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Wanderlust by Monaluna

 

Every time I design a new collection, I begin with some sort of central inspiration point. Usually it’s something simple – a mood, or a style, or a particular print idea that gets stuck in my head. With our upcoming Wanderlust collection, the inspiration point was the idea of serendipity.

 

Last winter I had been half-listening to a radio program talking about the value of being open to unexpected good fortune, and it got me thinking. There was a time in my life when I made a serious practice of this: of listening carefully, and paying close attention to everything that came my  way. It’s actually kind of a skill, and one that I worked at regularly. But somewhere over the past several years, amidst the flurry of family building and house buying and business starting, I stopped paying such close attention. I’m very grateful for the life I have, but I’ve gotten much more focused and task-oriented, and a little less attentive to the unexpected but precious little joys that the universe sends my way. So I started to think about the times when I was very attuned to these little serendipities, and I found myself remembering one bittersweet summer when I was able to give myself over to this idea completely.

 

The story began the summer of 1998, when I had agreed to house sit for my dad and step-mom while they traveled in Europe for a month. I was in an odd place in my life at the time: I was trying to get over a bad breakup and not healing gracefully, and I had just quit my first “real” job, and was sketchy on what my next steps should be. A month of contemplation in Pacific Grove, CA seemed like just the right thing. And it was good. I didn’t know anyone there at the time (I had been living in Minneapolis), so I spent 4 weeks thinking, journaling, listening to the universe, walking the dog and making jam from everything I could get at the farm stands outside Watsonville. I thought about what I wanted my life to look like, and who I wanted to be, and I felt a sense of clarity for the first time in a while. The week before I was to leave I happened to see a cute little Cabriolet for sale, and decided on a whim to buy it and drive home to Minneapolis rather than fly. Yes, I was much more spontaneous back then. This was kind of a big deal for me: it was the first car I had bought, and it was my entire life savings (which, to be fair, wasn’t much). I thought I was being very responsible by taking the car to a recommended mechanic and making sure it was in good condition. Which, I was assured, it was.

 

A few days later, I was on the road, off on my one-woman adventure across America. Or half way across, anyway. According to my calculations, I would be home in four days. But that wasn’t to be. I made it as far as Williams, Arizona before the car broke down. Due to the, ahem, foreign nature of my car, there were no parts readily available, so I spent 3 days exploring the area. I rented a car and visited the Grand Canyon, wandered around American Indian ruins, and gazed at the lovely painted desert. It was a minor set-back, but I had time, and I got a really nice mini Arizona vacation out of the deal. A few days and some radiator hoses later, the car was finished and I hopped in and headed East, ready to be home. I made it about 15 minutes out of town before the engine overheated again. Sitting on the side of the road at dusk, hazards blinking, I started to really question whether this car was such a great idea. Eventually, a couple pulled over, and the husband – a former NASA engineer – assured me that I could make it the 1/2 hour drive to Flagstaff – they’d follow me in to make sure I made it okay. The next morning, I took the car to a mechanic, and got the devastating news that I’d fried the engine on my 1/2 hour trek up the mountain. A replacement engine would take an extra 10 days, and and cost almost as much as I’d paid for the car.

 

At this point, present-day ‘me’ would have aborted the mission, trashed the car, bought a plane ticket and flown home in despair. But this is where that serendipity thing came in. I decided to fix the car. That night, I took myself out to an I’ll-be-in-debt-forever-so-might-as-well-start-now dinner at a nice Italian restaurant and poured out my tale of woe to the sympathetic waiter. Who, it turned out, was also a florist. The next morning, I woke up to a gigantic bouquet of flowers waiting for me at the hotel front desk, and the news that some friends of a friend of my mother’s were visiting Minneapolis from (surprise!) Flagstaff, and I was welcome to stay in their (gorgeous) home in the picturesque hills. Thus began my amazing 10 day adventure in Flagstaff and vicinity. What really should have been a very bad turn of events turned out to be an amazing and kind of life-changing experience that enriched me in ways I can’t quite express. The memories and the impressions of that time made a deep and lasting impression on me.

 

So all of that was in my head when I decided to base a collection on that trip. I remembered the photos I took as I drove through the countryside, and thought they would be great inspiration for prints, so I dug around in the attic until I found them. It turns out that what I remember as gorgeous images of the desert landscape were mostly photos of telephone poles and grass:

 

arizona

 

arizona

Ah, pre-digital photography. So I improvised a bit. But I was able to draw from all of those impressions of moody skies, dusky mauve and coral mountains, grazing horses and desert landscapes. And the result is our new collection, Wanderlust!

arizona 3

 

Wanderlust by Monaluna

 

 

 

This spring just FLEW by. There’s always such a flurry building up to Quilt Market, and then we went on a family vacation to the East Coast right after we returned. When we got back I jumped straight into finishing up the new collections for fall, and by the time I caught my breath it was the 4th of July! So this is a belated Quilt Market post, but we had a lot of fun with our booth this time, and we actually got some decent photos. Here’s a little recap of the booth featuring our upcoming organic fabric collections, Wanderlust Poplin and Wanderlust Lawn, and Bloom Poplin and Bloom Double Gauze.

 

WANDERLUST Organic Fabric by Monaluna

 

We had a double booth this time, but actually had 3 collections to show, since we didn’t show Anya at fall market. We decided to build little vignettes for each group, with more props than we usually have. That worked out really well, because we had very little sample fabric to work with (most of the fabrics literally arrived the day before market opened, so I pulled a late night sewing up the little Ella Dress in the Wild Horses fabric that you see here), and also because we were able to give a very clear mood for each group. The Wanderlust collection was inspired by a trip I took (well, actually, I was stranded, so “trip” isn’t quite the right word) in Arizona about 18 years ago, so this set has a very 60’s Southwestern feel. I’m going to share that story on the blog next week, so tune-in if you’re interested.

 

WANDERLUST 2

 

You can see a closer image of the Wildflower skirt here, sewn from the cotton lawn. This pattern is one I made up based loosely on a skirt I bought in Korea 20 years ago. I’ve tried in vain to find another, and finally tried to recreate it. There’s been a lot of interest in the samples, so it may become a pattern soon!

 

Wanderlust Organic Fabric by Monaluna

 

Mindy whipped up a little cross patch pillow and baby quilt top using our strike-offs. I love the way they turned out – the textures and colors work really nicely together.

 

Bloom Organic Fabric by Monaluna

 

The Bloom side of the booth was all French flower-shop feminine, and we found some foxglove and hydrangeas that accented the florals perfectly. The two garments on the mannequins were sewn from the Bloom Double Gauze, and we’re loving the way this new (to us) base cloth works for clothing. So soft and airy!

 

Bloom Organic Fabric by Monaluna

 

The booth was on an aisle, which is always nice because you can leave that wall open to passing traffic. The only downside is it can feel a little TOO open, so we tried to anchor the corner with this little grouping of sewn samples and flowers, connected to the rest of the display with bunting and string lights. It was festive!

 

Bloom Organic Fabric by Monaluna

 

We were able to show Anya off with a gorgeous Diamond Alley quilt by Sassafras Lane and a darling Sally Dress in Hootenanny and Florette. The barkcloth was represented by our own living room chair (covered in Eero) and some pillows from the shop, and we had some darling garments made from the Anya Knits.

 

Monaluna Organic Fabric, Quilt Market 2016

 

All in all, it was a pretty fun booth! Now, I’m just anxiously awaiting the new collections, which were delayed, but which will be arriving in 2 weeks. I’ll keep you posted as they get closer!

 

Thank you all so much for your sweet comments! I wish I could send out bundles to everyone who commented, but we’d be cutting fat quarters for days. I wrote down everyone’s name on a tab of paper and had Anabelle draw, and she chose (drumroll, please)…

 

Trisch Price! I’ll email you for your info. 🙂

 

But, wait – There’s one more chance to win a Monaluna organic fabric bundle! FaveQuilts is now giving away an Anya fat quarter bundle on their website. Hop on over to enter by May 8th to win 12 fat quarters from our Anya Collection. Good luck to everyone!

 

Since we’ve been on the subject of springy fabrics, I’ll leave you with a little peek at our new Bloom collection, coming in June. It’s not on the website yet, but I’ll send out an update with links once it’s up. I hope you like it!

 

Bloom Organic Fabric by Monaluna

Happy Earth Day, everybody! While we here at Monaluna like to think that every day is Earth Day, we thought we’d honor the occasion by giving away a bundle of our organic, earth-friendly fabric. Just leave a comment in our comments section to enter to win a fat quarter bundle of the springy organic fabrics pictured here!

organic cotton fat quarters

 

And just to brighten your Friday, I’d like to introduce you to the newest members of the Monaluna family, Buttercup, Elsie and Louise!

Baby Chick Triptych

They arrived a couple of weeks ago, and have already grown lots, filling my days with the sound of chirping and peeping. They’re cute but noisy companions.

There are not just one but TWO great Anya giveaways happening in the blogosphere now. Hop over to the SewCanShe blog by April 18th and enter to win a bundle of of fat quarters – one each of the 12 prints from the collection. She’s got a bunch of ways to enter, so try them all for better chances!While you’re there, check out all of Caroline’s great sewing tutorials and projects. SO many good ones.

anya organic fabric

Next, check out the great giveaway on AllFreeSewing.com. The did a really nice review of the collection that you can read here. You have until April 24th for that one, and you get extra entries for sharing on social media. Good luck!

anya organic fabric

 

Welcome to Part 2 of our Anya Knit Tutorial series: The Infinity Scarf! We’ve been sewing up cozy infinity scarves for the shop using our new Anya organic cotton knits, and they’ve been really popular. They’re the perfect weight to add a bit of warmth and a stylish print to any outfit. Here’s Mindy with the simple instructions!

Hi All!

Infinity scarves are a fun and easy project, and make a great gift or addition to your wardrobe. We love these scarves in our Anya Organic Knits as a spring accessory! You can play around with the dimensions to make your scarf wider or narrower, shorter or longer. Our Anya Knits are 58” wide, so you’ll have enough fabric to make two scarves!

 

You will need:

  • 1 ½ yds of knit fabric A

  • 1 ½ yds of knit fabric B

  • sewing machine/serger and coordinating thread

  • hand sewing needle

  • pins

  • scissors/rotary cutter

 

Step by step guide:

-Cut a rectangle measuring 14” x 54” (with the long side on the length grain) out of both fabric A and fabric B*.

Anya Organic Infinity Scarf

-Place right sides together and sew along the long edges with a ½” seam allowance, using a zig zag stitch or serger.

 

-Holding the scarf upright and vertical with wrong side out, reach inside the tube and pull the lower short edge up through the tube so that the right sides are facing and the raw edges are even. Pin right sides together, matching fabric A to fabric A and fabric B to fabric B.

Anya Organic Infinity Scarf

-Sew around the tube with a ½” seam allowance, leaving about a 4” gap.

Anya Organic Infinity Scarf

-Turn the scarf right side out through the 4″ gap. Press, and hand stitch the opening closed.

anya organic knit infinity scarf

Let us know if you make an infinity scarf and how it turned out!

–Mindy

*Note: If you prefer to use only one fabric you can cut one larger rectangle, measuring 27” x 54”, then fold lengthwise right sides together and sew the long edge.

It started with a handful of requests about a year ago, just as we were selling through our last few yards of Little Mermaid and Scallop organic fabric from our Under the Sea Collection. Several customers wanted to buy the prints, but couldn’t find them on the website, and they were sold out of most of the online stores. We don’t usually reprint our collections, so once they’re sold out, they’re gone. This time, though, the handful grew and grew until we realized that we MUST reprint the beloved prints. And finally, at long last, LITTLE MERMAID AND SCALLOP ARE BACK IN STOCK!!

Little Mermaid and Scallop organic fabric by Monaluna

 

Another favorite print, Poem from our Haiku collection, also flew out of stock, and so we have reprinted that one as well. It’s perfect for spring, with it’s romantic watercolor hand and spots of gold stamping.

Poem by Monaluna

Hop over to our website now to stock up on these favorites for spring!

Simple Knit Maxi Skirt Tutorial

Now that our new Anya Knits are in, we’ve been using them to sew up all kinds of cute projects in the studio. One of our favorites is this simple maxi skirt, which can be made in about an hour using right around 1 yard of our new, wider knits. It’s super comfy, and a perfect weight for spring. Here’s the tutorial for you by Mindy Lechman!

 

You will need:

  • 60”-wide knit fabric to measure (see step 2)

  • 1 ½” elastic (enough to fit waist, see step 1)

  • Sewing machine or serger and matching thread

  • measuring tape

  • chalk or fabric marker

  • ruler

Step by step guide:

  1. To determine the size of the top edge of your pattern, measure your waist at the point you like your waistband to fall. Write that number down, add 2” (seam allowance) and divide by 2 to get the length of your waistline on your pattern. Subtract ½” from your waist measurement to determine how much elastic is needed.

 

waist measurement = ________ + 2” = __________ ÷ 2 = __________ pattern measurement

waist measurement = ________ – ½” = ___________ amount of elastic needed

 

  1. To determine the length, measure from that point on your waist to the desired length. I wanted mine about 2” from the floor. Add 1” and write that number down. This measurement is the amount of fabric you will need. Mine came to 36”, so I will need 1 yard of 60”-wide knit fabric.

length measurement = __________ + 1” = _____________

 

  1. Wash and dry your fabric, then cut to the length determined in step 2.

  2. Lay your fabric out, folded in half, selvage to selvage. Measure or fold in half again to find the center and mark with a pin. Using your chalk/marker, mark your waist pattern measurement, centered over the pin. For example, my waist calculation is 16” (30” + 2” = 32” ÷2 = 16”), so I marked 8” to the left and right of the pin.knit maxi diagram

  3. Using a yardstick and chalk/marker, connect your waist marks to the edges of the fabric.

  4. knit maxi tutorial step 5

    Leaving the fabric folded on the selvedge, cut out. knit maxi tutorial step 6You will end up with both the front and back sides of the skirt ready to sew.knit maxi tutorial step 6a

  5. Place right sides together, then sew the side seams using a ½” seam allowance. knit maxi tutorial step 7

  6. Overlap the elastic by ½” and zig zag over both raw edges to make a continuous band. lay the band flat and mark midpoints – these marks will line up with the side seams.knit maxi tutorial step 8

  7. Place the elastic along the right side of the waist of the skirt, pinning midpoints to side seams,  and stitch to attach. Use a longer stitch length and stretch the elastic slightly and evenly as you go. If you are using a standard machine rather than a serger, use a zigzag stitch here. knit maxi tutorial step 9

  8. Turn the elastic to the inside. Tack the elastic down at the side seams to hold in place.knit maxi tutorial step 10

  9. Try on your skirt and hem if desired. You may want to leave the bottom edge raw or hem it up for a more finished look.

  10. Optional: Add patch pockets!

 

Let us know if you try this and how it turned out!

Anya Organic Knits by Monaluna

 

Our new Anya Organic Knits have arrived and are now shipping! We’re so excited about this new knit fabric quality – it’s 58″-wide, 200 gram organic cotton interlock, and super soft and cozy! You can view the whole collection here. The prints work well for kids and adult apparel, and we’ve been stitching up some great simple sewing outfits at the shop. We’ll have free tutorials for you here very soon!

green landscape

 

I know that January is technically the first month of the year, but I always find myself thinking of it as more of a pause. January is a chance to catch your breath from the craziness that was the holidays, pick up the confetti and start thinking ahead to the new year. Make a few resolutions, give them a trial run, and revise. By the first of February, I usually find myself finally feeling ready to plunge into the blue yonder that is the New Year. So, happy 2016, everybody!

 

The dust is still settling over here from a 2015 full of change. We found our new studio space, spent all spring and summer (and most of the fall, too) spiffing it up, moved in, hired new employees, and finally opened up the shop at the end of September. Although I wanted to be able to do all of that without missing a beat, I found myself stepping back a bit, writing less, spending less time on social media, and even skipping a couple of trade shows. I had to recognize that I couldn’t make so many changes without slowing the pace a little.

 

Now it’s February and I finally feel ready to step it up a bit. Our newest collection, the Anya Knits, just arrived yesterday and we have a bunch of fun tutorials lined up to share here on the blog over the coming months. I’m just finishing up our next collection, and there’s another in the wings, so I’ll be sharing some sneak peeks soon! And we’ve added a new trade show to our circuit this year and will be at the L.A. Textile Show – booth #2012 if any of you will be there. I’m enjoying the energy I stored up over my January pause, and I’m excited to share our new projects with you!