Introducing Art Gallery Fabrics!

I'm really pleased to announce that we're now carrying fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics!  This is a Florida-based company that is well known for producing high-quality cotton fabrics.  Their main fabric is a broadcloth which has a high thread count and a very fine weave.  Their slogan is 'feel the difference' and you most certainly can: it is a beautiful fabric!  They also produce a voile and a jersey.  Here's a close-up of one of their broadcloths, so you can see the quality:

 

(If you're wondering what broadcloth is, it's similar to poplin: it's a lightweight, densely-woven cotton fabric with a crisp hand.  Broadcloths and poplins are slightly heavier than cotton lawn and voile: think shirt-weight, rather than light and floaty.)

Art Gallery Fabrics' catalogue contains a huge number of designs - most by independent designers!  To start, I've selected four of their broadcloths, which I'm selling at £12.20 per metre (£3.05 per quarter metre).  Our selection will expand over time. I'm also planning to get in a few of their voiles and knits eventually.  I'm a little unsure about the knits: they're nice, but they would have to retail at around £18 per metre.  Would you pay £18 per metre for a cotton jersey?  Feedback would definitely be appreciated!

Here are the four broadcloths that we've currently got in stock.  To see them, click here.


 

Two of these fabrics feature in this week's 'Outfit of the Week' - which is Tilly and the Buttons' Agnes knit top paired with Colette Patterns' Zinnia skirt! 

 

Inspiration images from here and here
 

Inspiration images from here and here

 

As you'll see on my 'Skirts' pinterest board, gathered and pleated full skirts are currently quite popular!  Zinnia is a great pattern for this trend: you can make it pleated or gathered, and there's also a view with buttons up the front!

 

Other similar skirt patterns include Sewaholic's Rae skirt, McCall's 6706, and Named's Leotie skirt.  If you're new to sewing, Rae would be a really good choice: it was designed specifically for beginners!

From left to right: Sewaholic's Rae skirt, McCall's 6706, Named's Leotie skirt

 

Drawing on the inspiration images, I've recommended some of our new broadcloths and poplins for Zinnia: you can see them here

A variety of tops can be worn with Zinnia.  As you can see in the inspiration images above and below, pleated and gathered skirts look great with shirts, jersey tops, and cute summer blouses.

Inspiration images from here, here, here and here

 

Unfortunately, I had to choose one top pattern for our 'Outfit of the Week', so I went with Tilly and the Buttons' new Agnes knit top, which I think is such a cute and versatile pattern, with several neckline and sleeve options!  If you're new to sewing with jersey, this is also a perfect first pattern: Tilly designed it with beginners in mind.  You don't even need an overlocker!

 

Other good choices for tops to wear with Zinnia include Vogue's 8536 knit tops, Sewaholic's Belcarra blouse, Burda's 7079 blouse, and Sewaholic's Granville shirt:

Clockwise from top left: Vogue 8536; Sewaholic Belcarra; Burda 7079; Sewaholic Granville

 

So, lots of options!  To find out more about this week's 'Outfit of the Week' - and to see the two featured patterns and all the recommended fabrics - click here.

July 23, 2015 by Amy Lloyd

Ode to Cotton Sateen

Have you ever sewn with cotton sateen?  It's a lovely fabric to work with.  Sateen is made using the same weaving process as satin: the result is a fabric with a smooth surface and a dull lustre.  Most sateens are made of cotton, and are thus wonderful to wear, easy to take care of, and usually not very expensive.  Many also include some spandex content, which adds to their wearability.  Being medium-weight and not very drapey, they're also easy to sew and are particularly suited to more structured designs.  Finally, sateens take and display dye very well, so the prints and colours are usually very vivid.  For newbies, here's close-ups of one of our (new!) sateens, so that you can see the weave of the fabric more closely:

 

 

Some beautiful summer dresses made in cotton sateen have been popping up on blogs lately!  Karen (of 'Did You Make That?') recently made Simplicity 1882 in a lovely floral sateen.  Another pretty floral sateen was used by Rachel (of 'House of Pinheiro') for her version of By Hand London's Sophia dress

Left to right: Karen's Simplicity 1882 on 'Did You Make That?'; Rachel's By Hand London Sophia dress on 'House of Pinheiro'

  

This week's 'Outfit of the Week' is Victory Patterns' Chloe dress.  It's a fantastic, stylish shift dress pattern.  I love the button detailing and the faux-welt pockets!  

 

The recommended fabrics are medium-weight cottons, wools, gabardines and linens.  While we do have some really nice wool and gabardine suitings that you can use for Chloe, as it is summer, I decided to go for some of our lovely cotton sateens.  Here's Chloe paired with four of our sateens (plus some inspiration images!):

Inspiration images from here and here
  

Inspiration images from here and here

  

To read more about this week's 'Outfit of the Week' - and to see the pattern and fabrics - click here

Are you familiar with Victory Patterns?  Judging from the reviews on PatternReview.com, their most popular pattern (by far!) is their Lola sweatshirt dress - which we've also got in stock.  Victory Patterns was founded in 2011 by Kristiann Boos, a designer and patternmaker based in Toronto, Canada.  I really love their designs: stylish with lots of fantastic details!  I also admit that I have a bit of a soft spot for them, as they're based in my hometown of Toronto.  Whenever I see their address (on Spadina Avenue), it takes me back to the many years I spent buying fabrics in Toronto's lovely Fashion District.  :-)  (For those of you who don't know, I grew up in Canada!)

Queen Street West, Toronto (image from here)

Chloe is an intermediate pattern.  If you're more of a beginner, but would like to make something similar, you may want to have a look at Tilly and the Buttons' Francoise pattern.  It has similar style lines and can be made in cotton sateen.  It's also a pattern aimed explicitly at beginners!

 

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July 10, 2015 by Amy Lloyd