Monday, August 28, 2017

"No, You Can't Hurry Love…" The Cinema Dress, a New Favorite!

Some garments just take time.  They aren't meant to be completed in a single sitting. You can tell when you see the pattern, there's more to it than a few quick seams.  But sewing on a more complex garment brings a different kind of joy...not the quick "I want to wear it tonight" kind of joy, but the "Can't believe I accomplished this" kind of joy.

I love this Cinema Dress so much! Made out of an amazing Rayon by April Rhodes

Not that we're ever going to make something like Laurel's epic French jacket, which took her over 70 hours (you can read about it on her blog, Laurel's Quill), but using all your sewing skills in a single garment can bring a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, so take your time and enjoy the process. Remember, it's about the journey.

The Cinema Dress by another Indie favorite, Liesl & Co., cannot be rushed.  It's not that it requires any particularly difficult techniques - it just has a lot of steps, and doing each one correctly will get you the prettiest little dress.

We've made this before in a lovely cotton double gauze. It's such a comfortable dress that we decided to make another, this time out of a soft rayon. Come see how Rayon is making a huge come back —so many beautiful prints are available!

And because the rayon fabric is so soft and flowing, it takes a little extra time and patience in handling. It also requires the extra steps that a heavier fabric wouldn't, such as extra interfacing. These little squares are added to relieve the stress that pockets can have.

Rayon ravels, so extra time is needed to finish off each seam.

Even though the pattern didn't call for it, we interfaced the small V in the front bodice, so it would not roll...

The pattern recommends adding the button holes before you sew the entire dress together.  Usually it's the last thing you do on a dress, but we liked doing it earlier as they recommended. Laurel's machine makes the prettiest buttonholes!

The addition of pockets also adds extra time to your garment.  The Cinema Dress has set in pockets in the side front seam with welts.  The welts are easy enough to attach.  We finished off ours with a button at the top to hold them in place.

We love the loose fit of these set-in sleeves - they also have a "cuff" at the bottom for added detailing. Needless to say, set in sleeves are an art form in and of themselves.  But with practice, they get easier each time you try. We found that even though the pattern suggested two rows of easing stitched around the sleeve, they are pretty close fitting to the armhole, thus requiring little ease.

I wanted to show you the finished dress inside out so that you can see the detailing in the design.

Start to finish, four hours for Laurel, not including cutting out the pattern.  Again, it's not a difficult dress for an intermediate sewist, but it's more of a "I need a dress next week" kind of project. Softer fabrics with a delicious hand such as this rayon yield great results for this drapey dress, but they can be trickier to hang on to while sewing and pinning (not the sort of fabric to work with after four cups of caffeine).  The Cinema Dress would certainly work well in a nice medium weight cotton batik or print, as well as an Ikat or even a crisp lightweight linen.  

The Cinema Dress made out of an amazing new rayon - here's the link to it!
We've been living in the Summer of Love, celebrating the flower child era of the 60's.  Retro and vintage looks are very popular this year, so don't be weighed down by a particular era. (This dress actually reminds me of the 80's!) We love the "Hippie" (today's "Boho") period, but why not also try one of the fabulous designs from local indie pattern line, Decades of Style for your Summer of Love "Sew-In" garment?  We have loved the Given a Chance Dress and so many women participated when we had a sew's still a great dress!  And it's probably an easy "I want to wear it tomorrow" kind of dress.

Lauren and Claire in their amazing Given a Chance Dress from Decades of Style!
However you interpret the Summer of Love for our Sew-In, we just want you to have fun and enjoy your project.  Don't stress about the time it will take you to finish...just concentrate on the journey.  Put some beautiful music on (or hey, rock and roll works too), settle in and create a masterpiece. Laurel said that while working on her French jacket she never worried about the hours it would take, she just enjoyed all the techniques that she doesn't use very often.  Sometimes there's nothing more gratifying than to perfect a Fell stitch on silk. Me...not so much.

Sending you much love,

Come visit Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Downtown Berkeley - a true crossroads to creativity!

A stop over at Burney Falls on our way to see the Total Eclipse up in Oregon!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Vacays, Staycays and the Summer of Love

I can't believe that we are mid-way through the August already! Here at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics we are immersed in the Sewing Summer of Love Challenge, a "Sew-In" for our community of sewists that celebrates the 50 year anniversary of the 1967 Summer of Love.  Be sure to check out the Stonemountain blog for details of the challenge and create something indicative of what this period in our history means to you.

Claire is wearing the Zephyr, by Deer & Doe and
I'm wearing a rayon Dove Blouse by Megan Neilson
Summer is a time for all manner of activity, including sewing of course. But typically, many of us plan our vacations for the summer months to get the most of out of beautiful scenery, delicious fresh food and good weather. If we have children, school is on a break so we play catch-up with activities that involve our kids.  If we're empty nesters (like Laurel) or working couples (like me) or just friends and family, we spend our vacation hours taking in all that nature and life has to offer.

Some of us like to "go"....

Laurel's Drive trip to Colorado and New Mexico
And some of us find beauty right near home...

California Coastline by Devil's Slide!
Pigeon Point Lighthouse - well worth the trip!
Sunset by Davenport
Out with the hubby for a
wonderful midweek day hike!
Beautiful Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Conservatory of Flowers lit up for the
Summer of Love!
The important thing is to be with the people you love, the people that build you up, the people who inspire you. The Summer of Love was all about you being you and expressing yourself in your unique style. It's about coming together, and that's why our sewing community is so important.  We share our creativity and inspire others to let their uniqueness unfold and shine.
Having fun summer fun in Berkeley
at the BAMPFA Summer of Love Exhibit!
The Steinberg Family on a visit to the
new Gondola at Oakland's Zoo!
May Peace Prevail! Loved the Summer of Love
exhibit at the DeYoung Museum!

So much fun seeing this great show on Janis and her music!
Summer of Love might also mean loving and celebrating your surroundings...your home, your work environment.  We are constantly getting in new fabrics and working on ways to keep our inventory fresh and appealing. We arrange and rearrange fabrics so that our customers can find the latest arrivals and still enjoy perusing our tried and true staples. The love of beautiful fabric is what we sewists have in common, whether you make quilts, crafts or garments.

Not too early to grab some woolens for Fall
"Dream" fabric to sew - Ikat

Laurel took a hiatus from sewing for me this summer to tear down her studio and redecorate.  Not everyone has a whole room to devote to their sewing  and creating, but making that workspace "You", regardless of it's size, is important for a great sewing experience. Do add touches to the decor that make you feel positive and promote creativity and imagination. Remember, it is your "Sanctuary".

New home for Laurel's stash and new floors (no more pins in the carpet)

Don't you just love our anniversary poster in
Laurel's sewing sanctuary?!

Not everyone played hookie from the sewing machine... I love that our Stonemountain staff also loves to sew. (That's why they are so on-target with customer service - they know fabric!) For me, everyday is a treat to come to work and see new dresses, skirts, pants and tops gracing the women who work with me. For some inspiring ideas on your next project inspired by the Summer of Love, check out our special page on our website!


We hope that you are enjoying your Summer of Love and of course, participating in the sewing challenge. Send us photos of your creations or better yet, bring them in to share with us all. We love that our store is a hub of creative energy, laughter and inspiration. And by all means, take a Vacation or a Staycation or just a day to take in the beauty of nature, starry skies and warm sunny days.  Before you can say "Summer", it will be Fall.

Peace out, and don't neglect the child in you...she keeps you grounded and real.

Yep that's me in 1969 :)
The DeYoung exhibit 
Great Summer of Love exhibit at
the Marin County Fair

Love and Peace always,