Sunday, December 29, 2013

Not your ordinary fabric store...

Victoria Magazine is a women's magazine highlighting women entrepreneurs and businesswomen. It features women who turn what they love into a thriving business. They call this a "Business of Bliss".  And, though my wonderful Dad started Stonemountain Fabrics years ago, I am truly blessed to be a huge part of this Business of Bliss and it's success here in Berkeley today.

Being a women-owned business takes a lot of long hours and hard work.  In today's economic times of big box and large chain stores, small businesses like Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics require constant vigilance and high energy to stay ahead of daily challenges. But I love what my team and I accomplish - each day is different, each day brings joy.

When I hadn't seen my friend and dressmaker Laurel, of Laurel's Quill blog, in a month or so,  she said she was feeling some fabric deprivation and wanted to spend the day just being in the "Stonemountain groove"... taking photos, talking to customers and of course, continuing to plan my wardrobe. She left me with these wonderful snapshots of her day... she totally captured what daily life here at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics is all about.

Just a normal day....

The best part of buying fabric for our customers is when the delivery truck arrives. We receive fabric deliveries almost's one of the things that sets us apart - fresh new finds every time a customer comes in!

Opening the boxes is like Christmas all over again - we can't wait to see what's in them!

When a big shipment arrives, it's kind of "All hands on deck!" Bolts need to be labeled, inventoried and priced.

Bolts and bolts, yards and yards of beautiful Italian woolens...

Charlene "owns" the fashion fabric room, so she picked out the new woolens that she wanted to  display.  Of course, sometimes that means we move out older fabrics to make room...

"I'm just not feelin' this one...", she says. Off it goes upstairs to the half-price sale room!

Laurel made a point of walking around the store to chat with customers, just to see what they were making. It was so great to hear their sewing stories.

Like Sally from Oakland who saw the Sandra Betzina blouse we made out of cotton voile - she loved it so much, she's copying ours!

Stonemountain is rather famous for it's button wall - every day, we have customers like Mary Ann who come in only to find the perfect button for a garment they made. There's just something joyful about handling all those little "jewels"!

Here's another special thing about our store - mothers and grandmothers bringing in their young "sewists" for a class or to make a special project.

Like Gema, age 6 from Orinda...She is making a blanket for her baby cousin who "Needs a soft blanket".

Picking out fabric for a special garment can not be rushed - you need to touch it, hold it up to your face, drape it over your shoulder...let it speak to you. Katherine of El Sobrante is just getting back into garment sewing.  Like many of our customers, she learned how to sew in middle school.

Another customer brought in her Christmas plates to find just the perfect fabric for her holiday table.

Our cutting tables are always busy...

And in between all of my administrative tasks I get to actually help a customer.  I love connecting with people and the satisfaction of helping someone make their fabric dream come to life.

Our irrepressible Gerri, all decked out in the Holiday spirit. I am blessed to have a great staff!

Grandma's still shopping, so Mom and baby take a moment amidst the woolens.

Carmen from Emeryville keeps a close watch on our sales associate while she cuts her fabrics.

Laurel even brought down her latest Marci Tilton Jacket to get some feedback from our staff.  Is it too long? Does it need a button? The consensus of opinions was that it was just right, as is.

When Laurel comes down from Sacramento, there's always a couple of new garments for me to try on, as well as plan new items to plan for my wardrobe. We love that our wardrobe project and blog are capturing the attention of other sewists and inspiring them to start garment sewing again.

"When I get old and can't sew, I just want someone 
to push me around in a fabric store..." 
SuZan, 2013

Wishing each of you the very best in 2014!
Please stop by for a visit and say hi

Suzan Steinberg
a.k.a. Daughter!

Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics
2518 Shattuck Ave. @ Dwight Way, Berkeley
510-845-6106 (for any questions!)

A Center for Garment Sewing & Quilting
Serving the greater Bay Area since 1976
"An old world fabric store for the new age"

Thursday, December 19, 2013

'Tis the Season for Giving Back

During this holiday season, we are reminded of how truly fortunate we are, living life abundantly, staying warm and safe. We cherish the gifts we receive and at the same time feel the tugs on our hearts to reach out to those who may not be as fortunate as ourselves. That's why at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics giving back is especially important this time of year.

I am delighted in the many ways our customers and friends to join us in giving back to our communities as well as touching lives around the world. We "pay forward"a kindness to someone whom we may never know by using our sewing gifts; it is like giving a piece of yourself. And isn't that what the Holidays are all about, regardless of your beliefs or traditions - sharing a piece of yourself.

Stonemountain is active in many different sewing outreach programs in which our customers and friends can get involved:

The Brightest Little Star Project provides blankets and quilts for babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, California. Stonemountain & Daughter's volunteers have sewn many, many little blankets and scent dolls for these special babies! If you are interested in participating in our next Brightest Little Star sewing day, contact us via our website - we'll add you to our list and you'll be contacted when further events are announced.

Look what our volunteers have made!

The next volunteer sewing event will be coming up on January 18th, 2014
Contact Terry McClintock with the American Sewing Guild for more information by email at

For more information on "The Brightest Little Star, check out our website page The Brightest Little Star to learn about how you can make a blanket or a scent doll for these wee ones.

I love to see when our customers come in to purchase fabrics for their "giving back."  Laurel, of Laurel's Quill, purchased some lovely cotton fabric at Stonemountain some time ago to benefit one of her favorite non-profits, Dress a Girl Around the World. This organization has chapters all over the U.S. where women gather for a "sewfest" to make dresses for girls in developing nations, many of whom have never even had a new dress. Dress a Girl started with women making a simple dresses out of pillowcases, but any cotton fabric will do! What we love about this is that even our daughters and sons can get involved at the sewfests, even if they don't know how to sew.

Young volunteer modeling a finished dress
Check out how Laurel used our coordinating cottons to make these simple little dresses:

Whether you're making tiny preemie hats and blankets for newborns, blankets for our veterans, quilts for the elderly, or a huggable teddy bear for a child in crisis, we applaud your willingness to share your sewing gifts with others. 

Holiday Blessings,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Reflections and Relationships…Fabric Unites!

From the moment I began my journey in the world of fabric, it was always the relationships that magically happened along the way. My father, dear friends and family, the customers, our vendors, amazing staff, teachers and students and the greater community that has evolved into something so meaningful as I reflect back over the last year and in fact, lifetime of being a fabric lover and merchant.

A fabric lover is also a lover of people. And as a fabric merchant I love our community. Our store is a center for me to meet and connect with so many different communities that, in turn, cross-over, merge and branch out from one another.

I love seeing a woman who learned, as a teenager, how to sew in our sewing classes grow into a fashion designer who brings in her son when shopping with us. A quilter who knows she can always come in to show off her newest creation for a standing ovation. A person who just wanders in from off the street, gasps after five steps inside the store and declares that they have arrived in "HEAVEN!" A group of seasoned quilters who spend several hours following each other around the store showing of their favorites and giggling like teenagers in love. A grandparent bringing in their grandchild to choose their first sewing project. A fellow seamstress blogger who's life passions are so closely similar to my own that we generate a collaboration that ignites and fuels a Garment Sewing Revolution!  These are memories that bring warmth and delight to my heart. These are the reflections and relationships that truly activate my life's intent of building community through our shared love of fabric.

Lasting relationships are built through sharing joy. My dad and I have spent over half my life cultivating relationships with merchants to share amazing fabric with our customers. Our staff and instructors share their vast knowledge and passion for fabric, buttons, crafts, quilts, trim, garment design and fit. And in turn, our customers share their successes and creativity with me and I am inspired to find more deliciousness to keep this beautiful cycle going!