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!

 

Cuddle Up with Sweater Knits

It keeps getting colder and colder here in the Pacific Northwest and I find myself gravitating towards warm, cozy garments to sew up and wear. Lucky for me we just received an amazing batch of sweater knits which are all now available in the shop. We even created a new category just for them! There is so much variety available in “sweater knits” that I thought I would run through a few of the different types, some tips for sewing with them and a few patterns they would pair nicely with.

First, let’s check out the thick chunky sweater knits. A sweater knit is any kind of knit that you would use to make a sweater, cardigan, pullover, etc. They are usually a looser knit than say a jersey or interlock giving them that more hand-knit sweater feel. For the heavier sweater knits, these are the fabrics that are going to remind you the most of a knit sweater- they are plush and warm and may have larger stitches to go with the thicker yarn. Some chunkier sweater knits may have more of a felted texture making it feel more like a stable piece of fabric but still have that great density and warmth. <Learn more about the knits shown below HERE>

Any of these thicker knits don’t need as much special attention as others. You may want to still stabilize the hard working seams, such as the shoulders, to prevent stretching but you typically don’t have to worry as much about fraying or unraveling.

Oslo Cardigan from Seamwork Issue #1

Oslo Cardigan from Seamwork Issue #1

One of my favorite patterns for these type of sweater knits is the Oslo Cardigan from Seamwork Magazine’s Premier Issue. This issue also included lots of great tips about sewing with all kinds of sweater knits- including those really loose lacy ones perfect for layering or during the warmer weather months. Check out all of Seamwork’s amazing versions of this cozy cardigan!

Jamie Christina's Lark Cardigan

Lark Cardigan from Jamie Christina Patterns

Another great pattern is the Lark cardigan from Jamie Christina Patterns. While you can use any type of sweater knit or any knit really, I think it lends itself well to those thicker sweater knits- especially the long version! So warm and cozy- pair it with boots for an awesome winter look.

Next, let’s look at the mid-weight range of sweater knits. These are typically your cotton and rayon knits that are a little bit heavier than a standard T-shirt jersey but have a similar drape and hand. These are the perfect knits for cardigans in any style. I’m partial to the more relaxed flowy cardigans that I can pair with skinny jeans and boots. Dress them up or dress them down- they are pretty much up for anything! A classic button up cardigan is always a wardrobe staple and another great use for these mid-weight knits. <Learn more about the knits shown below HERE>

For these more jersey-like knits you can probably still get away with just serging your seams if desired. If you are worried about fraying or unraveling, you might want to take a bit larger seam allowance (1/2″ or larger) and stitch using a small zigzag stitch and then finishing with the serger or another row of zigzag stitches. It might be helpful to test a small sample and see which result you like better.

Straight Stitch Design's Laurelhurst Cardigan

Laurelhurst Cardigan from Straight Stitch Designs

Straight Stitch Designs’ Laurelhurst cardigan is one of my favorite draped cardigans that comes with a few different sleeve lengths and variations. It looks great in stripes, textures or even solids. Another great option is the Beautiful Dreamer Cardigan from Shwin Designs. I love the back detail and this one is for sure on my list to make this season!

Beautiful Dreamer Cardigan from Shwin Designs

Beautiful Dreamer Cardigan from Shwin Designs

Thread Theory's Camas Blouse

Camas Blouse from Thread Theory Designs

One more pattern option for a classic button up is the Camas Blouse from Thread Theory Designs. I have seen some really cool versions of this pattern made out of a mid or light weight sweater knit for a perfect cardigan. Love the shape of this top and so versatile.

Last but not least, the lightest weight sweater knits. These often have a very delicate texture and can be very loosely knit or lacy. Although a bit more difficult to work with, these knits are quite stunning and often are able show off unique stitches in the knit better than the other weights. With these knits you want to take extra care as they do tend to fray and unravel due to the looseness of the knit. Add a bit more to your seam allowance and use your zigzag stitch for stitching seams and finish the edge with your serger or another row of zigzag stitches. A knit or mesh interfacing will also be your friend- especially when hemming to prevent fraying and stretching. <Learn more about the knits shown above HERE>

Aurelia Cardigan from Sew Liberated

Aurelia Cardigan from Sew Liberated

Any of the patterns listed above would be suitable for even these light-weight sweater knits. One more pattern I would like to throw in the mix though is the Aurelia Cardigan from Sew Liberated. I love how classic this cardigan looks- perfect for showing off a more delicate sweater knit. Rather than use a contrasting or matching fabric for the trim, I would use another layer of the sweater knit for a delicate layered look.

I hope that helps demystify all of the types of sweater knits and helps inspire you for your own creations. Now is the perfect time of year to really enjoy this fabric type! Be sure to check out all of the stunning sweater knits available now in the shop HERE.

~Michelle

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…

Welcome Fall 2015

Fall officially arrives this week and the perfect time to dive into Fall/Winter Fashion! We have been working for the last few weeks to put together all of the fabrics you need for your Handmade Fall Wardrobe.

I thought I’d share a bit more about our process for preparing for the new season, talk about some of the “Must Have” trends for fall and show a few of our Fall sewing projects in the works (the list is very long!). Over the coming weeks we will highlight more of the latest fashion trends and how they can be adapted to your own unique style. We might even show a few of our own interpretations…

The first step to getting ready for the new season in fashion is RESEARCH! I love Fall especially, not only because it is my favorite season, but because the fashion magazines pull out all the stops for their September issues. Over the past few weeks we have flipped through thousands (literally, thousands) of pages of high-end fashion tearing out images, sorting and putting together collections of the trends we see.

A few of our Fall Fashion Magazines!

A few of our Fall Fashion Magazines!

Then, we take a look at what we currently have available and how it falls into these latest trends. Our goal is to create wearable collections of Fall fabrics that fit in with the current looks but give you the flexibility to interpret them in your own way. We make sure each collection has a variety of weights, fabric types, etc so if you saw an amazing pair of plaid pants but you would rather have a skirt, there are options for you. Next, we fill in the gaps in our fabric selection- if there are categories missing or key items we want to have, we scour our sources across the country looking for just the right pieces.

Finally, we merchandise them on the site to make them both inspiring and easy to shop. We also link each trend to its own Pinterest board so that you can get a little bit more inspiration for your next projects.

Here are a few of the for sure “Must Have’s” this season.

#1 Shearling: This amazingly soft, dual-sided fabric can be used for everything from jackets and vests to handbags and other accessories! We saw this trend developing last fall, but this season it had really found its stride. The buttery, faux suede on one side and plush, shearling-like material on the other side, there is so much potential! Available in a wide range of colors and textures you can choose what fits best for you and your project. Be sure to check out some of the amazing garment ideas on our Pinterest Page Here and check out all of our shearlings and other amazing neutrals Here.

#2 Scholarly Chic: Tweeds, boucles, and plaids are here and ready to hit the books this fall. Think professor, librarian or simply geek chic! Mix and match them or pair them with some classic solids or textured suitings for a professional but modern look. Fashion has been trending toward looks of tailored strength and stability and these fabrics help bring that out in any number of garments. Try it in some oversized, wide-leg pants or “Chanel-style” jacket! Find more inspiration Here or shop the look Here.

#3 The Bow Blouse: While there has been much debate on what to call this particular style of blouse, it is all the rage this season. Perfect for shirting style fabrics or even a more drapey rayon challis, this style top is a great addition to any wardrobe this season. We have also imagined taking this trend and reinterpreted it into a stunning dress.  Again, so much potential! We are including this trend in a broader style we like to call “Polished Romantic,” soft but a bit structured at the same time. See other inspiration Here or shop this style online Here.

Last but not least- just a couple of projects we have been working on so far this fall. More in depth blog posts will be coming soon but here is a little sneak preview…

First, my take on the bow blouse, using Sewaholic’s Oakridge Blouse pattern in an amazing Japanese lawn. I love how it turned out and can’t wait to wear it this coming season.

Oakridge Bow Blouse in Japanese Lawn

Oakridge Bow Blouse in Japanese Lawn

Then, a shearling vest in a delicious caramel color shearling using BurdaStyle’s Lambskin Waistcoat pattern (#112). So soft, comfortable and surprisingly warm!

BurdaStyle Shearling Vest

BurdaStyle Shearling Vest

Hopefully this post gets those Fall Sewing juices flowing. Check back for lots more inspiration and tips in the coming weeks. Cheers to a great season of sewing!

~Michelle

Big Love for the Beatrix Top

We are heading into the final months of summer here in the Pacific Northwest and I have been working on some new additions to my wardrobe for this transition into Fall. It is still quite warm here, but my hope for these new items is that they will easily transition into the cooler weather with an added layer or two.

The first of these new makes that I wanted to share is my Beatrix top designed by Made by Rae. We just got in a few of the amazing Loominous yarn dyed shirtings by Anna Maria Horner and I couldn’t resist using one of them for this structured but comfortable shirt! The Big Love plaid ended up being the perfect choice- I love the color, the feel and especially the giant scale of the pattern.

Beatrix Front

Finished Beatrix top in Loominous Big Love Shirting

To start, I took Rae’s advice and made a muslin of the pattern to check the fit. For this pattern I was mostly worried about the fit in the shoulders and sleeves. My muslin showed me that the shoulders fit great but the sleeves were a bit tight- I almost felt like I could pop a seam if I bent my elbow. A slight adjustment (widened by about 3/4″ on either side) and I was off and running to make my finished garment.

Making a Slight Adjustment to the Sleeve Fit

Making a Slight Adjustment to the Sleeve Fit

Due to the scale of this plaid, it was pretty easy to get all my stripes to match up nicely. I also paid close attention to where the color in this unique yarn dyed fabric was going to fall. I wanted to maximize color and impact and I think the result is fantastic. The construction of this top is beautifully done and simple to sew. The lined neckline with under-stitching, especially, gives it such a professional, finished look.

Beatrix Side View

Maximizing Color and Pattern using a Large Scale Plaid

My favorite detail of this top is the back… I love the button up closure. I chose some coral-red buttons to finish off the look- they pop just enough so that you notice them but aren’t too flashy.

Beatrix Back

Love Matching Plaids and Button Accents!

Inspired by Rae’s beautiful versions of her Beatrix top and the jewelry she paired with them, I went in search of the perfect accessory to go with my own top. I happened to have the perfect chunky necklace hanging in my closet! It was almost like I made the top to got with the necklace- Don’t you love it when that happens!

Beatrix Detail

Perfectly paired Beatrix top and Jewelry

Overall, I think my Beatrix top it the perfect addition to my late-summer wardrobe. Add a cardigan and it will carry on through Fall. Then, it might be time for a new version in flannel shirting… What do you think?

Sew Serendipity: Rhiannon Shirt

I find myself always going back to a few staple items in my closet. I’m sure this is true for most of us! As I sew more and more of my own clothes, I have been trying to figure out what make those few my “go-to” favorites. My goal is for everything I make to become a closet staple- Otherwise what is the point, right?

So far I have decided that comfort rules all. I live in jeans and then dress them up or down depending on what I am doing. I’m trying to break this addiction but that is a subject for another time. Paired with my jeans, I like soft, comfy tops with kind of a casual style- not tightly fitted but not too loose either. Something casual but fashionable at the same time- then I can accessorize with jewelry and a great pair of shoes (my other addiction!).

Rhiannon Top from Serendipity Studios

Rhiannon Top from Serendipity Studios

At the Spring Quilt Market I got to chatting with Kay Whitt from Serendipity Studios. I have long been an admirer of her books and pattern and it was great to talk with her again. She shared with me some of her newest patterns, along with some of her favorites. After comparing notes of favorite fabrics we like to sew with and styles we are drawn toward, Kay graciously offered me a copy of her Rhiannon Shirt pattern, released last October. I couldn’t wait to get home and sew it up. Seeing Kay’s beautiful samples in her booth totally inspired me and just knew this would be the my next handmade, closet staple!

Finished Rhiannon Shirt in Rayon Challis

Finished Rhiannon Shirt in Rayon Challis

And boy, was I right! For summer, I chose a beautiful rayon challis- black with multi-colored dots. Before cutting into my fabric, I did make up a sample out of cotton muslin first just to check the length and fit- since my 5′ 9″ frame is a bit different than 5′ 4″ woman the pattern was designed for. It turned out being perfect, no alterations needed! The best part about this top is that you adjust the gathered neckline to fit you just right. You actually put the top on and pull the gathers in place, spreading them out where you want them to fall. Genius!

Attaching Jersey Bias to the Gathered Neckline

Attaching Jersey Bias to the Gathered Neckline

The only deviation from the pattern I took was on the neckline. The pattern calls for you to make some bias tape from your fabric and use that to finished the gathered neckline. I took a shortcut and used some black jersey bias tape instead. This saved me the step of making the bias tape and also gave me a really soft finished edge. As I attached the jersey bias I gave it a slight stretch just to make sure the whole neckline would lie nice and flat. I would highly recommend this “short cut”.

Finished  Gathered Neckline with Jersey Bias Tape

Finished Gathered Neckline with Jersey Bias Tape

Since finishing my Rhiannon Top, I have worn it just about as often as I can. It is so light weight and comfortable for the warm weather we have been having this summer. I love the casual feel with a more sophisticated look- best of both worlds. Mission Accomplished: I have a new closet staple and am already planning other versions to make. Maybe long sleeves for Fall/Winter?

Love my finished Rhiannon Top!

Love my finished Rhiannon Top!

Be sure to check out Kay’s other great patterns, she has a something for all styles and multiple variations in every pattern. Visit Serendipity Studio Website HERE.

Note: Serendipity Studio provided me with a complementary copy of the Rhiannon Top. All of the ideas and comments in this post are my own and were not influenced in any way. This was not a sponsored post- I am just a fan and wanted to share my experience with others.

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