my three ‘daughters’ (i.e. dolls, they were Barbie-like) when I was something like 8 years old. So I was making up stories about what happened with my daughters, telling them to my grandma (who gave me the dolls) and making clothes for them. At the age of 10 I thought well, if I can make clothes for my girls than I could try to make something for myself? I saw grandma’s sister sewing simple things on her pre-war machine with a foot pedal, so … So I went to the shop and bought myself a piece of nice pink linnen. I measured myself. I made a pattern of a blouse with raglan sleeves. I cut the fabric and sewed it by hand. Of course I never heard of moving ease at that time, so the blouse turned out to be too small. So I figured out adding a diamond-shaped extra piece under the arm at the armhole would make it wearable. I proudly wore the thing a couple of times! I never heard either of finishing the seams, so it decomposed before I grew out of it. I didn’t sew anything more in twelve years. I started again when I met a friend who was sewing and got my ‘old thing’ (=my first machine, a Singer Melody in 1990) from my parents-in-law.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?
It’s my absolute favourite hobby and I am getting more and more ‘serious’ about it in the sense of wanting to improve my skills up to the professional level. I started taking a basic course in pattern making and sewing techniques; I really enjoy the new skills I got with the course (although I’m not very happy with the teacher, I quitted her and will start with somebody else soon) and I just want more, more!
I spend most of my spare time in my sewing corner, I can spend a lot of time in getting details right like moving a seam 1 mm if I think it would improve the fit. Ironically, the better I get with my technical skills the more obsessive I turn with my garments.
I also decided for a half year ago to sew all my clothes (well, as many as possible). I only bought a … goose-feather(? don’t know the proper English) jacket on sale since then.

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?
I love to stand in front of a beautiful fabric and figure out what I would like to make from it, find a fitting pattern/design. I also like to draw and cut out the pattern when it’s my own design (but copying something out of BWoF is just a boooring necessity). I LOVE to put the scissors in the fabric, this is IT, no turning back and changing my mind from this moment on, a particular piece of clothing is being born here and now! Sewing the pieces toghether is ok, but I already start getting impatient to see it ready. After the first fitting I kinda loose interest, I already know how the end result is supposed to look like, it’s ready in my head; the very end – correcting the fit, putting in lining, buttons is a pain in the …, I really have to disciplin myself to get anything ready. That’s why I need to have more projects ongoing in parallell, between 3 and 6 is usually ideal (when I have more nothing will get ready within a reasonable time).

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

I am already making some things for my family (husband and daughter), but only from ready patterns so far; I would like to make personalized block patterns that fits them and make my own designs according to their ideas, i would like to be able to make EXACTLY what they want.
I am dreaming of doing it even on a larger scale, I would like to be the tailor of the village if I would live for a couple of hundred years ago, make tailored clothes for more people, many people with different shapes and sizes and … Are time travels really impossible?
After retirement I would like to have a small tailor shop (but let’s get realistic, in these days nobody wants to pay for handcraft; also with each generation the tolerance for badly fitting clothing increases as long as it’s the latest hot fashion). Earth calling, earth calling! … Ok, landed.

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

Inspiration, fresh ideas. Food for my ego. I’m not in for the free patterns really (I subscribe to both BWoF and Knipmode and started making my own patterns lately), but they are a nice extra, a complement.

The bug problems are ennoying and I’m not so much for the advetisements either, although I understand the need of keeping the site going.
I like very much the idea of sharing, I think it’s great that we start having other members than the Burdastyle team sharing their patterns (Lauriana, Mlssfshn, looking forward for JJ’s).

7. What is your motto?
Be yourself, there are enough others.

An extra – my friend Claes’ (this is so fun, I have an akward sense of humor)
Cheer up, the worst is yet to come!

Learn more about Lilo and see the many creations she’s made for herself, her daughter, and even her husband by viewing her member profile!

NikkiShell Night Wear

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Amongst my list of jobs as wide as my belly this week was the task of adding straps to my Jane night dress. It was quick and easy, just two straps made by sewing tubes of fabric and turning them right sides out. I made them pretty wide and added snaps to the front which I hid underneath the facing. I tried it on so I could pin the straps in the right place and it actually fit (just) over my bump so I’m thinking I could get away with making the others I have planned not so wide around the tummy.

Next up is the Desira night gown. You can see above how I plan to alter the pattern, I will lengthen it to just below the knee to match the length of my night dresses. I also plan to add sleeves, something short or to the elbow, any suggestions? I still haven’t decided which fabric to use; I think a kid free trip to the fabric store is in order so I can choose at my own leisure. Of course it needs to go well with my linen night dresses, maybe some patterned cotton?

There is another week left for the Anita sewalong so make sure you upload a photo of your finished skinny jeans in the creations section here on BurdaStyle. Remember to also let us know in the forum what you thought about making these jeans, did you come across any problems? Did you make any changes? Did you enjoy making them? Any tips for those (me) that plan to make them? I have started a new thread in the forum for votes for the next sew along project so head on over there to cast your vote. I personally would love to make Jj’s ruffle blouse ready for my autumn/winter wardrobe I’m planning in my head at the moment. I’m so looking forward to having my figure back and the cooler weather, I’m definitely more of a layers girl than a floaty summer girl. I need to get cracking now on the clothes I plan to make since I’m sure the newest member of the family will limit my sewing time once she arrives.

Letter from the Editors: It's Our Birthday!

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It’s BurdaStyle’s 1st Birthday! We launched last year at the DLD 2007 conference, and Benedikta and Nora are celebrating big with friends at DLD 2008! We thank all of the members who have been with us since the beginning and as well as all our new friends who keep joining us as we continue to grow!

SEWING UNIVERSE NEWS FEED 21 JAN 2008

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We all have our addictions, and while some can be detrimental, you’d be hard pressed to find something wrong with an addiction to vintage sewing patterns. Sarai at Sweet Sassafrass has started a compilation of resources for finding vintage sewing patterns. Check it out, and she’s included a contact link if you have more to add.

Be a Refashionista!!!

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I have a challenge for you this weekend. What I want you to do is head on over to that wardrobe of yours and dig out something you haven’t worn in long time. Then I want you to make it wearable again. “How do I do that?” I hear you ask, well you refashion it! Don’t be scared, just dive right in there and get messy, it’s heaps of fun and at the end of it you have something unique that no one else will have, how’s that for style!?

This week I took a denim skirt and transformed it. To start I added four circular ruffles to the back and left the edges raw but stay stitched them to limit the fraying. I started from the bottom of the skirt and worked my way up sewing on each ruffle at every 2 ½ inches. I then cut the front of the skirt into a curve and added some lace trim and random stitching for decoration. And my last alteration was to add fabric paint; once it has dried I will scuff it up a little with some sandpaper to give it a more ‘lived in’ look. Everything I used to refashion this skirt came from my stash so all it cost me was a few hours of my time, not bad for a new skirt!

What are you waiting for? Dig into that wardrobe and see what you can come up with. I’m excited to see what you create and remember to post your finished refashion here on BurdaStyle.

To learn how to make circular ruffles take a look at my how-to.

SEWING UNIVERSE NEWS FEED 20 JAN 2008

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Threads has a post about making custom fabric belts, and finding the size and style to best suit your body type. If you’re looking for ideas for the finishing touches to some of you products, try their belt ideas. [via]

SEWING UNIVERSE NEWS FEED 19 JAN 2008

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Our London-based friends have the unique opportunity to explore a little sewing history at the Wimbledon Sewing Machine Co. museum. The hours are odd, and the web site is a little tricky to navigate, but seeing the beautiful craftsmanship in some of the machines in the pictures makes me wish I could hop over to London for a visit.

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