Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Summer Sewjo, Destiny Wardrobe Style!

Everyone has a favorite season, and though there's something special about each change in the weather, the summer solstice is one of my favorite days of the year. It's the longest day of the year and all that warm sunshine inspires me in so many ways!

Not only to just be outdoors...

But also to think about my summer clothes - 
put away the jackets and sweaters and bring out the summer fabrics!

We're creating our Destiny Wardrobes, so we choose clothes and fabrics that fit in with our love of summer. This warmer weather calls for lighter-weight fabrics and nothing says summer like:

I'm still a working girl (you knew that, huh!) so the design choices that I make have to fit in with my no-hassle lifestyle.  I don't like to be too encumbered with fussy styles, sleeves that get in my way, necklines that are too revealing, or clothes that I have to keep "adjusting" throughout the day.  I like my summer work clothes to be simple, but with flare...cool, but not too bare...and just like you, I want my clothes to scream ME - "Zan, that is soooo YOU!"

Lela tunic in double gauze
Kalle shirt in Ikat

I have an ongoing love affair with Ikats ( you knew that too, huh). Ikats come in all weights, but for summer, I love the lightweight ones. So I'll choose a pattern accordingly - something breezy, like the Kalle Shirt from Closet Case Patterns.

A couple of things you may want to remember with sewing ikats in general, and this Kalle Shirt in particular:

1) Since these fabrics are woven, both sides are beautiful! You can use either side as the "right side."

2)  It seemed logical to interface the pocket, as the fabric was so lightweight, but alas, the pocket became too stiff for the bodice. So be sure to choose a very lightweight interfacing.

 Pocket Heaven!

3)  The Kalle pattern features a back yoke, which is self-lined.  The instructions call for the "Burrito Method" for sewing the yoke, which results in a "no-seams showing" clean inside.  It's a little tricky, but so worth giving it a go - think of it as a delightful addition to your sewing repertoire.

Can I get beans and rice with this?

The Kalle is a great addition to my Summer wardrobe!

What summer wardrobe would be complete without the all-purpose cami?  And I am probably the last to the "Ogden Cami Club", but I wanted to try it, so I had Laurel whip up a trial run.  And when I say it's a quick make, believe it. Another 1-hour wonder.  And a total stash-buster!

Ogden Cami by True Bias

We made up a wearable muslin out of some extra fabric from an older make.

Laurel adjusted the pattern for herself in her first muslin - she says it still needs work but looks promising!

Summer Indie patterns abound at Stonemountain.  We have several others we want to try, so we will keep you posted. The Megan Nielsen Matilda looked like one that would fit nicely.

 We've already whipped up this little cutie out in a Tencel TwillMake sure you allow plenty of time for the layout - we counted over 40 separate pieces.  Take your time!

The Matilda Dress by Megan Nielsen! 

We love a woven Tee-shirt pattern so we had to try this Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse!  We chose double gauze

How 'bout a summer blouse?  There's also a dress version by Leisl + Co. called the Weekend Getaway, and we've chosen a tie-dyed rayon.

Laurel's making this Washi Dress pattern by Made by Rae (very popular amongst the Instagram sewists) in a double gauze. Linen would work too.

And the Terrace Dress by Leisl + Co - not sure what fabric we want, but it speaks totally summer, doesn't it?

Linen? Ikat? Double Gauze? Silk? Rayon?

Why not drop by or go online and check out our summer fabrics and Indie patterns?  Some people just know what they want and what's going to work for them.  Other just like to touch and feel the fabrics to be sure. Either way, we are here to help you make your Destiny Wardrobe dreams a reality.  And we do send swatches if you're not local!

It's so great to be part of a community of sewists who share their successes real-time in the store - we learn from each other and we support and encourage each other in this adventure. If you need inspiration or misplaced your SewJo, remember to check out my post about choosing clothes that matter and that fit your lifestyle.

Summer is all about fun and creativity, and we hope that you share a little piece of yours with us! Send us your pictures and stories about your Destiny Wardrobe.

What a great time it is to be a fabric lover - the best indie patterns and amazing fabric choices!

Celebrating creativity!

Summer is for family gatherings too! Here we are celebrating my parents 50th wedding anniversary. Cheers!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Five Years, Baby!

“And suddenly you know: It's time to start something new 
and trust the magic of beginnings.”  

An ancient philosopher wrote these words in the 1200's, but how appropriate are they still today? When I took over the fabric store that my father built with hard work, vision, and devotion, I knew that I wanted to make my mark on the business and industry that he had lovingly nurtured over the years and leave a legacy of my own. Somewhere in the back of my mind a vision began taking form, though its shape and path had not fully developed.

As we all can see, there are fewer and fewer fabric stores around the country that sell fashion fabric. Over the last 20 years, many of the fashion fabric stores have closed while fewer people were making their own garments. One day I was sitting in the store and I looked down at myself and then out to my sales associates and customers and saw the writing on the wall. No one was wearing what they made. This deeply impacted me and I began to dream into a new story of what could be! I saw that if I began wearing clothes that I made or were made for me, perhaps that would inspire others around me. With the exponential reach of my store, Facebook, Instagram, and my blog, I envisioned that a garment sewing revolution could be ignited. The excitement of making garments that I felt in the 80's could come back in a whole new way.

Five years ago this month, I threw out a small morsel in the Stonemountain Newsletter, asking for interest in sewing garments for me and the store. I wasn't just looking for a seamstress, but a collaborator of sorts - someone who believed in the magic of fabric and of sewing clothes as much as I did. I had a lot of responses from sewists who wanted to sew and who already made a living doing so. I thought it would work - that person could advertise her talents and probably increase her business.

But one email caught my eye - a retired corporate woman who had sewn since she ten. She had been in my store several months beforehand and loved it.  She even sent me photos of garments that she had made with my fabric. When we finally spoke in person, she said she wasn't interested in sewing for anyone else and in fact, that "sounded like a job".  She wanted to work with me to teach other women that sewing is not a lost art - that's it's a gift that anyone can learn - and she wanted to be a part of my vision, however it took shape.

I'm not sure that I knew at the time that such small beginning would lead to a five year collaboration and deep friendship.  That day, I sent Laurel home with beautiful silk fabric and a bias cut tank pattern - okay, that was mean, but you can tell a good seamstress with that assignment. She still laughs about it to this day.

In our five year collaboration, we have worked on this blog together. Our initial goal was always 1) to Teach and 2) to Inspire - to develop Fabriclady into a little more than news, store happenings and fantastic fabrics. We wanted to show sewists how to pair great fabric and patterns together with courage and to let their creativity blossom. Basically, we wanted sewing to come to life.

Our first post together was in June, 2013, It's Time to Sew


It was just the beginning of a great collaboration.  The vision began to take shape - what about posts about both sewing successes and failures, beauties and "not-so-much's"?
beautiful fabric, but???

One of my secondary goals was to make sure that I put a piece of myself into each post, so many blogs touched on the importance of keeping a healthy lifestyle. Shamanic Astrology is a vital part of my life, so I like to bring a little spirituality in my conversations with you as well. Clothes might make the woman, but it's what inside that counts and deeply connects us all.


Sewing tips and tricks have always been a part of Fabriclady blogs. We show you our tried and true methods and well as help get you over the tricky stuff. And of course, we like to keep the photography telling the story too.

As we moved through this creative journey, I found that my vision for a sewing "community" began to really take hold with greater clarity.  I started to feel like we were truly part of a movement. We began really emphasizing our love of independent pattern designers and in 2015, we dropped the Big 4 pattern companies.  Instead, we wanted to celebrate the creativity of women designers brave enough to fight the odds and made a name for themselves within the sewing community.  We wrote about our Indie designers then, and we have never looked back.

We love to highlight Indie patterns that are "Tried and True" Patterns - you can make them over and over again and each creation is different with just the change in fabric. Laurel and I often make the same pattern but our choices in fabric are usually different.

I once overheard in the store: "I love the details that the Big 4 patterns offer," so we write about advanced sewing techniques frequently.  We love "hacking" our favorite patterns to make them our own. Laurel is an expert seamstress and has made everything from tailored suits to couture jackets to wedding gowns, so don't tell her about lack of complexity and versatility in Indie patterns. A case in point, we've highlighted bra making, swimsuits and even jeans.

Make a muslin first!!!

It's all about the top stitching
Towards the end of 2016, I began sensing that I was standing at a fork in the rode. To make an impact in the world, we have to tune into what our heart is yearning for. I discovered that it still was about sharing fabric with our growing community. I enrolled in an online course on empowering women to discover their gifts and to help them break through their own glass ceiling to make their largest impact. It's so amazing that the same things that made me 100% commit to Stonemountain & Daughter in 1984 were still what excited me the most in my life of service, inspiration, and contribution. There are plenty of astrologers out there (one of my other dreams), but no one in my unique position and experience to spread the love of fabric around the planet. What is your unique gift?

There has never been a time for women as there is right now. Wherever we are we can make a difference and change the world. I am holding a vision of how sewing garments could forge a bond between women. This is the time we have been waiting for both personally and as a garment sewist.

In March of this year, we introduced the concept of a Destiny Wardrobe. Whatever our place on this earth, we each have a destiny to not only make our own lives better, but to share our wisdom, spirituality, and love with the people around us.  "Sewing Clothing that Matter" is the culmination of 5 years of growth, friendship, community and impact. We are the catalysts and as each one of us touches the life of another through sewing, each of them will touch in another, and so on. 

 We ARE the village.



Won't you join us on this sewing adventure?  Who knows what the future brings, but know that each of us has a part to play in this world.  And what better way to enjoy the ride and put greater meaning into you life than to join us in our sewing community.  After all, the makers of cotton fabric call it "The Fabric of Our Lives™" for a reason. I guess we are just taking the notion one step further - fabric is the fabric of our lives - let's create our Destiny Wardrobes together and rise up together!

Here's to another 5 years!

Suzan Steinberg
Fabric Lover