Featured Member: Mirela

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

As a child, I started sewing using a little toy sewing machine, making pretty dresses for my dolls. I remember as if it was yesterday although it happened about 17 years ago: I was watching my mother sewing a pink outfit for my birthday party and I loved that outfit! It was the first time I showed interest in sewing. Not long after, I started sewing myself and made a circle skirt for my Barbie doll out of leftover pink fabric. The first real clothing item I made for myself was a classic plaid shirt. All along the way, I had benefited from assistance and help from my mother, to whom I cannot give enough thanks for instilling in me her passion for sewing.

What role does sewing play in your life?

I try to keep sewing from taking over my life. Although sewing is my hobby, it requires a lot of time and passion and I try to fit it into my schedule without ignoring my family, friends, or other domestic activities. Sometimes I feel like something is missing if my drawers do not overflow with fabrics. Sewing is a time when I can be myself, with my own imagination trying to shape it into reality and Burda has played a major role in making this possible.

What is your least favorite and what is your most favorite thing about sewing?

I enjoy sewing something from start to end but I dislike making alterations to existing clothes. I’m very patient when I sew, but when it comes to using the seam ripper too often, I can get a little bit frustrated.

After filling a shopping cart with fabrics, my favorite part is seeing them take shape. I like that first fitting session, where I can finally see how the outfit will look like. If it looks good and I get positive feedback from everyone, especially my husband that is the most rewarding experience. It is amazing how Burda patterns speed things up so that I can start sewing in the morning and have a beautiful and unique dress ready for the evening out.

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

Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamt about sewing my own wedding dress and that dream came true. Now, I would love the chance to sew wedding dresses again for my girlfriends when they get married. Even with classic designs, wedding gowns allow so much room for creativity plus they get to be worn at one of the most special events in one’s life. As far as future projects, I’d like to make fun toys and blankets for my nephew Ryan, but also try something different like sewing kite surfing equipment. Right now, I’m working on high waistline dresses in collaboration with a friend who hand crochets the bustier part.

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 about open source patterns. I really appreciate the fashion collections and patterns available as a free download. I look for inspiration and ideas on BurdaStyle, and the members are very talented persons from which I have a lot to learn. I also enjoy the tips posted in the How Tos database would love to see more instructional videos added.
As an improvement to the site, I would like to see notifications to help stay in touch with what’s going on in the BurdaStyle community. I’m also looking forward to seeing how BurdaStyle will integrate with Etsy stores.

Mirela is anxious to find out more about other users and said that our last featured user Squirrellypoo almost took the words out of her mouth. If you want to find out more about Mirela (who also shares many How Tos), check her member profile, her website Cutting Edge herphoto gallery of things she’s made and her Etsy store Everywear!

How To: Fold and Crop

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If you haven’t noticed yet, I like making things. I especially like making things that are EASY to make, but look great! Here’s another project that uses the “fashion origami” techniques I illustrated in my last How To. This cropped jacket is made by folding (and unfolding) fabric a few times, cutting two curvy lines, and sewing. There is really no limit to the amount of clothing that one could make using this technique, and I really encourage everyone to try at least one of these projects in their free time this week. Find a nice knit or even a medium-weight cotton, and you might have the perfect spring-time evening jacket on your hands (or rather, your shoulders) in no time!

Sneak Preview: New Design II

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Part of the new design will be a pattern catalog, where you can sort according to newest pattern, sizes, if there are hem or seam allowance, recommended fabric, etc. We we also establish a new rating system, where people who used the pattern can share write their experience and help other users to find the right pattern. And, as you might have read already, you will be able to search pattern according to the amount of fabric, so you can use all your left-overs! And the major news: We will give credit to the designer, pattern maker and pattern producer (the latter one is for our case Burda). We will enale users to upload their patterns, it will possible if you make your own PDF.

Featured Member: Squirrellypoo

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We would like to introduce to you a new blog category: Featured Member! Many members of the site have been very active and supportive, and we think they should be in the spotlight. We prepared a set of questions that will be posed to the respective user.

Today we are featuring Melissa Fehr, known to the sewing community as Squirrellypoo.

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

Like most people, my first sewing experience was in Home Ec class at school. As part of the curriculum we did a “sewing machine driver’s test” where we had to trace progressively curvier lines on an unthreaded machine and got points deducted for any needle punctures not on theline! My mother always had an ancient 70s green Kenmore sewing machine while I was growing up but I didn’t really get interested in sewing until I moved abroad and my sister-in-law gave me her old machine when she upgraded. So even though I made the odd (very poorly made and often misguided) item on my mother’s machine when I was younger, I count as my first item a kelly green A-line skirt with a white satin ribbon trim since it was the first thing I made myself on my own machine. I wore it every summer right up until last year, when I lost to much weight for it to stay on my hips!

What role does sewing play in your life?

Sewing is my main hobby, and my #1 way to relax in the evenings. I used to be very artistic when I was younger, but lost the knack for drawing when I was at university and too busy to practice much, so sewing is also my main creative outlet. Where others might sit in front of the tv or surf the internet in the evenings, I’m usually in my sewing room,
sewing a seam or two or pressing a few pieces or tracing out the patterns for my next project. I’ve always got at least one project on the go, and I’m always thinking about three projects in advance, so by the time I actually get to sewing something up, I’ve already been thinking about it and planning it in my head for a few weeks!

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

My absolute favourite part is the first time I get to try on the garment I’m making, even though it means getting stuck with pins, as I can actually see how it’s going to work on my body as the finished product. I love my dressmaker’s dummy, but there’s just something about seeing it on yourself for the first time that makes it that much closer to reality.

My least favourite part is any hand-sewn hem! I’m far too impatient to sew at a handstitched pace and the hem is usually the last part of a garment. By that point, the hem just seems like an afterthought that needs doing in order to officially move it into my wardrobe!

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

Last year I actually fulfilled two long-term sewing dreams – I made a full Santa costume for my father, who looks so much like Santa Claus anyway (big belly, white beard, belly laugh, and big red nose!) that on Christmas Eve he fooled my young nice and nephew for about twenty minutes in the costume! My other accomplishment was making the dress of her dreams for a very good friend’s 30th birthday. She chose a pattern and the fabric and was involved at every step and looked absolutely stunning at her big party. She’d done so much for me over the years that it was really fulfilling to do something so nice for her.

So right now I’m still so thrilled with both of those that I haven’t got any huge aspirations beyond my smaller upcoming plans for myself!

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

I really love the whole concept of BurdaStyle, that it’s moving sewing into something that can be hacked and adopted into something that’s completely yours, instead of being rigidly implemented by a few select companies and must be done a the set way. You don’t even need to go out and buy a pattern, you can do it all at home no matter where in the world you are and have something fabulous you can share with others. I love seeing creations that others have made which made me look at patterns in a new way – ones I didn’t consider before are suddenly coming alive in my mind as my next project!

I’m really pleased to hear you’re bringing my suggestion of a fabric-amount-to-pattern calculator into the next phase of the site! That’s something I’ve always wanted, as I tend to overbuy fabric and I’m often left with odd amounts that are too big to throw away but too small for most patterns. So having a way to plug in a measurement and be told what I could make with that amount is really exciting!

You can find out more about Melissa in her blog Fehr Trade and here you can have a glimpse into her sewing room!

BurdaStyle 1st Design and Pattern Competition

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UPDATE: Due to shipping issues, the deadline is extended to 15 JULY 2007 Items should be at our office either before or on that date.

Dearest BurdaStyle members,

We are thrilled to announce our first BurdaStyle Design Competition. As an open source website, we are hoping to facilitate more creative opportunities for the sewing community all over the world. Now we’ve come up with the perfect way for you to contribute to the site as well as to your own trophy case, or in this case, pattern library. Send us your designs and we will choose two winners to have their patterns professionally created, shot in a photo shoot, featured on BurdaStyle.com, and downloaded by other BurdaStyle users! Also, did we mention that this competition can make a contribution to your wallet!?!

There are two categories to which you can submit. If you are great at designing, but not patternmaking, submit an illustration and tech drawing along with specifications, and we’ll do all of the pattern work. If you feel confident in your patternmaking skills, show them off! Send us a pattern you made along with a muslin of the design and technical drawing.

Design-based competition

PRIZE $300
Design a garment or outfit (if you choose to illustrate an outfit, make clear which piece you are submitting as we will only choose 1 garment to produce)
Submit an illustration of your design (front and back), a technical drawing (front and back) and specifications. Also send a document telling a little bit about yourself, the inspiration for your design, and a description of the fabrics you envision your design in.
Send everything as low-res jpeg [indicate size] and contact information including a picture of yourself in an e-mail to
answers@burdastyle.com
. All contestants must have a filled-out user profile on BurdaStyle.com, which will be used to introduce you as a participant.

Pattern-based competition

PRIZE $500
Design a garment.
Submit a self-made paper pattern, muslin, and technical drawing. Also send a document telling a little bit about yourself, the inspiration for your design, and a description of the fabrics you envision your design in. All contestants must have a filled-out user profile on
BurdaStyle.com, which will be used to introduce you as a participant.

Send through the good old Postal Service to

BurdaStyle
Attn: Benedikta Karaisl,
325 Gold Street,
6th Floor,
Brooklyn, NY 11201
USA

All submissions are due in our inbox (e-mail and post) by July 15 (formerly June), 2007. We will choose one winner from each category and notify him/her by the end of June.
Please note, by entering and winning this competition you are giving us the permission to make your design and pattern open-source, and for the pattern produced from your design to be posted on our website.
Please note: Some people where confused if they were allowed to enter altough they didn’t live in the US, yes, they are! For more information check the official rules!

By the way: Interesting and creative submissions that didn’t win will still be featured on the site!

Sneak Preview: New Pattern

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We are right now working on the new creations to get them ready for the photo shoot beginning of June. On the picture you see Benedikta sewing shorts and in the background you find a shirt that is being prepared by Nayantara!

Sneak Preview New Design

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Some of you might have wondered what went on lately, not hearing from us. Some of you heard it already, and now it’s official: We will have a new design! And of course, it’s about time to give you a little preview.

We’ve stayed up long hours, worked on weekends, and skipped quite a bit of social life to be able to improve the structure and launch new tools. We’ve read your comments and made sure to incorporate your feedback. E.g. we will offer you to search patterns by the amount of fabric you have. Also, forum threads will indicate where new posts are made, and you will be notified when comments are left on your thread. Very exciting is a highly flexible user profile. On your personal page, you can share pictures of anything, your dog, your cat, your sewing place, your family, anything you like.

With our new Category “BurdaStyle Backstage” we will also keep you in the loop with what’s going on behind the scenes: New patterns in progress, design and site feature updates, photo shoot insights and and and.

So, stay tuned for our new Backstage Report!

Benedikta and Nora

Saturday Trend

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This week BurdaStyle says hello to summer, and goodbye. YOU STUD

Conjure summer style and the pictures in your head are invariably the same: Frothy, airy, breezy on the one hand, short, sexy, punchy on the other. There’s not a lot of room in the summer wardrobe for tough-girl chic, functional and urbane fashion with a touch of baditude. Last summer, girls in New York walked around town in slouchy boots, barely conceding the look to July’s weeklong, 100 degree heat wave; behind that look, I suspect, was the urge to toughen up last summer’s gossamer shifts. We’ve got more shifts in store this coming heat wave season, as well as a summer due, as the last ones have, to break all kinds of temperature records. Boots are out. Instead, look to smart designers like Tiffany Tuttle to fill the void: The Chaconne sandal in her LD Tuttle line beats the heat with some punkish panache, courtesy of the black studs poking out of the leather. If flip-flops bleat, these sandals snarl. Midnight-blue pedicure optional.

Friday Playlist

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This week BurdaStyle says hello to summer, and goodbye. THIS BITES

I like naps. Over the past few years, I’ve developed my own little napping ritual, which involves catching up on the first ten or so minutes of my favorite NPR podcasts before I doze off, and then waking up to the familiar closing credits of shows such as Studio 360 and This American Life. A few months ago, I fell asleep to Fresh Air – Terri Gross’s soft, dulcet voice makes for a particularly good send-off to sleep – and woke up again a little later with the audio still going and my head spinning. Was that Alex Kapranos, the singer from Franz Ferdinand, on Fresh Air talking about food? Or was I dreaming? This had to be some kind of weird alternastate – rock dudes do not, as a general matter, go on NPR to regale high-minded interlocutors with tales of the road, and they certainly don’t go foodie. Tour dining is Taco Bell and backstage riders of vodka and Cheetos, yes?. But, no: I was definitely awake, and Alex Kapranos was definitely on Fresh Air, talking to Terri Gross about his punk-pop palate, promoting his book on that subject, Sound Bites. It was weird.

Thursday Fashion

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This week BurdaStyle says hello to summer, and goodbye. SWIMWARES

Bathing suit season invites so many fitting room anxieties, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact, amid the skimpy butts and sagging tops, that bathing suits are clothes, too. They ought not be exempt from fashion, but as a general matter, they are. The only designers to think outside the box, swimwear-wise, are usually Brazilians like Rosa Cha, whose cut-out maillots and barely-there bikinis could strike fear in the heart of even the buffest, Bundchen-esque glamazon.

How to: Make a Dress Without Using a Pattern

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The next time you find yourself with nothing to wear, and perhaps, a few extra hours in the morning, try making this!

Wednesday Beauty

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This week BurdaStyle says hello to summer, and goodbye. FREEDOM

I give up. When I was a kid, the healthiest thing I could do was a spend a day in the sunshine. I’d be sacked out waching cartoons on a Saturday morning, or playing paper dolls some afternoon with a friend, and all of a sudden my mom would burst in, and deliver the edict: “Go outside.” Then, somewhere along the line, sunshine became an axis of evil and Mom starting packing gallons of SPF 60 sunscreen into my trunk every summer when I went to camp. More recently, the harmful effects of sunlight have been deemed so nasty, doctors and SPF retailers warn us that it’s not enough to bathe in sunscreen before a day at the beach – we’d better work sun guard into our everyday routine. The daily walk from my apartment to the subway station three blocks away, under cloudy skies, apparently cumulates frightening ultra-violet damage. I was a lifeguard. In Florida. I’m totally screwed.

Tuesday Icon

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This week BurdaStyle says hello to summer, and goodbye. LOTTE BERK

Damn you, Lotte Berk. Damn you, I’m thinking.

I can’t remember the name of this instructor, so I’m going straight to the source with my curses in Lotte Berk class tonight. We’re catbacked over the barre, crushing a gym ball between our thighs as we squeeze and lower and lift through the last of a thousand tiptoe plies. And three, and four, and five and… Damn you. Damn you.

SUMMER’S EDGE

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This time last year, I was packing my bags. I’d received a grant, a month of free food and lodging upstate and permission to do nothing but go for long walks and write, my two favorite occupations. I sublet my place, bought a new pair of sneakers, and took off for the country. It rained all month, basically, and so I didn’t do as much walking as I’d planned; neither did I write as much as I hoped, though I wrote quite a bit. But it was nice to get out of town for a while, and into some relative seclusion; my sojourn upstate punctuated what I already sensed as a time of transition for me. I was leaving behind my life of fashion, and magazines articles, and concerts, and gossip, and retreating into my art. When I returned to the City, I shot my first film. I’m only finishing it, now.

Saturday Trend

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This week BurdaStyle gets Stockholm syndrome. CLOG POST

Hippie chic is roaring back into style this summer. Forget the bag lady boho of Rachel Zoe starlets and the Olsen Twins, however. The new thing is to steal tricks from the flower children: Maxi dresses, moccasins, wide-leg denim, and that Swedish staple, the clog. The best pair you can by is from Sven, and the good news is that this is one footwear trend your feet will thank you for. Sven clogs are the Volvo of shoes – solid, functional, comfy. The bad news is that Sven clogs are the Volvo of shoes – solid, functional, comfy. It takes some doing to make them modern. The trick is irreverence. Summer of love literalism will make you look like your in costume, anyway, so keep the peasant dresses and batik-print wraparound skirts in the closet. Pair your clogs instead with urbane streetwear, the skinniest jeans you’ve got and a neon top, a slinky draped dress or baggy mannish suit. Get a pair of Sven’s high-heeled clogs, and you can even vamp a skintight pencil skirt or make a new proportion for your mod mini shifts; over-the-knee socks add a Harujiku girl twist. Clogs may be the Volvo of shoes, but they can take the curves, too.

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