Maker Faire 2011: BurdaStyle's Online Community for DIY Fashion

burdastyle sewing photo

Photos via Jaymi Heimbuch

A staple of Maker Faire is the sewing and needlecrafts section. And where would any good craftster be in this day and age without and online community dedicated to their hobby? BurdaStyle welcomed in sewers, offering a free sewing project an an introduction to what just might be the coolest online resource for DIY sewers and clothes makers. BurdaStyle takes to heart one of the major themes of environmentalism -- sharing knowledge. If people can get their hands on information, we can be more self-reliant. We can depend less on consumer goods sold in stores, and instead craft our own goods as we need them. It's a more sustainable style of living, and that includes our clothing.

BurdaStyle offers free or cheap sewing patterns, tutorials, project ideas and resources for people to connect and share their skills. We've been smitten with BurdaStyle since 2007, and it was great to see a strong presence at Maker Faire this year.

The website states:

While creating BurdaStyle, we were captivated by the open source philosophy: the sharing of intellectual property and allowing the public to adapt it to their specific needs. We assimilated the concept to BurdaStyle, removing the copyright from our patterns. Our open source sewing patterns are free to be used as a base for your own design. Whatever you sew, you can sell if you like. We believe that removing copyrights from our designs will inspire creativity and spawn multiple new designs - and that's wonderful!

The site makes it much easier for us to DIY our own clothes, or refashion old items stuffed in the backs of our closets.

burdastyle shot image

BurdaStyle reminds me a lot of a sewing version of Ravelry, a community for knitters to network, swap patterns, get advice and reviews about yarns and projects, organize their "stash" and tools, and even swap or sell yarns they aren't using. Ravelry was born around 2007 during the major comeback of knitting as part of pop culture and is an invaluable resource for knitters. I'm hoping that a similar resurgence of sewing-my-own-clothes-is-cool!! is what brings us a need for a community like BurdaStyle. Sewing our own clothes or refashioning thrift store finds is a wonderful way to not only develop your own style, but to shrink the carbon footprint of your clothing.

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