Monday, February 6, 2017

Can't Get Enough of this Pilvi Coat! One Coat - Four Fabrics!

Pilvi Power!

The Pilvi Coat, Part II

We are mad about Lotta Jansdotter's Pilvi Coat.  Our original test coat (see our first blog on the Pilvi) was done in a lovely orchid boiled wool with rayon, and we loved it so much we thought we'd try it in other fabrics. And the fun of it is that Laurel is making all three at the same time!

We hope to inspire you to make one of your own. This coat for all seasons could be your next project! Join us in our sew-along coming up in March, or you can get a head start on making your own now!

 Sewing is good for our soul, heart, and personal growth. Strolling the aisles in my store, Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics, is like visiting a fabric sanctuary. 2017 is off and running and we all need to sew more! I hope you will take the time to stop by or look through our website. We have all our independent patterns up on our virtual pattern table and it's easy to use. We mail all over the world, too!

Let's get started! Yes, sewing out of a book is different for all of us, but this works! For the price of the book, you get lots of inspiration and all the patterns within, including this Pilvi.

Book available in our store and on our website!

1) Yes! Another boiled wool/viscose for FabricLady (Moi), only black this time! It is my go to jacket for around the store and running around town. 

2)  A red boiled wool with lined sleeves for Laurel.

3) But first, a muslin tester for fit, out of an amazing sweater knit lace
...ahhhh so fine and still available at Stonemountain & Daughter!

4) And a lightweight Italian wool for Laurel's friend Katie.

Four different fabrics, each with its own unique characteristics, feel and look, so naturally we will use different techniques for constructing and finishing suitable for each fabric. The coat is designed to be unlined but in our trio, we will be lining the sleeves in Katie's Italian wool, just to make sure they slide easily over blouse and dress sleeves. Laurel eventually plans to line her sleeves in the Red boiled wool after the lacy sweater knit "muslin."

The Pilvi has basically eight seams (six really, if you sew the entire length of the sleeve and side seams in one step as the directions specify).  Deciding how to finish the seams is based on the fabric's propensity to ravel and fray.  For instance, knits never fray, so no finishing is really needed.  Since our boiled wool is a knitted fabric, we are not finishing the seams at all. But the fabric is bulky so we are top stitching both sides of each seam.

                          Inside of Sleeve Seam                                                     Outside 

Laurel's sweater knit has a lace overlay and since she's hoping to wear it as a quasi sweater coat, she is serging the seams together for a finished inside.

The Pilvi coat's easy construction consists of sewing the sleeve armhole seams to the front and back pieces first. We followed those steps with both the boiled wool and the sweater knit coats.

Katie's Italian wool is a loosely woven fabric and will naturally fray until it falls apart. Her coat will be basically unlined, so we want the insides to be pretty and polished, so we will be using seam tape to finish off the edges. As we discuss later, we are attaching the sleeves in the traditional way, so once the side seams were "Hong Kong" finished, we sewed them together. (We sewed our seams together first, then applied the seam tape, so as not to stretch the fabric.)

For Katie's woven wool, we will follow a more traditional sleeve application, because we are lining the sleeve.  We sewed the sleeve lining together, as well as the woven wool. Each sleeve piece (lining and wool) were then sewn together at the armholes, wrong sided together. The result is a smooth finished sleeve on the inside as well as the outside of the garment.

Lined sleeve, to be attached to body of coat along the arm hole/shoulder seams:

The neck facing for the Pilvi is a simple piecing together of a sleeve facing and the back facing, then attaching it to the front neckline facing which is a part of the coat easy four seams! The facing is then stitched down to the body of the coat. We trimmed (AKA graded) and clipped our neckline seams on all three fabrics, but it is especially necessary on the boiled wool because of its bulk. The clipping helps the curve lay smoothly.

After turning and pressing the facing down, we are top stitching the boiled wool and sweater lace down, as the the pattern suggests.  The facing edge is serged on the boiled wool and trimmed right along the top stitching on the sweater lace.

Katie's woven wool facing will be applied in the same way as the other two coats, serging along the facing edge.  We could also trim the edge with seam tape, but Laurel was concerned that the added bulk (albeit small) might cause a slight ridge in the front of the coat, given the fabric's lightweight hand.  We also added a lightweight interfacing to the facing before serging the edge.

The Pilvi design features inseam pockets on the sides of the coat, but we thought we'd do a tiny pattern hack and add large patch pockets on the coat front. We love inseam pockets, but with the bulk of the boiled wool and lace, we don't really need any "extra" hippiness at this stage of the game. We could attach the pockets without lining ( just turn the edges and stitch down) for both the boiled wool and the sweater lace, but we opted to line the pockets for the lace. The woven wool is too lightweight not to line the pockets.

Patch pockets are a snap - just decide on a size if you have no pattern.  Cut two pockets in your fabric and two in a lining fabric.  We folded it over and stitched down the edge before placing it on the coat front.

Try the coat on and decide where you want the patch pockets to be, then measure the distance from the center front and the hemline to make sure the are evenly placed. Do you notice that Laurel rotated the lace on the pockets so they would show up a little more with this busy pattern?

And just one more pattern hack, but on Katie's Italian Pilvi - we are adding cuffs! Much like patch pockets, cuffs are nothing more than tracing the bottom edge of the sleeve, deciding how deep you want the cuff, and cutting a rectangle shape.  Just make sure you add width at the top of the rectangle so that when you turn it, it lays smoothly on the tapered nature of the sleeve.

Why do we know that? Ask Laurel how she had to rip off one whole cuff because it bunched up around the sleeve. It's best to work up a "muslin" cuff and baste it on the sleeve to make sure of the fit.

Katie's Italian wool (picked from our fabulous new designer collection upstairs at Stonemountain & Daughter) finished off great.  Working with a fine wool woven is a little trickier in that everything shows and there is no "give" in the fabrics, so a perfect fit is important as you sew.  You also have to take extra care during the pressing sections, so you don't want to leave shine marks on the fabric.

Since this unlined coat is so simple, we added a little design feature on the patch pockets and the cuffs : covered buttons! Laurel took a small tuck in the patch pockets then added the buttons. Making the Pilvi your own is what this simple pattern is all about, whether you change the pockets, alter the length, add cuffs, whatever.

Four Pilvi's, four fabrics, multiple techniques. If you are a beginner, we might suggest trying the lightweight boiled wool/viscose or a cotton or denim or even the sweater fabric such as the one Laurel used for her wearable muslin. The design and pattern are very forgiving.  If you're an expert, go for a beautiful wool and even creating a lining for a luxurious winter coat.

The Pilvi Rules!!

Can we see your Pilvi's? Send us your makes so that we can inspire others to sew a Pilvi! If you are out of town, we can even put together a kit for you! Book (pattern), fabric, and thread!

Cheers to more Creatively & Fun in 2017!
Owner, Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics
2518 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley, CA

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Jumping into 2017 - Our Year for Sewing for Ourselves!

January 2017...Without a lot of fanfare, we usher in a new year. We like to think that 2016 will be a tough act to follow but really, we are as excited about the coming year as ever. We could do a lot of planning and deep thought, sharing all our aspirations, resolutions and strategies for 2017, but why not just jump in and get started!

I love how Laurel decides what to make for our first garment of 2017. Always the practical dreamer, she studies the work studio, checks out the equipment and notes the last color used on the serger - maroon. That settles that -  let's make something that will match this thread!

It may seem cool for this soft lightweight lawn, but how we love wearing it! (And isn't that why they invented layers?)

We chose Liesl & Co.'s "Gallery Tunic". These easy flowing shirts look so great with jeans. It's a great pattern to start off the new year for any body type. The pattern features a simple one piece collar and three-quarter length sleeves.

Interfacing always comes first when starting a new garment.  Laurel keeps a pretty good stash of interfacing on hand - it's always a good idea to purchase more than you need for a particular garment so that you can build up a collection to draw from whenever you need to add body to a collar or placket.  There is nothing more frustrating than getting all ready to sew and realize that you have to drive to the fabric store because you forgot to get interfacing. We keep a large selection of interfacing on hand here at the store and also available in our web store! I like to think that we have the best interfacing selection around. Look for an upcoming blog from our Stonemountain blog on interfacing soon!

We chose a woven fusible interfacing as our fabric is quite lightweight. It will be placed in the collar and the front placket facing.

The Gallery Tunic works up fairly easily - placket front, shoulder seams, collar, sleeves, side seams and hem.

Oh Snap!!!

Why not just jump in and make something new? Even if it's been a while since you've sewn, just throw the cover off the machine and GO! Don't over think it, don't worry about whether it "goes with anything" or if it might be challenging.  Half the battle of sewing is just starting.  Once you begin on a new project, feel the purr of the sewing machine and touch the folds of the fabric, it all comes back to you. And once again, all is right with the universe.

Do stay tuned to our 2017 adventures, here on Fabriclady as well as our Stonemountain Blog - we will continue to focus on our independent designers, capturing their vision in yummy fabrics and inspiring you to try new styles and learn new techniques.

If you aren't on Instagram, you may want to join all of us sewists there! It's easy and fun to follow and get inspired by what everyone in our worldwide community is doing. You can follow me at fabriclady3 and my store at stonemountainfabric.

Thank you for your continued support and  Happy sewing!! It's going to be a rockin' New year!!

Love and gratitude,

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Thursdays with Laurel! Wrapping Up Another Year of Indie Patterns!

Wow what a year 2016 has been! With all the social turmoil and challenges, I am so grateful for my Thursdays with Laurel. Once a month, we meet at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley to dream with the fabric, patterns, trends and the valuable feedback from everyone in the store.

Our intent has always been to inspire and show you and our growing community what these patterns look like on a real person and give you tips to find the confidence to sew your own clothes.

Our Thursday timings have been going on for over 3 years now with more than 230 garments made! It has become a tradition in my life which is enriching and one of the sweetest times I have to look forward to! Laurel and I love to look through the fabric and all the patterns first and then we go out to lunch. There are so many fine places in Berkeley to eat!

What tradition surrounding fabric would you love to create more of in 2017? The sanctuary at Stonemountain is there for you to create your own traditions with friends and family!

Way back in January of this year, we proclaimed 2016 as the Year of the Indie Pattern. We wanted to celebrate all of the amazing independent pattern designers out there and share their great work. Do you remember this awesome list we put together? We carry all of these independent pattern companies and more on our website. You can shop them here or in our store.

Well, we've been super busy this year working through our collection of incredible independent patterns. This year alone we've made dozens of garments for the Fabric Lady blog. We are having so much fun sewing with you and we hope to bring even more inspiration and fun into 2017!

Below you'll see just some of the patterns we've made up this year. Looking back, we've maintained a pretty good balance between dresses and separates. I love looking back knowing that every piece was made with love and in Stonemountain fabric!


 Cabin Dress and Top by Blueprints For Sewing

Both Laurel and I have made this great top several times (also a dress, which is below). The Cabin can be made using any type of fabric. This zebra polyester crepe is wonderfully flowing, but the dress that Zan is modeling was made from one of our 100% cotton double gauze fabrics.


 Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes

We've made so many pieces this year, it's been hard to keep up with the blogging! While we haven't gotten a chance to blog about this one, we do love the Marianne Dress from Christine Haynes. A great knit alternative to a woven shift dress, this piece is comfortable like a t-shirt, with length of a dress. Great paired with leggings or alone.


 Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files

Ginger Jeans have a modern and flattering cut with subtly shaped back pockets, slimming side seams, and a higher back rise to prevent "peekabooty." They are designed for stretch denim, so we chose a beautiful soft indigo denim with Lycra. (You can browse our bottom weight fabrics—stretch and non stretch—here.) And just to be uber creative, we topstitched our jeans in neon blue thread! Check out our selection of neon topstitching thread here! It's details like this that make the garments we create that much more special.

Our new favorite indie pattern from April is again from Decades Everyday, the Three's a Charm Jacket, featured in our sewalong. This unlined crop jacket is the perfect companion to short-sleeved and sleeves dresses, tunic and tees. The sleeves are three-quarter length and the front closure is a single button. It is fast and simple, and yet the styling does allow for some customization in the stitching, sleeve length, and or adding trims, etc. Read about our sewalong here!


 Arum Dress by Deer and Doe

We love this pattern for its easy style and bonus: it looks great on all body types. Laurel used one of our heavy ponte knits, even though the pattern calls for a woven fabric. I love the detail of the faux leather patch pockets - she just used a pocket pattern from another pattern and added them to the sides. Suzan's version is in a flowey rayon. It looks polished while having that secret pajama feel.


 Old Mexico Dress and Top by Folkwear

Folkwear is a pattern line we have carried for years - one of the original indie pattern lines! I haven't chosen a garment from them in recent years, so I thought it was time to add the Old Mexico Dress. It the perfect little top to wear with jeans, and giving a nod to my ethereal/hippie side, I chose a soft Liberty Tana Lawn print filled with suns, moons, and near east images. The top is super easy to make and I know my astrology friends are going to want one as well.


 Lark Tee by Grainline Studio

One of our newer t-shirt patterns is the Lark Tee from Grainline Studio. There are sixteen different ways to make up this simple tee-shirt with its modern, slim styling. With something as simple as a t-shirt, it's all about fabric choice. The simple lines of the Lark Tee allow you to be the designer, making the t-shirt uniquely you. The fabric I chose was a bold, graphic rayon knit with a huge border and repeat of the design.


The Linden Sweatshirt is everywhere! It seems like they're constantly popping up in our Instagram feed, on sewing blogs, and even in the store! This pattern is designed by Grainline Studio, one of our indie pattern lines here at Stonemountain. You will find it made out of sweater fabric, sweatshirt fleece, every type and weight of knit fabric, not to mention a few woven flannel versions. It's deliciously simple to whip up and that must be why it's such a favorite! Don't you love the peplum change we made?

The Morris Blazer is another favorite we haven't blogged about yet. We made it last year in a textured knit and loved it's versatility so much. This time around, we chose a white ponte knit, which will be great with tops and dresses and adds some lightness in spring and summer.


Lela Tunic and Blouse by Green Bee 

The Lela is a great pattern; it's easy and fast to work up. You could easily add length to the hem and use it for an "apres-pool" dress...and of course the blouse length would be perfect with jeans or crop pants this summer. you could also shorten the sleeves by leaving off the band.


Pilvi Coat by Lotta Jansdotter 

We are always looking for great books and magazines to inspire us on our sewing journeys. Sometimes it's just a photo of a dress in a catalog or fashion magazine that we wish we had a pattern for, and other times we find a sewing book with a photo of a cute pair of pants to be made. When we first got Lotta Jansdotter's new book Everyday Style, we knew we had to make something!

Thumbing through the beautiful pages filled with stories of real women and exotic travels we found the Pilvi Coat, a simple design for either a coat or a shorter jacket.  It's perfect for the beginner (look out for a sewalong!) because it is unlined, with raglan sleeves and no closures. Suzan chose a beautiful boiled wool-viscose for her first Pilvi.


Sudley by Megan Neilsen

We chose Megan Nielsen's Sudley Dress & Blouse pattern. We love it because of the variety of looks that you can achieve with just this one pattern. An added bonus it that the back is the same as the front, so the keyhole opening can be worn both ways!


This is such an easy and quick layering piece to make. If you can set in a sleeve and sew a straight line, you can whip this one out in no time. Laurel did not even put a finish on the edges of this knit - that maintains the flat effect on the seams and down the front, much like a soft sweater. I can wear this cardigan with everything - would be great in an array of neutral knits, too!


The Ultimate Shift Dress in this floral rayon was great for spring and summer. This versatile pattern would look equally great made up for a special occasion. With multiple options for neckline, collar and length, this is another great pattern you don't want to miss. We love the vintage style with modern lines.


Bettine by Tilly and the Buttons

I love this dress. Let me say that again. I love this dress. The fabric is soft and drapes beautifully - who doesn't love all the gorgeous rayons by Cotton + Steel? It's not that difficult to make either. I had to laugh when Laurel (who you know is an accomplished seamstress) sewed the entire skirt on backwards and had to rip it all off and start again. Nobody's perfect!


Dress No. 1 and Pants No. 1 by 100 Acts of Sewing

We are having a ball seeing the diversity that can be achieved with one classically simple pattern: Dress No.1 from Sonya Philip's indie pattern line, 100 Acts of Sewing. The drawing is deceptively simple, but just like her Pants No.1 pattern that gets our rave reviews. This dress pattern is as versatile as it is simple.

 Renfrew by Sewaholic

Sewaholic's Renfrew top features three different neckline treatments and three different sleeves. Many times sewists will want to keep the basic shape of a pattern design but make some changes to the pattern to make it their own. The Renfrew top does it for you!

Betty Dress by Sew Over It

For our Lizzie House garment, we chose to bring a little "Betty" into our wardrobe. Sew Over It, one of our new indie pattern lines, seemed to be channeling a little style from the ladies in the hit series Mad Men. We loved Betty Draper's on screen spirit and the chic 50's vintage look she inspires.


 Camas Blouse by Thread Theory

Enjoy the unrestricted comfort of a t-shirt and the put together elegance of a blouse. This blouse is designed to be COMFORTABLE and can be sewn in knits or stretch woven fabrics. It features shoulder and back yokes, elegant gathering, and a flattering curved v-shaped neckline placket.

The gathers create a flattering shape that is loose enough to float over the body rather than cling to it. The delicately curved hem can be tucked into trousers and skirts or can be left loose to float over skinny jeans. The slim sleeves end just below the elbow to create the perfect multi-season blouse. Instructions detail how to create a variety of closures - learn how to add buttonholes to a knit placket, add snaps or create a pull over blouse and skip button holes entirely. Fabric requirements are included for both a color blocked blouse and a blouse made from one fabric.


Tendril Dress by A Verb for Keeping Warm

The Tendril is a bias cut dress which shares the common characteristic of wrapping itself around the body, clinging to our curves in the most flattering of ways. It's no accident that the most luscious of silk nightgowns we love are cut on the bias in this same manner.

The Tendril is an easy pattern, with only two pieces, but as the designer suggests, you will learn a little about French seams and sewing on the bias of the fabric.

With love and blessings,
Suzan Steinberg & the amazing ladies of Stonemountain & Daughter

I would love to hear about what you are inspired to make. If you have a moment, please leave me a message here to let me know that you are finding this information helpful and inspiring.

Check out the Stonemountain Blog for our favorite notions, patterns and fabrics of 2016!