Day Four: Fabric Brooches

On the Fourth Day of Sewing…

Sometimes you just want to take a break from the sewing machine- After sewing all of those infinity scarves yesterday, we thought we would switch gears and do a little hand work today. We love projects that we can do while curled up on the couch with a cup of tea, while watching a favorite TV show. These fabric brooches, not only make great gifts, but can be done entirely by hand!

Holiday Gift Idea: Fabric Flower Brooches

Holiday Gift Idea: Fabric Flower Brooches

This project is a great way to use up some of your left over fabric or scraps from previous creations. If you want to add some new fabrics, you only need a 1/4 yard or so. The fun part about making these, is experimenting with different layers and textures. Try new fabrics, new combination and even mix in some other textures, like lace. Add a special button, beads or other accent to finish the look.

To make these fun little accessories all you need is a variety of fabrics, a few unique buttons, cutting tools and a needle and thread. In the following photos we used a lace fused knit from the shop- perfect texture for the “petals” on these brooches. We also used one of our favorite hand sewing tools… self-threading needles! Not only are they great for projects like this but we also love using them when tying off threads on our garments.

Here are the basic steps for creating these stunning brooches and then you can experiment with making changes here and there!

Fabric Brooch Supplies

Fabric Brooch Supplies

First, we cut our fabric into five 5″ squares. These squares can really be any size you like. You could do one layer with 5″ and then another layer with 3″ squares. Don’t be scared to try something and see how it looks. We find ourselves assembling and disassembling quite a few pins to see what we like best.

Next, we folded each square in half, then in half again and then in half again giving us a triangle that looks something like this:

Folded fabric square for one petal.

Folded fabric square for one petal.

Using a pair of very sharp scissors and holding the center point, round the top corner making a petal shape. Then, with our needle and thread, we partially unfolded the petal and refolded it so it was more like an accordion and stitched through all the layers at the center point.

Single threaded fabric petal.

Single threaded fabric petal.

Repeat these steps for all of your fabric squares and shape the threaded petals into your flower. If you like the desired fullness for that layer, stitch all of the petals together at the center and tie off your thread to secure them in place. If you want a bit more fullness, add a few more petals. We decided we liked how our brooch was looking and stayed with just the five petals.

Completed petals for fabric flower brooch.

Completed petals for fabric flower brooch.

Now our favorite part… adding layers. One of our favorite ways to do this is with yo-yo’s or gathered fabric circles. They are so easy to make- just a fabric circle, gathered at the edge and pulled tight- and they add a great texture and depth to projects like this. Finish it off with a button in the middle, a pin on the back and you have a gorgeous brooch!

Finished knit fused lace fabric flower.

Finished knit fused lace fabric flower.

We made a couple other brooches as well with some other fabric choices. The first one is denim with a lace circle, chambray yo-yo and finished with a button. And the second is a thick, sparkly sweater knit that didn’t need any additional layers just a beautiful button for the middle- this one is our favorite, but the photos just don’t quite do it justice!

Other completed fabric flower brooches- great gifts!

Other completed fabric flower brooches- great gifts!

Now time for you to get those creative juices flowing and create your own stunning brooches. Don’t forget to make one for yourself and wear it to some of your holiday events this season. You are sure to have people asking you one of our favorite questions- “Where did you buy that?”

Happy Sewing!

P.S. December 4th Only! Save 20% on select bottom weights and Self Threading Needles are just $4.00 Shop Here

Day Three: Infinity Scarves

On the Third Day of Sewing…

We are revisiting the subject of scarves from Day One. If you are looking for more of a fashion statement than overall warm, an infinity scarf is the choice for you! Super easy to sew- you can have a half dozen of these beautiful accessories made up in a single evening.

Give the gift of a beautiful infinity scarf.

Give the gift of a beautiful infinity scarf.

The possible fabric choices for these scarves is endless allowing you to create the perfect one for each person on your list. Some of our favorite options are rayon challis, rayon or polyester crepe, voile and lighter weight knits. We made up a total of four different scarves for today just to see the variation in the fabrics and because they were just so darn fast to sew!

Infinity scarves made up in four different types of fabric.

Infinity scarves made up in four different types of fabric- 1) Rayon Challis, 2) Poly Crepe, 3) Cotton Voile and 4) Rayon Crepon

Notice that any of these mid-weight fabrics (or blouse weights as we like to call them) create an amazing infinity scarf! Different weights and fabric widths give you a little variation but all of them would make a great addition to any wardrobe. Check out our tutorial below for making your own infinity scarf.

Infinity Scarf Tutorial:

To make any of these scarves we used 1/2 yard of wide fabric (54″ to 60″ wide). If you wanted to use a narrower fabric, say 45″ wide, you would want to take two 1/2 yard cuts and sew them end to end giving you 90″ total to work with. You could also do this with wider fabrics for a much longer scarf.

First, we squared up our piece of fabric- removing the selvages and evening up all the sides. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and stitch along the open edge creating a long tube. We like to press the seam open or to one side, but take care not to press the scarf flat. This will decrease the overall volume of your scarf when it is completed.

Sewing side seam of our infinity scarf.

Sewing side seam of our infinity scarf.

Take one end of your sewn “tube” and pull it up through the center, matching up the raw edges of the two ends. Make sure you have the right sides together and that the two ends of the seam line up. Starting just before the matched seam, stitch the two layers together leaving a 2″ opening for turning- don’t forget to back stitch at the beginning and end. Turn the scarf right side out and carefully hand stitch the opening closed.

Matching up the two scarf ends, right sides together.

Matching up the two scarf ends, right sides together.

Just like that you have a finished infinity scarf! The perfect accessory to add a pop of color or print to any outfit. Best of all- you can never have to many of them, making them a great gift idea!

Happy Sewing!

P.S. December 3rd Only! Save 20% on select rayons and blouse-weight fabrics and our favorite Flatter Pressing Spray is just $9 (25% off) Shop Here

Day Two: Zipper Pouches

On the Second Day of Sewing…

We thought we would share one of our go-to handmade gifts- a zipper pouch. They are easy to sew, don’t require a lot of supplies and are totally customizable to suit any recipient! All in all, a great gift idea that is sure to be used and well loved.

Matching Zipper Pouches in a variety of fabrics and sizes.

Matching Zipper Pouches in a variety of fabrics and sizes.

The best part about making your own gifts is that you can make them to suit the person you are giving them to. For these zipper pouches, that can be done in a variety of ways. Fabric choice is the easiest and most powerful- choose a fun print that matches their interests, their favorite color or a great pattern or texture they would like. Another easy way to customize them is size– think about how the person will likely use their treasured pouch and size it accordingly. You can even make multiple pouches in different fabrics and sizes for a whole gift set- perfect for traveling. Maybe slip in a treat or matching accessory for an added surprise!

After making a ton of these little pouches we have mastered the process, making it easy to follow and produce great results every time.

Here is our step-by-step tutorial for these adorable zipper pouches!

1.Gather your supplies-

  • Fabrics- We like to have between 1/4 yard and 1/2 yard of just about any woven fabric. Cotton, canvas, linen, suiting- experiment with different textures. Below we used a barkcloth, a tweed and a cotton.
  • Zipper- Choose a size larger than your largest pouch, you can always trim them shorter.
  • Fusible Batting- Single-sided fusible
  • Ruler, Rotary Cutter, Scissors, Matching Thread, Wonder Clips
Zipper Pouch Supplies

Zipper Pouch Supplies

2. Cut out your exterior, lining and batting pieces all the same size. The size is entirely up to you- these steps will work with any size. We find that 12-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ is a great size to suit most uses. Press the exterior pieces to the matching fusible batting pieces.

Cut fabric and batting pieces.

Cut fabric and batting pieces.

3.Prepare the zipper-

  • Trim the zipper to be 1″ shorter than the width of your pouch. (Be sure to move the zipper pull to the center before you cut… sadly speaking from experience!)
  • Cut a 1-1/2″ strip from some of your extra lining fabric for the zipper ends. Press it in half lengthwise, wrong side together, and then press the raw edges to the center making a binding.
  • Stitch the binding to either end of the zipper- sandwiching the end between the folded layers.
Prepared zipper and fabric pieces.

Prepared zipper and fabric pieces.

4. Attach the zipper- Center the zipper on one of the prepared exterior pieces, right sides together. Layer the lining piece on top, sandwiching the zipper in between and stitch using a 1/4″ seam allowance. (Wonder clips can be very handy to keep all the thick layers in place. Pins can kind of distort things a bit)

One side of the inserted zipper.

One side of the inserted zipper.

Press the exterior and lining fabrics away from the zipper and so that they are wrong sides together. Repeat for the other exterior and lining pieces. You should now have something that looks like this…

Attached zipper and finished pouch body pieces.

Attached zipper and finished pouch body pieces.

5. Stitch the Sides- Fold the pouch along the zipper so that the exteriors are right sides together. Match up all the layers and stitch around the 3 open sides- be sure to open the zipper a bit for turning before you sew. To make this step really fast, we serge around all 3 sides. You can also stitch using a 1/4″ seam allowance and then finish the raw edges with a zig-zag stitch.

Sewing pouch sides- right sides in.

Sewing pouch sides- right sides in.

6. Creating the Gusset- Here comes the trickiest part… starting at one base corner fold the layers so that the side seam and the bottom seam line up. Basically fold the corner the opposite way that it currently is. Then, trim the corner off- the more your cut off the wider your pouch bottom will be. We usually cut about 1″ to 1-1/2″, measured from the tip of the corner. Stitch along your new raw edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance and finish as desired. Repeat with the other corner- make sure you cut off the same amount!

7. Finishing- Turn the pouch right side out and you are finished! Add a fun zipper pull for an added special touch. Fill it with goodies, another size pouch or whatever and you are ready to gift!

Finished Zipper Pouches

Finished Zipper Pouches

We hope that helps inspire you to make a few more handmade gifts this holiday season!

Happy Sewing!

P.S. December 2nd Only! Wonder Clips are only $5 per package of 10 clips and Save 20% on select novelty woven fabrics- perfect for pouch sewing! Shop Here

12 Days of Sewing + Day One

12 Days of Sewing

Over the next 12 days we will be sharing some great ideas for your holiday sewing. Small handmade items perfect to make as gifts for family and friends or for you to enjoy yourself this holiday season. Best of all we will only be using “fashion fabrics” or fabrics designed for apparel sewing. There are so many ideas out there that use quilting cotton, we wanted to share some great ways to use your favorite apparel fabrics like boucles, rayons, knits, flannels and lots more!

Check back everyday for a new project idea. We will include tutorials here and there as well as some great tips and trick along the way.

Now, let’s get started!

On the First Day of Sewing…

We decided to start things off with a simple, but stylish, straight scarf. While the concept is relatively easy, there is a lot of room to get creative with your fabric choices and finishing techniques.

First, let’s talk about the fabric (our favorite part!). The obvious choice is flannel- We all love it, it’s warm and cozy and easy to sew with. A great choice, especial for the men in your life.

But what about the less obvious… a more fashionable woven like a boucle or other plush woven like this houndstooth we chose for one of our scarves. Look for bold patterns, large plaids or statement colors- something that will really pop when paired with the neutral outerwear we all own.

 

Woven Houndstooth Scarf

Woven Houndstooth Scarf

Don’t forget to also consider knits, while these are most often used for infinity scarves, thick or plush knits can also make a great simple scarf. Try a double knit or thick sweater knit for something cozy and warm.

Cozy Ombre Houndstooth Knit Scarf

Cozy Ombre Houndstooth Knit Scarf

Next, how are we going to make these scarves? For a long, straight scarf you typically need more than just the width of the fabric. You can get a longer scarf two different ways- 1) cut it lengthwise or 2) seam it in the middle. We made our scarves using both of these methods.

For the red houndstooth woven we cut 2 yards of fabric and divided it to make three scarves roughly 18 inches wide. If you are making multiple scarves to gift during the holidays this is a great way to go.

For the ombre houndstooth knit we cut strips roughly 14 inches wide and seamed two of them together to get the total length. This fabric comes in a panel repeat (1-1/4 yd) so it kind of a special case but a similar thing could be done with any fabric. Take 1-1/4 yard and cut into an even number of strips. You get the idea.

Once we have the scarf pieces cut, we finish the long edges. There are a variety of ways to do this so we have listed our favorites below:

  • Press under the desired hem and stitch in place using a cover-stitch machine or double needle on your traditional sewing machine. (We used this method on both of our scarves)
  • Don’t have a cover-stitch or double needle? Finish both raw edges of scarf using a zig-zag stitch or serger, press the desired hem and top stitch in place. For knits you can simply press and top stitch the hem in place if you aren’t worried about raveling or fraying.
  • Use a double folded hem and top stitch in place- this is probably our least favorite- the thicker your fabric, the more bulky these hems will be.

One of our favorite tools is the new Hot Ruler– it is heat resistant, anti-slip and makes pressing those long hems a breeze!

Pressing the scarf hem is so fast and easy with the Hot Ruler.

Pressing the scarf hem is so fast and easy with the Hot Ruler.

Now, the fun part, finishing the ends! Sure you can simply hem the ends like you did on the sides (we did this on our ombre knit scarf), but isn’t fringe more fun? Especially with some of these really cool fabrics, like a boucle or the houndstooth woven we chose, they are easy to separate, pull out those width-wise threads and create amazing fringe. You can make the fringe however long you’d like (we went with 4″) and you can knot it, braid it or just leave it as is. For added security, we top stitched across the scarf just above the fringe to prevent the scarf from unraveling anymore over time.

Finished Woven Houndstooth Fringe Scarf

Finished Woven Houndstooth Fringe Scarf

Easy right?! Take a simple simple scarf and make it amazing with some incredible fabric and professional finishing techniques. A wonderful gift that nobody will believe you made yourself.

Happy Sewing!

P.S. December 1st Only! Save 20% on select scarf fabrics and $3 off the Hot Hemmer or Hot Ruler. Shop Here

Thank You for Shopping Small

We are coming up on our one year anniversary and I find myself looking back on what a great first year it has been. Our first order was placed on the site on December 3rd, 2014- I am marking that the official launch of Style Maker Fabrics– and since then we have made some amazing friends, sewn up some incredible garments and had a lot of fun “playing” with fabrics on a daily basis.

Style-Maker-Fabrics-Logo

I founded Style Maker Fabrics with the idea of providing seamstresses a different way to shop for garment fabrics- a way with a little bit more creativity and inspiration while also providing the best in quality and service. Over the past year, we have worked very hard to do just that! Not only do we sell only the best quality fashion fabrics but also fabrics in the trends and colors that we all love. The fabrics we see as finished garments in those “drool-worthy” fashion magazines but know we could make something just as amazing ourselves for a fraction of the price! We then merchandised those fabrics so that customers can shop the way that suits them the best- by trend, fabric type, garment/project or even color.

While starting your own small business is no easy task, the experience has been better than anything I could have imagined. There is nothing better than taking your ideas and dreams and making them a reality. Sure there have been plans that didn’t exactly turn out or ideas that still need time to grow, but the journey has been and continues to be a lot of fun! Last month, we were thrilled to find out that Vogue Patterns Magazine chose us as one of their “Staff Pick” online fabric stores. That is such a huge honor for us and has made us want to work to do and be even better for all of you! Be sure to check out this latest issue, on newsstands now.

Vogue Patterns Magazine Dec15/Jan16 Issue

Vogue Patterns Magazine Dec15/Jan16 Issue

As our small business continues to grow, we have plans to do the same- more sewing projects, more tutorials and tips, more of our favorite tools and plans to continue to expand our selection of incredible fabrics. Please let us know if you have any suggestions, requests or comments that can help us make the Style Maker experience even better! We couldn’t do this without any of you- our customers, friends and inspiration. Thank you so much for your support and we can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

Sincerely,

Michelle & the Style Maker Fabrics Team

P.S. Mark your Calendars! Starting December 1st we will have special deals, holiday gift ideas and tutorials posted each day for twelve days. We are calling them the 12 Days of Sewing and we would love to have you follow along with us!

 

An Autumn Morris Blazer

Have you ever found the perfect fabric and had it just scream what to make with it?

Grainline Studio’s Morris Blazer has been on my “Make List” since its release earlier this year. On a recent fabric buying trip, I found an incredible wool knit that I instantly pictured as the most stunning Morris Blazer. A flash of inspiration, no questions asked. It was a no brainer to not only buy the fabric for the store, but also get to work on this “dream project.” (To learn more about the fabric at the bottom of this post)

I didn’t want to just cut into this precious houndstooth wool knit for a pattern that I had never made. I decided to make another version of the Morris Blazer using a grey knit from my stash to check the fit, length etc. Get all the bugs out before I cut into the “good” stuff!

I made this first version as given in the pattern, size 8. It fit perfectly, but was far too short for the cozy wool blazer I had envisioned for my fall/winter wardrobe. Based on the fit of my test Morris, I decided to lengthen the body by 3 inches and the sleeves by 6 inches. I used the handy lines that Jen included on each pattern piece making the lengthening process so simple. The sleeve did prove a bit more challenging- I had to do a bit of tapering, nothing too difficult.

Lengthening the Morris Pattern Pieces

Lengthening the Morris Pattern Pieces

Now it was time to cut! I got my pieces laid out just how I wanted them. My goal was to have the finished result be about half solid grey, half houndstooth. In laying out the pieces I noticed that those lengthening lines I drew on the pieces proved very helpful in matching up the pattern. On all of the body pieces and front facing, the “lines” were in the exact same place. I just had to line them up along the straight lines in the pattern. So helpful! The line on the sleeves was bit offset from the rest, so I did a bit of adjusting so that all of the pattern would line up across the blazer.

Laying Out the Morris Pieces- Ready to Cut

Laying Out the Morris Pieces- Ready to Cut

I had a slight heart attack before I made that first cut, but then I was all in! As I cut each piece I draped them over my dress for just to make sure it was all going according to plan. Once everything was cut out I couldn’t wait to get sewing! Since I had just made my test Morris, the second one went together really quickly. The unique wool knit that I used also made it so I didn’t have to finish my seams. I pressed all of the body seams open to help everything lay nice and flat and I did serge the arm holes- it seemed to really help finish them off. Other than that, everything went together just as described in the pattern. I love that Jen has such great tutorials on her website– I looked at it both times when attaching the facing to make sure I got it right.

Now for the RESULTS!

Finished Wool Morris Blazer

Finished Wool Morris Blazer

I am absolutely in love with how this Morris Blazer turned out. It is just how I had envisioned it and it seems like this fabric was made for this pattern. I am quite proud of my pattern matching- that is something that I still am working on and I always doubt whether I am doing it right. I also found the perfect necklace in my closet so that makes everything even better!

Finished Morris Blazer- View from the Back

Finished Morris Blazer- View from the Back- Check out that Center Back Seam!

The Morris Blazer pattern is another home run from Grainline Studio– I know everything is going to fit perfectly and there is always so much potential for fabric choices and reinterpretations. I think her Linden Sweatshirt and the new Tamarack Jacket will soon be hitting the cutting table!

About the Fabric

This houndstooth ombre wool knit is unlike anything I have seen. It is light weight and definitely a knit- you can see the stockinette stitch from the back side. It has also been felted, giving it a super soft almost fuzzy hand. Such an incredible piece and a dream to work with! Available now in the shop HERE.

Polished Romantic and the Bow Blouse

One of my favorite trends this season is this beautiful combination of tailored fit and feminine style- kind of a reinterpretation of menswear with softy, flowy edges. I like to call it “Polished Romantic,” sophisticated and classy but still elegant or even delicate.

This amazing contrast is created through not only the cut and styling of a garment but also the texture and color of the fabrics. Take a fitted jacket- crop the length and use a soft boucle or wool for a wonderful feminine touch. Or a tailored blouse- widen the sleeves or add a few pleats and use a flowy silk or rayon for some added drape and softness. It is all about balancing the structure with grace and beauty.

The staple piece of this “look” for me is the “bow blouse”. There has been a lot of discussion this season about what to call this type of top- secretary blouse, CEO bow and the Thatcher collar (in honor of Prime Minister Margret Thatcher who wore the look quite often) but I find myself just going back to simple but effective “Bow Blouse”. Let me know if you have any other great name ideas!

I set out to find a pattern to make my own bow blouse for this season. I weighed a few options but I ended up choosing the Oakridge Blouse from Sewaholic Patterns. I have been an admirer of their patterns for a long time but for some reason just haven’t gotten around to making one yet… I love the relaxed look of the neckline on their version of the bow blouse- not so rigid and formal but still very feminine and professional looking. I also liked the flared waist/hips- another more girly addition to a men’s button-up. Added bonus- the pattern comes with multiple options for this top, with or without the bow neck, so there is a lot of versatility there.

Oakridge Blouse by Sewaholic Patterns

Oakridge Blouse by Sewaholic Patterns

For my fabric choice, I chose a beautiful Japanese shirting in a rich fall floral pattern and color way. I just love this fabric and thought it would pair nicely with the styling of this shirt. The Japanese shirtings that we have in the shop remind me of Liberty of London lawns but at a fraction of the cost- same silky finish, beautiful hand and amazing to sew with!

Finished Oakridge Blouse

Completed Oakridge Bow Blouse in Japanese Shirting

My Oakridge Blouse came together pretty quickly and without any major issues. I just have a couple minor changes that I will note of future versions.

1) On the button plackets and cuffs, I would only interface half of the pattern piece instead of the whole thing as directed. The button placket, in particular, ended up being quite stiff. Just a minor change that will likely make a considerable difference.

2) Sleeve fit issues- they were a bit tight especially through the bicep and elbow. That is two recent makes that I have had this problem. It is just something for my fit that I need to be more aware of- especially if I am not going to make a muslin (a sin, I know). I was able to widen the seam a bit to make my blouse more comfortable and will alter the pattern piece for next time.

Oakridge Bow Neckline

Finished Oakridge Blouse- Closer Look at Bow Neckline

The finished Oakridge Blouse turned out just as I had envisioned it! Feminine but tailored and with the soft bow front. I am not normally a bow person, but I love how this turned out and the subtleness of the look. Perfect to layer under a cardigan or jacket and I am thinking about pairing it with some great wide leg trousers. Although I do love it with my Jamie Skinny Jeans and some cute booties as well!

Here are a couple there bow blouse patterns that I have marked for future reference. If the Oakridge Blouse isn’t quite your style maybe one of these is. I love how you can take a trend that appeals to you, such as the “Polished Romantic” look, and re-imagine it to fit your style. Whether it is finding the right pattern or using a different type of fabric you can make a main stream trend entirely your own!

Other Pattern Links:

Fran Tie Shirt from Name Clothing– Love this for a more sophisticated look. Less feminine in style but makes up for it in the fabrics choice!

Washi Expansion Pack from Made by Rae– Taking the Washi Dress to a whole new level- 3 amazing new variation on her popular Washi Dress pattern

Tie Neck Blouse from BurdaStyle– Check out this as well! A whole collection of bow-style tops. They must be popular or something…

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