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 1609 #2

December 3rd, 2013 - 

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I did it again! Simplicity 1609.

The fabric is a crinkled polyester from Vogue Fabrics bought on sale for $1.99/yard.

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As with my first purchase from Vogue, the striped pink cotton lawn, it is a little see-through, so I fully lined the dress.

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The lining fabric was purchased at Arc’s Value Village. I love looking for fabric and notions at thrift stores! I found a bunch of amazing stuff last weekend.

I used my old self-eased template from the first version. Except this time, I removed the center seam. I actually think it drapes a lot better! I will probably not make this dress again with two front pieces. I am eating my words about how much easier it is to size with a center seam. Derp.

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One thing I hate though is how long it was to begin with. I cut 4″ off the bottom hem. Sometimes the scale of things is not preserved in larger sizes, I’m finding. The envelope shows the hem falling just above the knee, and in my size, it fell a few inches below the knee.

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The cap sleeves were a nice addition this time. I used the cap sleeve option in Simplicity 1880.

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The collar called for interfacing, but my fabric was so stiff to begin with, and my main fabric so flowing, I’m not really sure the collar needed all the additional structure of interfacing. This was probably a job for organza and I just messed up. It did lead to the first time I ever edge stitched something to my lining fabric. Ooh la la.

The green buttons are a vintage find from my mom. My sole supplier of buttons. The collar fabric has been seen in the bodice of an earlier project.

Total cost: $10 fabric + $0 pattern + $2 thread + 8 hours

I thought this dress came together rather quickly, but there was some ripping out of stitches when I started to install the sleeves, and I did have to cut and sew the dress panels twice, essentially, to fully line the garment.

After this dress, I really feel like I can achieve anything. Again, I ignored instructions, and just did it out of instinct, which saves a lot of time. I sewed the shoulders, then the neckpiece, then the sleeves, then the side seams, then the back seam, then the hem. I’m really proud of the construction on this one!

Magic Kingdom Dress

November 16th, 2013 - 

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We left for our honeymoon the morning after our wedding, and spent 7 days going to theme parks in Florida.

I knew I wanted to make a few dresses for the trip, and this one was meant to be worn at the Magic Kingdom. I thought maybe it would equal the park’s optimism.

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The fabric is a cotton lawn I picked up on sale from Vogue Fabrics online. It’s my first time working with lawn, and I thought it was pretty nice! Mine was quite transparent though, so I backed it with a pink lining fabric. It showed through the fabric somewhat to make it look even pinker. I used a thrifted, vintage zipper that picked up some of the blue.

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The bodice comes from Vogue 8755 (a personal favorite, very comfortable) and the skirt is a modified version of…something vintage. I forget. Anyway, I used 5 panels for the outer skirt and 4 panels for the lining skirt. I used pre-made bias tape to finish the neck and arm holes. The lining gave me some trouble so I just used my serger to finish that edge, and I sandwiched the lining to the fashion fabric panels and serged those edges before sewing them together. Worked out pretty nicely!
magickingdom_dress_5I thought I would have to retire it after the trip, since it’s no longer warm and summery in Minnesota, but I still decided to wear it last week with a cardigan and boots.

Total Cost: $7 fabric + 6.5 hours

And how was the honeymoon? magickingdom_dress_1

Wonderful!