Cidell and I spent alllll day Friday loading up on fabrics in the Garment District. I pulled in quite a haul. But first, a thank you to Myra for some fantastic vintage patterns!
She won my vintage children's patterns giveaway. When she received the package, she said she had some adult vintage patterns in my size and asked if I would want them. Yes, please! They are so cute. I especially love the 1940s shirtdress on the right side of the middle row. It is just sensational. I looked for the perfect fabric for it while I was in NYC, but alas didn't find anything quite right. I will be keeping my eye out for cotton prints until I succeed.
I am often asked by non-sewists whether I choose a project and then buy fabric for it, or if I find fabric and then figure out a project to use it in. Sewists rarely ask this question because I think for most of us it is a combination. I am more on the "buy fabric first, ask questions later" side; I'd say at least 80% of fabric I buy because I like it, and only 20% for planned projects (if that much). But given the size of my stash, I do have a guideline ("rule" is too strong a word) that I need to be able to envision a project for the fabric before I can buy it. I don't necessarily have to stick with that project in the end, but it least has to conceptually fit into my sewing style and wardrobe.
We first headed to Paron, but we hadn't yet had breakfast and it was past 11 so we didn't buy anything yet. I do not make smart decisions when my brain has inadequate fuel.
Instead we met up with Elizabeth of eword10 for lunch at Garment District Chinese restaurant Ginger's. The decor is nice and their plates are gorgeous. I do not recommend the Shanghai Tofu.
Fortified, we were ready to do our shopping. First stop, Metro Textile, aka Kashi. He recognized me immediately as we were coming down the hall and remembered that the last time I was in New York it was for the Mermaid Parade. I was impressed! Clearly all that flattery swooned me into buying way too much fabric:
One of the few things that was actually on my list was red silk dupioni for another obi. This was the right color. Unfortunately, the minimum cut at Kashi's is one yard and I really only needed 1/4 yard. In the end, I decided it would be easier to get a full yard there than traipse around everywhere looking for the thing that was right in front of my face, so I will have plenty leftover for another project.
I am not a fan of sheers, but the yellow silk chiffon was so pretty I had to have it. The color is gorgeous and the quality is just amazing. It has the most incredible sheen. Kashi said it is Thai.
The purple knit print is to make a project for my mom, as purple is her favorite color. It wasn't until I got home that I realized it is almost identical to the fabric for my bubble sleeve dress. At least my taste is consistent. The blue is my color and my style (very similar to my pink empire waist dress) so I figured I needed it in stash.
The seersucker was actually on my list, and I am always wishing for swiss dot.
Next stop, Spandex House.
Cidell loves Spandex House but they just don't do much for me. Although they have hundreds of bolts of solid jersey, there are never any colors I like. There are lots of pinks, some blues but few in the turquoise family, pretty much no greens, and no yellows or oranges. It's amazing that the colors are so limited given the size of the inventory!
I was still bummed about missing out on the avocado bamboo jersey from Fabric Mart and hoped to find a replacement, but given their total lack of greens there was no chance. But then on the way out, we stopped downstairs to look at the prints by the stairs (the prints in the front of the store are an absolute horror, to my mind) and the print on the right jumped out at me. It has avocado in it, and I love the abstract style. I didn't think I wanted a print for Butterick 5130, but I think this will work.
The gingham is from the new room off to the right of the entrance and will be the CUTEST vintage style swimsuit ever.
From here, we were off to some trim stores.
The jewels are cheap quality, but also cheap price from Itrim, on LindsayT's recommendation after she got some for a top for her daughter. The black ones came in a bag of about 20 and were $3; the sparkly copperish ones were $6. The clear bra straps are also from there--$1.50/pair. I have sloping shoulders and wear a racerback bra whenever possible to avoid the annoyance of straps falling down. When I *have* to wear a bra with regular wide-set straps, I use clear straps because they stick in place. They are $6 from Joann ($3.60 with 40% off coupon). $1.50 per pair is a STEAL *and* they are better quality. The buckle was $2; assuming I can find some grosgrain ribbon I like someday it will be for a ribbon belt like Cidell's. The store also had lots of feathers for millinery.
From SIL Thread came the fold-over elastic ($2/yd) and the bias tape maker ($7). I've always made bias tape freehand without too much trouble, but the tape maker was so cute I impulsively threw it in. There was no price marked on it; had I known it was $7 I might not have gotten it. Now I need to find a project that uses bias tape.
The chalks are from Greenberg & Hammer. I got several colors when I was there at PR Weekend 2007. The white I have disappears under an iron which is AWESOME (though sometimes I forget and then have to re-mark everything), while my colors do not. I asked if they had any colors that disappear under the iron. Apparently, you have to choose wax for that and I guess the ones I have are clay. I haven't yet tested to see what happens, but if the colors do disappear under the iron I will be so pleased.
And finally, the trim! It is from Pacific Trimmings. At $9/yd the price is much higher than I would usually spend. Normally I can live without things that ar $9/yd. But having just bought my swiss dot (and how much do you love the selvage of it?) I really HAD to have it. See how RTW I am? Check out the Kaylee top by Cynthia Steffe at Bloomingdales.com for a somewhat similar look with trim.
I am considering McCall 5708. I am picturing it with my thin black patent leather belt and my white pencil skirt and thinking it is very sexy secretary.
We were pretty beat by this point, but I wanted to go back to Paron and pick up the fabrics I had chosen when I we did our preview.
Obviously, I was in a green mood. The green silk/cotton twill is the only fabric that breaks my rule of "at least have a vague project idea to justify the purchase." I only bought two yards given the price and my lack of vision, and it is only 45" wide. I was thinking a pencil skirt and possibly a shrug. I know it's perfect for a jacket (the weight is fairly heavy) but I just don't like making jackets.
The lighting in Paron is far from natural so I wasn't sure how the yellow embroidered fabric would look on me. When I got it home I saw it was just way too pale. I tested a swatch in a "dye" bath of turmeric. Though the slight contrast tone of the embroidery was lost, I vastly preferred the brighter color so yesterday during my pre-treat mode I dyed the whole piece deeper yellow.
I also got the charcoal gray cotton I needed for my kimono dress from a little store near Paron for $5/yd, but I could not get an interesting picture of it and didn't want to be too boring (too late!, given the length of this post).
Are you tired yet? We were! All we had strength for was an ice cream appetizer at Baskin Robbins (we could not find a local ice cream shop!), dinner at Cookshop, and cupcakes from Billy's Bakery for dessert.
The BMGM LA food tour
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