Friday, March 30, 2018

Breaking the Mold with Sewing Your Destiny Wardrobe

I came from a family of mold breakers.  
Dad rebelled against traditional sales in fabric business and opened up a hippie fabric store in 1967 in Hollywood. Mom became a trail blazer in the record industry and was the highest paid woman for Promotion at A&M Records. She was a huge stand for women’s rights and equality and power and broke many barriers and molds in the 60's and 70's. 

And I continued their legacy.  Sewing, fabric, and music have always been my canvas for breaking molds.  Through them I broke the constraints of expressing myself as a woman.  Through my store I have championed women to express fully their creativity and their passion – beyond the molds of corporate patterns and what society thought they should wear on their bodies.

I started breaking existing molds early in life...
My Sunday playground was The Fabric Emporium, a ground breaking retail fabric store my father, Bob Steinberg, founded in West Hollywood in 1967. My love affair with sewing and fabric goes all the way back to the impressionable age of eight. Feeling the cotton drape over my young hands, seeing the paisley dance in the collective vision, loving the colorful and progressive embroidered patches, experiencing the smiles of customers as they found treasures to spark their dreams and hopes - all blew my mind open and expanded my imagination. 

I would pick my favorite African cotton prints and my father would have dresses made for me. I can still feel the soft colorful cotton on my skin while admiring the deep bells of the sleeves and the way they flowed when I walked. Wearing these dresses, fitted for me, I felt special and loved. I was breaking the molds of my own imagination.

A child of the '60's breaking the molds of mainstream fashion
Through my handmade garments, I became a unique expression of the late 60’s  — a child of the flower-child movement. I was turned on to fabric that ignited and symbolized a whole movement of alternative, “hippie” fashion. 

Sewing brought with it a whole new level of expression. I revelled in the freedom to make something personal to me. To completely free myself of someone else’s vision of what I should wear or be limited by what was in the stores.  

Love all our cottons from India!

Many of us may remember taking sewing in school. My own experience was very positive. I loved the strawberry embroidered appliqué from my Dad's store that I sewed on my bib overalls back in 1969. I struggled with straight stitching and fit, but felt so excited I had made something I could wear and share in our class fashion show. Finding just the right fabric for each of my projects was such a thrill. I have always found the fabric "talked" to me and guided me to what it wanted to become. 

Sewing enables us to break the molds of what we should look like and instead make clothes that fit us and truly support us to be who we are.  Think back to your relationship with your clothing.  Not many of us can fit "off the rack" when buying clothes. How often have you felt that you have "nothing to wear" – just because your body did not fit some imagined norm. Many of us do not want to go out in public and feel self conscious in our clothing. Trying clothes on is frustrating and often traumatic. Gaining sizes contributes to us feeling anxious in our clothes. 

I want to feel good, creative, and safe in my clothes, and I want you to as well! With sewing you can create something personal to you and perfect for your shape and style. Beyond what is in the stores, what garment do you wish you could create for yourself?

Championing sewists worldwide
From that first experience of wearing garments sewn for me, my passion for individualistic fashion and garment sewing has never wavered. Finding wool, silk, linen, rayon, and knits from designers around the world makes me so happy. Connecting sewists with fabric and patterns fuels my journey. 

We are ready to dream again and create garments that are creative, self-expressive, and flattering!

Even when sewing garments started to become a lost art, I stood strong.  When schools stopped teaching sewing, Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics stepped up to keep the flame of garment sewing burning. For twenty years, 1996-2016, we taught all ages how to sew and quilt. Running a school that has influenced and impacted many thousands of people in their relationship with fabric and sewing has been one of my life’s greatest contributions.

Celebrating 37 years in Berkeley and a new story
The current story of our industry and all retail is one of the shrinking and closing of brick-and-mortar stores. Over the past 30 years, many home sewists have left garment making for quilting, or stopped sewing altogether. 

My personal mission is to change this story, to break through and amplify the fabric world that my family started 99 years ago in California. I am here to empower and serve sewists — to champion their transformation, creativity, and passion. 

During the month of March 2018, we have been celebrating 37 years growing and evolving in downtown Berkeley.  Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics has always broken the mold of other fabric stores and now a new story is coming to life. This is the time to break through, be visible, and reach a wider audience. My Dad used to jokingly say, "we are a well known secret."

Sewists around the United States and the world are discovering our vast collection of fabric, patterns, notions, and expert service. Everyday I give thanks to the talented and creative women who broke the mold of corporate patterns and began drafting and marketing their own patterns to fuel our Indie Pattern movement. 

This is our time to actualize our full potential. This is our time to break the glass ceiling that has been limiting our self expression and visibility.
This truly is a grass roots, feminine powered movement!

What constraints are you ready to break through with sewing?

Picking out Kantha cloth and an ikat for my Kalle shirt!

Can you see how your relationship to your own creativity, to sewing, and your Destiny Wardrobe is a metaphor for breaking molds in your life?

Whether you are curious about sewing, already sewing your own garments, or wish to collaborate with another sewist (largely my path), the time is now. If you are feeling a call for something more, let your curiosity guide you to sewing. 
Of course, it would be fun to receive a compliment on a dress you have made and be able to say "Thanks, I made it!".  But beyond that, ask yourself ‘What is the next mold that you want to break in your life?’  And how could sewing help you break it?  What kind of fabric would you choose – sensual velvet, comfy knit, or soft silk? What would be just the right pattern for a top or dress? And what would it mean to you to have made it and be seen wearing it?

And if you sewed that destiny garment, what impact would this have on your life? 

I get chills when I look back and see the impact created by the 200+ garments I have blogged about and displayed in my store. It is clearly time to sew a garment or more. Your garments can make an impact too!

Through sewing, I was part of the movement that broke the mold of mainstream fashion.   Beyond the constraints of store bought clothing, we seeded a new era of natural fibers and art-to-wear.  We are creating clothes that fit our individual bodies, styles, and personal comfort. And through this we can let our vision and creativity fly wild and free.

We can let our authentic color explode into the world.  And through our destiny wardrobe, we can fully express our new story of resourcefulness and possibility.  Enabling us to show up authentically in the world, and to sew garments that matter deeply – as they reflect all that we are. 

Now is the time for which we have endured and survived. There is a new movement of sewists and makers around the world creating on a level new to all. Join us!

As always, I am standing with you celebrating your creative potential.

From the heart,
email me at

Please join me on instagram - fabriclady3 and my store can be followed at Stonemountainfabric

Sharing and supporting boosts and helps us all with our creativity, right livelihood, and prosperity projects :)

#destinywardrobe #clothesthatmatter #garmentsewingrevolution
#stonemountainmagic #keeponsewing #handmadewardrobe #handmadestyle #slowfashion #creativeprovocateur

Thanks for being a part of the Stonemountain Magic!

Visit my store in person!
2518 Shattuck Ave. @ Dwight Way
Berkeley, California 94704

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Sew Clothes That Matter and Create Your Destiny Wardrobe

Something new is happening: just when almost all the fabric stores have closed, people are sewing clothes again! A worldwide movement of sewing clothes that matter is being fueled by sewists sharing through blogs, fabric stores, and social media. 

The world of sewing has changed from the time of our mothers and grandmothers. No longer do we rely on those old corporate patterns for a new generation of pattern designers has emerged.

My journey of creating garments from the amazing fabric in my store has been dedicated to showing how new independent patterns look on real people. This inspires courage to try sewing them which in turn leads to more sharing in the store and on social media. As sewists bravely share, community is created.

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 can feel this is an unprecedented time in history for the world, women, and all makers. The internet has made it possible for each of us to connect with so many. Instagram and blogging are but two of the new ways our creative community is coming together in powerful numbers. This sewing movement is a new story of possibility and collaboration for all .

I love cotton ikatsCotton + Steel knits, and Sew Liberated patterns!

Each of the 200+ garments we've made over the last five years of blogging has allowed me to see how we can make a difference individually —  wherever we are, whoever we are. 

We do not have to be anybody but ourselves. We are enough, right where we are. Sew and create for the body you have, and it will inspire others!

Tea House top in ikat, Melilot shirt in cotton sateen, and my Cocoon Cardigan in metallic sweater knit.

The combination of choosing the right fabric, patterns, and notions for your body is magical with Indie Patterns — so much simpler than with the old corporate patterns of yesteryear. Indie Patterns along with the awesome quality of imported fabrics is fueling our Garment Sewing Revolution at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics

Stasia dress in rayon knit & Farrow dress in rayon/linen.

Join me in this series of blog posts and beyond as we journey together and awaken our potential as creators to impact the world around us. 

L:  Laurel and I with Sonya of 100 Acts of Sewing patterns.  R:  Wearing my Ebony tee in reversible rayon knit.

Throughout all times, fashion and clothing was directly influenced by the fabric available. Never before have we had access to such stimulating and beautiful fabrics as we do now. Never has there been a time of greater opportunity for making clothes that matter.

Let's join our voices and garments together to create the world of our yearnings! This is the time we have been waiting for. The door is opening and we are being called to create something more: Our Destiny Wardrobe!

As always, I am standing with you celebrating your creative potential.

Suzan Steinberg
Owner, Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley CA
email me at

P.S. If we're not connected on Instagram yet, come connect with me here and my store here.

Sharing and supporting boosts and helps us all with our creativity, right livelihood, and prosperity projects :)

#destinywardrobe #clothesthatmatter #garmentsewingrevolution
#stonemountainmagic #stonemountainfabric 
#handmadewardrobe #handmadestyle #slowfashion

You can view the top 10 pattern picks for 2018 over on the Stonemountain Blog.