Wednesday, June 1, 2016

What's next for Stonemountain?

Dream buying team!
Dear Students and Community of SM&D!
These last four months have been a roller coaster of change both personally and collectively. June is here, and we are dedicated in our mission for Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics to be a community center for the Garment Sewer, Quilter, and Crafter; a Berkeley institution since 1981.

My buying team and I have been bringing in the finest fabric collections for our diverse community to our Berkeley store and our new updated website. In July, the upstairs will be full of designer fabrics from New York, Italy, and more!

Our social media outreach is a main focus for us, and it is so exciting! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, our Newsletter (sign up and get a coupon for in-store and online purchases), and our Stonemountain blog for the latest photos, info, and happenings.

Exciting new events!

We have always been dedicated to our educational program at SM&D and are beginning our next phase this week. We have been busy moving shelves of fabric and opening up space in the front of the store to make room for community events. Free live demos, craft fairs, and trunk shows are just the beginning! Make sure you sign up for our email newsletters to be informed of these live events.

Come check out Tilden on Friday at 11 am till 2 pm for Live Sewing!

This Friday, June 3rd, we will welcome our first designer to sew in our front window! Tilden Yamamoto lives and works in Oakland, California.  He is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, San Francisco.  For eighteen years he has practiced and studied traditional sewing techniques and construction, and it shows. His work is impeccable! We can't wait to see him work his magic in our window. Stay tuned for more Live Sewing and Demos to be scheduled each month!


The end of an era and on to new beginnings

Back in February we stepped forward with courage and made the decision to listen to all the “signals” suggesting it was time to let go of our class program at the end of June, even at the height of our "success." It has been an amazing 20 years of building our school from nothing to one of the most successful teaching programs in the country in any fabric store ever! With 1-3 classes daily—mostly full with waiting lists—we gave over 400 classes and served 2,500 students each year!

As I have shared before (here and here), when we started this school, most of the sewing educational programs in our community were closing or slowing down. Daily, our customers were asking where they could learn to sew. Sadly there was very little. “Find a need and fill it!” has always been my key to business success. I proceeded to model our classes after programs like G Street, Vogue Fabrics, and The Sewing Workshop, who were offering classes at that time. We moved the fabric out of the upstairs and brought in tables, sewing machines, and all the other goodies needed for a wonderful, ever-evolving studio for our students. It worked! It grew based on a high level of caring and dedication.

Over the years, we have supported the home garment sewing movement. In the last 3 decades, more sewists moved away from garment sewing to quilting and knitting, while many people stopped sewing all together. But recently, we have seen a comeback with the popularity of indie patterns and sewing communities coming together in the blogosphere and on social media. Stores like ours, who love to buy and sell fashion fabrics, are diminishing, but our passion for these fabrics and fashion sewing is wholehearted. We are excited to grow our community even more and reach out to sewists who share our enthusiasm for sewing.

Teaching in our Berkeley fabric store for 20 years has ignited thousands of sewists to gain confidence in cutting, fitting, and sewing on fine fabric. Some have gone on to be wonderful designers, teachers, or manufacturers! All will remember their classes in our upstairs. It is and has been a special honor to host these classes and events. I have so much gratitude for all the fabulous instructors, students, and the whole Stonemountain Team who have helped me grow this part of our business and give back to a community which has given us so much!

Your guide to the next sewing adventure! 

Check out our Guide to Bay Area Sewing Classes! I have personally met and talked with each of the teachers and schools listed here. With this great group of educators in our area, we are excited to partner with them and provide students with fabric, notions, and patterns, no matter where they're learning. Each teacher or school has access to a special SM&D 20% off student coupon for you to buy your supplies from us, as our way of saying thank you! Please reach out to them and support them as you can. This is a growing community, and it's vital for us all to step forward together in this beginning phase. Please take a look at this link to see all the classes being offered all around us! You can also pick up a flier print out in the store.

I love being here after 35+ years, dreaming into what Stonemountain can still become! After the countless personal hours devoted to the development, scheduling, and administration of these classes, I'm looking forward to refocusing that energy into my other dreams and organizations. It feels courageous to let go and "float in" to the challenge of surrender and not knowing.

In letting go of our current structure of classes, we are opening ourselves up for something new and exciting for our community. We step forward with an open heart and ask, "What more is possible?" Where can we create more joy and creativity in our lives?

Thanks for sharing this ride with me!

Blessings and Love,

Suzan Steinberg
Owner, Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics, 1981 - Present and Onward!
Founder, Stonemountain Sewing Classes, 1996 - 2016
Director, Brightest Little Star Blanket Volunteer Project for Alta Bates/Summit NICU
Director, FineFabricStores Collective of Independently Owned Fashion Fabric Retail Stores in North America

Certified Shamanic Astrologer and Board Member of the Shamanic Astrology Mystery School


  1. More fabric is always a good thing! I can't wait!

  2. Oh my goddess! Yes! I have all our suppliers in New York, Italy and Los Angeles getting our shipments ready!!! See you soon Tanya!

  3. When are you getting in some of your new shipments and what are you doing with the machines and equipment you used for your sewing classes? Anything up for sale?