Featured Member: Lilo


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


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!


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!



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!!!


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.



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]



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.



The folks over at Make it Mine have noticed a growing trend in clothing: grommets. They have posted a teaser of an article in their Spring 2008 issue that will show folks how to easily add grommets to their wardrobe and accessories, and even have posted videos on how to set grommets using a a plier setting tool and how to set grommets using a tool kit and hammer. They’ve even compiled a list of tips when working with grommets. I never noticed how much fun it is to say, “grommets” … almost as much fun as adding them to my wardrobe!

Girly Jane Nightdress


I didn’t bother making a muslin for my Jane night dresses this week. Instead I went straight to work on the fabric I bought on my most recent fabric store adventure. I figure since it was inexpensive and the pattern is easy I’d be fine and I was right although I did need to shorten it 10cm due to not having enough fabric so now it will fall just below my knee. I used the orange fabric and I think it has turned out really well even though I’ve yet to finish it. All it is waiting for are the straps, I’m going to have to try it on over my bust to decide how long they should be, there’s no chance of me getting it over my bump at the moment! I made a size 40 which is a size smaller than I’ve been using to make maternity clothes but 2 sizes bigger than I am when not pregnant. It’s going to take a little while to get back to that size, although I’m hoping not too long! I’ll use some of the fabric to make the straps and have them fasten at the front with snaps which I will hide on the facing so they don’t show at the front of the dress.
Do you like the trim? It’s some cotton lace I had in my stash that I bought on sale a while back, I love it and will feel very girly wearing this night dress, it beats the slouchy jog pants and my husbands t-shirts I’m wearing at the moment! In total this night dress has cost me about $7 to make. This week I’ll whip up the other two in blue and white, I have some more cotton lace trim in a peachy colour which may go well with the blue and I think I may leave the white one plain, I’ll see when it’s made up whether it needs something extra but some embroidery may be nice if I can find the time. I’m also going to work on the Desira pattern to be changed into a dressing gown to match my night dresses. Maybe I should use linen for this too, what do you recommend?

How are you all going with your skinny jeans? Have you managed to finish them yet like Fashion1 has? Go check hers out for some inspiration. If you have any tips or questions while sewing these then head on over to the forum and let us all know.

Did anyone make a scrap patchwork skirt this past weekend? Remember to upload a picture in the creations section if you did I’d love to see it. Watch out later this week for a refashioning post from me!

Letter from the Editors: Support from Members Like You


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!


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


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!


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


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


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!


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