Thursday, March 28, 2013

DIY Tutorial: Pattern Book Organizer

How many times have you gone on a fabric expedition and found a fabric you just NEED but you have no idea how much is necessary for this pattern you know you have but you left at home?
 
Or perhaps you did remember your pattern but it was thrown into your purse and in a shabby condition once it retreated from inside the time capsle.
All you need is:
 5 1/2 in x 8 1/2 in binder
5 1/2 in x 8 1/2 in sheet protectors
Stick-On Note Tabs
Your Sewing Patterns
Photo Copier

Once you have your supplies you are ready to make your book.
All you need to do is take your pattern and photo copy the front and back.
Cut off the excess and insert the pages with the pattern sides facing out into your sheet protector.

Now when you find that perfect fabric you can flip open your pattern book and know exactly how much fabric you will need to purchase.
Yep, it's that simple! 
Now the hard part is remembering to put it in your purse!
 
Fabric Mart trip, anyone?!
p.s. The Retail Store is on sale for $1.00 a yard!
Visit our location at 3911 Penn Ave, Sinking Spring PA
and shop the round tables!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Looking for help!

 
Do you want to be a Fabricista?

 
Will you help us?!
We are looking for 3 Seamstresses/Seamsters to create a piece for a  blog post to feature our readers.
 
 
What is the post about?
We are doing a post about what to make with different types of knit.
Therefore we would like to see what our readers can do with knits.
 
 
How do I become a guest blogger?
Email us a little bio about you and a few examples of your recent work.
 (Especially any pictures of knit garments!)
If you are a blogger, please include a link to your blog.
 
 
 
What will I need?
Fabric Mart will send you a gift certificate to order your fabric for the project if you are chosen.
You will be able to chose which pattern you will use.
We will let you know what type of knit we would like you to sew with by email if selected.
 
 
 
What would I need to do?
All you need to do is sew up a garment by the deadline, photograph it, and write about how you made it and any tips you could pass on to fellow sewers about using that material.
 
 
 
Who will be chosen?
We are looking for 3 entries who have knowledge in sewing and have practiced sewing knits.
We will base our decision on workmanship, writing skills, and clear images.
(We prefer to see the garments modeled in the images.)
 
 
 
Submit Entry to fabricmartblog@gmail.com by April 6th, 2013


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Resource Library: Sewing in Another Country

I am excited to share with you a personal post from Gabby. Gabby is one of the women that writes for the blog, specializing in research of fabrics. At Fabric Mart, she describes all the fabrics that are put on our website and wholesale division. She has a lot of knowledge about fabric and sewing, especially from her experiences in Colombia, South America. Gabby speaks English very well, but sometimes needs some assistance in writing, therefore we've helped her make this post easier for our followers to understand. It is especially important to let you know this because there are different customs and regulations in Colombia that as Americans we are not used to. Enjoy this excellent post by Gabby!  ~Julie 

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to write about my sewing experience in my home country of Colombia. When I knew I was moving to the US, I packed my luggage with the usual things you think you will need: coat and warm clothes for winter and light clothes for summer. I also packed my daughter's toys she did not want to leave behind. Pictures of my family and gifts for my future new family were also part of my luggage. But there was not room for my sewing supplies. I never thought I would miss them so much!




In South America, sewing is a profession. Many people live from the income that sewing produces. We have department stores where the mass-produced clothes are sold, therefore, when you are walking down the street you see people wearing some of the same clothes. There are brand-name clothing stores with more unique clothes, but they are much more expensive. Having a unique look becomes more challenging because of this, so we turned to making our own clothes. 

In Colombia, the government protects the national production. Colombia is known for making cottons and wools-- but the import of these types of fabrics from other countries are not allowed because the government wants to protect the mills making these goods. Fabrics that are not produced in Colombia include: rayon, luxury wool blends (mohair, camelhair, etc.), linen and silk. These fabrics are allowed to be imported into the country because they are not affecting the production in the country. Designers pay very high taxes on these imported fabrics, therefore making the cost of the garments they produce much higher.

The designers "nicer" clothing items are exported to other countries, while the "mediocre" items are sold in Colombia. 


These are some pictures of dresses from "Colombia-Moda"
an International Fashion Fair, where more than 500,000 international 
designers participate every year.


Positive or negative, I cannot say that. I have seen my country raised in this field successfully and I am proud of it. However things are about to change. Our heroes, the United States of America signed a Commercial Trade with us allowing both countries to trade products in between without restrictions. Since we admire American products, I am sure we are going to get many of the fabrics, clothes, and tools that can be found here. I think Colombia's horizon in the sewing industry is about to expand for best.

I first learned to sew by watching my mother. She taught me how to sew and how to draw out patterns to create clothing. We would draw sketches of the sewing project we wanted to complete. Most of the time we would get inspiration from national famous designers. We would have special notebooks that allow us to calculate how many meters we would need for each piece of clothing. Next, we would go out to the market to search for fabrics. Fabric stores are usually confined in an area of the city or a department in a store. (We do not buy online-- most internet usage is used for communication or educational purposes.) Once we selected our fabric, we would sit down and draw the real definite design based on the characteristics of the fabric chosen (color, weight, drape, shine, etc.)


This book, Fashionary, is similar to the type of book we used in Colombia to draw and make conversions for our patterns. 


We did not have Vogue, McCalls, etc. to provide us with patterns. You may find Burda in some stores in the cities. When drawing your designs, you would also include sketches of the pattern pieces you will need to make your creation. We would then lay the fabric on the table, take out our tools, weights to keep the fabric steady on the table, rulers designed for sleeve cuts, waist, crotch,etc. We also use chalk, measuring tape, rulers, calculators and notebooks specially designed for drawing patterns on the fabric. (The sewing notebooks have pattern conversion notes, math conversions and other useful information printed on the last pages.) Once the pattern is cut, we are ready to sew and have fun!

We do not have all the techniques and fancy tools that I was glad to find here such as basting spray and other useful tools. We still enjoy using these techniques from my home country, but I am sure my family and friends will start enjoying these other tools after the "commercial trade". 


~Gabby~

At Fabric Mart: Julie's Picks Contest Reminder


This is a friendly reminder that the Julie's Picks Sewing Contest is fast approaching!
Julie's Picks members have only a few day left to purchase from the March mailer. 


We created an event on Facebook to get an idea of how many people are planning to attend.
 Join our event now! Post pictures of your progress and see what others are doing!

Remember, Julie's Picks members are the only ones that can be part of this contest.

Click here to read the details about the Julie's Picks Contest.

We will send out periodic reminders. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Inspiration: Handmade Easter Dresses

Here we are again with some of our favorites from Etsy shops.
We love supporting fellow Etsy shop owners!

Check out our picks for Easter Dresses that are handmade!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Guest: Lisa from Notes from a Mad Housewife

We are thrilled to have Lisa on the blog today from Notes from a Mad Housewife.
She is one of our favorite sewing bloggers and when we got in some new rayon challis, we couldn't wait to ask her to make something with one of the prints.
We're so lucky she agreed!
Here is a little about her:

A little about me... I grew up watching my mom sew, and even though I didn't do much sewing myself as a kid, I absorbed just enough to get me started when I got my own machine. Initially my sewing was for things like halloween costumes and dresses for my girls. Then about three years ago it dawned on me that I could sew actual clothes for myself and I've hardly bought a piece of clothing since. I'm married and have four young children, so in addition to sewing my wardrobe I've started working on my husband's, as well as supplementing my kids' closets . I'm interested in functional everyday pieces that get worn on a regular basis, not just the fluffy dresses (though that's fun too!).

Julie over at Fabric Mart contacted me a while back asking me to guest post for their store blog. No need to ask twice! She pointed me to some rayons and I immediately fell for a green and pink floral print. As quickly as I picked my fabric I knew what pattern I wanted. I've drooled for ages over Megan Nielson's darling ranges dress and knew they would be a perfect match. Seriously, sometimes you agonize over these decisions for days, months, years... and sometimes you know in an instant what you want.


I traced off the bodice and knew right away it would take a bit of modifying to get a good fit. I'm no fitting expert but I know if a dart intake is more than 2" i will definitely need to do a SBA. Yay for megan's great blog (and her darling ranges sew-a-long!)  because she has all the directions for bust adjustments. After the SBA I still wasn't sure this was going to 100% fit me, so I decided to muslin the bodice. I knew I wanted darts in the back at the waist instead of ties and I've seen people make bodice length adjustments, so I wanted to test it all out first.

I ended up...
  • lengthening the bodice
  • adding extra width at the waist to the front bodice piece
  • adding back neck darts to prevent gaping
  • moving the shoulder seam forward
  • doing a petite adjustment to get the bust darts in the right locale as well as shorten the armscythe
sheesh! I'm such a fitting mess sometimes!



Just so you know, I'm not crazy about fitting a garment within an inch of it's life, but I have become attune to where I need adjustments. The fit of this bodice was swinging to the back on me (I have a slight forward shoulder), and i knew it would end up uncomfortable and fidgety. I guess if you have the arrow straight back of a ballerina you'd be fine. I don't. also, I'm on the tall side (5'8") but the top quarter of me is actually petite. basically I'm a petite tall with a forward shoulder. Try finding that in RTW! I pinned out 3/4" horizontally for a petite adjustment and that immediately made a huge difference. The other adjustments I listed were mere tweaks to get the perfect fit. So glad I decided to muslin this one!



I transfered the adjustments and I was ready to go. The sewing itself was pretty straightforward and easy. I'm particularly enamored with the pockets and neckline finish. It's not like this is my first inseam pocket, but she does it in a manner I haven't seen before. You attach the pocket bags with a 1/2" SA then sew up the whole side seam and pocket bag in one go with the regular 5/8" SA. The pocket seam is recessed slightly so you don't have to worry about all those dots and crazy markings lining up just so. And really one of the things I liked so much about this pattern is that there are not excessive pattern markings. She simply says to measure down 3" from the waist and attach the pockets there. who needs all those crazy dots?! The neckline also is pure genius. I've done bias facing many times, and here it just disappears into the folded over button placket. No awkward corners to navigate.



I am completely in love with this dress, and the fabric I used is so soft and comfortable, I know it will be a favorite. Rayon can be an unruly beast to work with, but the payoff is worth the hassle. Also, this is the first Megan Nielson pattern I've done and even though the design is fairly simple, I am super impressed. On her blog she once wrote that she wears all her designs before issuing a pattern and is particularly committed to her patterns being wearable for everyday. If it's not comfortable for daily wear it gets the boot. Smart lady! I'm pretty sure I'll be making a few more darling ranges (as well as picking up more of her patterns) because that is exactly the philosophy I apply to my own sewing.



Big thanks to Fabric Mart for featuring me!
—lisa g.
p.s. If you want more information about the pattern adjustments I made, please check out my blog!


Check out our rayon challis! http://www.fabricmartfabrics.com/xcart/challis/
They are great for everyday dresses and flowy tops!
And they come in wonderful prints that are bold and fun!


Have you tried sewing with rayon challis?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Resource Library: Children's Patterns

Here at Fabric Mart, we love supporting independent pattern designers. 
And what patterns are more adorable than those for children?

Why buy from independent pattern companies? 
Typically there is only one person or a very small team designing and creating the patterns from these shops. Some shops make the patterns by hand or use their technology skills to design them on a computer program and print them or lay them out in an email-able format. 
Therefore these are special patterns not mass-produced like familiar brands such as Vogue or Simplicity. 

We listed here just a few independent children pattern designers for you to shop: 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Made by a Fabricista: Refashion Your Closet

Did you ever try on a piece of clothing and it looks great on you in the dressing room, but when you get it home you wonder why you bought it? Is this the case with half of your closet? If so, you need to read this...it will save you a lot of money and make these garments your go-to pieces in your wardrobe.

In the new year, I went through my closet and picked out everything that I didn't feel "right" in or things that needed to be fixed. Whether it was too baggy, too long, puffy sleeves or just didn't make me feel good, I picked it out. I had a total of about 15 items that I wasn't ready to let go of yet, but they needed attention. I wanted to bring them back to life!


From broken zippers to blouses that needed darts, I did it all in one day. But there was one item I got pretty creative with. This shirt from BCBG was picked up at the BCBG outlet for about $20. I love the detailing on the front, but it sat in my closet for about 3 years--never worn. I didn't like how the side armholes were so open. I decided to cover them with a piece of lace netting I had in my stash.


I cut two triangular pieces from the lace and hand-stitched them to the sides of the blouse. I selected the lace netting because it mimicked the netting behind the applique on the front. Now I have a blouse that I can add back into my wardrobe! It was definitely a better alternative than throwing or giving it away. It is such a unique blouse that it needed something done to make it better for me.


Go through your closet and pick out all the items you want to give another chance. Think of how you can make it work for you. Whether it is letting out a hem, bringing it in or adding something to make it better, get creative! We'd love to see your refashions! Write about your refashion and send us some pictures.You could be included in a future post! Email fabricmartblog@gmail.com to submit.

~Julie

Monday, March 4, 2013

At Fabric Mart: Julie's Picks Contest Reminder

This is a friendly reminder that the Julie's Picks Sewing Contest is fast approaching!
Julie's Picks members have one more month to purchase the fabric they can choose to make a garment for the contest. March mailers were sent out on Wednesday, February 27.


We created an event on Facebook to get an idea of how many people are planning to attend.
 Join our event now! Post pictures of your progress and see what others are doing!

Remember, Julie's Picks members are the only ones that can be part of this contest.

Click here to read the details about the Julie's Picks Contest.

We will send out periodic reminders. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Guest Post: The History of Our Favorite Prints

Hello friends!
Today we have George, a guest blogger, who is going to teach us about our most memorable patterns.
 
These designs and patterns that we’ve known by heart all throughout the years all have a
story to tell. So the next time you’re wearing a fancy shawl with a lot of funky patterns,
you would not only have a stylish garment but a fantastic conversation piece!
 
Paisley - CQA3601
More often than not you have encountered your share of pashmina shawls and your great-
aunt’s Sunday blouses with these designs all over them. You recognize them as those
teardrop or tadpole shaped patterns straight out of an LSD induced hallucination. Not that
you have had any experience with those.
 
These psychedelic patterns are well known as the Paisley design. Its name comes from
the less well known town of Paisley, Scotland, where in the 19th century had become the
foremost producers of these patterned shawls.
 
But the design itself originates from Persia, called the Boteh Jegheh, a convergence of
a stylized floral spray and cypress tree, a Zoroastrian symbol of life and eternity. The
pattern is also used in India, where it is called Mankolam, meaning Mango, and is still
used in gold and temple jewelry, and is also a very prominent design in sarees.
 
 
 
Tartan - CVI6465
Popularly known as “plaid” to North America, Tartan is a pattern that consists of criss
crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colors. It is usually associated with
Scotland, being the usual pattern used in traditional Scottish dress, the Kilt (not a skirt!).
In the 19th century, Tartans were associated by region, specifics of which involved the
local tastes and available textiles and natural dyes in that area. Later on in the century,
tartans would be used to differentiate certain clans and families.
 
 
 
Houndstooth Check - UWB4899
An example of tesselation, a classic houndstooth pattern consists of a duotone textile
pattern consisting of broken or abstract checks. It is traditionally from the Scottish
lowlands, sewn into woven wool.
 
Over the years, especially in the late 19th to the early 20th century it has been used as
pattern for the garments of workers like gamekeepers and farmers because the patterns
hide dirt well. This technique is utilized by modern chefs; the houndstooth pattern on
their pants hide food bits and stains.
 
 
 
Nautical Print - CWI 6152
If you are not familiar with the word, then you could conjure up a picture of Popeye,
and the eponymous sailor’s outfit. If you don’t know who Popeye is, then you need only
come up instead with the mental image of all the sailors that have ever crossed you mind,
eyes, and whatever senses associated to the registering of clothing prints.
 
The word itself means anything that pertains to sailing: whether it be nautical maps,
charts…so basically, a lot of the things related to sailing, you could call it nautical. And
this is where the nautical print was born. It began as a standardized uniform for the navy
in the early 19th century, but the crossover from uniform to civilian wear came with the
then four year old prince Albert Edward, future Edward the VII, dressed in a miniature
uniform thus paving the way for the classic favorite children’s wear. Soon it also crossed
over to other countries, used as school uniforms for boys and girls, more pointedly, the
infamous but curiously incredibly chic sailor fukus of Japanese schoolgirls. The style
transitioned from children’s wear to swimwear: outfits for any activity that included
swimming or fishing or yachting. Later on it reached mainstream fashion, ultimately
becoming incredibly stylish for the female demographic for its crisp, sophisticated look
and its comfort; a reason that led to it becoming the design of several uniforms then and
now. It reached a pique in the wartime, where they were popularly worn in support for
the wartime efforts.
 
 
 
Polka Dots - BDA6354
Ah, the favorite youngest child of all the clothing patterns. The polka dots are a series of
filled circles printed all across a fabric. One would think that the polka dot got its name
from the dance, the polka, but it is surprisingly not so; instead it is named because of the
popularity of the dance at that time, seeping into even the naming of a various many other
objects.
 
But the history of the cute and fumbling polka dot go way back, predating even its own
name. It has embarrassingly grisly origins from the medieval times, as it had been as a
pattern negatively associated to the scattered and circular appearances of the outbreaks
of rash, measles, and infections. It entered into a more positive light, albeit with merely
a more tolerable reputation in a cosmetic trend known as “patching.” no doubt you’ve
seen this on the fancy powdered ladies and gentlemen of the 19th century, as those little
moles. They are painted on, or cut out from felt fabric, and depending on the location on
the face, has a different meaning. Often it is used as a strategic way for women to cover
up blemishes.
 
The polka dot truly came center stage as it was featured in the first Minnie mouse
cartoons, as the eponymous pattern for her clothing, thus making it synonymous to
coquettish, girlish, flirtatious behavior. It became a kooky, whimsical staple of I love
Lucy’s lead, comedienne Lucille Ball, earning it more adjectives like quirky and bubbly.
It is referenced in cultural events, and its most famous reference is that song, “itsy bitsy
teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini.”
 
 
 
Guest author George Shaw is part of Color Tex Inc.’s sales and marketing team, a dyeing and finishing
company in Brooklyn, NY. He is also an aspiring blogger and writer whose interests are in the fields of arts
and design.