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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.

Featured Member: Scrumptiousdelight


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

I was born and grew up in Bournemouth on the south coast of England but since I’ve moved about a lot. I spent 3 yrs in Portugal and Spain and 8 yrs in France and now here I am in Vancouver, BC. We’ve been here for just a year and love it!

Style for a Cause


Growing up in Trinidad meant that I spent my entire childhood and adolescence in a school uniform. They were strict about everything- if I wore socks that didn’t match, we had to change them or go without, and if our skirts were too short or our blouses were too tight, we’d have to go to the supply closet to wear a new one!

Sheena Matheiken grew up in India, where it was mandatory for her as well to wear a school uniform. Recently, she decided to embark on a activity inspired by her experience called the Uniform Project. Part exercise in sustainability, part fund raising venture, Sheena’s decided to wear the same dress a day for an entire year. Boring? No! Each day, Sheena comes up with an outfit that’s quirky and inventive, making use of layers, accessories (most of which are donated), thrift store finds, and crafty alterations. The dress itself is pretty innovative- designed by her friend Eliza Starbuck, it can be worn both ways (front-to-back, back-to front) and as a blouse or jacket. The best part about the project is that it raises money for the Akanksha Foundation in India. Pioneered by college students in India, this foundation provides children from the slums with all the supplies (and uniforms!) that they need for school, and also runs summer camps, drama, computer, and dance classes to equip kids with the skills they need to succeed. Every day Sheena donates a dollar to the organization, and also accepts donations of money for the organization and accessories to keep reinventing her outfits.

Check out Sheena’s site, as well as the site for the Akanksha foundation. Get involved by donating to the Uniform Project, or even by signing up to volunteer to assist the kids with the foundation in India. Well worth a trip, don’t you think?

BurdaStyle Team

Stylist for a Day


Recently I joined forces with my stylist friend and visionaire Elissa Raymond to assist her in a Manhattan based photo-shoot for Kohls, an American department store similar to Target who carries licensed lines like Simply Vera & ELLE.

Has anyone ever worked as a stylist? I’ve styled my own shoots and have done some editorial but I had never worked on such a large scale production. Our base was an enormous RV parked outside of Pastis, an incredibly beautiful & infamous restaurant in the meatpacking district of Manhattan. Elissa has the back of the RV; there were racks to hang the looks we’d be shooting and couches and tables for shoes & accessories. Elissa had heaps of accessories; gold, silver, brass chains, sunglasses, clear glasses, bracelets, stockings, shoes, boots, hats, scarves galore. Now wouldn’t it be fun to scour the Earth for those things on someone else’s budget?!

Every stylist has a “book”, and when I arrived (ahem, at 4:30 a.m.) to meet everyone, Elissa had me take a look. Inside are spec sheets and snaps of the approved looks to be shot with editor’s notes. The marketing team at Kohls adds notes in the margins like “make sure to show lapels and cuff details” and “no leggings with this” or “show the pant’s cuffs” and it’s Elissa’s job to follow suit. Sometimes she does and sometimes the notes sound as if they are coming from a man in a suit in an office in Milwaukee- not a style guru.

The actual shoot consists of a dance between photographer, model, stylist, guy with fan, and hair & make-up. Around her waist, or in our case, my hands, as Elissa thinks the belt ruins her look, a stylist has clips, pins, double-stick tape, snips. A few snaps then “stylist in!” a tug here, flatten a wrinkle there, pin that collar down, clip the back, make it more snug, while hair is acting against nature; trying to tame stray hairs with spray and gloss. The photographer is lucky if she gets 5 shots in before these adjustments need to be made.

All in all I enjoyed the day. The locality made it simple, most of the time they are in a studio in Milwaukee which to me sounds a bit tough. A stylist needs to be in pretty good shape and be on her feet all day. Elissa miraculously can wear her cute, pointy Italian leather lace-up boots without complaint. And she will never be caught dead wearing knee pads.

Patterns and Tutorial for Convertible Tops and Dress


Looking for a dress that gives you more bang for your buck? Try sewing yourself up a convertible dress! Not only is this style all the rage in Hollywood at the moment, but it also allows the wearer to change the look of their outfit just by altering the ties. There are several tutorials for making this frock including Rostitichery’s Infinity Dress and BurdaStyle’s own scriptandserif. Dresses not your style? Try the convertible dresses’ sister tute, the convertible shirt!

We'll Miss You, Michael!


Yesterday, the whole BurdaStyle office was in shock. It seemed so strange that the King of Pop would be gone so soon. Though his life was plagued with controversy, Michael Jackson has had an undeniable influence on culture, music, and style. Michael Jackson singlehandedly popularized aviator glasses, leather jackets, gloves, and his signature white socks. He resisted fads, sticking to his own edgy and unique take on fashion. Most of us in the office grew up listening to and watching Michael Jackson, and like the rest of the world, we’re still in shock. Rest in peace Michael! We’ll miss you.

BurdaStyle Team

All pictures are from www.gallery.steady-laughing.com.

BurdaStyle Sewing Club Update: The Milwaukee Sewing Club!


The BurdaStylers of Milwaukee were armed with their sewing gear and ready to mingle at this Tuesday’s very first Sewing Club! This event was packed with a super-fun show-and-tell and conversations on what the next meeting would bring.

This club mixes sewing veterans with beginners, and aims to have fantastic sewing fun for both! Tentative plans for what they may do in the future include sewing quilts for an international adoption agency and baby kimonos for local hospitals. How cute!

At the next meeting, though, the first order of business is to work on the pleated clutch pictured above. Their next meeting will be held July 21st at 7 p.m. If you are in the Milwaukee area and would like to join, please contact Club Leader Tekstile.

For more information on BSC Milwaukee, visit their blog at MilwaukeeSewingClub.wordpress.com.

Keep up the great work guys!

BSC Coordinator

Join one in your neighborhood!

Winner of the Sew News Subscription is....


Congratulations to Easbrooke! The handy dandy Random number generator helped pick us our winner. Thank you all for entering!

Antique Sewing Machine Collector


Here is a really cool interview with an antique sewing machine collector over at Collectors Weekly. It’s a really interesting article, with great pictures, I recommend it!

Cut it Out!


Are you following the Cut-Out trend? A bit ‘80s with a dash of young Lolita’s sex appeal, garments with shoulders cut-out and backs exposed were all over the A/W runways this past winter.

The Traditional Sewing Teqniques of Savile Row


Today we find ourselves in Savile Row, located in the heart of London, the “golden mile of tailoring”. We enter a little shop through a glass door, a bell rings and Mr S. turns his head to greet us “Good afternoon, Miss. How can I help?”

We are not here to get a suit we are here to learn all about bespoke tailoring and the great tradition of Savile Row. Mr S. is far too passionate about his trade to be disappointed that we want to talk rather than to buy. "…. well, my love, to understand the history of Savile Row and our trade, let me first clarify once and for all, the meaning of bespoke.

Bespoke tailoring is the equivalent to the ladies’ haute couture. We do not use standardized patterns. Oh no, that would be made-to-measure tailoring- we take the individual measures of each and every customer and fit our handmade suits to their very own shape."

“And the word bespoke?

“Jolly good question, my dear. The word bespoke comes from bespeak, which in turn means “to speak for something”; and that means nothing else than “to give order for something to be made”. So, the word although a bit old-fashioned is still spot-on: we tailor what our customers ask for."

“But is this type of tailoring industry not in danger with all the cheap mass production”

“Oh my dear, yes, indeed times have changed and for the bespoke trade it is definitely not getting easier. Our little Savile Row is like a haven of craftsmanship in this fast-paced city where everything that is produced lasts just for a fleeting moment. Our skills may be considered archaic by some, but there are still enough men who appreciate a perfectly fitted suit: the royal family, statesmen, business leaders, actors and singers…. Of course I cannot give you any names to respect the privacy of my customers.

You should note, it is not the suit alone, it is also the quality of our services we offer that makes us unique: we provide expert cloth consultants; offer a choice of at least 2,000 fabrics; keep a customer’s details on record and provide after-care for the suits customers buy. And all that we attempt to protect through the Savile Row Bespoke Association that we founded in 2004."

And while I’m off to chat with the guys from the Savile Row Bespoke Association I recommend you to check out all the great men’s patterns on BurdaStyle, my favorites are Ehren and the Stinchcomb although you might want to try something lighter for the hot summer months.

photo © Kempt

Win a One Year Subscription to Sew News Magazine


We are giving away a one year subscription to Sew News magazine. All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post by June 25th 2009 11:59pm est to be entered to win. One lucky winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries. Best of luck and happy commenting.


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