It snowed today. It's the perfect weather for my new Santa hat.
I have been wanting a santa hat lately.
So on Sunday night I sewed up McCalls 3422 (A pattern dated 2001, which somehow survived many pattern cleanouts, somehow). I used red furry fabric from my crafty grandmother. My mom estimates this fabric to be at least 50 years old.
I loved how I could see a semicircle was cut out of this fabric with pinking shears. I imagine that my grandmother cut an entire tree skirt out of this fabric.
I even muslined it, which felt on one hand like going too far, on the other, if it was too small...there goes the fabric!
After measuring my head and muslining for fit (I took the largest hat size, 23"...which is what the circumference of my head is, ha ha).
I sewed it up and tried it on, but the underside of that furry fabric was pretty itchy on my forehead so I took it apart and lined it with very soft Snoopy Christmas pj fabric I estimate to have owned since college. I don't know how to describe this fabric other than it's the kind of fabric kids pjs is made out of. Very synthetic feeling but also soft.
I don't know where the white furry fabric is from, but there it was in my stash. The pattern calls for a 2" wide trim but I cut mine 3". Next time I would cut it 4" as the turn of cloth on fabric this thick is quite a lot, and the thicker the trim, the more luxe (there's that word again!) it looks.
The "pompom" is actually a 5" square where I brought the corners together and sewed, then sewed again...
and then it looks like this:
Close enough to a pompom!!!
There's a cat that lives in the parking garage at work. He has a bobtail, so I call him Bob. Today, my coworker and I made a snowcat in Bob's likeness. It was the best lunch hour!
Soooo...yesterday I wrote about my fabric binge in SD, following my fabric bender in LA. I flew back to NJ the following day and then....I started purging my fabric stash! I have been to a LOT of fabric stores this year (NYC four times, LA, Honolulu, San Diego twice, Royal Oak, San Francisco) and have purchased a LOT of fabric. It was like my own personal version of "no fabric left behind". Since 2012 I have been shipping my fabric back home from my travels so I was no longer limited by weight like I was in 2010 and 2011. And I haven't been sewing as much, in 2013 so the fabric has been piling up. I live in a 2 bedroom townhouse and am lucky that one of those bedrooms is my sewing room. I don't have a garage or a basement, and I don't have any walk in closets, so storage is at a premium. I like to keep all my sewing stuff in my sewing room, and specifically all the fabric in the closets in the sewing room. This year the fabric was piled up on a table against the wall in the sewing room, and on top of the dryer, under the bathroom sink, and most recently in the hall closet.
I started purging Sunday night, then purged in earnest almost all day on Black Friday. Seriously, I was purging all afternoon and evening. EmilyKate had written a post ages ago questioning why she is hanging on to fabric that doesn't inspire her, which has returned to my brain now and then. It's time to free the old fabric that I've had for years now, and also to release some of the crummier bargain fabric, and fabric that no longer suits my style....including some of the fabric I bought a scant 2 years ago!
Finally, this is what it looks like. All the fabric is in the closet. All the fabric for muslins is in the hall closet. There is no fabric on top of the dryer, no fabric under the bathroom sink. But the fabric from LA and SD is still on its way....I will need to do some more purging to make it fit....
My two closets in my sewing room.
The left hand closet, with my fabric sorted by type, my buttons, and a bucket with my large wax tracing paper. Now it is much easier to handle the tracing paper, and I can lift the whole bucket out of the closet and see the fabric behind it.
Here is a closer pic of the left closet. I prefer sorting by fabric type as opposed to sorting by fabric color. It works better for me when I'm trying to choose fabric to go with a pattern.
Here is the closet on the right, with my patterns, books, corduroy and denim fabric. There's also lingerie elastic, hangers, mailing envelopes and a lot of the little tote bags I've made for PR weekends. Oh and a basket of muslins.
And while we're at it, here's the rest of my sewing room.
A closer shot of my machines and my "inspiration wall"
My Ikea cutting table (with my cutting mats) and my Ikea chest of drawers with my thread, piping, trims, ribbons, etc. It's cut off but on top of the drawers is a little basket with patterns I want to sew soon (bwah ha ha). Jacqui, you can see Upstairs Hal in this picture too!
Here's the final wall. That's where a lot of the fabric used to be stacked up. I temporarily put my mirror there--it is usually between the two closets on top of the step stool. You can see my dressform Izzy and my ironing board. Two of the lamps in my room were salvaged from the dumpsters at Princeton. The junk under the table is my modem and router and an empty safe, ha ha.
Maybe someday this is where my future Elna press will go? A girl can dream.
So I could make a fabric fasting pledge but I'm not going to. Just retracting my spending/buying somewhat until I start sewing more again. There are 7 more months to go on my big work project (it has been 13 months already! 7 more left) so I don't know how much sewing I will be able to do anyway. On the plus side, it helps that my next big trip isn't until PR weekend in Austin at the start of May. TexStyles is an awesome fabric store and I'm sure I will buy a lot there.
My next post I will write about fabric I still want, as odd as it may sound.
I will say that I did not succumb to any of the fabric emails in my inbox this weekend. So many offers of discounts on fabric and I didn't buy an inch! Having all the fabric I'm donating in my living room helped a lot. The donation service is not coming til Dec 20....
So that night I took the train back to San Diego. Saturday morning, Elizabeth, her BFF from college, and I hit up the National City Swap Meet. Dawn had written about the NCSM in this post on her blog. She had bought almost 40 yards of fabric and 30 yards of trim for under $100. I definitely wanted to check it out. It's only open on Saturdays and Sundays, so I carefully planned the trip around that.
Basically it's like a flea market that has fabric too. 50 cents admission at the door (well, fence) and you're on your way to perusing fabric--thanks for paying for me, Elizabeth! There were some notions there too. The fabric is spread out on tarps on the ground, for the most part, though some sellers have the fabric on rolls. I bought from two sellers, $1 and $2 a yard.
Elizabeth with her new haircut and blue Archer
I found some $2 a yard turquoise ponte knit, brown ponte knit, and soft black and gray sweater knit. Also some textured polyester for making dresses and some loose weave sweater knit for shirts.
I had imagined it to be much larger than it actually was, but that was a good thing. Also Elizabeth says the vendors don't always go every week. You never know what you're going to get.
Then we were off to a French restaurant for a yummy brunch, the kind of place where hot chocolate is served in a bowl. Yes!
Thanks Elizabeth for the fun morning! It was fun to see you again, meet your BFF and experience some new fabric shopping.
That evening I had dinner with my friends Wolfgang and Michele. Michele is a gourmet chef....more delicious food!!!
But first Wolfgang and I went to see the seals, and while the seals were not out in Children's Cove, the sunset in La Jolla was amazing.
I flew back to NJ the following day and then....I started purging my fabric stash! All about that tremendous effort in the next post!!!
I was in San Diego for a work conference but after the
conference ended Thursday afternoon, I took the Pacific Surfliner up to LA. Friday was a full day of
fabric shopping with Rachel and Jeanette.
Sherril was going to meet up with us too and couldn’t make it. We missed you Sherril!
This was my first time in LA's fashion district so it was all new to me.
The day started at 9am at the FIDM Scholarship Store. I first read about this store on Dana's Made blog in this post . Such a neat shop! A wall of fabric in the back for $1 and $2 a
yard. Lots of clothing and jewelry and
random stuff like Christmas socks, makeup cases, etc. The employees were all
wearing their FIDM Santa hats and now I kind of wish I had bought one to wear
at work the week before Christmas. I
bought two pieces of fabric and a boatload of costume jewelry. The last Friday of the month is 20% everything, and since they're closed TG weekend, it was 20% off during my visit.
See the sign hanging from the ceiling? It's pointing to the Fabric Room.
Next we went to the FIDM Museum but they are in between
exhibits now. They let us in to the gift
shop where I did a little Christmas shopping.
Next we went to the holy land, Michael Levine Loft, home of
$2.50 a pound fabric. It was pretty amazing. Boxes
full of fabric remnants, then bolts of fabric along the walls. The windows were open as we pawed through the
Rachel and Jeanette
At one point the store was quite
full of people. They let us cut fabric off the bolts ourselves, and if you wanted to cut
the remnants smaller you totally could.
Look at all of that turquoise knit fabric for $2.50 a pound!
Here I bought a little over 11 pounds of fabric. Turquoise ponte knit! Brown ponte knit! Spongy black knit! It was all good and fun.
The guy running the loft was super super nice and he even took pix of us .
I bought 2 bags, Rachel bought one bag and Jeanette scored with 3 bags.
Then it was time for lunch and then on to some more shops,
including the owner of EmBe Fabrics who is vying to be the Kashi of LA.
"Don't worry about the price! How much you need? 2.5 yards? $10."
"No, for the whole thing!"
And then this store, Button and Trim Expo.
I think it may have surpassed Pacific Trimming as my favorite notions store. I was looking for stretch lace
trim. Pacific has maybe 20 spools of stretch lace trim. Button and Trim Expo has an entire wall of stretch lace trim, all along the right
side, almost to the very back of the store (all that lace in the back is the non-stretch lace), in all sorts of colors and widths. They also had an amazing selection of FOE for
25 cents a yard.
Yes, almost this entire wall is stretch trim lace, all the way til the second to last column in the back!
And then we went to Michael Levine’s regular store. In the back they have a bargain section. Er I bought even more fabric.
We wrapped the day up at a fancy French pastry shop. J What a great fun day with Rachel and
Jeanette. We chatted all day long about fabric, fit, patterns, PR Day, etc. Thanks for meeting up with
me! And a special thank you to Rachel
for driving us around and also shipping my fabric home for me. J
Then I went back to SD for….well, you’ll see…next post!
Thanks for all your well wishes for my birthday and your comments on my aloha pajama birthday top. I'm wearing it right now (and no, the chakoner chalk did not come out in the wash!)
On Sunday afternoon I rewarded myself for packing early for my work trip by making a new luxe tote bag. Somehow I thought this would be a stress-free tote, bwah ha ha ha ha. It's a companion tote for my briefcase style tote I sewed last month, pictured below.
Companion tote above, blogged here.
Black vinyl (with and without holes): Kashi's (Metro Textiles) in NYC from the June trip with Velosewer. Piping and straps: Pacific Trimming in NYC Peltex: Joann's Interior pocket zipper: Gosh, that cheap store we went to in SF for PR weekend 2013 that was selling zips for 25 cents Interfacing: Fashion Sewing Supply online Interior Lining:Knit fabric from Gwen Couture during my visit with Elizabeth in San Diego
Interior Pocket lining: Yes, I know, I know, I know...that NYC subway fabric from The City Quilter in NYC
The pattern: I decided to knock off this bag that Antoinette sweetly sewed for me for my birthday. It is the *perfect* size. Somehow I messed up the measuring and my bag came out taller than hers, but it's still lovely.
Antoinette's bag that she made for my birthday
Cutting corners, literally....
It was fairly straight forward until I got to the Peltex. Looking back, I should have just put the peltex in the bottom of the bag, inside the lining, and called it a night, but nooooooo..I decided to Peltex the whole thing...which does make the bag stand up all on its own, but was really difficult to sew. My machine bed was MOVING while I sewed it...I felt like I needed three hands to get it under the presser foot (one to raise the presser foot higher than normal, the other two to shove it under the foot).
I learned a few things this time, mainly to have the shiny side of the vinyl against the feed dogs to prevent shifting. Add to always sew top to bottom to prevent further shifting, which is how I got the pic above... (also I used my wonder clips, thanks to Jacqui for another round of 10!)
Look at how stiff it is!
It was pretty serious.
Here's a closeup of the piping. It's actually a black cord wrapped in silver (I know it looks white in the pic) lame with a black, hole-y vinyl encasing it.
There are two pockets; one for my cell phone with my very last worded fabric label, sob!
The other side has a zipper pocket
This alphabet fabric from Gwen Couture is pretty amazing.
Ok, it's only my 2nd zipper pocket ever, but it's my best one, ha ha. I felt very satisfied with how it turned out.
But there were so many layers to sew together at this point...aboveI'm about to attach the lining to the bag but haven't turned it right side out yet.
Here's what it looks like, all done.
The patch pocket is not flush because I sewed it to fit my cell phone....
Sooooo..normally one would topstitch the top edge or understitch the lining to keep it from poking out but there were SO MANY LAYERS, it just wasn't going to happen, and I was running out of steam sooooo...I left it as is! And the world didn't stop turning!
Extra bonus points if you know where I am (work conference) based on this photo taken from my hotel room: