Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Rayon, Viscose, Tencel, Cupro, Modal – What Does It All Mean?

Rayon is one of our favorite fibers because it always has a beautiful drape whether it's a knit or a woven. It's often soft, usually lightweight, and relatively easy to care for – but what is it exactly? And what about those other fibers like viscose, tencel, cupro, and modal? Rayon is one of the most misunderstood fibers, so we want to demystify some of the misconceptions and confusing terms that surround this great fabric!

So What is Rayon?


Rayon is the catchall term for fabric made from regenerated cellulose fiber. Rayon is often mistaken for a synthetic fiber, but it is actually made from wood pulp and other plant materials. It was developed in the early 1900s as an alternative to silk and has since been used in all sorts of applications, from commercial to industrial.

One of the great properties of rayon is that it is cool to the touch. This and its breathability make it a perfect fabric for warm weather. A swingy rayon dress or blouse will help keep you cool and comfortable when it's the middle of July and the humidity is out of control!

Bamboo Rayon


The bamboo plant is a sustainable source of the raw materials used in the production of rayon. We love our bamboo rayon knits because they are incredibly soft, breathe wonderfully and drape beautifully!

Our favorite jersey ever! This is our Bamboo Rayon in Clay.
The Briar Tee by Megan Nielsen is so fun for summer, especially with high-waisted pants and skirts!

Rayon Crepe

Rayon crepe was a very popular choice for dresses and blouses in the 1940s and we love the vintage vibe that these textured fabrics have. Now rayon crepes come in so many colors, prints, and varying levels of "crepiness"!

This Italian designer rayon crepe is so pretty! It's called Flower Crown and we have it in both Cream and Navy.
Rayon crepe is perfect for the sweet & stylish Eve Dress by Sew Over It.

Rayon Challis


Challis is probably the most well-known type of rayon. It's lightweight and fluid, which makes it ideal for drapey blouses, dresses, and skirts. And it comes in so many amazing prints!

Love this twist on a classic stripe! This is the Scribble Stripe Rayon Challis.

A rayon challis Charlie Caftan by Closet Case Patterns is the floaty, chic summer dress of your dreams!

Other Rayons


Rayon comes in many other variations as well – it can be textured, sandwashed, sueded, and woven in different ways to change how it drapes and feels. This versatility makes it so perfect for all kinds of garment sewing – you could fill your wardrobe with rayon and not have two of the same garment!

Sandwashed Rayon in Denim Blue
Slubby Kahlo Uneven Stripe rayon
Textured Rayon - Rose Stripe


Viscose


Though viscose originated as an alternative method to producing rayon, it now is considered an interchangeable term. "Viscose" is typically used in European countries, which is why our Italian designer rayons are called viscose.

This beautiful Italian viscose sateen has a soft, brushed feel and a subtle sheen.
When you're working with a print, it can be best to keep things simple. The Ogden Cami by True Bias is perfect for that! 


Tencel


The word tencel is actually a trademarked term for a fiber called lyocell. The manufacturing process for lyocell is slightly different from other rayons and results in very little waste product. This makes tencel/lyocell more sustainable and eco-friendly!

Though tencel can be made into all sorts of different weaves, the type we see most often is twill. Tencel twill is a great bottomweight for making jackets and pants. One thing to note with tencel is that it tends to get shiny when pressed with a hot iron. We recommend turning down the temp and using a pressing cloth.

This Heavy Tencel Twill is the perfect weight for pants and jackets, yet is wonderfully soft and drapey!
The Burnside Bibs by Sew House Seven are one of the hottest patterns for summer! So stylish yet easy to wear.


Cupro


You may know cupro by its trade name, Bemberg, which is a popular fabric for lining. Cupro (or cupromonium) is the name given to rayon fibers made through a process that uses copper and ammonium. Its slinkiness and slight sheen make it a great alternative to silk.

Just look at the lovely sheen in this Lavender Cupro!

A cupro Roberts Collection jumpsuit would look so fancy, but actually be secret pajamas!


Modal


What makes modal different from other rayons is that the fibers are designed to be stronger and more resistant to shrinkage. This makes modal easier to care for because it won't shrink as much as other rayons if it gets tumble dried. Both wovens and knits are made from modal and they're always extremely soft!

The color of this Thistle Sueded Modal is so pretty!

A modal Kielo by Named Clothing would be the perfect dress for date night or lazy Sunday brunch!


Sewing with Rayon


Many beginning sewists shy away from rayon because it has a reputation for being difficult to work with. Though it's true that the liquid drape of rayon can make it trickier than cotton, it just takes a little more care. Try Flatter (a starch alternative) to make your rayon easier to handle before cutting. Use weights and a rotary cutter to cut out your pattern, rather than pins and scissors. And don't forget to staystitch your curves after cutting to keep them from getting misshapen!

We know that rayon is super easy to wear, but how easy is it to care for? Rayon used to have a reputation for being dry clean-only, but nearly all modern rayon can be machine washed. However, we recommend keeping it away from the dryer. Rayon tends to shrink and you don't want your lovely summer sun dress to become a micro-mini! If you're not sure how your fabric will react to washing, just test a swatch before throwing your full yardage in the washer.



What do you think about rayon and all its cousins? If you've never sewn with it before, we hope that after reading this you will give rayon a try!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Sewing for Spring!

Isn't spring just the best season for sewing? There's something about getting a full dose of sunshine every day that makes us feel creatively refreshed and ready to start on new projects. Check out some of our favorite patterns for spring and our top fabric recommendations for them!

Montrose Top – Cashmerette


This classic woven top is perfect for showing off your favorite prints or special lace fabrics. The beauty of a woven tee like this is that it's comfy for daytime wear, but can easily be dressed up for date night!

Fabric Recommendations
Rayon is so easy to wear and it comes in the best prints and colors!
L to R: Rayon Batik – Geo Classics – ArrowsAmalfi – Lively Floral – Mint, Sandwashed Rayon Challis – Rose

Embroidered tulle is a great way to dress up this simple silhouette!
From L to R: Dainty Floral Lace - Golden, Embroidered Chiffon - Flower ClusterEmbroidered Tulle - Rose Petal

Roscose Dress & Blouse – True Bias


The Roscoe Dress and Blouse by True Bias is boho-inspired garment with raglan sleeves and a gathered neckline that can be worn tied or open. This oversized silhouette is perfect for when you want to feel put together but still be totally comfortable.

If you're feeling fancy then silk is the way to go!
L to R: Sueded Silk Charmeuse – Copper, Silk Noil – Teal Green, Printed Silk Charmeuse – Painted Floral
Linen is the right choice for staying cool and comfortable during warmer days.
From L to R: 100% Linen – Mini GinghamSorrento Linen – Brick, Romsey Stripe Linen – Royal

Rita Blouse – Charm Patterns by Gertie


This perfectly vintage peasant blouse is also perfectly on-trend for spring! The flattering elasticized neckline can be worn on or off the shoulder and the pattern also has the option of flutter cap sleeves.

Who doesn't love a happy cotton lawn print?
L to R: London Calling Lawn – Cherries – IvoryLawn Quilt – Wildflower – NavyAmalfi – Happy Stripes – Cream

Roberts Collection – Marilla Walker


This powerhouse pattern collection will carry you through the whole season! The pattern includes a jumpsuit, dungarees, a dungaree dress or a simple top – practically a mini capsule wardrobe.

For the jumpsuit and dungarees you want an opaque bottomweight that still has some softness. L to R: Brussels Washer Linen/Rayon – Redrock, Arroyo Essex Linen/Cotton – Chevron – Denim, Ventana Twill – Bordeaux
The Roberts Top works well in all types of woven cotton. Use a solid to let the seam lines shine, or get clever with print placement. L to R: Indian Block Print Voile – Kaleidoscope, Lines and Dashes Ikat – Black on Grey, Neon Neppy – Blue

Fumeterre Skirt – Deer & Doe Patterns


Yes, a high waisted maxi skirt is a bit dramatic, but it can also be so easy to wear! Pair it with your favorite tee shirt or cropped tank for a casual look, or tuck in a drapey blouse to dress it up a bit.

Rayon and tencel are perfect for the Fumeterre because of their weight and drape.
 L to R: 4.5oz Tencel Denim – Black, Rayon Crepe – Merlot, Cupro/Rayon Twill – Navy

Maisa Denim Jacket – Named Clothing


A denim jacket is the ultimate spring layer! Make yours in classic indigo denim, or mix it up with some color and a fun back panel.

Bottomweights don't have to be boring!
L to R: 10oz Denim – Indigo, Cloud 9 Organic Tinted Denim – Flamingo, Japanese Printed Cotton Twill – Plum

What are your spring sewing plans? Do you like to make an organized list, or do you prefer to just let the fabric and pattern inspire you? This time of year is perfect for thinking about your Destiny Wardrobe and planning a wardrobe full of clothes that matter to you!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Indie Pattern Trunk Show and Our Pattern Picks for 2018!

Can you believe that this year is Stonemountain & Daughter's 37th anniversary? We are so excited to be celebrating 37 years in this amazing community of sewists and makers. To commemorate this milestone, of course we had to have a party! And what's better than a pattern party?

We filled a rack with dozens of our personal me-mades and had so much fun showing off our favorite garments and patterns. It was amazing to see how one pattern can look so different depending on the fabric used and the personal style of the sewist!





Out of all these amazing patterns, we picked our top 10 indie patterns for 2018. The patterns we chose are versatile and can be sewn in a wide variety of fabrics – and we know this because that's exactly what we've done! Many of these are TnTs (that's "tried and true") for the Stonemountain crew, which means we've sewn them up in all different fabrics and sometimes hacked them into different garments.

1. Ogden Cami – True Bias

 

The Ogden Cami by True Bias is a simple blouse that can either be worn on its own or as a layering piece under blazers and cardigans. It has a soft V neck at both center front and center back necklines, and delicate spaghetti straps.

Our favorite fabrics: silk charmeuse (especially prints!), silk noil, cotton lawn, and rayon challis

The Ogden requires a small amount of fabric, so it's great for remnants or pieces of extra-special fabric like silk. This simple pattern is also a great starting points for hacking, like lengthening it to a dress or adding a peplum ruffle. Liz even used the Odgen as a starting point for her gorgeous wedding dress!



2. Linden Sweatshirt – Grainline Studio

 

The Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studio gives a modern update to the classic sweatshirt. Featuring a relaxed fit, raglan sleeves, and a graceful slightly scooped neckline, this sweatshirt is perfect for layering.

Our favorite fabrics: french terry & sweatshirt fleece, cotton/spandex knit


The Linden is a real wardrobe staple! You can even use a woven fabric for the body of the sweatshirt, just make sure you size up.



3. Ebony Tee – Closet Case Patterns

 


An elegant basic featuring a fluidly draped silhouette, the Ebony Tee by Closet Case Patterns is a versatile wardrobe staple you’ll want to wear every day. Make a swingy knit dress, modern cropped top, or a tunic with a cascading hem and short raglan sleeves.
Our favorite fabrics: bamboo rayon, cotton/spandex, double brushed poly, stretch velvet

This pattern is so chic! It looks great on everybody and can be dressed up or down depending on the fabric you use.


4. Tea House Dress – Sew House Seven


Flattering and easy to wear, the Tea House by Sew House Seven is a great pattern with a variety of options for different looks.

Our favorite fabrics: cotton ikat, rayon challis, linen, silk noil


The Tea House is one of Suzan's favorites (especially in an ikat!) because it is such an easy pattern to incorporate into any wardrobe. The pattern comes with a tunic and dress version for ultimate versatility. Check out Suzan's tunic version in this blog post and her dress here!



5. Melilot Shirt – Deer & Doe Patterns

 

The Melilot Shirt by Deer & Doe Patterns is a casual shirt with drop shoulders. Choose between long sleeves or cuffed short sleeves, a band collar or a rounded collar, and a regular or hidden button placket.

Our favorite fabrics: cotton lawn, chambray, ikat, linen, silk crepe

The not-so-classic styling of the Melilot Shirt make it a great alternative to the standard button shirt. It looks amazing in a print, or make it in a solid to go with everything!

6. Lander Pants – True Bias

 

With a high waist and button fly, the Lander Pant by True Bias is not only on trend, but also flattering and comfortable for all body types. The pattern includes front and back patch pockets, belt loops, and a straight fit through the legs.

Our favorite fabrics: Ventana twill, denim, corduroy


The Lander Pant has been all over Instagram, and for good reason! They're the ultimate wide-leg trouser with a cool 70s twist. They look great in classic khaki or navy, but we've seen some amazing versions in bright colors (and wild prints!)



7. Safran Pants – Deer & Doe Patterns

 

The Safran Pants by Deer & Doe Patterns are high waisted skinny jeans and pants with slanted welt pockets at the front and a clean & simple yoke-less back.

Our favorite fabrics: stretch denim and stretch twill


Safran can be your new favorite skinny jeans or your go-to work pants! Keep it simple in a classic black twill or show off your style with fun topstitching (both Lauren and Suzan have Safrans with neon thread!)



8. Scout Tee – Grainline Studio

  

The Scout Tee by Grainline Studio is a woven t-shirt with capped sleeves and scoop neck. Fitted at the shoulders, this top falls into a loose shape below the bust.

Our favorite fabrics: cotton lawn, quilting cotton, ikat, velvet, silk noil


A Scout Tee made in quilting cotton is the ultimate beginner project – but that doesn't mean more advanced sewers can't make Scouts! The super simple silhouette is perfect for playing with fun prints or as a starting place for hacks. Though the pattern is designed for wovens, go ahead and break the rules! Suzan loves her two Scouts made of stretch velvet.



9. Dress No. 1 – 100 Acts of Sewing

 

Dress No. 1 by 100 Acts of Sewing is a sleeveless dress that is extremely wearable with a flattering A-line silhouette. The neck and armholes are finished with bias tape facing and top-stitched patch pockets add both flair and utility.

Our favorite fabrics: ikat, quilting cotton, linen, cotton lawn, double gauze


Who wouldn't love a wardrobe full of colorful, easy to wear dresses? The Dress No. 1 is a great layering piece or the perfect summer dress. Suzan has a whole batch of them in linen, double gauze, and ikat!



10. Sapporo Coat – Papercut Patterns



Go bold with the dramatic cocoon silhouette and angled seaming of the Sapporo Coat by Papercut Patterns. Choose lightweight fabric for a spring/summer version or cosy wool for cooler weather. This is a pattern for every season. 

Our favorite fabrics: boiled wool, wool coating, linen, ikat


The Sapporo makes a gorgeous winter coat when made in wool, but it also works as a light jacket or topper in linen or ikat. Suzan loves her unlined Sapporo in metallic Essex linen – it's just the perfect mix of dressy and casual.


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We made a handy little worksheet with all these patterns along with our fabric recommendations. It's like a sewing shopping list that you can bring with you on your next Stonemountain trip! And if you're thinking about your Destiny Wardrobe, then this is a great place to start.

Our favorite part of our anniversary celebration was hearing from all you amazing sewists! We feel fortunate to still be here after 37 years and we know it's because of you and your love of fabric. So thank you! Here's to another 30+ years of supporting this incredible community!