Since I’m surrounded by fabric all the day long and since I truly do love fine textiles with a passion, I thought it might be good if I dropped in every now and then with a fabric in focus. A lot of times when customers come into the shop, I find that they don’t really know what some of the fabrics mean, in that they don’t know a weave from a fiber type. And that’s OK, but sometimes its kind of interesting to know stuff. ha ha! We just received several wool crepes and I thought I should stop down and talk about wool crepe because it is a rather lovely fabric. It’s actually one of my favorites.
Let’s begin with the wool part and then we’ll move along to the crepe part. Wool is technically the hair of any animal that has been spun into a fiber/yarn and then woven (or knitted!) into a cloth. Wool is usually, incredibly versatile and very easy to sew with and press. Getting along with wool is not hard, which is why to me its kind of like the cold weather version of cotton. Cottons are usually pretty easy to sew with and so are wools. Definitely not a stretch to add wools into your sewing arsenal. I’d say that the only thing with wool is that it usually needs to be lined, but don’t be afraid to leave something unlined and just wear it with a slip too. Additionally, since wools are a protein fiber, they are prone to moths. While there is quite a bit of debate on how to keep your wool, I’ll say that I keep mine in plastic tubs with cedar balls. The washing of wools is usually not recommended (though I’ll admit, that doesn’t stop me!) because they can shrink or felt if agitated in hot water. I usually pre-wash a wool in cold water, on a gentle cycle and then hang to dry. It’s rare that I wash a finished garment out of wool – and that includes dry cleaning – but if I need to, I’ll usually wash on gentle, in cold and hang to dry or hand wash and hang to dry. If the garment has a lot of internal structure as in the case of a coat or jacket, I dry clean and only if it needs it. Before any debate begins, I’ll also say that if you’re not into washing wools, that is of course fine too! Whatever blows your hair back!
Crepe is a not specific to wool. You can have silk crepe (crepe de chine & 4 ply silk are both crepes) or polyester crepe. I’ve even seen crepe like knits too. Crepes happen when the fiber/yarn is twisted before its woven or knitted into cloth. It creates this bumpy like texture and is a little spongey. Wool crepe in particular has fantastic drape, but it’s also structured enough to create a fabulous jacket that would last a long time.
So there today is a little wool crepe lesson for you! Additionally, it’s time to usher in some cooler weather with a shop sale! Woolens are on sale today through October 31. Take 15% off any wool fabric in the online shop when you enter the code WOOLS15 in the discount code section at checkout. Enjoy friends!
The thing was my mom wanted a coat. She’s a true J. Peterman connoisseur and she saw the pics of my J. Peterman inspired Yona Wrap Coat and she was like, I gotta have one. And then there was the part where it was her birthday in September and well, this year is a special year for giving handmade gifts. When one has too much fabric to know what to do with, one starts giving it away in the form of actual garments. Even complex garments like a coat….
from left to right: my sis (the prima donna who’s already birthed 3 kids and is still thin as a rail), me (the big crazy eyed one), my mom (the originator of my crazy, plaid lovin style).
And then I was talking to my mom on the phone and things like “well, do you think Abby (my sister) would like one?” and “well, you know, its just as easy to cut and make two as it is to make one” started flying out of my mouth like I knew what I was talking about. I had this picture perfect idea of me, my mom and my sis in picture perfect plaid coats in an actual picture. I was like, I gotta have that. There’s also nothing like a challenge to make me rise to the occasion. So I cut out these plaid coats for my mom and sis on a Wednesday or something and they were both finished by Tuesday night the next week. I was totally on fire. What can I say? Inspired doesn’t seem to cut it. I made it happen and I totally felt like a ninja. The point has come for me where I just need to sew and I need to sew like the wind. Let’s get this happening already!
My sister’s coat was made from a remnant we had at the store. It was this fleece backed wool blend. I lined it in the same kasha coat lining as found here and that stuff is wonderful (yes, please buy some – you know you need it :). Good gravy. I lined my coat in that too and seriously, there’s not much like it out there. My mom’s coat is made from this plaid (totally on sale and totally in the online store). It’s um, really scratchy. But that’s the thing, you know. Its a coat and you can’t feel the scratchy-ness through that kasha coat lining (my mom’s is lined in that too) and then I used velveteen for the collars on both coats so you know, we’re good on the scratchy wool front here.
My mom and sis are completely in love with their coats. One word: epic. I absolutely can not believe that I was so……. unselfish. But I was and it did feel good. Ha ha! I made exact replica’s of my coat – as in fitting. I thought you might like to know that because this coat is very forgiving and my mom, sis and I really have very different figures, but this worked. We’re all roughly the same size but as with every other woman on the planet we couldn’t be more different. My mom is petite and has an ample bust and no hips where my sister and I are average height and have average bust sizes. My sister is more slender and lanky than me, but it is interesting to see how these all fit on us. Isn’t fitting the weirdest?
There you have it folks! Plaids for the whole family (well, the girls anyway)! Hurrah!
First things first. I have an update for you about the September Soiree from last Thursday’s post. It was FABULOUS! We had a wonderful turnout, the shop was packed and we cut fabric like fiends. It was so much fun. Thank you everyone who came and all of the good vibes that I know were out and about that night. We felt them! Yay! Oh, and here’s that cookie recipe and I’ll work on getting some panoramic photos posted of my shop for my next shopkeeper’s journal report.
Now onto the pressing item of business that is this sweater that I whipped out over the weekend. OK, actually to say whipped out is a pretty strong word since I’ve been down flat with the flu ilk. When you’re in business for yourself, I have to say that getting sick is not really optional. Ha ha! And you think I kid! I’ve been pumping some serious vitamins and telling myself over and over that I’m going to be OK enough to work, but alas, this week that rotten little bug got the better of me. So I finally had to give in and let myself have a few days rest. Doing much better now, thank you very much – though I sound worse!
Anyway, now that we’ve taken that field trip, let’s discuss my top. Oh my goodness! This is a Skippy. Toni from Make it Perfect emailed me a little over a month ago and asked if I would be willing to participate in a blog tour for her new pattern. As she was so complimentary about being a fan of my blog, how could I refuse? An introduction that begins with a compliment is sure to develop into a real friendship, or something to that effect. Oscar Wilde anyone? So Toni sent me Skippy and made me promise to post a creation by the end of September. Ah, procrastination + sick ilk, I love you so! As you see its now October. I may always be late, but I’m worth the wait (wink, wink). And yes, my dry wit has gone up a notch with the comin and goin of this here flu bug.
I had splurged on this piece of organic cotton fleece from Fabric Worm. They carry this Birch Organic cotton fleece and I’ve been contemplating some for my store. This stuff is fairly expensive being a whopping $26/yard (though its on sale now!) and I’m not sure I’m ready to invest in it quite yet. There’s so many factors to consider when thinking about purchasing fabric for my store! Sigh. But I’ll have you know that this fleece is lovely. Really really. Now, if you’re thinking fleece, I have to say I always think about the mountains that they seem to have at Hancock Fabrics these days. Wow. That’s a lot of fleece. Polyester fleece. This is not that. This is the fleece that your 30 year old (favorite) sweatshirt used to be made out of minus the organic part, of course. It’s extra plush and I’m a personal fan of the earthy colors they’ve got going on. Lovely textile.
I had a hard time thinking about what to do for Skippy. I contemplated the dress for a bit, but then my heart really wanted a nice cozy top. Then I spotted this fleece taking up way too much room in the stash and knew it had to be done. I was distraught about what to do to spice up this mushroom brown color though. I mean, talk about boring. The color is lovely, but come on! We need some pop here. Then I remembered scheming with my sewing cohort Juliette about a Garnet Hill sweater that she was bent on recreating. She made her version here and I knew that I had to make one too! This is the same lace that Juliette used and its from my store. It’s a nice, washable cotton lace. Makes a great textural statement on this sweater, dontcha think? And it adds a little sophistication to something that could have turned out particularly drab, sad and overly prone to be overlooked and never worn. To say that I’m a little more than pleased with this lovely make would put it mildly (I’ve worn it for the past three days to prove it too!). Loving the end result! Yay!
I made some alterations for Skippy to make it workable with this fleece. Thing with fleece is that while it has some stretch, it doesn’t have the same as a jersey knit. So I made a size larger than what my measurements said and then I made it a little boxier too. I used a different sleeve pattern (from my favorite tee pattern) so that I didn’t have to de-puff the cap. With the fleece, I think this was a good option as I look rather ridiculous in puff sleeves, but with thick puffy sleeves that could have gone bad real fast. Other than that, nothing else was altered. Next time around I’m considering deepening the armhole just because it was a little snug in the fleece. Would work just fine in a jersey though, so that’s something to think about if you make one.
Well! That wraps up my straggling September. So excited for October I’m pinching myself just to make sure that its really here. Yay! Are you ready for sweater weather? Give Skippy a try! One has the almost insatiable desire to “skip” whilst wearing it.
This week has been a bit of a wash. Busy, you know. Tonight we’re have a party at my store. The September Soiree. I know. I come up with these names only because I can. In real life, I’m not the most serious person and I get a hell of a lot of silliness from both sides of my family’s fence. Tonight is kind of about that. You know, just having fun. Having a lark. Living it up.
Last night I made homemade pumpkin cookies with browned butter frosting just for the September Soiree. This brings up an interesting thing actually. The mister and I went to a theater production just this week and while the production was fabulous and funny, the cookies we had for a treat just before the play began were more than disappointing. The mister noted that we were probably one of the only couples from our age group attending. There were students in their early 20s and then there were the more mature crowd who looked to be in their 60s. And then there was us in our dirty 30s. Why is this? I’ll tell you one thing – those cookies weren’t bringing anybody in, that’s for sure. Needless to say, these pumpkin cookies are thrillingly good. If there’s one thing I know how to do, its a damn fine treat. I come from treat people. We make and eat treats, treats and more treats. These pumpkin cookies are only made with the real stuff. Naturally fat free, of course (you just need to laugh a lot whilst consuming them for the fat to be burned off before you even have time to metabolize them).
The store is looking pretty awesome, if I do say so myself and I do because I’ve put a lot of time into it. It’s chucked full of good things tonight, the cookies being not the least of it. We’re having a special sale and well, I’ll be cutting fabric as will one of my wonderful ladies and my handsome mister will be ringing people up. There will be music, laughing, fun, scheming, excitement, measuring, fabric buying therapy binge (surely, I can’t be the only one that does this, right?), cookies, chatting, “Does this color look good on me?” and well, all that malarky. You know, the stuff that makes the world go round.
Just thought I would give you a snapshot of the fabric store party of the century. Totally wish you were all here, if only to have a cookie.
I don’t know that this will be like the behind the scenes of other people’s businesses, but for me, I’m going to start giving you some of the behind the scenes from a fairly personal perspective. My perspective. This remains to be seen if this is really a good idea, but as with a lot of things in life, we try something and analyze our mistakes and then from there get better. My first behind the scenes snapshot back in December/January had some rather dramatic repercussions. Sigh…. Oh the drama! Sometimes my inner drama queen really likes to play up the drama. Having been a shopowner for several months now, I’m here to say that the drama queen has definitely been humbled. He he.
“You’re sewing again.” A friend brought this up to me earlier this week. It’s true. I’m sewing again and hopefully this gives you an idea of how things have been for the past several months (busy, in a word). Maybe I should state for the record that I’m inspired again. This translates into sewing things that work again. I have sewn a few things over the past few months, but to say that they really worked….meh. The Yona Coat was probably the first thing in a long time that I’ve sewn that I felt really really good about. Before we start getting too serious and melancholy, let’s just say that awesome stuff is on the horizon. That feels good enough to be inspired by and good enough to sew for. Ha ha! Yay!
My quaint little brick and mortar has changed rather dramatically over the past several months too. For the most part I’m working full-time in the shop. This is good. This is very good. One thing that was getting to be more and more obnoxious was trying to juggle schedules for individuals who wanted to work in the store with things I needed to get done while I was at the store. So it was much easier for now to work full time in the store and voila! Things about the shop and for the shop started getting accomplished at a much faster pace. And its been very good for me because I really needed to sense the heartbeat of my store on a much more intimate level. Running around like a chicken with my head cut off wasn’t allowing me to do that.
Autumn has officially arrived at A Fashionable Stitch and it was time to change up the decor. Pulling out old fall outfits and putting them up in the store to inspire actually ended up inspiring me. Oh how I love Fall! Its such a magical time of year! Decorating your own shop – on a very very tight budget, oh wait! there is no budget! – is really really fun. I’m always up for a challenge like this and so its been fun to start revamping the store for fall. I’ve also had to get creative for things that I’ve really wanted and don’t have the funds for. I’ve wanted fabric signage for such a long time. And then boom! One day it hit me like a ton of bricks that hey, get some paper, fabric and a fabric bolt and there you go. Instant signs! Yay!
Among many other things this year, I had to become an instant gardener for the flower garden in the front of the store. I have to say people, though I like gardening, I am so over taking care of this! Ugh! In fact, I’m just about to go out and weed and water today (not that this has helped my poor dead zinnias). Much rather be taking care of something inside the store.
Speaking of. This is a fabric hoarder’s dream….. Shipments of fresh fabric just arrived!
Best Weekend Wishes!