Tuesday, October 18, 2016

More Than a Number

As we roll into the fall season, we can't help but feel the year coming to a close and reflect on all of our big changes and how we have evolved as individuals and as a store. This year brought two large shifts for us with the ending of our sewing classes and the decision to no longer carry the Big 4 pattern companies. Long-term these decisions will support our mission to remain a provider of top quality fabrics and sewing supplies, but short-term these decisions took months of consideration to come to a close. But as with all changes, when one door closes, another opens and we saw this as an opportunity to expand our selection of independent patterns, along with our expansion of fabrics!

These big changes, along with big shifts in the store have highlighted our metamorphosis that has been in the making over the last couple of years and we couldn't be happier to be where we are now. Thinking back on our earlier years, we remember the beginning of our garment sewing revolution when independent pattern options were scant and we had a little revelation about patterns in general.

For years we have all made garments using the big pattern companies and we still have favorites that we make over and over again. For example, Vogue 8804 is our favorite Chanel-style jacket, Simplicity 7810 is a cute little dress, McCalls 6408 is an easy sweater jacket, etc.  But if you ask us a month later, rarely would we remember the number. This happened all the time, even with go-to patterns we made over and over again!

What we love most about our independent designers is that they name their designs. If you ask our staff what they are wearing, it's the Betty Dress, or the Coco Top, or the Three's a Charm Jacket. The names give the garment a personality of its own, and it becomes like an old friend as you sew its seams. So no surprise, as I plan my own cool weather wardrobe, I am focused totally on the pattern names our indie designers have given them. If you have a few moments, you can refer back to my 2015 roundup blog that covers many other favorite garments to make.

Folkwear is a pattern line we have carried for years - one of the original indie pattern lines!  I haven't chosen a garment from them in recent years, so I thought it was time to add the Old Mexico Dress.  It the perfect little top to wear with jeans, and giving a nod to my ethereal/hippie side, I chose a soft Liberty Tana Lawn print filled with suns, moons, and near east images.  The top is super easy to make and I know my astrology friends are going to want one as well.

If you are an Instagram follower (I'm @fabriclady3!) and follow other sewists, you will find the Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studio everywhere.  It is a very versatile pattern because you can mix fabrics, textures, and colors. In fact, I'm doing a little pattern hack on my Linden, by adding a peplum to the pattern. I chose two soft lightweight rayon knits, even though this pattern would do equally well in heavier fabric such as a sweater or ponte knit or even a fleece. Though I will only use the grey knit for the neckline and sleeve bands, imagine the possibilities of entire sleeves in a coordinating fabric.

Laurel, my seamstress, collaborator and dear friend, made another Grainline Studio pattern, the Alder Shirtdress. I love her version and requested one for myself to add to my fall/winter wardrobe. One of the things that I love about the Alder is that it is sleeveless. This may sound strange for a cool-weather garment, but I love the opportunity to layer it with one of the awesome jackets or sweaters that Laurel has made me while I am working in the store.

And since you can never have too much ikat fabric, I chose a soft lightweight ikat for my Alder. I've been on a mission this year to expand my color horizons, I still keep the little swatch book that was made for me years ago when I had "my colors done" with John Kitchener at Personal Style Counselors. This lovely rose-toned ikat is perfect to bring out my skin tone and eye color.

 We have made a number of Colette Patterns in the last few years, and they all have lovely feminine names - Aster, Laurel, Myrtle, Dahlia, and Moneta.  Each one is unique with its own personality. Now we'll be adding the Wren dress to the mix. It's a great knit dress with a fitted, wrap-style bodice with a gathered or a-line style skirt. It's a style that is sure to flatter every figure.

We chose a bold patterned poly ITY knit. The pattern calls for a 3/8" seam allowances and is designed to be serged together.  But if you don't own a serger, a small zig-zag or knit stitch will work. I am excited to wear this with boots and a jacket this winter and sandals next spring!

We also thought we'd try a dress from one of our newer pattern lines, Liesl & Co.  We've seen some inspiring versions of the Cinema dress and I know it will feel great with its simple lines and ease of wearing. Although Liesl & Co is not a new pattern company, they are new to our collection and we are excited to try them out. Already, we can see that the instructions are wonderfully easy to follow. And just like ikat, we can't get enough of double gauze. I'm thinking this beautifully soft fabric will be transformed into one of my new favorite dresses for work. (Are you starting to notice a color pattern in this round of garments?)

In another diversion from the big patterns companies, our indie patterns don't always come in an envelope! Lotta Jansdotter's new book Everyday Style features five garment patterns and four totes/bags. Every cold weather wardrobe needs a lightweight jacket or coat. Perfect for layering over sweaters and scarves, the Pilvi is a simple coat that has four benefits for the beginning sewist:  raglan sleeves, no lining, no collar, and no buttonholes!

We are making our out a soft lightweight boiled wool/viscose blend...and in keeping with my new colorful self - ORCHID!

Stay tuned for a blog featuring this sweet coat!

As the weather turns, we look forward to completing several other named garments that patiently wait their turn in Laurel's studio - a pair of Ginger jeans by Closet Case Files (using our very own Stonemountain Jean Kit for the Ginger Jeans!), the Lottie by Christine Haynes, and a pair of Marigold trousers by Tilly and the Buttons.

We love what this garment sewing revolution has become, with so many high quality pattern options from independent designers. And with names like these, we're likely not to forget them any time soon. So long numbered patterns!

Stop by our website to shop all of our independent options or if you're local, come see us and say hi!

I always love to see what you are sewing up, so remember to tag @stonemountainfabric on social media or email us photos of your creations to info@stonemountainfabric.com.

Ever so grateful,
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Celebrate Creativity, Celebrate Yourself!