The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

The Good Stuff

I haven't posted anything about fabric in a while.  This might make you think I have taken a break from pouring over fabric websites.  You would be wrong.  Not only am I still at it, but I have found a whole new source: companies that buy leftover apparel fabrics from designers and then sell it to people like me (Midwestern sewists who only dream of strolling through the Garment District), giving us giddy access to an abundance of beautiful fabrics!  Dangerous stuff to a fabric addict.  I've actually started flipping quickly to a different screen when my husband comes into the room so that he can't catch me ogling fabric swatches.

Here's what I've found:

1)  The aptly named Gorgeous Fabrics.  The lady who runs this place has an interesting story, and some lovely lovely fabrics.  Here's just a taste of what you can find there:

Hawt! NY Designer Feathery Abstraction Silk Twill - Multi on Bla Sausalito Evenings Tye-Dye Rayon Challis - Blues Abstract Floral Silk Twill - Pink/Black/White

Catlin, if you are reading this, you should check on her rayon challis selections!

2) Mood Fabrics.  Yes, the Project Runway Mood Fabrics.  Yes, the store that has this beauty:

FP21399 Peacock Damask Jacquard
3) And then there's EmmaOneSock.  I do usually restrain myself to just ogling, but I just purchased these beauties from EmmaOneSock:

This one is a black on black matelasse, a fabric I had never even heard of three days ago, but my fabric guide assures me it's real.  It's like tapestry where the design is woven into the fabric instead of printed on, and the matelasse is a dress weight fabric.  Here's what EmmaOneSock says about it:

An absolutely stunning matelasse weave from a top French mill, made for a very famous designer... The design of this fabric is modern, fashion forward, and the quality SUPERB. The weave has a beautiful pointed circle graphic design with some reflective and some matte areas in a black on black. The fabric has a puckery textured surface, and is a light suiting weight with lovely drape, but also with body for tailoring. Perfect for a suit, jacket, sheath, mod tunic to wear with leggings and boots, skirt, etc. Dry cleaning recommended.

I swooned when I saw it.  And then there's this black with silver streaks ruffle knit:

Preach it, Emma:
From a well-known NY designer, this is another trendy and current version of the ruffled knits seen so much in RTW these days. The base fabric is a black mesh knit with "flaps" forming a second layer of free-flowing ruffles that move and dance with the body for a feminine and flirty look. It's printed with silver streaks that add to its festive look! Just a teeny bit sheer and very drapey, and although with the two layers there is more coverage, you would still want to line a skirt or dress. Would be fabulous for any number of knit tops, pullover, cardigan, tunic, dress or skirt. Please test first if you wish to hand wash at home.

Don't these sound/look gorgeous? I hope so as I spent more per yard than I ever have before! I'm going out with the husband for New Year's Eve and I thought that the first would make a good dress with the second as a wrap (or an alternate dress, depending on what I think when they arrive).

Oh my, oh my.  And I get the glorious feeling that there's more . . . which means that I guess I'll be doing more flipping of screens when Devon comes into the room!

The Clutches are Coming!!!!

Remember to vote for PoldaPop in Threads' Ultimate Sewing Challenge! You can vote everyday until Nov. 30th!

My friend Viki hooked me up with Passing Fancy, a pop-up store in Western Springs that sells handmade crafts at the holidays.  I brought a couple of things to the shop last week and was then inspired to crank out some clutch bags this week.  Here they are, ready for their marching orders!

This clutch is an Ali Foster design that I first made for Kandy, a lady I met at the skirt party.  I think it is a perfect size for a night out on the town or for going to the movies.  These bags are all made out of scraps from other projects, or small pieces purchased from The Economy Shop.  Some have zippered inside pockets, some have inside pockets that close with a magnetic snap. There are two themes at play here - animal prints and mustard yellow.  Each bag has one or the other elements, if not both. My favorite is this one:

It's a combination of faux fur (and it's very furry!) and hot pink material from The Economy Shop.  If it doesn't sell, I think I can find a place for it in my wardrobe!

Here's the rest of the line-up:

Passing Fancy has a ton of other great stuff from local crafters and artists.  The store is located at 1052 Hillgrove Ave in Western Springs and is open Thurs-Sat, 11am-5pm, until December 10th.  I love all of the knitted scarves and hats that Tracy, the organizer, has created.  There is also some beautiful glass jewelery.  There will be an Open House with wine and goodies on Thursday, December 2nd, from 6-9pm.  The reception is free, and local artists are welcome to bring in their work that night for showing.  There's a $10 charge per artist to cover the cost of the reception.

Here are some pics of the shop:

I love these cowls! Great colors!

Go check it out!

Who's wearing wool?

Remember to vote for PoldaPop in Threads' Ultimate Sewing Challenge!  You can vote everyday until Nov. 30th!

A number of weeks back I previewed this skirt as I was drafting the pattern and preparing the fabric.  I'd worked with wool before but this one was tricky as the fabric had a somewhat loose weave that wanted to stretch and unravel when I worked with it.  Thanks to Claire Schaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide, I held it all together!  Here's the finished product:

CB was one of the guests at my first skirt party, and she managed to pick out two beautiful fabric pieces that I found hidden in thrift shops.  The dark/light mauve herringbone came from The Economy Shop in Oak Park, and I uncovered this thick black/slate herringbone in the Goodwill Shop on Harlem Ave:

AS, a new client, ordered a couple of yoked skirts, one in Heather Bailey's PopGarden Red (my third skirt with this fabric!) and one in a more conservative black/slate herringbone wool.  She added some personality to the wool by choosing these buttons:

This is the same style that I made for my friend Malinda (Christmas present) last year:

I must have wool on my mind (is that called wool-ly brain?) because this pattern caught my eye as I was reading the Threads pattern reviews:

Butterick B5707

The review recommends using wool crepe.  I picture the draped neck version with a shorter length (at/above knee) and a bright wool fabric like one of these.  What do you think?  Which reminds me that I have more to say on these retro designs for a later post . . .



FW11314C Oxidized Copper Solid Suiting
Oxidized Copper Wool Crepe
FW11291C Fuchsia Solid Crepe
Fuchsia Wool Crepe

Threads' Ulimate Sewing Challenge: Vote for PoldaPop Until Nov 30th!


I decided about 10 days before the contest deadline to submit an outfit, so what with my other ongoing projects for clients and two small children at home, I had to pull a lot of late nights to finish in time.  I finished sewing on buttons and hand-stitching the blind hem at about 11pm the night before and a photographer friend of mine, Robin Scharpf, came over to take pictures in the morning.  But you all know this drill! 

The editors of Threads chose 10 finalists on Tuesday and I was one of them!  Now as my friends know, I have a very competitive side and so OF COURSE I want to win.  And then there's the brand new Bernina sewing machine grand prize that just makes my heart flutter (I love the 1970 Pfaff sewing machine that I inherited from Devon's grandma, but it would be nice to have something new and shiny with modern features and accessories . . . ah).

Here are some shots of the outfit details:

So please vote for PoldaPop!  Everyday!!  Until November 30th!!

Peter Piping Pencil Skirts

It has been WAY too long since I last put up a post, but I have been busy busy busy.  I feel like a little sewing worker bee! 

As you know, I fell in love with pencil skirts a while back and I've been playing around with new styles.  My latest inspiration came from fellow Etsy seller Dig For Victory.  Eleanor Callaghan has created a line of lovely dresses that she sells through Etsy and her own website.  This is my favorite:

Sunflower and Vase Print Tea Dress - Made by Dig For Victory

Stunning, right?  I particularly love the contrast lines around the midriff.  I wrote to Eleanor to find out what it was and it's piping - that's right, the stuff that you often seen on the edge of a throw pillow!  So I experimented with using it to define the yoke on a couple of yoked pencil skirts.  And, ta-da!, here they are:

(Remember this fabric?!  It was one of the prints I listed in my post on corduroy for grown-ups.)

And here's a yoked pencil skirt without the piping:

I found this stretchy twill fabric online at Mood Fabrics - and then learned that the Project Runway contestants get their fabric there, so I felt very cool and trendy!

I bought a couple of Vogue dress patterns recently and I'd like to try the piping around the midriff idea on these, too.  What do you think?  Can you picture it??

Vogue V8555 & V2960