August 2007 Archives

Moniqa's Flowers

August 31, 2007

Moniqa is our Graphic Artist. She is one of the most creative young ladies I have ever known, and I have known a lot of creative ladies! Moniqa creates purses, tops and dresses for herself and these wonderful flowers. We all marvel at them when she wears them to work. She'll pin them to her top or coat, but usually we see them on her handbags. She designed the handbags herself, too.

Here's a link to the pattern, but I wanted to give you a little instruction to go with it here.

  • You decide a set number of petals to cut from any fabric you like. Felt, suede and faux suede will not unravel. Silks and other interesting woven fabrics will, but if you can stand it, the raveling can become part of the design.
  • There is a template for the stigma, or center of the flower.
  • You will clip little fringes half-way through your strip of fabric and roll it to create the center.
  • Hand stitch the bottom of the roll to hold it in place.
  • The bottom layer of petals are the larger size petal template. Lay them in a circle overlapping them slightly and hand tack them together. Do the same for the smaller top layer of petals.
  • Push the sigma through the middle and hand stitch the whole flower together picking up each petal layer and securing it into the stigma.
  • Add a little fabric or felt circle at the back either with glue or hand stitching.
  • Now you can add a pin back or create a necklace with two pieces of ribbon. Make several flowers and create a fantastic bracelet!

Remember, these are only guidelines. You can make the flower larger. You can make the stamens shorter, longer, thicker, thinner. Add leaves. I think you get the drift. Try my No Rules rule: just start cutting and see what happens. I think that's how Moniqa came up with this project in the first place.

Have fun!

P.S. The green flower is created from Dupioni Silk and the indigo flower is wool felt.

Melanie's Debut

August 29, 2007

You know those lovely emails you get in your inbox a couple times a week (or even daily if you have signed up for our new Deal of the Day email)?  My job is to make sure those emails are planned, produced and scheduled on time.  It's a little bit technical, a little bit creative and a whole lot of fun.  I get to help Moniqa (our graphic artist) with some of the pretty designing and writing, while still utilizing the computer skills my programmer father instilled upon me.  Throw in some number crunching, and that's my day.

I grew up in a family of crafters.  From the moment I was old enough to comprehend the details of what I was doing, my grandmother had me on her knee helping my pudgy, unskilled hands guide the fabric through her old Bernina while she controlled the speed of the stitches.  My first project was a simple blue pillowcase with rainbow lace trim and a Rainbow Bright panel appliqu├ęd on with crooked zigzag stitches.  Roughly 20 years later, I still cherish that pillowcase. 

All through school, I was teased for knowing such an "outdated" and "old-lady" skill.  I would spend summers with my grandmother and my aunts, learning everything from doll making to quilting.  The first day back to school I would show up proudly modeling that summer's apparel project.  By the end of the day, though, I was ready to tuck the outfit far into the back of my closet where it could never haunt me again.  Sewing your own clothing was un-cool and a social indicator that you were poor, and we all know how mean kids can be.  In high school I managed to find a few other fellow crafters, but we were often considered kitschy and on the weirder side of creative.  I even remember at least one person equating my sewing skills to a step back for the feminist movement. 

Today, I see a change in the trends.  Women my age now regret not having the skills needed to make slipcovers or outfits or even simple alterations.  I have been to parties where I spent more time explaining how to make simple curtains than I did socializing and partying.  A whole slew of sewing magazines have popped up, aimed for the young, hip and trendy.  It seems that the "outdated, old-lady hobby" so many people shunned in the past is making a well-deserved comeback, and I'm glad.  I am grateful for all the knowledge passed down to me.  Those lessons in sewing and crafting not only taught me how to make my own dresses or pillows.  They also taught me patience, precision, organization and that wonderful feeling of accomplishment found at the end of road paved with twisted elastic, broken strings and jammed machines.

I hope to use my future posts to pass down some of the priceless knowledge and experience that have been given to be by the wonderful women in my life, both family and friends.  If I can inspire even one person to pass on their treasure trove of expertise to some lucky little boy or girl, well then, I can rest assured that my rambling wasn't all for naught.

Happy stitching!

My name is Kristl....

August 27, 2007

This is going to be a little personal. You see, I have a problem. It's not an unusual situation, and I think most of you can sympathize. My name is Kristl, and I'm a fabri-holic. I'm not sure I'm working in the right environment to change my ways, either. I am better than I was. Just imagine landing a job here at as a fabri-holic, and getting a great discount. Not only that, I got to help pick out what we sell on the website. After six years, you can imagine my stash.

My passions are natural fibers - silks, woolens, linen especially. I think living in the Beautiful South give me an affinity for linen. And, we can wear it eight months a year if you get the colors right. If you've been with us long enough, you know how many thousands of yards of dupioni silk have run through our warehouse. I think I have some of every exotic color that ever came through. I love the lustrous colors so much. I have a few skirts and the rest is waiting for ideas. My favorite skirt is made of washed dupioni, but that's a story for another time.

So, tell me, what's your fabric passion? What makes you stop in your tracks and buy it - whether it's on sale or not? I have a new topic on the discussion board on that very subject today. Here's a link:



August 24, 2007

Hello again, Seeing as this is my second post and I have already introduced myself, I thought I would spread the word on the main reason I am here and doing what I love. Fellow bloggers, brace yourself for the introduction, I can be long winded. About 3 Christmases ago, my mom gave me a Teach Yourself to Crochet book and I tried, I really did. Cut to the chase... (as you previously read) crochet did not work out and I started knitting. Since I am familiar with Google and that you can learn anything on the internet, I started surfing for knitting patterns, tips and mostly videos. One of my first hits was Silvia's knitblog (deceptively named as she sews just as much), and the beginning of my star-crossed love affair with Amy Butler. See, Silvia had posted progress pictures of her Amy Butler Weekender Bag, and it was love at first site. I began to sew again. From there it was a downward spiral from which I have yet to emerge. I was helped along the way, and continue to receive support, from the following blogs that I want to share with you. I hope that others may find inspiration and encouragement to sew and create with fabric.


  • Kris- Monkey Foot Designs: Kris sold me my first Amy Butler pattern and fabric and always answered my sewing questions.
  • Jen- Beebee Mod: Fellow Yankee and makes the cutest kid clothes
  • Erica Bunker- Erica B's DIY Style: If you want to know the latest trend, check here first. She has probably already made it!
  • Tuesday- Done by Tuesday: A big fan of Japanese crafting, I won my first contest on Tuesday's blog!
  • Last but not Least, Stacy- Stacy Sews: If ever there was an understatement, it is the name of Stacy's blog. It should at least have an under title like "Stacy, master of fabric, it jumps to do her bidding while she sits on her fabric throne she made herself and will be more than happy to share with you her tips". But most important she is a Jayhawk!


So these are just a few of my favorite blogs, I will share more as I discover them and hope that they make you just as happy as they make me.


On the fabric front I am super excited about all the new Home Decor fabrics we have in stock: Taffeta in the best colors, P Kaufmann and loads of new Promotional Dupioni Silk . I moving into my new house in a few weeks, so of course I have an eye out for couches, chairs, pillows and curtains. As much as I would love to cover my house in Amy Butler's Nigella, I am married and must reign in the color explosion that I envision. As a compromise I am thinking these fabrics: Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for bb-497.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for bb-493.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for DPSR-009.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for DPSR-061.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for UR-361.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for UR-920.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for UR-919.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for UC-491.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for WV-253.jpg Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for UB-820.jpg                  While I can reign it in, I cannot ignore my color compulsion completely. I will be sure to keep you all up to date with house decoration progress right here and with pictures in the gallery. Next up, Muslin Ottoman cover with hand embroidered redwork!

Tara Miller

How to measure stretch of knit fabric

August 23, 2007

AKA "pick-a-knit" rule.
I recently googled how to measure knit stretch and every configuration there of in hopes of find some info on how to accuratly measure the percent of stretch of knit fabric to insure that our customers are getting the most accurate product info. I could not find the info anywhere. By some good will of the internets gods, I stumbled across a forum discussing the "Pick-a-Knit" rule which guided me the rest of my way. Here is a simplifed location to get your info to determine the stretch of your knits.

1) Determine which direction is the stretchiest, this is the direction you want to measure. Typically, across grain is the stretchiest, but if I say it is a fact, there will be an exception. So test to be sure.

2) Grab a ruler or measuring tape and hold it on your knit in the direction of stretch. pinch the fabric at the Zero mark and at the 4'' mark and pull. Pull till you feel resistance, if you pull farther than that you are distorting the fabric. Make a note at where the resistance starts. you can use any spanse of measurement, 4'' is just a decent base measurement to use to make sure you are getting a true stretch

If you were able to pull the fabric 1'', 1''/4''=.25, than you have 25% of stretch. 2'' is 2''/4''=.5, 50% stretch.
You can use this equation:

  • base number (we used 4'' above): Y
  • inches of stretch: X
    stretch equation.jpg


I really hope this helps and that I explained it in a way that is easily understood. If you have any questions, please let me know
Happy Sewing,

Kathy's First Entry

August 22, 2007

Quilting is my game, and Kathy is my name. I am Merchandising Assistant for Kristl here at We all know that is a fabric warehouse where a quilter of any age or stash size would pay them to work here. In fact, my husband tells everyone that I would have paid Stephen to let me work here. I had been a customer on the website for a number of years and came to their twice yearly warehouse sales when I got the opportunity to work here. I walked around in a daze for days because of the sheer size of the warehouse. Rows and rows of shelves and tubes filled with fabric that I could put my hands on pick up or just run my fingers across. Hal, in Customer Service, laughs and says that I am one of their best customer as I average bringing home one order a week since I started working here.

What have I been doing with all that fabric you ask? Well, I've been taking classes at a local quilt shop. I am a firm believer that no matter your skill level you should take the time to go to a class or two when they are available to you. Classes educate us in the techniques necessary to create our quilts. We learn new techniques; or refine a technique that has been a difficult to flesh out on your own. Always remember you are never to old to learn something new and classes are a great resource for us all.

Greetings from Stephen

August 20, 2007

I am new to the blog concept, so please bear with me as I learn the ropes.

As you might have guessed, I am not a sewer, although I do think I have a very good eye for color and design. So I can't share my sewing tips and tricks with you.

I thought you might find it interesting to hear how we got to where we are today. It is a pretty classic American entrepreneurial story. In early 1993, I started a company called Phoenix Textiles. We were what is referred to as a "fabric jobber". We bought season-end closeouts from some of the largest clothing manufacturers in the US, brought them into our warehouse, and then tried to resell them to small apparel manufacturers around the US. For a while it was a pretty good business. We had 6-8 employess and did a couple of million in sales. By the mid-late 90s, I could see we were going to be in trouble. Most of our customers, the small apparel manufacturers were either going out of business or moving their production off-shore. Virtually all of our suppliers were moving their production off-shore. It was not a pretty picture and things started to go from bad to worse.

By 1998, I could tell that Phoenix Textiles was no longer a viable business, so I decided to go out of business. I let go all of our emplyees except for our warehouse manager, one warehouse worker and myself, all of whom would be needed to liquidate the business. The problem was, we had a big warehouse full of fabric and no customers to buy it. It became impossible to go out of business because we could not get rid of the fabric. It was a very dark and depressing time. Out of pure desparation, I came up with the idea of trying to liquidate the fabric on the internet to the public (even though we had never sold to the public before). I built a VERY rudimentary web site one Friday afternoon. I priced all of the fabric at $1.00 a yard, even though in almost all cases we had paid much more than that for it. I went home for the weekend, thinking this was a really bad idea.

When we came in on Monday, we discovered that about 50 people from all around the country had placed orders. While that was exciting at first, we quickly realized, we had no cutting tables, no shipping labels, no boxes to ship in, and we had no clue what we were doing. Nonetheless, we set out to try to fill the orders. Greg, our warehouse manager, and I cut and folded fabric all day and at the end of that day, we had successfully shipped 8 orders. I knew then that we were in trouble. I called a temp agency and the next day we had a couple of helpers, some scissors I bought at JoAnn, and some overstock boxes we found at a dealer in downtown Atlanta. The challenge was that, during the prior day and evening, another 50 or so orders were placed. I won't bore you with every painful detail, but this comedy of errors kept up for several days while we ran around trying to increase our capacity to fill orders. Don't forget, even though we were getting orders, everything was $1.00 yard, which didn't really cover the cost of the temporary labor, much less the fabric, the rent, etc. But we were committed to going out of business and this seemed like the only way we could get rid of the inventory.

We kept things going like I described for about 3-4 weeks. Then my parents came into town to visit and they were fascinated by what we were doing. I explained to them that, while it was fascinating, at $1.00 yard, there was no way to make money. My dad said, "why not try to sell some items for $1.99 and see what happens." So we did that and orders continued to roll in (now we were up to 70-80 orders a day). A few weeks later, we added some items at $2.99 yard, and still the orders kept coming. (Remember, we were still just selling our apparel fabric closeouts; no cotton prints, no home dec). This kept up for about 6 more weeks, when finally I told our staff (still mostly temps) that we were not going out of business at all, we were going into the retail fabric business on the Internet.

There is a lot more to the story, but I think I will save that for future editions. In coming chats (or maybe I should call them blogs) I will talk about:

1) hiring Laurie Hill (now Laurie Eady)

2) trying unsuccessfully to raise venture capital

3) unintentionally inventing the email broadcast approach to marketing

4) Kristl coming on board and changing the face of our entire merchandising strategy

5) Some of the funny (and not so funny) stories that have happened to us along the way

6) Some of values I have learned along the way.

That's all for now. Best regards, Stephen


Tara Miller- Merchandiser

August 17, 2007

blog photo.jpgHello- my name is Tara Miller and I am a merchandiser here at Let me tell you a little about my job and then fill you in on me!

As a merchandiser, my job is basically to make the fabric look pretty so you when you see it on the site, you want it. Its much like the window dressers in Macy's on 5th Avenue. I commonly refer to this as "fancying about with fabric". When we receive our shipments of fabric in our warehouse, our receivers slice off a fair chunk and send it up to our offices for the merchandising team to process. This process consists of scanning the fabric to the best of its ability, photoshopping (slight wrinkles and adjusting colors) and entering all the info you see on the product page as well as arranging all the fabrics on the webpage. This means when you click on a collection you see order, color and prints, not a jumble. Processing one collection takes the better part of the day from when it hits my desk to when it gets into the store for you to purchase. The merchandising team consists of: Kristl Pelz (AKA Boss), Lauren Neuffer, Kathy Wallace and me.

Now about me: I am 28, a Yankee and love to make everything. I learned to cook and sew from my Mom. She made a fair amount of my clothes growing up and I have so great memories of picking out buttons with her at our local fabric store (I love buttons). I have been sewing off and on for 18 years. I never really took it seriously until 5 years ago. My first project was a rather complicated flapper costume for a friend. It turned out really well. I am also a self-taught knitter for 2 years and a somewhat crotchetier. I started with crochet and when my squares turned into trapezoids, I decided that maybe 2 sticks were in order. I quickly become addicted to knitting. I, like the greater number of computer savvy crafters, have a blog,, where I post projects, pictures, tips and everything that won't fit here. I spend most of my free time (when my nose is not stuck in a book) making something, sewing or knitting. I also have 3 dogs and 1 cat (who thinks she is a dog) all rescued. I have a degree in History, worked in accounting and started at in February.

    uc-610.jpgI have a passion for fabric and Quilting Cotton is my favorite. I have not yet attempted a quilt, though some are on the horizon. I love to wear cotton; take a look at what I have already created from our quilting cotton.  The patterns you find in quilting cotton cannot be matched in typical apparel fabric, just check out our Retro & Mod section for some great prints. However, at the moment I am most excited about the Faux Leather that just went in the store yesterday;my favorites are the Celestial Blue (pictured) and Kiwi. I think this would be perfect for recovering garage sale chairs I plan to hunt this fall, headboards, pillows, or footstools. I will be sure to posts all pictures of my future Faux Leather projects in my album in our Gallery and announce them here.    

I look forward to getting to know you all as and this blog grows. I have many great ideas and events planned for this blog and am very excited to share them with our customers.

Tara Miller


August 15, 2007

Welcome to's web log. This will be a place for you to find information about our personal sewing adventures, fabrics and products, our staff and our company. We intend to update our blog three days a week. We have ten contributors on staff, including Stephen, who are anxious to lend their voices and their ideas. We hope to bind our community of sewers even closer by re-energizing the discussion board and the gallery as well. We hope you find this a weekly stop when you have a moment to think about something fun, something you're passionate about, or just something to distract you from a hectic day. We'll see you Friday. Kristl

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

July 2007 is the previous archive.

September 2007 is the next archive.

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