Sigh…. Friends, thank you. Thank you so much for your encouragement in my last post about the Sewing Room. It’s so exciting and the more I think about it, the more excited I become! Oh what fun we’ll have. I did receive a comment or two and several emails about my blog posting habits and whether or not they would be affected, so I thought I should tell you a little bit more about the Sewing Room. If you’re going to twist my arm and all that. My mister coined the name, the Sewing Room. We both knew it was meant to be like my sewing room at home, but bigger. This is my stomping grounds! So I envisioned not only a place to teach others how to sew and
be a crazy fabric addict like myself, but it’s clearly a place that serves my own personal sewing world. We have a sewing library complete with some good sewing titles – I’m still waffling about adding my own personal sewing library here for others to look at and possibly check-out. There’s lots and lots of space, which is really really good. The basement area of this brick and mortar building is the stash, where we keep the fabrics for the online shop and where, if you take a class, you can come and shop. Additionally, my entire set-up for blogging is located here in the Sewing Room. This has transformed from being just a passion, to what I do for a living. It was important to me to create spaces in the Sewing Room that facilitated my need for all aspects of what I do. This space to take photos in (the space you see me in below) – something I’ve wanted for years. It feels luxurious to go to a studio and take photos of my creations. To sew there and to fill orders for the online shop there. To teach there. Oh, this is a big big thing. I’ll bet you can feel that as you read this. My blogging, you ask? I know I’ve been lousy at it for the past year, but well, the future holds a different promise I’m hoping. Anyhow, onward and upward.
Back in November, I made this Hollyburn with this luscious dark mustard wool crepe that we had in the online shop (sold out fairly quickly!). This color for me, is like one of the 8 wonders of the world. This and chartreuse, which I find closely related to this color, so naturally I’m all over this color like white on rice. I do love it so.
I took enough for this skirt and then I’m also considering a dress or some pants with the leftover. We’ll see which one wins out for the last of the fabric. But anyway, its been sometime since I made a Hollyburn. My last rendition of this skirt was worn to a raveling. It just goes with everything so well. The shape is beautifully swingy in the wool crepe here. And then there’s the pocket thing, which I absolutely and utterly adore. Perfect pockets, perfect, easy shape. A TNT for me, for sure.
And then I got a little lusty for this Hunter Green Wool Crepe from the shop too (still available for your info). So I took a bit home and cut out another Hollyburn. And of course, this has all got me thinking about yet another rendition for Spring – in one of our new wool crepe colors (hello bright cheery colors)!!!!!!!!!! Possibly much much shorter on the skirt length here! Oh la la! I’m sure you’re all waiting with bated breath for that!
I’ve made this skirt a few times – when it was formerly just the skirt portion of the Lonsdale dress. When I made the Lonsdale dress a few years ago, I was completely taken with the skirt portion and from there made a few. I couldn’t find my beloved pattern this time around (who ever said anything about keeping a clean and organized stash???) and so I opted to just use a Hollyburn pattern which I had on hand. I made a couple of changes – created a contoured waistband, added a lining to both skirts and separated the pocket facing from the pocket lining. Really nothing mind blowing, though I plan to show you how to do a lining for a skirt like this in a few weeks as I still work my way through the Working with Wool series.
You’ll notice I’m in keeping with the working with wool trend! Yay! I should definitely win some extra points for that, I think – which have already been translated into a Dr. Pepper – drinking as I type! Yess! I thought you might like to see wool crepe in garment form. Again, this is one of my favorite wool textiles. It works so well in a myriad of garment options. The lovely drape and swing work so well for a skirt, yet wool crepe looks fabulous in a structured trouser as in here. If I haven’t convinced you of the loveliness of wool crepe yet, there will be more opportunities coming up for me to do so, I’m sure.
And I know I’m tempting you, but seriously, there are AWESOME new wool crepe colors in stock in the online shop.
So who’s ready to join my wool crepe Hollyburn train? huh?
Ahh, it’s here. 2015. There always seems to be so much promise and wonder associated with a new year. I can definitely feel it and I hope you’re feeling a little of it too. I wanted to take a special minute and thank you all for your very kind and supportive words from my last post (and also the wonderful customers who came into the store, thank you!). I wrote and re-wrote that post so many times. Finding the right words was hard. What kept coming out was a lot of negativity and it’s just not something that I wanted to feed, so finding the right words to express what had truly been one of the most frustrating years of my life was hard. But now that that’s over and done with (yay!) it’s time to look ahead to something new and very exciting.
To say that I’m a bit nervous about all of this is an understatement. Nonetheless, I’m so excited about all of this I just can’t contain it any longer! Over our holiday break, the mister and I went in and transformed our fabric shop into…….
The Sewing Room! This space is dedicated to expertly crafted sartorial sewing workshops – meaning, we help you make your own clothes! I’m sure we’ll pull out a couple of crafty, fun workshops every now and then too, but our main focus is to help you with the crazy world of apparel arts/sewing. We offer in person workshops/classes that typically focus on a specific garment or technique. Additionally, we offer private instruction for those interested in getting our take on exactly what they want to learn (or if you’re visiting from out of town and want to take some time to have fun with us!). We’ve also got an Open Stitch Night that will happen twice a month where you can get expert help for a couple of hours on a project that’s stumping you – and have hot chocolate and treats on us!
And then of course, there will be LOTS of fun as we get thinking about exciting new things to come. I’ve got ideas for guest teachers to fly in and do weekend workshops with us – wait, did I just type that? Whoops, just fell off my chair there for a minute – can’t believe this is really happening. Ahem. Plus we have some exciting free events to come for the upcoming year. I am committed to touching as many people with the sewing bug as I possibly can.
As with any business, there is still much to be done, but today marks the first day of making it real by telling you all about it. I’m excited. I kept getting more and more excited as I reorganized everything to become geared toward educating rather than selling – such a cathartic and interesting change, let me tell you. I have a lot of vision for the Sewing Room. I can see so much potential and I feel really, really good about it.
So, if you live here in Salt Lake City, Utah or are in town for a visit, here’s some links you need to hop to:
Here’s to 2015 everyone! Lots and lots of sewing is dead ahead….
Before we start looking ahead to the new year – and I can’t even tell you how excited I am for 2015 and the new things we have planned! – I thought I would reflect back on this past year and tell you a bit of biggish news that is happening in my life. More often than not I try to keep as much highly personal emotion out of my blog as possible, meaning, I try to keep the negative silenced here and only focus on the positive. This has been the hardest year for that. I’ve been through a lot, both professionally and personally, during the course of 2014.
I have learned that owning a business is not an overnight sensation – meaning you’re not instantly a great business owner just because you own your own business. It draws heavily on both your strengths and preys equally on your weaknesses. It illuminates weak spots in your character and in your life. You also learn so much about yourself as a business owner. I’ve had to answer some really tough questions this year. I have also come to realize the importance of truly following your heart, even when it means closing the door on an old dream.
And here is where one chapter closes. The mister and I have decided to close the storefront portion of A Fashionable Stitch. We are doing this in favor of something else that is to come (much more on this soon, I promise). I personally, have found that I’m not a shop girl. More to the point, I really don’t dig working (or owning) retail. After an entire year of trying to suppress this inner truth it was time to let it out, let it be known and also re-design my vision of my future. You should know that this won’t affect the online shop – we’re still going to be selling fabric, notions and supplies there. Yes, the online store is still a thing and we have some really exciting new things lined up for it this year! (I’m so excited to tell you about it!!!) But my brick and mortar storefront is being put to rest (a positively morbid thought when I really think about). As of today, we’re closing the doors on our retail fabric storefront. We have something new and exciting planned to take over in the same brick and mortar space beginning in January.
I’m not sad. Well, OK, fine. Maybe a very small part of me is sad because I’ve wanted to be a shop owner for so long and I got to and I found out that it’s just not me and so, a small part of me is a little melancholy. But more than anything, I’m relieved. My soul is letting out a long, year long, sigh right now as I type. For the first time, in a year, I feel positive. That feels really, really good and dare I say, on the right track for future things. Here’s to you 2014 and the many wonders and self knowledge you have unlocked. I’m glad 2015 is just around the bend.
And before the holiday gets away from us, the mister and I wish you a very merry on your holiday this year. Thank you all for reading my blog. It means so much to me! I hope I inspire and help you out on your sewing journey. I do so love this interaction! All my best wishes to you and yours this season!
Oh the rarity that is wool knit. Today’s Fabric Friday is all about wool knit. So what does this mean exactly? Again, wool is the fiber type and knit is the type of fabric (weave/knit structure) we’re dealing with. Knitted fabrics are actually knitted on large knitting machines. They are either knitted flat – meaning they have selvedge edges running along each vertical edge – or they are knitted in a tube. I’ve seen both in different fiber types, but let’s get back to wool.
Wool knit is not easy to come by. I rarely, if ever, see them (even as a fabric store owner with some good fabric getting connections). When I see them, I snatch them up like they are going out of style!
I like to think of wool knits in 4 categories – just to keep it relatively simple. There’s wool jersey – this means that the cloth is knitted from a single yarn. Think t-shirt weight. I also classify wool rib knit in this category too. A good quality wool jersey will have a nice drape and will be soft. The nice thing with jersey weight wool knits is that they can be fairly thin and they will still last you a good long while if you keep the moths at bay. Wools are awesome in this way. Wool jerseys sometimes have a bit of spandex (or Lycra) in them, for recovery (meaning it won’t stretch out of shape and never come back!).
Wool Double Knit is next. To create a double knit, two fabrics are knitted simultaneously at the same time which creates thicker, denser cloth. This is one of my favorites. Wool Double Knit (or ponte knit too) usually doesn’t curl making it easier to handle and deal with and it’s just beefier than your average jersey. It’s lovely cloth. Sometimes, double knits have some spandex in them too, just for nice recovery.
Third category is Boiled Wool. Boiled wool is kind of special because it’s formation is actually made from boiling wool, hence its namesake. It can be made from either a woven or knit wool and from there the cloth is boiled and agitated. This causes the wool to shrink in both directions and creates a lofty sort of cloth. Additionally, it tends to have a nice amount of give in the cross-grain. Would make a perfect Oslo – the new Seamwork cardigan. Ends up being a bit of a sweatery knit with nice bumpy irregular texture. Very warm too.
Sweater knits comprise the fourth category. Even though boiled wool is kind of a sweater knit, I tend to put it in its own category because it’s formation is a little bit special. Sweater knits can be regular knit or raschel knit – meaning it has more of a lacy feel to it. These are generally, well sweatery. Think sweater and you have the idea. They sometimes feature interesting designs in the knit – like cables and such. My apologies for featuring a boring solid color photo for the sweater knits – I don’t have any fun or funky design wool sweater knits on hand! Several sweater knits are made of wool or are a wool blend (I see these often coupled with acrylic, polyester or nylon).
Since we’ve covered fiber types, I thought I would also mention that I mostly see merino, cashmere and angora rockin the knits. In fact, I daresay, I’ve never seen a merino wool that wasn’t a knit – what about you? If you come across these in wool knit yardage then it’s worth it to take a closer look and possibly even add to your stash. These particular types are usually quite soft and little fluffy.
Do have any wool knits in your stash? These are worth having!
For more about Wools, visit the Working with Wool Section!
Not all woolens are created equal. Here’s where we’re going to get super snobby! Let’s talk about wool fiber types. So, what does this mean, wool fiber? It refers to the animal that the wool comes from and also any special finishes that the wool may undergo to become a yarn. First, I’m going to talk about the animal that the hair fiber came from in order to make the yarn to be woven or knitted into cloth. Remember that wool as a general definition is the hair of any animal made into fabric. So let’s talk animals, eh?
Most wool comes from sheep. When something just says its wool, it’s coming from a sheep. This is not a bad thing in any way, it’s just the base level and from here we’ll get a little more exotic.
Cashmere. I’m sure that’s one you’ve heard before. Cashmere. Oh how excitingly lush! Cashmere comes from cashmere goats (and a few other similar goats apparently) and the reason it’s such an expensive cloth is because it’s most specifically the hair around the goat’s neck. Not a whole bunch of hair there if you know what I mean. So you have to shave a lot of goat necks to get a small stash of hair to spin into yarn. This cloth is usually very very soft. Yum!
Merino. Another fairly common wool out there. Merinos are sheep. A special sheep that is very much prized for its soft hair. Merino is very high quality and especially in knits, it’s positively heaven.
Mohair is another wool fiber type. I actually see this fiber coupled a lot with rayon in suitings, but alone it’s more like a fur (but it’s not fur, so don’t be confused). Mohair comes from a certain breed of goats.
That leads right into Angora which does come from little angora rabbits. I’ve actually never seen angora as a single fiber in a cloth. I’ve only ever seen it coupled with other fibers – perhaps to make it stronger? Either way, this stuff is quite soft and little bit fluffy.
Alpaca is a pretty wonderful woolen. It’s from an animal that is very similar looking to a llama. Alpaca hair is hypoallergenic! There are a few different breeds of the animal, Suri (considered the more luxurious) and Huacuaya.
This leads me to Vicuna which is considered one of the finest wools you can buy. It is very rare and the animal itself (relative to the llama also) can only be shorn once every three years! Surprisingly, I have a Vicuna scarf that was given to me by my dad. He lived in Bolivia when he was younger and a family gave my dad a pure vicuna scarf that had been in their family for many many years. It was considered a very prized possession. Crazy enough, it does not feel like the traditional wools I’ve come across. It’s very soft and almost feels like a very fine cotton, meaning it doesn’t itch in the slightest!
What about Shetland wool? This comes from a Shetland sheep, is fairly course and rather scratchy. It’s usually something that you would use in a coat. Usually very thick and very very warm.
I also wanted to touch on a few other things that can make a wool special. These have to do with finishes or processes that the wool fiber goes through to become a yarn.
What is worsted wool? The worsted yarn goes through a different process than regular wool yarn to become yarn – that was a mouthful! When I come across worsted wools as a buyer, it typically implies that the wool is fairly soft and is light to medium weight and opaque. When I see a worsted I usually buy it because it usually means fine quality.
Have you ever seen high quality suiting wools? They are usually marked as super 120s or super 130s. I’ve even seen some go up to super 180s (very rare). These are very very high quality wool suitings. And they do not feel like wool, they feel akin to silk. Many have a luster to them – a little bit of a sheen – and the numbers themselves refer to the long staple yarn count per square inch. Like bedsheets. The higher the number, the better the quality. I’ve only seen these kind of suitings come from Great Britain or Australia, and that is usually reflective in the price as they can run pretty expensive. They hold a press, but wrinkling is very minimal.
What about virgin wool? Have you heard that term before? Virgin wool implies that all the wool in the piece is new and it does not contain any recycled wool. Virgin wools are typically more expensive than others, but worth the price. They are finer quality, have minimal wrinkling, usually a bit softer and have a lovely brilliant color in whatever color they are dyed in.
I know this was a long post, but hopefully this gives you a better idea of wool fiber types and what you’re looking at when you purchase something in store or online. It’s more than likely that I’ve missed a few here, but hopefully I’ve nabbed all the major ones! Do you have any of these fabrics in your stash?
For more about Wools, visit the Working with Wool Section!