When we were at our very first location (the Watergate in DC) we had a small box into which we placed those final pieces from each roll. One of our customers called it the "prayer box" because sometimes she found just what she wanted! Other people enjoy the challenge of a piece that's just shy of usable yardage (guilty here :) ).
I'd like to have a "virtual" remnant table just on this blog. These pieces won't be visible on the main website...what do you think?
With all that's going on in the world, it's nice to be able to retreat to our world of fabric and pick out a few each week to share with you. Click on the pictures above for full descriptions. Each one is exceptional!
Maybe you'll be able to find a Lekala pattern to use with one or more. The Lekala site has an Easter sale going on, with the prices only $1.99 and $2.99 each.
Speaking of sales...you miss out if you haven't connected with our Facebook page! Look for the one day only coupon for 25% OFF!
What have you been working on lately?
Probably one of the first puzzling things about sewing with commercial patterns is the "sizing" issue. While ready-to-wear sizes have grown steadily larger (with smaller size numbers!), patterns have remained consistent for decades. It's important to pick the right size when cutting out your pattern, so that necklines, shoulders, and armholes (which are difficult to alter) as well as the bustline, waistline, and hips (which are easier to alter) reflect a good fit for you.
Luckily, Burda patterns include many sizes in one envelope, so you can order with confidence and compare the sizing once you have the pattern at home, before you start cutting out your fabric!
Here's Burda's sizing chart for your convenience. Happy sewing!
What is on your sewing wish list for Spring? For me, it's ALWAYS about linen!
The first time I sewed with linen, it was a Moygashel dress weight linen in a lavender color. It was a fitted dress with a slight A-line, and some cotton venise lace trim. I fell in love with linen from that point on! I saved all the scraps and later made a two piece sunsuit
(For those who don't know, a sunsuit (then) was kind of like a swimsuit, but not for wear in the water...can you imagine how heavy a linen swimsuit would be? Funny to even think about.) For sunning oneself, a sunsuit was much more comfy than a swimsuit because they were made of breathable fabrics like cotton. Now, a "sunsuit" means something entirely different...it's for sun protection, not for sun bathing!
Let us know what's on your wish list!
February is our "Anniversary Month", and it's also the time of year that our customers start looking for spring and summer fabrics. Be patient! Some of the European fabrics arrive closer to the season.
Its also Black History Month, and we're delighted to be able to buy a Forever Stamp bearing the image of Dorothy Height, who was our customer for many, many years. She was a delightful woman and an impeccable, old-school dresser, as well as a fighter for equality. Just seeing her picture makes us smile.
Hey, Henry David Thoreau and Mississippi...not too shabby either!
I often make a mental picture of what's on the cutting table.
There's nothing like the holiday season to bring family and tradition together. We've been discovering some new traditions to add to our holiday season repertoire.
First of all, the Nutcracker is a must-see during the season. This year, the Charlottesville ballet is re-staging Tchaikovsky's story at a new Culpeper location, the Culpeper Baptist Church, on December 10th. Your child 3-8 can even take a class with Clara! Tickets range from $12.00 to $30.00.
If you don't think "lights" for the holidays, you should get out more. Every year, the Northern Virginia Parks Authority does it up right by decorating Bull Run Park in Centreville with 2.5 miles of holiday lights, including a holiday village and carnival. Now through the first week of January. Here's a coupon for discounted entry!
Christmas trees are no bargain in Northern Virginia, but it may be worth your while to drive to Peper-mint Christmas Tree Farm, which is winding down its tree farm operations this season. They offer hundreds of their remaining spruce, pine, and fir trees at $25-35 each while supplies last.
The Warrenton Christmas Parade is sure to delight a family that values old-fashioned fun. Bring your unwrapped toy for the Toys for Tots program, and enjoy the Christmas tree lighting at 6 followed by the parade. December 2--that's just a couple of days away!
Not to mention, of course, the ambiance of one of America's Top Ten Small Towns, Culpeper, VA!
If you'd like to see how to order this pattern for the sew-along/tutorial for Lekala 1589, read on!
First, enter the option to add seam allowances (or not).
Then enter the paper size you'll be using for the printout. I use US Letter size (8-1/2 by 11 inches).
Lekala allows for customized measurements and also for a number of figure adjustments. Here's my typical set of measurements (which would not be typical for the Big 3 patterns). In ready to wear, I am a size 14P in a brand like Talbots, or Lee or Levis jeans. Bear in mind that I am fuller busted, and my figure has--ahem--"matured." So there's not much waistline and I would need to make a full bust adjustment on the typical commercial pattern. (But ready-to-wear seems to fit me fine, go figure.).
So grab your tape measure and get started with your own measurements! I recommend you "save" your measurements on the site with today's date in the file name.
Enter your measurements on the order page and wait for your customized pattern to be emailed to you. It's FREE. :)
Alternate US site: http://patterns.bootstrapfashion.com/index.php/sewing-patterns/women/free-patterns/made-to-measure-sewing-patterns-button-down-jacket-with-shirt-collar.html#.V9xU0fkrLIU
A Sew Along...what do you think?
I'm thinking of doing an online tutorial for a downloadable jacket pattern. I've used downloadable patterns several times, and I like them. First of all, in some cases the fit can be adjusted before the download is sent out. Second, the patterns range from the very classic (and sometimes free) to the quirky, to the fashion-forward. Most are very affordable. I like that, and I think many others will too.
If you'd like to check out some free patterns to download, try visiting the Lekala or Bootstrap Fashion website. They have many of the same patterns. (Bootstrap is based in San Francisco and Lekala in Russia and Switzerland). Get your tape measure out and write down your measurements so the pattern can be as customized as possible. Go through your fabric stash and find some fabric you might otherwise not use, or some lining or muslin. (Lining is handy in case you want a lined garment).
I think I'm going to use this pattern (Lekala 1589). The fabric they used for the sample is quirky...looks distracting...I don't like it, but when I look at the seam lines and detail, I like the basic bones of the jacket. I think it would be great in
a tweedy wool,
a heavier gab or wool crepe,
<<<<< a brocade (oooh)..................................................
or even denim. Maybe I'll add some contrasting topstitching.
So, shall we? Let me know if you'd like to follow along!
Some more notes on the download aspect:
We've always wondered why the Big Pattern companies didn't do this download thing long ago. As it is, up until 2008 or so it was a very expensive and time and space consuming undertaking to carry the Big Patterns (we carried Vogue and Butterick, at an inventory value of almost $100,000). At the same time, the Big Patterns went into competition with their vendors, offering big discounts to online customers. So in essence, independent retailers were carrying and paying for patterns marked up to $35.00 each and being undercut by their suppliers in partnership with large chains, who would sell the same patterns that they marked $35.00, for far less...sometimes as little as $5.00 for Vogue and $1.00 for Butterick in the big chain stores.
When McCalls bought the Vogue and Butterick parent company, many people were concerned about the monopoly it would create in the US market. However, the market is taking care of that aspect, because thanks to technology there are independent companies popping up everywhere.
Our brilliant owner once approached McCalls with a novel idea. Why, instead of all the floor space and money we have tied up in pattern inventory, doesn't McCalls devise downloads that it will license to shops, who can print the patterns out "on demand" in the size of choice (even customized!) on a wide format printer? Well, the idea, like many of his ideas, was too far advanced for the time, back in the 1990's. Sigh. It would have been fun.
The following might be Too Much Information...
I guess at some point many of the independent shops rebelled. One day we received news that the patterns were going to be shipped on a modified consignment program. So we would only pay for those we sold. That took care of the expense part, but not the space or time issue. And not the issue with the independents like us beng locked into the far-overpriced retail price structure. (For example, if we sold a $35.00 pattern we would be billed $17.50, which used to be called 50% markup--kind of a standard markup for stores to cover overhead. But, the customer might go home and look online and see that they could buy the same pattern online for $15.00...or visit a chain store with the catalogs marked "Vogue Patterns always 40% off"... or hit a sale and pay $5.00 ... yield: one frustrated customer.)
When we decided to move, something had to go. The charming space with which we fell in love was not the capacious space in Georgetown or K Street, but a narrower space perfect for human interaction. Kind of reminiscent of our first location at the Watergate. So the patterns went, except for the Burda patterns that we have carried since 1978 or so (now a licensee of Wilton Brands, and they are and always have been a wonderful company to deal with).
They are a star in our world. :)
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