Holiday Stitch Exchange: Pressed Seam Fabric Club!

Posted by AVFKW Staff on December 11, 2014 0 Comments

Hello everyone!

I'm excited to announce that our fabric club, Pressed Seam, is open for sign-ups today! As a member you will receive 6 fat quarters each month, shipped on the 1st of the month! Memberships are available in 3 and 6 month subscriptions, and this month, as part of our Holiday Stitch Exchange blog series, we have a special offer: ALL new subscribers will receive a free gift with their first shipment!

This club is a great way to build your fabric stash with great prints and blenders, as well as specialty textiles, unique hand-dyed fabric, and hand-printed fabric that you might not have picked for yourself!

In anticipation of sign-ups being open I worked up this little quilt. All the fabrics I used have been part of shipments in the last 6 months, and to complete the quilt top the minty green solid is the only fabric where I used more than a fat quarter. I wanted to illustrate how this club is a great way to have a library of materials you can draw from to make a last minute project or gift, without a trip to the store. 

I'm a big fan of having a stash of supplies to pull from. I'm sure it comes mostly from growing up 50 miles from the nearest fabric store! But I love being able to wake up, brainstorm my project and start on it straightaway. I also like having pieces in my collection that I didn't actually pick out for myself but got from a friend, family member or other trusted source. I keep a large collection of fabrics I inherited from my grandmother and I pull from it often. Sometimes I end up using something I would never have picked out at the store for myself, and it ends up being my favorite element in the project.

I encourage people to sign up for Pressed Seam for the fun of getting the package every month as well as the adventure of having materials you may not otherwise have thought of using! Here is one more look at my little lap quilt and some basic directions if you want to sew one up for yourself! 

Finished quilt:

33" x 40"

Materials:

4 coordinated fat quarters

1 yard of contrast for background 

1 yard of fabric for back

1/2 yard of fabric for binding

Directions:

Sew all seams with 1/4" seam allowance.

1. Cut 6x 4.5" inch squares from each of your 4 fat quarters.

2. Cut 24x 4.5" squares from the contrast fabric

3. Sew each of your fat quarter squares to a contrasting square, resulting in 12 half-square-triangels from each of your fat quarter fabrics (48 half-square-triangles total). Click here for 2 different techniques to make half-square-triangles.

4. Play with laying the squares out and establishing a graphic pattern that you like, and sew it up!

5. Add a 5.5" border out of contrasting fabric all the way around. 

6. For quilt back use one solid piece, or piece together scraps from fat quarters.

7. Bind the quilt, and you're done!

Happy sewing!

Tasa

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Holiday Stitch Exchange: Top 10 Sewing Gifts

Posted by AVFKW Staff on November 29, 2014 0 Comments

Hi everyone, it's that giving season again! 

I hope you are enjoying our holiday gift blog series! It's been really fun to see what others are recommending and to come up with a list myself. I love giving gifts, both fully made gifts and gifts that are the foundation for further creativity. My list is a combination of things I would be thrilled to receive and things that I plan to give (or have already given!) to loved ones this season!

First on my list are books! Sewtionary by Tasis Germaine of Sewaholic is a brand new book that has been very popular at the shop and online. As the title implies, it's a dictionary-style guide with clearly written and well-illustrated directions to construction and finishing techniques. It's a wonderful resource for the beginning or advanced sewist. I am much more of an apparel sewist, but Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts 1950-2000 by Roderick Kiracofe is inspirational book even if you aren't a quilter. The quilts this book focuses on are not the classic patterns we usually see in quilt history books. They are one-of-a-kind quilts that were created with the materials on hand. The artists who created the quilts in this book did not make 14 trips to the fabric store to find just the right shade of purple! They used what they had, and that gives each quilt a unique voice and inspires me as a maker.

I have to include Selvedge Magazine on my book list as each issue of Selvedge is really more like a book than a magazine. It is filled with photo layouts, interviews and articles about artists who are doing groundbreaking work in the textile arts. It's a wonderful gift for fabric or pattern designers, interior designers, fine artists and anyone interested in aesthetics. It's my go-to hostess gift!

Next up, fabric and patterns. Our naturally dyed, organic cotton Khadi is one of my favorite fabrics. Taking into account that giving fabric is a little like giving a piece of visual art (always chancy!), I really think you can't miss with this one. It's perfect for garments, home accents (pillows, napkins, wrapping cloths) or quilting. I would suggest a variety of 1/2 yard cuts as a gift for a quilter, or one cut of 2-3 yards for a garment maker. Since we're heading into winter, you might be looking for something a little warmer! Fall and winter is a great time to be sewing with wool fabric. We have some lovely wool apparel fabric in the store right now, so appropriate for a winter gift either sewn up into something or right off the bolt! The washable Pendleton shirt weight plaids are great for light jackets and skirts, as well a shirts. Finally, our Uptown Top pattern is my personal favorite of our patterns (so far!) due to its comfort and versatility. You can sew it up out of a woven or check out some alternative ideas here and here

 

Last but not least, we come to sewing notions. All the Merchant and Mills notions and tools are great. Two of my personal favorites are the Entomology Pins and the Wide Bow Scissors. I love sewing tools that are both aesthetically pleasing and good at the job they are intended for. These pins make me happy whenever I use them! They are long and slender, so they are great for delicate apparel fabrics and are very precise. Like the pins, the scissors are highly functional and delightful to use. They are the perfect pair of snips to keep right by your machine or in your hand sewing kit. As a bonus all the Merchant and Mills tools and notions come in beautiful packaging, they just need a little ribbon and they are ready to be slipped under the tree or into a stocking! 

Another great stocking stuffer is our organic cotton thread. It comes in black and white and is just right for the sewist who is 100% committed to sewing 100% organic! The final item on my list is our Sashiko Sewing Kit, which contains all the supplies needed to start practicing this Japanese art of functional embroidery. This is a nice gift for someone who is just getting into hand sewing and mending. It's also a great way to start kids out on sewing! 

Here's a recap-

Tasa's Top 10 Sewing Gifts:

1. Sewtionary by Tasis Germaine of Sewaholic

2. Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts 1950-2000 by Roderick Kiracofe

3. Selvedge Magazine

4. Verb's Khadi fabric (enter coupon code: topsewinggifts)

5. Wool fabric

6. Verb's Uptown Top (enter coupon code: topsewinggifts1)

7. Merchant and Mills Entomology Pins

8. Merchant and Mills Wide Bow Scissors

9. Organic cotton thread

10. Verb's Sashiko Sewing Kit: Sashiko needles, sashiko thread, linen fat quarter

Today only, all of the above listed gifts are 15% off.

To purchase these gifts, and receive the discount either stop by the shop today (open 11-6pm), call (510-595-verb), or email (info@averbforkeepingwarm). We are happy to ship!

Happy holidays and happy sewing!

Tasa

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Holiday Stitch Exchange: Let's Do This!

Posted by Kristine Vejar on November 29, 2014 0 Comments

Welcome to the holiday edition of stitch exchange!

For the next two weeks on the blog - we will be giving you our top 10 gift ideas for knitting, sewing, natural dyeing, weaving, felting, and spinning! On those days, there will be a special discount given on the items listed - good for that day only - so stay tuned! 

We also have lots of fun projects to show you - like needle felted ornaments for your tree, a  tutorial using mushrooms as dye, and more!

Tomorrow, we begin this adventure by releasing our newest yarn, Big Sky, a bulky single yarn made of Montana Targhee wool. This knits up fast! And is perfect for holiday knitting! Plus - we are offering free shipping on the Verb webstore!

I can't wait to show you this yarn!! See you tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

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Textile Byways: A Handmade Wardrobe - Montana 2014

Posted by Kristine Vejar on November 06, 2014 0 Comments

This Fall, the Bay Area has been exceptionally warm with only a few days here and there to wear a heavy wool sweater. So, pretty much the first thing I did when deciding to visit Montana was to think about what warm and woolly things I would get to wear. My good friend Julie has a vast collection of hand-knit sweaters. She kindly allowed me to bring along Nieve knit in Horizon.

Stephen had given me a long-term loan of his Iberian Discovery. I felt it was time to knit my own. So I cast-on using Horizon in Grizzly Peak.

And then Tasa, Verb's pattern drafter and sewing teacher, and I got to talking. The Uptown Top is Tasa's personal favorite of the Verb sewing patterns. She has at least 4 variations that she has made for herself! She has one as the pattern is written, one without the hip band but with a vintage lace inset, one out of Alabama Chanin organic cotton jersey, and one out of a delicious wool jersey. She loves this pattern. And when she has a pattern that she loves she finds ways to alter it and expand on it. 

So let me introduce to you the Uptown Jacket! From here, Tasa is going to step in and tell you a little bit about how she transformed the Uptown Top into this amazing jacket.

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We had already started talking about hacking this pattern into a jacket when Kristine got the news about Sweet Grass and started planning her trip to Montana. I don't know about you guys, but my wardrobe is the next thing I start thinking of when I have my travel dates! So when Kristine said she would like to take the jacket on her trip north I grabbed some of the amazing Pendleton washable shirt weight wool we have in the store and went to work. 

I knew I wanted this to be a pretty accessible pattern hack because we wanted to structure a class around it later. The silhouette of this garment is already perfectly suited to be a jacket. It's simple, loose in the arms and torso so you can wear anything under it, and fitted at the hip so the jacket won't get in the way of movement. So I really didn't have to play with anything besides the front pieces.

The first thing I did was to split the front panel of the shirt down the center. Then I drafted a facing piece for the new front neckline/center front opening. 

An important part of the process was pattern matching the plaid when I was cutting out all the pieces for the shell of the jacket. Pattern matching is something that beginning sewists are often overwhelmed (dare I say frightened?) by, but its bark is much worse than its bite, I promise! It's more time consuming than hard, and the extra time is well worth it if you are working with plaids or stripes. It can really elevate your garment to the next level to have things line up nicely.

After cutting out my shell pieces, I moved on to the lining. I used a solid color cotton voile for the lining. It's a really tight weave so despite the fact that it's thin it should hold up fine as a lining fabric. It's also nice and smooth which is the other main consideration for a lining fabric, you don't want your jacket to stick to whatever you are wearing under it! Also I snuck a patch pocket on the inside of the jacket, because pockets are a must have for almost every garment. 

The assembly for the jacket is basically the same as it is for the top, except you are making two instead of one and then connecting them at the arm openings, neck opening, hip band and center front. The only other thing I really altered was to cut a deeper hip band out of the wool and fold it over, as opposed to lining it with the voile. I think it will make a sturdier hip band and hold up better over the life of the jacket. Installing the separating zipper is the final step for this jacket.

I love how this pattern hack turned out. It works great as an extra layer in the temperate Bay Area climate and I plan on making one for myself in the very near future. The hardest part is picking which lovely fabric to make it out of! 

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and that this project inspires you to re-envision one of your favorite pattens! 

Happy sewing!

Tasa

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I am very grateful to Tasa for making this incredible jacket. If you would like to learn how to make your own, Tasa is teaching a class. Click here to learn more.

I hope you are having a wonderful Fall season. Thanks for reading! 

Kristine

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Stitch Exchange: Something Fancy This Way Comes

Posted by Kristine Vejar on October 23, 2014 55 Comments

On Friday, Fancy Tiger Crafts, located in Denver, Colorado, released their very first sewing pattern named the Sailor Top

Tasa, Sarah, and I have been awaiting the pattern and were thrilled to sew our very own.

Tasa made hers out of Liberty Tana Lawn. She thinks this is a lovely pattern, a really easy sew, is a great fit, and will sew it again for sure. She is looking forward to making it in a variety of fabrics and doing some embellishments on it! She is already thinking of making it in a wool/silk crepe for the winter and an eyelet for next summer. (Actually, Tasa has already sewed a second Sailor Top this weekend). Tasa added lightweight fusible interfacing to the yoke.

Sarah made hers out of Verb khadi - which is a lightweight fabric made of 100% handspun, handloomed organic cotton - made specially for us in the Great Rann of Kutch in India. She also really enjoyed sewing her shirt. She, like Tasa, added interfacing to the yoke. Sarah used 2.5 yards of khadi to make a size small.

I made mine out of Verb's line of naturally dyed lightweight linen - which we dye right here in our Oakland studio. I dyed my fabric with acacia. Also, I dipped embroidery floss into indigo and embroidered little doodles along the front and back yoke. Soon, we will have naturally dyed fabric and floss available online for sale. Stay tuned!

All three of these shirts are currently hanging in the shop - in the case you would like to stop in and see them in person or try them on. We also have hard-copies of this pattern for sale.

We wanted to give you an idea of how the shirts looked in action - so instantly thought - cake and tea break! Now sew yourself a Sailor Top and eat some cake :) I promise you won't regret it.

 

GIVEAWAY! Leave a comment within the next 48 hours - letting us know what fabric your dream Sailor Top would be made of - and enter a chance to win a digital copy of the Sailor Top pattern.

BONUS GIVEAWAY! Creativebug, a website dedicated to DIY classes, has given our readers a two week free membership. Jaime and Amber of Fancy Tiger have made a class teaching you how to sew a Sailor Top. Click here to learn more!

Next up on the Sailor Top blog tour is Miss Make! Her blog is well worth a visit - she's funny, talented, and makes adorable garments. I can't wait to see what she does with her version of the Sailor Top - and - she also just might be giving away a Sailor Top pattern too.

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Next on the blog: Join us Wednesday to learn if you have won a free copy of the Sailor Top - and - on Wednesday - I will begin to write about our recent trip to Montana - where we went recently to meet the shepherds of our newest yarn (made of Montana Targhee wool), and have many more exciting new adventures to share with you!

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