Marianne Dress Supplies

November 26, 2014

This is the perfect weekend to pick up goodies for your Marianne Dress, as most retailers are having some sort of holiday sale. I urge you to give your local shop a try, or a small shop with an on-line store, instead of heading automatically to the big box fabric warehouse. Every little bit helps and we want to keep these shops around! A lot of small shops don't have on-line shopping, so the shop near you might have exactly what you're looking for. Give them a try!

I searched some of my favorite on-line shops and found some great looking knits. This is not an extensive list, but it is a great place to start your search. Also, please note that I haven't seen most of these in real life and am relying on the shop's description to guide my selection. If you have any questions on the fabric, remember to contact the shop to make sure your impression of the fabric is correct.

The main question you're going to ask yourself is what kind of knit should you get? The reality is that knits are less consistent than wovens and there will be some trial and error along the way. You will also find that you have a personal opinion on the feel and breathability of the knit. Some prefer something stable and thick, others will prefer a lightweight tissue knit, or a shiny synthetic. Many options will work for the Marianne and you might want a variety in your stash to sew up depending on your mood or the occasion.

Also, keep in mind that when you're searching for "stretch" fabrics on-line, many times the shop will include woven stretch fabrics in this category along with jersey knit stretch fabrics, so be careful that you're not accidentally ordering stretch poplin or stretch denim when you're really after a knit.

And if you need the notions to make the dress, you can still find some kits containing the knit interfacing and clear elastic in my shop here!

So without further ado, here are some of my favorites out there!

- Blackbird Fabrics -

You might know Caroline, the owner of Blackbird Fabrics, as she has also worked and appeared on the blog for Sewaholic for some time. I am genuinely impressed at the restrained selections on her site, as it's not a super large shop, yet it is full of beautiful quality choices. Clearly we have similar tastes because I always want it all, including these six above! I might buy some of this immediately after writing this post!

The top row has two quilted knits, in white and in gray, as well as a delicious looking metallic that would make a fantastic party dress this holiday! 

The bottom row is stripes, and lord knows I love stripes! The red, navy, and heathered gray stripes are all bamboo knit. Divine!

I have purchased from Caroline in the past and can attest to the quality of her choices. I'm sure these wouldn't disappoint!

- -

Not quite as small as the other shops featured, but I have to give some props for their insanely wide range of stretch fabrics. They have quite literally everything from stretch mesh, to stretch lace, to every kind of jersey knit you can imagine. They even have Liberty of London knits! So I have to give credit where credit is due and include them here. 

The top left is just one of 100's of solids on the site, this is the thick and lovely charcoal gray Laguna jersey from Robert Kaufman. The stripe is a classic cotton and lycra from Riley Blake. And if you need metallic spandex, yep, they have it in a range of colors including this copper nylon spandex

The lower row shows just three of the 1,000's of print options on the site, including this ITY blue floral, multi-colored cotton lycra anchors, and bright granny floral rayon knit that I can't decide if it is crazy awesome, or just crazy.

- Fancy Tiger Crafts -

I always trust the judgement of the lovely ladies at Fancy Tiger and though their new on-line shop isn't huge, there are some lovely knits listed. There are only a few prints, but loads of gorgeous solids, textured solids, and yep, stripes!

Bottom row is a pair of organic hemp and cotton yard dyed stripes, in a lovely oatmeal and black, as well as a charcoal and yellow. The last stripe is 100% cotton classic navy and white stripe.

- Finch Sewing Studio -

Finch doesn't have a huge selection on-line, but they do have some of the lovely jersey from Art Gallery Fabrics, including the far left and far right prints, as well as some other speciality knits, like the lovely organic cotton and bamboo stripe in the center.

- Girl Charlee -

If you sew with knits, then no doubt you have spent hours browsing the extensive collection of knits on the Girl Charlee site. I have ordered from them in the past, as have friends of mine, and I have had some hit and miss experiences. However, their prices and selection are so good that I'm totally willing to make the gamble since many are under $10 a yard, which is a great price for a knit.

These picks are a black and white graphic print in ponte which is one of my favorite types of knits to work with, a poly/spandex faux leather stretch in metallic, and a preppy green ponte stripe that my sporty side simply adores. 

They also have loads of busy prints, which can be really hard to find in knits. This tribal print is another ponte knit, there are bright scuba knits, and lots of pop art style graphics too like this bright dot print in cotton/spandex. 

- Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics -

I recently visited the retail shop of Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley and I can tell you that their shop is huge! And not only that, but their knit section is even huger! So if you're in the bay area, you owe it to yourself to pay them a visit in-person, as this meager selection of three is nothing compared to what they have in the shop. 

From their site I picked this cute bamboo rayon and spandex stripe, a fun pop art dot rayon knit, and this classic rayon and poly blend stripe.

- Wanderlust Fabrics -

Wanderlust Fabrics popped onto my radar for the first time this year, and they have done a good job of supplying the indie sewing scene with quality knits. I have ordered from them and have really liked everything I received. There is a range on here though, so be sure you know if it's a sweater knit, or cotton rib, or terry, etc. so be sure to really read the listing. Also, they send out lovely swatches!

This charcoal stripe is everything I look for in a stripe. Divine! Though there are mostly prints on the site, there is a lovely stock of fun solids like this cute green cotton spandex. And yep, more cute gray stripes!

It's hard to find cute florals and this one with black and white flowers is really great. This buffalo check is super adorable and I've seen it in real life and it holds up! And again, I love a granny floral, so this print suits that side of me perfectly!

Where to Find the Marianne Dress Near You

November 25, 2014

I am so happy to announce that all the Marianne Dress pre-orders are out and the pattern is in the house and shipping on demand! Originally I estimated the patterns would ship tomorrow, but I managed to get everything done over the last few days and took 10 giant bags full of patterns, plus a carload of boxes to the post office this morning, and they are now off in the world on their way to all that have ordered over the last few days! Thank you all for so many orders!

I've had some people ask where they can pick it up in person, and while my lovely retailers list is long, not all shops carry all patterns, so it's great to call ahead to see if they have the one you're looking for. In the immediate, I can at least tell you who has ordered the Marianne Dress and will be getting it soon! The only shop on the list below that actually has them in hand is Sew L.A., since I can personally deliver to them. The rest are en route due to arrive soon!

Also, this is a great reminder to pop in and support your local fabric shop this holiday season! These little shops cannot compete with the big box stores and it is up to all of us to support them and keep them alive! They cannot stay open without our support! Consider a world of just the big fabric stores and if that frightens you, pay your local shop a visit and tell your friends to do the same!

United States:
  • Bolt - 2136 NE Alberta Street, Portland, OR 97211
  • Crafthouse - 2804 North 48th Street, Lincoln, NE 68504
  • Five Eighth Seams - 1901 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29407
  • Fancy Tiger - 59 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203 
  • Gather Here - 370 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139
  • Nutmeg - 1006 Fatherland Street, Suite 204, Nashville, TN 37206
  • Oh Sew Persnickety
  • Sew L.A. - 3153 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039 
  • Thread - 109 West Sixth Street, Tuscumbia, AL 35674



  • Fabrications - 1098-A Sommerset Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 3C8

Marianne Dress Pattern Sale Ends Today!

November 24, 2014

I hope you all had a great weekend! I spent mine teaching some wonderful students at Sew L.A. and packing up so many orders! Huge huge thanks to all of you that have already ordered the Marianne Dress (and thanks to those that picked up a few other patterns too)!

This is your reminder that the 15% off launch sale ends today! The patterns are here and things are going out now! So exciting! This is the dress you will want to wear all the time, as it is as comfy as it is cute!

Thanks again for the amazing comments, messages, and support. I am so humbled by the kindness of the sewing scene and you all make my job worthwhile!

*Sale ends at midnight Pacific Standard Time

Styling the Marianne Dress

November 21, 2014

I love stripes. Always have, always will. So when I made the samples for the Marianne Dress I wanted to keep the homage to my Parisian landlord true to itself and use stripes. I hunted far and wide for the best stripes and when I saw the organic wool knit at The Fabric Store in Los Angeles, I knew it was the right choice. It is almost like a sweater knit, but not heavy and retained the flow that I was looking for. Perfect. You however might not want stripes, and just because I have had a life-long obsession with stripes, I would never want to imply that this is the only way to style your Marianne Dress.

Choosing sample fabrics is a really tricky business. Consider my Derby Dress and Chelsea Dress patterns. Originally I picked all Liberty of London prints (except for one striped fabric) because I love Liberty and I felt it was a lovely, feminine, and timeless choice. But I quickly realized that if you're not into flowers, you had a hard time envisioning yourself in the dress. So when I redid all my images this year, I went out of my way to pick basics, only using solids, stripes, polka dots, and simple geometric prints that would have a more universal appeal. But of course, these are only samples and the joy of sewing for yourself is customizing it over and over for yourself and for loads of styles and situations.

So, other than organic wool knit stripes, what can you use for your Marianne Dress? TONS! Let's look at some awesome internet samples, which are all found on the Marianne Dress inspiration board on Pinterest. And yes, some of these are stripes, because this dress looks great with stripe variations.

- - - - - Metallics - - - - -

Need an easy to sew holiday dress? Make it out of a stretch metallic knit! I picked up some fabric yesterday to do exactly this! 
Sources 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

- - - - - Florals - - - - - 

How fun are these floral knit and solid sleeve & binding combos? LOVE! The dress becomes sporty and feminine all at once. Super fun and modern. 
Sources 1 - 2 - 3

- - - - - Colorblocking - - - - - 

Use a different fabric for each piece! For #2, you can use the front of View A and the back pieces from View B! For #1 and #3, simply chop the dress piece for View B at the hip, add seam allowances, and cut an alternate fabric for the hem!
Sources 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

- - - - - Fancy - - - - - 

It can be hard to find these kind of stretch fabrics, but if you do, this dress can easily be made up into something fancy for a special occasion! 
Sources 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

- - - - - Solids - - - - - 

There's nothing wrong with just choosing a lovely solid! And as in #1, you could make it a maxi!
Sources 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

Sources 1- 2 - 3 - 4

- - - - - Stripes - - - - -

Omit the cuff, and just use the 3/4 sleeve by itself!
Sources 1 - 2 - 3

Sources 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

- - - - - Solid & Stripes - - - - -

Use a solid color at the top and on the sleeves, or combine a solid with a stripe sleeve!
Sources 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

Sources 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

- - - - - Shirt Length - - - - - 

And of course, you can always shorten it to a shirt length if you want!
Sources 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

I hope this gets your ideas flowing! There are loads of ways to style and rework the pattern to your personal tastes. I can't wait to see what you all do with it! The possibilities are endless!

Marianne Dress Inspiration

November 20, 2014

Many of you know that my post-college career started in the world of ready-to-wear, and if you knew me back then, the Marianne Dress will look very familiar to you. This was one of the first designs I made to sell, as they were quick and easy to make, especially with industrial sergers and coverstitch machines, and they were easy to fit on a wide range of bodies. The only real style choice was if you wanted to wear it tight (sausage casing style) or loose (jammies style). That was up to the buyer, though there were more than a few shows that I vended at where I was a wee bit mortified watching girls squeeze themselves into the smallest version possible. Not exactly what I had in mind, but hey, the customer's always right, right?

The year was 2006 and the dress back then was called the Niagara Dress, don't ask me why, I honestly cannot remember for the life of me why I called it that, and it looked like the photos above and below. Shot by my old Chicago friend Stu, I flew to Portland from Los Angeles to do photoshoots with him and the beautiful Annabelle, my regular model at the time.

Fast forward to this year, and when it came time to release a new pattern, I knew one thing for certain: I needed a break from the formality of the Emery Dress. I mean, not everything I make do I want to sew 16 darts for goodness sake! I found myself longing for a lounge-friendly, but elegant knit dress and remembered that pattern I had hanging in my stash.

The original had a more boatneck neckline without binding, coverstitched hems, and a slightly more hourglass shape with a sash belt. As with all my patterns, I wanted to maintain a simple shape, while providing as many customization options as possible. So from the original, I made the shape more body-friendly, added details like the optional collar, cuff, and seams above the bust, and voila! The Marianne was born.

Though I designed the Niagara Dress nine years ago, I was also very aware of not being redundant in the indie pattern scene. I made sure to keep to what I wanted to do, while checking that it wasn't too close to my friend's patterns, the Coco Dress by Tilly & the Buttons, and the Hemlock Tee by Grainline Studios. As with any pattern, it's a fine line of being aware of those that are close to your idea, while still maintaining your vision. It's tricky and thankfully all three of these designs are different enough to coexist. I will continue to make both of those, as they are only similar to those that aren't looking at the details. And who knows, perhaps there are others too that are close that I'm not aware of. Eventually you need to make your idea and go with it or you'll be paralyzed with the fear of overlapping too much.

So why the name Marianne? Originally I called the pattern the Marie Dress, named for my Parisian landlord, Marie. She wears this style of top all the time, so it is a bit of an homage to her, as well as drawing on my love of French style. But while the names Marie and Emery look nothing alike, they sound nearly identical. Seriously, stop reading for a second and say them both out loud. See what I mean? I had been writing Marie and saying it alone, until one day when I said Marie and Emery side by side in a sentence and well, I knew I had to change it! So Marianne is a take on her name, and keeping with the French history of the shape, so that stuck.

Check back tomorrow for loads of ideas on the kinds of fabric options you can use (not just for stripes!) and customization ideas. I was going to include that today, but I think this is enough for now :)