Blog Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

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

 

 

 

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

We have a brand new fabric coming in this month: organic Barkcloth! This fabric style was popular for upholstery and home furnishings in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, and we thought it would be a perfect fit with our new Anya collection, which has a distinct mid-century Scandinavian feel.

Anya Organic Barkcloth by Monaluna

Anya Organic Barkcloth by Monaluna

While the textured fabric is perfect for upholstery and pillows, it’s also great for bags and purses, hats, table linens and any garments that call for a heavier, more structured fabric.

Anya Organic Bark Cloth Pillows

Anya Organic Barkcloth by Monaluna

We just got the sample fabric in last week, and we’re loving to sew with it! Stay tuned for more fun Barkcloth inspiration coming soon.

Anya Barkcloth Pillows by Monaluna

Mod Blooms Barkcloth by Monaluna

Monaluna Barkcloth by Monaluna

Organic Barkcloth by Monaluna

 

 

Newsflash! Caroline over at SewCanShe.com is giving away a fat quarter bundle of our Westwood organic fabric! The bundle includes 10 organic poplin prints and 6 organic canvas prints, perfect for quilting, pillow making, accessories or pieced apparel projects. Hop over to her blog to enter the giveaway!

 

Westwood Organic Fabric by Monaluna

 

It’s been a busy week here! Meadow and Urban Patch arrived on Tuesday morning, a few days behind schedule, and I spent the day unpacking, taking inventory and stacking bolts on our new shelves (I put Dave to work last week, as seen on our facebook page). Then I spent Wednesday shipping out dozens of boxes of fabric. It’s fun to know that the new prints are making their way all over the world! It’s always fun when the new collections finally arrive and get shipped off, but I only get a moment to savor the completion, because next week I have to have the final designs done for spring. Whew! Off and running… I’ll share a peek when they’re ready to go.

 

urban patch organic fabric

 

urban patch organic fabric

 

meadow organic fabric

 

meadow organic fabric

Happy Thursday, everyone! Today, the talented Karen LePage of One Girl Circus will be guest-blogging and sharing a tutorial for how to convert our On the Go dress pattern to a super cute peplum top. Karen is a pattern maker, author (Sewing For Boys) and seamstress extraordinaire , and has worked on all of our Monaluna patterns. Take it away, Karen!

 

The On the Go Dress is equally as charming when made up as a peplum blouse, and the process to convert the pattern is remarkably easy. Follow our tutorial to alter your pattern and you’ll have a blouse you can wear with anything you like when the weather turns too cool for a summer dress.

 

Note: When you make clothes from Monaluna patterns, you should first trace the pieces required in your size onto some sort of pattern paper. You can use anything from dedicated tracing medium found at the fabric store, to a roll of drawing paper from your kids’ art supply stash. The only requirement is that the paper must be transparent enough to see the lines you want to trace.  Here’s a good tutorial on tracing patterns, if you need a little help.

 

 

Get Ready

 

 

Gather your traced copies of the three pieces that require adjustment: front skirt, back skirt, and button placket.  You will use all the remaining pattern pieces as is, omitting the pockets.

Alter the Pattern

 

 

To make the blouse pictured here, use a ruler to measure down 6″ from the waist edge of your chosen size every few inches. Using a curved ruler (or a steady hand), connect the dots to form the peplum hem. Repeat for the back skirt. Use these new pieces to cut the peplum portion of your new blouse.

how to alter the skirt pattern tutorial diagrams

Now you’ll need to shorten the placket to accommodate the new shorter length of the “skirt” portion of the pattern. For the 6″ peplum pictured, the placket measurements are as follows:

XS: 22 1/2″ || S: 22 3/4″  ||  M: 23 1/4″  ||  L: 24 1/4″  ||  XL: 24 3/4″

 

Sew it Up

 

 

Construct according to the On the Go Dress instruction sheet, skipping the pocket.  Pair with a cardigan or cropped jacket in cool weather.

 

Wear it!

 

 

Wear your new peplum blouse with everything from skinny jeans to trousers, from pencil mini to flowing maxi skirt to take you into cooler weather.

 

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s a gorgeous spring morning here, and I’m putting the finishing touches on a new collection for fall (peeks coming soon!). While I paint, Heidi from Fabric Mutt is back to share a tutorial for her Scooter Bag, using the Havana collection. Hello, Heidi!

 

The Scooter Bag

This soft, floppy bag is the perfect size for the reading mat along with some books, toys, or any other items you want to pack for the trip. The velcro closure is easy for little hands to open and close, and the long padded strap allows for comfortable crossbody wear.

Materials
(2) 22 x 13

Scrap Quilts

02/17

Hello, blogosphere! I’ve taken a long blog break, and these past few months have been a flurry of designing and growing here at Monaluna. Things are finally calming down a bit, and I’m excited to get back to projects and blogging.

 

I started last week with what turned out to be a pretty ambitious organizing project. I had been carefully ignoring the towering, disorganized scrap pile in my closet for months, and had finally had enough of it. At the same time, Anabelle’s school put out a call for extra blankets and quilts, and I decided it was time to make something from those extra odd pieces. The piecing for three little quilts only took Saturday afternoon, and I hardly had to cut – I just arranged the pieces I had in blocks, and trimmed them to fit where necessary. The backing, binding and quilting took a bit more time, but it felt really good to see them coming together, and I even hand quilted (very quickly and sloppily) 2 of the 3, the first time I’ve done that in years! It was so easy and fun that I decided to organize and bundle all the remaining scraps and make them available on the website. It turned out to be a bit of an undertaking, but in the 5 days since I put them up there they’ve been VERY popular, and the first batch are almost gone! Now that I have the hang of it I’ll be able to add them more frequently, though, and keep my scrap piles at more manageable levels.