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Wendy Mullin is an established designer, author, and all around indie creative force. Her line, Built by Wendy, is continually considered one of the gems of independent fashion and her series of books and patterns have established her as a DIY design icon for a new generation of sewing enthusiasts.

I can still remember the first time I received a Built by Wendy catalog in the mail (yes a real catalog – it was the days before the internet, remember those?). As a teenage growing up in the 90’s, her low-key, downtown aesthetic was the perfect match for those of us seeking cool and unique pieces that were just edgy enough to distinguish you from the crowd. I can safely say that I attribute my sudden desire to learn the guitar at age 14 to Wendy, solely because I wanted a valid reason to purchase one of her amazing guitar straps. Even now, nearly 20 years later, I still look to Wendy for cool pieces I know will become a cherished (and continually wearable) addition to my wardrobe.

Built by Wendy was started in 1991 while Mullin was still working as a stylist and freelance designer for Kim Gordon’s X-Girl (another one of my teenage faves). In 1998 she opened her first store in New York and soon after launched a successful online shop that quickly solidified her spot as a pioneer in the internet market place. Instantly capturing the hearts of indie girls across the country, Wendy continues to boasts friends and fans from all walks of artistic life (and some of my favorite ladies in general) including filmmaker Sofia Coppola, actresses Claire Danes and Michelle Williams and musicians Chan Marshall and Kathleen Hannah.

Images from Built By Wendy’s Spring 2011 lookbook

In 2006 Mullin released her first book, Sew U: The Built by Wendy Guide to Making Your Own Wardrobe. Packing the pages with step-by-step instructions for getting started, tips for how to customize your garments and patterns from her own studio, Mullin’s book became a smash success and spawned two more titles including Sew U Home Stretch and Built by Wendy Dresses. Mullin’s latest book, Built by Wendy Coats and Jackets focuses on the seemingly daunting task of tackling handmade outerwear and offers three patterns that you can customize into 23 different variations from beginner all the way up to expert. Mullin’s know-how and decidedly cool aesthetic are the perfect match for sewers looking for projects that fun, stylish and creative. We’re so excited about Wendy’s new book that we decided to give two copies away to our BurdaStyle members! Simply leave a comment describing your dream jacket (cut, color, fabric, details, etc…) by 9:30am EST on Tuesday, March 8th for your chance to win!


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    Oct 20, 2018, 07.50 AMby greatthompson

    Thank you for a chance to get the opportunity for the book by wendy. I saw some cool outfits at USA Leather Jackets

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    May 9, 2018, 08.10 AMby jamesjohnson122

    I am thankful for this post. I really got a lot of help from this and I will definitely add such things in my website’s blog too. I have USA Leather Jackets online store where you can find a lot of leather outfits and costumes. For more details. visit my site: https://goo.gl/rJADtR

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    Apr 3, 2011, 02.29 AMby TKR

    I’m still learning and would love to add this to my personal library :) My dream jacket would be very punk inspired w/ a good amount of pockets, a hood, and bold print

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    Mar 10, 2011, 04.13 AMby gobepu

    I have two of Wendy’s books…would love to have this one too!

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    Mar 9, 2011, 11.14 AMby Jolly Polly

    My dream jacket, at this time in my clothing & styling life, would be very warm and cozy, prob made out of suede with sheep skin fabric on the inside, with big sleeves and a massive hood!!! so i can sleep in it!

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    Mar 9, 2011, 11.12 AMby Melissa Prosser

    It’s COLD here, and I could use some coat and jacket patterns, haha. I’m short-legged, but somehow my arms and torso are kind of long compared to the rest. It would be so nice to customize more of my wardrobe to fit properly, especially coats. The sleeves are often too short on off-the-racks.

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    Mar 8, 2011, 10.54 PMby cloud80

    awesome :) i’ve been a fan of wendy’s ever since i saw one of her handmade guitar straps in a magazine in high school. i have all her books, except this 1!!

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    Mar 8, 2011, 09.31 PMby Alis5

    A lovely jacket has big pocket, big neck and big bottons…. made in petrol blue color. So cute! I can see it in my head ;)

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    Mar 8, 2011, 08.56 PMby leabarw

    I been trying to find a pattern for my dream jacket (i"m not very got making my own and I have a big figure-bust) it will be short, small colar or none, good overlaping in the front with buttons made from a woll blanket – I all ready have one.

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    Mar 8, 2011, 08.40 PMby ckpdance

    I would love to learn to make a jacket! I’ve made lots of dresses but a light jacket would be perfect for the spring. I love how this book has lots of different styles! I want this so much!

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    Mar 8, 2011, 06.21 AMby Sarah Douangchak

    My dream jacket is a light butter yellow double breasted pea coat with a bit of a flare at the waist and a lovely fabric flower broach in a color according to the holiday, red for Christmas, pink and fuscia for Valentines day, kelly green for St. Patty’s day…

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    Mar 7, 2011, 08.01 PMby sukino

    Sorry about the duplicate! It won’t let me delete it. :<

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    Mar 7, 2011, 08.01 PMby sukino

    Sorry about th eduplicate! it won’t let me delete it. :<

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    Mar 7, 2011, 08.01 PMby sukino

    I dream to sew a perfect trench coat like Burberry does, sharp, sleek and stylish, in basic color, with buckles on sleeve, and belt. This is going to be my project of the year!

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    Mar 6, 2011, 06.59 PMby theartfuldodger

    a huge, dramatic fur number in an animal print. my grandma would be proud.

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    Mar 3, 2011, 06.49 PMby amyadoyzie

    Recently, while thrifting, I found a coat that was almost a dream jacket. It’s a vintage London Fog Anorak-style jacket in a deep rose blush color with plush lining and hood. (And for $5 after pointing out that there was a slight loose seam that I knew I could repair!)

    But my true dream jacket, that I have not yet found, is something akin to my boyfriend’s vintage military parka that is heavy and insanely warm with a hood that will pretty much wrap your entire head. I’d love for a version that would fit my short frame and cinch a bit at the waist.

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    Mar 2, 2011, 10.29 AMby Natalia *

    I just want a really clean cut trench coat. As I am quite petite, they are hard to find in my size and it would mean even more if I could make it myself.

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    Mar 1, 2011, 05.16 PMby bitterbunny

    i love motorcycle-ish sporty jackets….but in a bright color, like red or yellow or aqua….too many choices!

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    Feb 28, 2011, 12.59 PMby hutab

    I’d love to have a bright orange coloured short trench, with two button rows, stand up-collar and hood. Also important: easily closable pockets and I like it when the coat still looks figure-hugging without closing the belt (where I’d take care, that the belt loops are tight enough, so that the belt doesn’t roll around so you have to fiddle it right everytime…).

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    Feb 27, 2011, 08.27 PMby anneecharri

    Well, my dream jacket would be a mix of beautiful vintage floral with lace details, pattern would have to be a short fitted style (to suit my shorter frame!) with pockets,, not too big collar… :)

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    Feb 27, 2011, 03.18 AMby joyk

    I would love to make a knee-length trench in a bright, spring blue color.

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    Feb 27, 2011, 02.04 AMby teamydear

    An orange jacket with a round collar and small pockets and a veeeeery soft lining! A winter jacket :)

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    Feb 27, 2011, 12.06 AMby pursuingmydream

    my dream jacket is a baby blue short trench coat lined with a beautiful light pink for pop

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    Feb 26, 2011, 09.08 PMby cam557

    I’d love a floral print blazer.

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    Feb 26, 2011, 04.07 PMby knuckleknuckle

    Right now, my dream jacket is a cropped trench, probably in dark green. It will have a cool, abstract print lining and epaulets on the shoulders. Wendy’s books are all super! I’m so excited about this book giveaway!

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    Feb 26, 2011, 08.19 AMby leonx

    i would love a long long coat to my feet one that could change coulor and have diamond buttons with light up swirls and it would glow in the dark i know this may sound like fantasy but if you really work hard you can achieve anything you want (though im not so sure i could get diamond buttons).

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    Feb 26, 2011, 03.12 AMby Monkee Boo

    my dream jacket is a black wool maxi with button details and belt loop for a fabulous belt to cinch the waste. it would have nice big lapels to pull up on those windy days to protect from the wind chill. Pockets on the side to keep my hands warm.

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    Feb 26, 2011, 02.08 AMby sherrieh

    I just got back from a trip, so I’ve been thinking about a light, comfy, and easily packable travel jacket that would also work as a short robe/pool cover-up. I think an Asian-influenced design along the lines of New Look’s 6920 would dress up or down, maybe in something like a charcoal waffle weave or jersey.

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    Feb 25, 2011, 11.15 PMby artepart

    My dreamjacket is going to be a tide bodice with princeslines,nice fitting sleeves in two parts,upper and underpart,a peplum style underpart in about four pieces for a nice flow of the fabric,nice collar in two parts.Made in different upholstery fabrics in almost matching colours but just not,if you know what I mean. And closing with or a great belt or a beautiful button.

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    Feb 25, 2011, 09.47 PMby runningwithscissors1

    Winter here seems painfully long (especially by the end of February ;) ). My dream coat is something warm, with a zip out good insulation layer for when it is not so cold out. 3/4 length. Flattering silhouette. Wool, a bright colour to warm up a drab winter day… And a zipper to block out the draft, but that has to be very secure! And a hood- something fashionable. And inside pockets. And outside pockets.

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