Saturday, March 8, 2008

Stashoholism Confessional: NYC Edition

Last weekend I was in New York for a show. My close friend and neighbor spent last year out of the country and I took care of her mail and various other things that came up while we were gone. As her thank you, she got us tickets to Xanadu (which I'd been wanting to see since I heard they were putting it on Broadway) and cashed in her Marriott points for a fantastic room Times Square. Lap of luxury, I tell you! You can read about the tourist portion of the trip on my travel blog.

We went down by bus on Friday morning so I was able to hit the garment district while all the stores were open. I didn't want to spend too much because (1) I already have a lot of fabric, (2) I haven't been sewing much lately, and (3) I'm going to Vietnam in two weeks and Paris in two months and hope to acquire some fabric in both places.

The best laid plans....

Well, really, I don't think I went *too* crazy.

First stop was a store with a Paron's sign over the door. I walked in and everything was total jumbled kind of dirty chaos and I was completely confused. I later realized that the sign over the door was leftover from when Paron and Paron's Annex were two separate places, so who knows what the actual place was. When I walked in some guy was talking to the owner talking about how "the women are going to love it." When he walked out I saw it was Ricky from Project Runway! I told him I was a big fan, and he smiled very shyly and said thanks. It happened too fast to get a pic, though. One of the guys that worked there took a shine to me for some reason. He kept saying I was pretty and trust me, I was not. It was cold and a little wet and I looked and felt gross and grumpy. Anyway, I got the blue roses shirting--I think a rayon and poly blend--for $4/yd. I got two yards, one for me and one for Cidell. Won't we be adorable in matching blouses? Actually she plans to incorporate hers into a dress.

Next stop was Paron, where I looked and didn't buy. But I couldn't get the red knit print (pictured below with the print from Stretch Universe) out of my head and went back later in the day. I also got the gorgeous teal/coral cross-dyed wool/silk/cotton/lycra fabric to the right. It is YUMMY. $6.75/yd, I got three yards. The red knit print was also $6.75/yd. I asked for two, there were 3 1/2 left on the bolt, and he gave me the whole lot from the price of 2 1/2 yards. Sold.

Then it was off to Spandex House. When I cleaned out my craft room I determined that I would really like to have a ready supply of plain knits for tops. I have not really loved Spandex House on past visits. I find it too jumbly and difficult to find anything, and the bolts are too big/heavy/buried to pull out. Also, the cotton jersey I bought at PR Weekend was just awful quality. It faded in the (cold) pre-wash and the hand is just not nice. But it is the easiest place to find knits so I went. I only found two colors/hands/fibers that I liked, the orchid and the blue. And I already have a million clothes in the blue but it is a color I always like so I got it. The black is for workout pants, as all my gym clothes are old and horrible. 1 1/2 yds of each of the colors, 2 yards of the black, total was $20.

From Spandex House I popped over to stretch world. They had the blue dots fabric also in green, red, and amber colorways. I didn't like the red or amber much, but I wonder if I hadn't ought to have chosen green instead of blue. I have a LOT of blue clothes. Too late! (But if somebody is going will you pick me up some green?) The girl gave me a price of $8/yd. That was more than it was worth to me so I walked away. She said $7. Kept walking. When it got down to $6 I turned around and got 3 yds.

I stopped by Chic for some white shirting (2 yds) and batiste (4 yds). Great quality and always useful, but too boring, for a pic.

Finally, it was time for the piece de gift certificate to Mood. A while back I gave a friend some sewing lessons, and as a thank you she sent me a $100 gift certificate to Mood. On my own I probably wouldn't go into Mood because the prices, like the fabrics, are out of this world. When she gave me the gift certificate I was thinking maybe I'd buy some Pucci print just for the hell of it, as I'd certainly never spend $50/yd of my own money on some and I looooove Pucci prints. Well, they're up to $60/yd and I just couldn't do it.

After spending well over an hour in the store I settled on two yards of $25/yd silk jersey in a Pucci-like print and 2 yards of the yellow eyelet ($18/yd). I kind of wish I'd gotten 2 1/2 of the silk jersey, because then I could make a dress and a top out of it. I was thinking of a sleeveless version of the mock wrap dress in Simplicity 4074, but now am undecided. I love Simp 4074, but because it's princess seams it will break up the print. Which is fine, because the flowers are a probably too large a scale for my frame and they'll just read abstract (and therefore even more Pucci-esque) if broken up, but it will definitely take up the whole length. I want to find a pattern that will give me enough leftover to make the sleeveless cowl top from Simplicity 4539, but I don't know if that will be possible. Does anybody know how to care for silk jersey? The eyelet will be a sheath dress.

I didn't stop by Metro Textiles and see Kashi. I do like the stuff he has in his store, but his personality is a lot for me to take, and I couldn't face him alone. I have to be in the mood to spend a lot to go there, and I wasn't.

Total damage: 21 1/2 yards out of my pocket (which is all that goes in my tally as my stash damage control is about money not space), plus four yards from Mood. Oof, this is more than I've sewn this year. Must get busy.

The only disappointment was that I stopped by Around the World and they didn't have any Patrones in. Boo.

On my sightseeing day I went to Liberty and Ellis Islands for the first time (sightseeing photos are here), and it was not a day entirely without fashion/textiles. Part of the collection in the museum at Ellis Island is items that immigrants brought with them, that were later donated, including this gorgeous Italian wedding dress from the turn of the century:

It's hard to photograph something through glass, but you get the idea of all the trims and the shape. Loved it.


Lisette M said...

I love all your purchases, especially the yellow eyelet. Can't wait to see all your creations!

Cindy and Amyl said...


I've been lurking for a while so I thought it was time to de-lurk. I made a dress from silk jersey i bought from Gorgeous Fabric last year. I pre-treated the fabric by hand washing in Zero and now I hand wash it in the same. Or shampoo. Or body wash. Ok, I'm a bit lazy but it works.

toy said...

you wrote exactly what I was thinking a few weeks ago, I love that simplicity pattern and those fabrics are beautiful

Gretchen the Household Deity said...

Lisette--Ha, I can't wait to see them either. `-) Just have to find some time and motivation.

Welcome cindyj! I looked for Zero at Target today but didn't see it. Can you recommend where to get it?

Latoya, glad you feel me on the easy knits!

Marji said...

Oh, is your trip business or pleasure? In Viet Nam they weave some of the most gorgeous silks - mostly cross dyes with contrasting colors in warp and weft, that have symbols woven into them as a jacquard weave, on these old 30" wide looms. The fabrics are almost a shantung in weight and texture. And...often they make frog closures and the like out of the fabrics that they'll sell along with the yardage. I've seen the msot amazing and unusual color combos, you have to make sure to find some room to bring some home. Oh, and check the yardage to make sure they're not too objectionable, but most of the yardage has variances that are so extreme some people object to them as flaws - I think of them as character.
As far as the silk jersey print - if it were solid I'd say go ahead and wash it cold, but you are so likely to lose intensity of color and clarity of that impressive gorgeous print - I'd stitch it up without pretreating, then dry clean as necessary. I know that some really accomplished stitchers like Kathryn and Liana agree with me on the FWIW category.
Meanwhile, that yellow/white eyelet is TDF. I almost think I have to call Mood to see if they still have any.

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

Don't worry I was at Kashi's doing enough damage for both of us! How was Xanudu? Did you like it?

Gretchen the Household Deity said...

Marji-I'm going for business, but will be taking a week off for pleasure. Am way excited.

Carolyn-LOVED Xanadu. It was such campy fun. I highly recommend seeing if you can get a ticket at the half price.

Sami-am said...


I've been reading your blog lately and figured I'd show my face. Am overly envious of your fabrics from Mood! This is perhaps a silly question (in my defense however, I've yet to make it up to NYC, much less the fabric shops!), but do you negotiate prices for all your fabric cuts? Or only at certain stores?

Can't wait to see what you bring back from Vietnam! I'm planning on going next year and I'm itchy for some global textile souvnirs!

Gorgeous Things said...

I just love that silk jersey print! I agree with Marji - that's one that I would resign to dry cleaning just to keep the colors vibrant. Can't wait to see your haul from Vietnam!

Gretchen the Household Deity said...

Sami-am--in some stores (Mood) the price is provided and probably not negotiable. I think at the smaller stores it is/can be. At any rate, there are rarely if ever marked prices and the person just seems to be making one up out of thin air when you ask. But I am *not* a price-haggler, it's just not in my genes. So normally I just pay the asking price. This was a very rare deviance for me! I really was walking away from it at $8, not trying some kind of tactic. It was just fortuitous that she saw me as bargaining.

Gorgeous Things--You're right, I'm just gonna have to dry clean. Dang.

Cindy and Amyl said...

Now that I've read the comments, I'm starting to worry that I washed my silk jersery. Oh well, to the dry cleaners next time.