Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, we are all deeply connected to nature. In a world where technology has taken over just about every industry, discovering a brand that goes back to basics in the most thoughtful, user-sensitive way can be a gold mine. Incorporating a slice of nature into wearable items that you can take with you wherever you go in whatever assortment you desire is a concept that seems almost far-fetched, right? Not for Petal and Clay, a brand that has come up with a solution to bring you closer to the beauty of nature regardless of your location.
Rose Otter of Petal and Clay. Photo courtesy of Myray Creative
Nobody captures the vibrancy and essence of nature more efficiently than Petal and Clay, a jewelry brand that is sensitive to what earth and mother nature has to offer. Feminine with an outburst of color combinations, their beautiful necklaces allow you to take a piece of nature with you wherever you go. It is a concept born at the hands of Rose Otter, whose deep connection to nature, and especially flowers, originates from her childhood in southern Oregon where she played in its rich flower fields as a child. Petal and Clay is a user-conscious brand allowing you a canvas to mix and match assortments of flowers, leafs or fresh springs in a necklace style featuring delicate, handmade clay vases.
Photo courtesy of Candace Molatore
For those that are caught in the bustle and hustle of the big city, a little reminder of the beauty of live flowers you can actually wear and hold near to you at all times can certainly make the day a little better. The beautiful work you'll see below captures a dreamy, romantic quality that is bold yet feminine in a clean, pastel sort-of-way. Rose Otter, the brand's creative director, tells us a little bit more about her unique concept and the carefully crafted process that goes into building every piece from design to production.
How was the name “petal and clay” born and what is its significance?
I had been playing around with different names for a while but I didn’t have one that I loved. I spent a weekend with my childhood friend and she actually came up with it! We knew right away that it was perfect. It felt even more special that she came up with the name because her and I grew up playing in flower-filled meadows together.
Photo courtesy of Myray Creative
There is a special connection to flowers in your work. Can you talk a bit about where this passion for nature, and especially flowers, originates? What connects/attracts you to them?
Have you ever tried to remove a tough stain with bleach and in return, you end up removing a layer of dye from the fabric's surface? We've all been there... The reality is, there's really no way to actually remove bleach stains. Once the damage is done, you can either turn the damaged clothing item into strictly-for-inside-the-house wear or toss it in the trash all together.
Removing damage caused by bleach is impossible because a bleach stain is in itself a form of permanent removal and discoloration of fabric dye. While bleach works wonders as a stain removal technique on white items that are not visually affected by brightening agents, using it even on slightly off-white clothing can visibly stain it permanently.
If you've ever been the culprit of accidentally ruining your favorite clothing items with bleach, you are not alone. There is however, a way you can undo the damage. The solution? Dyeing the entire garment a different color.
If you follow the dyeing directions accordingly, it is actually quite simple (and fun!) to do. The item in question will of course, never look the same again but you might actually like the new result even better! Plus, it can be quite rewarding to know that you can fix something that is often deemed unfix-able. Do we even have to mention that you get to play fashion designer for a day an decide what color the new clothing item should be? Getting to make that executive decision can feel like quite an accomplishment in itself.
The process of dyeing fabric varies and depends mostly on the type of fiber the clothing item consists of. Generally, natural fibers are much easier to dye than synthetics due to their more absorbent, color retention properties. For that reason, fabrics like cotton, linen, silk and wool require a shorter dying time and simpler dying process. On the other hand, synthetic fibers like polyester and acrylic for example, require more concentrated specialty dyes and a more extensive dying time and/or process.
It is very important that before you buy the fabric dye (which should be available at your local fabric or craft stores) you note the damaged garment's fabric. With this information in hand, choosing the correct fabric dye and achieving the best results in the dyeing process should be quite easy.
Always read the label before making the final purchase- It has valuable information such as fabric compatibility information and the step-by-step process associating with dyeing temperature and preparation. Keep in mind that when it comes to dyeing clothing, fabric content is one of the most important elements to consider- the quality of the final color will depend greatly on it even if all the proper steps are followed as noted on the label.
Zippers are perhaps the most intimidating to sew for beginners. Needless to say however, they are essential in ensuring the full functionality of a clothing item. Zipper closures come in a few different style variations and are mostly used with woven garments, especially those that are more formfitting. Knit garments do not usually require the use of a zipper closure as they are stretchy and flexible enough to be taken on and off without the need for closure.
Before diving deeper into basic zipper application styles, it is important to understand the three main types of zippers available in dressmaking:
Conventional zippers: Are closed on one end and sewn into a seam that doesn't fully separate.
Invisible Zippers: Invisible zippers are always sewn into a seam and are designed to actually disappear into the seam with only the tab visible on the face of the garment. Although different in style and installation requirements, just like conventional zippers, invisible zippers are closed on one end.
Separating Zippers: Separating zippers are open on both ends and sewn onto garment openings or into seams that separate completely.
The 3 types of zippers described above are chosen based on the construction finish, design, fabric and functionality requirement of a garment. They are available in a variety of different lengths and weights, from very fine to heavy duty. All zippers, regardless of type, have these basic shared elements:
The most important steps in the process of making a clothing item comes at the beginning with the drafting of the sewing pattern then cutting it properly according to its grainline. If you are a sewing beginner, you might feel a bit overwhelmed by some of the terms used when discussing the process of aligning, pinning and cutting a sewing pattern.
Terms like grainline, selvage edge, cut edge, or cut-on-fold can all seem like a big blur for someone who is just starting out. However, once you understand the importance of these elements when preparing your fabric and eventually cutting your sewing patterns, you'll be glad you put in some extra effort to understand them.
Below, we'll walk you through 4 basic ways to align and cut your sewing patterns according to fabric grain but first, lets start with the basic understanding of grainline and selvage edge- the two most important elements used in the fabric cutting process.
The grainline on a sewing pattern is depicted by a double pointed arrow. It is positioned within the body of the sewing pattern (as opposed to the edge) and essential in the pattern alignment process.
The grainline on the sewing pattern should match the grain of the fabric which can be identified using the selvage edge. Here it is, another term- the selvage edge is depicted by the finished lengthwise edges of the fabric piece. These edges do not fray and are used as a guide in the pattern cutting process.
When the fabric is taken off the bolt or roll, you'll notice it is woven such that it has two selvage edges on both its lengthwise sides. Vise versa, the width edges perpendicular to the selvage edge are called cut edges representing the direction in which fabric is cut off the bolt or roll.
At the fabric store, the length of the fabric (in yards) is measured along the selvage edge and cut perpendicular to it (cut edge). It is incorrect to cut a fabric piece along the selvage edges as this edge should remain intact and is an essential tool for aligning your sewing patterns in the sewing process correctly.
Lengthwise Grain: How to Align A Sewing Pattern On The Lengthwise Grain.
The lengthwise grain of fabric is positioned parallel to the selvage edge. Due to the nature of the lengthwise grain's durability and drape, this is the most common direction in which sewing patterns are cut.
The first step in understanding whether your sewing patterns are meant to be cut on the lengthwise grain or otherwise is by identifying the grainline mark on the sewing pattern. As mentioned above, this is depicted by a double pointed arrow positioned somewhere within the body of the sewing pattern. This arrow is essential in pattern-making and pattern-cutting thus you will seldom come across a professional sewing pattern that doesn't have a grainline marking.
Finishing fabric raw edges makes up for about 50% of the total sewing process. It is a necessary step in garment construction that creates a clean, durable finish able to last through daily use and consistent washing.
Clean finishing raw edges is required on most seams, hems, armholes and necklines. Thankfully, there is a variety of techniques to choose from based on garment style, type of fabric or your sewing level.
Just as important as clean finishing visible raw edges on the outside of the garment is clean finishing the inside elements of a garment. This includes seam allowance and the outer edges of facings and lining.
In the steps below, we'll focus on facings- More specifically, the curved outer edges of classic neckline facings. The examples below display basic sewing techniques used to finish the raw edges of almost all other facing types including those of armholes, Center Front/Center Back or sleeve cuffs.
What Are Facings?
Facings are duplicate shapes of the garment's portions that require edge finishing. They get stitched to the raw edge after which they are turned towards the inside of the garment to provide a backing and a clean, smooth finish along the edge. The most common facing applications are along necklines, lapels, armholes, and center front opening of jackets and cardigans. For some styles, sleeve hems can also feature a facing although today, this finish is less common.
1. Finishing a Facing Edge with Serging or a Zig Zag Stitch.
A simple, serging finish is perhaps the most affordable, common method for clean finishing the raw edge of a facing. I classic serging stitch requires the use of an overlock sewing machine (or serger). If you're a sewing beginner you most likely do not own a serging machine yet. For this finish, use the zig zag stitch on your home sewing machine instead.
For more durability, make sure it is set to a dense setting. A zig zag or serged finish will eliminate bulk and allow the facing to lay flatter on the inside of the garment. Thus, if you are working with a thinner fabric, the outline of the edge of the facing will not show on the face side of the garment.
An elastic waistband is casual and in most cases, simple to sew. In fact, inserting elastic into a waistband and the end result of a stretchy, comfortably adjustable garment at the waist is quite rewarding and fun to do, especially if you are a sewing beginner. Of course, there are different levels of difficulty depending on the style of elastic and where it is applied on the garment, but for the most part, this is a great finish to learn if you dream of being able to make your own clothing.
If you are just learning how to sew, don’t be intimidated by working with elastic. It is actually quite easy to handle once you get the hang of it. Elastic can provide a nice shortcut for a variety of fit issues. We’ll dive deeper into working with elastic later, but since you’re still at the beginning of the road with learning how to sew, let’s start with the most common (and simple way) elastic is used: in a waistband.
An elasticized waistband is simple and affordable to sew if you follow all its construction steps properly. It is often found on casual skirts, sweatpants and shorts, and sometimes used around the waist of casual dresses and tunics.
For the purpose of learning some basic steps associated with applying elastic, we'll show you how to add a simple elastic waistband to a skirt in the tutorial below.
Drafting a Simple Pattern For A Skirt Elastic Waistband
Step 1: Choose the width of the waistband.
It is up to you how wide you want the final waistband. Commonly, elastic waistbands range anywhere from ¾” to 2” depending on the style.
For the purpose of this tutorial, we’re using a 1” waistband.
To sew a 1” waistband use 1” wide elastic.
You can buy elastic in a variety of different widths at your local fabric store.
To draft an elastic waistband pattern, measure along the edge of the garment's waist (or the edge that the waistband will be sewn to) and note this measurement.
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