Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Demystifying Fabric Shopping in Miami - Isa Couture Fabrics

Miami covers a large territory, and many of the fabric stores have closed but there are a few left. If you are in South Beach, it's a quick trip to downtown Miami where you will find an abundance of stores that carry couture fabrics as well as spandex galore.

This is one of my favorite stores in Miami, they carry Couture fabrics (cotton, wool, laces, silk), trims and buttons as well as some moderately priced fabrics.  They have a bilingual staff, so you won't have trouble communicating, and the store is enormous.  They established Isa in 1962, and the neighborhood has changed around them, it is not  the most inviting, there is street parking, so bring your quarters.  I've been there and have had no issues but this is the destination, it's not the place where you want to park your car and walk around looking for a place to eat, it's in and out.  Although it doesn't look very large from the outside, it is two stories, they have an elevator to take you upstairs where the fabric is on display.

Isa Couture Fabrics

If you have a special project, or need to do color matching the staff is really helpful without being pushy.
This is the one I recommend if you have to prioritize your shopping in Miami.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

NY the last post....

My Garment district visit is covered two posts ago, it is by no means complete, there are more fabric stores than those I have listed.  I didn't get to Mood or Metro, because I really wanted to stick to the budget and I found everything I needed....so I'll continue to the next section of NY which was down to Tea and Sympathy to get my tea.

3:29 This is a tiny tiny place, composed of three fronts, A Salt and Battery (Fish and Chips), Carry On Tea & Sympathy (British Store), Tea & Sympathy (Restaurant), by the time I arrived I wasn't hungry enough to eat at the restaurant so I just picked up some tea and left, but it's cute no?


4:20 Back onto the subway and down to Purl Soho (where I forgot to take a pic, but you can click on the link to the website).  The online store is so chock full of ideas I thought the place would be brimming with people, but it was a work day and I suspect even crafters work for a living.  I think for a knitter you would never leave, presentation is number one here, they offer a nice selection of fine, unusual yarns, many many Japanese books on knitting and crochet. They have fat quarters of Liberty fabric, and assortments of quilting fabrics neatly bundled on the shelves.  It's a cute little store and I went with the idea of getting a Sashiko starter kit.


I'm thinking more and more about embellishment, and I have a few cuts of solid fabric that I would like to make up as my blank canvas and apply a Sashiko design on them.  The wee girl behind the counter asked me if I had taken the class, and I said no, so she said I could call with any questions.  I told her I would call if the project reduced me to tears, and she seemed distraught by this and told me, please don't cry we don't do well with people who are crying :) she was very cute.

If you are looking for ideas for mini projects have a look at the Purl Bee Blog, it's adorable.

4:30 - So right about now, I am thirsty and hungry.  So far I've had my two eggs and a protein shake in the garment district I'm due for a meal.  It's late and I take a stroll to Balthazars to have a late lunch.  I've been dieting so I tried not to eat all of the Bearnaise sauce but it was so good, the frites kept jumping in.... I blame the potatoes.


5:09 - On my way to catch the subway at Prince Street - I pop into Dean and Deluca, because I'm already thinking about breakfast:), more tea, some cheese straws, and a raspberry almond croissant for tomorrow morning.  All in all a most productive day, and I am stocked with enough tea to cover me for the next two months.  Maybe I should make reservations for August in case I run out of supplies again :)  I thought I saw everything I wanted to see when I run into a banner for the Van Cleef & Arpels exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt (91st & 5th, right around the corner from the Metropolitan Museum of Art).
A day just isn't enough!

and some parting shots of NY....

Times Square

Roy Lichtenstein Times Square underground

Passing Subway

It's a lot to do in one day, it helps to familiarize yourself with all of the subway/bus routes, as well as the store websites before you go.  I love the internet, it was invaluable in planning the trip.  I made up my lists before I went and stuck to the plan.

I checked the weather report before I left and it called for thunderstorms, I wore a trench coat and took an umbrella and it didn't rain a drop all day, so I was roasting.  It was a good thing I took a large bag with me to bring all of my fabrics safely home, and that I opted to wear a linen tunic instead of a t-shirt, so I was either wet or drying off.  Once I arrived in Laguardia the skies opened and flights were cancelled and delayed (my flight included).  I left my house at 3:30 - and returned at 12:30, the kitty was most happy to see me.

Now to start sewing again!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

My 10 hours in NY....

3:00 Wake & dress... I had decided not to eat or have coffee until I made it to the Museum
3:30 Leave the house
5:05 The plane takes off..
7:50 I buy my 7 day unlimited Metro card for $29.00,  I catch the bus to the subway
9:17 I need coffee, and I'm hungry, so I head to Le Pain Quotidien.
        I love this place they have a long communal table and it's big enough where you don't feel cramped.  The chairs are small but the place is cozy and the regulars pull out their papers and have yogurt and fruit parfaits.
You can read more about the restaurant here Le Pain Quotidien.   I had the soft boiled eggs that come with a freshly baked bread assortment.  There are jellies and a Belgian praline spread on the table for you, as well as agave, and natural sugar.  They have a variety of seasonal offerings and daily specials and it all looks so good.
Isn't funny how when you're starving your taste buds are so appreciative. This was an excellent breakfast, simple and satisfying.

9:46 "Alexander McQueen" - I'm on my way to the Museum, I can't show you pics because they were not allowed, but I have to say this was a fabulous exhibit. If you can't get there visit online, the Metropolitan Museum's blog will walk you through the exhibit, if they've skipped something, it's very little. I've visited the museum for past exhibits and I love the Met, but there was one, that was a bit of a dud, and when you travel in from outside of the city to see it... disappointing does not cover it.  This one was not disappointing.  There is a bit of a line, I bought my ticket and audio tape online and this might save you a little time if there are lines for the tickets.  Once you reach the exhibit, it is cordoned off and there are two lines, one for Members of the Met, and the other for non-member ticket holders.  The Members are whisked straight into the exhibit, while the rest of us wait.  Since I had arrived 15 minutes after the museum opened I was in a good position, the wait for Wednesday morning, was only 15 minutes, when I left, it was much longer.  There is a lot to see, it is a series of adjoining rooms and the garments and items are arranged on both sides, so if you stick to one side of the room, you'll need to pass through to the other side to see everything. I read everything and observe construction details, and take a little Moleskine where I keep design ideas.  It took me almost 2 hours to get through it all.  It is visually lush, a little disturbing at times but in the end very inspiring.

I also had time to have a look at another special showing of  "Rooms With a View" , if you like miniatures or dollhouses I highly recommend it.  I love both, and it was such a treat. Many of the paintings are relatively small, with so much fine detail you could get lost in each room.

Bonus** If you opt for the audio guide, you can start listening to the McQueen snippets while you are waiting.
The McQueen introduction starts at 400.  Also the audio guide is good for the rest of the museum as well.

12:19 After seeing the Alexander McQueen exhibit, I'm a little sad, he was really an artist first, a designer second.  I am sorry we won't be seeing more of him.... so to cheer myself up I hopped on the bus and stopped at Bergdorf Goodman.

They were having a sale, a big sale, a shoe sale, so I was on my way to the top, towards the home goods department, when I realized that I had passed the Ralph Rucci area and I zipped back down to have a look at his clothes.  He uses the same sleeve as on the Vogue 1115 pattern on one of his coats.  It was all beautiful.

Also just a side note... there was a young lady on the escalator in front of me wearing a light flowing silk tunic and I was appreciating the fabric and style when a gust from the AC, which revealed no undergarments, blew her tunic enough, not to lift but inflate....all I'm saying is wear under pants.  The tunic was a little over the knee but the hem width was about 80" and it was not good.

Are you tired yet?  I left Bergdorfs because with a shoe sale, no good could come of it, so I hopped on the subway and down to the Garment District I went....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NYC Fabric and Notions Paron, Steinlauf & Stoller, Pacific Trimmings

Fabric stores

From Paron, I was able to achieve color matching for the floral silk satin in the stash,

and I found a coordinating fabric for another silk.

both of these fabrics were in the Annex.  Since I came with the fabrics I was working on, I pulled out the full cuts and walked around with Mercedes (my hostess), and we pulled out bolts.  She was very helpful and had creative disagreements about some of the colors but it was all in good fun.

They were out of Burda Magazine, so no luck there.

Onto Steinlauf & Stoller...

2" Ban Roll, tailor's thimble, French Curve, 1" plush elastic, plush underwire casing.

I wanted to pick up the Wing needles here but they didn't have them, this has been on my list for over a year now, I have never seen one on sale in person.  There's an ebay source which I may try when I'm ready to do some hemstitching.

They have practically everything for the industry in here, and it's a busy shop, but it would be best to take a look at their online catalog and make up your list.  They have very little on display, so you need to ask them, and off they run to the back.  I did manage to see unwire chaneling and plush elastic which I left with.   

Pacific Trimming
Petersham Ribbon & Grosgrain (this should tie me over for a while)


Zippers.... with polished chrome, copper, multicolor, gold finishes, fine teeth, fabulous sliders and ombre tape.  I was actually sorry that I didn't have more projects requiring zippers, so I just dipped my toe in with 3.

So I finally have an assortment of buckles for the jacket that has been patiently waiting. Zippers to give me inspiration, and zipper pulls.

A parting shot of the RIRI zipper...

Tomorrow a mini slideshow including food :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Strategy... chopping up the city

I'm dividing the city up in three areas - Upper East side, Garment District, Soho

Number 1 priority is the show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Number 2 Bergdorf Goodman for some snoop shopping.
Then the garment district....

Steinlauf Stoller
MJ Trim (if I don't find what I need at Pacific)
Pacific Trim

View Larger Map

I also have some non sewing stops like Tea & Sympathy (to get some Irish tea),
and I'll finish up with Purl Soho, because I love their website, and am very curious about what they have.

I've printed off some enlarged Google Maps  (I love Google) and am gathering all of the items that need to go with me.  I'll have 10 hours in the city, so it will be a marathon day, I've also abandoned any attempt at dressing in cute clothes and it will have to be Jeans t-shirt and Merrells for the entire journey:)

I'll be ok with whatever doesn't get done, this is an ambitious plan, that I am really looking forward to.
I just realized that I haven't scheduled lunch....Oy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Manhattan project


I need to just see what I am buying in person. I love the convenience of buying online but shipping is a killer, and if you don't receive what you can use, return shipping is sometimes enough to end up keeping what I've ordered.

The plan is a day in NYC.

My shopping list....

Burda or Patrones magazine

Leather buckles for trench coats (for 1 belt and 2 shoulder epaulettes)
Buckle for a finished belt

tailor's thimble
Wing needle Schmetz 130/705H
Double wing needle 130/705H
Long Glass Headed pins
DMC Broder Machine size 50 or Madeira Tanne size 50 or Mettler Article 240 60/2 - in White, Black, Beige

french curve 1

snap tape (bodysuit crotch) spacing 3/4" 4 yards

picot edge elastic - white 10 yards, black 5 yards

Color matching for..
1) Handprinted silk crepe - silk crepe or charmeuse royal blue or rose 1 1/2 yds
2) Printed Floral silk - silk charmeuse 1 1/2 yards crimson red
3) Petersham Ribbon - Seersucker skirt project White or Tan 5 yards 1"
4) Long Staple cotton jersey fine opaque - white or black - 2 yards

Wicking lining fabric for running shorts - red (1 yd), blue (1 yd) or neutral or lt grey (2 yds)

and it doesn't hurt that there's an Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mini Storage project - Repurposed Wood Wine Boxes

Ever need just a drawer for storage?  Tax time meant purging paperwork, and then continued to purging in general.  I have an open wall unit, and thought an open bin might be a good idea when a light bulb went off and I repurposed some wine boxes to keep my DVD's organized.

What you need...
1 - empty wooden wine box
1 - can of Krylon crystal clear acrylic coating
1 - bottle of rubber cement with application brush
1 - yard of felt

All four outer sides were sprayed with the clear acrylic.
Felt was marked for the bottoms.

 Rubber cement was applied to the bottom, and the felt was applied.

After 10 minutes, the felt was trimmed to fit.

Loaded with DVD's
 Pushed into the wall unit.
The sizes aren't standard, some are shallower, others deeper, you can find them at liquor stores in your area.
Some will give them to you free, others will charge a fee. Supplies to make 4 ran about $15.00.  Some boxes come with slide in tops, others are nailed flush to the top.... just things to keep in mind when you look at them.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Vogue 1247 - The tiny skirt expanded

This is one of the newest releases from Vogue, #1247, from Rachel Comey.   I liked the skirt but the pattern envelope did a good job of downplaying the tiny quality of this skirt (it is 17").  It calls for one yard of 60" fabric and even after adding 6" to the bottom of the skirt I used 38", so it's great if you only have a yard (and a bit) of bottom weight fabric.  This is rated as average,  the instructions use a hong kong finish on all of the seam allowances, for my wearable muslin, they are serged.

It comes together pretty quickly, in a day (without the hong kong finish), however I could have added 8" instead of the 6".  The original skirt calls for a 2" hem, and even after adding to the length I could only take 5/8".

vogue 1247

I like how the skirt hangs, it isn't smooth across the pockets, partly because the darts on the yoke end almost at the top of the pocket edge, so it's a curve meeting a straight flat folded area.  I might try making the skirt again manipulating the pattern a bit and removing the dart on the yoke.  All in all an interesting skirt pattern.

Vogue 1247Here is the top from the same pattern if you want to see the entire outfit.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vogue 1159 Donna Karan puzzle dress

If you are looking for a pattern that will make you doubt that you are good at puzzles this is it.  There is not a lot of sewing but the construction is tricky.  I had to make a few adjustments, since the pattern calls for 2 way stretch, and I used a lightweight rayon spandex with minimal lengthwise stretch.



Made from a lightweight Rayon Spandex.

DK Vogue 1159

It is very sexy, and also very comfortable, lined from the waist down, but is so sheer I still need spanx to avoid that naked look, that comes from flash bulbs and thin fabric.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Topstitching a trench....

This is just a tease shot of the trench coat topstitching, it took some doing but with a Microtex needle and Gutterman buttonhole thread, I'm pretty please with the result I'm getting...


This pattern is only 7 pieces, The body is only 2 pieces, 2 piece sleeves and a collar.



I have finished only the cutting and marking and the first seam.  You'll notice even though the fabric is stiff, it benefits from being cut on the bias.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Simplicity 2339 Finished

TaDa!!  I like this shirt, it's cute, and cool, and of course since I started cutting to finish, the temperatures have dropped outside.  No project is complete without some mischief.... and for this shirt...

It was the buttonholer that left me a little reminder that it's been working too hard and needs to be cleaned.  It left me a little smudgy present, so this puppy will be cleaned today.

The summer trench is still sitting on my cutting table, uncut of course, I'm not excited about cutting it out, with my favorite scissors out of commission.  So I need to make a decision on what project to do next, especially since St. Patrick's Day is this week, and I have some lovely silk with pale green shamrocks embroidered on it.  It had been the dress I wore to my brother's wedding, and I have never been able to part with it, I just love it!!

I don't have a lot of this fabric, so it will no doubt be a pieced project.  Or I could just make another shirt!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Simplicity 2339 White Shirt and button selection

Simplicity 2339 front

Simplicity 2339 

Simplicity 2339 back

Simplicity 2339 side

This shirt told me it wants silver colored buttons.  So I went through the button stash to look for silver buttons and here's what I found...

button 1

ok, not silver but still a possibility....
button 3

button 2

button 4

I think the smaller square buttons are going to be the ones... it picks up the square weave design in the fabric better than any of the others.

You can see that little weave in this pic.

This was a good pattern, one of the few that did not have excess sleeve cap ease.  This will be a nice cool summer shirt, not fashion forward but very "neat".  I do have to say this for it, there is ease in the body, and the way it is constructed, there is a lot of shaping, waist darts (front & back), bust dart, yoke seams.  This is one of the few shirts in my wardrobe that does not strain over the bust.  There is ease where it is needed.
It's also one of the "Amazing Fit" series from Simplicity, so it gives you pattern pieces for different cup sizes.

What it really needs now is a good pressing, and finishing.