Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Why Independent Patterns - Fabric Lady's 2015 Top Indie Patterns!

As a family owned business, operating in Berkeley for the past 34 years, we love to support other independent businesses, especially when the patterns give us high-quality, unique choices for our wardrobe.

In the past, we have been held hostage to the big companies such as Simplicity and McCall's. Early on in the 1980's they began discounting heavily to the big chains making it very difficult for us to compete with these huge box stores in our own neighborhood - do you remember when they started having 70% off sales? This was part of the reason so many family run fabric stores have gone out of business over the last 3 decades across the United States.

Fast forward to the last few years; many designers have heard our plea for quality patterns that consider our different body types and lifestyles. Now, we have a full selection patterns made by creative and caring people. We love meeting these pattern makers, following them on social media and feeling connected to them when we use their patterns. It brings our sewing community closer together.

Indie Pattern Month and Year 2016 Celebrations
Join us in celebrating the Year of the Independent Pattern in 2016!
We are kicking off the year with a month long celebration in January. Join us each day on our Instagram and Facebook to learn about our independent pattern lines and see what others have created from them.  Stop by our pattern table to view all of the amazing indie pattern lines we stock. You can find them in our store or online - they are all up and available!

To inspire us, I have collected my favorite indie patterns we used this year. Take a look at our round-up and learn more about the patterns in our blogs about them.

I also want to thank my dear friend and collaborator, Laurel of Laurels Quill for all her designing, sewing, blogging and our famous lunches together. The journey would not be nearly as sweet and inspiring without you! What a couple years this has been and I so look forward to the magic of 2016 ahead!


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FABRIC: Textured polyester 'Mello' knit 
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
Want a top that you can whip out in a few hours?  We found the Uptown Top, a pattern from our newly added indie pattern company, A Verb for Keeping Warm.  It's a simple top to make, especially if you use a soft knit that you don't need to serge or zig zag the seams. The pattern includes three sizes, but even the smallest size is very generous.
This top is so easy, the neck can be finished with its facing or you could use a simple bias strip. We made our Uptown Top with the band at the bottom, making it long enough to wear with leggings.  You can leave off the band and wear it with pants or jeans as the pattern makers suggest.


READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE: 
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Endless Summer Tunic by A Verb For Keeping Warm


FABRIC: Indian block print batik cotton gauze 
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
We are all over the ethnic look for this summer.  Some of our imported gauze fabrics from India are just perfect to get that free-flowing look so prevalent in the 60's and 70's.  And the best part is that they never seem to go out of style and are perfect for any age!
 And since we're gaga over gauze, we thought A Verb for Keeping Warm's "Endless summer Tunic" would be fun to make up in a cotton gauze.

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE: 
Loving the ethnic fabric and free flowing ease! 

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 Cabin Top by Blueprints For Sewing


FABRIC: Rayon Challis 
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT: 
Blueprints for Sewing patterns are simple, flattering, comfortable, and classic with an artistic edge. They emphasize functionality and simplicity and feature thoughtful embellishments and adaptable cuts. Each pattern takes its inspiration from an architectural style.
The Cabin Top takes its inspiration from the simplicity of a cabin - a humble structure, built to provide shelter from the elements.  Spending time in a cabin "allows the mind to wander," says pattern maker, Taylor.  Thus, the Cabin top is a simple and functional top that will allow you to make it uniquely your own through fabric choice.

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE:
The Cabin Top 
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 Myrtle by Colette


FABRIC: Rayon Knit 
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
I've said it before, I love wearing dresses to work!
Separates are still fun to expand your wardrobe, but it's so much easier to pick out a dress from your closet in the early morning hours. I don't have to think about what goes with what. My biggest decisions are what shoes to wear, tights or not, and do I need a sweater?
Dresses are a great uniform! Find a style that you love and make it up in a variety of fabrics. We love that about sewing - you can really make the clothing you wear your own. 

Our independent pattern designers always have something new to chose from when I'm looking for a fresh frock. I love the variety of styles available these days from indie designers. Each designer and pattern has its own personality and flare to inspire you. The Myrtle dress from Colette looked like such an easy, comfortable and elegant style, and I had the perfect knit in mind for it. 

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE:
My Sweet Myrtle Dress 
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FABRIC: Woven Cotton 'Peppered Plaid'
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
Colette has added to her easy yet visually interesting designs with the Dahlia dress. We love the detailing at the waist. We chose a soft, but large scale plaid for the Dahlia, perfect for my fall season mood.  Be sure to check out the other colors this "Peppered Plaid" comes in!
Our independent designers shine in the dress design arena, so I enjoy featuring their unique dress designs in my work wardrobe.

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE:

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FABRIC: Cotton Ikats 
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
We already made several dresses, a couple of pairs of pants, and even a woven t-shirt. This month we're adding to the "dress revolution" by using Colette Patterns' Laurel dress.   It's a beginner pattern, and several of our staff have already made up this "chic and simple" dress with a semi-fitted shape.
We wanted to make use of coordinating ikat patterns, just to add some cool color blocking to this simple dress.
The dress has a back zipper which allows you to adjust the fit if needed and gives you the opportunity to add a cool contrasting zipper for fun.  It didn't take Laurel long to whip out this dress for a fitting.  I had worn a pair of my favorite leggings that day - I love the combination of dresses and leggings, even in the summer.

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE: 
Can't Get Enough Ikat?! Neither Can We! 

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FABRIC: Cotton Print 
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
One of our favorite sewing pattern lines for retro and vintage fashion is Decades of Style. Though some of the mid-century dress lines have a lot of seaming detail, such as our Object d'Art Dress from last year, these clever folks have come out with an easy sewing line called Decades Everyday.  It's like they read our minds - "Give me a retro look pattern that I can sew in a day and wear every day!"

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE: 
Modern Take on a Retro Dress - E.S.P. by Decades of Style!

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FABRIC: Cotton + Steel Rayon  
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
I chose a soft rayon in a black and white geometric print.  So many of our sewists used two different fabrics - one print or solid for the yoke and a different fabric for the main body of the dress.  I wanted to try making it all in one fabric, but perhaps with a small pop of color. Piping, maybe?
Piping? Yes! We loved this bright chartreuse in 100% cotton. We cut bias strips along the polka dot portion of the fabric then folded and pressed it carefully.

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE:  
Give This Dress A Chance!

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Datura Blouse by Deer & Doe


FABRIC: Silk Crepe 
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
We love this Deer and Doe Datura sleeveless blouse pattern from France. It's not especially difficult to work up even though the pattern envelope's "Advanced" description must have applied to using fabric with a soft hand, such as silk. (A soft woven cotton or rayon would be a great fabric to try first, if you're apprehensive). We will admit that the pattern instructions are very French - brief and to the point - and they perhaps assume that we are indeed advanced sewists. Even Laurel had to interpret the not-so-detailed instructions, applying construction techniques that she has been using for years.

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE: 
Developing a "Hand" for Silk - 5 Rules to Follow!

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FABRIC: Cotton Cross Dye 
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
This month, Grainline Studio's Scout Tee caught our eye. It's not very often that you find a tee pattern that is designed specifically for woven fabrics, so we thought we'd give it a try.
We chose a soft lightweight cotton lawn.  The pattern has a lower back hemline than the front, short cap sleeves and works up in a jiffy. It's the perfect little tee for the beginning sewist.  In fact, we're even teaching a class specifically on this pattern in August and October!

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE: 
Summer Tees

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FABRIC: Textured Scuba Knit 
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
We're still working on our blog about this pattern, but we've already finished two versions of it! It's already a staff favorite and we have a new class featuring this pattern. Check it out!


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FABRIC: Red Ponte Knit
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
The dress features princess seams, a keyhole front and cap sleeves - and no zipper! It's not a difficult dress to make at all, but it takes time to do all the top stitching of the seams.  You could eliminate that step, but we think that's what makes the Davie dress special. This is a dress that you could make in one day (start in the morning and be party-ready by 5:00). It took Laurel about 4-5 hours to complete.

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE: 

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 Hudson Pant by The Sewing Workshop


FABRIC: Cotton Ikat 
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
The Sewing Workshop's Hudson Pant is very loose fitting, ankle length pant with an elastic waist which are all factors to make this pant super comfortable. Not having to wear tight-fitting pants for work is certainly appealing.
Best part of these pants other than the ninety minutes it takes to make them? The long darts that go from the calf down to the ankle.  This great detailing keeps the comfortable pants from looking too slouchy.
 
READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE: 
Can't Get Enough Ikat?! Neither Can We!

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FABRIC: Cotton Ikat and Cross Dye 
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
I loved this new Victory Pattern, the Chloe No. 1005 Dress.  It is an intermediate level project suitable for woven fabrics like Ikat - other cottons or knits would work too.
We wanted to make our Chloe a little edgy by combining Ikat with a complimentary solid woven fabric. I love the combination of purple and green, especially if the hues are a little "off" color. You might think that this combination doesn't occur in nature, but it does. So why not combine these gorgeous olive Ikat prints with a solid purple woven?  Even though the purple does not occur in the Ikat, it doesn't matter.  The purple gives the olive Ikat that pop of color that will make my Chloe dress unique!

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE:  

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 Satsuki by Victory Patterns


FABRIC: Silk Knit 
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT IT:
Here's another of my favorite patterns - Victory's Satsuki dress. We've made it as both a dress and a top.  I love the comfort and style of this design. (Are you starting to see a pattern here - "comfort" and "ease?") But I also love the femininity of this design.  Whatever your body type, it will be flattering.
So why mess with success? I found this wonderful silk knit during one of my buying trips and I loved the way the print almost had an ombre look.  I immediately thought of the Satsuki dress.

READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE: 

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Check out our classes featuring some of these awesome patterns!

Thanks for being a fabric lover and following my blog. 
I would love to hear from you about patterns and your projects!

love and creativity,
Suzan



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