Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Can't Get Enough Ikat?! Neither Can We!

We have been raving about ikat fabric for months now and we still can't seem to get enough of it!  It's such a versatile fabric - easy to sew, unlimited patterns and colors, a wide variety of weights to suit your style and season, and so different from everything in other stores!  Check out the selection we have in our online or—even better—stop by and visit the Wall o' IKATS at Stonemountain & Daughter!

We already made several dresses, a couple of pairs of pants, and even a woven t-shirt. This month we're adding to the "dress revolution" by using Colette Patterns' Laurel dress.   It's a beginner pattern, and several of our staff have already made up this "chic and simple" dress with a semi-fitted shape.

We wanted to make use of coordinating ikat patterns, just to add some cool color blocking to this simple dress.

The dress has a back zipper which allows you to adjust the fit if needed and gives you the opportunity to add a cool contrasting zipper for fun.  It didn't take Laurel long to whip out this dress for a fitting.  I had worn a pair of my favorite leggings that day - I love the combination of dresses and leggings, even in the summer.

The fit was great, but we both agreed that it need to be shorter, so we sent it back to Sacramento with Laurel. Once she shortened the hem, I still felt it lacked the final detail to make it a really special dress, so Laurel suggested pockets!

Colette's version has a curved pocket, but we decided a square patch pocket would better suit this "square block" pattern.  Laurel added a little strip of the white ikat to better integrate the contrasting pocket and matched the ikat pattern, too!

Just what this dress needed!  Can't wait to strike out in this sassy piece. The sleeve reminds me of the cute clothes I used to wear when I was a kid playing in my dad's fabric store.

The Laurel! 


Belted or unbelted? Both ways are great!!!

What other garments can you make with our beautiful ikats? Pants!

The Sewing Workshop's Hudson Pant is very loose fitting, ankle length pant with an elastic waist which are all factors to make this pant super comfortable. Not having to wear tight-fitting pants for work is certainly appealing.

TIP:  Because ikat is a woven design where the pattern is on both side of the fabric, instead of a printed design, it is best not to assume that it is the exact same design on both sides of the fabric.  For this ikat, we noticed there was the subtlest difference in both sides of the fabric - once side had a touch more of the black threads showing. Make sure you pay attention to this ikat fabric detail when you're putting together your garment.

Best part of these pants other than the ninety minutes it takes to make them? The long darts that go from the calf down to the ankle.  This great detailing keeps the comfortable pants from looking too slouchy.

Love these Pants - made up 3 times now!

Love the detail on the leg for these Hudson Pants - so easy to wear and sew!

To complete the casual look for these pants, we found this great dark red cotton with a fabulous and yet subtle texture to make the woven Scout Tee, one of our new "go-to" patterns from Grainline Studio.

Great Fabric + Inspiring Pattern = Successful Sewing! 

Love Love Love the Scout Tee!

How can it get any better than this?

Now I know which is my back and front!!!

Great when friends stop by to visit!

Laurel and Suzan on a good day!

It's been so wonderful to see so many great designs available in current patterns!  We love how easy and wearable they are. Yes, we can sew and create the wardrobe of our dreams! The quality of fabric is the best it's ever been at Stonemountain & Daughter and now that the patterns are catching up, it is opening up a world of inspiration and sewing! Join us in the Garment Sewing Revolution - Sew Local and Sew Berkeley!

Here is a sneak peak of my next Laurel Dress! Sewing is the greatest!

We just love to have fun with using the selvages!

P.S.  Have you heard that Stonemountain & Daughter has a swatch packet you can get through the mail or in our store? Check our our new Fall 2015 Capsule Collection Swatch Packet!

Creatively yours,
a.k.a. FabricLady

Monday, September 14, 2015

It's why we sew...

A few weeks ago my seamstress and friend Laurel came down for one of our fitting/lunch/wardrobe planning days at Stonemountain. Over lunch she recounted a window shopping day she had recently, on the search for a dress to wear to her high school reunion this coming fall. In fact, her hubby' reunion in Texas is later this year, so she was on the hunt for some ideas - you know, one of those smashing little dresses that will make the old girlfriend ever so slightly jealous (LOL!).

Even if we make the majority of our wardrobe, sometimes we just want to see how ready to wear styles might look on our frame. That's why we window shop, trying on dresses to help us imagine what we might wear to a special occasion.  If we're lucky, we might even score a new dress off the rack. But because we sew and are able to recognize quality fabrics and good workmanship when we see them, even window shopping can be a disappointment. Laurel's recent expedition was not without challenges.

First, how do you even find anything? 
With the sheer number of choices, you would think you should be able to find one dress you like...

Second issue: who wants to show up for the party looking like everyone else?

You want something unique, but most of us who are of a certain age 
can't imagine some of today's "styles" working on our bodies...

For Laurel, many of the designs were not suitable for the "knock 'em dead" look she was after. We can image wearing this simple sheath design, but its way too corporate business looking for a party...

This fabric was unique and feminine, BUT unless you're twenty something,
it's way too short.

Conclusion: Making the perfect dress is why we sew! When we see a gorgeous piece of fabric,  we imagine all sorts of garments that we could create.  And best of all, we know it's unlikely that we will see someone with the same outfit across the dance floor.  Our creations are unique to us.  They fit us like a glove.  They speak to who we are as designers and sewists.

Two sewists can use the same pattern and just by changing the fabric make the garment unique to themselves.  For instance, we've had this unique La Fred Helena dress hanging in our shop for quite some time, but it just caught Laurel's eye this month.

Laurel chose a gorgeous rayon knit to make one for herself. 
You won't find this print in the department stores, so her dress will be uniquely her.
It won't be worn for her reunion, but it's a perfect example of why we make our own dresses instead of buying off the rack.

I too love a dress that will speak to the Berkley girl that I am.  Sometimes the pattern is classic but a fresh take on fabric brings it to life all over again. For instance, take this Boho Chic look that's been around for ages: Vogue 9124.

Let's make it up in a gorgeous rayon border print. 
 I can't wait to see how Laurel works the fabric's border into the design!

The fall season is just around the corner, so it was inevitable that we would get distracted away from the "Reunion Dress Mission".  Fall speaks to each of us in different ways - the colors and textures of fall fabrics are infinite. We chose this silk knit first because of its unique color block pattern.  So why not pair it with a solid fabric and make a color blocked top with Vogue 9067 to wear with some nice black jeans?  So very fall...so very Laurel! 

After our day of wardrobe planning and dreaming, we still didn't find the right look for Laurel's two reunion events this fall, but we were off to a good start with this fabulous silk...it's definitely a show stopper.  Stonemountain often stocks these one-of a kind fabrics - I think a long flowing maxi skirt could be the ticket. It's a definite "maybe".

There's nothing complex about picking out just the right look and fabric for a special occasion:  You go with what strikes your fancy. Fabric speaks to those of us who listen. The option of facing jammed aisles of ready made dresses is often overwhelming - it's so "noisy". But a wall of beautiful fabrics...touching them...holding them up to our face; we can see the image of our garment start to take shape. We are creating something uniquely us...an outward expression of our inner soul and spirit - it's almost magic.

And it's WHY we sew.

Creatively yours,


Cabin Top
Take a look at some of the fabulous garments we have been creating - you just can't buy these in the stores! What are you ready to make for Fall?
Given a Chance Dress!