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How To Save Money Sewing AKA How To Be Frugal During Hard Times


No matter which country you live in, we’ve all be experiencing economic hard times. With the news that “things are going to get worse, before they get better,” I’ve been putting more thought into how I can still enjoy my hobbies (sewing, fashion, new clothes) with spending little to no money. Here’s a few thoughts:

1) Use what you have:

For most sewers, we’ve accumulated fabrics over time – those pieces of material that we couldn’t live without or bargains that screamed our name. Now’s the time to ‘shop our stash’ and use some of those fabrics that are accumulating dust.

This is also a great opportunity to revive patterns that you haven’t used in awhile (or at all) and pull out pattern books and magazines that have sitting lonely on a shelf.

2) Recycle:

Before you throw out clothing that is too small, shows wear, or is out of style, think about how it can be re-purposed. Making a few tweeks to a ‘dated’ shirt or pants can breathe new life into a garment while other clothes can be cut up and used for their material. Zippers, elastics, and buttons can all be recycled for future endeavors.

3) Look for bargains:

Almost every sewing center and website has pattern and fabric sales at one time or another. Take advantage of these times to purchase the designs you’ve been eyeing. Don’t forget to check out bargain and clearance areas for fabric steals!

Visiting your local thrift stores and garage sales can also turn up incredible sewing finds. Just be sure to skip the thread – it can weaken over time and may not produce quality stitches (and there’s nothing worse than having your garment fall apart after all that hard work you put into it).

4) Free is always good:

Don’t forget the internet is a treasure trove of free tutorials and patterns, just as long as you’re willing to hunt for them.

Have any other ways to be thrifty with your sewing? I’d love to hear them!

Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win a One-Year Subscription to Craft:


Our good friends at Craft: have generously donated a one-year subscription to one of our members! If you are not familiar with this magazine, you definitely should be. This quarterly magazine celebrates all things DIY. Their 160 pages are jam packed with projects, interviews, how tos and much more! To enter, just leave your comment below by midnight (EST)

Congratulations to sewingbee29 on winning the Christstollen!

Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win Delicious German Sweets!


Nora and Benedikta are returning from Burda’s birthplace in Offenburg, Germany with some traditional cakes and sweets for you, our members. Today we have a delectable German cake called Christstollen. This buttery, marzipan deliciousness is a perfect pre-Christmas treat. Leave your comment below to be entered to win the yummy cake!

Congratulations to graciesmom for winning Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones.


Business Profile-Thread Den


Turning down a small alleyway in North Melbourne the last thing you would expect to come across is a sewing lounge but if that alleyway is just off Errol Street then that is exactly what you will find. Climb your way up the stairs to find a cosy but organised place selling an array of beautiful vintage and original fashions and a light filled space equipped with sewing machines and overlockers for hire. Thread Den opened in November 2007 and is the creation of Melissa Kramer, Kylie Shepherd, Erica Menting and Tennille Rohde.

You can hire a sewing machine by the hour or attend one of their Many classes, they have previously used BurdaStyle patterns which include the Anita jeans. They also offer private lessons and in January will have a week full summer holiday program suitable for kids and teens.

Level 1, 16 Errol St

North Melbourne

(Entrance via Webbs Lane)

Tel: +61 3 9329 5305

Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones!


Today we are giving away a copy of Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones from Chronicle Books. This book describes 20 projects perfect for little ones and their surroundings. With 7 patterns folded right into the book and advice on things like picking the right kind of fabric for a baby’s sensitive skin, this book is full of helpful tips techniques and instructions. Just leave your comment below to be entered to win this great book!

Congratulations to Ludosti for winning the Etsy Gift basket!


Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win an Etsy Gift Basket!


Who wouldn’t love to win an Etsy gift basket? Well that is exactly what is being offered today. Our wonderful friends upstairs are giving away a fully loaded Etsy gift basket. As you know, all you have to do is leave your comment here by midnight (EST) to be entered to win this awesome prize!

Don’t forget to check back this weekend, just because it’s not part of the workweek doesn’t mean we wont be giving away prizes!

Congratulations to youhungerdefinesyou for winning the VenusZine subscription!

Carbon Stains


First of all, thanks for all your creative comments and ideas I will try to accommodate all of them in the course of developing this blog. Some will come earlier, some later. And do keep the ideas coming!

But let’s get straight into today’s topic, something dear to my heart: Christmas is coming, and with it (at least in the Northern hemisphere) the cold short days that provide this fantastic excuse to cuddle up in comfy winter clothes with a big mug of hot tea, and wait for Santa Claus to come along and bring a bout of crystal clear air full of snow, even in the Southern hemisphere (I am reporting from Mexico and Namibia) you will find Christmas associated with snow and you will find Santa Claus packed in his fury red coat riding in a reindeer through the desert. Well, that’s what WE associate with Christmas!! But imagine all that can change pretty quickly: some decades down the line, Santa Claus might exchange his fur coat for swimming trunks and his sledge with water skis. IF WE DON’T START ACTING ON GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS! Yes, some of you may start arguing with me about the actual causes of climate change. But I agree with that side of science that argues that humans cause climate change.

AND WHAT HAS ALL OF THIS TO DO WITH FASHION??? HOLD ON, Don’t go away here comes the connection: Ever considered the CO2 footprint of your clothes? Take a simple t-shirt produced in Asia for example: the shirt is probably made from man-made fiber (polyester), based on some oil derivative emitting CO2 – stitched somewhere in China, Taiwan or Sri Lanka, shipped by container ship to a port in the US another big source of CO2 from the port, it is being trucked across to the shop where you buy it, – more CO2 and the story continues with the number of times you wash your shirt, etc. etc. Bottom line: a shirt produced in Asia travels something like 12,000 km to be sold in the States or Europe and the amount of CO2 that is generated by its production equals about 3.5 pounds or 1.6kg!

If you want to visualize all this, check out examples of Eco-footprints of different clothes through the Footprint Chronicles.

Well then, how to reduce your carbon footprint? – MAKING CLOHTES AT HOME (CONGRATS BURDASTYLE MEMBERS!!), using natural fibres, recycling materials, making clothes that last longer, turning off lights when you are not sewing, …. there are many more practical and easy to implement possibilities on the web ñ if you have any further ideas how to reduce the eco footprint of your clothes DO SHARE THEM!!

P.S. For those interested, there are tons of Eco-Footprint calculators online, just google “ecofootprint calculator” or check out the <a href = “”>Global Footprint Network

P.P.S. if you want to find out what’s happening at the Climate Conference that is currently taking place in Poland check out this blog .

BurdaStyle on Shop Live on Etsy tonight!


Tonight I will be co-hosting the Shop Live event on Etsy at 7pm EST. We will be helping you navigate the world of fashion on Etsy. Just go to the Virtual Labs at 7pm and check out our picks. For more information visit The Storque. See you at 7!

Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win a Subscription to VenusZine!


Win a subscription to Venus! That’s right, our friends at VenusZine have generously donated a 2009 subscription to our Holiday Giveaway Calendar! As you know, just comment on this blog by midnight tonight (EST) to be entered to win!

For all those who aren’t lucky enough to win this, you can still get $5 off a 1-year Venus Zine subscription! Go to and enter “Burda08” as promo code at check out. Offer valid until December 30, 2008.

Congratulations to Summerland" for winning the French General: Home Sewn book.


Featured Member: AnaJan


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

I was born in Belgrade, Serbia, and that’s where I’ve been living ever since.

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

I suppose I started as a really young child, when I was 5 – 6 years old. I remember I used to make clothes for my Barbie dolls. I have always been interested in various creative hobbies – knitting, weaving, painting. When I was 15 I started sewing for real. I had a huge stash of Burda magazines that my father had been buying to my mother during the years, even though she didn’t sew clothes. So, that was my starting point. I used to recycle old garments and make new ones out of them. I had no one to guide me, so I had to learn by try-and-error method.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Oh, it’s a major thing to me. It is a way to express my creativity, more than a way to save the money (though it does save my money!). Plus, I love manual work, it calms me down when I’m nervous or sad. And the result always cheers me up :).

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

I don’t like to cut the fabric and interface the pieces – especially when there’s a lot of pieces. I find it very boring. And I love the sewing process and its outcome. Sometimes I can’t force myself to stop and take a break; I get so involved with sewing that I don’t eat nor sleep before the garment is finished.

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

I don’t have any particular person on my mind. But, I love costume parties, and I’d love to make some avantgarde costumes.

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

Ever since I joined this site I increased my sewing skills so much. Members are so cooperative and kind, and I am so grateful for their devotion and time they take to write instructions for some tricky details. In return, I’m trying to participate as much as I can. And, of course, I’m always getting new ideas while browsing through other members’ creations.

And site improvements? Recently I participated in one forum post on the site, and my wish list out there :).

7. What is your motto?

Break your own bounds!

AnaJan has uploaded 69 of her amazing creations on to BurdaStyle. In addition to that she has created two great How Tos and two very popular patterns. Thank you for contributing so much to this site, we can’t wait to see what comes next from you!

Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win "French General: Home Sewn" From Chronicle Books


French General: Home Sewn from Chronicle Books, has 30 simple French inspired sewing patterns for projects around the house. It comes with ready to use pattern sheets and embroidery transfers as well as simple step by step instructions to guide you through your projects. Leave your comment below by midnight (EST) to be entered to win! Check back tomorrow for another great prize!

Congratulations to conchens for winning the $100 Mood Gift Certificate


BurdaStyle meets Karl Lagerfeld at Bambi


Nora and Benedikta just had the opportunity to attend Bambi (the German awards show which combines elements of the Oscars, Grammys, Fashion Week and the Emmys). We got to design their amazing BurdaStyle Couture gowns (which will be available on the site in the spring) in house, everyone in the office contributed to these creations. While they were at Bambi, they had the great fortune of being able to meet and talk with Karl Lagerfeld, hopefully we will be able to do something with in the future. BurdaStyle was so grateful to be part of this event and is looking forward to future opportunities. To see photos from the event please visit our flickr page.



Well, if you want to sing out, sing out

and if you want to be free be free

‘cause there’s a million things to be

you know that there are, you know that there are

These lyrics from a Cat Stevens song have been singing through my mind today as I faced a challenging situation that I am trying not to dwell upon and move on from. My Dahl & Dane tote bags were featured on the Today Show via Lucky magazine’s holiday gift guide, and to my disbelief they got the pricing wrong (UGH)! It was stated that the totes retail for $15 but in actuality they retail for $34 ($10 for each additional). Needless to say, we had a few emails from prospective customers who required an explanation and were a bit miffed. It’s sort of a blow. We were counting on heaps of orders.

Being a pleaser, I kindly wrote everyone back stating that Lucky magazine had our information wrong and to forgive their error and not misjudge our moral, as we only want to spread happiness.

You can do what you want

the opportunity’s on

And if you find a new way

you can do it today

you can make it all true…

Moving on, these lyrics got me thinking about forging your own path and
the importance of letting yourself go, be daring, be excited, be free. I thought
about my second year of college which was spent in Florence, Italy at a small
school called Lorenzo de’Medici. I was a Fashion Design major there and studied
intensively many hours a week. I found this school on my own. I wasn’t interested
in the least to have an American college experience, I craved something completely
foreign and was shocked to discover how inexpensive the tuition was in comparison
to American colleges. I found that while living in unique places like Florence I met
many other people like myself, who craved travel, new situations & adventure. A
network of creativity at my fingertips! I lived with a photographer (who is now quite
a successful stylist for Ford) and we would go to the old cemeteries lined with fir trees
and I’d model my clothes along with a friend who was a ballerina (who now lives in
Denmark with her love and make dolls). Then we’d go home and develop our pictures
in one of the bathrooms which we converted into a darkroom…it was paradisaical.
These memories are still very alive, tapping away at my heart, reminding me that
life is what we make of it. Even if we can’t move off to a romantic city far away, we
can create magic in our lives at home, and through communities like BurdaStyle,
we can share them with an endless network of international creative minds. How’s
that for inspiration?

Sewing with Sweater Knits


We’ve had some really great warm winter pattern recently, like the Amy sweatshirt for girls, the Amin sweatshirt for guys, and most recently our newest cardigan pattern, but if you’re tired of sewing with fleece and sweat shirting, you might want to consider sewing with sweater knit instead. Sweater knit is made on large knitting machines so it comes in large pieces like other types of fabric, but as it’s knitted together instead of woven, it has a tendency to stretch and unravel as you sew it. The great thing about sweater knits is that you can make a lovely warm sweater in a fraction of the time that it takes to knit one by hand!

You’ve already learned how to sew with heavy rib knits from this How To, but here are some other tips I learned when I was sewing my first sweater recently (seen in the image above!).

  • Use a narrow zigzag stitch for all seams (or a wide 4 thread overlocking stitch if you’ve got a serger)
  • Bind seam allowances (hong kong finish) to avoid fraying and unravelling if you’ve not got a serger
  • Cut pattern pieces with larger seam allowances than usual if your sweater knit is prone to unraveling (test for this by stretching and abusing a scrap first!)
  • Loosen the presser foot tension (usually on the top left of your machine) to avoid stretching the seams as you sew
  • Use a walking foot if you’ve got one to avoid slipping layers
  • Be aware that lots of sweater knits love to shed fluff so have a vacuum and lint brush at the ready and clean your machine frequently to avoid thread snarls!
  • When choosing a pattern for your sweater knit, try to stick to simple styles – lots of pleating and gathering gets very buiky very quickly
  • reinforce shoulder seams with twill tape to avoid stretched out, baggy shoulders

  • And as with all fabrics, be sure to prewash sweater knits before cutting so you don’t end up with a shrunken croptop after your first wash!

Holiday Giveaway Calendar: Win a $100 Mood Fabrics Gift Certificate!


Today’s Gift on the Holiday Give Away Calendar was generously supplied by our friends at Mood Fabrics. Just by leaving your comment below (by midnight EST) you are entered to win this $100 gift certificate. Check back everyday for a new gift! Good luck and happy commenting!

And a congratulations to WenStuPen for winning the Lynn shawl!


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