Monday, August 26, 2013

Daughter's Collection Summer 2013

If you watch any of the fashion related shows on television such as Project Runway, Fashion Star or any of the "Red Carpet" features, you know that when they talk about a particular outfit they always refer to the designer's collection - "Zac Posen, Spring/Summer 2013", "Giorgio Armani, Fall 2013", etc.

So Dad (Mr. StoneMountain himself) and I were chatting the other morning about my whole wardrobe adventure and he suggested that I name it the "Daughter's Collection". What an awesome idea! As the season's change, Laurel and I will be completing fashion looks for each season - things that all my home sewing fashionistas can take inspiration from and make for themselves.

Most of the fashions that we have already created are from the "Daughter's Collection, Summer 2013" - I love saying that! We made outfits that I can wear at the store in Berkeley everyday, as well as some that will work for vacations in Southern California, Hawaii and other warm climate destinations.

I love wearing these clothes! Silk is a wonderful fabric that breathes - perfect for summer. I have worn this great Sandra Betzina top over and over with the linen crop pants.

Waiting on the Shuttle!

Stepping out!
And who could go wrong with this "Daughter's Collection" easy tube top and maxi-skirt...this baby is going to Hawaii later on..

A nice walk after Brunch

Love this two piece knit dress!
Laurel told me she almost kept this Satsuki top for herself, she loved it so much. I can wear this soft batik to work, but I think it looks better in So Cal, don't you?

Vacation Linen Pants with my Batik Top!

Laguna Beach Sept 2013
Be sure to stay tuned to FabricLady as we reveal our plans for the Daughter's Collection, Fall 2013.  StoneMountain has a lot of new Fall fabrics in, so get started on your Fall wardrobe now - time's a wastin'!

Up early for a walk on the beach and my morning cappucino 

Taking in the view!

A sunset to remember!
Crystal Cove State Park
Farewell Newport Beach's off to Marina Del Rey and some Fabric Buying in downtown Los Angeles. We have been buying fabric downtown since 1967! My Dad taught me well and I love to buy from old friends who are now like family. I will post lots of photos from the next few days...What treasures shall I find to bring back to Stonemountain & Daughter? What is your heart's desire?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

So Long, Precious Sewing Machine....Up In Smoke!

Many, many years ago I purchased this amazing "computerized" sewing machine from a local dealer. I was in my twenties and put this on lay away and paid it off over 9 months (remember layaway?!).

Three full decades later my sweet machine, "Scarlet Begonias", has stitched her final seam and went out smoking...

 Scarlet Begonia's has a touch of the blues... and the vapors!
My dear friend Laurel chronicled Scarlet's final huzzah in her blog

We had some wonderful times in the three decades we spent together. It all began when, inspired by so many of the beautiful fabrics in our family fabric store in Berkeley, I figured I should be sewing past my 5th grade level!

I began taking classes to improve my skills at our local Berkeley Adult School. The community support was amazing. Our teacher, Kim Choy, made sewing fun and helped me through its ups and downs. It's hard to believe that it's been three decades since 1983, we have both been through so much in our lives! 

As I feel the waves of nostalgia flow over me, I remember the nights sewing with friends and making many amazing gifts out of velvets, silks, rayons and cottons; the beautiful pair of pants that I still wear, the tops that I struggled to get to "work" right.

My companion through this journey was my dear, beloved sewing machine Scarlet. I worked hard to earn this sewing power tool. Yet, she was more than that: she was a confidant and partner in creating beauty and challenging my sewing skills. I graced her with my Grateful Dead sticker since it seemed so fitting!

Scarlet was a great machine and will be missed. I haven't been sewing much lately, but she was always close by. I was super excited to loan her to Laurel, who is busy creating a new wardrobe of hand sewn garments for me to wear and display in the store, at trade shows and to blog about! We will have to content ourselves with the memories of a great machine.

Do you have a machine you love? Many either have a monogamous relationship with one machine or they have a family of them and can't choose which one they love best! We have a favorite here in our sewing classes: Bernina Active 210. Showing that "computerized" has come a long way, these machines are loved by our quilters, apparel sewists and even the kids in our Youth Sewing Camps. 

Fare thee well...

Fare you well, fare you well, I love you more than words can tell,
Listen to the river sing sweet songs, to rock my soul.
(Brokedown Palace ~ Grateful Dead)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dreams of a new wardrobe - Coming True!

Fabric stores like Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics are filled with a wide variety of fabric textures and colors, both natural and synthetic. Most home sewers tend to visit us when they need a new outfit for an event or to coordinate  a top with a great pair of jeans they just bought.  

The beauty of having all these fabric choices at your fingertips is that planning a whole wardrobe becomes a sort of adventure and a lot of fun! It can seem a little overwhelming, but start with some real basic style choices and then add on pieces that coordinate as you go.  That's why I love separates,  because you can multiply your wardrobe quickly.

FabricLady holding the Vogue 8636 Knit Top from Marci Tilton
and the Betzina Pants Vogue 1355.  The garments change weekly.
Come check out this great display of garments featured here in my blog!

For instance, you can start with a basic Ikina pant like my white linen crop pants - remember these?

Then add your favorite tops! This Rayon batik is perfect for summer, especially the "island" themed pattern.

This Victory Satsuki pattern is a breeze to make and oh so comfortable to wear!

And look what else I can wear with those linen pants?

Now I am in love with the elastic waistband Ikina pants and am having them made up in silk noil (raw silk) for the Fall and Winter! I am also trying to figure out the next fabric for the Victory Satsuki top - I love it so much...maybe a dress version? The beautiful thing about making your own clothes is the flexibility we have in choosing style, color and fit!

Think wardrobe!!

Laurel searching the aisles for just the right Rayon!

So many choices of fabric, styles and colors!

This has been an amazing year of transforming my wardrobe and my eating habits - I feel great! It's all about choice - the fabrics and style we choose and the food we eat. 

I hope you will stop by and see my Daughter's Choice section in the Fashion Room of Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley. 

Of course I have the deepest gratitude to my new bestest friend Laurel of Laurel's Quill. Our collaboration is a gift on many levels ~ so many amazing clothes, inspiring blog contributions, epic lunches in Berkeley and a friendship that warms my heart.  So sorry that both our sewing machines have gone kaput, but we will survive these temporary setbacks...

creatively yours,
a.k.a. FabricLady, Daughter, Zan!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Why not try a vintage look in your wardrobe?

Victoria, our buyer and my assistant, here at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics, made the cutest vintage dress from the Decades of Style pattern line.  She and I often go to trade shows together, so we thought it might be fun to make one for me as well.  I love the classic styles of the 1950's and I have admired the Decades of Style  "Object d'Art Dress" Victoria made ever since she first wore it to work. We will have so much fun wearing them at the same time!!!

I chose a cotton lawn print with a solid color for the inserts at the pockets and neckline. Victoria cut her skirt a little fuller than the original, which I planned to duplicate as well - the  original design features a very long skirt, typical of the 1950's, with a kick pleat in the back at the hemline (which would look great on me if I was 5'9" like the model!).

Laurel (my Fashionista Dressmaker) will attest that this pattern is probably suited for our more seasoned seamstresses, but it's worth tackling - that's how we grow as home sewers - by trying new techniques and upping our sewing game!

The finished product is very sophisticated and oh so tres chic!

Stop by and see the dress on display in the Fashion Room this week!

I love the detailing...

Laurel is bringing me this dress this week! I can't wait to try on the finished project. Thanks so much Laurel for sharing your art with me and the rest of us!

Earlier today, Laurel let me know that her sewing machine was acting up and just how frustrated she was. I have a great idea Laurel, how about using my old Viking (complete with a Dead Sticker!) until your old faithful gets fixed?

As I sit here on a beautiful Saturday afternoon resting up from a full week, my husband and I were talking about the big changes we have made in our eating.  It's been remarkably easy and rewarding to stay fairly true to the Whole9 nutrition plan of whole organic vegetables, fruits and protein (no bread, grains, sugar, dairy).  I love having lots of energy - plus losing a few pounds has felt great. My husband just knocked on my office door to let me know he was going to get on the treadmill and then make us our daily juice - sounds good to me!

Have a beautiful weekend and hope your summer is going well. Please try to stop by the store and check out some of the clothes on display that we have been chatting about here.

Love, light, and joy be yours this day.


Great crop of onions from our garden - small but tasty!

Sharing today with

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The sincerest form of flattery...

Designers do it all the time, even though they are openly aghast if you even suggest such a thing.  The purists take great pride in the uniqueness of their handiwork and to casually suggest that they have copied an other's design is tantamount to calling them a fraud.  However adamant the denial, the reality is that there are only so many ways to make a garment.

Every dress shape, every fabric, every pocket and every structured collar has seen it's day on the runway, in some form or another. There are only so many ways to cut a hemline, place a dart or add a zipper. Just look at the pattern books themselves - you can find the same blouse style in two or three books in any given season.

As home sewers, we want to wear the latest trends and styles that we saw on our favorite television show or at the mall - we want that stunning dress a fellow patron wore at our local eatery! Some say we copy, but we say we "draw upon" the creativity of others, add our own unique and personal touches and our creations become "ours." And we think it's just fine! We are not all a Versace or a Ralph Lauren - we don't always have to reinvent the wheel.

Take for instance my latest summer top.  Laurel purchased a cute eyelet blouse at a high end women's store and remarked how easy it would be to make - in fact her favorite saying is "I can make that for a song and a dance".  We looked through the pattern books, and sure enough, we found a Bali Collection pattern, the Kintamani Top  #101, a very close copy of Laurel's retail blouse.

How cute is this eyelet going to be with my new raw silk noil crop pants?!

  Do you have a garment that you would love to copy and wear?  One of our most popular

This week we also completed the knit skirt and matching tube top from the fabric out of my stash. This simple design has been "copied" over and over again through the years and it never seems to be out of style.

Now there's something that is going to look great on my vacation! 

The best part of this outfit is that the top is lined for just the right amount of "smoothness" in all the right places. Good thinking, Laurel!

When you see something you like and think it will look good on you, we say go right ahead and copy it! Chances are, someone else beat you to it, making that same thing in some year past. Isn't that why we love "vintage" and "retro" styled clothing? Isn't that why when we find a style that suits our figure, we even "copy" ourselves, by choosing it over and over again, year after year?

We do the same thing with our lifestyle - we see that someone had success with a particular exercise routine or eating habit and we adopt it a our own... like Mary Jane (or MJ as we like to call her), our Operations Manager here at Stonemountain.
Mary Jane wearing New Look #6093 made with one of our rayons
She is getting married soon and wanted to feel better about her body. She HATES dieting but was intrigued by my Whole30 experience. She found the program a positive lifestyle change she could make (and still avoid dieting). She began her Whole30 about two weeks after me and quickly found that she could fit into more and more of her old clothes! So, she is not copying, but instead sharing in a positive experience in her own way.
Zan and Mary Jane wearing our Titus Summer Blouses!
See?!!! Same but still beautifully unique! 

At it's best, one of the most special aspects of sewing and choosing fabric is that we individualize and inspire others to do the same. 

Speaking of inspiration and yummy things in life...check out the smoothie and juices my husband makes for us each morning and's fruit and spinach in the morning (yummy!) and veggies and strawberries at night. We have been doing this for over a year and it really helped kick start making better choices in what we choose to eat.

Thank you for taking the time to read about the adventures of FabricLady and her team!

There is so much more to share - the clothes that Laurel is making for me are amazing.  Today we are checking out Chez Panisse Cafe in Berkeley as a treat for our growing collaboration and friendship. What goodies is Laurel bringing today? Check back to find out! 

I encourage each of you to come in and feel the fabric and see what inspires you to make or have made.

Creatively yours,