Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Random Threads # 13 - a little bit of everything

Hello and what's new? For 2015 I have been on quite a roll but that last dress stopped me short. Thank you for all the nice comments, however it has been sitting on my dressform for the past two weeks and it is not growing on me. I just don't like that fabric so this one may go directly to the donation pile.  Which is a bit disappointing as I always liked that pattern. Oh well, can't win 'em all.
Onwards to the next thing.

I suppose also I have been feeling a bit out of sorts - waiting for summer to be here for real - and some other stuff happening - and thinking I have so many things in my closet that it is quite ridiculous to make anything new. So I marinated in that sour mood for about a week, the other issues happily resolved,  and I have snapped out of whatever funk I was in and am ready to charge through a lot of new patterns. New to me, at least.  Some are actually a few years old but I have been wanting to make them. (Although see first paragraph and note where that got me :)

New Patterns:
As usual I looked through all the new releases and didn't see anything I wanted/needed on first glance. Oops, not true - Vogue 1448 DKNY (my favorite pattern designer) grabbed me immediately and I have already bought it plus have the required yardage (it takes quite a lot for a knee length dress).  But that was the only one....or so I thought. Never fails, I go back a day or two later and look more closely, finding a few more, some not necessarily new but next sale I will most likely buy.


Is it just me or is there just a lot of sameness? Usually I see something in Simplicity that I really like or find useful as a jumping off point for redesign. They have discontinued what I think are some of their best patterns which is too bad.

DKNY challenge:
Now that I said I would make the dress shown above - I was looking through my Vogues and realize I have at least 5 other DKNY pattern that I adored at the time but have not made - so I am going to challenge myself to make at least 3 this summer. One is already done. A sneak peak is visible on...

I dunno. I joined, I uploaded one image. Probably will continue when I have something fun to share.I really like reading blogs. really really really.  Everyone please keep blogging. WRITING. I love to read. Images are great but the sentences people write alongside their images - in long form - make me love the online sewing community. So keep writing, fellow stitchers! please.
Also on a different note - Instagram kind of creeps me out. It is so bossy. Upload! Follow! Share! you only upload using your phone, not computer which means other cameras are out unless you upload those images to your photo stream. So...many....rules. plus owned by Facebook and I think FB are the evil empire (business-wise) and also creepy, bossy, annoying. What is it about Facebook that annoys me so much? Mostly the co-mingling and blurring of the intersection of commerce and friendship.
Enough editorializing for today.

Social Sewing:
Saturday I went to our Bay Area Sewists Meetup group which was a pattern exchange. Success: I brought 5 patterns and came away with only 1. Afterwards the group usually descends en masse on StoneMountain and Daughter for shopping. Here is me and Laura (blog Lilacs and Lace) standing between the rayons and silks. I bought two knits but didn't stay to see what she got. She has a very funny post on her blog now about the difference between the pattern envelope drawings and reality. They should use her on the vintage reproductions - she looks better than their models!  My top is McCalls 7046 and my green corduroy skirt is Vogue 1170 which is a super cute skirt and now I have a top that matches. Back of the closet for the win!

me and Laura at Stone Mountain

Print, Pattern, Bright Colors:
So as we were shopping I had some fabrics in my arms and someone from the meeting walked by and said "wow, you really like loud fabrics".   Yes I really do like bright colors, prints, vibrant shades. I have a hard time understanding wanting to wear dark colors or black/grey all the time. But that choice of phrase made Laura and I laugh. OK I am guilty as charged. I call them bright, happy, vibrant, lively, but loud can also describe. Would the reverse be to say "hey, you wear really drab fabrics?" It has taken me a long time to get to a point where I understand that everyone has different taste - what one person loves another thinks is horrible - and that means a lot of designers, merchants, departments, styles can all exist and find their niche or customer base. But I still think that everyone has some colors that can look really great on them and most of the time grey/black/beige don't do a lot of favors.  ( although I will concede that the right item in black can be fabulous and it does make a good base for a travel wardrobe) Come to think of it, most who make their own clothes seem to explore the color wheel and I think it is my non-sewing friends and colleagues that purchase their wardrobe that default to solids and dark colors. Probably for the very reason that it is easier to mix and match, dress up or down. Thank goodness for sewing.

Fabric Shopping in NY:
Advice needed. Not for me, I wish!  My friend and muse Heather who I sew for is going to NY in June and will definitely have some time so she wants to go fabric shopping. In the September 2014 Issue of Threads magazine # 174 there is a great article on fabric shopping in NY so I will give that to her but I would love any recommendations. She is not a sewer so stores where they give you some help would be good. In the article two stores sounded a bit like Britex in SF where we shop frequently (NY Elegant Fabrics and B&J Fabrics) but any feedback before mid-June would be appreciated. One of these years I will get back to New York and hopefully both shop and meet up with my east coast on-line sewing pals. Who I have mostly not met with the exception of Kyle :) so lots to look forward to someday.  

anyway - NY fabric shopping recommendations - chime in. On that or any of the other topics that came out of my keyboard tonight.

Happy Sewing, Beth

oh, things are blooming around here, tomatoes are planted, lemons are pollinated and water is being judiciously applied in the garden.

Apple blossoms, just about finished and the little songbirds have started nesting in the tree.

apple blossom


  1. Like you, I really really enjoy reading blogs still. I like to get to know people in a way that I don't think you can do on Instagram as well. I do Instagram, but I'm pretty boring :-) Plus, I'm followed there by non-sewing friends and I think they can only take so much my my nattering on about sewing!

  2. My two favourite shops in NYC right now are Metro Textiles and "Fabrics and Fabrics" - they're both in anonymous high rise buildings so you need to google the addresses first. But they're easy to get into and are both marvelous!

  3. "Would the reverse be to say "hey, you wear really drab fabrics?" " Well, that's what i get a lot! When i wear color it is generally A COLOR, but i adore my blacks, creams and beiges. Currently sewing a black eyelet bustled petticoat. As you say, to each their own!

  4. Dear Beth,
    I enjoy reading your blog and seeing photos of your work. I too am puzzled by Instagram... I would much rather read your thoughts about what went wrong or right with a particular project! So glad to hear I'm not the only one! Keep up the great work!
    Warm regards,
    Ruth Lutz

  5. Bring on the black and grey! :) I would never replace my blog with Instagram, but I find a use for both.

  6. Not exactly fabric, but Shindo and Mokuba are high-end trim stores - great for looking, at least. For bargain trims, Daytona trim. I buy elastic in bulk at the later. Zippers at SIL thread - about $1 for YKK zippers in virtually any color and about $1 for cutting, if needed. I only buy YKK zippers at SIL because I have found what appears to be counterfeits at other stores, including a particular popular trim store. (I have no affiliation with SIL or any other store). Anyway, due to price and selection, it's worth stocking upon on basic zippers, IMHO. For an reasonably priced and helpful fabric shop, I would recommend Chic Fabrics. Otherwise there is, of course, Mood, but I'm still a bit ticked off about paying double for a fabric I later found online...

    1. Mood is not exactly known for a bargain - at least in my book. It has that whole Project Runway aura that makes it a must shop for most sewists coming to NYC.

  7. Elliot Berman and Rosen & Chadick. Neither on street level. Elliot Berman has lovely European fabrics at reasonable prices. Rosen and Chadick has a wide assortment of stuff and it is sorted by fiber. Both stores have VERY helpful personnel.

    1. I second these two stores! Rosen & Chadick has a wonderful variety of beautiful fabric and lovely friendly helpful humans!!

  8. I love to read blogs, too. So much great information and after a period of time reading the blog, I feel like they are my friend. I do enjoy IG and the quick way to see photos but I am with your about FB. I am with you on brighter colors, black and grey are not my friend! I am happy you feel like sewing again, I love your creations.

  9. Loud fabric lovers unite! And I really love that new DKNY pattern, too.

  10. B&J and NY Elegant fabrics are both worth visiting as well as Fabrics Fabrics. I like Elliot Berman as well Only NY Elegant is at street level so take addresses. B&J, Elliot Berman and Fabrics Fabrics all are helpful. If you want Riri zippers Pacific Trimmings is a mind blower. They have 3 storefronts and one of them is almost entirely Riri. You can get them cut to order or buy the full length of 36" and cut them yourself just make sure that she gets the top pieces. Also they have different pulls. They also have every elastic you could ever imagine in colors, prints and widths.
    I also buy regular and invisible zippers SIL, because they sell name zippers as someone else mentioned. B&J is probably my favorite of the higher end stores. Gorgeous quality linen bottom weight in lots of colors.
    I wear fewer colors than I used to especially since I let my hair go white. I love red lipstick and have red glasses, so I am toying with adding red to my wardrobe. I bought some cobalt blue knit for a top. See I am making progress.

  11. For must shop fabric stores on Britex's level I would recommend Elliot Berman especially since Eugenia is awesome to work with and very helpful. I love blogs too and hope they don't go away. Although I do wonder if they are being read since it seems like comments are down on almost all of my favorites. I'm active on Instagram and love the quickness of it but would never go with just it. And after finally putting up a Facebook page I don't get the allure of it so I'm very rarely on Facebook.

  12. It was wonderful seeing you this weekend! Being surrounded by kindred spirits and fabric always helps improve my mood.

    As far as Instagram goes - it can be rather fun! And since it requires a lot less effort than a blog post, these days I find I am taking more of my “in-progress” shots on my phone and using the app to share. When my motivation returns, I will get back to blogging.

    Can’t wait to see what you do with the DKNY designs!

  13. I'm not on FB or IG though I have been on Twitter for awhile now. I don't think I can articulate why I don't want to be on FB but I just don't! I like twitter but it seems almost everyone doing Me Made May is on Instagram where it gets synced to Twitter, but I have to go to IG to see the pix. I also joined Pinterest but when I joined it automatically gave me 5 boards full of pins I don't want and I haven't taken the time to figure out how to get rid of them so I haven't gone back.

    I periodically entertain the idea of giving up blogging but I'm still with it. It takes a lot of time to blog.

    Honored to be the only east coast blogger you have met! My favorite trim shop is Pacific Trimming--so many zippers, hardware, ribbons, elastic, buttons, snaps, strapping and on and on. They custom cut their zippers for $1, on the spot, right then and there. But if your friend is not a sewist she might not get anything out of going there. Also they don't have air conditioning so depending on how hot it is....

    For fabric, I really like Paron. It is small enough that it doesn't feel overwhelming but large enough to have a great selection; it has a mirror so you can hold fabric up to see how it looks on you; the fabric content and price is on every roll; the fabric is organized by type. If your friend watches PR then she must go to Mood. Mood is overwhelming for me (3 floors of fabric) so I can only handle it if I have a plan and am looking for something specific. Spend $50 and she'll get one of their fabric totes like you see on PR. Ask for it if they don't automatically give it after spending $50. Mood makes you check your bags which is always a relief to me to not carry more stuff all over yonder but others seem really bothered by it. Mood now has a home dec store that is street level but their main store with fashion fabric is on the 3rd floor and you have to take an elevator that has an elevator operator.

    My favorite fabric store is Metro Textiles (Kashi) but he is not open on weekends. He's not on street level either but on the 9th floor of an office building. His store is very small and jam packed with treasures. His ponte is $6 or $8 a yard the last time I was there (ponte at Mood starts around $12 or $14). If I'm there on a weekday I go to Metro first, then Paron. Kashi also ships and it's totally not a big deal! He eyes the pile of fabric, quotes you a price and off you go!

    I also like Chic Fabrics though some people don't. Bargain fabrics. It's easy to ship there too.

    If she's down around the FIT area I like TrueMart Fabrics (sometimes spelled TruMart) on the corner of 25th and 7th. Not open Saturdays. It's the size of a postage stamp, not good for claustrophobic people, but has treasures! No shipping from there but FedEx is a block over.

    Hope she has fun!!

    1. p.s. for the high-end Britex-like experience (including price per yard), then Elliott Berman--ask for Eugenia--she is really nice.

  14. I love wearing black, gray and white! I like instagram but prefer reading blogs, probably because I like to read. Re: your friend's NY trip, I always find so much inspiration window shopping or stepping into boutiques in SoHo that we don't have out here -- she might find some interesting details or silhouettes that catch her eye.

  15. I like both IG and blogs. With IG, it's so easy to do a little "shout out" and go on with your day. A way to stay in touch while being short on time. And since I'm very visual, I love seeing all the pics. Blog reading takes more of a time commitment, which I enjoy a lot, but I do have to have a separate mindset between them. And blog writing ... well, I've lost my motivation on that front for a bit. I'll be back. Just not sure when.

  16. I love colours in my clothing, but I also love neutrals just as much! I think a bit of variety is nice in the wardrobe :)
    wrt IG or blogs I still like and do both. I love IG and post a lot of my pictures there, but I prefer to post mostly things I see in my day, and to see interesting things and sights other people see in their day, in other parts of the world. NOT just sewing stuff please. I just like it for the pretty pictures!

    1. Oh, I meant to add, I liked your blue dress in the previous post too! The colour is so very very you, of course!

  17. I never thought about how well those vintage reproductions would sell if Laura Mae were the cover model!


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