The Fall sewing season is now in full force. In my studio I have 2 coats in process, am bouncing back and forth, but need to finish the raincoat before I leave for Paris in 4 days. In the ArtBarn, we are well stocked with fabric for the season, and more will be arriving soon. I’ve saved some fabric treasures to post while in Paris too. And do sign up for my new blog, will be blogging from Paris in the weeks ahead.

Katherine and I just returned from an international fabric show and found some fabulous things. I’m a fussy fabric shopper/buyer. I look for fabrics that I would want to wear and work with myself. (My main goal in my own sewing is to actually WEAR the clothes I make!). I listen to you, our customers, and got some great suggestions of what people are looking for on FaceBook. I seek out basics with character and quality, stretch wovens for pants in flattering neutral colors and fabrics that will slim and flatter. I look for knits that look like fine ready to wear in distinctive prints and in solids in good colors and weights that will be right for the season. I look for layering weights. I seek out different fabrics that fit the rule of 3: a pant/skirt/bottom, plus a T or tunic, plus a jacket/coat/vest weight all in harmonizing colors, patterns and weights to wear together. Check out the hanging design canvas shown below, which is keeping me on track to sew pieces that work together so I am building a wardrobe as I sew.
I learn from my suppliers, men and women who are as passionate about fabrics and textiles as I am, and who often come from families who have been in the fabric business for generations and they are proud of this heritage. They keep me informed about the latest colors, patterns and technologies. I’m learning about nylon, and how the upper end mills in Italy and Asia are incorporating nylon into fine knits and wovens. Nylon adds smoothness to better quality ponte knits. Nylon is blended with wools to add texture, and is mixed in with polyester and lycra in the new beautiful knit and woven blends. Nylon and polyester (aka microfiber) are no longer considered second class fabric citizens, but are being used in expensive clothing, and are becoming more available to home sewists. In a posh clothing store in Santa Fe, the owner was over the top ecstatic about her recent discovery of microfiber knit, which is just like our Parisian microfiber knits, now available in more colors and new prints.

Digital prints are becoming more and more beautiful, and more available...and the fabrics are more expensive because of the technology which allows for more distinct color, with larger scale prints across the entire width of the fabric and the results are spectacular. This technology is showing up in knits as well as wovens, and is being used by many of the fashion world’s big name designers.

As usual, I have more ideas and more fabric than time!
Wishing you a creative Fall from my studio to yours,


coming soon....
Pictured above, some of the new fabrics that will be arriving soon. We're posting
regularly, so bookmark the page and check back often.

New Blog for Everyday Creatives
one to Blogger with a new name and look:
Marcy's Blog For Everyday Creatives where you can keep current with studio notes, sewing and design ideas and reports from my travels. As a complement to my Newsletter and Facebook postings, this page is an informal way to stay connected. You can post comments and sign up to receive blog posts in your e-mail via RSS feed.

Recently I've been blogging about my ups and downs in making an Issey Miyake coat, and this month I'll be blogging from Paris.

Puyallup Sewing Expo
February 28, March 1 - 3, 2013

Plan ahead for fun! Come see us at the Sewing Expo.

We'll be in the Pavillion at our usual booth # 830 with lots and lots of fabulous fabric.

Katherine and I will be presenting a fashion show produced by us and sponsored by Vogue/Butterick on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 10:30 AM each day. Hope you can join us at the biggest sewing party of the year!

Keep up with Expo news at
The Sewing and Stitchery Expo Blog.

Design Outside the Lines

The word is out! Design Outside the Lines retreats are filling up quickly. Marcy and Diane create the kind of events that sewing enthusiasts and design explorers want to attend, and the results are amazing fun which stimulates growth for all. We gather in a beautiful place and set up a working studio. Each retreat has its own special theme and two are alike! If you are a novice who wants to gain skills to make distinctive garments, an experienced professional who yearns to incorporate new material and techniques into your work, or a quilter or artist who desires different perspective or palette, you will come away with new insights into the possibilities of creative fiber. Previous sewing or fiber experience not required.
We would love to have you join us in 2013!

September 25-29, 2012 - 2 spaces available
Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico

February 3-7, 2013
La Casa de Maria, Santa Barbara, California

June 16 - 20, 2013
Five Pine Lodge, Sisters, Oregon

September 27 - October 1, 2013
Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico

DOL Details and Registration

Paris in the Spring

May 4 - 11, 2013
7 Magical, Inspiring and Artful days in Paris
with Marcy and Katherine Tilton

This intimate small group travel experience is tailored for women who enjoy design, fashion, textiles and art who want to explore and encounter the magic of Paris with a designer's eye.
A Glimpse Into ParisTilton Spring Left Bank Tour

Roxy and Beth and Alabama Chanin

we are all in love with the stunning new book, Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, by Natalie Chanin. (See the link in our Recommended Books section below). Gorgeous photos of inspiring work, and a book of projects that are so well designed that we all are itching to make something using these marvelous hand sewing techniques. (And I was delighted to see that Chris Timmons, a respected colleague and former editor at Threads did the editing on this book).

Beth and Roxy have been making some wonderful clothes, inspiring us all. Beth got the ball rolling with her skirt, shown in the photo at right. Two layers of cotton knit, red on purple with a pale no color thread. She is fussy about the thread and has been testing different kinds to see which she likes best. Cotton knit is recommended in the book, but cotton lycra works too, and I am imagining a black cotton lycra on the top layer with rayon/lycra stripes peeking out.

Beth is working on a jacket using
Vogue 8795 as a blank canvas. I'll post it on my new Blog for Everyday Creatives as soon as it is finished.
Roxy's Vest
Using our orange cotton knit and
Vogue 8819
Roxy used raw edges, simple appliqué and lapped seams. It makes a great layering piece, is easy to sew/fit and Roxy loves wearing it.
Vest in process with pattern.
Vest back in process.

Roxy used the same techniques on a paper project too!
Beth's T
Beth used the T-Shirt pattern included in the book (which also includes stencil patterns), and made it in our ivory organic cotton knit (sorry, sold out).
The entire T is sewn by hand, the inner seams as well as the embroidery. Beth spent many years as a basket maker, her fine even stitches reflect the memory-magic in her fingers.
Arrow straight topstitched side seams.
Inside and outside.

Favorite New Pants:
Vogue 8837 by Katherine Tilton

Easy to sew and fit and super flattering. The pattern recommends stable knits, but I tried it in one of our stretch cotton wovens. I look for pant fabrics that are similar in weight, quality and stretch to the ones I see used by Eileen Fisher and other upper end designers (which retail for around $200). I used a dark drab green, shown in the photos. We have many colors in stretch cotton blend in our
Pant Fabrics category on the website, and more are coming in heavier weights for the colder weather ahead.
Sewing Tips for V8837

This pattern worked great in a stretch woven with very few adjustments.

Some stretch wovens have the stretch going on the cross grain, others on the lengthwise grain, so be sure to cut the fabric so the stretch goes AROUND the body. (You can get by with less fabric cutting on the cross grain).

Cut wider seam allowances just in case to allow for fitting. I also added an inch at the waist just in case, but did not need the extra in either place. I cropped the pant and eliminated the cuff and decorative elastic in the back, but will add those details on the next pair. I also add small drop pockets that attach on the inside from the waist stitching.
I love love love these pants!

Hanging Design Canvas

Where to start, which project should I begin with is a question that always comes up for me at the start of a new season.

This is a tool I invented because my studio does not have space for a bulletin board. After doing a stash clearing and organizing for the fall season, I wanted a way to have a visual look at the fabrics that I am considering working with.

It is a piece of canvas, 15" x 30", hemmed at the top so it can hang from a skirt hanger or from a rod. Using safety pins (mine are black, found in a quilt store), I pinned scraps of the fabrics I've collected to work with this season. I've used it a lot to see what goes with see if the colors are right, to stand back and see how the textures and colors work together in different light....and most of all, to determine what to sew next.

Fall reading and watching I've enjoyed and want to pass on. I'm reading novels and print books on my iPad, but still love real books and magazines. Right now I am savoring the DVD series, 'The Day Before', a peek into the process of organizing the runway fashion shows for fashion week as seen through the eyes of different designers.

Fall Travel Season
I travel a LOT, and rely on my travel tools. Here are a couple of recent discoveries that make life on the road easier.

The Baggalini hanging bag holds everything except my make-up, the compartments keep everything in plain sight and it has a sturdy hanger. The Kiva travel bag holds all my cosmetics and has a snap off clear plastic bag that is TSA compliant for carry-on, so I can have a few necessities in my carry on bag. A perfect duo!

One of my life goals is mastering the art of carry on...still working on that, but the perfect pieces are the Eagle Creek Tarmac line. I use the 22" suitcase along with the wheeled tote (perfect for my computer plus what I need under the seat to access during flight). The wheeled tote will also fit into the overhead compartment on smaller planes...and I always make sure that my backpack handbag can slip into the tote to be compliant with the 2 bag rule. The 22" size suitcase is not supposed to fit the regulations for international travel (the airlines recommend the 20"), but, so far, I have had no problems, and the size is perfect for a 2-7 day trip.

An integral part of my travel equipment is
a GROOM handbag and backpack.For international overnight flights, I wear the the Saffran microfiber backpack,which also doubles as a handy camera bag. But my daily bags are the Facteur,which carries all my valuables, (cash, credit card, metro pass), and tucks away under my coat, and the Capuccio Microfiber Backpackwhich holds all my 'stuff': map, water bottle etc, holds purchases and is so lightweight and egonomic I sometimes forget I am wearing it.
Facteur: Orange
Groom Large Microfiber Backpack in Black - IN STOCK
Saffran Microfiber Waist Pack

Cool Combos
With an eye alway cast on the internet, here are links to blogs and websites that inspire, please or provoke. DO send me an e-mail with links to your favorites too:

Merchant & Mills
Thanks to Narra at the Taos DOL for turning me on to one of my favorite sewing based websites. Totally British, utterly charming, (I want it all, including one of their porcelain cups for my studio). This description of their fabrics tells the tale: "Before we begin we need to confess that when it comes to colour, our middle name is Drab. Having said, that you will find some sumptuous, tactile and truly delicious cloth in our shop."
I want to go there......
Tutto Fatto A Mano
....which means, 'all made by hand'. Fall is tailoring season, and I always enjoy reading this blog by a young, hip Italian guy who is a tailor and loves his work. Sorry to read he wounded his hand and will be out of commission for a while, but there is a lot to read and learn on this site.
Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing
I am a big fan of Gertie, met her at Puyallup last year. She has a great sense of personal style, and her passion for sewing is that! She has taken on using the Vogue Sewing Book as a personal mission, and now has her own new book which updates it in her own new-school fashion. I'm enjoying her sew along currently on her blog, featuring her own stunning drop dead fall coat. Bookmark this link, she is always up to something good!
Center for Pattern Design
If you are not receiving this newsletter, you should immediately go to the site and sign up. Sandy Ericson is doing cutting edge work on her site and in the classes and products she offers. She says, 'Our mission here is to recognize the skill of pattern designing, to educate and provide research for professional development and to explore contemporary applications.' All that and more. Nobody else does what she is doing...if you are a maker of clothing, if you have an interest in contemporary fashion, if you are interested in zero waste cutting, you need to follow this site regularly. I do!
Fabric University
Using a burn test is a way to determine fiber content. So many fabrics today are blends, so it is tricky to determine content when fabrics are not labeled, which is frequently the case. Not always totally accurate, but this site is helpful in making an educated guess.


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