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A sewing machine is an essential tool for anyone who makes clothing. Some of us are taught the various terms associated with the parts of a sewing machine from a teacher or family member. There are even more of us, however, who are never taught the exact terms and instead have taught ourselves, giving each part a name that describes what it does or what it resembles. This isn’t a bad thing, but it can be handy to know the technical names for these parts in case you find yourself teaching someone, shopping for parts, or writing a How To to post on this site! So here are some terms you may not have known- and can be found in the Sewpedia:

Tara, altered and refashioned


After reading all your comments of which there were many coming from various forums I decided to keep things simple for my first alteration. Instead of the flutter sleeves I added wide spaghetti straps with the intention of wearing a long sleeved top underneath. This way I’m not only going to wear it now during the winter but I will also be able to use it as a summer top. As for the neckline, I kept it as it is in the pattern but added a thrifted crochet doily between the bust pieces to help ‘cover up the girls’ a little more.

I used a jersey knit fabric found on a thrift store adventure a while back, it’s warm and I like the way it drapes and feels but I’m not too experienced in sewing this type of fabric, in fact I have only made a few other garments from jersey. I’m learning along the way and yes, there has been a lot of seam ripping and some not so ladylike words muttered throughout the process. I find it hard to keep my stitching straight due to the fabric being so soft and wanting to move around under the sewing needle. I plan on teaching myself more about sewing with knit fabrics and will post some how-to’salong the way. Check out Nayantara’s with recent how-to for adding a rib knit band to t-shirts. You know what they say….practice makes perfect! If you have any tips for me I’d be happy to hear them. Check out the How To to try this out yourself.

My next alteration challenge is Celestina. I LOVE the dress as it is but as this is an alteration challenge I should change something somehow, maybe the sleeves? Whatever I change, if I’m going to be wearing this dress I’m definitely going to have to alter the waistline as mine is growing considerably fast! Nope, I’m not eating too much cake, I’m pregnant!!!! Benedikta, I think I’m going to need the help of your wonderful pattern alteration skills otherwise everything I make from now on will be made in stretchy fabrics. At least I’ll become a pro at sewing knits!

Leave me a comment with your pattern alteration ideas by Wednesday and I’ll show you next week what I came up with.

T-shirt and jeans. . .


You may know from reading my profile about my sewing beginnings. I’ve really been sewing since I was quite young. I sewed at home, making clothes for dolls and matching clothes for myself (with my mothers help). I took several courses and independent studies in high school, where I actually made a doll that looked like myself (picture coming soon!), amongst other things like prom dresses, backpacks, quilts. . .

TREND: Twinkle, twinkle little bat


This is a good time for songbirds: Cat Power, Keren Ann, Norah Jones, Lily Allen, El Perro del Mar, Amy Winehouse, Feist, the list goes on. And if you like your chanteuses winsome, a little on the melancholy side and wearing enviable bangs, it’s a veritable golden age. U.K. songstress Natasha Khan – aka Bat For Lashes – fits that profile, to a degree. But she’s got something else going on, too. Khan’s debut album, Fur and Gold, weaves its moody pop into shimmering soundscapes showcasing Khan’s debt to her mentor, experimental music guru Steve Reich. Bjork is a fan, no surprise given the technical ambition of Khan’s sound; so is freak-folkie Devendra Banhart, whose neo-hippie ethos likewise winds through Bat For Lashes songs such as “Prescilla” and “What’s a Girl to Do.” Already a star and sometime fashion icon in the U.K., Khan arrives Stateside this month for a mini-tour on behalf of Fur and Gold, which hits record store shelves July 31st.

New Site Design - Bugs and Bonbons


We got tons of feedback for the new site design – thanks! – and we are still working on fixing it. We thought it might be of use for our members if we list the main bugs (things that will still change) as well as the great bonbons, so you know what more to expect! For the coming days we will post several updates on that.

Here are a few points with which we ask you to be a little patient with us:

*Pictures in the pattern catalog are fuzzy: We will exchange the fuzzy pictures with technical drawings and all the great pictures of our clothes, full length as well as detail shots will come back. They will be listed under the creation section and will link right to the pattern section (you can download the pattern from either section)

*Recently uploaded creations do not show yet in the ‘creation’ section, we’re fixing that so every creation that is freshly uploaded will appear right away in that section

And now a Bonbon (the German word we use for goodie!):

*The member profile is soo much more flexible! You can create your own home page. Upload pictures of any sort (not creation or How To
related) as well as a banner! You can also upload Flickr and Etsy Minis! We installed a RSS feed that informs you when someone
posted a comment on your creation or in a forum thread that you are participating in. And – you can leave messages on your friend’s wall!

The picture you see in this blog entry is red swirl’s member
home, she was the first one that used our new features just a few hours after launch.

Guess what, there is more to come

*You will be able to search patterns by the amount of fabric you have lying around at home – this will work as soon as we manually managed to fill in
that information. We hope to do that soon, right now we’re fighting the major bug war, the battles (fabric amount, lining, spacing etc.) follow…

Thanks again for all your support and constructive criticism, it really helps!

Sew Along!


In other BurdaStyle news I’m starting a Sew Along! I already posted a thread in the forum, click here.

We’ll share hints and tips, ask questions and help each other out. Then at the end we’ll post our creations and marvel at everyone’s talent and how different the same garment can look just by a change of fabric or a pattern alteration then give each other a virtual pat on the back.

I think we’ll start the Sew Along with the choice of any of the tops from the Burda Style pattern database. The choice to be left up to you. I’m leaning towards Susan or Maddy, since they’re the only two I haven’t tried yet.

Maybe you could use some fabric that you have sitting in your stash or find something at the thrift store to recycle. You could then spice your top up like I mentioned in my last column. Experiment!

NikkiShell meant to post the first pattern on Monday 23 July, but because of the new site design launch, this had to be postponed. Tomorrow we should know!

Every four weeks a new pattern choice will be announced, after starting a week before that to collect ideas from the Sew Along members! For each project, there will be a new thread in the forum category “Sew Along”.

New BurdaStyle Website!!!

Please celebrate with us the launch of the BurdaStyle website! If you find bugs, report them here. Any other feedback, just comment!

Sewing and Snakes


I am good at a lot of things. I am not good at even more things, including, but not limited to, gardening and sewing with elastic. I really discovered this when trying to sew the Tara top. It’s a beautiful top, with fluttery sleeves and a gorgeous, deep neckline. I love it now, but let me tell you, or better yet, let Nora and Benedikta tell you, about my experience with that top. After only three mini-disasters, I was successful, but not until I tried using a round elastic cord instead of a flat elastic tape to create the fit under the bust. I’m sure many of you had no problem with this, but I’ve decided one’s relationship with elastic is based on the Love/Hate concept. Much like a gardeners relationship with snakes. Snakes are necessary because they keep more plant-destroying predators at bay, but hated because they so sneakily appear and cause fright.

We Proudly Present....


This is a big week for us. So many big decisions leave us ready for the weekend, which will be just as eventful, considering that we are almost ready to launch the new web design.

Again, we have to express our big amazement with your work. We received lots of very creative submissions with very well constructed patterns.
It makes us realize how much potential is out there and hope that we find more and more ways to bring that to our site.

Enough of the waiting, here is our winner for the design/pattern contest:

Somwan Molzer also known as JJ.

She is the winner of $500 and her pattern will be produced as free download for all BurdaStyle members.

Her Retro inspired blouse is convincing in all criterias. The design, even though very developed leaves room for pattern changes and adaptation. It would work as a simpler version, without the ruffles just as well as replacing them with piping.

Her pattern is technically sound and was presented in a very clean and understandable way. All left to do is create the PDF out of it…

We feel that her pattern is a great addition to our ever growing collection and we hope to see many variations…

"Where Is the New Site Design?"


Many of you received a newsletter announcing the new design will be launched
several days ago. This did not happen – as you may have noticed…

And that’s how far we are: The site is completely programmed, yay! But, the
data transfer is not finished yet. This contains all the wonderful
creations, How Tos and member profiles you uploaded, as well as our patterns
and How Tos, the forum entries and the myriad comments you left.

We hope that this is finished this weekend and we will launch as soon as
possible after that. Most likely we will ask for your help to detect bugs and the

The sneak previews we got were great, and WE CANNOT WAIT TO SHARE THIS ALL

Above you see how your creations will be presented in the new site. As you can see as well there are still quite some things that are not correct, such as the search bar, sticking right to the box with the creator’s info, or the members other creations, that are not at all lined up yet…bear with us!!

We are pleased to announce. . .


Finally, after a long night debating, we have come to a conclusion in our design/drawing contest.

Before announcing the winner we just wanted to state how impressed we are. You all are some of the most talented and creative people out there, it makes all the hard work worthwhile and keeps us going. Looking through the submissions was inspirational, as we found numerous designs that were easy to make, presented beautifully, and incorporated the idea of a global community, just as we try to do here at BurdaStyle.
Nevertheless we had to choose and our winner is:

……. MALISSA LONG!! Also known as mlssfshn.

She, as the winner for design will receive 300 USD. Her design will be produced as free download for all BurdaStyle members.

Her “Sweat Dress” design stood out in all BurdaStyle criteria’s that we used to make a fair and sound decision.

Malissa, who tends to feel cold, often found herself wanting warmth, but not at the cost of looking fashionable, and so created a strong concept of a toasty but stylish dress.

Her inspiration is a common sweatshirt, a garment thrown on casually for warmth. She developed it further, making it into a dress that, depending on the choice of fabric, can be worn for a variety of occasions. Just imagine it in a pastel silk jersey, decked with Swarovsky jewels on the neckline, worn for a formal event. Or suppose it’s made in a more casual knit, accentuated by a different color choice for the rib on the hem and the turtleneck, rocked with slouchy boots to school or work. The possibilities are endless.

Her concept leads right into the open source idea. The dress, inspired by a casual sweatshirt, is an accomplished design in itself, but still leaves plenty room for pattern and design changes. Some of you may prefer it without the turtleneck, or a ¾ sleeves. And that is what we want to encourage you to do, take a pattern and make it yours!

Even though the Design is very distinct, it is simple and easily constructed keeping all skill levels in mind. Last but not least we loved her free and artistic style of drawing.

So many of you impressed us with not only your illustrating skills, but the ideas behind the designs as well! We’ve never been more “WOWed” and are thrilled to be on the receiving end of such brilliance! So, we would also like to share with you two submissions that are receiving our honorable mentions. For design merit, we award Jocelyn Lin’s Tabbed-Waist Top. Not only was it presented uniquely, but the concept was well thought out and explained as well. See also her website. For artistic merit, we were marveled by Marina Pcholkina, who, with her intricate and detailed illustrations, showed herself as both an artist and a designer.

Again, we thank all of you for your submissions and stay tuned for tomorrow, when we will announce the winner of the pattern-making competition!



Just when it seemed like the major American fashion rags were never going to do anything remotely awesome ever again, along comes the August issue of Harper’s Bazaar and a glossy spread so FREAKING AMAZING that your humble correspondent finds herself buying a subscription to the usually moribund magazine. The pictures are worth well over a thousand words, but here’s the nutshell version: Simpsons-go-couture. They sit front-row at Louis Vuitton, pay a visit to the Chanel atelier, get dolled up in Lanvin and Versace, and just possibly best of all, hang Viktor & Rolf’s ridiculous light contraption from Fall/Winter ’07 on the meaty shoulders of Patty and Selma. The sleek cartoon brunette along for the ride? Linda Evangelista, who has not looked better since at least ’93. Obviously, the Bazaar layout is part of the press juggernaut for the long-awaited, please-don’t-be-disappointing Simpsons movie, which arrives in theaters July 27th and has already occasioned a pseudo-serious Simpsons history in Vanity Fair and the single best marketing ploy ever, i.e., the transformation of select 7-11 stores into living, breathing Kwik-E-Marts. It’s rare that a movie’s push for pre-release buzz generates something more like actual joy, but the folks behind The Simpsons have done it. And so I say: See the movie. And also: shop at the Kwik-E-Mart, read the article in Vanity Fair and, last but not least, buy at least a few copies of the August Bazaar. This is collectors’ edition stuff.

And the Winner Is ??


Sunday was finally the closing date for our design competition. Already having received so many unbelievably creative submissions, we did not expect another last minute gush of entries. We are absolutely thrilled and have such a good time going through all the wonderful designs you have sent. As you can see on the photo!

We will still take a couple of days until we can announce the lucky winners, that will carry home a nice chunk of change of either $300 or $500. Expect to find out who won the drawing contest on Wednesday and who won the pattern contest on Thursday. We keep our fingers crossed for all of you amazingly talented people out there and are looking forward to showing you a bit of the best highlights of the contest…

Featured Member: ParaNoire


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

I’m from Germany. I live in a small village near Erfurt (in the middle of Germany).

How To: Make Now More Like Then


I spent some time at home with my parents this weekend- eating, going for drives, talking until late in the night, then eating some more. . . You know, the usual. Every time I go home I tend to mosey around each room to see what is different, what new purchases my parents have made (in the kitchen I found two-tiered toaster oven!), what furniture has moved around…


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