Saturday, June 1, 2019

100 Year Anniversary! Cheers to celebrating 38 Years in Berkeley!

On May 3rd this year we hosted a little after hours party at the store to celebrate some big milestones. This year marked 38 years for our business in Berkeley, but also 100 years for my family in the California textile industry. And on top of this anniversary, we also launched our newly updated website, a venture over a year in the making. Thank you to everyone who attended and for those of you who weren’t able to make it, we could feel you there in spirit!

(Dear dedicated readers of my blog, last month we launched Stonemountain & Daughter's new website which now has a version of my blog to read there! Click here to bookmark fabric lady's new BLOG page! Thanks so much for following along with me on my sewing and fabric journey - the best is yet to be written!)

photo by: David Mindell

On behalf of my father, my team, and family, we want to thank you for helping us celebrate our 38th anniversary in Berkeley and 100 years of my family selling fabric in California!

Years ago, we couldn’t imagine the kind of connection we have now with so many makers in our area and around the world. Our creativity has brought us together via the internet and social media. It’s so much fun to share our fabrics and inspiration with folks around the globe. To see you sharing your makes out there makes us feel like we’re more than the “well known secret” that we have for so many years.

Did you know that our name Stonemountain & Daughter is a nod to our lineage with my great grandfather and grandfathers’ business, Steinberg & Sons, est. 1919 in Los Angeles? Steinberg translates to Stonemountain and what a perfect partnership it has made. I am including some photos below of my dad’s first store in 1967, Bob Steinberg’s Fabric Emporium on Melrose in Hollywood. The first all natural fabric store serving a new generation of hippies and the hip. I loved being in that store as a little girl. It was magic and the fabric bug bit me hard!

With so many fabric stores now out of business, it makes what we do and how we do it that much more important. It also makes your support that much more important, it sustains us! For so many years now, my father and I have been talking about the year 2019 and wondering what it would take to keep our business going to reach 100 years for our family. I am so happy to be sharing such a milestone with you!

In 1981, my father and I began working together when he moved his Pacific Grove store to our current location. We began with 1,000 square feet, where our current Fashion Room is now. We have dedicated our lives to growing and being the best fabric store we could be and to serve fabric lovers locally, nationally, and even globally!

Well, we made it! And now we are at the beginning of something new!
There is a new story happening – people are sewing garments again! Our online business and our Berkeley brick & mortar store are thriving. My father speaks of our store as an old world fabric store for the new age. This couldn’t be more true than it is right now. Our business has always been based on vision and possibility and we can’t wait to see what’s next for our store and our community.

Claire Zammit, one of my mentors taught me that, ‘We cannot become ourselves by ourselves.’ I see this is true for our store, too. Stonemountain & Daughter couldn’t be who she is without everyone in our community – past, present, and future. I am so grateful to my close team, the folks that have worked here along the way, our community, teachers, pattern makers, customers and sewists here and around the world.

Shown here are some of the folks who make Stonemountain a place of open possibilities! Laurel, my seamstress and co-writer of my blog, Catherine and Liz, our amazing lead buyers at Stonemountain, and a special friend who stops by from Mali to bring us fabulous mudcloth and baskets from his village! It all makes up our Stonemountain Magic!

Another big contributor to this new movement is the amazing indie pattern designers, both local and around the world, who inspire us all. Visit our website to shop our full collection of patterns. I want to extend a special thanks to Janet from Decades of Style, Sonya from 100 Acts of Sewing, and Chelsea from Friday Patterns for being a big part of our party, each with a trunk show and raffle prizes. 

We are also so lucky to be surrounded by our growing community of sewing schools (see our full list here) These schools are play a huge part in the new story for our industry. Together we are partnering to support students and makers in all their projects!

Here are our local schools that came to celebrate with us:

To top off our guest list, we were also graced with an amazing trunk show of quilts by Alethea Ballard and her students!

I am so fortunate to work with an innovative and dedicated team of experienced sales associates, social media, and management team. Another honor of gratitude goes to my seamstress, dear friend, and genius collaborator, Laurel Dismukes. Thank you Laurel for sewing up over 250 garments over 6 years to help ignite and join in a modern world wide garment making revolution! We all are dedicated to bringing our community the best fabric and patterns, along with the resources and knowledge to sew whatever you can dream! With this next generation of makers and sewists taking off, I am blown away by the growing community who shares our passion. Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics is a Downtown Berkeley landmark and sanctuary for makers. But this is a great time to be a fabric lover not just in Berkeley, but anywhere!

Cheers and Happy Sewing!
Suzan Steinberg
you can follow me on Instagram @fabriclady3

Enjoy these photos from our party!

(Dear dedicated readers of my blog, last month we launched Stonemountain & Daughter's new website which now has a version of my blog to read there! Click here to bookmark fabric lady's new BLOG page! Thanks so much for following along with me on my sewing and fabric journey - the best is yet to be written!)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Two Fabrics, One top - The Floreat

The Floreat Top paired with Emerson Pant made out of linen!

There are so many creative possibilities when we sew, learn, and experiment with the fabric we love! The Floreat by Megan Nielsen is an asymmetrical dress or top that can be made out of either a knit or a woven fabric. Most patterns have to be adjusted to have this dual use, but this simple pattern, with clean lines, is extremely versatile and perfect for spring.

Laurel and I chose one knit and one woven fabric to make this top. We can't wait to see how they compare and how each top fits into our handmade wardrobes!

So many views to play with!

So we thought we'd test it out.  For the knit version, we chose the crop version  (View C) with short sleeves.  Our fabric is a soft organic cotton and hemp knit with a gentle slub texture. With so many high quality knits available, it's hard to choose! 

Love this color range on the Organic Cotton & Hemp Jersey at Stonemountain
Olive, Denim Blue, Terra, Shell, White, Black, Mauve, Brick Red, Red, and Navy!

If you've been sewing for a while, you do know that you can virtually make an entire knit garment using only your serger.  It takes practice, but the finishing on the inside is tidy and very professional looking.

Keep your pins close together and pull them out as you go along - even a sleeve can be set in using a serger...and remember...


We did stitch the Floreat's neck band on with a standard sewing machine, as it requires a little bit of stretching.  After it's safely sewn on, you can then serge the edge for a neat finish.

Don't you just love the Kylie and the Machine garment labels that are available for your me-mades? We chose the This is the back for this shirt.

Insides as pretty as the outside!

If you don't have a fancy cover stitch machine, just pop in a twin needle for the hemming.

Hint: If you don't happen to have two spools of the exactly same thread for your twin needle, just wind some thread onto a bobbin. Voilá! Matching thread! We use a larger stitch length for this top stitching technique.

Pretty cool!

So, if we want to try the Floreat in a woven fabric, just how different are the construction techniques? You'll find the neckline treatment is the main difference between the knit and woven versions, but the sleeve construction will differ as well.

The knit version has a bias neckband, whereas the woven top has a facing and an opening in the back with a hook & eye for ease of getting it over your head. The woven dress version will have a zipper down the back.

There are so many amazing choices for this versatile top or dress in woven fabrics. Check out our website to shop our linen and linen blends.

Laurel chose to make a woven Floreat, out of some left over metallic linen she had used previously for a dress.  She decided to use the wrong (non-metallic) side of the fabric for a more casual look. 

Facings are usually under-stitched to keep the them in place. It's a simple row of stitching on the very edge of the facing that catches the seam allowance. The facing can also be stitched down if you prefer. And for a closure, all that's needed is a small hook and eye to secure it at the neck.

The second difference between the two fabric versions occurs in sleeve construction. The knit sleeves are sewn to the armhole flat, then the side seams of the garment are sewn up from sleeve hem to the bodice hem. The woven sleeves are constructed separately, then inserted into the armhole, adjusting the ease and matching the notches. After the woven sleeve is set in, you can then finish off the edges with your serger (or a zig-zag stitch).

Laurel did a quickie "pattern hack" on the sleeves of her Floreat, as they did come out a little fuller than she prefers.  She made a small pleat in the edge of the sleeve...very cute.

Double row of top stitching on the hem.

Laurel can't wait to wear this sweet, springy Floreat.

 Whether you choose to use knit or woven fabric, the Floreat is a great beginner to intermediate project. The knit version whips up pretty fast - Laurel made mine in a little over an hour. The woven version is a little more time consuming as the fabric has less "give", so it has to be eased together.

Which version do you like? Why not try one of each! We have some great knits for a soft dress version and the woven version would be awesome in a rayon print. We look forward to seeing your Floreats on the 'gram!

You can read more about constructing both versions of the Floreat on the Megan Nielsen blog!

Sewing is no longer an isolated, individual craft. It has evolved to a shared experience, empowering folks to sew garments that we love. There is such a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive community of creative people to connect with.

Thanks again for reading along! 

Suzan Steinberg
in Berkeley since 1981

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Outside the Lines - Our Favorite Pattern "Hacks"

We all do it. It's part of the fun and satisfaction of making your own clothes. Some of us stick to the pattern for our first go at it, but if it becomes one of our go-to patterns, it doesn't take long before we are making changes to the pattern, just so all our garments don't look exactly alike. Maybe we will take inches off the hemline and turn a dress into a tunic.  Or maybe we will use the sleeve from one pattern and add it to another, peplums and ruffles added or removed, and so on.

Patterns hacks are prevalent among sewists who have been at it for a number of years.  It's all about the sewing adventure - finding the style, fabric, and fit that suits both your body as well as showcasing your unique fashion aesthetic. And interestingly enough, the indie pattern designers are even starting to put out "hacks" on their own patterns.  We love it!

We started this post thinking we'd list our top five pattern hacks, but after some meaningful dialog over lunch, Laurel and I listed at least that many in the first five minutes of our discussion. We've been at this collaboration for over five years, and I think our first make together was even a design hack. It was a Sandra Betzina pattern, a simple bias cut shell, that we decided to use two different fabrics – silk/lycra charmeuse and black rayon/lycra knit.

This photo feels so long ago! Can it only be 6 years?
Almost any modification can be considered a hack...something as basic as changing up the facing to bias binding on a neckline or armhole.

Laurel loves an all-in-one bodice facing rather than bias binding on the 100 Acts Of Sewing - Dress No. 1. The pattern calls for the use of bias tape on the neckline and armholes, but a facing gives a nice clean finish that she prefers.

Dress No. 1

We've changed up this basic pattern so many times, we lost count. We've modified the neckline and length so we could layer a tunic version over a dress version.

And how many different ways can you change up a Sew Liberated - School House Tunic?

From gathers, to pleats, to changing the front opening, it's such a great pattern with so many possibilities. We've even added cuffs to the sleeves.

There are times when you just can't find the right pattern to fit the image that you have floating around in your mind. The real "hackers" will buy the closest pattern that matches that image then cut, paste, edit, change, etc. the whole pattern...sometimes combining a sleeve from another pattern or changing up a collar. It's a way to make a pattern your own. One reason why we sew is because we don't want to wear what everyone else is wearing, right?

Laurel draws on her patterns to help her visualize how they can be hacked.

Peplums and ruffles are an easy change to most patterns.  We added a peplum to Granline Studio's Linden Sweatshirt, a real favorite of many sewists.

The peplum turned out so cute and added a real feminine touch to this lightweight knit version.

And of course, adding a ruffle to any hemline, neckline or sleeve gives a simple pattern a whole new look. We made the Matcha top as designed the first time...

But the second version in a beautiful silk print was begging for a ruffled sleeve.

Who says you can't chop at a sleeve and change the whole look of the classic sweatshirt? Using a variety of colors and prints make your version unique. Color blocking and fabric variations are a hack of sorts, and always a winner. We love using striped knits as bias bindings. Let the textures and patterns of the fabrics create the drama.

Hacks can be as simple as an embellishment added for drama or in this, case to cover a flaw in the fabric that we overlooked at the cutting stage. We turned this Here & There dress into a top, but missed the center front fold mark in the fabric.

Fabric flaws happen occasionally...and sometimes we miss them.

No problem...a little bias strip and bingo!

We love 100 Acts of Sewing's Pant's No. 1. The easy elastic waist and loose fitting legs work up well in almost any fabric. For fun, we added some detail by adding cuffs with a button! Finishing with a button just adds to the individuality of your pants.

To make this hack, finish the side seams of the pants separately before stitching them together. Stop stitching a few inches from the end and press the seams open to create the split hem.

Create the cuff by cutting a strip of fabric that is twice as wide as the finished cuff + seam allowance. To make one tab, cut two pieces of fabric in the shape you would like + seam allowances. Click and download the template below to make a tab with the final dimensions of 4 1/4" x 1 3/4", including 1/2" seam allowances.

Sew these pieces right sides together, leaving the square edge open. Trim the edges, turn right side out, and press. Sew the buttonhole.

Baste the tab in position on the cuff piece, making sure to leave seam allowance at the bottom edge.

Fold up the seam allowance on the long cuff edge without the tab, wrong sides together. Fold the cuff piece in half, right sides together, and stitch each short edge.

Turn right side out and press. Attach the long edge of the cuff that doesn't have the seam allowance pressed up to the pant leg, right sides together. Fold the cuff and topstitch, stitch in the ditch, or hand stitch the cuff closed.

Sew a button to the other edge of the cuff and you're done! We like to sew the button a little further over to create a cute pleat at the pant hem.

What are your favorite pattern hacks? Please share your creative ideas and inspire all of us to continue to make our garments unique and special.

In support of your creativity,
email me at fabriclady3@gmail
Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics