Folks, I’ve just realized that I’ve officially turned a corner. I think I can now call myself a Californian. Why, you ask? After having just visited the motherland, New York City? Well, funny you should ask… It was when I was shopping with my friends in the Garment District. I realized that while I longingly caressed the thicker, wooly fabrics, I did not gravitate to them as I normally would. I knew I wouldn’t really use them here in sunny San Diego.
When we arrived back in San Diego last night, we walked out into the warm night air of 68 degrees without wearing our coats. I took in one long breath of the eucalyptus scented air and knew. I knew I was now home. And so, after a lengthy transition, I finally feel that San Diego is my home. Who knew that fabric would be my indicator? And how fitting.
Has fabric or sewing ever had that effect on you too? Has fabric shown you something about yourself that you hadn’t realized?
In other sewing news, Katie and I had time for one last project before I left NYC yesterday. We used the Oliver and S doll skirt tutorial to make a skirt for her American Girl doll. The tutorial is for a generic 18 inch doll, but I found it wasn’t wide enough for the waist of the American Girl doll. I added a 1/4 inch to each side of the pattern to accommodate the doll’s waist and it was perfect. We made the skirt reversible in the two corduroy fabric scraps of Katie’s own skirts. Although we could have just sewn them right sides together and turned them inside out, I decided to use bias tape to edge them so I could teach Katie how to use it. It was a bit more time consuming, but now she knows how to use bias tape. Check!
Here’s the skirt…
Isn’t that just a sweet skirt? And reversible too!
Don’t forget to let me know if your fabric buying habits have been a barometer for your life too.
As I mentioned in my last post, Katie had her birthday party this past weekend. Before I left San Diego, I made sure to make her a new outfit using her custom skirt pattern and the Kwik Sew PJ top pattern I use all the time. This time, I appliquéd one of the skirt print motifs to her top. First I used steam a seam to adhere it to the knit front before sewing the top together. Then I zigzagged around the edges in a coordinating thread. I added a lettuce hem using my serger. My Brother serger is great for serging, but is only so-so with lettuce or rolled hems. The coverage is kind of skimpy, but serviceable.
Doesn’t she look cute?
But that’s not all I gave her… She needed some more supplies for her sewing room. I included a seam ripper, three packages of bias single fold tape in pink, cream and navy, some elastic thread, flower trim for her doll’s dress, and a package of velcro. The pièce de resistance though was the labels I had printed for her. Hashi had posted about her labels and I absolutely adored them. So I used her vendor to have Katie’s labels printed, twilltape.com (the link will take you to the custom printed labels part of the site). They were quick and beautifully printed. Hashi graciously helped me design the labels. Aren’t they pretty?
The little boy who lives with me and I leave today to go back to San Diego. We will miss NYC and our cousins. I had an everything bagel this morning. Sigh… So hard to leave this city.
Hopefully we can come back soon!
While I’m in town, I couldn’t leave without giving Katie another sewing lesson, now could I? More on that later because first I have to show you what she worked on by herself. Her first project was to make a dress for her doll using the floral cotton I gifted her, but it was too small. Did she moan and cry when her intended project didn’t turn out as she planned? NO! She turned that too small dress into a pillow, filled with scraps.
When I asked her about the pillow and her thought process in sewing it, Katie said that she wanted the raw edges exposed all around, not just the opening where she stuffed the scraps. I told her how she could do that next time. Too cute.
Her next project was a strap for her yoga mat. Apparently, she knew instinctively that she would need a tougher, stronger fabric to make the strap heavy duty. So her mom found some old jeans and Katie used them to back the floral cotton, sewing them together and adding velcro for the closure. I have to say, I find her sewing thought process very inspiring. She’s thinking through what she needs notions-wise and has a clear idea of what the finished product should look like and how it should be sewn. Katie really has a feel for this craft, doesn’t she? Katie’s a natural I think.
So on to Katie’s lesson. I thought I would teach her to make a simple shirred dress for Abigail, her doll. We measured, cut out the fabric (to match the dress I made her a couple of years ago), and started sewing. Two side seams, two hems, and some elastic thread for the shirring and Katie had herself a doll’s dress. Oh, but let’s not forget the trim I bought for the dress at Pacific Trimming. Katie sewed that on too as the finishing touch. Here’s Katie at the machine, hard at work.
How awesome is that? I’m so proud of her. And more importantly is how proud she is. She and her doll wore their coordinating dresses to her birthday party this weekend. All Katie’s friends were so impressed. :)
I will post about the outfit I made as part of her birthday present this year later.
I have to say that it is quite fun to teach Katie how to sew. She is quick learner, takes initiative, and is confident in her creativity. What better combo is there for a creative person? It’s quite satisfying to teach a young person. Seeing the possibility of a lifelong love of sewing in her eyes fills me with happiness. Even if she doesn’t take to it like I did, she has a good foundation for using a sewing machine in the future. I wish I hard started when I was as young as she is.
In non-sewing news, the kids decoupaged notebook covers at Katie’s party and of course, I couldn’t be left out. Here’s my effort.
Happy sewing everyone!
Well folks, I survived, but my feet didn’t. They are still tender from walking the Garment District in boots meant for torture purposes only.
Man, was it a great day. We had so much fun. Some friends were missed dearly but couldn’t make it for various health, scheduling reasons. But I think we got over our grief pretty quickly by buying fabric. I, of course, foolishly declared that I wasn’t going to buy anything, but was proven wrong and delusional right away at our first stop, Paron’s. But first, the debauchers….
We met up at a coffee place near Paron’s to fuel up for the day and then bravely went shopping. Paron’s was waiting for us like a neatly wrapped package. We were greeted by a 40% off sign in the window. This sale is for the month of February only and applies to all regularly priced fabrics. So be sure to visit Paron’s if you’re in the area to get some amazing fabric at almost half off. Pretty amazing. I picked up a sweet flocked stretch denim ($9/yd after the 40% off) there. Could this mean that I finally dip my toe into the waters of jeans making?
Then we visited Daytona Trimming where I bought some bias tape for my niece which she needs for a skirt project for her doll.
The next stop was Chic Fabrics where they only had one employee working so we had to wait quite a while to get our fabric cut while another customer hogged the owner. He finally had to call his brother to come into the store. I bought some silk organza. Claudine said that they have the best price on silk organza in the district ($10/yd). They had gorgeous colors and cross weaves, as well as a stunning ombre, but I just bought a plain cream color. Two yards thank you.
Then we were off to Pacific trimming where I bought some floral trim for Katie’s doll dress project.
And last but not least, we went to Mood Fabrics. I found the ever so elusive chocolate brown ponte knit ($12/yd) for which I’ve been searching forever.
By this time, I was certain my feet needed to be amputated, but made it to Peter’s restaurant recommendation, Market Cafe on 9th Avenue. I heartily endorse this restaurant — the food is great at a nice price point and they serve the best spicy Bloody Mary I’ve ever had. We talked about… sewing of course. Kat has been sewing since she was a teenager and drafts her clothes now. She was wearing a very cool knit jacket. We all oohed and aahed over it.
Sarita is relatively new to sewing. She’d just had her colors done and showed us her color swatches. Very cool!
Claudine was wearing her latest make, totally gorgeous and TDF.
Peter was wearing his fabulous new coat. Loved it!
After lunch, Kat and Sarita went off to finish off their days’ schedules, and Claudine, Peter and I went in search of more coffee. We had a nice long chat. So long in fact, that I wasn’t able to see the FIT exhibits as I had to head back downtown at that point. I believe Claudine and Peter decided to venture on. You’ll have to wait to hear from them how good the exhibits were.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to tend to my poor feet. I will have more on Katie’s current sewing projects soon!
Happy stashing everyone!
I’ve been in town for two days and am living it up! I even missed the trash and subway smells. I’m a true city gal. I would move back here in a heartbeat! Oh New York, I love you.
Here’s my beloved Brooklyn Bridge as we arrived on Wednesday.
But on to more important things, like fabric shopping IN. THE. GARMENT. DISTRICT.
I am shopping with some world class shoppers here, so I don’t expect there to be much left on the shelves when we’re done accosting the district. I hope to meet some new people as well as some old friends (not that you’re OLD, just that we’re friends).
Here’s a loose plan:
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8th
9:30am Meet at Starbucks for coffee (the one on the NE corner of 8th and 39th)
10:00am Meet at Paron’s Fabric (257 W 39th) We’ll start shopping here and move on down the streets as our souls dictate.
12:30pm Lunch (location TBD)
2:00pm FIT Exhibit Trendology
If you would like to join me and my fellow fabricaholics at any point after the coffee klutch at Starbucks and the first store (Paron’s), please email me at elizabeth at sewnblog dot com and I will let you know where we are on our fabric binge tour. I will check my email regularly throughout the day to make sure we can all meet up at some point.
Looking forward to the debauchery!