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The Design and Sew a Suit Variation Contest is.....


Congratulations to Prudencerabbit on winning the Design and Sew a Suit Variation contest! She did such a great job transforming the Eva and the Sidonie patterns into this creation. We had 2,500 votes and Prudencerabbit’s variation received a whopping 44% of them! Chipdale7 and Bola’s variations came in second and third respectively.

Prudencerabbit will have her suit photographed in our photo shoot, receive a look book, get cards of the suit and receive all the high res pictures from the shoot. Congrats again Prudencerabbit!

BurdaStyle goes Downunder!


BurdaStyle is heading Downunder to Australia to attend the Stitches & Craft Shows. I will be representing BurdaStyle at all three shows, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.

If you’d like to be involved by helping me out on the stand or taking part in the fashion show with your BurdaStyle creation(s) please email me at

You can find out more about the shows at the Stitches & Craft Show website

CPSIA Legislature Update


In early December I talked a little bit about how the CPSIA legislature will effect the handmade industry. Last week the Consumer Product Safety Commission gave preliminary approval on changes in the law that will take effect in February 10, 2009. Currently they include exempting Items with lead parts that a child cannot access, clothing, toys and other goods made of natural materials such as cotton and wood, and electronics that are impossible to make without lead. You can read more about the changes and upcoming law here.

From rectangles to body shape the history of sewing patterns


Imagine the medieval ages, where fabric was woven on looms in tedious processes. Even if the fabric may have been somewhat crude, it was still precious enough so that clothes would be made using the whole rectangular piece rather than cutting away edges and curves. Finally, in the 15th century, considered by many the dawn of “modernity”, uncut pieces of fabric were replaced by pieces carefully crafted to the body shape.

Up until the Industrial Revolution, if you wanted to have clothes that fitted properly you needed to be rich, since not anyone could afford a tailor who would meticulously fit garments according to your body shape. Ill-fitting clothes remained during the Industrial Revolution: the first industrially used patterns, were inaccurate and badly designed so that factory-made men’s suits were sagging rather unfittingly.

But the ages of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century not only produced commercial mass produced patterns but graded patterns for home sewing that we are using today: in 1863, Ebenezer Butterick born in Massachusetts, launched The Butterick Company creating cardboard templates for children frocks. In 1873 they started to use tissue paper, which was much lighter, foldable and easier to send by mail. On followed James McCall, in 1919, Vogue Patterns, (1899) and Simplicity (1927).

But where is Burda? Aenne Burda , wife of Franz Burda founder of the publishing house, was only waiting for her turn, and what better opportunity could there have been than Germany’s post-war years. Shops were empty, and yet, Aenne knew, women wanted to feel and look beautiful. She created BurdaMode, a magazine that delivered style to the doorsteps of Germany’s post-war women, and today to millions of other women around the world.

BurdaStyle is the logic continuation of the print magazine BurdaMode. Although for Hubert Burda, son of Aenne Burda, it might be a bit more: with BurdaStyle he fulfilled the dream of his mother to establish her idea in the United States. What Aenne Burda could probably not foresee was that thanks to the Internet, the offspring of BurdaMode would ultimately reach out much further than the United States. What personally fascinates me most about BurdaStyle is the diversity of women and men that exchange ideas about sewing, style and fashion.

picture Courtesy of OptiTex

Holiday Giveaway Singer Sewing Machine Winner


Hi everyone!

I hope January is treating you well. Just wanted to announce to you with winner of the Singer Sewing Machine. Congratulations to Pleocatra! She is our lucky winner! Check out her blog to find out more.

CRAFT Magazine presents: 'The Sewing With Nature Contest'!


Dear BurdaStylers,

Our friends at CRAFT Magazine have teamed up with SINGER to put together ‘The Sewing With Nature Contest’! As we all look forward to spring, they are inviting creative and crafty sewers to create a project inspired by nature. They ask that photos of your finished item be posted to ‘The Sewing With Nature Contest’ Flickr group for review.

The Grand Prize winner will receive a brand new SINGER sewing machine, a set of SINGER sewing books, and have their project featured in a SINGER ad in the spring issue of CRAFT. The three runners-up will receive a SINGER dress form and a 1-year subscription to CRAFT Magazine.

The contest is running now through Wednesday, February 4th, so check out the Official Contest Description and Rules here!

Good luck!

Featured Member: Nelliethemermaid


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

I was born in England but my parents emigrated to New Zealand when I was a baby, so that makes me a kiwi through and through. My family home is in Stratford, a small town with a beautiful mountain but now I live in the city of Hamilton with my husband and Oscar the dog.

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

My mom sews, so when I was younger I learnt (basically) how to use a sewing machine by being her assistant in sewing curtains, costumes and my prom dress. The first wearable item I assembled, all by myself, start to finish, were the Jane pajamas about 8 months ago.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

I really enjoy practical, creative things so sewing fits that perfectly. My husband is usually occupied outside in the vegetable garden on the weekend so that leaves me time to have a good sewing session. In the evenings he comes inside and cooks me dinner so I don’t have to stop sewing! I’m sure our friends think we are old before our time.

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

My favourite thing is reading instructions! I love instructions!! Haha. Just by following steps (even if you’re not quite sure what you are doing) you can take a flat piece of material and turn it into a piece of clothing! My least favourite thing is actually fabric shopping! Hard to believe? I love the idea of shopping but once I get to the fabric store I feel a bit overwhelmed and under experienced. I start second guessing my choice of fabric and end up just staring blankly at the bolts.

I do look forward to having the experience to step away from the step by step pattern and be able to make my own adjustments or to adapt and recycle clothing like some of the other members have.

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

Hmmm, something special for my brand new niece (born 7.1.09) as she is just about all that is occupying my thoughts at the moment.

(Also, maybe a pair of tight, leather trousers for Rob Thomas because then perhaps I’d be lucky enough to do an in-person fitting?)

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

I think that if I hadn’t come across Burdastyle then I would not have been so quickly hooked on sewing. It is great to have easy access to patterns and all the helpful tips. Without these, as a beginner, I would have just given up I think.

When trying to decide on a pattern to sew I find it really helpful to browse through all the other members creations of the same pattern, to get a really good idea on what the end article looks like. Much better than the envelope patterns that you buy at a store where there might only be a single illustration.
I love seeing other members’ creations and also find it interesting to read their blogs etc.
Sorry, I really can’t think of anything that can be improved!

7. What is your motto?

To be true to yourself, always follow your own heart, mind and soul.

Nelliethemermaid has some absolutely beautiful creations, my personal favorite is her JJ variation. To see Nelliethemermaid’s top ten favorite creations and inspiration, check out her silde show!

Vote for your Favorite Suit Variation!


The Design and Sew a Suit Variation Contest has come to an end. Check out all the amazing entries in our slide show, once you have made up your mind vote for your favorite! Voting closes 11:59pm this Sunday the 18th!

How Bad Do You Really Want It?


If we were able to sell good ideas, many of us would be rich. It’s getting the idea into object or working project that’s the trick. And when it comes to making a fashion business out of your unique aesthetic and clever sketches or even the one-of-a-kind dresses you sew at the kitchen table, you need more than a few tricks up your sleeve.

I just found this quote on Papierdoll Fashion Magazine in a story about Mary Gehlhar, author of the must-have book The Fashion Designer Survival Guide. Are you willing to do what it takes to take that brilliant little dress of yours through production? Are you prepared for the roadblocks you’ll face from the very vendors who are supposed to be working for you? And are you ready for the reality that less than 5-10% of your working time will be spent actually designing?

These fore warnings got me thinking back to how I started out selling clothes “professionally” when I first moved to Los
Angeles in 2002 after graduating from college(s). All I wanted to do was sew. I quickly became acquainted with downtown LA’s garment district, a special place indeed, and started the first of a series of mini-collections under the name Run R1ot.

I was eager to see what types of boutiques LA held so I went exploring. The first one I came across was Matrushka. At the time the shop was located on a small, hip stretch in Silverlake. Matrushka Construction was founded by Beth Ann Whittaker and Laura S. Howe in February 2003, two friends who shared the desire to provide inexpensive, witty and sweat-shop free items they sewed themselves in the small back room. I was in heaven. I believe the story went like this: I was wearing one of my dresses, introduced myself to the owners, and we instantly formed a friendship & I placed my first collection on consignment in their shop! Consignment is placing your goods in the hand of another, but retaining ownership until the goods are sold.

I proceeded to find many more shops who wanted to replenish their inventory without taking any risks and were happy to
place my mini-collections on consignment, a win-win situation for everyone;) I collected my checks at the end of every month and in the end I was doing quite well with 10 shops carrying my line!

Today you can start selling straight out of your living room with your own website and places like Etsy and Ebay.

I do believe that the Fashion Industry is extremely competitive, audaciously expensive and cut-throat. But if you’re a passionate seamstress who wants to share your beauty with the world, there are ways for you to do it too.

Donate a Bow Tie for the American Cancer Society.


We have set the goal of 150 Bow Ties to donate to the American Cancer Society’s Pink and Black Tie Gala. Help us reach that goal, post your comment below and pledge a bow tie or more! As the Bow Ties come in we will be adding them to our growing bow tie slide show!

Suit Variation Contest Ends Soon!


Just a few more days to submit your suit variation! We have already received some fantastic entries, can’t wait to see what comes in.

Remember you have until 11:59 (est) on January 12th to send a photo of your creation to team (at)

First Bow Ties Recieved!


Today we received such an exciting gift! Our first bow ties for the American Cancer Society’s Pink and Black Tie Gala came in! A big thank you to the Ivy Family! We are so glad that you have all taken on this challenge. Keep up the great work!

Want to contribute? Click here!

A Sewvenir from around the world


I want to send you all Happy New Year Wishes. I attach a little something that is not really related to fashion or sewing patterns, but is a greeting from around the world. It made me smile (and think) when I watched it and hope it makes you smile (or more), too…

No more words, take a trip around the world.

Changes and new opportunities


Dear members,

Our last post has created quite a stir in the community so let us explain a bit more what BurdaStyle is, what it offers, and what the changes entail:


BurdaStyle set out to be a community for people that love to sew or would like to learn.

We believe that supplying access for everyone to a platform where we all share our inspirations, creations and knowledge is the best way to improve your skills, get help when you’re stuck and earn reward and recognition for your hard work.

We want this community to be open to anyone and to continue to offer easy and cost-free access to all areas of the site that involve inspiration, recognition and especially exchange of knowledge.


We do want to apologize if you may have felt upset by our recent changes.

We at BurdaStyle have always acted with our community in mind, which was also the case while making the decision to charge for all patterns, and feel that this is the point to give you insight into the larger picture:

Clearly our reason behind charging for ALL patterns is to create revenue, in order to produce new patterns, new content and new features and to keep the current site intact. Only charging for new patterns is not able to cover the cost for maintaining the entire content on the site.
BurdaStyle would love to offer you all patterns always for free. And clearly you, our community, feels very strong about our patterns and the resource of free patterns.

So why not join forces and work together.

Our plan has been all along to find partners that are interested in working together with us on a variety of activities such as contests, how tos, features and sponsored pattern downloads at times. If a partner chooses to sponsor a pattern we would be able to cover the cost and waive the fee for a certain amount of downloads.

We are in the talk with a fair amount of companies that showed interest in working with us.

Seeing your immense response we were thinking, what about joining forces with our most important asset, our community. What about YOU helping us find partners that are interested in engaging in activities for example sponsoring free downloads for the community

Anyone successfully creating a partnership would be rewarded with the thankful response from the community and a percentage of the partnership fee.


Being floored by your talent and efforts creating patterns and creations we felt that you need to be included in our weekly project upload on the homepage.
From now on we will accept submissions of creations with instructions and/or patterns from which the best ones will be included in our editorial calendar and featured for one week on the most prominent spot of our homepage. Additionally these projects will have a mention in our newsletter.
Send submissions to with the subject line: “Featured Project”.


Starting with the new site members will be able to sell their own patterns.

We hope that you are looking forward to new challenges and opportunities with us.
We are looking forward to the year 2009 and many years to follow with our community!

Featured Member: Emrichkh


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

I live right on the foothills of the Rockies in Loveland, Colorado 45 min outside of Denver and 30 min from Rocky Mountain National Park. Its a beautiful place to live.

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

My first post on BurdaStyle was first creation, a little bag for my daughter. My grandmother is a very talented seamstress and quilter but I have never tried my hand at sewing until just recently. In school I studied graphic design. I made my own portfolio book and wanted to use fabric on the cover. I then discovered Amy Butler which led to other fabric designers and I was in love! I had a feeling that I would really enjoy sewing and already knew that I thoroughly enjoyed fabric. My mom surprised me with a machine this past Mother’s Day and I’ve been sewing ever since.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Sewing is a huge creative outlet for me. It was a difficult transition from being a full-time art student, a social one at that, to being a full-time stay-at-home mom. I love being able to make beautiful, or darn cute, things and then watch them get used, worn, and loved on. I especially enjoy making things for my kids. They inspire much of my creativity.

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

My favorite part is watching a piece come together and take form, especially when it’s coming along nicely :). My least favorite part, in agreement with many others, is ripping seams. Refilling bobbins can be a nuisance as well and always seem to run out right in the middle of a project.

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

I’d like to make myself a piece of clothing eventually. I’d also like to make something nice for my husband. I haven’t gone there yet because it takes more fabric and time. I have a two-hour naptime window to work with :). My daughter is almost three and she gets so excited when I’m making her something and then lights up when she sees it finished and gets to use it, so she’s my favorite person to sew for right now.

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

Initially I was looking online for free patterns. For the record you provide the most beautiful patterns out there. I found so much more than that on this site. I love seeing everyone’s creations and ideas. I also really like being able to see the patterns constructed and worn by everyday people, it gives me a better idea of how the clothes fit and look. It’s great to see all the variations and creative license people take as well. My favorite part about BurdaStyle is giving and receiving comments. It’s fun to “meet” so many different people and everyone is so encouraging, it’s great. No complaints here :).

7. What is your motto?

I don’t really have a motto. I’d say currently mine seems to be, “Why clean house when you can sew?"

Check out Emrichkh’s Top Ten favorite creations on BurdaStyle. She also has a great blog in which she talks about her life, kids and of course creating.


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