Fabric Find

I’m in the L.A. area, working, for 10 days.  I only have 1 day off during this time and what did I do with it?  I went fabric shopping.

Now, I grew up in California, but in CENTRAL California, which for people down south is thought of as NORTHERN California and north of San Francisco doesn’t even exist.  Sigh. Never mind.  I can’t complaint about their ignorance about their own state because I’m just as ignorant about SoCal.  I had no idea there was a garment or fashion district in L.A.  I had been missing a lot!

I heard about these amazing fabric shops from my mom, who learned about them from my aunts.  Block after block of fabric shops. I saw them for myself today.

I actually only shopped at one place.  I read online that they had the widest selection of fabric types so I thought I’d start there.  I went to “Michael Levine” on Maple Ave.  It’s a super busy street with markets on both sides but there’s plenty of parking in the multistory garages.

And no kidding, they have everything!

I first walked around and looked at everything before I pulled out any bolt.  And then I went back to the beginning and pulled out the things that caught my eye not once, but twice.  I got fabric for 3 dresses and 2 tops.

The above are 2 of the dress fabrics.  The bottom one, the black, grey and white paisley, was the most expensive purchase.  It’s printed knit rayon – basically man made silk.  It was $40 for a dress amount.  The fabric above it is some amazing heavy-ish cotton with 3% spandex.  Perfect for a semi-fitted dress.  That was the bargain of the day at 5$ a yard! Yes, $5 a yard. I was even happier.

This colorful fabric is also cotton with some stretch for another dress…

I love the colors! I guess I’ve been feeling in need of the colorful.  Because look at what else I bought, for 2 tops….

Yay! After I found these fabrics I decided I’d better stop.  Knowing my available sewing time, which competes with knitting time and the fact that I have to work for a living, there was no point buying more that would just sit around my house for months.

Now I need to get home and start sewing.  I’ll show you what I make….

Wearing a Blanket

Quite some time ago I bought fabric at Weldraad in Amsterdam.  They sell wool fabrics as well as wool and natural fiber yarn.  This fabric sat in my stash for well over a year before I found a pattern I really liked and then found the time to sew it up.

The pattern is Vogue #8863.  It calls for “decorative ribbon” to be sewn on next to the zipper on both sides, but I decided to knit that part and sew it on.  I knit the pieces in eye of partridge stitch (knit on the right side, slip every other purl on the wrong side, alternating the slip stitches each 2 rows) using Madelinetosh sock yarn in color Mourning Dove.  I sewed them onto the zipper with my sewing machine.  One side came out looking great, but one side looked really wonky so I hand stitched (with the yarn) a daisy chain stitch down the side.  It neatened it up really well.

Ginni and I decided to both make this jacket and cut out the fabric at her school, with all the big work tables, just before Christmas.  That in itself took about 5 hours once we figured out what we wanted to do and how to do it (not following the pattern exactly of course).  We have similar figures and kind of thought that this jacket would make us look big and boxy but didn’t care because we liked the design so much.  Actually, the end result doesn’t look as much like wearing a blanket as I thought it would.  I guess the diagonal cut of the thing makes it look less short and wide.

That day at Ginni’s I took my serger with me and serged (overlocked) the main seams in both the jacket pieces and the lining.  It is lined in knitted merino wool and the lining is what you see coming down into the long sleeves.  I LOVE the lining fabric more than the outside fabric. It’s so soft and cuddly!

And here’s the back, which is pretty plain.

I’m very happy with it and this gives me some enthusiasm for doing more sewing.  I should look through that stash bag and see what other gems are sitting in there……

(Looking at these photos I notice that my hair really is getting long! I’ve been growing it out…. six month to go and I can stop having bad hair MONTHS.)

((And I also notice how much I look like my mom.))

New Sewing FO

See? I kan haz sewing FOs!  This is my new red wool jumper (jumper in the American meaning of the word, not the British meaning).  I bought the fabric in California 3 or 4 years ago.  I cut out the pieces about a year ago.  It just sat in a pile for a very long time before I decided it was really time to finish it.  It’s extremely simple and comfortable.  I’m sure I’ll wear it a lot.

Of course I didn’t just make it how the pattern said to do.  Oh no.  You see, the pattern didn’t call for any lining, just facings on the inside.   I didn’t think this heavy wool would feel nice this way, nor did I think it would drape as nicely without lining.  So I went out and bought some stretch lining and figured out how to put it in.  Here’s a photo of the inside:

I’m really happy how this worked out.  It feels great.  DB took the first photo last night before we went out to dinner.  It looks a little schoolmarmish for a dinner out, but hey, I AM schoolmarmish so that’s what you get.  Maybe the red makes it a little sassier.

By the way, I took a photo of my elbow this morning.  Thursday afternoon in Amsterdam I slipped on ice and fell hard on my right hip and elbow.  The hip is fine, but the elbow is bruised and sore.

This morning at the gym I really noticed that my upper arm is sore from this fall.  Otherwise, as long as I don’t touch it, it’s feeling pretty ok.  The weather has warmed up and all traces of ice and snow are gone from Haarlem and probably also from Amsterdam.  It’s starting to smell like Spring outside.  My rose bushes are putting out new green shoots.  Almost time to get the gardening gloves out!

Perfect Seams

Yesterday I went to Carol’s house to help her with seaming her Mandy’s Heart sweater.  Carol had never sewn up knitted seams before! I showed her the first few stitches and the rest she did completely by herself.  After just 5 minutes she was sewing up her own perfect seams.

Look how happy she is!

And look at how perfect her seams are!

The above photo is Carol sewing in a sleeve, which is normally the part people are most afraid of.  Look how easy this is! Don’t be afraid of the seam.  It’s adds strength and almost no bulk at all if done right.  By the end of the afternoon Carol couldn’t keep her eyes or hands off her impeccable  seams and was just so pleased with herself.  Good for you!

By the way, only 5 more days until Mandy’s Heart sweater and sock patterns are released.  Stay tuned!

New and Revised FOs

Several days ago I finished my blue summer sweater and complained that it felt too big.  Remember?  Well, I put it through the washer and dryer and I think it’s a little smaller.  What do you think?



I also did a chain stitch (an embroidery stitch) all around the neckline so that it wouldn’t stretch too much:

I think it’s better.  It feels better and that’s what counts.  I will wear it for sure now!

Two days ago I finished sewing a summer top that I wanted to get done before we head off to California.  Of course I didn’t make the pattern as directed.  That wouldn’t be like me at all!

I was supposed to put in a zipper in the center back.  I didn’t.  With the deep v-neck I didn’t think it would be a problem to get in and out of it.  Well, I think if I make it again I’ll use fabric that has a little stretch to it, or I’ll put in a zipper.  I can get it on and off, but just.

On the inside, the pattern instructions would have you finish the band around the middle like this:

That just seemed silly to me.  Why leave it with interfacing showing when everywhere else in the top all those sections are lined?  So I cut some other fabric I had and lined it.  Better, yes?

I’m very happy with how it turned out and I would like to make another one.  Sewing time always fights with knitting time.  You know who usually wins.

While DB was taking these photos this afternoon he also took a few of the cat, who is still with us.  How can an animal move less, and more slowly, every day and still be hanging in there?  He’s still cute as ever.