Friday, December 27, 2013

The Year in Review

2013 is coming to an end and I can't help but think about how far our blog has come! I look back at a similar post we had from the end of 2012 and those posts feel like they were so long ago! We've grown in so many ways. The blog is about a year and a half old and I can't believe the following we have! We have written over 100 posts offering you ideas, inspiration, entertainment and so much more! So with 2013 winding down, I thought it would be fun to pick my top 10 posts. (These are not in any particular order. They are actually in order from oldest to newest posts.)


1. Plaid Winter Coat Sew Along - I'm probably bias to this post just because it is one of my posts! I (Julie) shared with you a sew along on my process in making a plaid peacoat. This was my first attempt at a coat, and I'm quite proud of how it turned out! 



2) All the Guest Posts - I love tutorials and many of the tutorials we had this year were from our viewers! There are so many talented bloggers and sewers out there and I love highlighting such wonderful talent! 

Check out all the Guest Posts:


3) DIY Tutorial: Pattern Book Organizer - Did you ever buy a pattern only to find a duplicate copy in your stash? Kaitlin shows you how to keep track of all your sewing patterns!



4) Resource Library: All About Knits - Gabby shared her knowledge of knits and described knit types.



5) Resource Library: Home Decor with Fashion Fabrics - Lisa made valences from fashion fabric for almost every room in her house!



6) At Fabric Mart: Planning a Trip to Fabric Mart - Did you know you can visit Fabric Mart? We are located in southeast PA. We are a great destination for all things fashion fabric!







8) Our Amazing Fabricista Fashion Challenge Contestants - We had an AWESOME group of women participate in our challenge. I wish we could have let them all win!




9) Made by a Fabricista: Sewing with Mesh Knits - I was so happy with how this top turned out that I can't help but make it one of my favorite posts. A review and modification of Angela Wolf's Ruched Tee pattern is featured. (Also available in plus size!)




10) The Winner of the Fabricista Fashion Challenge - Shannon from ShanniLoves! I can't wait to work with her in 2014! Get to know her and see her sewing room here.


What were some of your favorite posts?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Meet our Fabricista Fashion Challenge winner, Shannon!

Meet Shannon from Shanni Loves! She was the winner of the Fabricista Fashion Challenge which wrapped up back in November. After some time to take a breather, she is back and ready to blog with us! We are really looking forward to working with Shannon. We have a lot of great ideas and inspiration to share with you in 2014. 



We had a Q&A session with Shannon and also asked if she would share her sewing room with us.



What is your day job? I work at an area hospital as a Financial Analyst. I analyze a lot of numbers, prepare a lot of statistics and even get to play with money sometimes.



What is your dream job? I’ve always dreamed about having my own business. I tell my husband every Wednesday when they draw the lottery numbers that if we ever win I’m opening up a fabric shop. Keep your fingers crossed for me!








What do you sew in your sewing room? Since the Fabricista Challenge, word is out on the streets that I sew. So I’ve been doing a lot of alterations for others and surprisingly I’ve really been enjoying that.  When I’m not busy doing that I make my own clothes. In 2014 my goal is to buy no ready-to-wear clothing with the exception of shoes and underwear.  



What is the favorite part of your sewing room? Well that’s a toss up between my sewing machine and my fabric stash. You couldn’t have one without the other so they are both equally my favorites and give me loads of enjoyment. I also have to mention another fave, my little pug who’s always snoring by my feet.




Give us an organizational tip: I store my envelope patterns in plastic storage bins and have them organized by garment type. PDF patterns can be a little trickier to store and all that paper can take up so much space. I found 3-ring binders to be a life saver. I store all of my pdf patterns in poly sheet protectors and file away in the binder. This is also a great way to store your traced patterns. When I want to work on one I simply take the sheet protector out of the binder and all my pieces are right there in one place and not to be easily lost.   




What was the inspiration for your sewing space? My sewing space was once in our basement laundry room where it was cold and always a mess.  I would always spend at least 20 minutes clearing a laundry pile before I could get down to business which makes it really hard to get motivated. When I decided to move upstairs to a spare bedroom I wanted it to be bright and cheery. I also wanted it to be clean and organized, a place I would look forward to visiting every day. 




When/How did you learn to sew? I started sewing about 2 ½ years ago.  I had a plan to make handbags (because I have an obsession) so one day out of the blue I went and bought a machine. I turned to the Internet for help as I went along and it was there I discovered the social sewing community, lots and lots of sewing blogs. I was so inspired by all the beautiful garments everyone was making my focus quickly shifted from handbags to clothing. I’ve learned everything I know from either You Tube videos, Craftsy classes or sewing books, Readers’ Digest’s “New Complete Guide to Sewing” being my favorite resource.  






How did you decide on the color turquoise?  I love bright and cheery colors. My husband is quite the opposite; he loves more warm tones which you will see throughout our house. Since this sewing room was going to be mine, all mine I had free reign on the color choice.  I picked out the happiest color I could find, Aqua Chiffon. The name is kind of perfect for a sewing room don’t cha’ think?


How much time do you spend in your sewing room? As much as I can! Usually on a Saturday or Sunday you’ll find me in my sewing room. I could easily spend the whole day in there only coming out for bathroom breaks or snacks. During the week I like to try to spend at least an hour working on a project but sometimes it’s hard to resist the couch calling my name.

Where do you get your inspiration for your projects? Sewing blogs or Pinterest

Thanks for sharing with us Shannon! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Planning for 2014... Your Feedback Please!

2014 for is just around the corner and we are gearing up for the new year! With a new year comes new ideas, projects and a lot of fun! We'd like some feedback from our customers. 


What do you want to see on our blog? Do you have a specific topic you would like us to talk about? Do you have a pattern that you would like us to review? Would you like to contribute to our blog? How can we inspire and offer advice to the sewing community? 

We have some ideas up our sleeves but would love to hear from you!

Leave a comment with your ideas and we will take them into consideration. 

If you would like to contribute to the blog, please email fabricmartblog[at]gmail[dot]com with your ideas.




Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Crafty Gemini Tutorial: Faux Suede iPad/ Tablet Sleeves

Did you know that Fabric Mart and Crafty Gemini have teamed up to bring you tutorials featuring some of our products? Crafty Gemini, aka Vanessa Wilson, is a blogger who streams sewing, cooking and craft tutorials on You Tube. She recently won an award for "Best Tutorials" from Craftsy. 

Recently, Vanessa made some iPad/ Tablet Sleeves from our Faux Suede. This is a perfect gift idea and is super easy! We have a nice selection of faux suede fabrics on our website, including solids, animal prints and more. Plus, for a limited time, we are offering a $5.00 discount coupon toward any fabric in the faux suede category. Use coupon code TABLET at checkout. You must have a fabric from the faux suede category in your cart to receive the discount. 







Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sew Along: Track Jacket Complete!

I finished my jacket! I kept working until I was finished, there was no stopping! I am really happy with the way it turned out. You know what I love most about it? The top-stitching! Almost every single seam on this jacket is top-stitched, which I love and hate. I love it because it creates a really finished look. I hate it because if the jacket does not fit correctly, then you have to take not only the seam apart, but the top-stitching. Thankfully I only had to do that at the shoulder seams because it was a little bulkier than I preferred. I also really liked the princess seams. Not only is it a casual jacket, but it is a little more flattering than your average fleece jacket or hoodie.






So how did I finish it? After sewing the side seams onto the front pieces, I put together the sleeve pieces. The jacket has dolman sleeve look. The sleeve is made from four different pieces, which are top-stitched. 




I sewed the front shoulder to the top of the sleeve, then the back shoulder to the other side of the sleeve. This will allow you to sew the jacket together at the side seams. I ended up using about a 1" seam allowance because it was a little bigger than I wanted. I tapered the seam allowance at the hip and just before the cuff of the sleeve. 

The sleeve is the middle piece in this photo. 

After the side seams were sewn, I attached the waistband, collar and sewed the zipper in. That's it! Like I mentioned in my first post, I think this jacket could take an afternoon to sew up. It was so easy. It might have been easy because it is not something that is form fitting, but it feels like it should be harder than it was. 



I would definitely recommend this pattern to anyone. The fabric itself went together really well. One suggestion I have would be to not stretch the fabric too much. It will stretch a little bit while sewing, but don't pull at it. You may get a puckered look when you top-stitch over your seams. The pattern was easy for me to understand, but I'm not sure if it would be good for a beginner. I felt like you should know something about garment construction because of the terms they used and having to flip back and forth between the written instructions and visual instructions on separate papers. 




Monday, November 25, 2013

Sew Along: Track Jacket - Sewing a Welt Pocket

Progress on my track jacket has been going really well. I'm thinking this project could take an afternoon to whip up, but because I'm sewing for an hour here, an hour there, it's taking a little longer. I was interested in seeing how the pockets on this jacket were sewn. This is the first time I've done a welt pocket, so I thought I would share it with you.

The pattern piece that you are going to sew the pocket to is the front piece. It looks like this:


Taking the welt pattern piece, fold the welt in half lengthwise, zig-zag along raw edge. I found that the fleece knit stretch pretty good when doing this. I would recommend to not stretch it so that it does not pull at the front piece after sewing.

Stay-stitch around the pocket opening. Pin the welt to the pocket opening, right sides together. Sew along the long edge, making sure to sew next to your zig-zag stitch. You don't want the zig zag to show on your finished pocket!



Pin ends of the welt to the short sides of the opening. I had to think about this one for a minute, but once you play around with the fabric, the light bulb will go off!



This is what the pocket looks like after the welt is stitched in. (Without top-stitching.)




Top-stitch around the pocket. (This picture actually shows after the front has been sewn to the side front piece. This step will come later.)



Now that the pocket welt is complete, it's time to sew the pocket lining on. The pattern suggests that you cut the lining out of the same fabric as the rest of the pattern. I was afraid it would create too much bulk in the front, so I selected a rayon knit for the lining. (After selecting it, I think I would have gone with something a little heavier, like a ponte knit. The rayon knit stretches a lot and seems like it might stretch out if I put too much stuff in the pockets.) Pin the right side of the pocket lining to the wrong side of the front piece. Stitch around the entire pocket, keeping the welt section open. 

The welt section is on the left of this picture. 

Finally, you can pin the side front to the front, making sure to catch only the pocket lining at the welt. There you have it---a completed welt pocket!


After you sew the side front, top stitch along the seam. Almost every single seam in this pattern gets top-stitched! (I love ready-to-wear touches!) I'm hoping I can finish the jacket tonight! Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sew Along: Track Jacket

A few weeks ago, one of our suppliers came in with some fleece samples. I have to admit, fleece does not excite me but when I saw this fleece-backed knit, I fell. in. love. I never thought I would fall in love with fleece, of all things, but this was such nice quality and I loved the knit/fleece combo. I was so excited about starting this project that I went home that night and I searched through my pattern stash and many pattern websites until I found the perfect pattern for this fleece. I came across Jalie Pattern #2795, a zip-front jacket and hoodie. I loved the ready-to-wear look of the pattern. I find that jackets like this tend to be really oversized by other pattern companies, and I did not want that. Since this was my first Jalie Pattern, I glanced through Pattern Review to see if anyone else used it. It got good reviews and everyone seemed to looked great in their jacket! I didn't have any local sources for purchasing the pattern, so I ordered it from an eBay store.

Since Jalie Patterns is new to me, I thought it probably is for others as well! I'm going to do a mini Sew-Along featuring some information about Jalie Patterns and my process in working with this pattern and the fabric itself.

When the fabric arrived, I cut about 2 1/2 yards off the roll, just like the pattern called for. I selected UUC0419 - Purple Fleece Knit. This type of fleece knit comes in other colors, you can check them out here.



When I opened up the pattern, I was surprised to see that every single size came in one pattern. This pattern is for girls through women's sizes, so there were tiny pattern pieces! It was hard to imagine something so small! (I don't have kids yet, and have not made anything for children before!) 



I cut out size 12, so I cut on the Y line. The directions are also printed on the same page as the pattern paper, so I cut those out and hung them on my pattern clips. In a Jalie Pattern, the written directions are separate from the visual directions. The written directions refer you to which picture to follow. Jalie Patterns also want you to use a 1/4" seam allowance, which is included in the pattern measurements.


I bought this hanger at Ikea. It is perfect to hang pattern directions and pattern pieces!

Now comes laying out the pattern on the fabric! I was surprised to see how they wanted you to lay out your pattern pieces. They actually had you laying them out right next to the pattern piece you would be sewing them to. I actually really liked that. You would do something like this when using fabric with a plaid, stripe, etc. But because this fleece is basically solid, there was not a need to do this. I did it anyway, it was nice to be able to visualize which pattern pieces go together.



Stay tuned, I'm on to cutting out the pattern pieces, then on to sewing! Until next time...happy sewing!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

And the winner is...

Congratulations, Shannon!
She won $25.00 a month for one year to spend on fabric at Fabric Mart (worth $300!) Plus! She will become a Fabricista on our blog, posting once a month and receive a Julie's Picks Membership!




Second Place: 
Congratulations, Diane!
She won a $100 Gift Certificate and a Julie's Picks Membership. 



Third Place: 
Congratulations, Kathy!
She won a $50 Gift Certificate and Julie's Picks Membership.


Thank you to all of our participants!
 We cannot thank you enough for all of your hard work and creativity in our challenge.
It has been such a hard decision! Everyone was so wonderful!


Visit the blog on Saturday to join Julie in a jacket sew-along using our cozy polar fleece!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Final Challenge!

This is it! The final week!

Before we get on to the final challenge, we have to thank many people:

- All 10 of our contestants--- We obviously couldn't have done it without them! They were an amazing group of talented women who devoted a lot of their sewing time to this challenge! We cannot thank them enough!

- Our Viewers - We hope the viewers had as much fun as we did seeing what the contestants made each week. Thank you for your votes, comments and support!

- To our employees - A group of ladies who work in our store assisted in the second part of the voting process. Some with a lot of sewing experience, some without any sewing experience, but they took it very seriously. We thank them for taking some time out of their busy schedule to assist in the voting process.

Being that this was our first challenge like this, we learned a lot along the way and we appreciate everyone's patience. One of the hardest things was to send someone home. We wish everyone could win! We hope EVERYONE had fun! Would you want to see us host a fashion challenge again?


Now on to the challenge...

We asked the final three to create 3 pieces that can be worn together as one outfit or 2 outfits that could be worn to the same event. Using the Pantone Fall Color Chart, select 2 fall colors to inspire your outfit. 



The First Place Winner will receive $25.00 a month for one year to spend on fabric at Fabric Mart (worth $300!) Plus! You will become a Fabricista on our blog and become a Julie's Picks Member!

The Second Place Winner will receive a $100 Gift Certificate and a Julie's Picks Membership. 

The Third Place Winner will receive a $50 Gift Certificate and Julie's Picks Membership.



Kathy from Kathy Sews







Emerald and Mykonos Blue from the Fall Pantone Color Report  inspired my outfit-- but I couldn't help but add in a bit of Carafe.  I put together a veritable United Nations of sewing patterns with designs from Brazil, Germany and the Netherlands.  The fully lined floral Emerald skirt is from the Brazilian pattern magazine Manequim-- the front, back and the waist all have pleating details. The blouson Mykonos Blue inspired top from the German magazine Burda is fully lined with a subtle paisley pattern.  I topped it all off with a cozy ponte knit blazer from Dutch pattern magazine, My Image. The knit blazer is an amazing alternative to a cardigan!  My goal was to sew with a bold color palette, make an outfit with three easy to wear separates and to be able to mix and match each item with many other garments already in my wardrobe.     



Shannon from Shanni Loves




Acai (deep purples) and Samba (vibrant reds), these were the two colors I chose from the Fall 2013 Pantone Palette.  I spotted these two hanging out together on this beautiful floral charmeuse.  For the bow blouse pattern I used retro Simplicity 2154.  The back of the blouse has a keyhole button opening, side lapped zipper and the bow is lightly interfaced for structure.  I paired this blouse with a blackberry cotton sateen pencil skirt.  I used the pencil skirt pattern from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing.  When I started to assemble the skirt I noticed there was a line of discoloration running straight down the center of the fabric.  With no extra fabric to spare I improvised and used a faux leather strap from an old handbag to cover up the discoloration.  This turned out to be a fun detail to the skirt.  For my third piece I decided upon Burdastyle's short jacket pattern 106a.  My original plan was to make a plain black cardigan because I was rather scared to tackle my first jacket but when I spotted this wool houndstooth at Joann's it would not let me leave the store without him.  I'm glad too because I think this houndstooth jacket is the perfect contrast to my outfit.  I narrowed the sleeves 1 inch and drafted my own sleeve heads.  The jacket is fully lined  with a rayon bemberg.  If you would like to see more pictures of my complete outfit please visit my blog Shanni Loves.  
I would like to thank everyone at Fabric Mart for hosting this challenge.  It has been a lot of hard work at times but very rewarding.  I've learned a lot, grown a lot in my skill and have a lot more clothes to wear! 




Diane from Gatorbunny Sews









Back in Jr. high, my dear friend Adi (who is still my dear friend) complimented me on my purple pants.  Any compliment given to an insecure Jr. high kid is a treasure but for me, this was really big since....I had two pair.  Some may think it was excessive to have had two fifths of my pant wardrobe be purple but for me and many other girls, purple is a neutral.  When I saw purple on the Pantone color chart I knew I needed to head back to my fashion "roots" and make some updated purple pants.

For this final challenge, I chose acai (Pantone purple) and samba (Pantone red) to put a twist on a classic outfit every girls needs: a trench coat, chinos and classic white blouse.  The fully lined cotton sateen coat was inspired by a Marc Jacobs print trench and has a large rounded collar and trim on the 3/4 length sleeves and placket. It's lined in a red silk/cotton blend and the lining and facings are piped with black rick rack.  The slim chino pants are made from a purple stretch cotton with two welt pockets on the back and a curved waistband.  The sleeveless shell has pleats at the center front and is finished with french seams, self bias binding and pleated trim around the neckline.  For more information on inspiration and construction please check out my blog.

I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in these challenges and seeing what the other seamstresses make.  It's made me a better seamstress, stimulated my creativity and boosted my wardrobe!  I want to thank everyone at Fabric Mart for this opportunity and I particularly want to thank all of the ladies who have participated. Your work inspires me!



Voting Closed.
No one will go home this week! 
But only one will become a Fabric Mart Fabricista!
The fabricista will have a chance to actively write for our blog.