Monday, November 29, 2010

Sandlewood Jacket

I told you I would post about the Sandlewood Jacket once I had finished mine, did I not?

Well, a couple of weeks ago... I finished it!

Did I mention how much I love this pattern?

Well, I do.

I really can't wait to make more.

Lots and lots more.

I am sorry if these photos don't do the Sandlewood Jacket any justice, but it is hard to photograph yourself after dark and here in Maine it gets dark this time of year at about 3:30.

(I know, yuck.)

I made the jacket with a brown and pink floral for the exterior, and for the interior I used the Sandlewood print by Amy Butler (this is the same print that they used for the coat on the cover of the pattern), which means I did the fancy-schmancy cutting.

Can I just take this moment to explain that fancy-schmancy cutting is not hard?

At all?

You just need to enjoy the process of laying out your pattern pieces is all.

Normally I am not one to enjoy the process of cutting ANYTHING, so if I can find the joy in this then so can you.

I love that the jacket is reversible and I love how flattering it is.

Not sure that a loooong jacket in the Sandlewood print is for you?

The pattern has lots of options for different hem-lengths and sleeve lengths.

Here is my friend Hannah; she was in my recent Sandlewood Jacket class.

(Warning: anyone who takes one of my classes is fair game for modeling their creations on the blog. You wave your right to anonymity as soon as you hit the front steps!)

As you can see, Hannah's Sandlewood Jacket looks completely different from mine, for a bunch of reasons:

• Different hem and sleeve length from mine (Hannah made the short jacket with the long sleeve option).

• Different fabrics from mine (she made this lovely specimen out of an espresso-colored cotton/linen blend and a graphic, flowery Amy Butler print for the lining).

• Different body from mine... (although I am suspicious of how someone who seems to love baked goods as much as I do and has had two children to boot can maintain such an amazing figure).

Regardless of my suspicions/insecurities, I think Hannah's jacket looks amazing!

Very "Japanese-y" don't you think?

Hannah, you did a great job, girl!

If you would like to make your very own Sandlewood Jacket (it will get a lot of action, I promise you), then here are some tips you should know that might make things a bit easier:

1) Please don't be scared of the fancy-schmancy cutting: the directions for cutting out the Sandlewood print are fabulously, disgustingly detailed and can be applied to cutting out any large scale print.

2) Far be it from me to suggest a change to an Amy Butler pattern (the gal clearly knows what she is talking about), but when it came time to hem this baby at the bottom and the sleeves, I hemmed the bottom the way Amy suggests, and it was hard.

There was a lot of excess fabric to ease in.

I did it, it was do-able, but this ain't my first rodeo.

When I taught the class and when I hemmed my sleeves, I simply folded the raw edges of both the lining and the exterior in towards their respective wrong edges by 1/2", pinned in place and topstitched.

This not only worked great and was a lot easier than Amy's method for hemming (where you turn the exterior and lining 1/4" towards the lining, then to finish the raw edge you fold the entire shebang in towards the lining again by an inch or so, meaning there are four layers of fabrics -not to mention any interfacings- that need to be hemmed-up by hand), it made the hemming much less bulky and meant that I didn't need to do anything by hand.

What's not to love?

(Forgive me, Amy... I'm your biggest fan!)

In summary: Sandlewood Jacket is a winner.

The pattern is quick and easy to follow, the coat is reverisble and the results are fabulous. Plus any pattern that has less than two pages of directions and only four pattern pieces to cut-out is for me, I tell you.

Just right for some holiday parties, I'd say.

Maybe with one of those twinkly, sparkly, feathery headbands.... hmmm...

I'll see you again soon!



Friday, November 26, 2010

Winter Moon Fat Quarter Set and yarn!!!

Winter Moon fat quarter sets are now up in the shop and are being featured in a giveaway on Soulemama this weekend (translation: they probably won't be around long).

This set includes mostly quilting weight cotton, some double gauze, some cotton sheeting and some cotton/linen blends in colors that are a bit muted: dull lavenders, grays, moss, plums and cocoas.

I pulled this set together as an excuse to use some of our fabulous Nani Iro double gauze, and I was really inspired by my growing collection of Japanese craft books. The photography in those books is always very spare and muted and artsy-fartsy: I just love it.

So when I was shooting pictures of these fat quarters, I tried to be artsy-fartsy, too.

What do you think, do these look Japanese-y to you?

And my next bit of news...

Some of you may have noticed something new on our website and in our shop these past few days: YARN!

Alewives Fabrics is now carrying the entire line of Amy Butler Belle organic yarns.

The yarns come in 2 weights: Aran weight and DK weight. They are 50% cotton and 50% wool and 100% organic and 100% fabulous... the colors are gorgeous!

We also carry Amy Butler's knitting book: Midwest Modern Knits, with all of the projects from these photos featuring her yarns and fabrics (dyed to coordinate perfectly, of course!).

We will be offering knitting and crochet classes this coming winter, so stay tuned.

If you like the Winter Moon fat quarter set or any of our new Amy Butler yarns, I have a hot tip for you: you can get 10% off these products (and anything else you might like to order) now through December 31st by entering the code "Soulemama" into the promotional code field at checkout. We will adjust the price manually after your order has been placed. And if you come and visit our shop in Damariscotta Mills in person, just mention the Soulemama code and you will get 10% off your entire purchase, too!

I will see you all again after the weekend: don't forget to check in with Soulemama for your chance to win the giveaway! Good luck!



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all of our friends and customers, the girls at Alewives Fabrics would like to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

We are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, but we'll be open bright and early on Friday morning at 10:00... see you then!



PS... Here's some news that should make you very thankful! The Winslow Market Tote by Kathy Mack (which is the project I made for the most recent Craft Swap) is available as a FREE download here! To get the pattern, you will have to sign up to become a member of Quilting Arts, which took me a total of 30 seconds, and really, who wouldn't want to be a member of Quilting Arts? Enjoy your free pattern and thanks so much to everyone at Quilting Arts and to Kathy Mack for making such a great pattern available!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Craft Swap!

Here are some pictures from the Craft Swap for you to enjoy...

The loot:I don't know what that big jug of water is all about, though...

This doll was made by Linda and it was swapped A LOT... but I think in the end she went home with Meredith.

This bracelet was made by Nadine and was also stolen a lot... I believe it went home with Julie (?)

My business associate (Mom), made this floorcloth and it was stolen a lot, too! I can't remember who this finally went home with...

Sandy opened up this "Pockets-2-Go" by Dawn, which came with a pincushion and some of our gorgeous pins. Sandy told everyone that it was her birthday next week and she really liked her "Pockets-2-Go" so nobody should steal it from her...

That was a nice try, Sandy... a valiant effort at keeping your present.

Too bad she didn't count on me (who has no heart at all... mwa ha ha ha!!!) coming up next because I totally stole these from her, but they didn't stay with me long because Nadine stole them from me!

Anne made this cute kitty purse... I cannot remember who this went home with, though.

Jennifer made this gorgeous wall-hanging, which I believe is a McKenna Ryan pattern. This went home with Barbara M.

(By the way, I ended up with Barbara M.'s gift, which was a string of birds almost identical to the ones she gave me as a wedding gift, so now I have a matching set!)

And here is a picture of Pam wearing Barbara C.'s gift: a gorgeous hand-knitted hat and matching cowl. Good thing I didn't see these earlier, or I totally would have stolen them and had harsh words for anyone who tried to take them from me.

And speaking of me...

I made this bag (The Winslow Market Tote), which is a pattern in International Quilt Festival Scene magazine... The mag was sent to me as a freebie (I know, I know, I am a brat!), but I plan on getting some copies in to the store to sell. I really liked this pattern a lot and I think it is perfect for all those Japanese cotton/linen blends... especially the new Echinos. I made a matching drawstring bag (really simple and easy) and a matching make-up bag (I used the pattern from my trusty copy of "Weekend Sewing" by Heather Ross) to throw in for good measure.

At the end of the evening I was very pleased because Ginny B., who pulled the number 1 (the BEST number to get at the Craft Swap) and who could have anything at all that she wanted from the room chose my bag to take home with her.

She took it away from Anne, and I will admit that I felt a little badly for Anne because I knew she liked the bag a lot, but I think she is recovering nicely. And I think we all made out like bandits.

Thanks so much to EVERYONE who came to the Craft Swap and if you would like to join us the next time, we are planning a Craft Swap for late February and I will keep you posted.

Thanks and I will see you all again soon!



Sale is Over... thanks a bunch!

So far this is my favorite print from the Soul Blossoms line.

The Internet Sale is now officially over... whew!

We have had a great time filling all your orders and there are still some that need to be filled today so I know what I'll be doing.

Thanks a bunch for partaking and making this such a success: I think it is safe to say we will make this an annual event for our internet customers over the weekend before Thanksgiving.

And the timing couldn't be better because I have it on good authority that Amy Butler's newest line, Soul Blossoms, will be arriving in early December. We have ordered the entire collection: all of the quilting weights, all of the home-dec weights and all of the laminates, so we needed the room! Stay tuned to this here blog and to the twitter page to get the news when Soul Blossoms arrives.

Thanks again and I will be back soon with a new post!



Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving sale for our internet customers ends tomorrow

Hello one and all...

Just a quick note to let you know that our 20% off sale (for internet customers only!) will end tomorrow night at the stroke of Midnight.

The clock is ticking!



Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Sale has begun!!!

Photo by Jonathan Nackstrand/ AFP-Getty Images

The Thanksgiving Sale for our internet customers is in full swing and the orders have been pouring in, so thanks!

In case you missed it, all internet orders are 20% off now through Sunday.

You don't need a code or a coupon or anything like that: just place your order as you normally would and we will manually adjust the price to reflect the discount once the order has gone through.

Jessica and I worked our tushes off today and got *most* everything done so if you placed your order today there is a good chance that your goodies are on their way.

Now that I am home I am putting my feet up and re-heating some leftovers and treating myself to some Prosecco.

Speaking of such things as Prosecco, did you hear about the 160 year old bottles of champagne found in a shipwreck off the coast of Finland?

They opened some of them up today and sampled them and found that they were still drinkable!

I like my job and all, but I wonder how one would go about becoming a professional taster of champagne, as I think I am a very good candidate and have done most all of the leg-work.

In other news, I am going to see the Harry Potter movie this weekend.

Anyone else going?

And oh yes, we ordered more fabric today...

You should SEE the stuff coming down the pike: it is gorgeous.

That's all for now: see some of you at the Craft Swap tomorrow night (mine is all done!).



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Sale is just HOURS away!!!

A note to all our internet customers: don't forget that starting tomorrow (November 18th), through Sunday (November 21st), all online orders will be 20% off!!! Hooray!!!

To get the discount, you won't need a coupon or a code or anything like that: just place your order as you normally would and we will adjust the price manually after your order comes through.

We've never done a weekend-long sale before, so please be patient with us as we adjust the inventory on our site and fill orders as fast as we can. Orders are filled on a first come, first-served basis and we will do our best to make sure everyone gets what they want.

And a note to all our local customers: the Craft Swap is this Friday night at 6:00 sharp. Is your goodie ready? (Mine is not, but I'm almost there!)

Remember to wrap your project up so it's nice and pretty and we'll all want to steal it and remember not to tell anyone what you've made. If you haven't signed up for the Craft Swap yet, there's still time: just call us at the shop (207 563 5002). You must sign up in advance to participate, though!

In other news, we are experiencing some cuh-razy weather out there now and I am feeling so bad for my husband because he is working in this mess.

Also, I made a roast chicken last night that was to-die for! It was really easy and tasty and fun and made the house smell really good and I'm feeling my second-ever recipe post coming on!

Alright, that'll do it for now...

I'll catch you on the flip flop!



Monday, November 15, 2010

Liesl workshop a success!

This past weekend was phenomenal...

(Perhaps my favorite photo of the day... " Contortionist Liesl" gets up close and personal with Judy's machine)

(Dash's almost finished pair of Nature Walk Pants)

(Above: Trish's version of the Hopscotch Dress with faux sleeve inserts)

We all learned and laughed and finished our projects and hung out with a sewing celebrity: what more could you ask for in a workshop?

I am already scheming and scamming to get Liesl back here again (perhaps this spring?).

Thanks so much to Liesl for flying out here (hope they didn't make you do one of those body-scan things... sheesh!) and thanks so much to everyone who took the class and came to the evening's Q+A... we had a great time!



Updated to add: There is a really great write-up of the day and even more pictures here on Tina's blog, SquirrelAcorns. Thanks, Tina!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New velveteens in the shop and I rave about the Sandlewood Jacket!

We got our Anna Maria Horner "Innocent Crush" velveteens in yesterday and I am completely smitten....

They are so soft and so pretty and a breath of fresh air: I bet they will be super-popular!

We've been cutting fat quarters of these new velveteens and making bundles: whew, what a workout... this stuff is substantial.

Jessica and I were talking about what you could do with the new velveteens and we came up with all kinds of ideas: pillows (of course), bags (natch), skirts (especially at this time of year), quilts (these would make amazing quilts!), but what I really want to make from the velveteen is a jacket.

I have been teaching a class on how to make the Sandlewood Jacket by Amy Butler and it is quickly becoming one of my all time favorite patterns.

It's so easy... as in, no buttonholes, no zippers and just ONE lonely little page of instructions.

There are only 4 pattern pieces to cut out: that is, IF you omit the "hanging loop" and the "tie," like I did, so it cuts out very quickly.

If you use home-dec weight (or perhaps a certain velveteen?) for the outside and quilting weight for the lining, then you don't need to use ANY interfacing (always a nice quality in a pattern, I think).

And it's really 2 jackets in one: the design is completely and utterly reversible, so you're getting a lot of bang for your sewing buck.

I did a bit of searching for other versions of this project on the interweb, but it seems like so far this pattern has been waaaay under the radar, which is strange, because I can't recommend the Sandlewood pattern enough.

The jacket is really flattering (trust me I don't say that lightly!) and totally stylish: I will be wearing mine all fall, winter and spring long.

I did find a great pattern review here, by the way.

When my Sandlewood Jacket is all done (which will be very soon), I will take photos and show you.

These new velveteens that just arrived are BEGGING to be made into a Sandlewood Jacket (Yes, that's where I was going with all of this).

Now that the wedding is over and I am getting used to this new rhythm at the shop I have carved out a little more time to sew (remember when I used to SEW on this blog?) and I think a Sandlewood Jacket in a lovely velveteen is completely possible.

And when people ask me if my jacket is "homemade," this is what I'll tell them!

See you again soon...



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Innocent Crush Home Dec

We've got Anna Maria Horner's new Home-Decorator weight prints from her "Innocent Crush" line in the shop:

These are all printed on 54" home-decorator weight sateen and there's lots more where that came from!

What's that???

You wanna see more???

Oh, alright...

There ya go... enjoy!



Saturday, November 6, 2010

Liesl Lecture

If you are a regular reader of this blog then you probably know that Liesl Gibson is coming to visit us this Saturday to teach a "Sewing with Knits" workshop, but did you also know that Liesl has agreed to give a little presentation/lecture/q+a session on Saturday night?

If you wanted to come to the class but couldn't because it was sold out, tickets to the lecture are only $5, and (though I say it myself), the timing of Liesl's visit couldn't be more perfect: she's just announced that the very first Oliver+S book (called Little Things to Sew) will be released this Spring.

All photos courtesy of the Oliver+S blog

We are calling this evening with Liesl "An Evening with Liesl" (real original, huh?) and it will begin at 7:30 on Saturday, November 13th. The evening will take place here at Alewives. There had been talk about holding the evening some place else, in a larger venue, but then the whole "wedding thing" happened and I'll admit I completely dropped the ball and never found another place to meet up, so we will be nice and comfy-cozy here at the shop!

The evening will be pretty casual: I've asked Liesl to share a little bit about her background in sewing, from her college days at F.I.T. to designing for Ralph Lauren. I'm sure Liesl will have lots to say about what it's like to design and develop and direct your own children's clothing pattern company (also known as Oliver+S). Personally I can't wait to hear all about her process designing fabric for Moda. Liesl's current line, "City Weekend" has been a huge hit here at the shop.

I've got tons of questions about her upcoming line, "Modern Workshop", which Liesl tells me is based on the Weiner Werkstatte. I will admit I have no idea what the Weiner Werkstatte is, but Liesl assures me it has nothing to do with Hot Dogs.

Aaannnddd, now that the cat is out of the bag, I am hoping she will give us the scoop on Little Things to Sew and any other upcoming projects.

If you have never met Liesl in person (and I'm assuming that most people in this neck of the woods haven't), then you should come to our evening presentation if for nothing more than to meet an incredibly nice gal and one of Modern Sewing's leading ladies.

I know I use the term "One of Modern Sewing's leading ladies" a lot, but it's true. If it weren't for gals like Amy Butler, Heather Ross, Denyse Schmidt, Anna Maria Horner, Heather Bailey and Liesl Gibson, stores like Alewives probably wouldn't do as well as we have. It' s these leading ladies and their creative work that helps us be successful. To me, this will be like spending the evening with a celebrity and I am so glad that Liesl can join us.

Plus it gives us a good excuse to have wine!

We are encouraging people to purchase tickets ahead of time, but tickets will also be available at the door. If you think you would like to come, please let us know so we can be prepared.

The "Evening with Liesl" will begin at 7:30pm, will be held here at Alewives Fabrics, will include time for a Q+A session (so come prepared with lots of questions!), will include food and wine and tickets cost just $5 each... we would love to see you there!

Please call me at the shop (207 563 5002) with any questions or e-mail me ( and I will get back to you ASAP!



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Late Riser's Sale this Saturday from 9 to 5

It is a fact that here in New England certain traits are valued above others.

I think one of these traits is the ability to get up early.

Too bad I'm not so much of a morning person: my Grandmother is probably most ashamed of me.

Working here at Alewives I don't have to be in the shop until 10:00 am and about 85% of the time I make it by then, so it all works out okay.

But there is one day a year when I get out of bed at the crack of 4:30-ish to be showered and dressed and ready-to-go with a cup of tea in my hand for Damariscotta's annual Early Bird Sale.

The shopping mayhem begins at 6:00 am and the earlier you shop, the bigger your discount is, so there is quite a bit of strategy involved determining which shop you want to visit first.

A lot of store give an extra discount if you come in your PJ's.

Trust me, NOBODY wants to see me at 6:00 am in my PJ's.

But I do like to get up early that one day of the year and score some deals (usually most of the scoring happens at Darling&Delisle and I know theoretically you are supposed to be buying gifts for other people and then squirreling them away for Christmas, but I always end up buying things for myself!)

Then every year at around 8:30 I shoot back over to the store here in Damariscotta Mills and we hold our annual Late Riser's Sale that same day.

We open a whoooooole hour early, at 9:00 and everything is 20% off that day.

It's usually pretty crazy and everybody is in a good mood and Mom has to work that day (which tickles me to no end), so the Late Riser's Sale is always one of my favorite days of the year.

The Late Riser's Sale is the official kick-off to the Holiday shopping season, and it is also when we kick-off our annual Food Drive.

This year, anyone who brings in a non-perishable food item or toiletry item for the food drive gets a free surprise gift from us, so please donate early and donate often!

Last year we were able to donate over 200 lbs. of food to our local pantry, but this year I bet we will be able to donate even more.

If you are local to the area we would love to see you here!



PS... For those of you who visit us via the internet, don't forget that we have a special sale coming up just for you! From Thursday, November 18th through Sunday, November 21st, all internet sales will be 20% off (we will manually adjust the price after your order has been placed). You won't need a coupon or a code or nothing... It's our way of saying thanks to you for a phenomenal first year and a half with our online store!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Back (Sort of...)

Ollie and I are back from our Honeymoon in Charleston, South Carolina but we are not quite back at work yet.

I think we are very wise to be milking the whole "Honeymoon" thing and taking a few days to ourselves, just here at home (or at least very nearby) before we get back in the saddle again.

Right now we are enjoying a piece of leftover wedding cake (Thanks, Pam!) and some tea and the prospect of sleeping in our own bed again.

There's no place like home.

In the meantime you should all know that I popped in the shop this afternoon and saw the complete collection of new Echino fabrics by Etsuko Furuya sitting there, looking all luscious.

Plus some new Nani Iro double gauzes and some of the dots from the ongoing Echino collection.


They're not up online yet but I have an inkling that they will be tomorrow.

I am far from being back in the swing of things, but I did want to pop in and say "Hi."

Maybe I will see some of you at the Early Bird Sale or at the Late Riser's Sale on Saturday!

(After that I will be back for realz.)




We visited Drayton Hall while we were in Charleston, and learned all about the differences between "Preservation" and "Restoration." Thanks, Kathy!

For the record, Charleston, South Carolina is the most jaw-some-est city ever. I liked it a lot. I really wish it wasn't so durned far away. I wish it were possible to have two of me: one to live here in my little house in Maine and manage the shop and one to live in an Ante-Bellum that survived the War and the Earthquake of 1886 and I would eat at the Cru Cafe on Pinckney Street all day long. That is all.