Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Feeling Fall-ish - What's up next! (plus a sneak peak at the Kimono of the Year!)

There's an awareness of change in the air when "Ber" months arrive - September, October, November, and December. We witness Mother Earth's change in her color palette as the days become shorter and the first rain falls.  I suppose there are some who don't welcome the autumnal glimpses around, perhaps signaling an end to our flip-flops, sandals, sundresses, soft tanks, and tee-shirts.  But don't include us among those naysayers, for as much as we love Summer, we love the coming of Fall.

Fall offers the brightest array of seasonal color choices. We love the traditional browns and golds, but there is a wide range of color choices to suit even the pickiest of fashionistas. As we move toward the cooler days, we haven't forgotten the importance of layering - so in picking our next pattern designs and fabrics, we know there will always be a great jacket, sweater, warm tights or boots to add to any garment. More than anything, Fall is a time to wear the colors of Mother Earth in all her splendor.

The rich hues of reflected water is always a go-to choice in fabric...especially for me.

We chose this beautiful silk noil to make another Hadley Top, by Grainline Studio.

Hadley Top with the Alberta Street Skirt!
Silk Noil is a fabulous choice for many garments!
Check out the amazing collection of colors on this link!
Two great necklines on this perfect Hadley!
We already made a Hadley once before (and in the perfect Fall colors) out of an amazing yarn dyed cotton from Anna Maria Horner.

Check out the entire Loominous collection!

Stop by and see this Hadley top and the Safran jeans on display at Stonemountain & Daughter!

Another lovely rayon print in the blue/green palette. We love prints that feature elements from nature, such as these tiny branches. There are so many rayons to choose from!

We decided to pair this flowy fabric with the beautiful Tea House Dress by Sew House Seven.

I also have a gorgeous Tea House made in an ikat.  Stop by and see it on display at Stonemountain!
Love the feel and fit of this dress!

We love the typical colors that exemplify Fall too...those beautiful, rusts, oranges, and golds. We may not in be New England, but we can enjoy our West Coast autumns!

As it often happens, Laurel is making this same dress, the Tea House Dress, in a beautiful gold rayon print - this color palette is very popular this Fall. So Autumn!!

Link to this amazing Rayon!
Even though we like to wear dark colors all year round, they are especially appropriate in the Fall.  And you know me - I gotta have me some Black in my wardrobe.  I love this new Ikat and thought I would make a lightweight jacket for layering.

Cotton Ikats - You can never have too many!
We chose to try another Papercut pattern, the Kochi Kimono.  This jacket is a boxy cropped jacket for all seasons and it will make a nice lightweight addition to any layered look for work. You can make the jacket lined also, but we will just use the unstructured unlined version.

This could be the pattern of the season! The Kochi Kimono!
All together! The Silk Noil Hadley Top, Kochi Kimono and the Alberta Street Skirt!
Some clothes just feel so good on immediately!
The back of the Kochi Kimono is just right!
All together with my shortsleeve high neck knit top from Jalie!
Uh oh I made need more Kochis!!!

And perhaps something to wear underneath that jacket? How about a soft knit turtleneck tee by Jalie.  Love this black knit, and I know I'll probably wear it to death! So many knits to choose from at this link!

No more buying turtlenecks! Check out this new Jalie Pattern!

Jalie 2805

Of course you'll never go wrong picking any fabric in navy.  We wanted to try another Sew House Seven pattern, The Alberta Street pencil skirt.

What a great pattern! The Alberta Street Pencil Skirt!
This skirt is a very fitted unlined skirt that sits just below the waist with a tapered hem just below the knees - perfect for either tights or boots or both! And we chose a stretch denim of course - you can never have enough denim!!

Just a sampling of the amazing cotton woven "bottom weights" available for this skirt!
Hadley Top with my new favorite Jean Skirt!
Look at the drape on this Silk Noil Hadley Top?!

Looks like we're getting a good start on our Fall wardrobe, right? The beauty of sewing is that we can create garments that all go together!

As an aside, we are so grateful for being part of a wonderful sewing community and that we have the skills, creativity and tools to be able to sew a wardrobe.  As much as we love our Mother Nature, we know that she can be harsh. Our thoughts are with the communities hit by these devastating California fires, knowing that there are many sewists among those who lost their homes along with their precious "me-mades", stashes and machines. I personally had a brush with that harsh reality when my own home and neighborhood was threatened by fire last month.  But we were lucky. I send all our friends and North State customers touched by this devastation my biggest Stonemountain hug.

Peace, Love, and Prosperity,
SuZan Steinberg
Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics since 1981
Living the Dream Life of a Fabric Lover

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Celebrating the Sapporo Coat - A Style for all Seasons!

The moment the Sapporo Coat pattern by Papercut Patterns was put in front of me, all of its potential flashed through my mind. Its superb silhouette and angled seams are ready to show off any textile in my store, Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics

It's truly a coat for all seasons!
Laurel and Fabriclady's Linen Sapporo Coats - so pretty!

This sculpted coat is reminiscent of my Issey Miyake coat from the 80's - more unstructured but lots of ease and can go over any outfit. That Miyake jacket was 5 yards and this Sapporo is a perfect 3 yards of 55" wide quality fabric. 

Here's a blast from the past! How many of you remember this pattern?
Everyone wanted to try on the Sapporo 
when it came in for a fitting!

Looks so great on everybody!


It can feel a little big but it's a super easy style to wear. Even at the smallest size, it might be best to trim it back.

Be sure to choose the right fabric to show off the design and fit details.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Pom Pom Coating
Arroyo Essex Linen

Indian Kantha Cloth
Boiled Wool in Ash

We chose beautiful cross dyed linen for our first versions and they will look great over Ikat outfits.

TIP: If you choose a heavier fabric, like a wool melton coating, Sandra Betzina has a great suggestion in her book More Fabric SavvyUse a teflon presser foot and a 90/14 needle. Use stay tape at the shoulders and neck, leaving off the interfacing - sews super easy! (thank you Chuleenan for sharing Sandra's tip)

Let's explore some details that may make your sewing experience easier... 

The Sapporo features a unique front piecing design which conceals a pocket.  The seams are curved slightly toward the sides.

To sew a curved seam, you will need to clip the one concave edge so it can be eased around the curve.

In a lighter weight fabric like this linen, the interfacing around the neckline and coat fronts is very important in order to maintain the shape of the coat.  We also added a strip of interfacing along the edge of the pocket to help it maintain its shape.

Great pockets which you can make larger if you like!

Another great tip for finishing curved seams is 1) clip the curves first, then 2) while serging the clipped curved, gently pull it straight, spreading the clipped seam and serge right through.  This allows the curved seam to be able to stretch.

The Sapporo is a fully lined coat as designed, but it can be made in an unstructured manner as well.  We finished off the sleeve hems by adding a bias tape...

Then turned and hemmed by hand for a neat, professional look.

You can see the detail of this lovely coat better from the inside!

Beautiful inside and out!
Ah those pockets are so dreamy!!!
The inside is so pretty on this unlined metallic linen version
Great look at back of the coat with its full drape!
Ah my dream jacket! What other fabric will I use?!
I love this nice stand up collar! If you choose a fabric with more body, you get this stunning look!
Thank you Laurel for letting us all try on your Sapporo Coat - 
we all fell in love with it!

As with most of life's opportunities, we can use garment making as a challenge, opportunity, and catalyst to create and evolve. 

Thank you for joining me in making clothes that matter!

2518 Shattuck Ave. @ Dwight Way
South End, Downtown Berkeley

p.s. Please stop by and say hi to me in the store. I love to hear about what inspires you to make your own clothes!

The Sapporo Coat is from the Sakura Collection by Papercut Patterns 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Finding Community on the Internet - The Minttu Swing Top Tip!

Like many of our experienced home sewists who have been using patterns and following directions for years, we have learned different techniques, tricks, and shortcuts to accomplish the same result as what the pattern maker intended. But when we make a garment from one of our indie pattern makers for the first time, we always try to construct it according to the instructions included in the pattern. We want to understand the methods given from the designer to better help you construct your own version of a particular garment.

The Minttu Swing Top from Named Clothing's Playground Collection is a "simple and loose fitting A-Lined jersey top with round neck and slightly angular armholes."  It does look easy at first glance, and definitely cute. We chose this gorgeous cotton lycra knit print, available online or at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in BerkeleyWe thought that the side panels could be cut on the bias to add a flattering detail to the top. 

So many great knits to choose from! Follow the link to check 'em out!

Putting on my new Minttu Top with my Flint Pants

The first steps of the instructions include attaching the side panels to the front and back sections of the top.  Easy enough.

The all in one facing is a great design feature for a sleeveless top such as the Minttu.  An all-in-one facing is sewn around the neckline and armholes, giving the garment a very polished look - no bias bindings to sew down or top stitching needed. Laurel, my seamstress, loves the all-in-one facings, but typically sews the neckline and armholes up to the shoulder seams, leaving them open to allow turning the facing, then sewing the shoulders carefully by hand.

The Minttu uses a different technique that was confusing to Laurel at first.  She read and reread the instructions a few times, but was having trouble deciphering exactly what they meant.

So what do you do in such a case? It took a while to find it, but on the Internet we found a You-Tube video explaining the application of the all-in-one facing on this exact Named top, the Minttu. Eureka!! This is what we love about the sewing community - sewing bloggers love to show their accomplishments and their projects, and many of them do tutorials. You have to love YouTube...so don't ever be afraid to do a search when you reach a stumbling block such as Laurel experienced.

After watching the video, sponsored by Indie Sew, we realized the instruction that was tripping Laurel up involved the "grabbing of the seam allowance and pulling the armhole wrong side out."  We discovered that it's all in how you reach up in between the bodice shell and the facing and do the "grabbing."

It really difficult to demonstrate in these still photos.  As they say in the studio, "you have to see the movie" to get it. But once we watched the video a couple of times, we wondered why we made it so hard. It isn't a challenging technique if you know what you're doing. And yes, you can teach an old dog (or sewist) new tricks!

The armholes are sewn in two steps...first the front is sewn using the "grab, pull and pin" technique, then the back of the armhole, following the same technique.  When the garment is turn right-side out, the result is a beautifully finished neckline and armhole.

We used a twin needle to hem the Minttu Top after adding a little fusible tape to cut down on the rolling that often happens with knits.

Such a polished finish on the neck and armholes...and no hand sewing.

Fabric on the bias for the side panels.
What a great detail!

Feeling good in my Minttu Swing Top with my new Safran Jeans!

We could totally make this top again - we love the flowing nature of it.  And once we got the technique of the all-in-one facing down, we aren't likely to forget it.  The beauty of it is that the shoulder seams are smooth and flat which is sometimes a problem using the open shoulder hand-sewn method.

Thank heavens that we have such a powerful resource in our community through the internet. Where would we be without our blogging and social media friends!  There is much to learn about sewing, and we like to think that we here at Fabriclady and Stonemountain Fabrics inspire you as well to try new techniques.  We are not too proud to learn from you and nor are we thinking we know it all.  Both Laurel and I have been creating garments for years, and we love to call ourselves life-long students of all that is creative and beautiful. We learn from you and you inspire us everyday.

Thank you for being a part of our story.

With love and many blessings,

What fabric would you use for your Minttu Swing Top?