Saturday, February 15, 2020

The secret is out about Linen!

Welcome to 2020's Linen Celebration - 
The Perfect Transitional Fabric from Winter to Spring!

Linen Lovers! Natalie, Laurel, myself, and Catherine wearing some of our favorite Linen makes.
Flax Plants
We can all agree that natural fibers are perfect for summers - they breathe and tend to be cooler on hot days.  Linen is a great alternative to cotton for warm weather garments, especially if you are looking for both comfort and style. Ever wonder why some of the posh retail stores feature entire bed ensembles made from linen? It's absorbent and strong characteristics make for cool comfort in the hottest (and most humid) weather.

Check out some of these beauties that are on our shelves right now - lots of 100% Flax linen along with Flax linen blended with cotton and rayon for softness and wearability.




I am also embracing Linen as more of a year round woven to go with our growing wardrobe of handmade makes. I love to wear my linen pants year round with my ikat tops and jackets. Plus my linen tops go with everything! We are breaking all kinds of rules, and this is at the top of my list - Linen as a year round fabric!!! 

Hands down, Nevada Linen from Europe is one of our favorite choices because of its weight, color range, quality, and versatility. 


Our beautiful Nevada Linen show with our Atelier Brunette - Joy Enamel Buttons!
Our beautiful Nevada Linen show with our Atelier Brunette - Joy Enamel Buttons!

GREAT TIP from Sandra Betzina! If you want your linen to wrinkle a lot less, do the following: Before you prewash your linen, iron the linen with the hottest, dry iron possible. This will set a wrinkle-less finish, which is already on the fabric. Next, wash and dry your linen in the hottest water and hottest dryer you have. Take out of the dryer when close to bone dry. You will notice that smaller softer wrinkles have replaced the hard crease usually associated with the fabric. Repeating this process will lessen the amount of wrinkles over time. 
(We've shared this awesome technique before, but it bears repeating - and it's perfect for any of the other 100% linens we stock in the store)

Nevada linen is a perfect bottom weight linen, so naturally, pants and skirts are amazing made-up in this fabric. Here are a couple of go-to suggestions:
It all comes together with the right fabric, patterns, thread, and custom labels from Stonemountain & Daughter!
This Sienna by Closet Case patterns looks good!
Here's another linen fav by True Bias - The Emerson Pant 

My favorite pant to make!
Pants No. 1 by 100 Acts of Sewing
Check out Laurel's linen Flint pants!
Flint Pants made with Nevada Linen

Then of course, there is the Lander Pants also by True Bias and many more choices...                                                                          

Nevada linen is also perfect for dresses...
The Apron Dress by Assembly Line 


Love my linen Dress No. 1 as a layering piece also!
With so many choices to consider - check out our Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics website, or better yet, come see and touch for yourself.  I 'm ready to pick some of our newer patterns to add to my linen wardrobe.  How about you? This truly is the best time for linen and all the great pattern choices for every body and every season! We have hundreds of linen and linen-blend choices on our website and even more in our Fashion Room waiting for you.

I hope you will head over to Stonemountain's website/blog and read the Let's Talk Linen blog: "Linen can be used for any pattern that calls for woven fabric—the trick is just in figuring out the right type and weight for your project. Whether this is your first time working with linen or your hundredth, we’re always happy to help you find the perfect fabric."

What will you make out of this versatile and loved fabric?


May you be inspired today in all that you do!

Happy Sewing,
Suzan

Monday, January 6, 2020

You Don't have to Knit to make a Sweater!

Years ago, Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics carried yarn in the store. We had a whole community of knitters and crocheters who could made the most beautiful hand-made sweaters, scarves and craft projects. In time, other great yarn stores opened up and we eventually settled into doing what we do best - selling fabric!


Out an about wearing my new Helene Cardigan, Lark Tee, and Emerson Pants
That being said, just because you don't knit or crochet doesn't mean that you can't have a beautiful sweater. Our Indie pattern designers are always out there in front of the design curve, adding unique sweater patterns to their collections.


Check out the pattern choices!


Remember this knit cocoon Cardigan from Jalie
I love and wear this so much!



Jalie Cocoon Cardigan - #3353 - link here



This open cardigan with cascading panels is
another wonderful choice by Sewing Workshop Patterns


The Fjord Cardi
I love this one too -
Its the super comfy cardigan named the
 Fjord Cardi!

Papercut Patterns Fjord Cardi!



Jalie has so many great patterns and we love this classic jewel neck cardigan called the Charlotte

And of course, Stonemountain has jumped in with both feet to provide you with a wide array of knit fabrics perfect for the perfect sweater! Can we talk cozy and unique fabrics?





























A closer look...
Beautiful Speckled Sweater Knit


Double faced wool sweater knit

Viscose Sweater Knit - Alpine Stripe!

Check out this Jacquard Sweater Knit with this Geometric Panel - you can really use these panels in such creative ways!

Sewing sweater fabric may seam a little daunting, but the only difference in sewing these fabrics and ordinary knits used for tees and dresses is their considerable weight. Adjustments to your machine's tension, stitch length may be necessary to achieve a nice finish.


I chose this ribbed knit for my Helene sweater, from Jalie. 



The Helene is an open front cardigan with a high back neck, slight peplum to the back with a super easy pocket and a waist seam that allows for color blocking. We made it up in Jalies' size V, which is pretty much a size 8.




Since the ribbed knit had such a distinct pattern, we decided to change the direction for the lower half of the sweater to add some pizazz! The sleeve ribbing runs in the same direction as the top half of the sweater.




Laurel chose to sew most of our sweater with her serger, allowing for the most stretch in the knit, although certain seams were sewn on her machine using a tight zig-zag stitch. It isn't really necessary to machine finish or bind the seams of most knit fabrics and they normally don't ravel, even though we did so on this garment.



Note: Many sergers are challenging to thread, so often times, sewists just keep using the same threads.  However, when you are actually "sewing" a garment together using a serger, you may want the left-hand needle thread to match your fabric as closely as possible. And since we don't always find serger thread that matches exactly, you can use your high quality sewing machine thread for the perfect match.  We stock so many colors of Gutermann threads!




The pattern instructions call for a machine finished hems and edging, by folding the hems 3/4" and then top stitching.  An alternative method would be turn the hems and blind stitch them in place by hand, the method we used for this ribbed knit.


Sweaters are the perfect layering garments for my work day at the store. This Helene is awesome!

Laurel and I out celebrating our collaboration of over 6 years! We love our mission to sew up patterns for this blog and to display at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics. Laurel is wearing a wonderful Hinterland Dress out of a fabulous Japanese Cotton.

I am wishing you warmth, creativity, 
and love in this new year!

In gratitude,
Suzan

follow me on Instagram @fabriclady3
email me at fabriclady3@gmail.com or email my store with any questions at info@stonemountainfabric.com

Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley
since 1981
www.stonemountainfabric.com (full service brick and mortar and online pageant of fine fabrics, patterns, and notions)
2518 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704

I would like to leave you with this message,

“There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life.” 

― Tara BrachRadical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Staying in the Present and Mindful with Sewing

              

I have seen this excerp from an old Singer sewing book pop up several times on social media and each time I read it, I have to laugh. Who does this any more?

The ending paragraph is humorous, but if I take another objective look at this vintage advice, or at least re-read the first paragraph, I can see some truth in those words. 


"Prepare yourself mentally for sewing...
Good results are difficult when indifference predominates" 

The reality is that many of us breeze through our sewing projects with a specific "goal" in mind and a timeline to control.  We need a new dress to wear to a wedding, our pants are all worn out, we need a jacket, etc. The joy of actually making the garment somehow escapes us and it becomes just another task to complete, a problem to solve or a skill to master.


Sewing is like most things in our lives - when we go about daily living, we don't actually think about what we are doing. We let our minds wander to a thousand other thoughts ("did I pay the electric bill?"), rather than paying attention to what we are doing in the moment, especially if we done "it" a million times over.




Mindfulness is about being present in the moment, taking it all in - basically paying attention to everything around you as you do the activity.  We often think of mindfulness as a meditation of sorts (and indeed it can be meditative), but perhaps rather than trying to avoid our distracting thoughts, we basically start to "notice", or tune into the thoughts we have, the noises we hear, the emotions we feel, the whole ball of wax.  Anything can be done mindfully, even cleaning the dishes in the sink. 

To sew "mindfully" would be to fully immerse yourself in the experience - noticing the thoughts you're having about the garment, the environment of your sewing space, the hum of the machines as you sew, or the cat parading across your fabric.

Not to get all Zen here, but rather than think of every aspect of the project as a task to check off a mental list, try focusing on each step or stage as an end unto itself.  

So go ahead...be in the moment for your sewing day.


Think about how you chose just the right fabric...




Or pour over your stash...feel the textural differences in your fingers. 
Take your time with it...




Cutting out your pattern is often a test of your creativity, 
especially if you're a little short on fabric or matching stripes. 



Or are you noticing how sharp/dull your scissors are? 




Taking the time to iron can be so satisfying while making a huge difference in the outcome of your garment.


Are you loving your sewing environment - even if it's only the kitchen table? 
Are you enjoying the fact that you cleaned your sewing room last week after you 
finished your last session? I just love a tidy space.



Perhaps a warm beverage adds to the experience...don't tea and sewing go together? 


Is your equipment nearby...having the right thread so 
you don't have to make a last minute trip to the store is a good thing.


To get into the swing of mindful sewing, start with something simple - 
one of those TNT (Tried N True) patterns you've made before.

Remember, it's about being in the present moment and enjoying each step, not fretting about whether it's right or wrong























Maybe try something that requires hand sewing - there's nothing more cathartic than gently pushing a needle and thread through fabric.




And finally, it's important to be non-judgmental with your sewing. Every seam doesn't have to be perfect, every sleeve doesn't have to be pucker-free.  Approach your sewing project with a sense of gratitude for the day and for the 
opportunity to wear a me-made garment...



Remember, you're feeding your soul.


And in the end, cut yourself some slack if it doesn't turn out the way you expected.



And if you need to put on cozy pajamas to get started, just go right ahead...
it's all good.

Whatever you do, however you begin, however you finish... just be present.

Let's celebrate that we live and sew in a culture that respects the time and creativity we are expressing. It's finally okay to be different. In sharing, we all inspire and actually support one another to keep creating. 

We create in a community that actually cares. All skill levels welcome!

As a fabric store owner, I am so grateful that we have survived to live in these times and to be a part of this sewing renaissance with you all. Thank you for supporting my blog and my store


Wishing you warmth, creativity, and love in this holiday season,
Suzan

follow me on Instagram @fabriclady3
email me at fabriclady3@gmail.com or email my store with any questions at info@stonemountainfabric.com

Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley
since 1981
www.stonemountainfabric.com (full service brick and mortar and online pageant of fine fabrics, patterns, and notions)
2518 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704


Oh the sleeves on this rayon Dove Blouse by Megan Nielson are fabulous!

Come experience some Stonemountain Magic in our Berkeley location or at our web store