Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Halloween How To: Fun With Furry Animals

Everyone likes cute and cuddly creatures. Furry, fluffy and round, they are a favorite of young kids.

While faux fur outfits look great there are a few caveats: Faux fur usually has a nap (the fur going in one direction, like a real animal) so often you need more fabric for a pattern or project than a fabric without nap. Faux fur can run between $24-$36 per yard which can make the three or so yards needed for a kid's pattern $72-$108 for something they may only wear once. Faux fur is made with polyester fiber which means it is warm, which is great for cold weather, but it also does not breathe well so active kids can get hot and sweaty quickly in a fur outfit. Faux fur can be tricky to cut and sew for the beginner since it is a knit, it is bulky to sew and if you cut it with scissors there is a lot of fluff! We don't want to deter furry animal costumes, only explore some options that will help you achieve your fur-tastic look!

The trick is to look like an animal but be comfortable and affordable. A great alternative to the full fur suit is fur trim. A leopard print hoodie and sweatpants becomes and instant big cat with leopard fur trim at the wrists, cuffs, as a tail and made into ears.

Hoodies make great bases for animal costumes and are easy for adding trim. Sew or pin on a stripe of white fur trim to a black hoodie or hooded cape and you have "INSTA-SKUNK"!

Fur ears made from fur trim is easy, just loop it around on itself and sew, safety pin or hot glue it together. Add pink felt on the inside as a fun detail. Bunny ears, bear ears, cat and dog ears can all be made this way using different widths of fur trim or strips of faux fur.

Attach the ears to hair clips, hair band, sweatband, elastic, a knit hat, whatever will stay on your head (or the head of your little critter).

A great alternative to faux fur are other furry fabrics like minky and velour. They are soft and fuzzy but at least half the price of fur. Another easy option is to use animal print cotton fabric.

Make a simple top and PJ pants or a dress, add some furry cuffs and you have something your little animal can wear again and again.

Have fun and be creative with your wild side!

Halloween How To: Try A Toga

Get at least four – five yards of 45” wide fabric (trust us, four is enough to wrap around your torso and then over a shoulder to drape or configure as you like). This will make the toga about knee length. If you want shorter, you can use 36” wide fabric, but you can still make the 45” fabric shorter with draping and pinning.

Wrap the fabric around you at least once, if not twice, and pin the fabric at the waist, on your left and right side.

Drape the rest of the fabric over your shoulder. Pin again to the waist in the back (this keeps it from sliding down in the back).

For a woman, you can twist, knot the fabric, or tie with some elastic or string at your shoulder to make it look more flattering. Then pin the fabric at your sides to keep your bust covered (you can also wear a tube top or camisole and pin the fabric to it to keep it in place.)
Another other options are to wrap the fabric around you starting at your side and going around the bust, pin and drape like described above. 

For a more "Dragon Queen" look, cut the 4-5 yards of fabric in half (into 2 ½-3 yard pieces) and using a ribbon or elastic tie around each piece at your shoulders. 

Then pin or sew the two pieces in the front, back and sides.

3 - 4 yards of belts of cording, ribbon or other trim can also be wrapped around the body to define your waist, or crisscross over the bust to help keep the fabric in place.

Search the Internet! There are at least ten different ways to wrap your toga! Use leaf trim in your hair, put on some sandals and away you go!

Click here to view our Toga Tutorial PDF, perfect for downloading and printing.

Halloween How To: Frolic As A Flapper

The basics of any Halloween costume success is to break down the idea of what you wish to be in to something easy and build, trim and accessorize from there.

Flappers are an easy costume because of the basic dress shape. No restrictive undergarments are needed (unlike for Renaissance and Victorian costumes) and you can usually dress it up with pieces from your existing wardrobe like strings of pearls and strappy heels.
The basic shape of a flapper dress is a loose or semi-fitted shift dress with either no waist or a drop waist, which puts the waistline at your hips instead of your natural waist.

Most modern flappers don't adhere to proper 1920's decorum, such as stockings, gloves and hats, and certainly not their hemlines; Modern flapper's hems are anywhere between just below the knee to mid thigh.

You can challenge yourself by making vintage inspired flapper dresses:

Monte Carlo Dress and Tango Dress by Folkwear

Fringe Front Dress, Hazel's Frock and Zig Zag Dress by Decades of Style

Another option is to alter an existing modern pattern. This drop waist dress was made into flapper perfect by lengthening the skirt and adding a waist band with contrasting fabrics (this is also a good trick if you don't have enough fabric!). Stonemountain staffer Mary Jane took New Look 6141 and altered it for an Art Deco event in San Francisco.
Think simple silhouettes, like the Laurel dress by ColetteTrim is key to pull this look off: Use fringe, lace, sequence, pearls, buttons, feathers, and of course, jazz hands!
Find all that you need to be a frolicking flapper at Stonemountain & Daughter!

How To Succeed With Funky

Fall is almost here and it's time to get funky!

Time to shake things up and do something different. We have so many exciting changes happening as we transition into fall at Stonemountain, we want to make sure that you're in on all the action.

In this week's newsletter, we'll spotlight some of our inspiring staff, brand new independent patterns and inspirational customers. Let's end summer with a bang and start fall with some funk!
Always Creatively Yours,

Suzan Steinberg,

We asked our talented Stonemountain staff to wear in some of their own creations and show us what funky means to them. Brenna, Elise and Linda brought funky in full force. Inspired by celebration and travel, these ladies have created some amazing garments that include tassels, fringe, color blocking, ruffles and more.
Ruth, Mary Jane and Natalie showed off a more everyday funky, sporting simple silhouettes in bold prints. It's amazing what you can do with a fun, conversational print cotton. Inspired by the creativity of our staff, Suzan decided to get a little Funky herself! Read some of her blog post below and follow the link for more...

For me fall, like spring, is a time for renewal. It's that whole "back to school" mentality that we never seem to grow out of as September rolls around: time to gather sharp pencils and new notebooks, buy new dresses and boots, maybe try a fresh hairstyle. For those of us who sew, it's a time to peruse the new pattern books, check out the new fabrics and plan our fall/winter wardrobes.
This season I'm feeling the need to branch out a little with my fabric choices... and I have been inspired by our own staff here at Stonemountain. Most of them are sewists in their own right and their creativity and use of our fabrics inspires me to shake off the everyday Suzan and morph into: Funky Zan.

I'm surrounded with creativity every day at the store. Wow, these women can sew!!  Read more at FabricLady3.blogspot.com...

Meet Joann Kersten, devoted quilter and Stonemountaineer!
Joann has been gracious enough to let us show her amazing quilts, which she brings in to show us weekly. It's always a treat to see how she uses our fabrics in her designs, which range from traditional to free-form. She's brought in so many quilts, we made a whole photo album for her! See her other quilts on our Facebook. The show will be up in the store through October, so be sure to stop by and see 19 of Joann's incredible quilts lining our walls! 
Thanks for letting us show off your talent, Joann!

Off The Bolt! 
We love to see where our fabrics go, so don't hesitate to bring in your projects or send in photos of what you're working on. We're always looking for a chance to brag about our amazing customers!

Upcoming Classes 
Click on the links below to learn more about our classes starting this fall!

Getting Started!

 This week's theme is all about Getting Started!

As we approach the end of Summer, we want to help you prepare for the months ahead. School is starting and we have the holidays to think about, but we also want to help inspire you to get started on some new projects with fresh, fun and funky ideas for Fall.

Be sure to check in with Suzan over at the Fabric Lady blog for ideas for adding some funk to your wardrobe and see how our buyer, Natalie, is doing with her Making A Quilted Coat series. Read about our amazing Techniques Classes and how you can take your sewing to the next level.

Ready. Set. SEW!
Always Creatively Yours,

Suzan Steinberg,

Fall is coming and it's time to get started on some new projects...

For many of us (who aren't living in California) the coming of Fall means a big shift in our wardrobe. We look to layers of cozy scarves and sweaters to keep us comfortable as the seasons shift from long hot days to cooler, crisp, early afternoons. But, just because we'll be wearing more clothing, doesn't mean we have to feel weighed down. We have some fun, fresh and funky ideas for your Fall sewing, starting with some patterns and fabric choices.
We chose these fabrics as an example of how you can mix & match to create interesting combinations. While these fabrics may differ in style, they are brought together by a shared color palette of oranges and blues. These complementary colors play well together and add interest for the eye. Creating a funky garment is as easy as choosing a simple pattern, like one of our options below, and focusing on the details.

Consider using a contrasting fabric for pockets or cuffs and check out our bias tape and trim sections for finishing hems and necklines. Something as small as a unique button can take your garment from 'ready-to-wear' to wearable art!

When people ask, "Where did you get that?" You can say, "I made it!"
Interested in more Funky inspiration?
This month, you can find us over at the Fabric Lady and Stonemountain Fabric blogging about how to get Funky for Fall. Stay with us to see what we're up to in the sewing studio and share your own projects with us! We always love to see what you're up to with our fabrics, so feel free to send us pictures of your own Funky for Fall projects, whether its quilting, crafting or garment sewing.

And now you can even share with us on Instagram!
Follow us @stonemountainfabric and use hashtag #stonemountainfabric to tag your photos. We love to post customer projects on our Facebook, so come on and share the fabric love!

Do you have what you need to go back to school?  

We have students and teachers from all walks of life come through our door. From preschool to grad school and everywhere in between, we are a great resource for supplies like muslin, notions, patterns and anything else you may need. 
If you've completed one or more of our intro to sewing courses and would like to step your sewing up to the next level, we offer a range of technique-focused classes to help you hone your sewing skills. Sign up for one or more of our upcoming Sewing Techniques classes and you'll be well on your way to becoming a master sewist!  

Learn the tools and tricks of working with knit fabrics! Choose one of our recommended patterns and make a great tee, camisole or skirt as you learn to work with these versatile fabrics.

303: Couture Techniques with Barbara Beccio
In this workshop, you will learn couture sewing methods to add details to your garments. Take this and Couture Techniques II for the full couture experience.
311: Fearless Zippers with Terry McClintock
Stop zipper intimidation with this incredibly helpful workshop. If you know how to sew, and are ready to add professional looking zippers to your garments, this class is for you.
313: Effortless Pleats & Tucks with Barbara Beccio
Learn all about pleats and tucks and how to add them to your garment, quilting or craft projects.

390: Intro to Serger /Overlock Sewing Machine
An overlock sewing machine, or serger, is a great companion to your regular sewing machine. Great for knits and finishing seams, add versatility and polish to sewing projects with this new expertise. Experience how serging can take projects to the next level in our machine-equipped classroom.
As the designers for Fashion in Harmony, a pattern company specializing in the bias cut, Julianne and Susan are experts at finishing bias-cut garments. Learn their favorite ways to elegantly finish necklines and hems.  

Don't look now, but the Holidays are just around the corner...

Believe it or not, Halloween is coming and as you can imagine, it's our busiest time of the year. We can't tell you how many customers we have come in to buy fabric for their costume ideas, and try as we might, sometimes we just can't get what you need in time for the big day. We want you to know that it's never too early to start planning for your Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving Day table linens and Holiday gift giving.

We do our best to keep all of the basics stocked, but if there is a specific fabric, trim or notion that you need, don't hesitate to ask. The sooner, the better!

Call (510) 845-6106, email us at fabriclady3@gmail.com or stop by the store!

Read about what Suzan and her seamstess, Laurel are getting into next...
"When our customers come in to look at our pattern books, they find all manner of styles and designers for all levels of sewing experience. Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics has one of the largest inventories of independent pattern designers and we often choose these innovative designs for my wardrobe (many are listed in our on-line store).

"But I also love to try designs from our larger brand patters such as Burda, Vogue, and NewLook. Although most of the Vogue designs (Stonemountain discounts all Vogue patterns 50% everyday!) tend to be a little more intricate with the seaming and design details, I do love the simple designs featured in the other pattern company books as well..." Read more at FabricLady3.blogspot.com