Tuesday, June 5, 2018

My Lightweight Jackets for a California Climate

California lives up to the hype of its Mediterranean climate, along with its temperate forests in the North, arid deserts in the interior, and snowy alpine regions in the mountains. We boast beautiful beaches, spectacular cityscapes, and millions of acres of the richest farm land in the world. We call ourselves the Golden State, famous for our golden sunsets, beautiful poppies, and of course, our dry wild grasses that take over the landscape in the summer.

We rarely see a savage winter and for the most part, we don't need heavy wool or down clothing for everyday wear. Unless we are enjoying the ski season in the mountains, our outerwear tends to be lighter in weight. For those of us who call the Bay Area home, we are even more blessed with mild weather for much of the year. We can wear sweaters and jackets all year round instead of the heavy coats so necessary in the Northeast.

I love picking out fabrics that will work in all seasons and with layering. Linen is one of our favorite fabrics for clothing, and with the variety of weights and textures that have become available at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics, there are many choices for jackets. Linen is one of the oldest fabrics and is great layered over other fabrics such as ikat, silk, rayon, and more.

Be sure to use the tried and true linen prep recommended by Sandra Betzina before cutting out your pattern.

Tip for Pre-treating Linen
If you want your linen to wrinkle a lot less, do the following: 

  • Before you preshrink, iron the linen with the hottest dry iron possible to set a wrinkle-less finish.
  • Next, throw in a little detergent and wash and dry in the hottest water and hottest dryer you have. 
  • Take out of the dryer when close to bone dry. 
  • You will notice that smaller softer wrinkles have replaced the hard crease sometimes associated with linen.

Before ironing and washing...

After...fabric has soft "wrinkles" so attractive in 
natural fibers and ready for ironing.

Three's a Charm Jacket

Some patterns are timeless. We come back to them time and time again in our wardrobes.  Decades of Style's Three's a Charm Jacket has a cropped silhouette, perfect for our California weather.  We've  previously made it up in our denim & eyelet. This Spring we used beautiful Indian Kantha cloth - it expresses the side of me that loves organic, natural fibers with a handcrafted feel.

So gorgeous in a denim novelty - this pattern can be dressed up or down and is perfect for layering!

The Sapporo Coat

The Sapporo Coat by Papercut Patterns is among our favorite lightweight jackets when made unlined.  We love its simple lines...and of course the pockets!


Kochi Kimono Jacket

Another Papercut Pattern favorite is the Kochi Kimono Jacket. It's a very fast make, even for beginners.  We have chosen Cotton Ikats (shown here), linen (shown below), soft rayons,  wool, and even cotton flannel to make this versatile must-make jacket.

Linen is perfect for the Merchant and Mills Strand Coat...

Pilvi Coat

And if you need just a little more warmth for the colder days, why not try a Pilvi coat by Lotta Jansdotter? We've made this coat several times in 100% boiled wool (really warm if it's lined) as well as unlined versions in boiled wool blends.

The Cocoon Jacket

Transition pieces in the Spring and Fall can be as simple as a sweater knit cardigan.  The Cocoon Jacket by Jalie Patterns is easy to make and super cuddly, for work or play — it just keeps the chill off.

In the end, it's all abut finding patterns that work for you and the weather outside. Many of the indie patterns that we feature in our blogs are versatile and can be made with fabrics that are lightweight, as well as heavier for added warmth. And if you are a more intermediate sewist, many of them can be lined as well.  

Laurel's Kochi Kimono

Laurel and I love our handmade wardrobes and each other!


There have been a lot of changes this year. Through the ups and downs and challenges of life, I am so grateful for the people in my life that support me and my store. Lauren and I just got back from a fabulous buying trip to Quilt Market up in Portland where we got to buy all the pretty fabrics and deepen our relationships with all the fun folks in our industry. It's such a profound joy to share this with her and the other members on our team. Through this next generation of fabric lovers, I am finding great hope for the art of sewing garments and for Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics.

At Quilt Market in Portland with
Lauren and Mr. Domestic!

I have been feeling the shift back to garment sewing for many years, but thanks to these amazing women who work tirelessly to grow our online presence, we now are feeling how much our quality fabric and store is appreciated around the United States and the world. This last month of celebrating our community of indie pattern lovers over on Instagram and Me Made May was so much fun. If you are not on Instagram yet, I urge you to come on over and join the fun. We are all sharing and supporting each other like never before.

Our amazing management team at STM&D from left to right:
Catherine, Lauren, Liz, Me (Suzan), and Olivia
All working on social media, website, and all
the orders coming through daily!
A big shout out to my father and founder of Stonemountain & Daughter as we get closer to Father's Day. I love you Dad and it's been an amazing journey with you. Looking forward to many more years of love and fabric.

Celebrating with you!
Suzan Steinberg
In Berkeley California
I would love to hear from you!


  1. I love your shop and hope you continue to thrive for many, many more years!

    1. Your words and support mean so much to me. Thank you! May we all thrive for many, many more years together!

  2. Thanks for this post! I appreciate it since I also live in Northern California and I often need a lighter jacket. These are all very cute and wearable. I will be pinning this post for later. Happy Sewing!

  3. The photo of you and your Dad is adorable, Suzan.