Monday, April 20, 2015

Sewing with a Conscience: Organic and Eco-Friendly Fabrics

Over the past several years—and especially here in Berkeley—we have seen more and more demand for organic and eco-friendly fabrics.  Whether you're sewing for children, striving for a more sustainable lifestyle, or just like the look and feel of these fabrics, there's plenty of reasons to shop organic!


Here at Stonemountain & Daughter, natural fibers have always been important to us.  When our founder, Bob Steinberg, opened his first fabric store in the 1960's, he was passionate about offering cotton, rather than just polyester and synthetics (anyone remember all those polyester double-knits?).  Suzan, Bob's eldest daughter and co-owner of Stonemountain, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a major in Conservation of Natural Resources with an emphasis on Community Self Reliance and Sustainability. This family tradition of promoting natural fibers, along with our personal commitment to "be green," has led to our current selection of organic and eco-friendly fabrics.  Let's see what some of our staff and customers have been making with these beautiful textiles!


One of the most common reasons for buying organic is when making things for children.  And one of the most common projects?  Baby blankets!  One of our buyers, Lauren, made this baby blanket with an organic cotton flannel from fabric designer Rae Hoekstra  (we're a little obsessed with her work—we wish all her patterns were printed so we could stock them!!).  When Lauren discovered the birch tree trunk printed fabric she chose for the back had foxes on the selvedge, it was a match made in heaven!  To highlight the adorable selvedge, she used it as a tie when gift wrapping the blanket.


If you're ready to graduate from simple baby blankets, Charlotte's quilt may just be the thing to inspire you!  One of our long-distance customers, Charlotte used organic cotton designed by Mo Willems, author of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.  We know her son will love his new quilt!  Want to make your own quilt but don't know where to start?  Check out all the quilting classes we offer!


Kids will love organic fabrics for their soft feel.  One of our favorite bloggers (and a local Bay Area sewist!) Cherie of youandmie made this adorable dress and this amazing backpack.  Check out that pattern matching!  Rae Hoekstra designed another fabulous collection of organic cotton, and we just love Cherie's use of this fabric!


Organic fabrics are often more expensive than non-organic, which is why making accessories that don't require much yardage may be the perfect project for someone new to sewing or new to organic fabric.  As a beginner, this young sewist showed us how she used an organic cotton canvas to make a cute new bag.  Don't you just love that orange topstitching?!  If you have a young sewist at home or if you're looking to make something your teen will love, you should definitely look into Project Teen, a book dedicated to teen-approved patterns.


Organic cotton also makes beautiful garments.  Our friends at A Verb for Keeping Warm, a local yarn and fabric store, made a sample dress for their Endless Summer Tunic pattern out of an organic cotton double gauze.  We currently carry that gorgeous blue color, as well as the cocoa colored gauze!  They make beautiful, breezy garments and can really bring a simple pattern to the next level.


One of our beloved sales associates, Liz, also uses organic fabrics for her garment sewing.  She whipped up this adorable top using the Alma Blouse pattern by Sewaholic, using an organic cotton that made this garment soft, breathable, and eco-friendly.  We love how she used a shot cotton for the contrast collar.  Isn't it wonderful to be able to customize your wardrobe like this with handmade garments?  And with a "me-made" wardrobe, you can get great fitting pieces like Liz's top.  Need a refresher course on pattern adjustments or just starting from scratch?  Take a class on Adjusting a Top Pattern with master sewer Barbara!


We have a much larger selection of organic fabrics in store than we do online, so stop by and look for the green tape!  All of our organic and eco-friendly fabrics are marked with this neon green so they're easy to find.  If you're not local and you're not finding what you need online, give us a call (510-845-6106)—we're always happy to email pictures of our stock that doesn't make it to the website and do a mail order!




Last but not least, please feel free to bring your extra scraps and fabrics to our drop off bin!  This is an amazing gift to our community from our community, and a great way to recycle your unwanted fabric.


We hope you're feeling inspired by all these gorgeous applications of organic and eco-friendly fabric.  What have you made from sustainable fabric?  Show us in the comment section!  If you haven't discovered our selection of eco fabrics yet—organic and eco-friendly cotton, linen, and rayon—stop by and see!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fabrics to Inspire: Cotton & Steel Newsletter




WHAT'S NEW - WHAT'S INSPIRING

It's no secret--we're in love with Cotton + Steel!  This line of fabric features quilting weight cotton, cotton lawn, cotton/linen canvas, and rayon, all made to be exceptionally beautiful on their own and work well together.  Quilters, garment sewers, and crafters alike can appreciate the whimsical prints, saturated colors, and superb quality of these fabrics.  You can read more about how Cotton + Steel came about in the Stonemountain & Daughter Blog and check out our selection online or in store!
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DATES
IMAGE
CLASS & DESCRIPTION
APRIL
 13   
MONDAY 10:30 AM - 2:30 PM
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 scarf. Serger Basics or Basic Serger Skills needed.
APRIL
  14    
771A: BEYOND COTTON QUILTS 
WITH FERN ROYCE
TUESDAY 5:30PM - 7PM
Learn how to back or prepare these non-traditional fabrics, such as wool, tapestry and silk, so that they can be used in quilts or wall hangings.
APRIL
16
250MM: CREATIVE SEW & FIT LAB WITH TERRY MCCLINTOCK
THURSDAY 10 AM - 1 PM
Get help fitting your patterns before cutting out your fabric. Bring in your latest project or those UFO's (unfinished objects), get help with difficult garment construction techniques (zippers, pockets, hems, collars, button holes, serging, etc.).
APRIL
16, 23, 30
THURSDAYS 3 PM - 6 PM
This class will focus specifically on children's clothing. Let your imagination lead you to pick fun fabrics and a pattern that is appropriate to your skill level - Come away with a garment to delight the young person in your life!
APRIL
19  
WITH NICOLE VASBINDER
SUNDAY 1:30 - 3:30 PM
Have you always wanted to start your own business but didn't know how? This fun and informative class will teach you the basics on starting your own crafty business.
APRIL 20, May 4, 11   
102V: MINI BEGINNING & BEYONDWITH TERRY McCLINTOCK MONDAYS 10:30 AM - 1:30 PM
This is a mini 9 hour version of our 15 hour 101 series. Learn to read a pattern, select fabric, and other basic sewing and finishing techniques that build the foundation skills needed to create basic wardrobe garments.
APRIL
24    
524B: ALTERING A BRA WITH BARBARA BECCIO
MONDAY 3 PM - 6 PM
A good bra is expensive and it can be difficult to find the right fit. Once you find a great bra, it stretches out or your size changes. Your particular issue will be addressed and you will be shown how to make the necessary changes to your bra to make it comfortable and well-fitting.

Whether you're a quilter, garment sewer, or crafter, there's a good chance you've heard of Cotton + Steel.  They've taken the fabric world by storm ever since their start! In 2013, veteran fabric designer Melody Miller approached RJR Fabrics with a novel idea:  five fabric designers with fun, bright, and playful individual collections would work together to make one cohesive and collaborative super collection.

Thank goodness RJR agreed with this brilliant plan!  These amazing designersMelody Miller, Sarah Watts, Alexia Abegg, Kim Kight, and Rashida Coleman-Hale⎯have now created twenty-one collections that make up Cotton + Steel, and we're in love with all of them.

We want to share with you all some staff and customer projects that use Cotton + Steel so that you will feel the the inspiration as well!
I can't get enough of Ikat Cotton Fabrics! They are so easy to work up and the variety of color combinations are unlimited. Some Ikat patterns are subtle, using the softer colors of the color wheel.  Other patterns are bold and colorful and when combined with vibrant solids, the garment design possibilities are endless.

I loved this Victory Pattern, the Chloe No. 1005 Dress.  It is an intermediate level project suitable for woven fabrics like Ikat - other cottons or knits would work too. 

We wanted to make our Chloe a little edgy by combining Ikat with a complimentary solid woven fabric. I love the combination of purple and green, especially if the hues are a little "off" color. You might think that this combination doesn't occur in nature, but it does. So why not combine these gorgeous olive Ikat prints with a solid purple woven...  
 
Before there were quilting stores full of cotton, there was Bob Steinberg's Fabric Emporium in Los Angeles, California.  Dad has been offering 100% cotton and other natural fibers to fabric lovers since 1967, and together, we still do so today at Stonemountain & Daughter here in Berkeley.  As we continue to celebrate Stonemountain's 34th year, we're looking back at these traditions and looking forward to see how we can continue serving the community of quilters, garment sewers, and crafters that have kept us thriving for 4 generations.  As a thank you to our wonderful customers, we are extending our 25% off in-store coupon and our 20% off online coupon for another two weeks! We look forward to seeing you soon!
                                                                   -Suzan and Bob
CHECK US OUT ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spotlight On: Cotton + Steel

Whether you're a quilter, garment sewer, or crafter, there's a good chance you've heard of Cotton + Steel. They've taken the fabric world by storm ever since their start! In 2013, veteran fabric designer Melody Miller approached RJR Fabrics with a novel idea:  five fabric designers with fun, bright, and playful individual collections would work together to make one cohesive and collaborative super collection.  Thank goodness RJR agreed with this brilliant plan!  These amazing designers—Melody Miller, Sarah Watts, Alexia Abegg, Kim Kight, and Rashida Coleman-Hale—have now created twenty-one collections that make up Cotton + Steel, and we're in love with all of them.

We want to share with you all some staff and customer projects that use Cotton + Steel so that you will feel the the inspiration as well!

Stonemountain began carrying Cotton + Steel about 7 months ago.  Not long after, one of our students, from our sewing school, finished this beautiful cotton dress in one of our sewing classes!  A dress like this that can span seasons is a must-have in the Bay Area.  If you're new to sewing like this customer was, any of our beginner classes will start you on your way!



Our very own Claire followed suit not too long after, creating the Piper Dress by Violette Field Threads out of one of the Toyko Train Ride Mystery Food cotton lawns.  She used a contrasting silk/cotton blend for the trim and the back bow.



Cotton + Steel octopus dresses aren't just for grown ups!  Via instagram, our customer notkendra sent us a picture of this adorable dress she sewed with the Toyko Train Ride Mystery Food cotton.  We love the waistband that turns into a bow in the back.  If you're interested in making clothes for the little ones in your life, try one of our newest classes, #671 Constructing Children's Clothing!



In addition to garment sewing, Cotton + Steel lends itself beautifully to quilting, crafting, home decorating...the list goes on.  Our Liz whipped up this quick bag, which was a perfect application for this large scale print!



And she's not the only one—Instagrammer and customer deepfriedcrafty made this bag from the Cargo Duffle (free!) pattern.  It's a perfect example of how Cotton + Steel patterns play nicely with each other.  We spot two Melody Miller prints in there!



Cotton + Steel recently branched out from just cotton.  Their Frock collection features collaborative designs printed on the most beautiful rayon.  You may have seen us posting pictures of Lauren's rayon top, made from Deer & Doe's Datura blouse pattern (only available in store.)



And last but certainly not least, Liz just finished this amazing mini-quilt.  This goes to show how easy it is to pair Cotton + Steel prints with other fabric collections, especially Japanese cottons from Echino and Kokka, which share a similar aesthetic.  We are obsessed with her gold hand quilting and binding!  If you'd like to learn these skills yourself, check out Angie Woolman's class #749 on Hand Quilting Stitches.  Or take a quilt lab (#777) with Fern Royce and work on your individual projects with her help!



Are you inspired yet?  Explore all the Cotton + Steel we carry in our online shop!

Have you ever used Cotton + Steel?  We'd love to see!  Send us pictures at info@stonemountainfabric.com or show some in a comment below!