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Free like a bird with feather adornment


The other night, I dreamt, as so many times before, I could fly. The dream to fly has been and is being dreamt all around the world. For the pre-hispanic Aztecs flying was something incomprehensibly fantastic and mysterious. The eagle gliding high above through the air, seeing and hearing everything that happened on Earth, had to be carried by unknown powers that were thought to reside in the feathers of its wings.

The Aztecs and many other pre-hispanic people across Latin America valued brightly coloured feathers, for their mysterious powers. Warriors, kings and priests adorned themselves with them to show their rank and status within the elaborated hierarchical structures of the ancient societies. In the Amazon, the rank of men and women was symbolized by wearing feathers from birds living in the different levels or canopies of the rainforest. Hunters were associated with birds from the middle and upper canopies (macaws, egrets and toucans), while women who are responsible for gardening and gathering were associated with the birds of the lower levels. Of course the most valuable feathers are those of the eagle that lives on top of the rain forest canopy.

When Hernan CortÈs arrived in the great Tenochtitlan (today’s Mexico City), he was awestruck by the wealth, the beauty and the hustle and bustle of the city, built in the middle of a lake. He was no less fascinated by the dresses of the inhabitants, colorfully adorned with feathers of exotic birds such as those of the Quetzal.

CortÈs shared his fascination, sending gifts to King Charles I. of Spain, among which two shields made from bright bird feathers captured the attention of the people. And curiously, bird feathers started to become somehow fashionable with the royalty and the religious magnates of 16th century Europe. It is said that on his wedding celebrations in 1582, Ferdinand II of Tyrol and his horse were adorned with Quetzal feathers imported from Mexico.

From various readings it seems that there were different techniques to incorporate these feathers, some were woven into the cloth, others sewn or pasted on with special glue, check out the intricacy and diversity of motives and applications in the pictures from an exhibition of the Metropolitan Museum – my definite favorites are the Ear Ornaments and the Four Cornered Hat.

Photo Copyright © 2000ñ2009 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved

Our Patterns into Top Trends


Spring is an incredibly beautiful and inspiring time here in New York city and what makes it even better? A new wardrobe!

This week I’ve taken some of my favorite current trends and poured through the Burdastyle archives to find patterns which can easily be utilized to recreate these looks. To make these silhouettes modern and fresh, wouldn’t it be great to use bright prints or bold graphics, perhaps add droopy pockets to the mushroom dress or make the Charlie bag in an ethnic upholstery print?

Here are the links to the patterns pictured above:

1. Anda

The Anda Dress is a quick and easy project, and is great for beginners.

2. Andrea

Andrea is a simple blouse with lovely seam lines that can easily be altered and adjusted.

3. Charlie Bag

It’s easy to make, and even easier to tote with you, since it folds into its own pouch!

4. Sibylle

Whatever event it may be that you are trying to find the perfect dress for, this one will do!

5. Bow by Jane

You just really cant say no to this piece of lovely.

6. JJ

The simple ruffles and delicate puffed sleeves make the top perfect for date night, but the fit and collar make it also perfect to wear to work!

7. Mushroom Dress

The mushroom dress is a simple, versatile design perfect for patterned chiffon or silk-type fabrics to allow slouching and gathering.

8. Kasia Skirt

Great for Springtime, this skirt features gathering of the pocket backing and bold bib-front buttons.

March is Mending Month at Craft:


Every day this month Craft: is showing you ways to mend, fix, repair, everything from wastebaskets to blankets to clothes. We are very excited that Craft: is showing us how to stretch our dollar and keep the things we already have, longer. Check back everyday for a new tip! All the past (and future) tips can be found here

Featured Member: Dpiddy


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

Comstock Park, Michigan, USA. Been here all 22 years of my life

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

hmm well I think the first thing that i ever made was at school… I think I was ten? we had to make a quilt square that described us….. mine said I love gum. Haha kinda funny now because I hate gum, Oh and I think I sewed it to my pants when I was working on it. Other then that the first “garment” that I made was my blue cardigan thats on the site.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Sewing for me is something fun and creative to do. If i’m honest the real reason I started sewing clothes was because paying for school was suckin up all my money soooo my wardrobe was starting to suffer haha… and it doesn’t help that i’m drawn to pricey things. Im going for fashion design so its applicable anyway

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

I love thinking up a sweet Idea for something… 90% of the time its a cardigan…but i love that and then I love putting the finished piece on…My least favorite part… haha this is funny, I really hate the whole in between part. You know when your not done and your just sewing… any project that takes a lot of work ahead of time… I get sick of …. pants ugh! I really wanna make em… but pockets and stuff…. lotta work

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

oh now this is hard!…. maybe Lady Gaga? (she’s a singer, she fabulous google her)
but she has really sweet stuff anyway so i’m not sure if I could compare….. Nope never mind mark ronson for sure (also sweet, google him) we kinda have the same style… totally make him a cardigan

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

I look for encouragement haha and feedback always great to hear from people… also inspiration… I could look through the creations page for days… and change something… please BurdaStyle’s perfect

7. What is your motto?

The poorer I am the more I sew

oh and …peace love and “________” *insert applicable word

Dpiddy came on the BurdaStyle scene recently, but has taken it by storm! His cardigans are fabulous and it’s so great to see how he challenges himself by using new techniques and styles. Keep up the great work! Check out his top ten slideshow!

Shotgun Wedding Gown


I had a meeting the other day with my friends Katie & Fio who are getting married in Texas this June. Katie asked if I would be interested in designing her dress and I was quite touched and eager to help her create something she’ll love. After designing my sister’s wedding dress in ’07 we realized there is a gaping hole in the fashion-forward wedding dress market and many brides-to-be are at a loss.

Then they dropped the bomb.

Katie is pregnant. And currently starring in the moving Sam Shepard play, Fool for Love. That’s why they wanted Dane to come with me to the consultation! That’s why they didn’t just buy the absurdly marked-down YSL dress (which was nearly see-through and body clinging). By June 13th Katie shall be 6 months along, and I believe, as they say, she will have “popped” by then. We talked about fabrics, seam lines and climate. It will be nearly 95 degrees under the Texan sun in June. Katie showed me some images of designs she likes, especially the Yves Saint Laurent dress pictured above. Last year Fio, a Brooklyn-based “farm to table” caterer, surprised Katie with a custom dress he asked me to design for her birthday. At the center front of the bust was an opening, with a silk ribbon on each side to tie the front closed. Katie loved the idea of it’s adjustability and we’re toying with some unique closure ideas for the front & back. It is decided that the gown will be in an ivory or eggshell white, perhaps with light rose accents. We decided on an empire waist with gathering at the seam as to allow room for her belly. We are going to combine 2 fabrics, a silk and a linen as Katie requested.

When I take on a custom project like this one I always follow the same process. I meet with my client (sometimes this is done over the phone or email if we cannot speak in person), talk about their needs & desires, details of design etc., then I come back with sketches. We proceed through a process of elimination and ultimately decide on the right design, fabric choices and price.

Anda from Etsy had our very own Burdastyle team member Benedikta assist her in creating a maternity gown for her own wedding as well:

It was a totally harrowing and last-minute experience and I actually used a stapler to hem it and hand-sewed the snaps in our hotel room the morning before the ceremony, but it cost me $80 and I still sort of resembled the ballerina princess fairy I knew I was inside.

Gone are the days of intricate beading, corsets, boning and torture and here are the days of natural, beautiful goddess dresses. I may not be ready to marry yet, but as a designer, I do know how I want to look.

You Decide: Which Should We Turn Into a Plus Pattern?


We know that everyone isn’t between sizes 34 and 42! For the next collection, we want to let you, our members, vote on turning one of our patterns into a Plus pattern. Choose between two awesome styles: the Paola dress and the JJ blouse. When we posted the Paola in January, so many of you begged us to extend the size run! And the JJ blouse is such a fun perennial favorite…

You decide: vote here, in our slideshow, for which should we turn into a Plus pattern? You have until Wednesday the 18th of March to let us know!

Job Opportunity


Not all of us fashion obsessed girls are lucky enough to be able to create their own wardrobe. Which makes our community a great resource for those that are not, AND it makes a great opportunity for us to make a couple of bucks.

Let me introduce you to Alessandra Lariu, our great friend and organizer of She Says, a woman driven organization creating events to connect woman in digital advertising and those who aspire to become one.

Here is the Deal:

Alessandra needs YOU. She lost her hood of her favorite jacket (See above). She has been an avid supporter of BurdaStyle and we thought, maybe we find somebody amongst our community that can help her to recreate a hoodie!

If YOU think you are the right one to help her, send an email to with your suggested price and estimated time of delivery and she can get back to you with more details as the neck measurement etc.

Don’t let this opportunity go by, Ale is one of the coolest girls out there that you could meet!

National Craft Month


Did you know that March is National Craft Month? That’s right, an entire month devoted to nothing but sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, needlework, stamping, embellishing…… To celebrate the month you’ll find many stores hosting free events and demonstrations, classes, and holding special sales. How can you celebrate National Craft Month?

Share your hobby with someone. Know someone who’s always wanted to sew? This month is a great opportunity to share your love for your hobby.

Learn something new. March is a great excuse to try a new craft whether it be knitting, weaving, embroidery, or even origami!

Join a group There’s nothing better than sharing your passion with like-minded people. Find local guild, quilt shop or knitting group or grab a friend – it’s a great way to spend a few hours each month.

Know of some special online events that celebrate National Craft Month? Share them here!

We're off to the show: NikkiShell in Melbourne!


The Melbourne Stitches & Craft Show is only a few days away (update: 11 – 15 March! )and I will be there representing BurdaStyle. Not only will there be a BurdaStyle Fashion Show each day showcasing some of our favourite garments but i will also be running a Charlie Bag workshop. Stop by our stall in the Exhibition Pavillion to hang out and have a chat, we’re alongside the Wardrobe Refashion Reconstruction Zone and right near the Incubator which is full of wonderful Indie Crafters.

Other stuff happening at the show include:
The exclusive Australian premiere of Handmade Nation
FREE Craft Bars where you can have fun with papercraft, sewing, knitting or embroidery. Simply turn up, choose your “craft cocktail” from the menu and have a giggle!
Blogs Unplugged Meet your global community for a chat, or update your own blog. Swing by and meet some of the faces behind your favourite screen names
ThreadBanger Our fabulous friends will show onstage screenings of their well-known online ‘How to’ classes in a video format
There is much to learn in the Craft Labs and Studios,competitions, and oh so much more!

See the Show Guide for what’s on.

David Sewalong extended!


Don’t forget that we have sewalong happening at the moment. The David bow tie is not only a great way to accessorise your outfit but you can also do a little good by making one (or a few) to donate to the American cancer Society.

To make a difference download the free David Bow Tie pattern and check out our many bow tie How To’s. Using pink and/or black fabric you can choose to make the bow tie as it is in the pattern or alter it in some way. Change the shape of the bow tie, make it bigger or round the edges maybe. Why not add some kind of embellishment? How about buttons, beads, sparkles, sequins, ribbon or embroidery? There is only one rule, the bow tie’s must be pink and/or black so get creative!

Send them in to us by May 4th to donate to the good cause. The sew along has been extended, and I will be answering any and all questions in the forums.

There are a few points to remember while sewing for the American Cancer Society:

1 The ties must be pink or black or a combination of both.

2 We need to receive them by May 4th.

3 Send your bow tie to:BurdaStyle 325 Gold st Suite 201 Brooklyn, NY. 11201.

4 Include your personal story on a note card if you wish.

Head on over here to download your pattern which is FREE then check out the Sewalong thread in the forums.

Bead It!


From zippers to buttons, from buttons to beads; while zippers and buttons have a practical function, beads are really only decoration – or are they? Old civilizations used beads (often made from natural materials like shell, stone or bone) as type of currency for trading purposes. In almost logic consequence, a little although very pretty glass bead, contributed to the conquest of continents. The Venetian chevron had high purchasing power in historic trade with Africa but also in the Americas. It is indeed incredibly beautiful, with its simple red-white-blue or green-yellow-black colorings made from several layers of glass.

Apart from being a decisive element in colonial history, the bead and especially beadworks from 19th century Southern Africa tell a fascinating story of the development of clothes in Africa. Check out this beaded cloth skirt of fabulous craftsmanship: just like the glass bead, cloth was introduced by the Europeans and was slowly but surely integrated into African clothes making, partly replacing indigenous fabrics made from grass, local fibers and leather. Most fascinating, these newly introduced materials would not just completely replace indigenous clothing traditions but were used to innovate and create a unique fusion between old and new (to divert from fashion and clothes: there are similarly fascinating example of cultural fusion in religious belief in Latin America: in Bolivia you find paintings of the Virgin Mary fused with the indigenous Goddess Pachamama).

Even more interesting is the example of the beaded breast-covers, also from 19th century South-Africa. What is so special about them? – the fact that women started to cover their bodies! Thanks to the climate, but also to the absence of Christian taboos around the female and male body, pre-colonial Africa didn’t have the need of covering what has been declared “objects of desire”. With colonization but especially Christianization, women just as man were increasingly made to cover their bodies. Therefore, much of what we might associate with “traditional” African dress, is actually quite recent!

There is an important thing we should learn: people in Africa, Latin America and Asia were not just passively colonized but in the little space of freedom they had left, they innovated and created new things and ideas building on the influx of foreign concepts, tools and technologies.

For many more beads from all around the world check out this site.

Photo © O.Ned Eddins

Celebrate Spring with BurdaStyle and Simplicity!


Two companies, one look:

Simplicity and BurdaStyle have joined forces this spring and offer you a great deal on a fresh look.

Vote for your favorite look and get your spring wardrobe ready!

In our “Celebrate Spring with Simplicity and BurdaStyle!”photo album we offer you five combinations made out of one Simplicity and one BurdaStyle pattern. Select your favorite look and spread the word!

Voting will end on Sunday, March 15th at 12 am EST. The outfit with the most votes will be published as featured project on and on Monday, March 16th.

Take advantage of Celebrate Spring!

The patterns of the winning combo will be offered on and for incredible spring discount prices for one week: The Simplicity envelope pattern, all printed out and ready to go, instructions included, will come to your house for less than half the price: a mere $5.00 (Shipping included in the US). The BurdaStyle downloadable sewing pattern with instructions will be offered free of charge for the duration of one week.

Springtime Romanticism


The purpose of this new category is to inspire. I am excited to bring to you each week a piece of inspiration; a project, an idea, a glimmer of excitement to tickle the vivacity of your imagination and, optimistically, arouse your creativity.

Bows, ruffles, wide-brimmed hats, beautiful prints, electric colors…I am pleasantly in awe of the fresh direction fashion seems to be floating in this Spring. Azalea pink, grass green, daffodil yellow, I love the idea of toying with
the boldness of these colors, I find them hopeful, cheerful and energizing. Nods towards an exaggerated Edwardian silhouette have led many designers down the path of leg of mutton sleeves, ruffled blouses, high-waist lines and tulip skirts. I am looking forward to combining the femininity of these themes with masculine accents, and covering myself in bright, bold prints.

Featured Member: jåne


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

I’m from Kgs. Lyngby, Copenhagen, Denmark. There I lived whit my mother and a younger sister. For a short time I stay in Skælskør. I’m 21 years old.

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

Clothes for my Barbie I think. I have sewn as long I can remember, and as years have past I been better sewing and special for me. I love to sew dresses. But now I have so many dresses that I want to sew sewn other things, like blouses and blazer. I have sewn many make-up-bags for my friends.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Everything, I sew almost every day and when I don’t sewing I think about it or looking for some inspiration. I want to live off sewing one day and have my own little shop. I also make other things, like earrings, bracelets, knitting and repair old furniture.

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

I love that people can make so beautiful things out of so few things. I’m not satisfied before my creations are perfect. Some times that’s a mental problem for me!

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

I want to make clothe to the Danish singer Pernille Rosendahl from The Storm. It could be some kind of dress or jeans and shirt in black. I would use leather, pieces of laces, tutu, silk, feather and pearl.

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 for pattern and inspiration from other members, and out of that I create my own still.

7. What is your motto?

I don’t have any motto, but all my creations are labeled with “J.C.MUNCH” and my logo.

Jåne creations are sweet and at the same time very rock and roll. Check out her favorites!

Queen for a Day


A few months ago I was asked to participate in an interesting opportunity. Having been a contestant on the t.v. series Project Runway, certain perks are thrown one’s way from time to time (sometimes ridiculous, though at times, worth the hassle).

Saturn car company, being one of Runway’s few sponsors, creates vignettes of their favorite designers pairing them with a car to be “inspired” by and airs these commercials during the series.

When asked, I wondered whether this act would antagonize my morale, but I decided I had already lain my ethics aside while participating on the series and have since reaped the benefits of the exposure. So I was queen for a day.

The task was to create an outfit inspired by the Saturn Aura, a bulky, boxy sort of sedan with inky-black interior and a sunroof. A messenger delivered an envelope of cash to my door and I went fabric shopping. I knew I wanted this “quirky” (a word I was later forbidden to say in the same sentence as Saturn) washed silk print to make a dress from, so the “inspiration from the details of the car” came off the cuff the morning of the shoot…“the open back emulates the sunroof…”the playfulness of the print elicits the modern, fun design of the Aura…" You get the gist.

Thank goodness we didn’t shoot in my loft, as suggested by the producers, as it is such a big production! My call time was 5:30am on the balmy, spring day of the shoot and when I arrived I was escorted to my very own RV. I felt important. I proceeded to have a bit too much eye make-up applied for so early in the day, and with my hair too processed I was escorted to “my studio”. The production team rented out the most beautiful studio with Victorian details, giant windows, black marble fireplace and old smokey mirrors. They had collected some of my belongings the day before so it really did look like my studio, as though I were peering at it through rose colored lenses.

We proceeded to do some takes, describing the design process, etc. and then relocated outside where I got to drive the car 10 feet forward over and over again. The law states that both of your hands must be placed at 9 and 3 o’clock on the wheel if it will be shown on t.v.

All and all it was quite fun, I made some money to put towards my business and I was lucky to sell many of the Saturn dress I wore throughout the commercial.

Watch the video <a href =“;&gt; here.


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