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Letter From the Editors: Sharing Secrets


Secrets, secrets, are no fun. . .

So BurdaStyle is going to share some secrets with you! We’re sure everyone is curious how the patterns turn from muslins in our Brooklyn studio or illustration submissions from one of our design calls, into Print at Home PDFs for everyone to download on BurdaStyle. Well, its actually a pretty long, detailed process, involving a lot of talented people and lot of work!

Sewing Universe News Feed: EXTRA News Flash!


The folks at the Stitch Lounge in San Francisco are working on an article for Etsy’s Storque magazine about handmade weddings. If you worked on DIY wedding projects at the Stitch Lounge, email with photos and a short description of your project. There’s a time crunch, as the deadline is tomorrow (Feb 26) so send the projects pronto!

Sewing Universe News Feed: 25 February 2008


Winter is still upon us, but it’s never too late to start thinking spring. When it comes to sewing, one of the biggest decisions is selecting a pattern, but the next is usually the color. Pantone’s Fashion Report for Spring 2008 can make the whole process much easier. Their forecast not only includes the top 10 colors for women’s fashion, but also inspirational sketches and quotes from designers. While you’re there, be sure to check out Pantone’s Fall 2008 forecast!

Nikkishell: Subversive Seamster book review


I was recently sent a copy of the book Subversive Seamster for review. Subversive Seamster follows Sew Subversive and is published by Taunton Press. It is the creation of The Stitch Lounge Girls: Melissa Alvarado, Hope Meng and Melissa Rannels. The Stitch Lounge is an urban sewing studio in San Francisco, where you can rent time on a sewing machine or take classes.

Subversive Seamster shows you how to refashion your thrift store buys using many simple but effective techniques. It shows you how to take those tired and unwanted clothes and turn them into something funky, wearable and individual!

The first chapter gives you tips and tricks about thrift store shopping. Tips such as planning ahead, carrying a tape measure with you and what to look for in clothing such as stains and smells. It also tells you how to look out for sales and ask for deals.

Chapter two shows you simple but effective techniques that are used throughout the book. Techniques include patches, Lettuce edging, ruffles, pin tucks and Darts. There is also a section for how to make your very own Ms. Double Trouble: The Duct Tape Dress Form.

The next three chapters are dedicated to various projects including making mittens from an old sweater (I have a <a href";&gt;pair of these made for me by a fellow Melbourne blogger ”;&gt;’Onegirl’ and they’re great), making a bolero from a turtleneck sweater using a lettuce edging technique, cuffed city shorts from old men’s pants and a checkbook cover from an old tennis racket cover.

As you may know I run the website Wardrobe Refashion so this book seems very appropriate for me. What do I think of it? Well, I think it is well laid out with great instructions and enough images throughout to help you with the techniques. The techniques themselves are simple enough for those starting out in sewing and refashioning. However I’m not too keen on the actual refashions but this is a personal preference, they aren’t garments I would particularly wear myself. I also feel that from the images in the book that the projects are not quite built to last, the finish of the garments look rushed but this could be overcome in your own creations by taking your time.

Do you have this book? What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

How To: Make a Clean Finish


This might not be the most exciting How To I’ve posted on the site, but its certainly an important one! Finishing the raw edges of seams is crucial if you want to make a garment that can last, and one that looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside. Serging the seam edges is the most obvious and easy solution, but can’t always be done, either due to a lack of machinery, or because it wouldn’t suit the garment. For higher-quality finished, you can try Binding, French Bias Binding, or even French Seams.

Sewing and Art: The Aeolian Bike Ride


We always love to look at projects that use sewing as a means to create something unseen before.

Freelance designer and artist Jessica Findley uses her sewing machine to create suits that are part of her Aelian Bike Ride – a “public art piece, driven by people, to change space within the city”

Featured Member: Zahra


1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?
Hi, I’m from Karachi, the Brain of Pakistan.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?
First thing I made was a dress for my Barbie doll! I was around 11-12 yrs old. And I was totally inspired by my friend who had this whole wardrobe of her Barbie! She made everything for her doll. Clothes, bags, cushions and what ever she could sew.
But I lost interest in miniature dressmaking soon. Later for my graduation I took Fashion Design, that’s how I learned sewing properly. People here don’t sew clothing, they get them stitched by tailors. I also did not stitch my own clothes until BURDASTYLE inspired me!

3. What role does sewing play in your life?
Sewing is a perfect way for me to spend my day! Its even more fun when one works with group of people/classmates. It has wonderful effect on us. Creating something from an idea, Working on it and then giving it a finish. It’s very refreshing, yet challenging!

Besides this simple way of enjoyment, I also design for clients, but I don’t stitch! I get them stitched. But initially I do stitch a sample piece.

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?
I hate troubles that my sewing machine creates!!! And I even hate filling out bobbin and threading the machine!! It just breaks the tempo!
Love everything else about sewing!

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

It could be for anyone, something unique! Depending on the person.

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

I am looking for more wonderful patterns! Tutorials and what not! There is so much one can learn from this wonderful site.

I think admin should participate in discussions on regular basis! Cause they are the ones we lookup to for perfect answers or solutions. Although, this site has some amazing members who come up with such wonderful creations but there are certain issues that only BurdaStyle can resolve.

Besides this, I also find a need of a tutorial or series of tutorials regarding illustrations, reading technical drawings, making one, what to keep in mind etc. . .
As now members are sharing their patterns and many don’t know how to work on technical drawings or people like me are not very good at them. So it would be really nice to see some tutorials regarding this.

And BurdaStyle can also encourage members to sell their patterns at this site!

7. What is your motto?
Is to enjoy every moment of Life! To cherish what God has given me and to make proper use of it.

Learn more about Zahra by seeing her profile here, and be sure to download the Retro Top pattern!

And, an Editor’s Note: Zahra is right! As admins, we should and would love to spend more time in the forums and commenting on the site, and very much appreciate how much the members communicate with each other on their own. We find ourselves so busy sometimes that getting in the forums does not happen as often as we would like. We will certainly do our best to respond to all of your questions as they come up. If you find your comment is not responded to, you can always send an email to or send any of us personal messages!

Letter from the Editors: Back to Basics (for your bottom!)


We know how much all of you love the basics, because they give you an opportunity to flex those pattern making and garment altering muscles of yours. And we love to encourage it. That’s why last week we brought you the Sidonie skirt! As with the all basics, like the Lydia top, we want to inspire you to make your own variations by showing some variations we’ve made ourselves! So over the next few weeks, we will be sharing a few variations of the skirt, and even introducing a new project, along with NikkiShell, to get even more out of these basics! Start with this first how to, which shows how to create a “paper bag” version of the Sidonie, and keep in touch!

Nikkishell: Sidonie skirts


I finished embellishing my denim Sidonie this week. I decided to go for the simple look and added some appliquéd leaf shapes using the scraps of denim left over from making the skirt. I’m really happy with the result, do you like? I also made up another Sidonie using the fabric I ordered from Tessuti Fabrics. Unfortunately my package never arrived but Colette sent out my order again. I love this fabric, it’s so bright and the fabric feels nice against my skin. I kept this one simple but I did make one change, I added some in-seam pockets using Nayantara’s fabulous tutorial. It was so easy to do and pockets are always great to have, I love pockets. I did have a complete pregnant brain moment when making the skirt though, I forgot to add in the pleats and didn’t realize until I’d sewn the waistband on, ugh. So the waistband was unpicked, the pleats sewn in and the waistband sewn back in place. Actually, make that two pregnant brain moments, I also cut out the skirt using the lining pattern rather than the main pieces, it doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference though, thankfully!

I’ve actually cut out another 8 denim Sidonie skirts in various sizes. I’m making them to sell in a cool little store here in Melbourne called ’Meet Me at Mikes’. I thought I’d use my increased sewing mojo to make myself some $$’s before it disappears. I’m hoping it doesn’t though; I’m quite enjoying being so productive recently. Has anyone else used BurdaStyle patterns for this purpose? I‘d be interested to hear all about it and how you do with selling your handmade items. Leave me a comment.

Since my fabric arrived I’ve finally been able to start working on my JJ blouse, YAY! So far I’ve cut out the fabric and it’s waiting for me to start sewing. I’m considering leaving out the ruffles, I haven’t quite decided yet, other than that I don’t think I’ll be making any changes. I’ve noticed a few of those taking part in the <;&gt;sewalong have already finished their JJ blouses, check them out:

Whiti’s Tetris JJ

Lulusmomma’s ochre JJ

Bathina’s black JJ

SewLikeCarolyn’s orange JJ

We have ten days of the <;&gt;sewalong left so I’ve made a new thread over in the forum for us all to choose the pattern for the March sew along. Head on over there to you’re your vote and I will announce the winner next week in my blog post. Don’t forget to upload a photo of your finished creation to the site and let us know how you went making the blouse.

I was also thinking we could have a mini challenge/sew along. More about that in another post!

Nikkishell: Vintage apron to new


Being a mum of two small children means things can get very messy. To combat this I like to wear an apron for those messy occasions. Not just any apron though, I like to wear my vintage apron. I have collected a number of vintage aprons but my favourite style is the full bib which gives maximum protection! I have one apron in particular which is my favourite, the pink one above. Unfortunately since it is vintage and I wear it often it is starting to fall apart. The binding is coming off and there are a number of holes appearing in the ‘Oh so soft’ but very fragile fabric. What to do? Why take it apart and make a pattern from it of course! Then I can make as many as I like.

I pulled the apron apart and used a big roll of brown paper to make my pattern. The fabric I used is from my stash, something that’s been sitting there for far too long begging to be used. This apron uses around 7 or 8 metres of bias binding so altogether I used around 1.5 metres of fabric since I made my own binding but of course you can buy it ready made if you wish.

So, an afternoon of cutting and sewing and I have a brand new apron! Pretty cute huh? I will be sharing the pattern with you in the next day or so, I’m having a scanner issue today which prevents me from uploading it. In the meantime why not check out the following links for more apron inspiration.

The Apron Book by EllynAnne Geisel

Tie One On

Vintage Apron Flickr Group

Vintage Apron Sewing Patterns Flickr Group

Apron Outfits Flickr Group

The Apronista!

Do you wear an apron? Which is your favourite style? Is it vintage or new? Maybe you purchased it at a thrift store or you were given it by a member of the family. What do you do when wearing your apron? Let me know in the comments. I’m thinking of making a kind of apron that i can wear out, something that can be attached to or worn over a skirt or trousers. Hmm the cogs in my brain are in motion.

How To: Button Up!


What did you get from your Valentine? Chocolates? Flowers? Home-made dinner? The best book about cheeses! (My boyfriend is the best for knowing how much I love cheese!)

Wondering what you can do now in exchange? Well you know the phrase “Give a man a fish. Feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime”? Well, why don’t you teach your loved one a skill that can be with them for a long time: How To Sew Buttons. Not only will it be incredibly helpful for them, it will free up some time for you to continue with your sewalong project or upload that pattern you’ve been meaning to upload, instead of sewing on tons and tons of buttons!

Wearable Tech: Love and Circuits at the Seamless Computational Couture Show


Hi, I’m Jenny Chowdhury, a researcher in wearable and physical

computing at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU. I’ll

be writing about interesting ways that technology has been integrated

in fashion. I’ll also be posting some methods that you can follow to

add some tech to your own creations. I’m very excited to be working

with BurdaStyle!

Featured Member: Yoshimi


1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?
I am a molecular biologist who was born in Japan. I am married to a
husband, who is also a molecular biologist. He has been very
supportive to my sewing and taken all photographs of my creations. We
moved to UK 10 years ago with our daugther as we both got jobs as
researchers there and stayed for about 5 years. Since we came back to
Japan, we have been living in Mishima city. I started sewing half a
year later after coming back to Japan, because I could only find
similar clothes in similar colors with only 1 or 2 average sizes in
the shops. I didn’t like those clothes, besides, they didn’t have my
size. Eventually I stopped moaning and decided to make myself what I
want to wear instead.
3 years ago, I went to see a color analyst who tells which colors
would suit you by seeing your colors of eyes, skin, hair, etc.,
thinking knowing what color would suit me might be useful for sewing.
She then condemned me to stop wearing bold colors and black. She also
showed me the colors that suit me perfectly, and I had to admit I was
way too far better in pink and pale blue. The effect of the colors on
my face was too obvious. As I had been such a black wearer, I was
utterly flattened by the verdict. My wardrobe was full of blacks at
that time. But I realized for the first time that I had been wearing
what I thought was cool, not what was making myself look better. I
started to wear soft pale colors experimentally and my life has
changed so much. I’m getting lots of compliments on what I wear (not
on me, that’s the point I have to laugh at), and I’m happy with
myself looking a bit better, now.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?
I really liked hand-crafting ever since I was a child. I sewed my
first garment when I was 12 years old. It was a bikini, made of blue
piled cotton (fabric for towels!). I was really lucky because it
didn’t get torn in the crowded pool!

3. What role does sewing play in your life?
Because I make myself all clothes but underwear and woolen sweaters,
sewing plays very important role in my life now. It’s the chance of
self-realization, too. I seriously try to think what to sew before
getting started. I use better fabrics as far as my budget permits, so
that I can drive myself into a corner. Otherwise I tend to sew
something with just a curiosity, might get something nice but
wouldn’t work as my wardrobe. I don’t like to abuse the natural
resources in that way (but it happens so easily). Thus I learn the
way of self-control by sewing as well. Did I forget to mention sewing
garments itself makes me relaxed and gives a jolly good time?

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?
My least favorite part of sewing is cutting! I’d be so nervous
because it’s the time for no going back. My favorite part is the time
for assembling those 2D into 3D and seeing a dramatic change.

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

I am secretly sewing a tie for my husband for Valentine’s day. It’s a
cute one, with many many little penguins.

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

I love the fact that BurdaStyle is giving us such a great place where
we can talk about our passion for sewing, as well as providing many
free pattern downloads. I have been inspired so much by others
creations, and always thankful to everybody for sharing their
information. I can even hold back my desire for black clothes by
applauding others creations! Thank you, BurdaStyle!

7. What is your motto?
“I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.” (Socrates)

Learn more about Yoshimi and see the wonderful creations she has made (many in pinks and pale blues!) by visiting her member profile. You should also check out her blog; even if you can’t read Japanese, you might be inspired by some of the beautiful photos!

Sewing Universe News Feed 12 February 2008


NPR looking for Sewers in D.C. Area

Erica at Erica B.’s DIY Style posts about being approached by an NPR producer looking for people who have changed the way they shop or have started sewing because of the increase in high fashion in popular culture (shows like Project Runway , What Not to Wear, etc.) For a bit more info and contact information, see her blog

Nikkishell: Denim Sidonie


Do you remember last week when I showed you a tiny sample piece of the fabric I had ordered for my JJ blouse? Well that along with another piece of fabric I had intended to use for the new Sidonie skirt seems to have been lost in the abyss that is known as Australia Post, sob! But fear not for I do have my fabric stash although it does seem to be wilting away and looking very drab recently, I think I may need to do some new fabric and thrift fabric shopping sometime soon.

The new Sidonie skirt pattern is perfect for me and I have many ideas for many skirts buzzing around in my head. Oh and one of the best parts about it is how quickly it can be made up. I used some denim fabric that I have had sitting on the shelf for far too long waiting to be transformed into something wonderful, a few hours of my time (with a much needed nap in between!) and I have a new skirt for my autumn/winter wardrobe. I left out the lining and ended up cutting 2 waistbands, the first was not long enough even though I cut from the pattern, strange! I also noticed my skirt turned out longer than that on the model here on BurdaStyle (she’s obviously MUCH taller than I am) which suits me fine, I would have made it longer since I’m not one for flashing my legs too much and this saved me time. I do intend to wear it with tights or knee length stockings/socks though, any idea where to find cute colourful ones?

It doesn’t look much in the photo, I think it looks far better in real life but still it seems to be lacking something, it needs a little embellishment. I spent another hour at least playing around with trims from my box pinning them on randomly with the help of Mia and Esme which I think may be the reason it took so long! I have a number of knitted swatches that I was given a few years back and I thought one sewn onto the skirt as a pocket would work, i’ll show you the finished skirt next week. I have plans to make at least two more skirts using this pattern, one from the fabric I ordered from Tessuti Fabrics and another from recycled fabrics, thrift stores here I come!

As well as making up Sidonie my sewing machine has been running hot this past week whipping up some much needed things for baby, sheets, hats, blankets and a sling (in the same denim fabric!). I have also been frantically working on an order of yoga products for my physiotherapist/yoga teacher neighbour. My sewing room floor is covered in flax seeds (eye pillows), wheat (wheat bags), scraps of bias binding (blankets) and lavender, oh it smells divine but it’s extremely messy! Then there was the fabric Valentine’s card I made for my husband, new dish towels to replace my old ugly ones that are falling apart and some clown trousers for Mia. Phew! I’m worn out just typing that and I still have so much more to do. Stay in there for the next month little one, I should be about ready for you then….maybe.


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