Cotton & Steel: Special Deal and Giveaways!

To go with our latest blog post and newest make, my Carolyn Pajamas, we have a couple surprises for our readers!

First, 10% OFF all of our Cotton & Steel fabrics this week (through 6/14/15)! These cotton lawns and double gauzes are a dream to work with and perfect for your summer sewing projects.

I love this top from Made by Rae– she keeps teasing us about the pattern release. Can’t wait to make my own!

Beatrix Top from Made by Rae in Cotton & Steel Double Gauze

Beatrix Top from Made by Rae in Cotton & Steel Double Gauze

Next, we have a Special Giveaway! Cotton & Steel canvas totes!

Last month I traveled to Minneapolis for the International Quilt Market and was so inspired by all amazing designers and displays around the show. Some of my favorite displays were in the Cotton & Steel booth- such attention to detail and beautifully constructed garments.

Cotton & Steel Quilt Market Booth- New Rayon Fabrics

Cotton & Steel Quilt Market Booth- New Rayon Fabrics

On the trip, I picked up a few of the Cotton & Steel’s limited edition canvas totes and I want to share them with you! You can get one of these amazing totes in 1 of 2 ways.

1) Win ONE here on the Style Maker Blog! Leave a comment below- maybe tell us what sewing projects you have planned for this summer. We will pick ONE random winner on Sunday, June 14th. (US entrants only please).

2) Save 10% on Cotton & Steel- The next FOUR orders placed at Style Maker Fabrics that include any of our Cotton & Steel yardage will receive one of the totes! Hurry, they won’t last long! (Minimum total order of $25).

Cotton & Steel Limited Edition Canvas Totes

Cotton & Steel Limited Edition Canvas Totes

Watch for new Cotton & Steel fabrics coming to the shop this Summer! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest arrivals and to keep up with what is going on here at Style Maker.

Happy Sewing!

Michelle

Carolyn Pajamas: Savor the Process

In looking over some of my past blog posts and projects I found myself falling into a “fast and easy” sewing rut. Don’t get me wrong, I love a top that you can finish in an afternoon or a pair of leggings you can whip together in just an hour or so. Sometimes, though, you just need more of a challenge- a pattern that is going to stretch your abilities as a seamstress and make you think about your technique and how you want your end result to turn out.

Carolyn Pajamas from Closet Case Files

Carolyn Pajamas from Closet Case Files

When Heather Lou, from Closet Case Files, came out with her Carolyn Pajama pattern I knew that I wanted to make them. I love lounging in PJs on a lazy Sunday, watching movies all day, and these are perfect for that. When the Cotton & Steel lawns arrived in the shop earlier this year, the stars aligned and I knew I found the perfect fabric! I just love the colors of Melody Miller’s vintage floral print and the hand on this lawn is just so soft and yummy.

Vintage Floral Lawn

Cotton & Steel Vintage Floral Lawn by Melody Miller

Going into this project I did have some reservations. The Carolyn Pajama pattern was going to test my skill level as a seamstress- I had never used piping on a garment before or had much success with button holes. I also was a bit frightened by the amount of fabric I needed to make a complete pair of full length jammies- 5-1/2 YARDS! It was easy to decide that this project was worth my investment of time and fabric, but I also wanted to make sure that I did it justice. I didn’t want to just throw them together and rush through each step.

My Carolyn Pajamas took me about a week to complete. I took on a new step each afternoon or evening when I had time to think about what I needed to do. I also redid anything that I wasn’t quite happy with, rather than pushing forward, hoping nobody would notice in the end. From making my own piping (I couldn’t find pre-made that matched just right) to actually learning how to make a decent button hole on my machine (thank you YouTube!) I took the time this garment deserved and I have an amazing final result to show for it.

Carolyn Pajamas in Cotton & Steel Lawn

Carolyn Pajamas in Cotton & Steel Lawn

In the end, I am very proud of everything I accomplished in making my Carolyn Pajamas and I just love how they turned out! I have to thank Heather for all the blog posts and detailed pattern instructions she provided; they really helped along the way. My PJ’s are uniquely mine and better than anything I could ever purchase. They are sewn to last, in a fabric I love and they are sure to be well worn.

PJ + Toby

Snuggling with the Style Maker Fabrics Blog Dog, Toby

I hope my experience in sewing my PJ’s inspires you to take on a new challenge and really savor the sewing process. In the quilting world, there has been some buzz about Mark Lipinski’s Slow Stitching Movement. He is encouraging quilters to take on a legacy project- one that isn’t made just to finish a project but that has some more heart and soul behind it. I think all seamstresses and makers can apply this to their craft in some way and enjoy the creative process a bit more on a special project- savoring each step and learning something new along the way. Best of all you will have something you really care about and cherish when you are finished- I know I do!

My Completed Carolyn Pajamas!

My Completed Carolyn Pajamas!

Colors and Trends for Your Spring Sewing

Spring is here in full force and so is our spring sewing. Time to shorten those sleeves, shed those layers and break out the soft, flowy fabrics that we have been longing for all winter!

With this new season comes new trends and styles in ready-to-wear fashion. While I can’t afford most of the beautiful garments that grace the pages of the fashion magazines, it doesn’t stop me from being inspired to take those colors/trends and create my own garments. I love re-imagining the trends brought to us by ready-to-wear and designing my own pieces- re-interpreting them to fit my own unique style. As seamstresses and makers there is nothing stopping us from creating our own fashionable looks.

In getting ready for the new season here at Style Maker Fabrics, we have put together “collections” of our fabrics based on some of the hottest trends we are seeing in fashion this Spring. Over the next couple of posts I’m going share a few of my favorites along with some ideas for garments that you can make.

First, lets talk about COLOR! Last Fall, Pantone released the 10 key colors for Spring 2015 and the first thing that came to my mind was how soothing they feel. These softer colors take us away to a remote local, where we can escape everything else and just relax. Who wouldn’t want to wear colors with that have that kind of power!

Spring 2015 Colors

Pantone’s Spring 2015 Colors: Women’s Fashion

We decided to break these beautiful colors into two separate collections- a group of warmer tones we call “Desert Retreat” and a group of cooler shades called “Ocean Escape”. Both collections include an assortment of fabric types- lawn, rayon challis, knits and shirtings- letting you select your favorite color in the perfect fabric for your next project.

Our “Desert Retreat” collection combines shades of pink, tangerine, custard yellow and rich plums. Reminiscent of a beautiful sunset, these colors are warm and comforting while still having enough pop to make a statement and be unique. Pair them with earthy neutrals for a great look modern look.

Style Maker Fabrics Spring Color Collection: Desert Retreat

Style Maker Fabrics Spring Color Collection: Desert Retreat

Try using these fabrics for a playful sundress, comfortable button-up shirt or even just as a simple infinity scarf. Maybe go bold with some fitted colored jeans or by layering multiple shades these warm colors. The possibilities are endless.

Desert Retreat Fashion Inspiration

The “Ocean Escape” collection brings together the cooler shades of the sky and water. Blues have been on the rise in popularity for the past few seasons and this Spring don’t be afraid to mix and match them. Aqua, turquoise, teal, royal and navy- We love them all!

Style Maker Fabrics Spring Color Collection: Ocean Escape

Style Maker Fabrics Spring Color Collection: Ocean Escape

Perfect for pants and skirts in any shade, pair them with a soft blouse or gathered top and you are set for a beautiful spring day. Fabrics are available in everything from heavier ponte knit to light-weight double-gauze or lawn. Find the ones that are right for your style.

Ocean Escape Fashion Inspiration

Ocean Escape Fashion Inspiration

Be sure to check out the other Trend Collections that we have put together this Spring at Style Maker Fabrics. You can also shop by Fabric Type or Garment Type if that is easier for you as well.

Click on any of the images above to see more of the items or inspiration included in either collection and be sure to watch for more of our Spring Fashion inspiration on our Pinterest page.

Happy Spring Sewing!

Michelle

Marianne Dress

I’m back in the studio this week after visiting my best friend, Cora, for a long weekend, helping her get ready for her first child arriving any time now! She is hoping for Pi Day (3.14.15) but we will just have to wait and see. We worked on sewing diaper covers, made a couple of flannel blankets and got a few more things in place for when the “peanut” comes home. Baby stuff is just too cute!

Onesie decorating station set up on the kitchen island- stencils, markers, fabric and fusible!

Onesie decorating station set up on the kitchen island- stencils, markers, fabric and fusible!

While I was in town I also helpd throw Cora an adorable baby shower for all of her local friends. The nursery is Safari themed so I extended that to the shower as well. We ended up having about 16 people and had lots of fun. We decorated onesies as sort of a crafty project, played a few games and had an amazing brunch- complete with a yogurt parfait bar!

Yogurt Parfait Bar- complete with 9 different toppings. So Yummy!

Yogurt Parfait Bar- complete with 9 different toppings. So Yummy!

Before I left on my trip, I had this bright idea to make a safari dress out of an amazing vintage rayon challis we have in the store. But I was kind of fooling myself by thinking that it was spring already, which it isn’t! Instead I went with Christine Haynes latest pattern, the Marianne Dress, and made it in a much warmer, leopard print ponte knit.

Completed Marianne Dress in Leopard and Black Ponte Knits

Completed Marianne Dress in Leopard and Black Ponte Knits

This dress fits like a dream! I paired it with leggings and flats for a casual but put together look. The ponte knit gives the dress just enough structure that it smooths out any areas you may want a little extra support. My only change on this pattern would be the sleeves- for me they were just a tad tight and the cuff seam hits me right where my elbow beds. I think on my next Marianne Dress I might move that seam up or down just a little bit and maybe taper out the sleeve just about a 1/2 inch.

With the Mother-to-Be at her Safari Themed Baby Shower.

With the Mother-to-Be at her Safari Themed Baby Shower.

I was looking at Christine’s blog the other day as well and saw some pretty cool adaptations of this pattern that I can’t wait to try. Like an adorable top with 3/4 length sleeves or long sleeve- with or without cuffs. Or tape the patter pieces together and make the dress all out of one type of fabric instead of a main + contrast. So many great ideas! Can’t wait to get sewing my next version… I am thinking stripes, or maybe an interlock version from one of Anna Maria Horner’s amazing fabrics.

Overall, Christine’s Marianne Dress is a great pattern- the directions are so easy to follow and even a beginner can have a great fitting dress compete in an afternoon. I highly recommend this pattern and can’t wait to try one of her other vintage inspired patterns.

I’ll leave you with just one more picture from the shower- some of the cutest sugar cookies ever… Onesies and baby elephant in great pastel colors!

Shower Sugar Cookies- Onesies and Elephants

Shower Sugar Cookies- Onesies and Elephants

Straight Stitch Designs

Over the past week I have been working with an amazing group of women to test out a new pattern from Kimberly at Straight Stitch Designs. It has been so much fun to see how the pattern has developed over the past few days and how each person has made it their own. I especially loved seeing all of the great fabric choices!

My first experience with Kimberly’s patterns was a few weeks ago when I made her Ballard top– a great casual top with fun open back detail. This top went together very quickly one evening and it has become a great addition to my wardrobe. I used a bold rayon jersey that made this top super soft and comfortable while still being stylish and flattering.

Ballard Top in Graffiti Rayon Jersey

Ballard Top in Graffiti Rayon Jersey

This weekend I have been visiting a friend, helping her get everything ready before her baby arrives March, and this top was perfect for traveling! Paired with a black tank and some skinny jeans and I was set.

Open Back Ballad Top

Open Back Detail of the Ballad Top

The thing I love about Kimberly’s patterns is all of the variations and ideas that she includes. The Ballad top has so many great possibilities and I can’t wait to make another one. I think it would be a lot of fun to try it in all different weight knits- sweater knits, sweatshirt knits, other jersey knits, etc.

Now back to the project that I have been working on this week, Kimberly’s latest pattern, the Bellevue top. This top combines 2 amazing types of fabrics- a soft knit and a flowy woven. I love when I can pair these two together in the same garment, and this top is no exception!

Bellevue  Top

Bellevue Top

The Bellevue top is the perfect combination of style and comfort. It is fitted in just the right places and more relaxed in others making it a great go-to top in any handmade wardrobe. With two different neckline options and four sleeve lengths the possibilities are endless.

I used a great navy and white stripe jersey and paired it with a soft rayon challis, but you could have a lot fun pairing different prints and/or solids together or trying out different wovens (ex. lawn, silk or sheer). I had a little trouble getting my stripes to match perfectly but it still turned out great and I love how the rayon challis drapes! I think for my next Bellevue I will try doing a rolled hem on the light weight woven fabrics, rather than a traditional folded hem.

Bellevue Top in Jersey and Rayon Challis

Bellevue Top in Jersey and Rayon Challis

Check out Kimberly’s blog post with some of the other amazing Bellevue Tops made by her group of testers. She has also added a couple more of her own versions on her blog as well. Be sure to check out the Bellevue available now at Straight Stitch Designs.

~Michelle

Note: As a pattern tester for Straight Stitch Designs, I received a free copy of the Bellevue Top Pattern, but all of my options and observations are my own.

New Trims: Bias Tapes, Lace and more

This past week we have been busy adding our first selection of trims to Style Maker Fabrics. I just wanted to share a few of these exciting new items and some ideas I have about how they can be used.

Jersey Bias Tape

This is probably the new trim that I am the most excited about! I have never been a huge fan of traditional bias tape that you buy in the package. This takes bias tape to a whole new level- the rayon jersey is so soft and the perfect weight to use on just about any garment (T-shirts, dresses, etc). It would even make great straps and binding for a simple camisole.

The tape measures 1″ wide (1/2″ folded) and comes in 19 fashionable colors. We have all of the basics (black, white, red, navy, etc) but also have some brights and other great colors for Spring as well. Perfect for matching your fabrics for a more subtle look or going for a more dramatic pop of color.

Jersey Bias Tape- Available in 19 colors (10 shown above)

Jersey Bias Tape- Available in 19 colors (10 shown above)

I have been dreaming of the Dahlia dress from Colette Patterns. I even have the fabric picked out and all pre-washed! I have kind of been putting it off because of my fear of plaid- but now that I have over come that fear (Check out my Oslo Cardigan!) I have not excuse. The pattern calls for 3 yards of bias tape and I think this will be the perfect first project with this new trim. Since this pattern uses the tape around the neckline and sleeve cuffs, the jersey will be so soft and feel like a dream!

Plans for a Dahlia Dress with a Beautiful Wool Plaid

Plans for a Dahlia Dress with a beautiful Tartan Plaid

Faux Leather Bias Tape

We have also added a vegan leather bias tape that is at the other end of the bias tape scale. While the jersey bias tape is light weight and more delicate, the faux leather bias tape is more durable and “edgy” (pardon the pun). We see this being used for everything from garments to handbags or even home decor items. You could even put two layers of it together and make some amazing straps for a dress or even handbag handles! It would also be a great contrast to a classic tweed on a jacket or skirt.

This tape measures 3/4″ wide (3/8″ folded) and is available in 3 classic colors (black, brown and red).

Faux Leather Bias Tape- Available in the Black, Brown and Red

Faux Leather Bias Tape- Available in the Black, Brown and Red

Fold-Over Braid

This is a more unusual trim but just as versatile as the bias tapes shown above. This woven, fold-over trim is used much the same way bias tape would be- it makes a great edging on a variety of woven fabrics. It is especially great on thicker fabrics, like a tweed or wool where you don’t want to add a lot of bulk but want to finish off the edge of your garment. Rather than hemming or adding a double-folded tape (lots of layers!) you can use this more open light weight braid and get the job done.

This braid is 1-1/4″ (5/8″ folded) and comes in Classic Black.

One of the many great uses of this trim is on a “Channel-style” jacket, like this one I found from Vogue Patterns (V7975). I am thinking about pairing the black braid with this White Plaid Boucle for a pop of contrast. What do you think?

Plans for a Classic Boucle Jacket in White and Black

Plans for a Classic Boucle Jacket in White and Black

Lace Trims

On our last buying trip we stumbled across two lace trims and just couldn’t resist. They are so classic and elegant they are perfect for integrating into some amazing garments.

The first lace is a Chantilly lace trim that measures 15″ wide. That gives you plenty of width to cut and integrate this trim into a unique top, dress or even a skirt. I love the colors of this one as well- beautiful greys, black and white. It is so elegant and vintage feeling.

You have also probably noticed that handmade lingerie is all over the social media and the sewing world right now. I am tempted to try making my own Watson Bra and include this amazing lace!

Chantilly Lace Trim

Chantilly Lace Trim

The other lace trim is a Stretch lace in a simple, but classic rose motif. At 8″ wide, this stretch lace would be perfect for creating those fashionable lace inserts in a knit top or dress. I was thinking across the shoulders on the back of a top, or even across the bodice. It would also be a great, softer more delicate trim to gather and add along the bottom of a skirt or button-up-shirt.

Like the Chantilly lace above this is a great lace for lingerie or camisoles as well!

Stretch Lace Trim

Stretch Lace Trim

I hope this gives you some ideas about how trims can be used. They can really add that extra touch to a project or garment!

~Michelle

 

Go Red: Oslo Cardigan

Style Maker Fabrics is Going Red this month in honor of the National Go Red for Women campaign from the American Heart Association.  Heart Disease is the #1 killer in women and this is something that we should all continue to be aware of and take steps to prevent. I decided to “Sew Red” this week and work on a project that I have been putting off… it involves matching plaids!

My project this week was one of the patterns included with Seamwork’s December issue, the Oslo Cardigan. Seamwork is a brand new online magazine Colette Patterns launched this past December. Each month’s issue is full of interesting articles about different makers, techniques for sewing with new fabrics and lots of great advice and project ideas. If you haven’t checked it out yet I would highly encourage it. The magazine articles are FREE, but with a $6 subscription each month you get TWO brand new patterns to download.

Completed Oslo Cardigan in Plaid Double Knit

Completed Oslo Cardigan in Plaid Double Knit

I wanted to try making my own Oslo Cardigan in a warm but structured double knit and chose an interesting Houndstooth Plaid with quite a large pattern repeat. While I knew this fabric would look amazing when the cardigan was finished, I was a bit scared of having to match all of those plaid lines- something I hadn’t really done before! With the help of a Plaid Matching Guide (also from Colette Patterns) and some assistance from a fellow Style Maker I was able to conquer my fear of plaid and have some amazing results to share.

Check out those Matching Plaid Lines!

Side Seam- Check out those Matching Plaid Lines!

Probably the most time consuming part of this project was matching up the two fabric layers. I tried unsuccessfully 3 different ways to match up the selvages and get the plaid line matched up. I finally matched up the pattern and pinned the plaids in place every 6 to 8 inches. I learned a lot in this process and would probably just skip to pinning the layers next time I have a pattern to match- especially for knits since the grainline can be a little (or even a lot) wonky. I am definitely ready to take on more plaid or stripe projects!

Once I got all the pieces cut out, my Oslo went together very quickly. Gave it a good press and it is ready for National Wear Red Day (which is today!). I’m going to pair it with some black leggings, black tank top and short boots. It should be an amazing outfit in honor of a very important cause!

Oslo Cardigan- Plaid Sleeves Cut on the Bias

Oslo Cardigan- Plaid Sleeves Cut on the Bias

Learn more about heart disease in women and the Go Red for Women campaign HERE.

Wear Red!

~Michelle

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