Thursday, January 28, 2016

Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics: Store Review

All the wool!!! That green is hard to photograph!

Since leaving Los Angeles and my go-to mecca, The Fabric Store, my mission has been finding a suitable Bay Area replacement. So in the search for a new textile haven, this weekend I dropped the man off at Cal and headed over to Stonemountain & Daughter just down the road.

The store is fairly small, but that's Berkeley. The front part is mainly quilting, some shirting, and a few novelties. Its also fairly packed with notions, but because the store is so small the notion area has a little bit of a lot of stuff. For example, the Aurafil stand has super picked over and was replenished with some non-Aurafil threads. For a store dedicating a large portion of its space to quilting, I didn't see much cotton thread. The second part of the store is fashion fabrics, cottons, rayons, wools, silks, linens, and a significant amount of polys (yup, I'm a textile snob, even high quality polys that I have used sew and wear disappointingly). There's a good mix of knits and wovens as well. Each shelf is well labeled and the fabrics are easy access, no bolts on top of other bolts, no digging!

The service was, I'd say, average. There were some really nice women working there and some prickly types. One of the nicer ladies cut out my fabric for me and we chatted about sewing and what I was going to make. She was very patient with me when my phone wouldn't refresh and I couldn't access the yardages I needed. Earlier she was working with another customer and answering the customer's every question, she was super knowledgeable! Prices were high compared to The Fabric Store, but the quality of the fabrics I was going for were good and the bay area ain't cheap.

And just because I care about how easy it is to get to places, the parking situation isn't great. Everything out front was full, but I was able to find parking relatively closely in a residential area. The store is towards the end of a Berkeley main road.

I'll go back because I prefer shopping for fabrics in person and not online, but I still want to try out Britex. For quilting though, Stonemountain & Daughters has some beautifully curated stuff. My haul this time was all wool, a merino and nylon blend jersey for a dress and a wool crepe for a sleeveless blazer. I also got a Thread Theory pattern and some lovely buttons. Now, excuse me while I convert my entire wardrobe to merino.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Lark Tee: #1

I've been gone for a while to dedicate myself to finding a new job and great news, I got one! They say looking for a job is like having a full-time job itself and that sentiment is totally true. I worked all day, applied all night, and had no time to do fun things, like sew or knit or stay sane. Now that I'm happily settled into my new job, I'm back to regularly sewing and I want to steadily get back to blogging and participating in our community. Keep me honest, people!

My most recent project was the Lark Tee by the glorious Jen at Grainline. I love Grainline. The Lark was my first paper Grainline pattern and they are lovely with a cute little pattern book, even though I pretty much exclusively use the sew-alongs. I love that each of the options for the Lark has its own pattern piece, as in there are separate patterns for the cap, short, 3/4, and long sleeves. Sure, it takes up more paper, but its just more elegant, easier to cut, trace, whatever method you use. The neckline variations are also like that!

Check out those gloriously matching seams, even some points at the sleeves! Thank you walking foot!

I chose to make the 3/4 length sleeves (I live in San Francisco now, its chilly!) with a V-neck. V-necks generally look better with my larger bust, breaking up that expanse of fabric I need to cover everything. I used a rayon ponte (I think) that I got from my Mood shopping spree a few months back. It was originally meant to be a Named Pattern shirt, but in the end I realized Lark was more versatile and, of course, the V-neck. Its super stretchy, very stable, and has great recovery.

I sewed the pattern as drafted at first (sorry, no pics!) and the V hit way too high on me and actually made my boobs look really droopy (sad there's no pics now, aren't you?). I ended up lowering the neckline by about 1 1/4", but keeping the angle of the V. I also thought the neckline binding was too narrow, just my personal perception of proportions and cut a binding with an extra inch in width, resulting in a 1/2" wider folded binding. The shirt is also drafted to be fairly long and I ended up cutting off 2.5" with a wide hem. I also have to say, that neckline is sewed perfectly, go me!

Future changes will include widening the neckline which will also flatter my wider shoulders as well as lowering the back neckline which has too much fabric and is folding over the binding at the back of my neck. The fabric that I used is super stretchy, anything with less stretch and I would cut a much longer binding piece as this one (oh yeah, I cut a slightly longer binding to make up for cutting a lower neckline) even seems to be gathering a bit. I currently have two fabrics in my stash for Larks and am washing and cutting tomorrow!

Gathering at the back neckline.
In other news, I'm going to be an Auntie in a couple months now! I have tons of baby-sized scraps left over from a bunch of my clothes, are Auntie-and-me clothes totally gauche? Not that I care cause its happening! I'm thinking little onesie overalls for this fabric.