Tuesday, January 27, 2015

You Can't Overdo a Good Thing!

If you're anything like me, when you find the perfect pair of shoes and they fit like a dream, you buy one in every color! Sewing garments is the same - when you find a pattern that works, you can't just make one, especially if the style is versatile and goes anywhere.

We love the ease and comfort of Sandra Betzina's Vogue 1336 dress.  Laurel and I both made tunics from this pattern for our Sandra Betzina Trunk Show in November at the store.

Since you can never have to much of a good thing, we made it again - this time using a different print, but using the same nylon mesh for the sleeves and hemline bands. Nylon mesh is so versatile for jazzing up a simple pattern - use it for sleeves, neckline treatments, and if you're real brave, why not try it as a "peek-a-boo" strip in a dress or t-shirt?


Here's another of my favorite patterns - Victory's Satsuki dress. We've made it as both a dress and a top.  I love the comfort and style of this design. (Are you starting to see a pattern here - "comfort" and "ease?") But I also love the femininity of this design.  Whatever your body type, it will be flattering.

So why mess with success? I found this wonderful silk knit during one of my buying trips and I loved the way the print almost had an ombre look.  I immediately thought of the Satsuki dress.

I'm thinking that it's going to need one of Laurel's special Obi belts. You can learn how to make this great fashion accessory on FabricLady's Obi-Belt How-To.

We put these posts up as drafts before we publish them for our readers and look what happens - Laurel made a custom Obi Belt, just for this dress! She used a scrap of our boiled wool, picking up the deep brown in the knit and lined it with the print. Also a jewelry maker, she used some beautiful glass squares as the focal point for my belt. They will pick up the soft turquoise colors.

She secured the glass beads with a border of brown glass beads strung on thin wire. Clear jeweler's glue was added to fix the two elements together. She used Aleen's Super Fabric Adhesive to glue the finished embellishements to the belt and then secured them with thread. A few embroidery and machine stitches were added for detail.

Oh my!!! What a special gift for FabricLady!

This Satsuki dress and the Sandra Betzina tunic are perfect styles for working here at the store. In the cooler months, I can pair the Sandra Betzina with leggings and the Satsuki with boots. Come into the store and see our huge selection of knit fabrics and add one of these "Go-To Fashions" to your Spring wardrobe.

Creatively Yours,

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ikat Beauty!

2015 is off to a wonderful start here at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley!

As many of you know, there are more and more exciting fabrics and patterns to entice us into the world of sewing garments! It is our mission to support all sewists make choices with more confidence and have a higher rate of success. Here in this blog, Laurel, my amazing seamstress, friend and blog partner, shares many tips for sewing each garment that transfer throughout all projects. If you are new to my blog, please take some time to scroll back in time to see the amazing garments we created in 2014!

To all of you who visit me in the store and say "hi" and for all the moments we get to share. Let's do more of that in 2015!!!

 As I mentioned in my last blog, there are many things that make me smile! All the new fabrics being imported from India rank high on my list of fabric loves!

Now onto the inspiring topic of IKATS!!!

Ikat is a weaving style common to many world cultures. Likely, it is one of the oldest forms of textile decoration. Ikat weaving styles vary widely. Many design motifs may have ethnic, ritual or symbolic meaning or have been developed for export trade. Traditionally, ikat are symbols of status, wealth, power and prestige. Because of the time and skill involved in weaving ikat, some cultures believe the cloth is imbued with magical powers.

To get really technical, Ikat is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles that employs a resist dyeing process on the warp fibers, the weft fibers, or in the rare and costly 'double ikat' both warp and weft, prior to dyeing and weaving. In ikat, the resist is formed by binding bundles of threads with a tight wrapping applied in the desired pattern. The threads are then dyed. The bindings may then be altered and the thread bundles dyed again with another color to produce elaborate, multicolored patterns. When the dyeing is finished the bindings are removed and the threads are woven into cloth.

And to get really real, we love ikat fabric and I love keeping it in the store.  We took one of our simple dress patterns, New Look's 6013 to make our ikat print dress.  Remember, this is the same pattern that we used for our Japanese Print, and the same pattern that we made up in muslin for a perfect fit.

This little dress pattern is a snap to make and sewing on our ikat print is just as easy. 
Seams and dart press into shape with a hot iron.

Use a pressing ham on these curved sleeves for a polished look.

Ikat fabrics do ravel, so you will need to finish off seams with a serger 
or use some other seam finishing treatment.
(You can see all the different colored threads that make up this gorgeous fabric!)

Laurel finished off the faced neckline with a double row of topstitching.

And just like that, I'm right in step with our Funky Dress Revolution!

Yep, there's that cool copper zipper down the back. Magical!
I am SO Berkeley!

Creatively Yours,

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Let's Get this Sewing Party Started!!!

Happy New Year Fellow Fabric Lovers!

Welcome to 2015 - The Year of Garment Sewing!!!

If you are anything like me, you crave a unique wardrobe created with fabrics you love and full of garments that fit you!  Why not spend some time at our pattern table (or in our webstore) and pick out designs that will flatter your figure and make you smile. Or you can start by cruising our fabric aisles to see and feel what calls out to you! All our fabric is yummier than ever - year round cotton, not just special occasion silks, Italian wool, comfy rayon and knits for every day running around…how can it get any better than this?! 

My seamstress Laurel and I spotted this beautiful Asian inspired "chirimen" rayon - it came in two different patterns and each of us wanted a dress from it. The two of us tend to gravitate to the same fabrics though our body types are totally different.

After seeing our Mary Jane in a (Vogue 1390) loose fitting dress at our Sandra Betzina event in November, I wanted this design, too.  Laurel wanted something more fitted, so she chose the New Look 6013 pattern, which we have already mad twice for me. Either design will be smashing in this rayon fabric. And, needless to say, Laurel made a muslin first to ensure a great fit!

Since Laurel actually had an upcoming event to wear her dress, we started there. We used a soft cotton batiste to inner-line the body of the dress to add a little weight to the rayon.  We also chose a black linen-look rayon fabric for the sleeves and added a band around the hemline to "frame" this busy pattern. Remember: it these design details are the very things that make your dress unique to you.

Secure the inner lining to the fabric using a zig zag stitch
Nothing says Asian influence like Chinese red on black…
so red thread for the serged seams and, 
just for grins, why not add a bright red zipper?

Securing a facing is either done by tacking it by hand or sewing it by machine,  usually resulting in a top stitched effect.  Laurel's first inclination was to just add a stabilizing top stitch to the neckline facing...but since we're going all out here, let's try a fancy stitch...

After making the Key Stitch pattern in red thread, it became more than obvious that the line of red stitching was too pretty to hide (we can thank her hubby for the suggestion - "Why would you hide that?!). So instead of turning the facing at the neckline seam, she shifted the facing upward to expose the beautiful key stitching. To secure the facing, a "stitch in the ditch" technique was used.

Oh so very pretty!

Laurel's dress inside out…
Details that only you can see make it unique!

And, the finished dress - total perfection!

We have to say it looks amazing on our Laurel! 
She wore it to her friend's "Fancy Coat" dinner, 
where a group of friends all wore their fancy coats, 
celebrated womanhood and shared some great food.

(In case you wondered, Laurel's "fancy" coat is a vintage Joseph Magnin swing coat fashioned in silk faille fabric, not a fabric that you see too much these days…)

 It sounded like a great evening! Now I'm anxious to see the Sandra Betzina design made up for me in this luscious rayon print - sometimes its nice to make an average day special by wearing something special! Truthfully, you can dress this fabric down if need be...pair it with some leggings or boots. The fabric would make a great short jacket too, check out the chairmen rayons we have in stock below (or find another great choice!): 


Have a dress that you've made?  Send us a photo! We all inspire each other and that's what makes sewing SEW FUN!!!

Creatively Yours,