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Our latest featured member is Lejditea, aka Tea! Find out more about her beautiful dresses, life as a freelance archaeologist, favorite patterns, and buying Burda patterns on the black market.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hello, my name is Tea. It’s not a nickname or something I want others to call me. My sister Dina and I were lucky to have mom who gave us these cool names instead of standard Serbian ones.

lejditea with Smoki
Tea and her dog, Smoki

Where are you from originally, and where do you currently live?

I was born in Belgrade (then capital of Yugoslavia, now Serbia) and I’ve spent my whole life here. It’s my favorite city in Serbia, and the best place to be (if you don’t have anywhere abroad to move). As an archaeologist, I spent months in other towns and villages in the country but I’m always happy to come home.

lejditea serbia

Do you have a day job besides sewing?

My whole life was always about hobbies. I finished high school for woodcarving, and after that studied archaeology (many people consider that a hobby!). Nowadays, I’m a freelance archaeologist (it sounds better than an unemployed archaeologist) spending all my free time making DIY projects..

How and when did you start sewing?

While I was growing up I watched my mom sew. That’s how I learned in theory how to trace patterns from Burda magazines, make a circle skirt and some other basic stuff. When I was in high school, I decided that it was time to learn how to sew. My mom explained to me how to use her sewing machine and my adventures started! I must add that at that time, in Serbia, Burda magazines were black-market goods. Everything was in German, and that’s why I still don’t have a habit of reading the instructions. Just looking at the pattern pieces, I can figure out how to put them together. I didn’t know anything about thread tension on the sewing machine and that stuff, so my mom’s Singer often drove me crazy. After sewing my prom dress, there was what I like to call my “hiatus period” in my sewing until the beginning of 2010 when I made a comeback. With discovering the BurdaStyle site, and a lot of great sewing blogs with tutorials, it was way easier to improve my sewing skills.

lejditea at 3 and her mother
Tea’s mother at her sewing machine, 3-year-old Tea in a dress her mother made

Do you prefer to work from patterns, or draft your own?

I can say that I prefer patterns to drafting. I’m very lazy when it comes to drafting and Frankenstein-ing the patterns, and I delay those projects until I feel 100% OK to experiment.

How would you describe your personal style?

I’m not sure if my style can be placed in any category. I try to look fun and colorful, even in my darkest moods. And I love to wear dresses, that’s why I sew them all the time.

What’s your sewing secret weapon?

Remnant bin! I believe that half of my fabrics are finds from the remnant bins. It’s always fun to dig through those piles of fabrics and find great surprises.

lejditea studio
Tea’s sewing corner and most recent family member, MacMalibu

Who or what inspires you? Shop windows, magazines, vintage patterns…

My main inspiration comes from my fabric stash and Burda patterns. When I make a perfect match of the two, I can start a project. Of course, that process is helped with other creative members on BurdaStyle and Kollabora who’s work I like to see. And last, but not least, one of my favorite students and good friend Snave (here known as kelerabeus), with whom I can talk about sewing for hours, exchange patterns, inspirations etc. Now we are also a good team for doing photo shoots of our projects.

What has been your favorite project recently?

Here Comes The Sun was project that I really enjoyed making. I’m so happy with the way that dress turned out. Also I adore my Pink Elephants dress. These two projects were on hold for a long time, I didn’t start sewing until I figured out every little detail. Maybe that’s why they are so special to me.

lejditea dresses

If you were to give a beginner one piece of advice, what would it be?

Have patience, you’ll make a lot of mistakes in the beginning. But after a while, with experience, you’ll get better at sewing and mistakes will be less visible (in my case they never go away). And may the force be with you!

If you had all the fabric, money, and equipment at your fingertips, what would be your dream garment to sew?

Well, I would like to get my hands on indie sewing patterns: Deer & Doe, Megan Nielsen, Republique du Chiffon, and many others. For most of us in Serbia, prices for them are too high, and that’s why we don’t use them. If an average indie pattern is about 10 euros, here at that price we can buy three current issues of BurdaStyle magazine and have some money left for an older one. Maybe one day our situation will get better.

lejditea personal style
True Romance dress, Heartbeats dress

Anything else you’d like us to know?

I name my projects after the titles of songs I’m listening to at the moment, or after the ones I love.. That’s why sometimes my projects have strange names.

Good to know! What’s your sewing soundtrack right now?

I’m soooo happy that last.fm has brought back free listening of music on their site. Now I can easily discover tons of new bands only by listening to (for example) “Bloc Party and similar” station. Bloc Party and Kele Okereke are still No. 1 in my world.

If you could choose a lifetime subscription to any fashion magazine, what would it be?

It would definitely be Burda Style magazine! Burda has forever been a sewing magazine in our home. And Vogue, it’s a classic that will always remind me of my mom.

Thank you so much for talking with us! Your dresses are always an inspiration.

Check out more of Tea’s projects on her profile.


  • Me1_large

    May 17, 2014, 07.28 PMby fashionfreek

    Congrats on your feature.x

    1 Reply
    • Hpim3301_large

      May 18, 2014, 11.18 AMby lejditea

      thank you :)

  • Purplefan_large

    May 17, 2014, 12.23 AMby purplefan

    Thanks for the store names, lejditea! I know some cities have fabric streets or districts and sometimes cities just have good stores all over the cities. My aunt may know the places better as she goes to Belgrade often. Will share this news with Mom. :)

    1 Reply
    • Hpim3301_large

      May 17, 2014, 11.02 AMby lejditea

      I’m glad if I was of any help :)
      My sister volunteers at Tourist Info Center, and she recommended Ethno Network as a place you could find something interesting.. She’s not sure if they sell fabrics or only finished products..

  • Kk_large

    May 15, 2014, 05.01 PMby kristikaarlop

    Love your dresses:)

    1 Reply
    • Hpim3301_large

      May 16, 2014, 11.40 AMby lejditea

      thank you :) I’ll keep making them ;)

  • Princezica_large

    May 15, 2014, 08.50 AMby mokosha

    :) cestitam ti sto si featured! volim da citam ove intervjue, a nema ih vec sto godina, bas mi je drago sto se jedan konacno pojavio, pa jos sa tobom :) divna ti je ova trogodisnja fotka u srvenom aljincetu!

    1 Reply
    • Hpim3301_large

      May 15, 2014, 10.43 AMby lejditea

      hvala :) meni snave prepricava desavanja na burdi, tako da me je uputila na zabusavanje s fm intervjuima.. zato mi je ovo bilo pravo iznenadjenje :) ta fotka mi je jedna od omiljenih :) jedino sto sam je mozda pogresno datovala, moduce je da sam imala 4 godine.. mrzelo me je da proverim s pasosima.. to je valjda bio jedan od razloga za slikanje, za koje, sto se da videti, nisam bila raspolozena :)

  • Missing

    May 15, 2014, 12.30 AMby Elchacha1000

    Quirky style, but cute. Your dresses are beautiful. Keep on sewing.

    1 Reply
    • Hpim3301_large

      May 15, 2014, 10.38 AMby lejditea

      thank you :) it’s hard to quit sewing when it’s fun and useful thing to do :)

  • Purplefan_large

    May 14, 2014, 10.13 PMby purplefan

    It’s exciting to see what you have made with your fabric finds and interest in different Burda patterns! Yes, sometimes I like a part of one BurdaStyle pattern and see another part in a different pattern. Will have to try combining parts to a dress or suit one day!

    When Mom was over in Serbia two years ago, she did not get much shopping into her trip (too busy with sightseeing). I wanted her to find some lovely dress or blouse fabric as a souvenir to sew at home afterwards.

    If you have a link to fabric stores for Belgrade, please share it! I could not find such a link on Tourism Organization of Belgrade’s Shopping Zone just for fabric stores. Thank you!

    1 Reply
    • Hpim3301_large

      May 15, 2014, 02.15 PMby lejditea

      thank you :)
      mostly I shop at Italtes stores in Belgrade.. they import fabrics from Italy.. their prices are most budget friendly.. I checked their site, and it’s not updated last 2 or 3 years :( of coarse, there are other fabric stores with better quality fabrics, but I rarely buy anything there (high prices for my budget).. one of them is Bombaj
      for now I can’t remember names of any other.. if you’re looking for locally produced textiles, I don’t know any place where they sell it (or produce).. in case I found put anything I’ll let you know :)
      p.s. we don’t have a shopping zone just for fabric stores :( they are all over the city..

    • This is a question
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