Monday, April 20, 2015

Celebrating Community and Honoring Sandra Betzina!

Suzan & Sandra then and now, 1994 and 2015.

On Sunday, I had the beautiful occasion to join Sandra Betzina, of Power Sewing, and her lovely, creative friends at her annual brunch. While indulging in delicious food, we shared about our lives openly in an environment of support, care and laughter. I am fortunate to call Sandra a friend and to have known her for many years. On this occasion of celebrating Earth Day, I want to acknowledge this amazing woman in our Sewing Community. We all have so much gratitude for Sandra's support of the independent fabric store, her amazing Today's Fit Pattern Line through Vogue Patterns, the sewing workshops covering all aspects of creating and fitting, and her amazing style and spirit which make this world a sweeter place to live. 

Something you may not know about Sandra is that she was our first instructor we ever had here at Stonemountain, way before we started our school 19 years ago! She has always drawn people together through sewing and inspired all of us to be ourselves and express that through our wearable creations. Here at Stonemountain, we have consciously worked in the spirit of Sandra to create a supportive, caring community center for everyone who enters our doors, whether you are a quilter, crafter, garment maker, or even none of the above quite yet. We are so lucky to be apart of such a great community—a community that is continuously giving back to each other so that we may all stay inspired in all aspects of our lives. Fabric is such a magical entity that brings us together and sewing is what connects us.  Just as each stitch binds our fabric together, we are connected in our community. 
Sandra's 1994 lecture.
Sandra giving a lecture, 1996. Check out that 15th Anniversary sign!
The things we create are infused with our memories, our love, our history, and our friendships; every piece has a story. When my seamstress, Laurel, and I work together, we are constantly inspiring each other. When one of us finds a great fabric and has it made up, the other may want the same thing! For example, she will find a great knit on our shelves and I want the same thing or vice versa - it's all part of the fun of working together.

There are so many great knits to choose from but we both loved this awesome black and white geometric knit. There are lots of design options when you have this much pattern.

I  decided to try Sandra Betzina's Vogue 1376.  I love the ease of this top!

Loved the way it turned out!

Laurel stowed her fabric away, not sure what she wanted to make.  But this past week we fell in love with the Uptown Top, by A Verb for Keeping Warm.

We both liked the way it fit, even though our body types are different. 

 She decided to use our geometric knit to make her own Uptown top
Same print, but she varied the pattern, making her top individual!! 
(It's a good thing we live 100 miles apart - otherwise we'd see each other coming and going!)

Laurel's Mini-Me Colette sporting the Uptown Top
And speaking of dress forms (were we?), I picked up a a Mini-Me of my own and sent it home with Laurel to keep Colette company.  It's almost my exact measurements, so it will be very helpful to both of us during our sewing adventures. Dress forms can be a useful tool to drape fabrics such as this knit, just to see what pattern combination might be the most flattering.

Colette and Zanikin
We can't wait to have Sandra back at Stonemountain this June for two workshops! There are still spots open, so give us a call or come by the store to sign up!

501: Fitting the Patterm Made Easier - Event with Sandra Betzina
Thursday, June 4, 2015 6:30-9:30pm
Pattern designer Sandra Betzina has been teaching fitting classes for over 30 years. “Every year I seem to find 2 or 3 new ways of altering which result in better fit”. Come hear Sandra’s lecture on how she starts with an analysis of the pattern before choosing the method of alteration.

Fitting at the shoulders is the most important, so pattern measurement and shoulder alteration are next. Then the alteration will be for rounded back, broad back and narrow upper front chest. Sandra follows with the bust - alterations with and without bust darts, princess seams, and adding a dart when needed.
Next, there is a discussion on two important measurements - the rib cage - halfway between the bottom of the bra and the waist and tummy measurement. These measurements come into play when deciding what size to use for the waist.
Lastly, we proceed to the full hip where it will be decided whether to go up a size or two or to use the slash and spread method. Sandra will also cover pants, where she will demonstrate her latest pant fitting techniques.

Join us for a special evening with time for shopping at Stonemountain (discounts of course!)

$45 Lecture Fee

502: Pattern Alteration Workshop with Sandra Betzina
Sunday, June 7, 2015 11am-5:30pm
Here’s a special opportunity to have pattern designer, Sandra Betzina, help you with pattern alterations. Bring 1 - 3 patterns you would like to alter as well as any muslin mock ups you would like Sandra to fit. Go home with your pattern newly altered and ready to be cut out in fashion fabric. You may also try on Sandra’s fitting muslin mock-ups for her narrow pant - Vogue 1411 and her new jacket pattern - Vogue 1418.

$130 Workshop Fee

Please stop by the store to see both tops on display in our Fashion Room - 
there is even some of both fabrics available for now!

Creatively Yours,

Sandra Betzina and Suzan!
(This is Sandra's newest pattern, which is not out yet.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Break the Color Wheel!

I can't get enough of Ikat Cotton Fabrics! They are so easy to work up and the variety of color combinations are unlimited. Some Ikat patterns are subtle, using the softer colors of the color wheel.  Other patterns are bold and colorful and when combined with vibrant solids, the garment design possibilities are endless.

I loved this new Victory Pattern, the Chloe No. 1005 Dress.  It is an intermediate level project suitable for woven fabrics like Ikat - other cottons or knits would work too.

We wanted to make our Chloe a little edgy by combining Ikat with a complimentary solid woven fabric. I love the combination of purple and green, especially if the hues are a little "off" color. You might think that this combination doesn't occur in nature, but it does. So why not combine these gorgeous olive Ikat prints with a solid purple woven?  Even though the purple does not occur in the Ikat, it doesn't matter.  The purple gives the olive Ikat that pop of color that will make my Chloe dress unique!

And just for grins, let's use purple thread for finishing the seams...after all, isn't the inside of your garment just as important as the outside? (Note that we made a little tacking stitch on the two pockets to keep them in place, facing the center front of the dress.)

We decided not to bind the neckline with the contrasting purple fabric as it might be too cliche - we don't want to be too predictable.  What I love about this Victory pattern are the clear directions for the neckline trim.  It went together so easily.

 Laurel hand sewed the bias facing to the neckline, rather than use the stitch in the ditch method to secure it, but either method works

We chose to use one of the Ikat prints to bind the cap sleeve - the bias facing is applied in the same manner as the neck facing.  For this cap sleeve we want a bound edge with the Ikat showing -  just like the neckline, but a little  more narrow, just to give a hint of the Ikat fabric.

Trim the facing to the exact width that you want the binding to be around the sleeve edge, so that when you turn it toward the wrong side of the sleeve to secure it, you won't have to work so hard to make it even.

We secured the facing with  a simple stitch in the ditch technique.

The "intermediate" part of making this dress kicks in when it's time to set in the sleeves. What makes the Chloe dress a little challenging is that the "sleeve" is really just an extension of the armhole.  To attach the sleeve to the armhole, you are sewing the curved edge of the sleeve on to the inverted curve of the armhole. It gives real meaning to the term "ease". If you make the tiniest of a clip along the bottom of the armhole, it makes it easier to ease in the sleeve. Do go SLOW!!!

So very unique!

And way too cute!  I can't wait for some Summer!!

Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and combine fabrics and colors that you might not normally choose for your next dress.  These details and design elements are what make your wardrobe unique and totally you.  You want everyone to ask "Did you make that?", not because your sewing skills are perfect, but that your garment is something that they can't get in the stores...unless, of course they sew!!!

Creatively Yours,