Friday, June 28, 2013

I love wearing knits! The sewing adventure continues...

Wow is it HOT here in the Bay Area! This is the time when I love to wear knit fabrics.  In spite of the comfort factor of wearing a rayon knit garment, a lot of home seamstresses are intimidated with sewing on a knit. Because there is "stretchiness" to the material itself, people worry about seams that won’t drape properly and edges that may roll, and ultimately, what it will look like when it comes out of the dryer.

Actually, knit fabrics are very forgiving – you need not be an expert to sew an attractive knit garment. We chose a simple knit skirt with a side slit to demonstrate a few tips and tricks for sewing knits.  The pattern we used is KWIK SEW #3139.

This long skirt has an elastic waist and a hemline slit on one side. We chose a pretty blue rayon knit fabric. One of the secrets of working with rayon knits is to pre-wash and dry your fabric.  This process not only pre-shrinks the fabric but also allows you to lay the pattern out on the straight grain of the fabric. Just remember not to use too hot of a dryer as the lycra can melt and the fabric will hold up better.

We serged our side edges prior to sewing the seams, rather than serge the seams together, but either method is fine.  If your machine has a pre-set knit stitch, that’s great, but even a narrow zigzag stitch works just as well. The important thing to remember is that knit fabrics s-t-r-e-t-c-h and so should your seams.

We also reinforced the top end of the slit with a small triangle of bias tape – there’s nothing worse than watching your side or back hemline slit start giving way during a brisk Salsa at the club.

We machine hemmed our skirt with two rows of stitching to add a little detail.

Put a little t-shirt with this long skirt and Voila! you have great look for shopping, dinner, whatever! Try making it in other knits too, such as a luxurious ponte knit for a dressier version. Whichever knit fabric you choose and depending on your skill level, you can polish this skirt off in an afternoon.

Casual rayon jersey knit 
Dressy Ponte knit - 90% Polyester, 5% Rayon and 5% Spandex

Don't believe us? You can make this EXACT skirt in Stonemoutain's Sewing on Knit Fabric - Knit Know How Project class. Its only 3 hours and you can leave with your own finished beauty.
We have more goodies coming up next week. Keep sewing!

Vogue 8636 by Marcy Tilton
Here's my finished outfit - it went straight to the mannequin for display! I need to take this home so I can wear it next week!  This is so much fun having Laurel sew these amazing garments. We are both blogging about it and getting so motivated by each other. What more is possible? I hope that you are inspired by watching this process. We would love to hear from you.

Blessings, Suzan

P.S. Uh oh, Laurel. I think I lost another inch or so in my hips and waist from my whole9 nutrition 30 day reset - I am on day 18 and this is amazing! So much energy and it's great to watch my problem belly shrink before my eyes. Wow I didn't think this was possible, but it truly all Starts with Food!

Monday, June 24, 2013

BEST TOP EVER: A Radical Combination

In a recent newsletter and blog post, we highlighted an exciting new fashion trend - mixing woven fabrics with knits.  This combination offers a lot of versatility given the unlimited variety of fabric choices. You can make a dressy garment or keep it casual.

I absolutely adore this wonderful stretch silk charmeuse and chose it for my radical combination.  (Although I got the last of this bolt, there are so many other choices at Stonemountain) I paired it with a soft black knit for the back of Sandra Betzina's sleeveless top - Vogue#1355

Vogue #V1355

Sandra Betzina is one of my favorite designers and one of our instructors.  I love the simplicity of her designs, yet each has stylistic elements that make her looks unique and fashion forward.

My dressmaker Laurel (Laurel's Quill) and I decided that we would cut the front of the top on the bias to give us more layout options so we can play up the print design.  The material has a bit of lycra in it so it has even more give on the bias.  We decided the black areas would look best against my neckline and face.

Sandra's pattern calls for a full lining out of a lightweight fabric such as lingerie knit or stretchy mesh, but because we were combining the charmeuse with a knitted back, Laurel suggested just constructing a facing to keep the top light and flowing.

I love the way it turned out!! I think it's a keeper! What do you think?

For Sandra's coordinating pants, I chose a soft bamboo/rayon with lycra knit.  This fabric is dreamy. The waist band uses the principle of "negative ease" to holds the pants up and has no elastic, so proper fit is important.  Sandra mentions in her pattern notes that her daughters loved these drapey pants as "upscale" yoga pants. What a great idea!

One small snag... my new healthy lifestyle (Whole9 Nutrition) has already yielded a one inch (Yay!!) drop in my waistline.  Sorry Laurel - can we take them in a hair in the waist?  I will have a photo taken of the whole outfit when I get those pants back!  I am super excited to share how the other clothes are turning out... stay tuned!!!

Happy Sewing, Suzan Steinberg

Thursday, June 20, 2013

It's Time to Sew!

If you didn't already know this about me, let me tell you: I Love Fabric! 

Some of my fondest childhood memories were of wearing the wonderful "hippie" creations that my dad sewed up for me with fabric from his fabric store in the late 60's. My favorites were the mini dresses of African printed cotton with bell bottom sleeves! Fast forward now to my 50's, where my love of fabric drives my passion for the store that my father and I work so hard to preserve. Sometimes, I just want to bring all the fabric home with me! Like many women, I know how to sew but it is not a priority for me right now. So, my favorite alternative option is to have others (more talented than I!) sew for me.

About a month ago I put a call out for seamstresses in our community to sew a new fashion wardrobe for me. After sorting through the responses, I immediately knew that Laurel (of Laurel's Quill) and I were a match made in heaven!

Laurel's blog and photos truly inspire - take a look for more details from her perspective!

We quickly began planning to create a shared vision of partnering beautiful fabric and patterns to make clothes that will encourage and spark YOUR creativity.

These garments will be on display in the store on the days when I am not wearing them. We will share the photos, patterns, notions and sewing tips that really work and those that don't work so well. Please feel free to travel between our two blogs for the complete story!

Sandra Betzina Top in printed stretch silk and black bamboo/rayon knitVogue 1355; Knit skirt in teal rayon interlockKwik Sew 3139; Pants in cotton/linen/spandex denim, New Look 6163
Join me on this journey of making a new and updated wardrobe out of our amazing fabrics here at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics.


Wow, Laurel and I just met for our third fitting and I have lost an inch in my waist and hips! Now this should make our task fun and challenging! I started the Whole9 Nutrition 12 days ago to get super healthy and fit. I feel wonderful JUST eating vegetables, fruit and protein - as organic as I can find.

I am also consciously sending this blog out at on the Summer Solstice at 0 degree Cancer. This is a powerful time to set our intentions and to nourish our dreams. This all ties together my passion for cosmology, being a fabric merchant and a certified Shamanic Astrologer!

I hope you will join me and write comments as we deepen our connection to our soul work and build community.

Love in ALL things,

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sometimes you just got to get back to basics.
            Summer is a great time to slow down, enjoy yourself, and sew.  Let's make it easy. 
And just cause it's easy doesn't mean it won't be unique, expressive and creative! Here are a few easy essentials to brighten your days. 
     What a cute and simple sundress!
Easy to make, easy to wear - great for a no hassle lifestyle.
What a relief for those of us with jam packed schedules.
Put this dress on and let everything go.
This lined dress has pockets and a back zipper.
Great in cotton, cotton shirting, linen, and gingham.
            Use a fabric with a border or add a separate fabric in a contrasting color to get the look in the Vogue dress above.
            African and Indian style cotton prints and a  butterfly print
            These prints would be bold to try.
            For beginners, we recommend stable cottons (like the butterfly print above!)
            and linen wovens.
            Worried about matching prints on your seams?
            Fold under your seam allowances and cut your second piece to match the with seam allowances folded out of the way.
            Don't forget to make a muslin for fit first!
Here is an easy pattern to cut your teeth on if you are a beginner or make up a bunch for you or as gifts for the experienced seamster.   
PJ sewing party anyone?!
                       Tofino Pants are cosy, casual pyjama pants for lounging at home.  
Sewaholic named these pants for the Tofino district on Vancouver Island that's known for its beaches, surfing, whale watching, and beautiful resorts. Now there's something to dream about!  
The rise of these pants is cut higher in the back and lower in the front so it's  more comfortable for sitting.  Piping and vertical seaming down the sides elongates the leg and adds a  bright touch of color. You can make these as long pants or knee length shorts.
Beginners you  may want to skip the piping on your first pair to make them even easier  to sew. So cosy, you'll reach for them the minute you get home! The key is to pick a fabric that feels soft enough to sleep in! 
                       This pattern works well in lightweight cottons, rayons, or even knit  fabrics. Use our cotton flannel for a cosy winter set of PJs! 
         Navy floral silk charmeuse print                        
Use silk or linen for a dressier set of casual pants or mediumweight silk for luxurious PJs. 
Get started with classes at Stonemountain!       
            This is our most basic class! We supply the machines and our instructors will teach you what you need to get started!
            Learn to use the machine and make your first project.