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Simple Yet Stylish Clothing


First off I want to thank everybody for their comments last week! Your answers were so informative and I appreciate very much the input I’ve received. It seems unanimous that most of us savvy sewing designers want to dress simply in really nice t-shirts with smart detailing and thoughtful sculptural elements, clothing that serves a purpose yet it’s stylish and special. I was concerned that my entry had come off a bit dark (or you’d think I was giving up a dream) but I was so pleased to see you all excited about my new found utilitarian viewpoints and felt elated hearing that many of you share quite similar thoughts. I do not want to ever stop making beautiful dresses that I dream of at night, or avant-garde puffy sleeved jackets or over the top skirts- I just want to strip these ideals of beauty down to their true meaning and find a medium in which I am fulfilled and the product is economical. I think art serves a very important purpose in our lives and I see more and more blogs, websites & publications celebrating the creations of the d.i.y. community everyday. I was asked to create a How-to for Foam magazine which I am contemplating what I’ll do for it now- but but in the mean time check this out: Foam Magazine I think the BurdaStyle community is very forward-thinking and right on track with a sustainable and progressive future ahead indeed. Fashion is outrageously over-priced and outrageously expensive to produce & I will never stop designing. I don’t want to be limited though, by the high price one pays to produce these lovely creatures- so I am taking the path of less resistance and rethinking fashion, one step at a time.

Hi Alison – I am new Burda Style member, and am based in NYC. I love your voice in the blog posts. I wonder if you would consider writing about your favorite fabric stores? I am dying to know some of the hot spots that are not Mood… Thanks!
Lee Ann (thewestover)

I will embellish Lee Ann’s request but there is one store I must mention now:

Metro Textiles: 265 West 37th Street Suite 908 New York, NY 10018 Phone: 212-209-0004
(Outrageously inexpensive gorgeous fabrics and cool appliques, completely affordable)

Make your own advent calendar


Christmas is upon us; in fact December is only a matter of weeks away, gulp! If you like to count down the days until Santa visits to place your presents under the tree then you most probably need an advent calendar. Personally I’m not a fan of those filled with chocolate that you buy from the store, I prefer something handmade. If you’re like me then why not make yourself a stocking advent calendar. Make 24 mini stockings and fill them with little treats for each day. Check out my

“>how-to here and download the ”

“>pattern here.

This project can be embellished in many ways, use stitching, appliqué or fabric pens for the numbers. Sew on ribbons, trims or bells, use your imagination and come up with your own unique stocking advent calendar.

I’ll be posting more Christmas ideas in the coming weeks. In the meantime check out the Christmas sewalong in the forum, join in and show us what you’re making.

CRAFT: Upcycling Contest - Win a Sewing Machine!


Need a new sewing machine? SINGER® Sewing Company and CRAFT Magazine are holding an upcycling contest. The winner’s project will be featured in the SINGER® ad in the February issue of CRAFT Magazine and will receive a SINGER® Curvy™ Sewing Machine with a retail value of $399. You find more info here. Deadline is November 14th, so hurry!

Silk Pajamas for Christmas: Finished!


Remember a few weeks ago when I was telling you all about my plans to make my friend some silk pajamas for Christmas? Well, I followed my own advice, took my time, and I finished them earlier this week! You can see my creation here but we’ll all have to wait a bit longer to see them on the recipient herself!

I’ve already made a few Marcel sleep masks with fun embroidery on the fronts and a hoodie for my nephew, so now I’ve only only got two or three more presents to sew up before I have to ship them off. I’ve been so tempted to add in a silky bathrobe for myself now that we have our new pattern! Working with the silk for the pajamas reminded me just how luxurious silk feels, and I was really jealous that I had to give these away and not keep them for myself! I’ve got some silk leftover from other projects so perhaps it’s time to fit a “me gift” into my Christmas sewing plans, too!

Congratulations the Winner of the Recycle Mini Challenge


Congratulation to Marina_Glory! Her awesome Recycled Flannel Shirt-Dress/Skirt has won the Recycle Mini Challenge. He ingenuity set her ahead, but there were two who were very close behind. Erdroren’s “All I Need Is Uggs… Liz’s Recycled Fleece Liz” came in a close second and Prudencerabbit’s “From Coverlet to Esther—RECYCLED” was right behind Erdroren. Marina_glory will receive a copy shop printout of a pattern of her choice, a $25 fabric voucher and of course, lots of goodies from BurdaStyle. So congratulations to all, this was such a great challenge with absolutely incredible entries! These entries have certainly inspired me (as I’m sure it has others) to think outside of the box. Congratulations once again!

Campaign Clothes


Finally, the elections are over! Am definitely not going to discuss election outcomes, but have you noticed the importance of clothes and fashion? Palin footed quite an enormous bill to refill her wardrobe, justified by McCain as “she needed the clothes.” Mind you, McCain and Obama are not exactly shoddy when it comes to the choice of their suits or shoes and Germany’s current chancellor (Angela Merkel) had an obvious make-over on her way to her position. Clothes sometimes even seems to eclipse what somebody actually has to say or how else do you rate an article in the Guardian (one of England’s most important newspapers) headed: “Why does Hillary (Clinton) wear such bad clothes.” Obviously, clothes and accessories are part and parcel of the political repertoire but also a balancing act to create a presidential identity while complying with expectations of a wide variety of voters (and journalists.) Some think it snobbish and irrelevant to speak about somebody else’s clothes, but the majority seems to assign huge importance to the topic.

On the other side, it is not just our politicians who give implicit statements through their appearance, but also us voters who often quite explicitly advertise as walking billboards their political and other preferences to the rest of the world. Not just “Mama can be for X candidate” even “Baby” can express its support to his or her favourite be it a politician, rock bands or sports clubs, a specific political view or state of mind. Obama with his grass-roots campaign has inspired some creative t-shirt designs as you can check out at red bubble. Bottom line: clothes are not just things you hang on your body but language – to describe yourself and your views, and herein lies the importance of a fashion designer, whether professional or amateur.

Featured Member: Purplecrayon


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

I currently live in Sheffield in the UK but am leaving next year to someplace else when I go to university. My life’s mission is to live in Stroud, a pretty little place in Gloucestershire or somewhere like that.

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

The very first thing I made I think was a pin cushion. It had ‘J’ appliquéd on it. Everyone should have a pin cushion. They’re amazingly useful and save lives:)

I think like so many people I began sewing in secondary school. In my textiles class I really excelled. It was so different from my other more academic subjects and the hands on approach of actually making something individual and useful appealed to me. So I took off from there and have recently been trying to improve my techniques.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

Right now it takes up a great deal of my time. I’m either dreaming about choosing fabrics, actually in my local fabric shop buying something or sewing my latest “creation”. I can’t seem to stop mid-project either, this is probably a bad thing, but I’m always too impatient to stop, I need to see the end product ASAP. I’m on my gap year now and so from now up till next Spring I’ll be sewing, sewing, sewing… and wasting too much money J Then I get to travel to Malaysia, yay! I am considering opening an etsy shop later on this year to get a bit of money and join the hand-making craze but I don’t know if I’ll be good enough…. I hope so.

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

My favourite, like everybody else’s, would be trying whatever I’ve made on the first time and having it fit. Least favourite would be doing all the prep work-marking and cutting, etc. It takes soooo long and can be boring even though I know it’s an essential part of sewing. Oh, no- thought of something worse-unpicking!! That is a curse.

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

That’s a difficult one. I would say a dressing gown for my dad. He rarely buys clothes and since my mum chucked his old holey one away I think he deserves another, better version. He used to live in his dressing gown. And I hear you have one on the way as a future pattern…..?

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

I stumbled across your site by accident looking for free sewing patterns. I was ecstatic when I realized what your site offered. The whole community feel to BurdaStyle works so well and I love that you can see what everyone else makes and draw inspiration from them. I love how the creations make you think outside of yourself too, you get different perspectives of a pattern from a person’s personality. Improvements: maybe a pattern a day? lol

7. What is your motto?

Don’t worry, be happy!

Purplecrayon’s sewing creations can be seen here. We are excited to see more of your work in the future, keep it up!

Warm Winter Sewing


While our Southern neighbors are gearing up to start sewing strappy little summer dresses, those of us in the Northern hemisphere are just beginning to feel the bite of winter. There’s a wealth of warm winter sewing already here on BurdaStyle – just recently we’ve seen some new winter warmers in the form of Amy for ladies and Amin for gentlemen, but don’t forget the winter coats already on offer – Nancy for plus sizes and Talea and Elisabeth for smaller ladies.

But if you’re just a beginning sewer and the thought of a big winter project is just a bit too overwhelming for you right now, why not start out smaller with something like Legwarmers from recycled shirts or sweaters, or mittens, or even scoodie (that’s a scarf plus a hoodie!)! Or if your style lies closer to old world glamour, you may want to learn how to sew a fake fur muff that will keep your hands warm and look lovely with your best party frock!

Fashion in the Recession


With our upcoming election here in the USA I have been preoccupied with thoughts of the next Depression. The economy here has reached
a startling low and we’ve all really begun to feel it. It makes me question fashion: what does it mean to me, to the world, why is it important and what can I do to feel as if I am doing something that is not disposable, excessive or outright rude during times like these.

My latest project (Dahl & Dane) has really got me thinking about a utilitarian fashion design mentality. Utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its contribution to overall utility: that is, its contribution to happiness or pleasure as summed among all persons. All persons is quite a huge undertaking, but to be able to reach some, and create a positive reaction, is what I aim to do with my work.

My wholesale line, which can be classified as a high-end collection, is made up of material formations of my ideal…or dreamworld. Dresses & tops that involve much work to be put together, hand-crocheted elements and open backed dresses; they speak a specific dialect that only some seem to understand or speak themselves…The Dahl & Dane organic t-shirts and totes line has gotten much adoration from greater amounts of people from all walks of life who understand our language. It is not too expensive, the items are hand screen-printed with thought & care, and it gives a chance for someone to express their love. That reaction is what has planted a seed of thought in my mind about where, at this point in time, should one in my position go in terms of creating fashion designs?

I have decided to strip down the high-fashion and get to the grit of what people want. I have been asking around to friends about what they wear the most & what is lacking out there…I have decided to create a more utilitarian line that will be made up of more staples, like a soft bamboo extra long t-shirt and creating my own prints…

What do you like to wear everyday?

Congratulations the Winners of the Pick the Right Thread Sweepstakes


Congratulations the Winners of the Coats & Clark® Pick the Right Thread sweepstakes! Almost all of the lucky winners are members here at BurdaStyle. Thank you to all who entered and congratulations to:









The winners will receive 18 spools of Coats & Clark® Dual Duty XP worth $50. The How To will remain on the site available to make sure that everyone always picks the right thread.

Tell us which pattern to create next!


BurdaStyle’s Fall Shoot went down last week. We spent one full day working hard to present the upcoming fall pieces to you in the best light. The first result of the shoot just went live, a Bathrobe named Allie!

Christmas sewalong


Oh man! Where do i start!? What a crazy few weeks I’ve had. Each member of my family has been ill with Gastroenteritis, all except me who had to take care of them all. Poor little Heidi even ended up in the emergency department for a night. I’ve also had some major computer problems where my laptop died, i bought a new one while it was being repaired and earlier this week it was returned to me and i was able to retrieve all my work. Thank goodness i did, i won’t go into the gory details but let’s just say that laptops and vomit don’t mix. So, i’ve been busy but not sewing, in fact i think my machine has collected a good layer of dust this past fortnight. I have been itching to sew and have so many things to work on but alas taking care of my poor sick family comes first.

I’m incredibly impressed with the entries for the recycle mini challenge and i’m look forward to seeing who the winner is. Of course i think you all deserve a prize! I have started a new sewalong in the forum, this time we’re having a Christmas theme, between now and the end of the year we will be sewing Christmas related projects. If you plan to sew Christmas gifts or party outfits then head over there and tell us all about it. I truly can’t believe that Christmas is almost upon us already, it feels like this year has gone by in a flash.

I plan to make my girls a waldorf doll each amongst other things although this year we are simplifying the gift giving after spending far too much in previous years on gifts that now clutter our home or ended up as waste because they did not pass the kiddy test. The one person i struggle to sew for is my husband Kev, he’s a little fussy about what he wears, he’s a jeans and t-shirt guy so i’m thinking i will use the Pete pattern and make up a few simple t-shirts for him. If they pass the fit and fabric touch tests then they should be a winner. I’ll be borrowing one of his favourite t-shirts to compare fit but first i must find some good quality knit fabric, some of the stuff i’ve seen is just not up to scratch. A call to one of my favourite fabric stores, Tessuti is in order, i think they have some lovely organic knits.

What Christmas sewing do you have planned? Do you have gifts in mind for your children, family and friends? Leave a comment and tell us about it or even better go join in the sewalong!

African Halloween


Halloween, night of disguise – Thanks to the latest Batman film, the Dark Knight is definitely going to be among the favorite costumes and given the current election fever according to surveys half a million people plan to dress as political figure. Total Halloween spending for 2008 is estimated to reach $5.77 billion in the US!

But why do we disguise ourselves? More specifically, apart from all those little princesses, cowboys and French maids that you are likely to encounter, why do we enjoy dressing up as scary monsters and ugly ghosts? – There are definitely a countless number of reasons for changing ones ordinary clothes and adopting a whole new personality through an outrageous outfit for an evening, some rooted in traditions, some in simply having fun to be someone or something else for a change.

Interestingly, many events with historic origins such as Halloween, carnival and even African rituals for which people dress up have or had some sort of relation with ghosts and spirits. The ancient Gaels (even if they may not have dressed up then) believed that on the day today celebrated as Halloween the boundary between life and death dissolved. Supposedly, they wore costumes and masks to mimic and pacify these evil spirits; although, some argue that people only started to wear Halloween costumes in the early 1900s.

African masks were, and sometimes still are, part and parcel of various ceremonies in which they represent the spirits of the ancestors and are used to control good and evil forces. Some masks combine human and animal features to express man’s intricate bond with nature. Their abstract design influenced various European artists such as Pablo Picasso and could very well inspire you for a new Halloween disguise. For some hints on how to create your own African mask check out this step by step guide.

Featured Member: Ms. Cleaver


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

I grew up in Napa, California; spent a few years in Salem, Oregon and Chicago, Illinois; and currently reside in Portland, Maine, where it is the peak of autumn right now and absolutely gorgeous.

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

My mother is an excellent sewer, as is my fraternal grandmother, so I’ve always been around it – I used to to tape together their fabric scraps into outfits for my stuffed animals and dolls. I didn’t really start sewing myself until later. I was fortunate to have a home economics course in 7th grade, so my first official sewing project was a nine-patch pillow cover for class – I got an A. I took up sewing again in high school, took a break for several years, and started going full-bore at it again about a year and a half ago, when I bought my own machine, and I don’t look to be stopping again any time soon!

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

It keeps me lookin’ sharp, often, though not always, for less moolah.

It’s also creative outlet – both in making items and in blogging about them. I keep a blog called Ms. Cleaver Chronicles and I love that blogging about my domestic endeavors, including sewing, knitting, baking and cooking, have helped me to not only connect better with family and friends, but has allowed me entrance into the wonderful world of craft bloggers. It keeps me feeling connected.

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

My favorite things about sewing are having control of my wardrobe – when I make it myself and I do it well, everything fits right and the shape, style, and fabrics are all exactly what I want. I also love vintage clothes, particularly from the 50s and early 60s, but it’s often difficult to find them in my size, so I love that being able to sew gives me the opportunity to fake it. I’d love it if I could get to where my wardrobe is entirely handmade or vintage.

My least favorite thing is cutting out fabric. I don’t have access to a table large enough, so I usually have to cut out my patterns on the floor, which can get mighty uncomfortable. I also dislike seam-ripping, but it’s a necessary evil.

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

Right now I’m a pretty selfish seamstress, but I would love to reach the skill level where I could design and sell my own clothes or patterns for the everyday Jills and Janes out there. I’d probably start out with some Dior New-Look inspired frock, with a big circle skirt and a scalloped neckline. Though I’m also loving all of pleating and texture in fashion right now, so maybe I’d do something in that vein instead.

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

I really like that all the projects are linked to the patterns – I find it enjoyable and helpful to see what other people have done before I jump into a project myself. I also enjoy the sew-a-longs and mini-challenges, because they push me to do things I might not otherwise have considered. And it’s wonderful having quality free patterns.

I think that the comments section could be improved so it’s easier to find suggestions pertaining to making the garments/pattern review – ie separate, the “you’ll probably need to add darts” from the “can’t wait to make this!” Both are important feedback, but serve different purposes, I think. I’d also love it if non-Burda patterns could be listed or linked in the project pages – sometimes I see a project I love, but it’s non-Burda and I’d like to be able to know if it’s self-designed or a commercially available pattern.

7. What is your motto?

“To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.” -Anatole France

I found this quote on a ring I bought myself as a graduation present. I was about three weeks away from finishing college and had no idea what was going to happen next in my life. it felt very fitting, and it’s still appropriate three years later.

Keep up with Ms. Cleaver on her blog, Ms. Cleaver Chronicles. She doesn’t only sew you know, she also knits very well. Her projects and designs can be found on Ravelry as well.

Upcycle that Old Tee Into a Tote - Featured at CRAFT:


In this month’s issue of CRAFT: magazine BurdaStyle’s T-Shirt Tote bag is featured! We say thank you to our great intern Katie Leaver, who produced this. She is at Parsons in Paris at the moment. Salut! If you want to check out our How To and recycle your T-Shirts, click here.


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