Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stonemountain Classics: Japanese Cottons


Suzan Steinberg, Owner
WELCOME FRIENDS!
This week we are sharing our line of traditional Japanese cottons with you. You may recognize these cottons as having been a part of our store for many years, but their style make them absolutely timeless. Do you recognize any of these Stonemountain Classics in your stash?

Thank you for taking time to read our newsletters. We love being able to share our fabrics with you and we hope they bring you inspiration to start new projects and finish old ones.
Creatively yours,
Suzan
JAPANESE COTTONS
This week we want to pay homage to a collection of fabrics that we've had in stock for many years. We're calling them one of our Stonemountain Classics, our Traditional Japanese cottons.

These fabrics have a timeless look and come in a range of calming, subdued shades. Beautiful landscapes, floral designs, playful animals and dynamic prints are the signature look for this collection, which make them wonderful compliments of each other.

Pictured above are just a handful of examples of the range of colors and patterns we offer here in the store.    

SASHIKO is a form of Japanese embroidery, often used in quilting and craft projects. Traditionally used to reinforce worn areas of garments, this technique primarily employs the beautiful simplicity of the running stitch, which makes it friendly to newcomers of the craft.

You may recognize traditional Sashiko as white thread on indigo dyed cotton, but the thread is available in a wide range of colors (Shop here!). The possibilities are endless with Sashiko projects and we have great kits, perfect for anyone from beginner to advanced.   
If you're anything like me, when you find the perfect pair of shoes and they fit like a dream, you buy one in every color! Sewing garments is the same - when you find a pattern that works, you can't just make one, especially if the style is versatile and goes anywhere.  
We love the ease and comfort of Sandra Betzina's Vogue 1336 dress. Laurel and I both made tunics from this pattern for our Sandra Betzina Trunk Show in November at the store. Read more here...  
As many of you know, there are more and more exciting fabrics and patterns to entice us into the world of sewing garments! It is our mission to support all sewists make choices with more confidence and have a higher rate of success. Here in this blog, Laurel, my amazing seamstress, friend and blog partner, shares many tips for sewing each garment that transfer throughout all projects. If you are new to my blog, please take some time to scroll back in time to see the amazing garments we created in 2014! Read more here...
THE YEAR OF THE DRESS: SIMONE DRESS BY VICTORY PATTERNS
We are christening 2015 as the "Year of the Dress!" We will be featuring different dress patterns and fabrics great for dresses on our blog, newsletter, and on our sister blog, Fabriclady.

Independent patterns are kind of an obsession for us here at Stonemountain. We are always looking for companies who have interesting designs and will appeal to us and our customers. Some companies we have carried for many years, like Decades of Style and La Fred. Often, we know the pattern designers personally and some, like Sandra Betzina who has her designs carried by Vogue Patterns, have taught at our sewing school!

FEBRUARY 4
250J: CREATIVE SEWING & FIT LAB WITH TERRY McCLINTOCK
WEDNESDAY 10 AM - 1 PM
Sewing Labs are a great opportunity to finish projects, give yourself a little 'me' time and expand your confidence and skill level. Come use our classroom as your sewing studio away from home!
FEBRUARY 10 
TUESDAY 10 AM - 1 PM
Sewing Labs are a great opportunity to finish projects, give yourself a little 'me' time and expand your confidence and skill level. Come use our classroom as your sewing studio away from home!
FEBRUARY 5 
392A: SERGER PROJECTS WITH TERRY McCLINTOCK
THURSDAY 10 AM - 2 PM
Would you like to do more with your serger than finish edges? Come learn new techniques while making a great project in our new Serger Techniques Class. Flat lock a t-shirt, make a great pair of yoga pants, a set of napkins, or the very versatile Infinity/Mobius Scarf.
FEB 6, 13, 20
102L: MINI BEGINNING & BEYOND
WITH BARBARA BECCIO
FRIDAYS 3 - 6 PM
Beginners, come make a pair of pj bottoms, A-line skirt, apron or a tote bag. You'll learn to read a pattern, select fabric, and other basic sewing and finishing techniques that build the foundation needed to create wardrobe garments. Super fun and flexible for all skill levels.
FEBRUARY 7
777F: QUILT LAB WITH FERN ROYCE
SATURDAY 10 AM - 1 PM
If you have always wanted to learn how to quilt, have a project stalled due to technical questions, or need a few hours to focus on finishing your project, this Quilt Lab is the perfect answer to all of those issues and more. Work independently with teacher support. All levels welcome.
FEBRUARY 10 
525A: PATTERN ADJUSTMENT WITH BARBARA BECCIO
TUESDAY 2 - 5 PM
Have you ever seen a pattern that you liked but wanted to tweak it just a bit? Want to make changes to it, but don't know how? In this class, we will work with your choice of the following basic patterns - KWIK SEW 3829, 3717, 3838 (skirt, vest or jacket). We will adjust the pattern and time allowing, the fabric can be cut out and sewing begun.
FEBRUARY 11, 18, 25 
102M: MINI BEGINNING & BEYOND
WITH TERRY McCLINTOCK
WEDNESDAYS 10 AM - 1 PM
Beginners, come make a pair of pj bottoms, A-line skirt, apron or a tote bag. You'll learn to read a pattern, select fabric, and other basic sewing and finishing techniques that build the foundation needed to create wardrobe garments. Super fun and flexible for all skill levels.
FEBRUARY 16 
99A: ALL ABOUT TEXTILES WITH BARBARA BECCIO
MONDAY 10:30 AM - 2:30 PM
Learn to identify major types of textiles, content and weaves. In this class, you learn to match and select fabrics appropriate for any project. You will learn to identify synthetic and natural fibers through varied fabric tests, including inspection of weave and drape, fiber content and construction properties. Come explore and get to know Stonemountain & Daughter's extensive inventory of textiles!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Year of the Dress: Simone Dress by Victory Patterns

We are christening 2015 as the "Year of the Dress!" We will be featuring different dress patterns and fabrics great for dresses on our blog, newsletter, and on our sister blog, Fabriclady.

Independent patterns are kind of an obsession for us here at Stonemountain. We are always looking for companies who have interesting designs and will appeal to us and our customers. Some companies we have carried for many years, like Decades of Style and La Fred. Often, we know the pattern designers personally and some, like Sandra Betzina who has her designs carried by Vogue Patterns, have taught at our sewing school!


When searching for new pattern lines, we read up on sewing blogs and search the internet, but most of our "leads" come from our customers. That's how we learned about the Canadian company Victory Patterns. We love the details they use like tulip sleeves, bib fronts, waterfall hemlines, big bows, and how they encourage contrasting fabrics and fun prints. Reviews from other blogs as well as our customers have been favorable, so we started carrying them about a year ago.

SuZan, the daughter in Stonemountain & Daughter, showed off her Satsuki top by Victory Patterns on her Fabriclady blog. Made with a flowy rayon batik, this top is perfect for days in hot weather. She now has a silk knit version, that we all covet.


Our own Victoria made a version of the Satsuki dress using a moth wing printed cotton voile.


While everyone loves to see a finished garment, we know everyone also likes to hear about how the pattern came together, how well the instructions were written, and how it fits.

Now, let's take a look at a different Victory pattern. Our own Mary Jane has a special date night with her husband coming up and wanted something simple yet sensual. She also wanted to move away from her "go to" colors red and black and wanted something different from her preferred 1950's/1960's styles, which work well on her hourglass shape. She fell in love with the Victory Pattern Simone.

Simone is a semi-fitted style featuring a contrasting placket and tab detail in which pleats extend, creating fullness. A fitted neckline opens at the front and is secured with a hook and eye. The back features a contrasting racerback yoke. Style variations include a dress with an asymmetrical hemline as well as a tank top. The garment has a side seam zipper closure. Optional piping can be sewn along the front bib placket and back yoke seams to add additional texture and contrast. 
Mary Jane had a striking graphic orange print silk crepe from her Stonemountain fabric stash that has been begging to be made into a dress. The pattern suggests using lightweight fabric with a soft flowing drape: cotton, rayon, linen, or silk. This silk crepe will work beautifully. The Simone has an option for contrasting fabric for the bib front and back yoke.


We would agree with the pattern's level of difficulty is "intermediate." (It is better that you have made a few garments from patterns and are familiar with sewing techniques such as under stitching, making and attaching piping -optional-, pleating, topstitching, attaching bias facings, sewing darts, curves and points).

One of the first challenges is cutting out the right size. All those different dots and hash marks representing the different sizes can make you go cross-eyed trying to follow the right one. If your eyesight is poor, you may need your reading glasses for this pattern: when cutting out the paper pattern takes some concentration to follow the right size.


If you have a tough time following those dashes and dots, try using a highlighter and mark the right size line, then cut it out. It takes a little more time, but makes the process easier and much less frustrating.

The pattern uses 5/8" seam allowance throughout with only a few exceptions, like on the tab. It also instructs that your finish (serge/zig-zag) certain seams before constructing the dress. Mary Jane wanted to just pink the seam allowances (using pinking shears after sewing the seam) instead.

The pattern calls for iron-on interfacing to be used for the tab, bib from and neckline bias facing. Mary Jane hates iron-on interfacing, so she used sew in interfacing instead. She also used different weights depending on what was in her interfacing stash. She used a medium weight interfacing for the tab, a slightly lighter weight interfacing for the bias, and a lightweight interfacing for the bib (she didn't want it too stiff since the dress should be flowing).

You don't have to do this; a good medium-light weight interfacing will work just fine. She just chose to since it was late at night, and why not use up those scraps?!


Mary Jane decided not to make her own piping (instructions are included in the pattern) so she bought some pre-made double piping in a similar bright orange hue.



The next challenge was putting the front yoke/bib together. Remember, if you use your seam ripper often, that's GOOD! It is a necessity with more challenging projects. If you have to undo a seam or five, it's fine! The art of turning fabric into a garment is like creating a sculpture. Its never a masterpiece from start to finish. But, oh boy, when it is finished…




Let's not get ahead of ourselves. The rest of the pattern was easy to put together. It helped that Mary Jane has taken our Pleats class for the pleats in the front and our Fearless Zippers class for the side zipper.


There is some hand sewing required for finishing the neck, and the armholes are machine finished with bias. She also used a cute glass fish button in blue from our amazing button wall for the tab for the bib front.




And ta-da!


Mary Jane accessorized with shiny metallic heels, a iridescent clutch, and a chunky turquoise necklace. The fit in the front is blousey and the side and back drape beautifully over her curvy figure. She used the pattern size twelve for her 40"- 33"- 46" proportions. It took her two full weekends working about six-eight hours each day (so about 30 hours) to finish it. If you wanted to make it in our Beginning & Beyond classes, you would need to take two classes (fifteen hours over five sessions each), without homework (working on it at home).

We love this dress. Its so far from how Mary Jane normally dresses up and that makes it feels special and fun!

What have YOU made that is far from your normal projects that you love? Tell us about them! Email us at fabriclady3@gmail.com.




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Awesome Ikats



Suzan Steinberg, Owner
CALLING ALL FABRIC LOVERS!
We hope your New Year is off to a great start. Here at Stonemountain we are working hard to bring you the most beautiful, interesting, hard-to-find,
high-quality fabric goods ever. This week we are highlighting our gorgeous collection of Ikat fabrics.

We hope you find some inspiration here for your next project, whether you're crafting, quilting or garment making.

What are you doing with your Stonemountain Ikat? We love seeing what our fabrics turn into, so stop by or send over your pictures of your amazing projects!

Creatively yours,
Suzan

BLACK CREAMINDIGO

THE WHO, WHAT, WHERE & WHY OF IKAT
WHAT IS AN IKAT?
The word Ikat literally means 'to tie or bind,' and it is used to describe both the process and product. When fabric is woven on a loom, the vertical threads that make up the length are called the warp and the horizontal strings that make up the width are called the weft. Ikat is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles that employs a resist dyeing process on the warp threads, the weft threads, or in the rare and costly 'double ikat' both warp and weft, prior to dyeing and weaving. Our Ikat collection are 100% cotton, but the process can be applied to any woven fiber, such as silk, linen, or even wool.
WHERE DO IKAT COME FROM?
Our Ikat are imported from Indonesia, India, Japan and Guatemala, although many other countries produce Ikat as well.
WHY DO WE LOVE IKAT?
We love Ikat because of the richness of the cloth and the history of the process. Its bold and striking texture draw us in and inspire us year after year. The authenticity of this fabric will never go out of style and we love it for that reason.
WHO CAN USE IKAT FABRICS?
Everyone! From beginner to advanced sewists, this fabric can be used for a range of projects. For home dec, quilting, garment making or crafting, this incredible fabric is easy to work with and care for.
Natalie, our buyer, shows off her vest made from our Ikat and one of our striped shot cottons. She used Vogue V1375 from Today's Fit by Sandra Betzina. Great for dressing up or down and so easy to make. So funky!

GREENBLUE / PURPLEORANGE

SEE WHAT FABRIC LADY IS GETTING INTO...

2015 is off to a wonderful start here at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley!
As many of you know, there are more and more exciting fabrics and patterns to entice us into the world of sewing garments! It is our mission to support all sewists make choices with more confidence and have a higher rate of success. Here in this blog, Laurel, my amazing seamstress, friend and blog partner, shares many tips for sewing each garment that transfer throughout all projects. If you are new to my blog, please take some time to scroll back in time to see the amazing garments we created in 2014!
 As I mentioned in my last blog, there are many things that make me smile! All the new fabrics being imported from India rank high on my list of fabric loves!


JANUARY 18
719E: BEGINNING QUILTING BASICS - PAPER PIECING A
WITH ANN TARABINI
SUNDAY 4:30 - 7:30 PM
Paper piecing is an easy sewing technique that improves quilting accuracy. Use this technique to make small or large blocks in quilts/ borders/pockets. In this class, we will piece three or more small, traditional blocks. By the end of the class you will have three or more small blocks.
JANUARY 19
668A: COOL BIKE BASKET WITH BARBARA BECCIO
MONDAY, 10:30 AM - 2:30 PM (MLK DAY)
Create a distinctive bike basket! In this class, you will make a bike basket with pockets that will easily attach to your handle bars. A velcro strap allows you to take the basket on and off of the bike or you may stitch the strap directly to the handle bar.
JANUARY 22


30B: CRASH COURSE SEWING WITH TERRY McCLINTOCK
THURSDAY 10 AM - 1 PM
Want to learn to sew? This is our most basic class! We supply the machines and our instructors teach you what you need to get started! You'll learn how to thread a machine, wind a bobbin, change needles, adjust tension, and troubleshoot.
JAN 25, FEB 1 & 8
734A: BEGINNING QUILT IMPROVISATION
WITH ANGIE WOOLMAN
SUNDAYS 4:30 - 8:30 PM
Join Angie's intensive class and learn to see "rhythm," create a visual "melodic" sight line and lively "texture." Explore the process of practicing and playing with fabric and create an improvisational quilt!
JAN 26, FEB 2, 9 & 23 (SKIP 2/16)
101G: BEGINNING & BEYOND WITH TERRY McCLINTOCK
MONDAYS 10:30 AM - 2:15 PM
Our most popular class! Come learn to sew or improve your skills in these hands-on classes. This class is open to first time sewists AND continuing students of ALL skill levels who want to work at their own pace while building their sewing skills.
JAN 26, FEB 2, 9, & 23 (SKIP 2/16)
101H: BEGINNING & BEYOND WITH BARBARA BECCIO
MONDAYS 6:30 - 9:30 PM
Our most popular class! Come learn to sew or improve your skills in these hands-on classes. This class is open to first time sewists AND continuing students of ALL skill levels who want to work at their own pace while building their sewing skills.
JANUARY 28
250G: CREATIVE SEWING & FIT LAB WITH TERRY McCLINTOCK
WEDNESDAY 10 AM - 1 PM
Sewing Labs are a great opportunity to finish projects, give yourself a little 'me' time and expand your confidence and skill level. Come use our classroom as your sewing studio away from home!
JANUARY 29
422B: RECYCLED SWEATERS WITH BARBARA BECCIO
THURSDAY 2 - 5 PM
Make new, fashionable garments and accessories by recycling your tired and old sweaters! In this fun class, students works with sweaters they bring to cut up and re-sew to create a whole new look.