Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Make it or Break it Sleeves at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics

Sleeves can make or break a look. Let's take a look at a couple of patterns 
where the sleeves really put it all together.
This New England Dress Pattern from Decades of Style is adorable
and wouldn't be the same without sleeves.

Pattern - Decades of Style - New England Dress
This vogue pattern has modernized dolman sleeves. Defining sleeve types can be a little confusing at times as the definitions seem to morph a bit with designers!
So a modern sleeve can look very different than the classic version of the same sleeve.
Have a look below to see what we mean!
Contrast this Vogue pattern with modernized dolman sleeves to the historical image of a dolman sleeve below from 1871. Dolman sleeves are set into a very low armscye. Dolman sleeves were very popular during the Civil War, as the low and wide sleeve made the waist look smaller.  
              Know Your Sleeve
Bell - flares at the end of the sleeve in a bell shape.
Cap - a very short sleeve - that is even shorter under the arm.
Raglan - this attractive sleeve extends to the neckline. It is commonly seen in baseball jerseys.
Set-in Sleeve - this sleeve is set into the armhole or armscye.
Kimono - these sleeves are drafted as a part of the bodice and are not separate as set-in sleeves.

Gigot or Leg of Mutton - this sleeve flares wide at the top and gets narrower at the wrist. 
Great news - there is a beautiful new pattern out by Decades of Style. So exciting! We look forward to Janet Manning's patterns - and to top it all off, it has very cute cap sleeves!
Here is a sample of this dress made up in the store -
come by and see it for yourself!
The length here is shorter, knee length instead of cocktail length.
This dress has an asymmetrical neckline. The draped bodice has fullness gathered or pleated into the right shoulder. Waist has a sewn in tie that sashes. Medium sewing skill level.
Great Fabrics: silk charmeuse, lightweight crepe, satin, and rayon.
This cute Diamond Dress pattern is from Decades of Style
Our very own buyer, Victoria Jarvis is modeling it here! Isn't she adorable in this lovely dress?
          Adorable sleeve detail with contrasting fabric.
Still want more sleeve options?
Pamela's Patterns necklines and sleeves will get you there!
          This is a great pattern - An add on to her Perfect-T-Shirt Pattern. You get to vary it up with a feminine ballet neck, a sporty boat neck, flattering square neck, and cozy funnel neck. And two separate sleeve  styles, the flare sleeve and bell sleeve!
Thank you for submitting your questions! Here is one we picked to answer for this newsletter:
I was wondering if you could help me with a sewing/pattern alteration problem I'm having. I'm using a Vogue pattern to make a top, and although I'm predominately a size 10, my shoulders are very narrow. As a result I need to alter the pattern so that I don't look like a child playing dress-up in mommy's clothes. I know that I can cut in at the shoulder (I think!), but I am unsure as to how to proceed from there to adapt the armhole and circumference of the sleeve opening.
 Please help as I'm tired of making only sleeveless garments!

Stonemountain & Daughter Answers:
This is great question and problem that can be fixed! Making the shoulder seam shorter to account for your shoulders will enlarge the armscye (the circumference from your armpit and around your shoulder). This will mean that you will need to change the sleeve head and the ease to account for this change, or you won't have enough room for your arm.
Unfortunately, it is too difficult to explain how best to compensate for the change because it can all depend on the shape of the sleeve head, the type of fabric and the amount being changed. The best thing we recommend is to take one of our Sew and Fit Labs for Personal Projects (class #250). This is the perfect way to learn how to make the changes needed and receive hand-on assistance from one of our instructors. Its a one day class that meets for three hours and is only $30.
We still have availability on the following date:
Thursday, March 21 10 am-1 pm
Another option is our Fit Lab (class #520) where you create a muslin "test" garment and make adjustments to have it fit you properly, and make those changes to your paper pattern before you cut your fashion fabric, only $30.
Wednesday, March 20, 6:30-9:00 pm
We also offer Garment Alterations (class # 321) which a great way to learn how to alter garments you already have. The fee is also $30.
Thursday, April 30, 10:30 am-1:30 pm
If you would like to register for any of these classes, you can call us at (510) 845-6106.
Again, thank you for your great question.
Have a sewing question? Email us and we will choose one to answer in an upcoming enewsletter!

Look forward to more sleeve styles in our next newsletter!
Fabulous "original" customer Carolyn Soto, who used to shop us when we were in Pacifica, had a great response to our reversible garments e-newsletter: 

Reversible tops can also be made with a different finishing technique. Carolyn notes that you can leave the shoulder seams open, sew all the hems - right sides together- then reach in through the opening at the shoulder and pull the outer fabric's right side out through the shoulder (now the two wrong sides will be together). Machine stitch the the shoulder seams of the reverse fabric and finally hand sew the shoulder seam of the outer fabric. Be sure to press the hems, which hides the reverse fabric from view. You can even topstitch the sleeve and shirt hem to hold them in place. Try a contrasting thread for a unique detail!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sew It! Reverse It!

 Many things in life are not as expected and full of surprises. Here is a fun way to surprise yourself - make two garments in one! Great for trips and when you want a little change. Jump in and reverse your point of view!
Surprisingly enough, a reversible pattern is actually a hard thing to find. There are several vintage patterns available through the internet, but next to none in the current pattern world.

The best thing to do is take an existing pattern and make it reversible. This requires little to no changes to the actual pattern, only the way in which you construct it. The patterns below are ones that we recommend and are available at Stonemountain.

Pattern - Burda - T-Shirt  - 8220 
Patterns that work best for this are blouses without buttons or zipper closures. Also, it is best to use boxier cuts or patterns without darts, as to cut down on any bulk.

Dupioni and Habotai are natural together!

Using Dupioni and Habotai together
makes the garment less prone to wrinkles!

Buy the suggested amount of fabric in two different fabrics. Make sure to buy similar types of fabric (knits with knits, cotton woven with cotton woven).
You can use two different types of fabric (for example: charmeuse with rayon) but they should be similar in drape and weight.

These silks would be nice to pair for the Burda Top.

When you construct the blouse, you sew the shoulder, sleeves, and sides for each fabric then, with the right sides of the two different fabrics together, sew the necklines, front and back.

Rayon Challis
Rayon challis can be paired with our  rayon bamboo, rayon crepe, and rayon linen, and cotton silk.
The rayon challis is so pretty - flowers are in!

Rayon linen pairs well with cottons, cotton silk, medium weight silks and rayon bamboo and rayon crepe. 

Rayon Bamboo and Rayon Crepe

 It is best to trim the seam allowance, again, to cut down on bulk. Turn it right side out, then finish/hem the sleeves together (you can turn the seam allowance in on each and hem or slip-stitch them together by hand.

Or trim on 1/4 " shorter than the other, fold the longer one over the shorter, then fold once more and sew it down, creating a bit of trim/boarder on one side of the fabric. Or you can bind them close with bias tape or lace. The same can be done for the bottom hem.
 Fabric Care Tips
Always treat the fabric before hand as you will the finished garment or project (for example - if you plan to put the finished garment in the dryer, wash and put the fabric in the dryer before you cut)

When in doubt dry clean all silk, wool, rayon, linen, decorator fabrics, and certain imported cottons whose dye is unstable to keep it looking it's best. If you choose to dry clean, certain fabrics need to be pre-shrunk by steaming before you cut into your project.
 Some dry cleaners can steam press your fabric before you cut.

Exception: Some fabric with metallic threads may not be suitable for dry cleaning and will need special care.

Look for more fabric care tips in upcoming Stonemountain e-newsletters!

Follow us on Pinterest!
A great new place to share customer projects, staff picks, and the latest trunk shows in the store!

Go to our Pinterest page - Scissors and Thread
to learn to make this cool sewing machine cover!
Our Scissors and Thread board has lots of great ideas for your sewing room!