By  on February 7, 2007

Joining the online tech-craft renaissance, magazine publisher and pattern making company Burda Moden has created an online community for "open source" sewing patterns.

The idea comes from open source software, such as the Linux operating system, which is free and can be modified by any programmer. A special collection of Burda patterns is available online and can be printed for free and sewers can post photos of their creations online. They are encouraged to alter the patterns and post instructions.

"It is our dream to have a fashion show" of the outfits people make, said Benedikta Karaisl von Karais, Burda Style's designer.

Designer Wendy Mullin of Brooklyn, N.Y., who has three stores and designed special collections for Wrangler, tapped into a similar idea when she sponsored a contest of designs made with Simplicity patterns from her Sew U book, which came out in September and teaches sewers how to creatively adapt patterns.

The McCall Pattern Co. sells Vogue, Butterick and other patterns online but does not yet have an online community.

Fitz Patterns and Craft magazine also offer free patterns online.

At Burda Style, sewers may create online profiles where they can post photos and videos of their creations and instructions of how to make something, list supplies for trade and bookmark favorite designs from other sewers.

The site has been up for a week, and even before there was any publicity, sewers from as far as Iran, Sweden, Germany and Russia visited and left comments or posted photos.

For instance, Jennifer Tomaszewski of Milwaukee had transformed the Ellinor tunic — originally made up by the Burda team in a disco-worthy sequined black chiffon — into something more suitable for a breezy picnic with the addition of buttons and looped buttonholes and the choice of a sprightly striped cotton.

She also photographed every step of the process, which she posted with instructions on the site.

Sewers are welcome to use patterns from any company. "We don't see it as competition," said Nora Abousteit, who handles marketing and communication for Burda Style.

The idea for the site and the collection was Herbert Burda's, the son of the founders, Abousteit said. He wanted to create younger styles and reach a younger audience.

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