Monday, May 22, 2017

Tee it up for Summer! Yep it's Me Made May Time!

Jalie 3352

With such a huge selection of knits available at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley, it's no wonder that making tee shirts for the Spring and Summer is one of our favorite sews. Whether it be cotton or rayon knit, the prints and designs are infinite, so every tee looks unique, even if you reuse the pattern over and over. We've even noticed that the overall quality of knit fabrics has improved over our 34 years here at Stonemountain, so we totally enjoy finding those unusual prints for you.

If this is your first experience with knits, you may want to try a more stable, soft cotton knit before you pick an even softer rayon knit...and by all means, save our luscious silk knits until you've got a couple of tees under your belt - slippery little devils! :) We stock great polyester knits as well, but we're thinking summer heat so the breathable natural fabrics are best for tees - save those polys for Fall and Winter.

We have been enjoying the focus on Indie Patterns for quite a while now. Over on Instagram, our sewing community is sharing their creations for Me Mad May! You can use the hashtag #memademay and always remember to tag #stonemountainfabric if you use our patterns or fabric! If you are not on there following @stonemountainfabric and @fabriclady3, do head on over!

One of our go-to patterns is Grainline Studio's Lark Tee.  It's an easy pattern for intermediate sewists, but even a beginner who's just trying their first knit tee can probably handle it. Perfect for getting started with #memademay or your summer sewing! Here one we've made in the past for me...

This graphic print was more challenging to cut out then it was to sew.

Laurel is addicted to the Lark - last Winter she made three of them in one sitting.

So naturally, as she looked forward to the summer months ahead, she returned to the Lark, but with shorter sleeves for the valley heat. The Lark has four sleeve variations and four necklines to choose from - that's what makes it such a great pattern.  We both also love that it is fitted and longer in the torso.

Why not do another "power sewing" day and make three at a time - especially when they all will use the same color thread! Much of the sewing on knits can be done with a serger - the side and shoulder seams, as well as finishing off the edges. Each variation of the Lark Tee neckline comes with a perfectly fitting neck binding pattern piece, so no guesswork is needed.  The sleeves are sewn in using a stretch stitch (you can use a small zig-zag stitch) and then finished with a serged edge for neatness.

Our Buyers Lauren and Liz are always talking sewing techniques with Laurel, and Lauren has been touting the twin needle finish on the hems. So let's give it a try, using a wooly nylon in the bobbin. We had to mess with the tension a bit to reduce the tunneling that sometimes occurs with certain knits.

Two spools of the same color thread
Laurel actually used a jeans twin needle, as the needles were farther apart. And she set the stitch length for 3.0
 Not a bad result...right?!

 On this rayon knit, she used the v-neck option and a deeper hem.

We love this cotton animal pattern soft and cute.

In the absence of an expensive Cover Stitch machine, this twin needle finish is great.

I think Laurel picked up some turquoise denim last month...this needs a pair of Morgan Jeans, right??
The third tee wasn't as cooperative with the twin needle as the other two fabrics, so we just reverted back to a multi zig-zag to finish it off.  In fact, the fabric got a little tangled up in the plate and whoops...naturally, the hole is on the front of the sleeve...oh well. Finished is better then perfect!

We love the shorter cap sleeve version too!

Most of our Indie pattern makers offer some sort of a tee shirt pattern, so don't be limited in your pattern selections. Why not also try this cute Dolman top from Jalie #3352...

Jalie 3352

Or this raglan tee, also from Jalie 3245...

Jalie 3245
After all, variety is the spice of life! And we certainly have enough variety in the fabrics to choose from.  Here's a couple I chose ( you know how I have that Celestial thing going)

Get your tees started now, before the summer the heats up.

What are you most desiring to make?

I hope that my blog is serving to inspire you to get your summer sewing planned out!

With all the great new patterns and high quality of fabric at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics, we got this, right?!

Now step on over to the inspiring blog of my Berkeley Fabric store and read more about Me Made May and what our customers are doing with our fabric!

"It's so inspiring to see what our customers create with our fabrics and patterns!  We thought we'd gather together some of the garments we've seen on Instagram this past month, and we hope it inspires you too!"

Me Made May Round Up for Stonemountain!

Creatively yours,

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Oh Sonya - We Are Glad We Found You!

Get ready for sewing blast off this May! I am so excited to bring you some great patterns to get started sewing for warmer weather and #memademay17! 

We've talked a lot about how fabric choices can change the look and feel of a pattern and nowhere is this more on point than with the design aesthetic of Sonya Philips' 100 Acts of Sewing pattern line. These wonderful designs have simple lines and not a lot of frills, leaving you the opportunity to make each garment your own through fabric choices.

Today is the perfect day to wear my Dress No. 2

Lauren was thinking the same thing when she chose her Dress No. 1 to wear.

Dress No 1, Claire is wearing her Cleo Dungaree Dress by Tilly and the Buttons and I'm in Dress No. 2

Dress No. 2 Great in wovens and knits!

Feels so good on!

Looks amazing in this Poly Burnoout Knit we got in!

This easy top (Shirt No. 1) takes about an hour to whip up - why not try a soft ikat, linen or double gauze - perfect for Spring and Summer!!

My Shirt No. 1 is amazing!
One way to make the Dress No.1 or 2 is to change up the pockets - or leave them off altogether!  Depending on your fabric's pattern, why not try switching up the direction of the pocket, like these large stars - the pockets are turned 90 degrees on the pattern.

Take one of our African Cotton Imports and make
the Ultimate Dress No. 1
Or try cutting the pocket pattern on the bias - works great with plaids and checks!

Dress No. 1

Love this!

Pocket Detail!
And of course, we love layers!! Make two Dress No.1's and alter the hem length on one.

Together! Heavenly!  Made in Loominous 2 fabric by Anna Maria Horner.
Laurel cut the neckline slightly lower on one dress, so the other would show.

Details, details!

Great to find two fabrics that play so nicely together.
Laurel made this whole ensemble for our recent Trunk Show Event - a Dress No. 1 underneath a Dress No. 2 over a pair of Pants No. 1.  The body of Dress No. 2 is made in a woven fabric, while the sleeves are a soft black jersey knit.  The Dress No. 2 is a little fuller than the sleeveless Dress No. 1, so Laurel did adjust out some of that fullness. The Pants No.1 are made with our beautiful Nevada Linen. (Where did she get those perfectly matched flats??!)

Laurel's amazing outfit - So fancy!

The neckline and pockets are trimmed in a cotton and lurex blend.

Layering is a great option!
Great details to add!
Again, make the pockets your own!
Combining fabrics in a surprising manner!

Ok now it's your turn to find your favorite fabrics and make up your own No. 1 and No. 2's!

Keep on Sewing,
Suzan Steinberg

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Pacific Leggings - Quick and Easy!

With the weather changing, my thoughts are turning to working out more! We have been collecting some wonderful nylon/lycra and cotton/lycra knits for leggings, activewear, and swimsuits.

One of these had my name all over it!  Our Sewaholic Pacific Leggings are just the ticket! The panel at the waist hugs my belly in just the right way and stays up where I need it to.

This pattern has a lot of options, but we decided to keep it simple.  You can make them long or short, and there's a lot of fun to be had with colorblocking.  There's also the option to put a zippered pocket in the back of the waistband.  Great for storing your phone or keys while running!

Shown here with another activewear pattern from Sewaholic, the Dunbar Top.

When choosing a fabric, make sure you look for four-way stretch.  Sometimes these kinds of knits are also advertised as activewear, dancewear, or swimwear.  All knits will stretch in at least one direction, usually crosswise.  A four-way knit stretches both crosswise and along the selvage.  These kinds of knits are necessary for activewear and swimwear, where garments require a tighter fit than regular street clothes.

You can sew them with a serger or your regular sewing machine!  Easy to get done in about an hour! Just make sure you have a ballpoint needle in your regular machine.  It will make your life so much easier.

As you can see in the picture on the right, there is a small piece of elastic sewn onto the top of the waistband.  This gives a smooth, flat finish.  Laurel used a zig zag to attach this, which is a stitch that will stretch with the elastic.

Love the fit of these!  Not too tight, not too loose.  Sewing your own activewear may be intimidating to some, but you can get a great pair of leggings that fit just the way you like it.  And when you compare the cost to some brands of RTW out there...we'd much rather make them ourselves!

Time to get silly and practice those core exercises!

Now it's time to chill in my comfy leggings! 

Stop by Stonemountain & Daughter and see them on display in our Knit Section and look at all our choices for your leggings.

Keep on Sewing!

Sewaholic Pacific Leggings and my
 Toaster Sweater by Sew House Seven

Friday, March 17, 2017

There's still time for a Toaster!!

It could be one of those years where we just bounce from winter right into has happened before in our sunny state.  But more often than not, we get a few days of warm weather in the early months of the year and we are lulled into dreams of springtime...then BOOM! It's raining again and 40 degrees. Even in spring, many parts of our pretty state feature a cool delta breeze in the evening, so we keep our sweaters handy year round.

That's why we love this Toaster Sweater, From Sew House Seven.  Depending on the knit fabric you choose, it can ward off the chill in air and look smashing and cozy at the same time. I know I will be loving this on those foggy Berkeley mornings throughout our summer! It's all about layers, right?!

The Toaster is another one of our patterns that is perfect for a beginner, especially Version #2.  The "funnel neckline" is easy to execute, as the facing is just an extension of the bodice's neckline.

If you want your Toaster to be "toasty", then we suggest a soft sweater knit - something with a little more bulk than a lightweight jersey.  And if you really want to stay warm, you can always pick a soft fleece.  The side seams on Version #2 feature a high-low hemline (like a vent).

My favorite version of the Toaster is this multi colored "topaz" sweater knit - I can just see wearing it by the fireplace in Tahoe, or cuddled up on the couch with my kitty.

Laurel made her Toaster out of one of our patterned sweater knits.  She increased the length, omitted the side vents and shortened the sleeves. With so many variations of style you can choose and knit choices here at Stonemountain & Daughter, how can you go wrong?

Another twinsy moment, sort of...when we get a new pattern at the store, we both want to make it, but many times our choices of fabric are different. Likewise, many on our store team pick the same patterns and we all look different. That's one of the great things about making your own wardrobe: when you find a pattern or design that you love, you can make it over and over, and with a few minor changes in fabrics and styling, each version looks unique.

Keep on Sewing!