Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Kim's TNT Pattern: The Beatrix Top


Do you have a pattern that you love to make and wear over and over again? For Stonemountain staff member Kim, that pattern is the Beatrix Top by Made By Rae. With five Beatrix Tops in her handmade wardrobe, we had to find out what makes the Beatrix Top Kim's TNT pattern!

Beatrix Top by Made by Rae

Pattern description:
Beatrix by Made By Rae is a button-back pullover top with a simple silhouette that is both comfortable and flattering. With two views that offer different sleeve lengths, button placket options, and a shirttail or banded hem, this is a truly versatile pattern for woven fabrics.

Kim's Beatrix Tops are all made with View A in the medium size.


This map print from the Lagoon collection by Cotton + Steel has so many cute details.


What do you like about the Beatrix Top? 
Everything! The buttons down the back, the ¾ length sleeves, the curved bottom edge, the way it looks on, but most of all it is so comfortable to wear!

Do you have any favorite details? 
The buttons down the back—the possibilities are endless with so many wonderful buttons available.

We love this colorful Alexander Henry print! It is now sold out, but we have so many more fun fabrics from this designer.

How do you choose your fabrics? 
I love bright and vivid cotton prints and choose ones that I love but would not wear without encouragement from fellow sewists.

If you had to pick a favorite Beatrix, which would it be? 
Very tough question, but I will have to say the bagel Beatrix. Fell in love with this fabric and with the gentle nudge of a coworker I decided to go with it and have fun.


Thanks to Kim's amazing shirt, this bagel fabric sold out quick!

Do you have more Beatrix Tops planned? 
Of course I do…why stop at five? My next top will be made of rayon. I also need a few for fall and winter and some that are a bit more dressy too!

Do you have any tips for sewing this pattern?
If you don’t have a button holer, the blouse goes on and off easily without undoing the buttons. Just stitch the buttons on the outside where the button holes would be.


We don't have this popsicle print anymore, but this Dear Stella fabric is very similar!

Thanks for sharing your Beatrix Tops with us, Kim! 

We always love hearing about favorite go-to patterns and what makes them tried and true. What are your TNTs?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Olivia's Burnside Bibs



Chances are you've seen some versions of the Burnside Bibs from Sew House Seven floating around the internet. We are so in love with Olivia's take on the pattern that we had to share it with you!

This pattern has been on our list of things to sew since its release back in June 2017. The Bibs are an updated, more feminine version of classic overalls, with a gathered waist and ties. Great for all seasons and occasions, these can be made up in linen, rayon, denim and more - choose your own adventure!





Pattern options: Mix and match between Version #1 (rounded neckline, back pockets and side zipper with darts) and Version #2 (square neckline and gathered with no closure or back pockets), with a cropped or full length pant leg.

Olivia opted to make the cropped Version #1 with an invisible side zip, darts, and rounded neckline, omitting the back patch pockets. 


Personalized details: Olivia used contrasting topstitching thread to make these Bibs her own. This thoughtful design choice has a big visual impact and sets the handmade garment apart from ready-to-wear. We love how this detail especially pops against the white stripes on her shirt.  


Details we love: We're digging the roomy, curved patch pockets on the front. Pockets always make us happy! The curved design has a vintage feel, especially with Olivia's topstitching. 

Another detail we love is the adjustable and convertible straps that transition into ties at the back. These can be worn in a number of ways - crossed or uncrossed, tied at the front or back, tied in a bow or not. It's fun to have options - more ways to make the garment your own!


Thanks Olivia for sharing your Burnside Bibs with us! And if you're feeling inspired to make your own, you can find the pattern in our shop here!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Summer 2018 Snapshots


Summer is coming to end, and while this means the end of longer days and warm nights, we welcome the start of fall. There's nothing better than layering ourselves in even more beautiful handmade clothes! To celebrate this change in the seasons, we've pulled together some summer makes by you, our amazing customers, and a few from our incredible staff. It's been a productive season for all of us and a great chance to challenge ourselves to try new patterns and make our wardrobe dreams come true. Well done, everyone! And thank you for sharing with us.


@babybluelightning in a Wiksten Kimono made from silk noil and Cotton + Steel lawn

@sewliberated in a Metamorphic Dress made from ikat and linen

@fabriclady3 in a Stasia Dress made from our polyester stretch crepe

@notaprimarycolor in a Willow Tank by Grainline Studios in Silk Noil and self-drafted linen culottes.


@milkpillowblog in a dress made from one of our gorgeous knits.


@pompombandana in a sweet linen ensemble, including the Made By Rae Cleo Skirt.


@threadbeargarments in a Wiksten Kimono made from our Handwoven Ikat.


@sewinglikemad in a top made from one of our eco bamboo knits.


@elisejoy in the Sew Liberated Arenite pants in silk noil.

@nkdesignz wears the Hilo Dress from Friday Patterns in a rayon knit.

@mchannersews in a Colette Zinnia Skirt made in a tencel twill.
@atelier_frances in a lovely two-tone top made in linen.

@knitgraffiti in Sew Liberated Arenite Pants made with our sandwashed rayon kit

@ecarolinewalters in a cotton Closet Case Kalle Shirtdress in a tunic length.

@sew.on in a jacket made from our tencel twill.

@nosharpsnoflats in a Sew House Seven Tea House Dress.

@roxyintransit took a class at Hello Stitch and sewed a summery dress made up in one of our cotton ikat fabrics.

We always love to see what our wonderful customers create! Use the hashtag #stonemountainfabric when sharing your projects on Instagram & Facebook so we can see your amazing Stonemountain makes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What GSM Means and How to Use It

We recently added a GSM cutter and scale to our tool kit and we couldn't be more excited! If you're not huge fabric nerds like us, you may be wondering what a GSM cutter is and why we would want one.


GSM stands for grams per square meter, and is a standard measurement for fabric weight. The cutter allows us to cut out a perfect circle with an area of 100 cm, and the scale precisely measures the weight of the little fabric circle. We can then multiply that number by 100 to get the GSM of the fabric.

You can see a video of the GSM cutter in action here!

GSM can be converted to ounces per square yard, another common fabric weight measurement. As you would imagine, oz/square yd is mostly used by fabric companies in the United States and GSM is used pretty much everywhere else.

But knowing that a fabric has a weight of 210 GSM or 6.19 oz/square yd is not very helpful information if you don't have a reference point. So we have put together a handy guide of fabric weights that will give you a better idea of what those numbers mean and how to use them.



Though fabric weights are generally pretty straightforward (a heavy fabric will result in a more structured garment, etc.), there are some caveats to consider.

Rayon is a heavier fiber than cotton, but is also more drapey and fluid. This means that though our bamboo rayon knit is 7.4 oz/sq yd, it actually acts more lightweight than a cotton/spandex knit that is 5.16 oz/sq yd. You could easily make leggings out of the cotton/spandex knit, but the bamboo rayon would not be firm enough. The heavy drape of bamboo rayon knit makes it perfect for garments like maxi dresses and flowy tops (like the Ebony Tee!), but less ideal for garments that need a bit of structure.

Our Bamboo Rayon is 7.4 oz/sq yd or 250 GSM, but it's best suited for garments that have more drape than structure.

Cotton/spandex knits by Art Gallery Fabrics are 5.16 oz/sq yd or 175 GSM. They're firm enough for leggings and other garments that require fabric with a bit more heft.

In general, it can be difficult to get an accurate idea of knits even when you know the weight because of how they are made. Knitting uses more fiber or threads than weaving. A knitted piece of cloth will weigh more than woven piece that is the same size and content.



Additionally, many knit fabrics have some spandex or lycra content, which adds extra weight but doesn't make a knit feel or act heavier. Therefore, a knit that weighs 4.7 oz/sq yd can feel more lightweight than a woven fabric with the same weight.

For example, our Cashmeer Sweater Knit is great for sheer, summer weight sweaters and cardigans, while our Tencel Twill is great for pants and unlined skirts or dresses. They're the exact same weight, but feel completely different!

Our Cashmeer Sweater knit on the left is great for a lightweight Cocoon Cardigan, while the Tencel Twill is a good match for the Ulysses Trench. Two very different garments, but made with the same weight of fabric!

Knowing the weight is very useful information, especially if you're comparing woven fabrics. If you're looking to make a linen dress for summer, then knowing the weight will help you decide  between Nevada or Delave linen. Nevada is a medium-heavy 6.19 oz/sq yd while Delave is 4.4 oz/sq yd—a better weight for a warm weather dress!

Both are 100% linen and a great color for a sundress—how do you choose between Nevada and Delave when you're shopping online?

We know that shopping for fabric online can be difficult! We're really excited to have a new tool that allows us to provide our customers with more helpful information. Though we won't be able to cut and weigh all of the fabric in our shop, we will work on adding this information to the fabrics that are a bit more ambiguous, like our new Japanese Yarn Dyed Twill.

And as always, if you have questions about a specific fabric and its weight or whether it will work for a pattern, please ask! We are always happy to answer questions or send swatches of any of our fabrics. Just shoot us an email at info@stonemountainfabric.com or contact us through our Facebook or Instagram!


Monday, June 18, 2018

Let's Talk Linen

We loved the response to our rayon blog post, so we wanted to make a similar post about one of our absolute favorite fabrics—linen! There are so many reasons to love linen. It's a natural fiber, it drapes beautifully, it has great texture, and it becomes amazingly soft with washing and wearing. And of course, it makes gorgeous garments!

Linen is made from flax plants and may be one of the oldest textiles in the world. Cloth made from wild flax was found in a prehistoric cave in Georgia and determined to be over 30,000 years old, and Egyptian mummies were often wrapped in linen. That we even know these things demonstrates the strength of flax fiber—linen shrouds have been found perfectly preserved after thousands of years!

These days, high-quality flax is grown in Europe and the linen is produced in many countries like Lithuania, Poland, France, China, Austria, and Germany. Some of the highest quality linen is made in Ireland, Italy, and Belgium. Our Nevada Linens are made in Ireland, where there is a long history of linen production. But like many fabrics, the linen chain of production is not centered in one area. The flax may be grown in one country, spun into yarn in another, and woven into fabric in another.

Just a few of the many colors of our Nevada Linen!
Though linen is not as misunderstood as some fabrics (like rayon), there are still some misconceptions about the fabric. Yes, linen can be very wrinkly, but it doesn't have to be! Our friend and local instructor Sandra Betzina has a great tip about how to pretreat linen so that it has lovely soft wrinkles instead of hard creases you need to tackle with your iron.

Before you preshrink, set a wrinkle-less finish by ironing the linen with the hottest dry iron possible. Next, wash (with a little detergent) and dry in the hottest water and highest heat setting you have. Take it out of the dryer when close to bone dry. You will notice that smaller softer wrinkles have replaced the hard crease usually associated with the fabric.


Here's an example from Fabric Lady's blog post about her favorite lightweight jackets. On the left is the linen before washing and on the right is after washing and drying according to Sandra's tip. Creased and somewhat stiff linen becomes soft, beautiful, and ready to become garments! 


Another misconception is that linen can't be washed because it is too delicate or it will shrink. Though it is true that linen will shrink like most natural fibers, this doesn't mean it can't be washed. Following Sandra Betzina's tip above will also preshrink your fabric so that you can later wash it without worry. After pretreating, we like to follow the general rule of washing linen garments on cold and line drying. Regularly using less heat will keep your fabric in better condition longer, but regular washing will make linen wonderfully soft over time.

So What Can You Make?


Let's get to the fun part—sewing! Linen can have a bit of a reputation for being a home dec fabric, but it's not just for curtains and napkins anymore. At Stonemountain, we've used linen to make dresses, tops, jackets, pants, overalls, skirts—pretty much every garment you can think of. And because linen comes in so many different weights, you can find a linen to use for any project. Here are some of our favorite garments to sew in linen.

Dresses


A linen dress is a dream in hot weather! It will help you stay cool while looking so chic.

The Farrow Dress by Grainline Studio has one of our favorite dress features: big pockets!
The new Myosotis dress by Deer & Doe has a super cute silhouette, especially for summer. 
The Tea House Dress by Sew House Seven is a favorite around here. It looks good on everyone!
This natural Linen Twill is beautifully understated and has a soft, washed feel. The twill texture gives it a subtle sheen.
Printed 100% linen is less common than solid colors, which makes this digitally printed linen even more special.
Nothing says summer quite like gingham! This Italian linen mini gingham strikes the perfect balance between fun and sophisticated.


Jackets


When you need just a light layer, a linen jacket is the perfect thing.










Pants & Overalls


Linen pants can be like secret pajamas! They're soft and floaty, perfect for when you don't want to wear jeans.






Of course, this is just a small taste of the many, many different garments you can make with linen. Linen can be used for any pattern that calls for woven fabric—the trick is just in figuring out the right type and weight for your project. Whether this is your first time working with linen or your hundredth, we're always happy to help you find the perfect fabric.

So what do you think? Is linen on your list for summer sewing?