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One of the things that’s so great about living in our modern society is the range of technological advances through the past few decades that have enabled us to streamline many of our crafting processes and ultimately achieve more in less time with less effort. From software that aides us in design to machines that help to execute what our hands alone may not, to the vast expanse of Internet platforms allowing us to share and learn, it’s now easier than ever for us to not only create but to engage and share our creativity with the rest of the world.

Whether it’s BurdaStyle, Etsy, Ravelry, StyleTrek, or FashionStake, there are a number of websites set up to help creatives of all kinds to not only get inspired but also to reach new audiences they may not have had access to before. We can now find patterns, tools and materials, share ideas, get tips and sell or buy goods with the click of a button, all while connecting to an innumerable amount of people in the process. Technological advances have revitalized and revolutionized craft and DIY, making creativity more popular and more accessible than ever before.

We want to hear from you: What recent technological advances have aided your craft the most? What in our modern society helps you to be more creative and get more done with less effort? Or maybe you have an idea for a new invention that could streamline your creativity. Give us your feedback and you could find yourself in possession of a brand new Windows 7 phone from Microsoft! Simply leave your comments below between now and Monday, November 29th, 2010 for your chance to win. For full contest rules click here and we can’t wait to hear your ideas!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES (D.C.) 18 YEARS AND OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sweepstakes ends 11/29/10. For Official Rules, prize descriptions and odds disclosure, visit our discussions post. Sponsor: Federated Media Publishing, Inc., 2 Harrison Street, 7th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105.

This giveaway is brought to you by the new Windows Phone 7. Less tech tired. More tech trendy: Learn about Windows Phone online [www.windowsphone.com] and see it in person at local T-Mobile stores today.


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    Nov 18, 2010, 02.03 AMby nattyjane

    Blogs and online forums such as BurdaStyle have been a huge help for me since I started sewing clothing around 2 years ago. These online sources give me inspiration and they have helped me improve my skills with different tutorials and patterns.

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    Nov 18, 2010, 02.01 AMby tru

    For me it has been the little things that have opened more experimentation like the fusibles and stabalizers. Then the smaller improvements on the sewing machine have just made my day like the light when the bobbin is getting low, the foot-up or foot-down, the hands-free reverse and the knee riser for the presser foot. All these little things are worth a ton of catalogues to me. (smile). Tru

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    Nov 18, 2010, 01.25 AMby qsogirl

    I’d have to say the internet has been one of the biggest sources of creative fuel for me. I read a (very) large number of blogs and have learned and been inspired by almost every post I see. If I have a question about a particular technique, I can search the web for solutions and find them within minutes, without even having to leave my sewing room. If I’m in a creative slump, I can browse forums and galleries to relight my fire.

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    Nov 18, 2010, 01.14 AMby amoney3

    Online tutorials have been an immense help in exploring new frontiers of creativity. Learning how to crochet or cross-stitch is no longer a lonesome adventure!

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    Nov 18, 2010, 12.20 AMby sabinaholtby-1

    BurdaStyle has been a HUGE source of motivation. There are some other great Web 2.0 things that really give me great ideas, like the artwork featured on www.storybird.com and the cool ideas, fonts and colors on www.tagxedo.com. I am inspired by other artists all the time. I also use www.gettyimages.com to find awesome artwork for inspiration. I have found almost all of these by using Google, my room mate and I often say that we feel like Google is taking over the world, and we don’t really mind.

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    Nov 17, 2010, 11.22 PMby nehmah

    I seldom leave the house, so using the net for shopping is one great advantage. I can find new tools and materials for all types of crafts and sewing. Even better is reading unbiased reviews on blogs. I tend to discount a manufacturer’s or a vendor’s reviews. (They are there to sell a product, after all.) I look for, and pass along any free patterns, contests, or special offers I find. Free is good; sharing is even better. Nehmah/Emily

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    Nov 17, 2010, 10.15 PMby clytemnestra

    Online shopping helps most in my sewing. I live in a small town without a sewing store, so checking where I can by supplies or ordering online is my most important tool.

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    Nov 17, 2010, 07.58 PMby curlace

    You tube are online video tutorial has been the best advancement for me. If all i need was text and pictures to create something new i would have been a Knitting, sewing, and cooking fool. But I need to see the action and be able to play it over and over to truly understand. SO when i began to knit and i found “the knit witch” and many other videos, or when i wanted to learn to make a chocolate lava cake from scratch, or chocolate gouache ( i like chocolate) I could SEE how it was done. Now I can master all!!!!

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    Nov 17, 2010, 06.34 PMby lynleyc3

    PDF’s are marvelous for sharing and selling patterns, my embroidery machine makes personalizing easy and some of the design software makes designing patterns alot easier. I also love my serger, it makes sewing easier. I also use a yarn claculator program to help make crocheted clothing.

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    Nov 17, 2010, 04.24 PMby ashliec

    Shopping online for fabric is a lifesaver. Not a lot of interesting or good quality apparel fabric can be found in Omaha, Ne. But because I’m a clothing and textile design student it is crucial to find appropriate fabric for my designs. Using the internet I can shop at fabric stores all over the world!

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    Nov 17, 2010, 03.50 PMby Sara Stryjewski

    Web designer here, love reading blogs of all kinds to see how they work… and the best thing to come out in the last couple years is html5. Learning that really moved me up a couple levels, in skill and confidence.

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    Nov 17, 2010, 03.47 PMby dolowoyo

    Lately, I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop for a lot of Idea construction. It’s come in very handy

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    Nov 17, 2010, 03.41 PMby ciaositos

    Social networking tools, especially blogs and forums have helped me in my journey to become a sewer. My mom and grandma aren’t sewers, I come from a family of knitters, so I had no one to really guide me and teach me the ropes. I didn’t want to invest in a class for every single project I wanted to undertake so finding free tutorials online, recommended books (big plus when I could snag them at the library), and tips and tricks has been immensely helpful.

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    Nov 17, 2010, 03.02 PMby sewshesaid

    Technology and how it has helped me in my craft.. I had never touched a computer till I bought my first embroidery machine. Took a while to learn, now w/ everything there is out there, from my Wacom tablet to Usb sticks that fit your machine, I still love being able to search for Tut.s for my students online. My sons Droid is a blast being able to scan and price ck for supplies is fab.

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    Nov 17, 2010, 02.03 PMby alicolette

    technology has helped me in so many ways. Not only does my computerized bernina sewing machine help with my efficiency but just being able to log on to etsy and post a picture of my latest creation helps me get my crafts and creations out to millions.I also love posting my projects on Burdastyle.com because I get a lot of different kinds of feedback. Without all of these technologies I would not be able to expose my crafts to so many people. My idea for an invention would be a machine that could dye white thread to match whatever color fabric you have. It would be so helpful with those hard to match fabrics. I would also love to have a new smart phone to help keep up with my upcoming business and projects

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    Nov 17, 2010, 02.00 PMby susieq3123

    Absolutely has to be my computer! Things such as pics, lettering & tracings & depending on the paper/fabric I use, I can create a more accurate, faster & more professional look to my finished product! I LUV it!

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    Nov 17, 2010, 01.33 PMby vintagegal

    Finally getting a computer this year (laptop) at home has been life-altering to me, and my sewing/creativity. I used to have to run to the library several times a week, to check email, enter competitions, etc. There was no time to “surf”, or enjoy any of the wonderful sewing blogs, websites and creative forums out there. Once I was plugged in at home, it made everything so easy and fun. Now I can read my favorite blogs, update my own fiberarts pages (including Burda), sell my work on Etsy, and I have made some wonderful long distance creative friends, who constantly amaze and inspire me. The Burda site is my favorite, actually. Being perhaps a bit older than the median reader/user, I am finding that I am constantly amazed and delighted-and inspired!-by all the terrific younger sewers out there. I love seeing the range of work being done, and the pictures of everyone’s weddings, babies, kids, husbands-all makes it feel like one big happy family.

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    Nov 17, 2010, 12.47 PMby amber0721

    Blogs of all sorts have seriously changed my crafting. So many free tutorials – how did anyone learn how to do stuff before (especially without a crafty grandma)?!

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    Nov 17, 2010, 06.53 AMby my2cats

    Although I have been sewing since I was about 12, the best thing I did was take sewing classes at the local community college and the classes are resonable. I have learned valuable sewing techniques that go beyond the instructions that are included in a pattern. Not only do we complete a project we also fill a personal binder with sewing samples and how-to-do instructions that can be referenced long after the class is over.

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    Nov 17, 2010, 05.34 AMby sstran

    I tried crocheting in order to re-use some tops and dress them up a bit. They failed but i tried and I like the idea of adding a dressier border to shirts. Will try again.

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    Nov 17, 2010, 02.56 AMby dalan121

    Hands down, i have to say the internet has been the best thing for my crafting. I’ve learned how to knit and more advanced sewing techniques through videos, forums, and blogs I’ve found online.

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    Nov 17, 2010, 02.21 AMby jenniferprovost

    The internet and email have allowed me to market my fashion business and get clients. I prefer low-level technology for creating, but I have to hand it to my laptop for helping grow the business side of my crafting.

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    Nov 17, 2010, 02.07 AMby lillyvons

    My cell phone: I snap photos of ready-to-wear fashion in the stores (don’t have to drag along the sketch pad anymore), photos of fashions I see on TV, keep lists of notions & patterns I need and pics of swatches to take to the fabric stores with me, keep sizes and favorite colors of loved ones for future gifting, find fabric stores quickly in new cities. Anything that keeps me more organized for my shopping and wasting less time trying to remember things, or having to drive back to a store because I forgot something leaves me more time to sew.

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    Nov 17, 2010, 01.31 AMby bistre

    Silicone putty – I sculpt things, and having silicone putty to make food safe molds helps to make multiples of one sculpture in a matter of minutes, and of course being able to access craft websites/blogs by computer, or phone (especially phone) helps alot with my many craft projects, be it sewing or sculpting _

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    Nov 17, 2010, 12.50 AMby jillesta

    I am a costumer and corset maker and without the internet my skills would be nowhere near as advanced. I learn something new every day from my LiveJournal corsetmaker group. Research that would take days to find the information, I can call up in a few minutes of searching on the web. I have to admit though, I do most of my sewing on a 70 year old Singer! I only use my fancy computer sewing machine for buttonholes and knits.

    I think technology has helped to replace sitting around the kitchen table with the neighboring woman and talking about projects. Life is too busy. We work and have families and somehow the simple exchange of information from woman to woman is gone. How many people in your neighborhood sew? Or that you even know? With the internet your neighborhood is worldwide. Forums, blogs and etsy brings us together and helps build a global marketplace we all can share.

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    Nov 17, 2010, 12.29 AMby slchavez

    I am using my Bernina Cutwork software & cutting tool to copy and cut out applique pieces … no more cutting out lots of leaves, flower petals, etc. one at a time.

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    Nov 17, 2010, 12.10 AMby lousylike

    I would be pretty lost without the internet these days. Sites like Burdastyle, etsy, youtube, Flickr, google images and blogs etc give me great inspiration plus a lot of technical support in the form of explanations and tutorials. I have developed such an appreciation for the huge number of different crafts there are and am so impressed by how people can always put new twists on old ideas. I have tried my hand at crafts that I would not have attempted without all the information there is online. Although not always successful it is always fun.

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    Nov 16, 2010, 11.43 PMby pnhart

    Hard to narrow it down to just one. On the analog side, I love the temporary spray basting products. They have come a long way, baby. On the plugged in side, I’m crazy about my modified wood burner for melting and fusing fabrics! On the online side, hooking up with other “makists” online through burdastyle, etsy, twitter, fb, creating the hive, etc. has brought me to a whole new level of inspiration.

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    Nov 16, 2010, 11.33 PMby RetroDivaSSC

    The internet itself is an endless source of ideas and advice for me. I think it’s pretty amazing that all i have to do is log on and I instantly have thousands of new projects at my fingertips. And shopping online has helped me find fabrics and other materials that I often have a hard time finding in my area. And I can’t tell you how many times I have been out and about and needed to find something cheaper online. That iPhone will certainly come in handy………

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    Nov 16, 2010, 10.56 PMby bluehorse

    I love patterns in PDF and using scaling to personalize patterns. Swapping out collars, pleats and other features to make different items that are more unique and suit my body and personality better. Getting materials from ebay is the best since they have so many one-of-a-kind things I’d have to scour dozens of resale and fabric stores for. I doubt I’d enjoy sewing nearly as much without the resources on the internet, including BurdaStyle! The tips here and at sites like instuctables on short-cuts and easy fixes make sewing more of a puzzle and mental exercise, piecing things together to find the magic combination. Even image searches give tons of inspiration.

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