Sewing Universe News Feed: 11 March 2008

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DIYStyle is kicking off another season of 12 weekly vodcasts this week through their web site. You can still catch some earlier episodes, including an interview with fabric designer, Amy Butler, before you check back each Tuesday for more. The “video on demand” video clips are available through download or streaming, and viewers can susbscribe through regular RSS feeds and iTunes.

Letter From the Editors: Threadbangers!

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Threadheads, Rob and Corinne from Threadbanger.com came to us a year ago when we were just getting our toes wet in the internet ocean. We are so happy to have run into them again at this year’s South by Southwest interactive festival in Austin Texas. But before heading south, they came and visited us at our Brooklyn studio! One of their viewers wanted to know how to read sewing patterns, and we’re honored they thought of us as the pro’s to turn to for the answer! Watch it here!.

Sewing Universe News Feed: 10 March 2008

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Comic book fans have Comic-Con, Gamers have Gen-Con, even ‘hackers’ have their own convention, DEF-con so it only stands to reason that crafters will finally get their day with their own get together, Craft Con! If you’re interested in the business side of crafting and plan on being in the San Francisco area April 4-6, you’ll want to be sure to check this convention out!

Featured Member: JJ

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?
I was born and grew up in Thailand. I’ve lived in the USA since 1998.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?
Like other girls, my first sewing project was doll clothes.
I was lucky to have my mom and her sister teaching me to
sew. They both went to fashion school. My aunt had a tailor shop too
so I get to use some cool tools such as fabric covered button and
belt makers! But all my doll clothes were hand sewn because, I was
not allowed to use the sewing machine.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?
Sewing was on and off in my life, when I don’t sew, I make soaps!
To get the long story short, I used to sew and make soaps professionally for little while
but now it’s mainly for fun
and to save money. I no longer buy clothes and soaps.

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?
My favorite thing is sewing of course. My least favorite thing is the finishing
touch details such as making buttonholes, sewing buttons and hemming.

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

I enjoy making kids clothes too especially for my 4 yr.old son.
Family and friends around me get handmade clothes for gifts even
they didn’t request them.

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

Burdastyle is an amazing site, I can’t even describe
how much I enjoy using the free downloadable patterns and
see other creations from around the world, so inspired!
For the improvement part, I can’t think of any…it’s very good
as is.

7. What is your motto?
Fine feathers make fine birds. The tailor makes the man.

JJ has done so much on the site! See her many creations and profile here, but also be sure to see the blouse she designed that was chosen in our first design competition, and the Leg-of-mutton Top Pattern she designed and uploaded herself!

Nikkishell: Working from home

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Being a Mum of almost 3 small children under the age of 4 and all of my extended family living in the UK means I don’t work outside the home. Instead I choose to work from home. As you know I write and sew for BurdaStyle which is my main source of work, I run MixTape Zine with my partner in craft Justine of 62Cherry and I’m working towards selling my handmade creations this year.

Working from home has its pros and cons and these are different for everyone that works from home depending on their lifestyle, family commitments and work. For me the pros are that I get to be with my family and I can work at my own leisure. I can choose to roll out of bed and start work in my pajamas (which I do a LOT!) and I can work my timetable around family commitments. Before children I was a Patisserie Chef working long hours, sometimes 12 or more hours a day in stressful restaurant kitchens, there is no way I could do that sort of work now, I much prefer the laid back lifestyle I live now. I’m lucky enough to have my own sewing room from where I do all of my work which is most often messy like you can see in the photo above. My projects do tend to move around to other parts of my home too though, like my bedside table or the sofa. And of course I couldn’t live without the internet, my laptop and my digital camera!

Then there are the cons. I can’t get away from my kids, they like to ‘help’ so more often than not I’m stepping over them while I work and they’re sitting on my sewing room floor making things with the scraps of fabric, glue and paper. I’ve learned to live with it since getting stressed and trying to keep them out of the room is a huge waste of time. I can end up spending the whole morning in my pajamas which is ok sometimes but some days I just need to make that little bit of effort and get dressed otherwise I may never leave the house! And that creates another con, sometimes I don’t leave the house because I just don’t need to and that can get a little boring.

I live by lists! They keep me semi organized and I always have a notepad with me to scribble down my ‘To-Do’s’ and ideas. The last thing I do at night is write a list of things I need to and want to do the next day, of course they don’t always get done but if I don’t write the list I can lay awake at night thinking of all the things I need to remember for the next day.

I’m a messy person and my sewing room is small so it inevitably becomes untidy after a day of working in there and 2 small children bringing in various toys and craft supplies. I try to have a quick clean up every day or two and once a week I give the room a good sort out and vacuum to keep on top of it. Of course if I didn’t have so many things on the go at once it may not get so untidy but I just can’t have one project at once, I get so much inspiration from everywhere that my mind is buzzing with so many ideas but there’s just not enough time in which to bring them to fruition! I could do with some good storage solutions for my room, in particular for my BurdaStyle sewing patterns. At the moment they are clipped together with bulldog clips and hang from nails on my shelving unit. This worked for a while but as I sew more and more garments I’m collecting more and more patterns that just don’t fit on there anymore and prevent me from seeing my fabric stash behind, any ideas to solve this? Another storage solution I could do with is something I could hang all my bits and pieces from such as scissors, rulers, threads, etc to get them off my work table and create more space. I’m thinking a pegboard storage wall and a BurdaStyle Tory organiser will come in very handy.

Do you work from home? Leave me a comment and tell me all about the pros and cons you face, how you organize your time and your work space and anything else relating to this topic.

Sewing Universe News Feed: 7 March 2008

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I have a huge crush on the great city of Portland, Oregon. It always seems to be such a hub of creative expression and wonderful, warm people. So I was super excited to find one more thing to add to my list of “things to love about Portland” in a recent VenusZine article. In the profile article Leanne Marshall, a Portland-based designer, talks about how she sees the West Coast city as being on the forefront of eco-friendly fashion. Her designs are gorgeous, and though she touts having a tendency to “pleat everything I touch” as a habit she’s trying to squelch, I say let the pleats fly!

Sewing Universe News Feed: 6 March 2008

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If you’re having trouble finding that perfect fabric for your next project, spoonflower.com might be your new best friend. It’s a site (still in development) for a company that will offer custom fabric printing. Right now, they have a short survey on the site with questions about fabric printing. Take a few minutes to fill it out, and you’ll be let in on the closed beta version of the site when it launches.

Sewing Universe News Feed: 5 March 2008

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What inspires you to create fashion? For three designers participating in Downy’s Discovering Radiance ad campaign, it’s fabric softener. Watch as these up and coming designers bring to life three scents, follow their progress, and vote on who best “captures radiance” – you might just win a trip to the People’s Choice Awards in the process.

Sewing Universe News Feed: 4 March 2008

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Spring is right around the corner and for many, that means it’s time to start planning for Prom 2008. According to Ezinearticles, this year you can expect to see an increase in shorter styles, lots of bling (whether it’s sequins, lame, or glamorous bead work), and bold prints.

BurdaStyle has several prom possibilities for all sewing abilities including Cate 7983 and Minna 6007. However, if you’re looking to breathe life into dated prom dresses, then be sure to check out ThreadBanger’s latest episode where they teach you how to recycle an 80’s dress and update it to present day. Thinking about being more daring? Then be sure to stop by Duck Tape’s 2008 contest, Stuck At Prom – where you and your date’s entire wardrobe is made from an assortment of duct tape!

Nikkishell: Recycled Sidonie and Sewalongs

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I didn’t get around to sewing up the muslin for my Jorinde blazer this week. I messed up my JJ blouse early on in the week by stupidly cutting through the front of the blouse with the blade on my overlocker. I just knew I shouldn’t have been sewing it that night; my brain seems to have turned to complete mush as I’m nearing the last week of my pregnancy. After that I left the sewing machine alone for a few nights, did some hand sewing and watched some mind numbing TV instead. Luckily Colette saved the day and sent me another piece of fabric so I will be able to finish the blouse off. I have noticed a few more JJ blouses popping up on the site and they look fabulous! This blouse seems to be very popular, and no wonder JJ did a fabulous job designing it.

The ’Nichola’ sew along seems to be going well, there is a lot of discussion about the fit of the pants going on and how to make alterations that may be needed. If you’re taking part and are stuck with anything make sure you head on over to the forum and ask questions, that’s what it’s there for and it’s full of wonderful people that are more than happy to help.

I bought a brown cord skirt over a year ago from the thrift store and it only just fit me around the waist then. I decided there was no way I’d be getting into that after baby for quite some time so I transformed it into another Sidonie! This time I cut the pattern pieces out any way I could fit them onto the skirt and in a pregnant daze I sewed the pleats into the front of the skirt instead of the back. They don’t seem to make much difference though so I didn’t worry about changing them. You may remember in my apron post a few weeks back I mentioned I was thinking of aprons I could wear out over a skirt. I have seen the idea of having panels that could be buttoned to the front of a skirt somewhere before and thought I’d give it a try, I could have one skirt, many panels and multiple looks. I came up with the above but I’m not quite sure I like how it looks; I think I need to work on the idea a little more. Do you have any suggestions?

Talking of Sidonie, remember that the ’Mini Challenge’ has already started. You still have time to take part and your submission needs to be uploaded to the site by next Friday. See here for more details. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.

The youngest BurdaStyle member should be with us by the end of next week if not before, wish me luck!!

Letter From the Editors: Busy Week!

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It’s a busy week over here at BurdaStyle, and perhaps a busy week for you as well, if you’re taking part in the Sewalong Minichallenge! If you haven’t decided yet, you’ve still got sometime. The deadline is next Friday though, so don’t be too fickle! We can’t wait to see what Sidonie variations you can come up with!

Sewing Universe News Feed: 3 March 2008

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Natalie Zee Drieu of Coquette and Craft Magazine fame will be moderating a special panel at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas next weekend. The panel, called, “High-Tech Craft: Why Sewing and Knitting Still Matter” will feature a great group of women who are “forging new ground in merging fashion, arts, and crafts with new technology.” If you’re in Austin or heading this way for SXSW, don’t miss this one.

Nikkishell: Pattern Copyright

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I have recently been wondering about the copyright of patterns and decided to look into it further and share with you what information I found. I by no means think I’m an expert on this subject; actually I’m very far from it and encourage you to comment and share your own knowledge on the subject.

Copyright protects a designer’s work from the moment it is created until 70 years after the last surviving designer’s death, 70 years!!! Designers are making a living from their work so by purchasing their patterns you are supporting them and the fact that they are selling their work indicates they expect people to use the patterns and make items from them. This means they are giving you permission to use it but for personal and domestic use only, they are not to be used for your own personal gain, i.e. making a profit.

When can you use a commercial pattern to make a profit? One way is when sewing custom garments for customers but you must buy one pattern per person; you can not use the same pattern for multiple customers. The pattern can be reused for the same customer though if they require more than one garment from the same pattern. Another way is to license the patterns for which you will pay a fee. To do this you must contact the publisher for permission or the creator and they will inform you as to whether they allow this and what the requirements are. The same goes for out of print patterns, get in touch with the publisher and ask permission, I know I have a few I would like to share with you all so I will be getting in touch with the appropriate people and will go from there.

Information, styles, techniques and methods are not covered by copyright. So by using a particular sewing technique created by someone else or creating something in the same style as someone else has etc you will not be infringing copyright.

Now as you know BurdaStyle is an open source website. What does this mean? Well, Burda is the first established pattern publisher to release its designs without copyrights; this allows members of the public to market their BurdaStyle creations in limited editions. Remember, limited editions!! The patterns are not to be used for mass production nor are the patterns themselves to be reproduced and sold.

Since I’m no expert pattern maker I find this to be a fantastic concept as it allows me to sew garments to sell without having to go through the whole pattern making part of the process. I have been working on a limited edition of denim Sidonie skirts to sell in a local store and in my online store if I ever get it up and running (so many things to do, so little time in which to do them!). It’s a great way for me to use my skills and make some extra money at the same time.

Are you using BurdaStyle patterns to make a profit? Tell us about what you are making and how you are using the patterns in the new thread I have created. And as I said at the beginning of this post, please contribute your thoughts and knowledge on the copyright subject here in the forum. It’s a topic we should all know about, especially if we intend to make money from what we create. I have discovered a lot of people don’t know much at all about copyright and I’d like to prevent them from getting into any trouble by sharing what we know.

Copyright symbol in image found here

Sewing Universe News Feed: 2 March 2008

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When spring hits, I always take a second to re-evaluate my closet. Every year, I find that while my wardrobe is large (the nice thing about sewing is that you can whip up a top or pants in a moment’s notice), it doesn’t really coordinate. You see, I sew on a whim…. when I find a style or fabric I like I immediately put it to use without thinking about how it will work with other garments in my closet. Consequently, I’m going to try something new – something that has been floating around magazines and the internet for years, but I’ve never taken the time to try. This summer I’m “Sewing With A Plan” (SWAP).

The idea of the SWAP originated in Australian Stitches magazine (Vol. 5 Issue 2) and discussed how to make items that you are able to mix and match together to make simple, yet flexible wardrobe combinations. This idea has gotten so popular that numerous websites have competitions (Timmel Fabrics started this contest 5 years ago and it’s grown into an international event!) where readers vote on their favorite combinations. The premise is simple, create 11 garments (which should give you 48 wardrobe combinations): 2 pairs of pants, 2 skirts (one solid one in a print), 2 tips (one solid one in same print as skirt), 4 tops that coordinate with the solids, and a solid color jacket. So, my question is – who’s with me?

For more on the article that ‘started it all’ read here

How To: Stay Sharp!

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Did you decide to make the Paper Bag Sidonie or add a Center Back Seam and Slit to the Marie skirt? When it comes to hemming something with a slit, there are a few options. You might find just folding the hem in and topstitching works for your creation, but if you want to give it a clean finish, try a mitered hem. And the techniques in this How To make it extra easy! Make a nice sharp corner, and keep your mind sharp as well, by freshening up with some of these other basic How Tos!

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