Where I Buy Fabric

June 10th, 2016 - 

Textile Center Garage Sale

I can’t remember how or when I learned about the Textile Center’s annual garage sale, I just know the knowledge has been life changing. Basically, I can stock up on awesome patterns (new and vintage) and fabric to last me the whole year.

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The sale includes donated fabric, yarn, patterns, and machines for sewing, knitting, and weaving. (And there’s a lot of it.)

2016 was the first year I donated to the sale, mostly patterns and fabric, and it’s also the first year I paid to attend the the preview night. Not something I’ll do again, most likely, but there was free nachos and a DJ so that was nice.

Mostly, on the preview day, you’re confronted with so much, for someone with my approach to shopping—AKA “JUST GRAB IT”—it was not a great benefit to be there with so much available. Basically, I ended up with a HUGE pile of fabric and patterns and had to really reason with myself on how much I should spend on, ostensibly, my back up stash.

Some examples of my Textile Center Garage Sale fabric finds:

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I also won an auction on a knitting machine in 2015, but I still haven’t taught myself how to use it!

SR Harris

This is my fabric home. I kind of live at SR Harris. It’s the best in town, IMHO.

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All of the fabric is 50% off, so usually $3-6 for most of the things I buy. I’ve bought a few higher end items too, usually designer or name brand wool coating and such.

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I just love the variety, and the experience of snooping through the reams of fabric  to find something perfect to stash or use for a specific project. This is where I bought the pink shantung for my wedding dress, among other things.

They have a new second location in the south suburbs, but I still prefer their northern location tremendously. It’s one of my top favorite places in the world, probably.

Hancock Fabrics

The nearest fabric store to my house is Hancock Fabrics, so I’m there a lot for pattern sales, fabric remnants, and discounted fabrics.

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This coat is basically a Hancock Fabrics production. From the woven houndstooth material, to the fleece binding and exposed zippers, and even the pattern it’s based on (Butterick 6255).

I used to go there a lot (too much???) but hadn’t been in months because, since the baby, I haven’t really been sewing.

I dropped by last week and learned they are going out of business! All of them! Every Hancock Fabrics is closing across the country, reportedly due to financial mismanagement. I can’t even believe it.

Vogue Fabrics

This is an online fabric retailer. I’ve bought mostly from their clearance section, multiple yards of cute synthetic fabrics to use when trying out new patterns.

Some examples:

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Other

I try not to shop at Jo-Ann, except from their remnant bin. They don’t have many good items for garment making in my opinion. Otherwise, I like to visit fabric stores in other cities when I’m visiting. LA had some of the best shops, for sure, but I’ve also bought fabric in Nashville and Austin, that I can remember.

I do like Crafty Planet in Minneapolis, but, despite how cute their fabrics are, they’re better suited for quilters and crafters and not exactly what I want as a garment-maker. So I don’t stop in that often.

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Simplicity 4417 D #1

November 27th, 2013 - 

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I found Simplicity 4417 (size 6-14) at a thrift store and saw some potential in it as the basis for a simple negligee. The pattern was partially pre-cut, which didn’t bother me, since I planned to make a lot of changes anyway. To start, I would have needed a 16, plus I wanted to add in some ease to avoid the side zip and I needed to lower the hem to make it skirt length.

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I am into creating wearable muslins right now, considering my large remnant collection is getting out of control. The main fabric for this project was a remnant from Jo-Ann Fabrics. I had slightly less than 1 yard to work from and was very excited when it seemed to be enough. It’s pretty and silky, but polyester. I have some nice silks I’d like to make this in later, once I perfect the fit. The lining fabric is a silk charmuese.

This was my first time creating little delicate fabric tubes for straps. It was frustrating, but I did it somehow. I literally can’t remember how. I must have blocked the memory.

Lately I’ve stopped reading pattern directions and just dive in. Here, I made the tubes first, then sandwiched the end between the main and facing fabric pieces and sewed it into place at all four points, then sewed the sides of the bodice in a continuous line, right side to right side at the side seams, and pressed the seams open, before attaching it to the skirt, so there are no raw edges in the bodice. I also did a French seam in the skirt.

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To keep bulk out of the hem, I just serged it, turned it under, and stitched .25″ from the edge. I love when I can hem like this. It’s so simple.

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I thought at first I would enclose the raw edges of the bodice/skirt seam into the skirt somehow, but now I think I’d rather enclose the seam with bias tape. I ran out of the main fabric and have enough of the lining fabric to make bias tape, but it’s time to move on. This is something I will try to do on my second version.

I still don’t know a lot about adjusting pattern sizes (slashing and spreading and whatever). So while technically this “fits” and “works,” the side seams don’t line up in the bodice and skirt, and the shoulder straps are a bit too far out, I’d like them closer to the center of my body where they will not fall down so much and possibly feel more comfortable.

I have made some adjustments to my already-adjusted pattern, and hope to start a new negligee soon!

Total cost: $5 fabric + $1 pattern + 4 hours

Note: this would not take nearly so long to make if I was able to turn a fabric tube more easily and didn’t have to rip out and re-attach the skirt which I initially put on backwards. Derp.

Mash Up: Vogue 1289 + Simplicity 4070 #1

October 15th, 2013 - 

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This dress has the bodice of Simplicity 4070 and the skirt of Vogue 1289.

I’m incredibly happy with the results!

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This bodice uses boning and is a copy of what I’m using in my wedding dress. It sewed up very quickly because I didn’t have to do any fitting on the skirt or bodice since I had already sewn them before and was able to use my me-adjusted pattern pieces. (Well, the bodice I adjusted, the skirt was always just fine.)

The skirt fabric is a nice jersey that was “made in Germany” and therefore a little more expensive than fabric I usually buy at SR Harris — this was $7.50/yd when I usually buy at $4.50-6/yd — but I thought it was lovely and worth it. Adam totally hated the weird boxy print at first, but I still thought it had potential.

I used a black rigiline boning — .50/yard at SR Harris — sewed directly into the seam. I didn’t build a channel or anything. I just wanted this make to be easy-breezy.

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I still need to add a hook and eye to the top of the zipper.

The zipper I got at SR Harris for like $1 or whatever they charge, and it’s kind of unusual. It’s big, but the zipper teeth are hidden on the inside of the bodice. It’s not a perfect hidden zip though, because the teeth are still so large, so I think it’s meant to be exposed. I did just a little, but I think it’s interesting nonetheless.

The exterior of the bodice is a stretchy fabric I got as a Jo-Ann remnant years ago. The lining fabric is a silky black that I cut from a wrap I wore to a dance when I was a junior in High School. The wrap was just hanging out with my scarves, being useless. How is it I’ve been moving with a black wrap for 10+ years of my life? Why? Glad to finally do something with it.

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Here is something I might as well document: I needlessly raked part of my skirt through the knife of my serger just under the pleating on the side of the dress. So I hand stitched that together and you can barely tell. Could have been a real day ruiner, but thankfully it hides well within the print and drape.

What happened is, I sewed the skirt to the bodice before serging the edge of the jersey because I wasn’t sure the pattern pieces would fit together and I wanted to be able to stretch the jersey if necessary to fit with the bodice. Well, it actually fit pretty great, I didn’t need to stretch a thing. But now I’ve got a lot of unfinished jersey inside. I didn’t want to serge the bodice and skirt together for some reason, so I tried to serge just the skirt edge, after it was attached, despite the rigid bodice fighting against me. Anyway, in the struggle I lost focus and part of the dress caught. It’s not the worst, but if you look inside now I’ve got about 2″ of serged edges on the skirt and the rest unfinished. I’m not going to bother at this point. The jersey will likely curl, not fray. Maybe in round two.

Total Cost: $0 pattern + $15 fabric + $2 thread + 6 hours

I still can’t believe how easily and quickly this dress sewed up, and how nice it looks — probably my favorite make to date — it was a real bummer to add this imperfection, but what can you do.

Very excited to wear this on our honeymoon. Should be good in the heat!

McCall’s 6751 B #2

August 29th, 2013 - 

This fabric came from the remnant bin at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I was attracted to it after seeing so many outer space fabric makes online, but actually this fabric — rather than looking like celestial bodies — looks more like snakeskin used as a splatter paintbrush.

There was just enough to test another version of McCall’s 6751. This time I went with the racerback version B, size L.

It’s a little snug — the fabric also has no give — and I’m having bra issues.

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The keyhole in back exposes the hooks. :/

Oh well, I still wore it to work today! Cover it up with a blazer you’re good to go.

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I would have liked to have had more fabric to work with, to better plan for pattern placement, but it works. And I got a little pocket on it.

Sometimes it’s just fun to make something.

But, would I make again? Probably not.

There are two more options with this pattern so I will probably make those, but they’re real fabric hogs so IDK when. I’ve got a single yard of gorgeous crushed pink silk 60″ wide I’m dying to use on a tank top but I just can’t find the right pattern for it. Sigh. Ideas?

Final cost: 2.5 hours and $3

70 Cents

August 20th, 2013 - 

McCall’s patterns were 70 cents last weekend at Jo-Ann Fabrics.

So, to quote the lady who spent 10 minutes selfishly occupying the McCall’s pattern drawers while I waited beside her:

“I’m probably not going to make all of these but for this price I might as well buy them, right?”

Sure.

So here’s what I got:

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