Saturday, December 29, 2018

The year of the Destiny wardrobe - 2018

This was our year. We changed the way we think about the clothing that we wear and more importantly, the clothing that we make for ourselves.  We saw the sewing community come alive - sharing their makes, re-thinking their wardrobes and making clothes that really matter.  Not sewing for sewing's sake, but sewing to unleash our inner creativity.  We thought about how clothes fit into our lives and how they made us feel, and we sewed with intention.
Loving my Wiksten jacket with my Linen Flint Pants!
Please enjoy clicking through all photos and makes for more information :)
So many of our community came to the sewing table fresh from the RTW world, wanting to better express their personalities in a real way.  Their respective ideas and dreams about life took shape in their wardrobes.  

"Sewing is about stepping toward and becoming our destiny. The clothes we create and sew are not only for ourselves, but also have a creative impact in our world.  As we see the difference we can make, we are empowered to create even more; this is our collective destiny."

We shared our creations on social media and we watched our community grow. More and more of us focused on independent pattern designers, the champions of online inspiration.  We led the charge toward creating Destiny wardrobes, providing a platform for creation, feedback, sharing and encouragement.

2018 was a great year - each of us in our own way made an impact on the collective sewing community. On this blog, we have tried to inspire our readers to create their own Destiny wardrobe by featuring Indie patterns and amazing fabrics. I of course reap the benefit of having someone make my wardrobe - I enjoy working with my team to feature the latest Indie patterns and fabrics, all just to inspire you to sew your wardrobe. Most of the garments are displayed in the store so our customers can see a finished garment - even before I get a chance to slip them on.

For the last year and a half, I am renewed with hope for our industry and my store, Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics, as well. Our online presence and visibility has grown exponentially. What began in 1981 and flourished through the golden age of sewing garments (the 80's), quickly began to drop away for over 25 years. It's so heartening to me to watch it come back with strength, passion, quality, and an emphasis on global community. 

What is fueling this magical renaissance? The high quality of fabrics my buyers find from around the globe, the exceptional new patterns from indie designers, and you! Yes without sewists, we would be like a library with no readers. Our Instagram community is definitely embodying the best parts of what it means to be a fabric lover and sewist. We all share, care, and support each other in our love of sewing garments and finding the next best fabric and pattern to try.

Yes we do mail order!
Thanks for reading along and following my adventures in experimenting with all the new patterns and fabric!

2019 is going to be another amazing year with so many exciting things ahead for my blog here as well as my collaboration with my team of 5 managers, 22 sales associates, and my dear friend, sewist, and collaborator for this blog, Laurel

Fit & Fun days with Laurel

Welcome to the world of fabric pairings! One Thursday a month, Laurel and I begin by picking out the fabrics that speak to us and the patterns that cry out to be made. Oh what a dream this is! Perhaps someday you will be able to join us in the store as we figure out what fabrics and what patterns we want to make? It really is all about access to quality fabric and learning about how to "pair" it with the right pattern for your body. 

Welcome to Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics! The Maya Top by Marilla Walker, paired with Pants No. 1 by 100 Acts of Sewing (we added a mock-cuff on the pants)

Our favorite makes of 2018

And just in case you may have forgotten or your sewjo is languishing, let me remind you of our favorite makes in 2018...

All together it gets a thumbs up!The Strand Coat and Camber Set, by Merchant and Mills

The Scout Tee - by Grainline Studio
Another Favorite - Decades of Style's Three's a Charm Jacket

The Kochi Kimono by Papercut, paired with the Melilot by Deer and Doe. We featured this easy jacket pattern in several fabrics - Ikat, flannel, kolkata cloth and a yarn dyed cotton.

The Kalle Shirt - by Closet Case Patterns
River Dress by Megan Neilson with my Pilvi Jacket by Lotta Jansdotter!
Southport Dress by True Bias is a hit!
Cannot recommend this Cinema Dress by Leisl +Co. too much!
The Matilda Dress by Megan Nielsen with a gorgeous Rayon
Cotton Lander Pants by True Bias
I think everyone in the store used this pattern.
Lander Pants Revolution! Seen here are three 
of my five buying and social media team -
Catherine, Lauren, Olivia and myself (from left to right)
The Reeta Midi Dress, by Named. Such a classic shirtdress - awesome in a gorgeous floral Rayon!
The Weekend Getaway Dress by Liesl + Co. made out of a sandwiched rayon. 
The Wiksten Kimono - renamed the Wiksten Haori. Who doesn't love boiled wool? Such a great jacket, we're making it again in boiled wool, only the shorter version.
The Matcha Top, by Sew Liberated made out of a gorgeous silk crepe (added a little ruffle on the sleeves)
Who didn't make a Metamorphic Dress by Sew Liberated in 2018? So many folks on Instagram made this dress and we had to jump aboard and try it out of these two rayons!
The Stasia Dress, by Sew Liberated in a soft poly knit.

The River Dress by Megan Nielsen. We made this dress twice - the first version was a little tight in the bust so we graded it upward and it was perfect.  Rayon is a perfect fabric for this dress! And it has POCKETS! YAY! 

Looking forward to 2019

We will continue to feature Indie patterns in 2019, but with greater emphasis on the fabrics that make the pattern. Here are a couple of my latest tries to be featured in my next blogs.

Advanced peek at my Inari Crop Tee from Named and the Emerson Pants from True Bias.
The top is the Friday Raglan Blouse with my new favorite Emerson pants...

Loving my Thursdays with Laurel! I'm wearing the Reeta Midi Shirt Dress by Named
and Laurel is wearing Ebony by Closet Case 

What are you ready to create? I hope that you are inspired by seeing many of our favorite patterns and fabrics pairings. Please stop by my store in Berkeley, Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics, or visit us online. We do swatches and answer any questions you may have about fabric "pairings" with patterns. Email my team at with any questions or swatch requests.

Many people who used to never buy fabric online are now seeing that they can! I believe what is happening is that people are learning how to feel with their vision. By seeing garments made up and following sewists on Instagram, we are able to "feel" the fabric and judge whether it would work up in the garment we are visioning. Give it a try or better yet, stop by and say hi in Berkeley the next time you are in the area. It's well worth the drive (or the flight) in!

Thanks again for following along and I hope that you find my journey useful and supportive to grow your own passion and visibility in our creative world.

creatively yours,
Since 1981, although I don't feel that old :)
4th Generation in the fabric business, 1919 - 2019

Sew Liberated patterns are so amazing!
This Stacia Dress would be so good for any body type in any quality knit - great for layering too!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Discovering Kolkata Cloth and the Kochi Kimono

We all have items that we consider wardrobe staples - items that we make over and over again and find ourselves reaching into our closets for everyday. For some, these everyday essentials are t-shirts, for some, it's jeans. You'll hear someone say, 'Well, you can never have too many...'

We would agree on this in regards to the Kochi Kimono Jacket from Papercut Patterns.  If ever there was a versatile jacket pattern for all seasons and frame of mind, we might suggest that it's this great unlined jacket.

We've featured this jacket in Cotton Ikat...

Also in a yarn dyed Linen 

And even Cotton Flannel

One of our favorite fabrics at the moment is Kolkata cloth, a textured, woven cotton that is absolutely awesome for so many patterns - pants, dresses, you name it. We love the ease of this casual fabric, especially after a washing, when the texture reveals itself.

As of the writing of this blog, there are only 5 colors left—Paprika, Raffia, Yarrow, Basil, and Ivory. Sometimes things don't make sense in this business and the fact that this manufacturer discontinued this fabric, is beyond me. We bought all the bolts left after we found out they were not going forward with this fabric and it's almost all gone.  It's that good. Perhaps someone will make it again...someday.

Needless to say, we are in love with this fabric - and it's perfect for the Kochi Kimono. If it's possible to have a jacket that works in all for seasons, this might be the one. It is easy to make and easy to layer, since it's unlined.  The lines are simple, with that kimono styling that is so flattering, for any body type.

For this version, we went with variation 1, with collar band and pockets, but opted out of the waist ties. Instead, I've decided to style it with a belt when I want to wear it closed. A self-belt from the same fabric would look great, as well!

I can think of several other patterns that would lend themselves nicely to this textured cotton. Here are just a few:

The new Picasso Pants from Sewing Workshop...

How about the Stevie Tunic from Tilly and Buttons - perfect!

Or the Sointu Kimono Tee from Named Patterns...

I'd even say it would make a wonderfully soft and cozy pair of Arenite Pants from Sew Liberated...

When we find a fabric that's this versatile, the possibilities are endless. You don't always have to reinvent the wheel when planning your Destiny wardrobe.  Certain fabrics are worth repeating - and bonus - using similar fabrics can bring a cohesiveness to your wardrobe. I think that's why we often make separates - different pieces can be put together in a new way, thus expanding your daily choices of the "what shall I wear today" dilemma.

If you haven't seen Kolkata Cloth in person, why not order a couple of swatches (while there is some left) on the Stonemountain website.  It's a great way to be sure of a color and a texture for your next me-made garment.

Thanks for reading along! Have you noticed how exciting things are getting in the world of sewing indie patterns? Beautiful fabric to pair with indie patterns is taking us all to a whole new level of creating clothes for our soul.

Happy Sewing,
Berkeley CA

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

So Much Love For My Wiksten Kimono

Every once in a while a new indie pattern comes along that can blow minds - the Wiksten Kimono Jacket is that one for me right now. All through our community and especially on Instagram, we are seeing the limitless variations in every fiber, weight, and weave! Picking out two different fabrics and combining them is one of the treats that beckons you to make one of your own. I am now envisioning two more for my year round destiny wardrobe.

Shop the pattern here.

Pattern Description: With large pockets and a fold-over collar, this oversized jacket is functional, comfortable, and stylish. Fully lined and reversible (but with pocket on only one side), it looks more complicated to make than it actually is. The design includes three different lengths to choose from-- short (hip length), mid (below-hip length), and long (thigh length).

Fits US Women's sizes 00-18. The oversized nature of this garment makes it likely to fit sizes larger than shown on the size chart, but the effect will be more fitted than shown in the photos.

Suggested Fabrics: Main fabric: medium weight woven fabric with good drape, such as textured cotton, chambray, linen, soft denim, cotton/linen blend, twill, and wool-for Lining fabric: light to medium weight woven fabric with good drape, such as textured cotton, chambray, linen, cotton/linen blend, and silk

Fabric inspiration:

Linen & Linen/Blends

Boiled Wool

Silk Noil

Textured Yarn Dyed Cottons

Version Made & Fabric Used: Size medium, mid-length. We chose one of our amazing boiled wools and lined it with 100% cotton Ikat.

Alterations Made: No alterations were made this time. We decided to try it straight from the pattern and it turned out great!

How I plan to wear this: Here I decided to show the jacket with two different outfits. It's such a versatile piece, it will be perfect for winter here in the Bay Area. This boiled wool is also great because it can be dressed up or down depending on what you wear.

Favorite Details: This jacket is a winner! I love the pockets, cozy shawl collar and contrast cuffs to show off this bold ikat. I love this jacket in this length, but my next one will definitely be longer. I am already dreaming of my next fabric combination, what about you?

Check out our amazing customers and their own Wiksten Kimonos!

@oharose in linen and silk noil.

@girlwhoknits in textured yarn dyed cotton.

@ajavaz in Kolkata cloth.

@cman.sews in textured yarn dyed cottons.

@Vanessa.things in a silk noil.

@threadbeargarments in one of our handwoven ikats

Thanks for reading!

Now let's get sewing!

Suzan Steinberg
Email me at and please feel free to comment here as I love to hear from you.

In my Wiksten are Catherine and Laurel - looks so good on them...glad I got it back ;)