burdastyle.com is a website created by the german-based sewing pattern company, burda, and it's essentially a great open-source resource of super stylish sewing patterns, available for free via the web. said patterns are accompanied by how-tos, a bustling little community of fashionable makers who discuss making and altering clothing and such in the burdastyle forums, and a cool little blog that keeps the interested updated on associated contests, tips, and the latest pattern offerings on the site. you can use the patterns for your own use, and unbelievably, can also use some the patterns to make clothing to sell in small collections (hence the open-source description).
armed with some semblance of sewing skill and flair for fabrics, i believe that a savvy fashionista could, in theory (and in practice!) cobble together a mighty fine wardrobe of completely au courant, on-trend clothing, without shelling out any cash for patterns. the only necessary items to attain said patterns? adhesive tape, a printer, and printer paper. genius!
to prove my above point, i've made a point of picking what i see as some of the basic pieces of a fun little wardrobe, put together with a few choice selections from burdastyle's current catalog of patterns. also, because i'm like that, i've also included some suggestions of what to wear them with/styling ideas. enjoy!
first up, a super simple long sleeve tee they've named the lydia, which is meant for knit fabrics.
while this would look great on it's own, it's really a quintessential layering piece: put it under short-sleeved sweaters, under or over other tees and tanks, with a high-waisted skirt, you name it! also, being so basic a pattern, it also seems to me it's literally calling out for creative customization: why not make the tee out of other old tees or salvaged knits from your personal stash or from finds from your local thrift? you could also break up the pattern by adding seams, or a yoke, for some further interest. sounds sort of cliche, but this pattern is so wide open as far as options that the sky is really the limit as far as what you could do with it.
i am in lurve(!) with this lovely vest, called the franzi.
very menswear-ish, natch. immediately, pairing it with oxfords and some sharp skinnies or nice wide legs seems obvious. but it would look mighty fine over a little dress, paired with a beat up old vintage tee, over a tank top, with a sharp straight skirt, anything. another key piece just begging to be layered up in an innovative way. and fabric choices are wide-open, too: you could go all traditional and use wool menswear fabrics in plaids and tweeds...or go in a completely different direction and use patchwork, slick silk satin or taffeta in a jewel tone, or even dark denim. what you chose as far as fabrication would certainly signify your personal style...and that's what i think is the loveliest thing about this one. mix the pattern up and leave off the pockets, or cut them from a different cloth! and as for the buttons? well, i can see a motley collection of varied buttons living on the front of this thing (with buttonholes in various sizes and contrasting colors with the buttonhole thread to match, perhaps?), or you could even make your own covered buttons to match coordinate with the colors and fabric of the vest itself. you could also do some beautiful embroidery on said covered buttons to take them to the next level and have the vest feel just a little couture.
even tho i'm currently pregs, i'm seriously pondering making this vest up myself, maybe in a couple of colors, to layer and leave open, letting zee growing belly poke out. one maybe in dark denim? yeah, fun! will certainly let you know (and post the results!)...if i get around to it!
this easy-peasy dress, called the anda, is so simple, it could be attempted even by the most beginning sewer.
the fit is loose and has lots of ease, what with the drawnstring waist and empire line! any fabric seems like a possibility with this one: a soft rayon in bright florals, a crisp but lightweight cotton or cotton gauze, even a lightweight denim or wool would work. would be perfect over jeans (maybe burdastyle's anita skinny jeans, below?), with some cute tights or leggings paired with boots, over a simple tee like the lydia, above. why not add a small peter-pan collar, change the drawstring to become two pieces you can tie at the sides rather than the front? or, you could perhaps add drawstring at the bottom as well to make it bubble. i love that last idea, myself.
i'd switch out the neck and armhole binding for actual facings, though (which differs from the pattern instructions), if i were making it...seems sturdier to me and looks more finished. (but i am totally a gal who likes *everything* i make or wear to be very finished and perfect...alas, i digress, as that's a subject more suited for a whole other, unrelated to the subject-at-hand post! ha.)
this here is the linda skirt, a very full number that could be an easy afternoon sewing project and perhaps, a workhorse of any closet.
i have a few skirts like this, myself. and i find them so fun to wear. the sheer amount of fabric ensures a swishy walk, which is really feminine and fun. it's equally cute in any length, from mini to the floor. i like wearing mine with high boots or demure little ballet-type flats, and i find that the ones i like the best are made of sturdy types of cloth like denim or lightweight canvas...something on the stiffer side, for body. but really, a softer, floatier version might suit someone else's fancy just fine, especially if they like things super fem. i find i like to pair mine with fitted tops, sweaters and jackets, because the proportion seems better that way, counterbalancing the fullness of the skirt itself. easy ways you might alter or add to such a sweet skirt might include: adding a thicker/wider waistband, or maybe attaching straps (or even a bib!) to the waistband as is, for a little jumper-style skirt.
want skinnies? make your own with the anita jeans.
get some denim with some stretch, and you're good to go! important if you want to be able to bend and live without binding! the details are what really make this one: the back pockets are asymmetrical, making them pretty unique. do 'em up in colored or white denim, or make them super basic in black or blue. a zipper on the ankles, a la so many skinnies these days, might not be a bad addition. or, you could even take the zipper thing to the next level by using one half of a metal zipper to stand in as piping on the edge of a pocket, or even down the side seams!
more extremely cute burdastyle patterns:
-the malissa: a knit tent dress
-the laurelle: a straight skirt meant to be done up in denim
-the talea: a wooly winter coat with vintage appeal, meant for the more advanced seamstress