August 2008 Archives

The Fabric Maverick says... The envelope, please.

August 28, 2008

Here are the answers to yesterday's quiz.  I know that you all did well.

 1.True or False  Denim originated in America.

Answer- False  I would have bet my last dollar that this was true. This is probably why I do not win the lottery. Denim is actually derived from the French word "Serge de Nimes"  It was a sturdy, rugged blend of wool.

2. True or False  Denim and blue jeans are considered the same.

Answer: False This is somewhat a trick question. When denim originated in America, the terms were not considered the same. Jeans is derived from a material used by Genovese sailors.

3. True or False  Loeb Strauss began a business selling clothing to the miners in the Gold Rush. He later changed his name to Levi.

Answer: True Levi Strauss did begin a business that sold rugged clothes to the Gold Rush miners. He met a tailor, Jacob Davis, who had a unique method of applying rivets to fabric. Denim was born from the efforts of Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss.

4. True or False  Cowboys in the movies made jeans popular.

Answer: True Cowboys did popularize the wearing of jeans.

5.  True or False  Denim is considered a symbol of revolution.

Answer: True Denim was considered a symbol of youthful unrest when James Dean wore them in " A Rebel Without a Cause". It was suggested that denim was the perfect fabric for school wear because of its durability and comfort. There were protests from parents about allowing blue jeans in school. The 60's re-enforced the idea of young rebels with their stand against the Vietnam War and nuclear war.  Today we worry about baggy pants.

6. True or False  The original name for denim was waist overalls.

Answer: True  Levi Strauss did call them waist overalls since they were overalls without a bib.

7. True or False  Before the 1930's, denim was only sold west of the Mississippi.

Answer: True  The people in the Eastern United States considered denim to be a very low class fabric only fit for menial work.

8. True or False  Bing Crosby was denied hotel accommodations in 1951 because he was wearing blue jeans.

Answer: True On a hunting trip in Canada, Bing Crosby tried to register in a hotel wearing his favorite blue jeans and was turned away because his clothing was not appropriate.

9. True or False  Zippers were not used in blue jeans until the mid 1950s.

Answer: True  Zippers were not used in denim until 1954. Before this time, all blue jeans had button closings.

10. True or False  Denim has never been out of fashion.

Answer : False Denim has never been completely out of fashion, but in the 1990's teenagers and young adults did not care to wear jeans for the simple reason that blue jeans were popular with their parents. In the year 2000, designers brought denim back with fresh designs.

The Fabric Maverick says... It is time to find out your denim IQ.

Since school has just started, I think it is time to have a pop quiz. In true academic style, we will make it a true or false test. I am sure it will be easy for you. Brings back memories doesn't it! Since denim is a favorite fabric for school, this is a perfect subject. Circle the correct answer.

  1. True or False  Denim originated in America.
  2. True or False  Denim and blue jeans are considered the same.
  3. True or False  Loeb Strauss began a business selling clothing to the miners in the Gold Rush. He later changed his name to Levi.
  4. True or False  Cowboys in the movies made jeans popular.
  5. True or False  Denim is considered a symbol of revolution.
  6. True or False  The original name for denim was waist overalls.
  7. True or False  Before the 1930's, denim was only sold west of the Mississippi.
  8. True or False  Bing Crosby was denied hotel accommodations in 1951 because he was wearing blue jeans.
  9. True or False  Zippers were not used in blue jeans until the mid 1950s.
  10. True or False  Denim has never been out of fashion.

Because unlike the magazines I cannot print my answers upside down, I will give the answers tomorrow. If you can answer these questions correctly, then you know your denim. Let me know how well you do. As usual I want to see if someone does better than me. I know my sister will let me know how well she does.

Book Review - Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones

August 21, 2008

When I posted a few months back, I had many grand plans for sewing projects for my little guy.  Well, the reality of pregnancy exhaustion kicked in, and I didn't get a single thing done.  Now that my little Mr. Monkey-Toes is going on 3 months and we've started to find our post-baby groove, I thought I would try to find something simple to make.

  littlestitchesAB.jpgAs anyone with kids (or close to kids) knows, sewing for little boys isn't nearly as fun or easy as it is for little girls.  There are so many cute outfits and accessories for girls, and not so many for little boys - especially babies.  With this in mind, I was skeptical when I purchased Amy Butler's new book, Little Stitches for Little Ones.  I love Amy Butler's work as much as most people, but many of the baby projects and patterns out there are not gender neutral or boy-friendly.  I purchased this book because a) I love Amy and b) I have oodles of friends having little girls.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that this new collection of projects was full of creative temptation, not just for gifts, but also things for my son.  Sure, there are some definitely girls-only projects, but for the most part this book is composed of a wide range of gender nuetral ideas.  From the beautiful photography to the helpful illustrations, you get a clear representation of the finished product for each project along with a skill level (from 1-4).  Pattern pieces are stored nicely in the envelope-like cover of the book, and measurements for non-pattern projects are easy to understand and cut.  Even without step-by-step illustrations, the instructions are very clear and easy to follow.  The crafts themselves range from highly functional (diaper changing pad with removable bumpers) to fun and cute (quilted toy blocks).  Each project is cute on its own, but all seem extremely adaptable for customization.  As a glutton for sewing books, I can safely say this will probably be the most utilized in my collection.

Baby Book.jpgIn order to back up my review, I decided to try out one of the projects from the book.  I chose a fabric photo album that is rated as a level 4 project (if a high-level project is easy to follow, then the lower level ones should be a breeze).  To give you an idea of my skill, while I know my way around a machine reasonably well, I'm not an expert seamstress by any means.  The difficulty level seems to have come from the technical part of this project, since you have to scan, edit and print photos on printable fabric.  Butler suggests using a photo manipulation program like Photoshop, but I was able to easily lay out my images in Microsoft Word and even add captions to the photos.  Cutting the pieces and sewing the whole thing together was pretty straightforward.  I was a little perplexed by some of the measurements, which I chalked up to sleep deprivation induced sloppiness and easily remedied with a little trimming here and there.  I also had to fiddle with attaching the pages to the cover, as my poor little machine wasn't up to the challenge of sewing all the way through the pages and cover.  In the end I was extremely pleased with the finished project as well as how easy it was to put my own little finishing touches on it.Thumbnail image for colorfast.jpg

In short, Amy Butler has done it again with this new book.  If you have little children, plan on having little children, have friends or family members with little children, etc, I would highly recommend this fun and inspiring book.

As a side review, I was extremely skeptical about how well the printable fabric would come out since some of my pictures had a great deal of detail.  However, I found that every picture printed beautifully and without any mishap.  The instructions were simple and easy, and the pictures have stayed flawless even after taking a slight beating while I sewed the book.

Victoria talks about "Baby Talk"

August 19, 2008

As there is no instruction manual for being a mother, there is, also, no instruction manual for being a grandmother.  I will say there is less "labor" involved in becoming a grandmother. Forgive me for a little pregnancy humor. When my daughter gave me the news, I was surprised to say the least. I had thought I still had a good five years before this event. Did you know that average age for becoming a first time grandmother is 47?

When I think of grandmothers, I think of my own grandmother. She was a kind woman who constantly cooked. I do not remember her saying much. She was always there with a helping hand smoothing over life's bumpy moments. I do remember her taking me for a train ride. We went to Kansas City for a showing of "Gone With The Wind". As I was very young, the theatre was very grand and large. Children remember time spent with them more than any gift that someone gives them.

There is a stereotype that grandmothers are little, old, frail, gray-haired ladies who bake cookies at the drop of the hat. I am not sure if this person really ever existed.  I know that my grandmother survived the depression era as a young widow with two children to raise.  This was hardly the job for a person without spirit.

Today's grandmother can be the head of a company, a political activist, an athlete and more. I may like to make cookies occasionally but I just like cookies.  I like to sew but not because I am a grandmother. It is a hobby that I find creatively rewarding. I plan to be an activist in my grandson's life. I will probably be texting him when he is a teenager. I am prepared to listen to his problems and hopefully share my own experiences. Grandmothers are an important part of a young person's life.  Even as a baby, the goo goo baby talk helps children mimic their first sounds in preparation for their first words. I am happy to sound like an idiot for my grandchild. Who knew I would fall in love with a short, bald, toothless guy at my age!


P.S. I have noticed that purchased receiving blankets are a little skimpy! I have asked the cutting department to come up with two 1-yard assortments to make larger receiving blankets and more. Check out Asst-333 and Asst-334..

The Fabric Maverick says...Watch out for the explosion!

August 14, 2008

We are bursting at the seams with new products. Since we have been bought by, we are able to add more items to our product offerings. In fact, we will need to expand into the building next to us. By early September, you will need to spend a whole afternoon wandering our website to see all the new fabrics.

I am really excited about this! This year we are adding a Holiday gift store with ready made items just waiting to be shipped to your special people. We are going to put Santa's elves out of business!  Kristl, the merchandising manager, has selected some great items to start us off. If you think Stephen can shop, watch out for Kristl. To just tease you a little, we will have holiday aprons and tablecloths. We will also have some great marketing bags. They are large, pretty and laminated. These are very practical and eco-friendly. If you have a sewing friend or a non sewing friend, you will find something to please them.

Hang on to your hats and see what we can do!

The Fabric Maverick says... Here is the guide to what's hot and what's not!

August 12, 2008

These shoes are supposed to be hot this year. These are eco-friendly peep toes made from plastic! These shoes look incredibly uncomfortable to me. Shoes from the 40's and 50's are the trend. I can see why Bette Davis had that pinched look on her face. Boots are hot! Stay away from the galoshes look.

When I read about fashion, my head begins to spin. As I read several things began apparent about what is in:

  1. Skinny belts will be in. In fact, all size belts are in.  These are supposed to be layered over sweaters or blazers. This also implies you have a waist. Where did I put that exercise equipment?
  2. Plaid is in. The most popular will be the menswear plaid.
  3. Vests are in. Menswear vests are in. This is more fitted. It can be worn open or buttoned.
  4. Bows are in. Think about bows at the neck of a blouse. This should be worn with a jacket.
  5. Blazers are in.
  6. Long sweater coats are in.
  7. Velvet is in.


!. Tie Dye unless you are young. Patchwork styles are in because they create a "bohemian" look.

2. Tucking pants legs are out if you are over twenty

3. Baby doll tops are out for the office. This will be gone by next summer.

4. Unless you are working in the garden, overalls are out.

5. Knee socks unless you are a child.

6. Fake fur in rainbow colors. Please do not wear purple fur. The Fabric Maverick wouldn't even make that faux pas.

Handbags will be large. Details will include quilting, belt styling. A plain neutral color will work with most outfits.

If you have a limited budget what can you do to make your money stretch? Buy good quality clothes that are classics. Every woman should have one good blazer in her closet that transcends all the fashion trends. This is a good time to learn to sew. Many fashion trends can be duplicated by sewing. A vest would be a good project. When trying to apply the fashion trends to yourself, consider your body type. Some trends will never be for you. Sewing is important because you can incorporate the trends you like into garments that fit your lifestyle and body type. An A-line skirt is flattering to most body types.

This brings me to what colors are hot! I have read several magazines and they all have different ideas. One magazine says blues combined with purple is the hot color trend. Black is the mainstay of many people. Another magazine states that burgundies, brown, gold and rust are the colors of the year. Give me some feedback!  I am sending the posse out to tell me what they see in the stores.

Nancy returns with a super little dress!

August 7, 2008

Oh I am so excited...The Fabric Maverick has requested that I do a guest blog! It has been a while since my last entry, as a matter of fact it was when I was going through my Amy Butler Gum Drop pillow craze.  I find it very hard to sit still so I always have some kind of project in the works.  I recently refreshed my bedroom and it turned out great. It may turn up in our blog at a later date.

Anyway the Fabric Maverick has asked me to blog about a dress that I made this past weekend. Right now we have some fabulous designer jersey knits that I could not resist. This group of knits have a soft buttery hand and BK-215 had my name written on it the minute it hit our receiving department. As much as I love to create things I am not a very advanced sewer and must use fairly simple patterns (the Fabric Maverick has had to step in and help me finish quite a few projects ...she is so sweet!).  I found a great dress pattern by Christine Johnson, CJP-009. It is a long unconstructed dress that is all the rage right now.  No zippers, no buttons, no tailored edges, perfect for me! I kid you not when I say this is probably the easiest thing I have ever sewn and it turned out beautiful! It fits loosely and is delightfully comfortable. This dress can be casual or it can be dressy. I think it looks great with a jean jacket and clunky necklaces for the fall.  While I made the long version but it would be simple to shorten the length and pair it with boots. Maybe slits up the sides with leggings?

I think I may see a few of these dresses walking around in the near future!


Ciao and Happy Sewing!

Nancy  Nancys Knit Dress3.jpg

CJP-009.jpg Nancys Knit Dress1.jpg

Note from the Fabric Maverick: Didn't Nancy do a fabulous job! This is a very versatile dress. This pattern would work for a teenager to ladies of a certain age as the French say. Let your creative juices flow! Show us your dress!

The Fabric Maverick says... Test your Back 2 School Savvy

August 4, 2008

This is the time to find out whether you are the mom who has fashion sense (Cool Mom) or just another hopeless fuddy duddy (Dorky Mom). As if you did not have enough to do already, you have to be a fashion coordinator for your children. I am only going to address fashions for girls from 6 years old to 11 years old. Here are the trends for the 2008-2009 school year:

  • Color Me Happy
  • Cute and Casual
  • Punky Princess

Color Me Happy includes combo colors- fuchsia is combined with black, rich green is combine with navy, turquoise is combined with brown.

Cute and casual is the layered look. Combine t-shirts, little shrugs, hoodies and denim. This is for the girl who wants to be comfortable but yet fashionable.

Punky Princess- Pink is hot with the punky princess. Mix it with black and white stripes, some glitzy jewelry and cool shoes. This is a rockin look!

These are the must haves in her wardrobe:

  1. Denim
  2. Plaid is back in shorts or skimmers
  3. Babydoll and trapeze tops
  4. Capri length leggings
  5. Feminine Flats
  6. Cool Hoody or Zippy
  7. Graphic Print T-shirts
  8. Pretty dress
  9. Jazzy bag
  10. Fun jewelry

To me, denim is a fashion staple. It is never out of style. Denim will be hot for all ages this year. Preppy is creeping back in new ways with plaids. Hot colors are fuchsia and turquoise mixed with neutrals such as chocolate and black. Anything with Hannah Montana or High School musical is hot with the under thirteen crowd.

I sent Victoria out to the stores to see if these trends are out there. She has reported back. She saw graphic t-shirts, little skirts with shorts underneath, leggings were everywhere, plaid shorts and capris, stripes are hot and Hannah Montana. There were little shrug jackets in plaid with matching skirts. The plaids were combined with metallic buckles. Hot shoe looks are ballet flats and short boots. One very cute outfit was a babydoll top in black and white stripes that had little skulls in the white stripe. This was combined with black leggings.

You can duplicate a lot of these looks by sewing some items for your child. Mothers are looking for easy care clothes like denims and knits.  Here are a couple of patterns sure to be a hit with your daughter! Simplicity pattern 3716. It has many of looks that are popular- short hoodie jacket, flippy skirt layered with a t-shirt. McCall's pattern M5698 is the classic jumper reinvented.  It has the little bubble hem at the bottom. This would be perfect in denim, corduroy or lightweight wool.


Back to School.jpgHere are some shopping tips for parents:

First make sure you know what the school will allow your child to wear.  Many schools will not let girls wear tank tops of any kind. Do not stock up at the beginning of the school year. What fits now may not fit in three months. Do buy a couple of new outfits. Kids like to wear a new outfit the first day of school. Since the weather still says summer, shop the clearance racks. Buy just what you need for now. There will be sales on Labor Day and Columbus Day.  If the clothes fit your child now, buy a size larger. Otherwise, it will be too small when it is time to wear it. Do not buy shoes until your child has been a couple of weeks into school. They will tell you what shoes their buddies are wearing. Before shopping, check to see if you can find coupon.

I hope that you have found out you are a cool Mom. If not just join the rest of us!

 Check out our back 2 school sale!

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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