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This is the era of interactivity

: A truism, yes, but one that is starting to seem more and more true. A shift toward the wiki-modeled, the DIY, and the adaptable, and away from the ready-made ethos of twentieth century modernity, has come to define the public mind since the turn of the new millennium. The interactive attitude was birthed on the internet, natch, and it’s still most obvious there, double-natch. But the internet’s influence is growing: The video for Bjork’s latest single off Volta, for example, was created as part of an in ingenius online contest; would-be directors were given a song clips and several component video bits and pieces to use in making clip – as well as the freedom to do with those bits and pieces whatever they pleased. Denim behemoth Diesel is bringing interactivity to fashion, meanwhile, with its “puzzle shoes.” Due out in September, the puzzle shoes can be worn three ways, depending on how you Velcro them together. For now, the shoes come in black, only, and only for men, theoretically. But these puzzle shoes could be the start of something big in sneaker freakism – the biggest customizing movement since Rev Run took the laces out of his Adidas. Imagine a world where you could buy component parts of sneakers in almost any color, almost any style, and puzzle them together a new way every day… A relative handful of components could generate a hundred different shoes, making the puzzle concept eco-friendly, as well as age of interactivity appropriate. Diesel is on to something, in other words. Here’s hoping they take the big idea just waiting in these sneakers, and run with it.

Sustainable sewing


Although only two weeks old, I just have to interrupt my weekly “Wardrobe Remake” column and share a little bit of my Africa travels.

Besides of many close encounters with lots of animals such as giraffes grazing in our camp, monkeys waking us up in the morning fighting over whatever the heck etc., I was fascinated by all the different crafting skills that I encountered. One of our guides showed me on one of our trips through the forest of the Arusha National Park in Tanzania (with view at the Kilimanjaro), how clothes were sewn long before there was access to sewing needles and thread.

The most common tree here in the plains is a kind of acacia tree. The branches of this tree has long thorns to keep animals, like giraffes and others from eating all the leaves before the tree has a chance to grow big and strong. Those thorns, very sharp and strong, can easily be broken off the branch and were for their sharp points perfectly usable as needles. All one needed to do was create a little hole in the bigger end of the thorn just like an eye of a sewing needle.

Thread was made out of a palm leaf. The leaf, once folded in half would break in two and have leave in the center a thin string that could be gently pulled off the rest of the leaf. (kind of like the string on the edge of a string bean). That string was inserted into the acacia tree thorn and ready was the sewing tool.

I thought that that was so neat that I was more than tempted to bring home a little sewing kit. I had to realize though that those thorns work for a couple of days and then get pretty dry and easily breakable. Better that way, otherwise I would maybe have insisted on getting the next collection done by sewing with sustainable acacia tree thorns…

Steffi altered-making a muslin


Thank you for all the lovely compliments for my green Celestina alteration. And thanks to Theoreticgal for bringing to my attention that I need to lengthen the centre front hem on future Celestina’s I make. The reason being that once my bump starts getting bigger, the hem will lift up, how could I forget such a thing?

This week I worked on sewing up a muslin of the Steffi jacket. The reason I made a muslin first is because I’ve only ever made one other jacket, and that’s still sitting unfinished in a bag somewhere in my sewing room. I wanted to be sure I was making the right alterations before cutting into some nice fabric.

To start I made the body of the jacket as the pattern asks. I then tried it on pinning it in place and drawing the alterations directly onto the muslin. I curved the front out from the bust to the bottom side hem which I then cut. I used the muslin to mark these alterations directly onto the paper pattern. My next alteration were the sleeves. I shortened the paper pattern before laying it onto the fabric and cutting out. I originally wanted cap sleeves but decided to make them slightly longer so they will cover any short sleeves I may wear underneath. My next challenge is to draw a new trimming to match the new front curves. Once I’ve done this I’ll start on my ‘real’ jacket. I’ve still not decided on a fabric to use, I have a few cottons in my stash do you think it would work with cotton or is it not stiff enough? Next week I shall have the finished garment to show you along with a how-to. Maybe I’ll even put in a lining using Benedikta’s fabulous tutorial!

I’m thinking of continuing with the Steffi jacket the following week and giving it an entirely different alteration, maybe a bolero look and longer sleeves. Then I’ll start working on Jane. I plan to alter the waistband of the shorts to accommodate my bump and for later the top to allow for breastfeeding.

Any suggestions for either my Steffi or Jane alterations are encouraged. How can I spice up my bolero Steffi? Any clue how I can change the Janetop into a breastfeeding friendly top? Answers on a postcard in the comments section please!

Not so lame- Lamè


To add a little jazz to your latest creations, why not try lamè fabrics. Of course, this fabric comes with quite the reputation- like hot pants in silver lame (as made popular by American Apparel, unfortunately) and flashy gold “Members Only” jackets reminiscent of the Studio 54 glory days. I’m sure this conjures some frightening images in your head right now, but don’t worry. I’m not suggesting you make an entire body suit in this famously frightening fabric. I am suggesting, however, that you consider using it as a trim or combo fabric, as its lustrous qualities can easily spark up any creation! It’s been overlooked for too long! I’d also suggest some accessories in this luminous fabric, like an envelope clutch or wide headbands.

The How To everyone's been waiting for!


The long wait for the new design has come and gone. Prior to the launch, we all waited eagerly, checking the site everyday with fingers gently and earnestly placed on the mouse- ready to click and scroll like never before. The screen shot sneak previews captured us, making us hungry for the day of the launch, and when it finally came, I think it’s safe to say we were all well-fed!

Two Patterns this Week!


As a special treat to you, the loyal members of BurdaStyle, who have been so patient with us during our quest for a bug-free site, we offer a mid-week pattern in addition to the regular pattern posted every Monday! We saw the feedback on the Jane neglige posted earlier this week- and, well, what can we say- we love to make you happy! Since the neglige takes only a few hours to complete, we thought you all might like an additional project to try out over the weekend. We hope the Carolina Toiletry Bag will be the perfect project, since we’ve all been busy sewing dresses and tops lately. We thought an accessory would be a welcomed break!



What is the meaning of luxury? Once upon a time, a life of luxury meant you were one of the exalted few – royalty, celebrity, titan of industry. And that which was luxurious could be defined as narrowly: Pampered service; goods precious and exceptional; everything ever more exquisitely refined. The refinements were the point. They threw a light on everyone else’s most-nice things, revealing them as vulgar. The original definition of “vulgar” was, in fact, “common,” and so for centuries luxury and vulgarity were opposed values, the elite versus the mainstream. But as it turned out, they were on a collision course: We are living in the age of mainstreamed luxury, which returns us to the original question: What is the meaning of luxury, now?


reporter Dana Thomas probes just that in her new book, Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster. In it, she delves into the profit-motivated, branding-enabled massification of the luxury trade, visiting the labs where Birkin bags are sewn by hand, in France, the factories in China where more and more “luxury” goods are made, and the sweaty backrooms on Canal Street where knock-offs are sold. Along the way, Thomas wonders how we came to live in an era when, for a certain, large-ish group of young women, owning a pair of Louboutins or a Marc Jacobs Stam bag has gone from being a personal prerogative to a demographic imperative, and she explores the H&M and Target-driven trend of masstige, and its conflation high-design and low-price points. That’s either a win-win, if you are on the side of plebes having access to beautiful things, or a lose-lose, if you believe in the beauty of craftsmanship.

Naturally, the Gucci store is repeated in Thomas’s book – the tale of how Tom Ford reinvented a moribund manufacturer of leather stuffs for the few and, through savvy marketing and retailing, convinced the many they ought to buy into the dream. But Deluxe is precisely of-the-moment now because even Ford seems to be punching against his legacy by trying to re-brand luxury, itself. His latest launch is a men’s clothing store defined by its theatrically doting service, atmosphere of exclusivity, and emphasis on the bespoke and hand-finished. The Tom Ford store also sells an item so Playboy recherché it’s almost amusing – that ace piece of leisure-wear, the smoking jacket. At a moment when luxury has been defined down, Ford seems to be offering for sale the last priceless thing we have left: Time.

Make your own Piping!


Benedikta’s latest adventure, a safari in Africa, is nothing compared to the adventure she’s set up for herself when she gets back to New York. While there are significantly fewer formidable creatures here to gaze upon – unless you think of sample sales as dangerous animals- what awaits her is an equally challenging but beautiful task. With her Wardrobe Remake, Benedikta is aiming to update the existing clothes in her closet in the most current styles, keeping the idea of “having nothing to wear” out of her vocabulary for the time being. This week, see her How To that shows how to make your own piping with fabric of your choice and a simple cord. This certainly can be used to spice up any old tops or dresses hiding shrewdly in what I imagine to be a jungle of a closet, and yours too!

Celestina altered-take two


This week I made my second version of Celestina. I felt I could improve on the alterations I made last week which consisted of shortened cuffed sleeves and increasing the waistline to fit my pregnant belly. The waistline increase did not give as much extra room as I had hoped so this week I decided to omit the side panels and back waist piece of the dress altogether and widen from the armpits down to the hem. And since I was widening the dress there was no need for a zip as I could just slip it on over my head. I lengthened the ties and made them the same length (why are they different in the original pattern?) so I can wrap them around and i moved them up to just under the armpits so they would tie above my bump. I feel the fabric I used this time is more suited to this dress; I used some thrifted chiffon type fabric and it’s wonderfully floaty. Since the fabric is sheer to protect my modesty I made an under dress from some cotton eyelet fabric I had in my stash which I sewed in like a lining. This version was so easy and quick to make, it took me all of one afternoon. I think the only thing I would change is to enlarge the armholes slightly, I’d feel more comfortable. I’m happy with the sleeve length and did toy with the idea of adding elastic but I had none in my stash, so that was that!

I’m really pleased with how this version has turned out, in total it has cost me approximately $8 to make and I can see many of them being made for the summer ahead. Oh just imagine, me with my increasingly pregnant belly floating around in my summery dresses looking fabulous, in reality I’ll most probably be complaining about the heat and be incredibly tired but at least I’ll still look good while I do so.

As I said last week my next challenge is to alter the Steffi jacket, I’ve had a number of suggestions for how to do this and so far my favourites have been to crop the jacket into a bolero or cut away the front of the jacket in a curve from the neckline to the bottom side seams to allow my bump to show. Yes, I know I said I was going to make it for an unsuspecting friend but hey! You wonderful people have so many fabulous ideas that I got selfish and decided it was going to be mine after all. Not many of my clothes fit me now so I really should be making for myself…….back me up please! I’m also going to shorten the sleeves, maybe capped or to the elbow.

Let me know which suggestion you prefer or if you have another altogether. I’d also like fabric suggestions, remember, I’m going to be wearing this in the spring and summer so it needs to be something light.

Laptop Bag- Take 2!


I’m at it again. With a model and muse like this doll of gal shown here, how could I resist making more and more bags for her to carry! And with such a wonderful goal in mind- to create a How To and bag design intended for children- this project has resulted in a bountiful collection of accessories for this doll and prototypes for the OLPC project.

August - The Best Month for Fabric Hunt!


Yes, you read correctly, August is the best month for fabric hunt. Because: Everyone is traveling, the stores are empty! Benedikta and I are on the side of the travelers: And we love it, because while we are discovering new continents – Benedikta is in Africa, I will be in Italy, we always look out for new and creative fabrics. We’ll share this with you when we are back end of August.

In the meantime Nayantara and our intern Janina are alone, so have mercy when your mails are not answered right away and when your comments are left unanswered for too long…

And tell us (we are curious), where did you find your nicest and most precious piece of fabric?

TREND: Art Stitch


Stars in the same galaxy, fashion and art orbit each other constantly, sometimes falling into perfect alignment. The last time that happened, Marc Jacobs sought out reinterpretations of the stodgy Louis Vuitton logo from artists Stephen Sprouse and Takashi Murakami, and splashed their updates on sold-out (and much knocked-off) editions of Vuitton’s classic doctor speedy bag. Not so long ago, all that, but eons according to the fast-moving fashion calendar and still in the early days of the latest – and still upswinging – art boom, a boom the Vuitton bags did much to foment, in fact.

In the years since, the contemporary art market has only gotten hotter. And with this year’s confluence of biennials (notably Venice) and festivals like Art Basel, the influence of art on culture, writ large, seems at last to have reached critical mass. Fashion has taken note: Last season, Rachel Comey worked with gallerist Mirabelle Marden on a capsule collection; next season, perennial art provocateur Damien Hirst will debut his collaboration with Levi’s, for its Warhol Factory X label. Interestingly, however, luxury fashion brands are eschewing the young talent heating up the art scene, preferring instead to look to the past for inspiration. Marc Jacobs’ fall ’07 show for Vuitton fetishized Vermeer; when John Galliano showed Dior couture this summer, he referenced paintings by the Impressionists and Dutch and Spanish masters, pen-and-ink drawings by artists such as Bouche, Bérard, and Cocteau, and the photography of Irving Penn. And in one of the mini Resort season’s loveliest outings, YSL’s Stefano Pilati managed a double homage, casting a loving look back at the original Saint Laurent’s Mondrian dress by making a new one redolent of Cy Twombly. The Ab-Ex clothes comprised a small part of Pilato’s retro-cool collection, but proved just the kick needed to make it feel fresh. For once, the adage rings true: Everything old is new again.

The First Wardrobe Remake


Hey Everybody and WELCOME to my weekly column, WARDROBE REMAKE.

The purpose of this column is to have fun. The other purpose is to HELP myself and anybody else, who suffers from the delusional mindset of having NOTHING TO WEAR!!! Quite frankly, there are quite a lot of things that I have and that I could wear, if not only I would find a million of little things that are just not quite right about this skirt or that sweater. This is my attempt to prove to myself that there is a lot of fun fashion in my closet, it just needs to be released!!!

This is only the first week of the wardrobe remake. But I am already so inspired by the idea of revamping my wardrobe, that when I enter my closet, I literally feel like my clothes are fighting for my attention to be revamped. There an old skirt, long out of style, but with a little tweak almost as good as new, here this great fitting, yet a bit too boring T…we got lots of work to do.

This week we are giving the little extra to our newly shortened pants.

Follow my how to on making a fabric flower belt, that will bring back the fun into your old pants. Next time you enter your closet, the question what to wear (without spending big bucks) will just have become a little easier.

The Holy Grain


One of the most important aspects of pattern making and garment constructions lies in one word. Grain. The grain of a woven fabric directs the way the fabric will fall or fold. Pieces need to be cut in a way that the grains correspond, to ensure the garment fits the same (especially after washing) and to maintain a consistent stretch. On patterns you will find that a piece is either cut on the grain line, cross grain, or on the bias. Be sure to keep a look out for these important marks on patterns before you lay them out and begin cutting. And if you decide to upload one of your own patterns to share on BurdaStyle, be sure each pattern piece indicates the grain line!

OLPC and BurdaStyle


I am so pleased to announce our latest project at BurdaStyle. We’ve just met Lauren Klein, from One Laptop Per Child. This absolutely awesome project aims to provide children all over the world with their very own laptop. It’s been in the making for years now, and children already have these high-tech gadgets in their hands.


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