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The T-Shirt: How do you style it?


How many t-shirts do you own? Lately, and I don’t know if this is only in New York (nevermind- I think Tokyo wins), I have noticed more t-shirts on girls & boys than ever before. Perhaps it is a reflection of the economy- resorting back to our old faves and personalizing them, or we’ve become more laid back in our fashion sense- and what is a better blank canvas for self-expression than the t-shirt? Or perhaps I ignored the countless band & “expression” tees. I’ve never been one to wear many t-shirts (I think I own maybe 5). Being a designer, I wanted to make knit tops, edgy tops, kooky tops- anything but a t-shirt, but now I seem to have a growing appreciation for the basic or iconic statement a t-shirt can make, which, depending upon how it is styled, worn or adorned, is full of room for interpretation.

How do you wear your t-shirt, I would LOVE to see pictures! What images or statements have you seen on t-shirts that resonated with you? Which ones do you want to disappear?

Credits: Style.com, Street Peeper, LOOKBOOK.nu

Handmade Tire Sandals


In Germany there is a saying that only in months without an R in it, (May-August) is it warm enough to walk around barefooted. But some people do not have a choice to wear shoes, irrespective of the name of the months or the temperature of the day. Yet, as commonly known, necessity is the mother of invention. In Germany many years ago, boys who were herding cattle in the rural areas warmed their bare feet standing in fresh cow droppings during cold mornings. In other parts of the world, people have been more practical, crafting sandals out of old car tires.

In principle, all you need is a piece of old tire (as big as your foot) which can be found even in remote rural areas in Africa and a few pieces of material to tie this tire-sole onto your foot. Leather will do, or some fabric, or simply string. The number of variations and uses are almost unimaginable: or could you imagine running a marathon in tire sandals?

While probably most of us can’t imagine running a marathon even in normal running shoes, in 2008, six Maasai men came from Northern Tanzania to run the London Marathon to raise money to provide their village with clean water. They ran in their full traditional Maasai dress, including spears and tire sandals. They may not have won but they easily raised enough money to finance the much needed infrastructure.

Lots of tourists traveling to Africa are fascinated by those sandals. A couple from Britain was so intrigued that they even opened an online store, Jambo Jambo, that sells tire sandals in various designs, made by men and women who live in Kibera the biggest slum in Sub-Saharan Africa. If you watch the film the Constant Gardener you get a bit of a romanticized idea of Kibera (it was actually partly filmed there).

But you don’t find tire sandals just in Africa. You will find them in Latin America, Asia and at least some decades ago, you would even find them in the US (check out the comments).

Curious? If you want to make your own tire sandals, maybe you can use schickchick’s flip flop creation as pattern.

Photo © Binh Giang

Featured Member: Ashchaser


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

I have lived in a suburb of Nashville Tennessee for all but one year of my life and have finally begun to appreciate this region for its craftiness and thrift stores. It can get pretty country out here in a city only known for music, but if you know the right places to go for a drink or or a craftacular you will definitely survive.

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

I can’t be sure of the first thing I made but I can take a good guess that it was a macaroni necklace, or something else with pasta. There have always been projects to work on for as long as I can remember, which set a good foundation for craftiness later in me. It wasn’t until high school that I began to investigate the DIY way of doing things, but I was really into thrifting and eventually taught myself to sew so that I could rearrange the old pieces and band t-shirts to fit in a decent way. Soon after I became a knitter and have spend the last 4 years learning more.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

As an knitter and apparel design student sewing plays a huge part of my life now. Not only has it vastly improved my Etsy shop, but now I can create any piece of clothing I am inspired to, be able to sell it, and sincerely enjoy what I am doing. It always surprises people to meet a 21 year old that is so into knitting and sewing, but I love it and haven’t looked back since learning! The past few years have been devoted to learning and creating my shop, Ravelry page, my blog Kerseymere, and my account here on BurdaStyle.

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

The best part of any project for me has to be when you get to take lots of pictures of the finished product, which is something I love to do anyway. As for the worst it would have to be cutting out the pieces, because I always seem to get really bored during that step.

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

Hmm…lets see, if I could make absolutely anything it would have to be some kind of couture dress, but a cross between something that Christian Joy would make and something Miss Van would paint. Once this amazing piece is real I’m not sure what I would do with it, maybe keep it on permanent display for inspiration or something.

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

I absolutely love this site and have seen it grow tremendously over the last year! I do love that there are free patterns and am very happy that the site kept them, yet would love a few more baby items as well as knits. Also I like that we are able to have friends, but wish we could interact a bit more somehow. As for the beta site, I really like the photos, especially the "best of " months, and that there is a wall now. I cannot wait until it is ready to be the main site, and will continue to use it often to try it out.

7. What is your motto?

“I could make that!” is something that comes out of my mouth often, especially when in places like American Apparel or some cute boutique that specializes in simple clothing I cannot afford.

Ashchaser has some awesome creations. Take a look at some of her inspiration and don’t forget to take a look at her store and her blog

Staring Contest


So the other night Dane & I went to a cocktail party hosted by the effervescent and talented writers Joanna Goddard (of the coveted blog A Cup of Jo) & SMITTEN, and her fiance Alex Williams, a New York Times reporter. What we didn’t know was that the cocktail party was to be a staring contest!

What? I quickly drank down some of my wine and added my name to the list. Sometimes I like meshing into the background of a party, have intimate conversations with people- but this time we were all to be in the center of the room, being watched (and judged) by everybody! The contest rules were “first to laugh is out”. We found “blinking first” to be too challenging. Have you ever done a public staring contest? If you know me at all you’d know I am just about always cracking a smile, it’s just the way I am. And if you ask me to frown, I cannot for the life of me. I was quickly “out”. The girl pictured top left was the winner of the evening, and you know what? She was biting her tongue! A technique I had not considered. I think she’s wearing Vivienne Westwood for Melissa rubber heels right?

In the meantime, I came across 4th & Bleeker today, some may find it fashion-sense inspiring.

Photos courtesy of Joanna Goddard’s Flickr.

Join BurdaStyle, Etsy and Bags for People at 303Grand this Saturday to Sew up Reusable Grocery Bags


On July 18th, BurdaStyle, Bags for the People & Etsy will be at 303GRAND (in Brooklyn NY) with an all day event called “The Sweatshop” from 1pm-6pm.

Bags for the People is a non-profit organization that provides people with a sustainable alternative to plastic bags. The organization makes re-usable bags from recycled clothing and fabric and handed them out at New York City’s Green Markets for free. In addition to giving out free bags, Bags for the People holds workshops and events to help people make the switch from plastic to re-usable and teach the importance of sustainability.

There will be up to 15 sewing machines set up in the store and loads of fabric and patterns available to create a hands-on experience of designing your own unique reusable bag. There will also be sewing tutorials, complimentary drinks and snacks and music playing all day.

Check out the 303Grand website for more information

EMAIL TO RSVP FOR THE EVENTinfo@303grandnyc.com

History of the Sewing Machine


It’s not something we stop to think about very often, but did you know we all use one of the top 10 greatest inventions of the last 100 years? While hand sewing had been around for thousands of years, the invention of the sewing machine revolutionized the garment and shoe industry and in 1860 allowed those at home to be able to eliminate tedious hours of sewing by hand. Want to know more about the history behind your machine? Then be sure to read BurdaStyle’s article along with this one about the birth of mechanical sewing.

BurdaStyle Sewing Club Update: BSC Aiken, SC, USA!


Seven ladies with different backgrounds and skills make up this fun BurdaStyle Sewing Club!

Meeting at their local library, they cover everything from hemming each other’s dresses to creating super cute aprons. Visit their group blog, SewAiken.YolaSite.com, and check out their upcoming projects, including how to make a blouse from men’s shirts and their future plans to help out The Aiken Community Playhouse, a local theatre company. They also encourage their members to bring their own personal projects and share their special talents. One member from India, for instance, plans to share a special draping technique!

There first meeting on June 20th was a great success, and they are busily preparing for the next date on July 11th, where they hope to discuss fun projects to make with bandanas!

For more information, contact leader AthenaWeeena.

Great job guys!

- David
BSC Coordinator

Summertime Collage


Greetings readers! I am writing to you from the depths of my imagination where I am on a deserted island swathed in silky prints sipping on a piña colada. Aren’t you just the happiest during summer days?

This month I hand-picked some warm weather looks I am dying to recreate for myself. Using this user-generated simple dress pattern you too can make a lovely printed summer frock. Aren’t the pin-tucks on the hip charming?

I’m seeing bold, bright solids floating down the Resort 2010 collection runways and am inspired to make this other user generated bandeau top dress with bow in cherry red or aquamarine.

Missoni knows how to make a dramatic statement in a flowing floor length dress and so can you with this free, simple pattern.

Does the Marc Jacobs bag (pictured far left) not look just like our Anna Boho bag? They could totally be related. I have yet to decide on which canvas print to make this out of…or should it be suede?

Oh! And I saw the most adorable Fabric Postcard on the site today & need to share it with you all. Have you ever seen one so thoughtful? Whoever gets this in the mail is a lucky duck.

Ciao for now my pretties!

Featured Member: Aur0ra


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

I am originally from Lancaster, CA, in the desert of Southern California. I currently reside in the beautiful Northern Idaho, in the city of Moscow, with my husband. We absolutely love being among the unique combination of wheat fields and forests.

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

The first thing I made was a quilted potholder. I have been sewing ever since my grandmother taught me the basics when I was about seven. I started out sewing little, simple things, like pillows and pot holders. My mom got me started sewing clothing, and she’s always been there to help me through some of the tougher aspects of sewing. Later, I taught myself how to design and sew clothing and accessories. I also began experimenting with reconstructing vintage items as well. I have always enjoyed owning unique clothing and accessories, it’s so fun to know that nobody else has the same clothing as you.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

I spend pretty much all of my free time at my sewing machines. No matter where I am throughout the day, I am always thinking of new designs to sew. I find inspiration everywhere I go. I carry a notebook with me at all times so that I can draw quick sketches of my ideas before they escape me. So, basically sewing is a very important part of my life.
Sewing for me is also an escape, and a way for me to relax. I am by nature a very anxious person, but when I am sewing I am at rest and peaceful.

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

My favorite thing about sewing is the brainstorming stage, from figuring out designs to finding the right fabric. Thinking of new ideas is the easiest part for me, my head is always overflowing with designs to try. I also love it when I am finished with a piece and try it on, that is the most rewarding experience.

My least favorite thing about sewing is cutting the fabric out. I can’t explain why I don’t like it, I just don’t. I usually have to plan to do all of the cutting in one day for the pieces I’m working on, and the sewing another day.

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

Creating clothes for my family and friends is my favorite thing to do. It is so much fun to create clothing for those you are close to, according to the unique aspects of their personalities. I have made dresses for my four sisters for their birthdays, and each one is so different and exciting. They are all so very supportive, and I love making gifts for them. I would love to make a few things for my husband soon. It will be my first venture into making men’s clothing (we’ll see how it goes).

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

I love having a place where I can “show and tell” my creations. I also enjoy seeing the creativity of others and being inspired to create myself. It’s awesome being able to interact with other people who sew, and giving and receiving feedback and ideas.

7. What is your motto?

– If it won’t matter in a day, a week, or even a month, it’s not worth getting upset over. (Living with this thought in mind is very helpful in stress reduction, something that I am always in desperate need of.)

- “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

For more information on Aur0ra check out her blog, Facebook page, her website or her Etsy shop. Phew! You should also make sure to check out her top ten picks from BurdaStyle

I Don't Want to Work


Do you have summer angst? Do you have trouble going to work while the sun is shining & the ocean beckons you? Don’t you want to just take the summer off and be a kid again? Splash in the ocean, have BBQ’s, go sailing…I certainly do. But I am a designer (remember?) and I have work to do. A collection to design by September. Good lord.

Why is it that I am suddenly inspired as soon as I begin to drift off to sleep and didn’t have a single good idea all day when I was forcing myself to work? This happens all of the time. If only it were socially acceptable to be a night owl. “Sorry, can’t come in today, had too many ideas last night & didn’t sleep, but boy did I get a lot done”. Why do I feel tired and willy nilly and lazy during the day? I have been trying to figure this out my entire adult life… One thing that gets me through life though is setting goals. I know what needs to be accomplished in my mind but jotting it down really helps. Here’s my to-do list for the next Dahl & Dane capsule collection. We’re doing a small collection bags & basics for “him & her”.

  • Design 2 prints. I want to create painterly prints where I incorporate my drawings and watercolors and have these printed onto fabric. These will be printed onto 100% cotton and used for a bag for her, a blouse & a skirt. Think Liberty of London meets a doodle bug.
  • Make Dane design a print for “him”, our collection is going to be “his & her’s” items; a bag for him, one for her, t-shirts for him, t-shirts for her. Think Slow & Steady meets Dahl & Dane’s quirk and my personal aesthetic.
  • Make my own patterns. I sometimes use my factory to create the patterns & samples. This time, to save money, I want to make my own patterns and have my samples made by my factory so they are “showroom acceptable”, and we all know how expensive that is.
  • Find a reliable & secure source for wholesale fabric. Right now I am locking down a source for organic cotton, soy, hemp & bamboo manufacturers. We want our collection to be primarily organic.

That helped actually. Thanks:)

The BurdaStyle Sewing Clubs are on Ning.com!


With over 200 BSCs in existence, we wanted to create a place for all the clubs to meet and mingle. Share group pictures, discuss sewing tips and techniques, and plan group meetings with BSCs all over the world on our Ning social networking site! Go to BurdaStyleClubs.ning.com today to sign up and start the fun!

BSC Leaders should create groups for their clubs. Please title all groups as “BSC [City, State, Country],”or “BSC [City, Country]” if international, in order for members and prospective members to easily find your club.

If you have not done so already, join The BurdaStyle Club Flickr group, and post pictures of your club meetings, group creations and anything else you’d like! Feel free to send us group photos directly too! Send them to team[at]burdastyle[dot]com along with a short description of the group’s last meeting itinerary and information on your next meeting date.

Also, be sure check out our new forum category at burdastyle.com/forum/. Scroll down to the second to last category to advertise your club, offer comments or suggestions or meet other club members!

Interested in creating a sewing club in your area? Send an e-mail to team[at]burdastyle[dot]com. And for a complete list of all the current BSCs, please visit http://www.burdastyle.com/blog/show/917.


BSC Coordinator

Fashion Trendsetter


I went shopping over the weekend and noticed that the summer styles are now on the clearance racks, fall\winter fabrics have arrived in fabric stores, and school supplies are stocked on shelves. Even though we are in the midst of summer here in the US, it’s already time to start planning ahead for fall. Since my sewing time is limited, I try to plan my wardrobe sewing carefully – selecting fun and trendy pieces inspired by the latest designs. However, while making my ‘must sew’ list for the upcoming season, I stumbled across a new fashion forecasting website, Fashion Trendsetter. Not only does this site predict upcoming color trends, but also hot fabrics, and accessories. Be sure to check it out before you start your next project!

Send us Your Measurements and We Will Make You a Handmade Suit


If we visit the bespoke tailors in London’s Savil Row we cannot but have to pass by the bespoke tailors in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Their skills are world famous and not only Asians with heavy wallets but tourists and prominence from around the world take a trip to get a bespoke suit made in China. In the internet you find endless discussions on how to find the best quality tailors in between the scams and what to look out for when having a suit tailor-made. Obviously the experience is so exhilarating that Philiph Shenon (head of the Bangkok bureau of the Times, at least in 1995) dedicated a whole article to his first bespoke suit made in Hong Kong. Even my parents couldn’t resist the temptation when they visited China to pass by one of the tailors to have a coat made for my Dad. What fascination!

As fascinating is the history behind it, as told by Tailor Dave: imagine Shanghai at the turn of the 19th century: China had lost the two Opium Wars, with the result that it had to open its doors to trade with Britain. Foreigners flock into Shanghai, make their fortunes some more, some less and bring with them their taste for all things Western, including Western suits. Savile Row is far, but luckily a number of tailors from Bombay (now Mumbai) and Baghdad have made their way to Shanghai quickly filling the void of Western suits and their nimble fingers match the quality of any Savile Row suit.

Then enter the Communists and their preference for uniform labor suits and other ideologies obviously drives out demand for Western suits. The tailors move and take refuge in Hong Kong where they restore their trade. One of them is <href=“http://www.samstailor.biz/&#8221;&gt;Sam, or better Manu Melwani, Hon Phd., F. Inst. D., FRSA, Medal of Honour and recipient of Belgium’s Golden Plams of the Order of the Crown whose list of clients include Coldplay, Rod Steward, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and any junior guy that may walk into his shop because “one day he’ll be a senior guy.”

Armani and Versace may be the kings on Western catwalks but behind the scenes Chan, Ah Man and Sam supply the rank and file.

Photo © 2004 ¡ngel Riesgo MartÌnez

Your Ultimate Make-it-Yourself, DIY, Sewing Summer Guide!


Summer is absolutely upon us. We have decided to give you the ultimate backyard fun and beach guide. Sew and craft up all of these projects to create your perfect summer!

Spotlight On: IVANAhelsinki


IVANAhelsinki is currently the single brand which speaks to my own roots fully. Behind the brand is a sweet faced Scandinavian girl with a sneaky dark side, I’m in love. IVANAhelsinki is an exclusive art fashion brand which delicately brings together Slavic rough melancholy and pure Scandinavian moods.

Behind the brand is the artist Paola Ivana Suhonen who pulls from her dark naive mind-landscapes, northern legends and western romantics, doing prints, graphics, short movies and well, everything that is involved with the visuals. Paola runs the family-owned company with older sister Pirjo. Paola has created an exclusive collection for Topshop and has gone so far as to curate Dress-go-Around where 10 girls are given IVANAhelsinki dresses, are documented in them, then the dresses are passed on to loved ones.

Here’s a special slide show of her gorgeous designs as well.

Paola was kind enough to answer some of my questions below. I hope you enjoy this feature as much as I do:

What is your earliest memory?

We were playing lions in the cage of one Finnish film directors backyard- he actually had had there some wild animals, back in the 20´s.

What is your most treasured possession?

My rescued dog “affe” and my belief in eternal love

What would your super power be?

To sense the ghosts- actually I already have it:)

What is a secret treat that you love?

Old whiskey

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

A good-mad man

Who in your life has inspired your sense of style the most?

My mom in her 60´s bold dresses and silk scarves and huge sunglasses being a young psychoalalytic-chick (sic) She rocks

What is the worst job you’ve done?

Selling matches from door to door—and wc paper—oh, that was a bit too much!

Who would play you in the film of your life?

Maja Ivarsson

What is your favorite smell?

Lily-of-the -valley

What keeps you awake at night?

My endless projects which I just can´t get enough of..

Describe IVANAhelsinki in three words.

“dresses for beautiful girls”

Tell us a joke.

I hate jokes. I´m a serious girl:)

Thank you Paola.

Photos courtesy of IVANAhelsinki. Artwork by alison dahl.


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