Monthly Archives: December 2013

Goodbye and good riddance 2013


Torg, toasting his son and new daughter-in-law at their wedding

This year ended on such a sad note for our family, and I am more than ready to turn the page on a new year and a new beginning. My only sibling, Torger Kristian Olsen, died on December 18th. He had been quite ill for some time with pulmonary fibrosis, but his sudden decline and death caught us all by surprise. He met death head-on, which for all of you who knew him, that was definitely how he lived his life, too.

I hope that 2014 brings only good things to you and your loved ones. I want to hug everyone that is dear to me every day in 2014, and hold fast only to their love, peace, and goodness.

This coming year will hold new sewing students, and new sewing projects. And very soon, I will be blogging again about all the goings on in the Sew Maris studio.

Blessings to you and yours in 2014!


Review: BurdaStyle for the U.S. Market

“The arrival of BurdaStyle U.S. fills a unique market niche for the fashion-forward American sewers. Known around the globe since 1949 as the premier sewing magazine for fashion and style, BurdaStyle is available in 90 countries and published in 17 different languages. is the largest global fashion and sewing community online, with more than 850,000 members and 7 million page views each month.”

Press release from BurdaStyle US, publisher F+W Media

Burda Cover

A few weeks back I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing the first-ever U.S. edition of BurdaStyle on my blog. Years ago I sewed extensively with Burda patterns and even subscribed to the English version of Burda magazine, but for no particular reason I drifted away. Reviewing their flagship edition seemed like a good way to jump back in!


You only get one chance to make a first impression. The gold, black, silver and white color combination used on the cover was modern, glam, and definitely festive.

Under the cover

Candy coated article


Modern Sophisticate article

Fashion. I love this section! I am a garment sewist. I don’t give 2 hoots for quilting, and only sew home dec items under duress. There were 6 articles listed in this category, tho Star Studded hardly qualifies as an article. More like a teaser. No instructions, just an image and a short paragraph short on details. I can definitely see the younger crowd going for the look, and not being stumped by the lack of specifics. Candy Coated featured six patterns sewn in eye-popping colors; all of which are included in the pattern pull-out section. The selection ranged from an easy skirt to a more complex jacket and trouser duo, and also included a dress, skirt + peplum top, coat, and cape. I thought all the garments were wearable and stylish, and the skirt and peplum top just might get added to my wardrobe. The Art of Great Style showcases 7 different ensembles in plus sizes. All of the garments were styled in black and white, and looked attractive and modern. My favorite was a really pretty wraparound pencil skirt. Legends of the Fall featured South American-inspired garments. The ethnic look is not really my style, but the inverted pleat dress was adorable and depending on fabric used could have a wide range of looks. The Modern Sophisticate was just that. Edgy. Urban. Modern. Sculptural. I want every one. Showstopper was disappointing. I thought the design lines of most of the garments were, frankly, dowdy and seemed oversized. Shine On was a fun article because it featured one of the garments (a silver sequined mini skirt) from Showstopper, and styled it in 3 different ways. The selection of accessories was fun and fresh.

Graphic Lines article

Ebony & Ivory article

DIY Trends and Styling. Beauty. Umm, a little superfluous to my mind. The rest of the articles are categorized as “runway DIY”, and I like seeing how the over-the-top runway looks can be incorporated into something actually wearable on a real person living a real life. Graphic Lines was a really fun little tutorial about painting bold graphic stripes on a metallic skirt. I can TOTALLY see my daughters doing this! Again, I can envision lots of young women I know DIY’ing Knit Necks onto T-shirts, but that is not a project I am going to take on. However, I loved getting some inspiration for using feathers in the Bold Plumes tutorial. Not sure how/when I might use it, but I still liked it. The Cinched Waist project was a quick method of adding some shaping to a RTW garment, which was not that useful to me. Duh. Because I SEW the shape I want into my garments and hardly ever buy RTW. Ebony and Ivory and Easy Rider were accessories/styling pages, and the faux pearls and diamond clutch by Aldo has to go on my Christmas list. I really love seeing these kinds of articles – fun eye candy!

Timeless article

In Every Issue. Denise Wild of The Sewing Studio New York and is the the editor of BurdaStyle, and bubbles with enthusiasm for her role as Editorial Director for BurdaStyle. (Hmmm, maybe we should hear more from her!) is just a little blurb encouraging us all to go online. Like any of us needed encouragement for more screen time. I enjoyed reading tips from members about making buttonholes. Maybe I will try using perle cotton one of these days! I loved, loved, loved the vintage re-work featured in the Timeless article. Channeling Jackie O!

Sewing. The latest sewing products are supposed to be featured in New & Now, so I would like to see products people who sew would actually want to use to make sewing easier/faster/more fun. A beaded sequined flower? Really? Burda Patterns gives you the low-down on how to work with Burda patterns. Duh. Machine Master featured working with sergers – and since most of us overlock seams and roll a hem now and again this kind of info is always useful. My general take on this section is, meh, not too much compelling here for an advanced sewist.

Patterns pullot

Pattern section. The guts of the magazine are the pull-out patterns. Lots of intersecting lines on these babies, but color and line style changes help to distinguish one from another. At least I hope they do, and they did when I used to trace them years ago. As of this writing I haven’t stitched anything up, but now that my sewing room is finally cleaned up and re-organized I want to give a few of the designs a try. Lots of people rave about the Burda fit, so it will be interesting to see how they work for my body type now. The main thing I think is unique about the magazine is that it offers patterns for designs that I see in RTW, but not in the pattern catalogs. One of the things that is still true is the “40 full size patterns included” claim on the cover is a stretch IMHO, as some patterns are merely length variations of others. While technically true, you are not really getting 40 unique full-size patterns. But if you consider the prize of patterns, still a bargain. It’s also true that some (all?) of the patterns included in the magazine are downloadable on All of the patterns included in Vogue Patterns magazine are included in their catalog, too. If you prefer full-size patterns to printing out a million sheets of paper on your home printer that then must be taped together, the magazine is a big bargain.


I really enjoyed the magazine and likely will subscribe. BurdaStyle definitely is not going to add anything to my sewing skills, but it could step up my style quotient. If you are looking for a magazine with an emphasis on fashionable, unique full-size garment patterns with interesting styling tips, BurdaStyle has something for you. However, if you want a magazine focused on sewing techniques, read Threads. Different audiences, different missions. I for one am glad to see a sewing magazine like BurdaStyle available to the U.S. market, and think it fills a hole in the marketplace. If you are interested, you can also download a digital version of BurdaStyle US and save a tree!

Happy sewing!


Quick Tip Tuesday: Silk basting thread

Silk Thread group

Try hand-basting with silk thread, especially on delicate fabrics like silk charmeuse and silk chiffon. When you press over the silk thread it does not leave a permanent mark on the fabric like polyester thread can. Genius!

Are you making something silky and special for the holidays this year? Do share; I want to see your creations!

Happy sewing,


p.s. You can purchase beautiful Japanese silk basting thread from my Etsy shop. Thanks for considering!


I Could Have Sewed All Day!

O.M.G. I really am not into cleaning, and would vastly prefer to spend a TOTALLY OPEN DAY sewing. The only thing that tops that activity is spending time with my DGD. So, you might ask, why did I spend all day Sunday and all Monday morning cleaning out, purging, shelving, boxing, and cataloging things in my sewing studio? You know the answer: desperation.

Cutting table with bookshelves behind

I moved the cutting table orientation in the room so I can walk all the way around it now. And the bookshelf on the right in the above picture and the wire rack? Totally cleaned out and re-orged.

Book Shelf Closeup

Here is a bit of a close-up of the shelving area. Goodness. Lots.of.stuff.

Sewing Machine Storage

I am super excited to have this sewing machine storage area set up. There used to be a file cabinet in this area, which I moved next to my desk. Now all my sewing machines, pressing tools, and student projects are organized right in the studio entry area. Sweet!

Sewing Machine Tables

Not any structural change to the sewing table area – just super clean. Now by tomorrow….sigh.

Staging Table behind Sewing Machines

The view from the other side of the sewing table area, looking toward the back of the room. Clean from this side too!

Sewing Desk Area

The desk area is still a yet-to-be-organized area. Paperwork is not really my specialty, but at least I have a file drawer nearby which (hopefully) will help.

Behind Sewing Desk Area

This view behind my desk is stacked mostly with projects that are in various stages of completion or mending/re-doing projects. I feel about those projects the same way I do about scrubbing toilets. They may never get completed, but I WILL clean up and organize them donate them to the Goodwill.

Staging Table Closeup

This closeup is another “longed for” area in the sewing studio. Even tho this table stacked with “ready to sew” or “ready to cut out” projects may look horrendous to you, with a quick pull to the right I have a photo corner. White walls and natural light to help produce better shots. Yes, more work is needed. but if I had actually sewed yesterday the stacks on this table would be smaller!

Happy sewing!