Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fabric Shopping Down South

Before we left for Beaufort, I researched the fabric scene in the lowcountry.  I honestly didn't find much, but I knew I wanted to revisit Fabrika in Savannah and I wanted to check out Tabby Fabric and Studio in downtown Beaufort.  I hadn't been to Fabrika since I lived in Savannah, but I'd heard they moved to a larger space on Liberty near my old apartment and I had to go.

My mom and I went to Tabby early Tuesday and we were not disappointed.  In fact, I think I may have made friends--this is amazing!  The owner, Rhonda, and the sales associate, Lauren, were so friendly and wonderful.  All they wanted to do was talk fabric, and that's all I ever want to do, so it was a match made in heaven.  Tabby is a new store; I think Rhonda said they've been open nine weeks.  However, Cloud 9, Denyse Schmidt, Oliver + S, Heather Bailey, Anna Maria Horner--all were already stocked on the shelves.  Impressive!  They also carry Sublime Stitching patterns and tools and embroidery supplies, and have several Janomes just waiting for a project.  There's so much potential and the store is very open and welcoming--lots of natural light, mannequins in the window, extremely friendly staff.

I went back Thursday afternoon and met Nancy, who has an Etsy store and was also crazily friendly.  (I say crazily because I'm from the land of silence and mean looks--I've lived in DC for sixteen months and haven't made a friend; I visit Beaufort for a week and come home with three new friends.)  I picked up some hand embroidery supplies and more fabric.  I can't get enough!  Friday nights at Tabby are Sewcial nights, meaning you can bring your portable projects and unwind with some other ladies.  I brought my embroidery--I'm working on a new project bag--and sat with Rhonda for over an hour.  I also talked to her while we were walking around Beaufort Saturday.  This is what I'm talking about--fabric stores should be this welcoming and happy!  

I came home with lots of fabric!  (Duh.)

Stof is a Danish line and Rhonda is one of the first stores in America to carry it.  Adorable!  I bought these to make a knitting bag for my mom for Christmas (shhh).

I bought a couple Half-Moon Modern prints for my hand embroidery bag.  I'm embroidering an embroidery hoop and needle on the front scissor print.  Meta!

More Stof fabric.  This reminds me of the iced animal cookies I used to eat as a kid.

Denyse Schmidt Hope Valley--I'm thinking this will be a shirtdress?

I plan on sending some treats to the ladies.  I have a ton of Washi left over, so I might make some clutches and send them down.  I'll have to think of something!

We also went to Fabrika.  Like I said, I've loved this little store for years, but I was so disappointed.  The owners weren't in and it was obvious: they're always extremely friendly and their passion really shines through, as it should.  However, Mom and I walked in without a greeting, and there were maybe two or three other customers in there besides us.  There was one associate, but she didn't say hi, didn't ask if we needed help, and really was only interested in staring at her feet.  It was such an unwelcoming environment.  No one was talking and even the music wasn't customer-friendly and high-energy.  I loved the set-up of the store and found a lot that I'd like to buy (embroidery patterns mostly), but figured I'd rather buy online than support this.  I doubt the owners are reading this, but I hope they coach their associates a bit better.  We left without buying anything because we felt so unwelcome.

So the embroidery bug has bitten me again and I have a lot of ideas for patterns!  I also came home with tons of patterns from my mom.  I have a lot to do.

If you go to Beaufort, visit Tabby and say hi to Rhonda for me!  I miss her and the whole gang already.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Beaufort, SC

My parents moved earlier this month from Jacksonville to Beaufort, SC, north of Savannah.  My dad's retired and both of us are out of the house, so they were looking for a different pace of life, away from work and traffic and really anything that could become a stressor.  After agonizing (and driving everyone around them bonkers), they chose Beaufort--or, to be more exact, Lady's Island, just south of Beaufort.

Nicholas and I drove down last Saturday, anxious to see their new house and get away from DC for a week.  I stuck around the house to help unpack while Nick went down to Jacksonville for a few days.  While it was stressful and busy and exhausting (thirty years' worth of stuff that has been moved up and down the east coast...good lord), I honestly can't wait to go back.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Tova For Market

Last week, Michelle Engel-Bencsko from Cloud9 Fabrics  asked on Twitter if anyone had time to make her a Tova for Quilt Market (this week!).  I thought it'd be fun, but also realized there are way more talented sewers out there who would jump at the chance.  Then. about 30 minutes later, I saw the same question pop up on the Cloud9 Facebook page.  I took it as a sign and emailed her about it.

Michelle still needed someone (yay!) and she would provide the fabric from her new Simpatico line, which hasn't yet started shipping.  She would need it in New Jersey by May 15th.  I thought, sure, I can do that!  Honestly, I was so excited to sew with new, unreleased fabric and to sew for someone who is huge in the sewing community.  I use a lot of Cloud9 Fabrics and love them, so this was a dream.

I prewashed and cut the fabric last Thursday.  I knew I wanted to have it shipped by Friday, and because I work from home on Fridays, this wouldn't ordinarily be a problem, so I planned to start sewing it soon after getting up.  However, I didn't realize Friday would be such a busy work day--there were so many emails coming in and so much to take care of!  I would check email, reply with whatever was needed, sew until I hear the Outlook notification go off again, and repeat...all day.  And because Nicholas bought a new turntable and amp that were holding the kitchen table hostage, I worked from the floor of my dining room all day.  I think my thigh muscles are officially toned from all the squatting I did.

But it paid off!  I finished it Friday afternoon, showered, and ran up to the Post Office to ship it.  However, I hardly had time to take pictures.  I took only one two email to Michelle and let her know it was on its way and I wasn't making off with the fabric.

If you ever feel like stressing yourself out, just offer to sew something for Quilt Market!  I kept thinking, the thousands of people who see it aren't everyday folks--they sew and they know what a Tova's supposed to look like, so this better be good!  I'm already a ball of nerves for no reason everyday, so adding that thought on top of everything else just made me nauseous.

However, despite my anxiety, I had a good time with it!  It's fun to know that something I made will be on display at such a large tradeshow.  I've never been able to say that before!  I hope Michelle likes it too.  

(PS, I promise the hem is even.  That picture looks ridiculous.)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Vintage Pattern PJs--Parts Two and Three

Last week almost burnt me out on sewing.  Almost.  I volunteered to sew something for someone else (coming up later this week) and I was crazy busy at work.  At one point, I was sewing in between emails, with the iron on the floor next to my laptop, so I could meet deadlines.  I don't think I showered until 3 PM Friday because of it, and I didn't eat until dinner.  Crazy days!

I also have two dresses waiting...just waiting...for me to have time for them.  I pre-ordered the Sewaholic Cambie dress (just like I said I would.  I'm a woman of my word) and also have been waiting to make the Colette Truffle from the book.  I have the fabric for both; I need lining for the Truffle and zippers and then I can go!  But oh no, this weekend we're leaving for Beaufort.  Good God, when will I have time!

I did, however, make up some more nightgowns this weekend with all my vintage patterns.  They're so quick and easy, and there are now three different fabrics gone from my stash thanks to them.  Yay!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Vintage Pattern PJs--Part One

I like to obsess.  I obsess over where we'll live, what our weekend plans are, what I'm sewing.  I obsess on Pinterest, on Flickr, in my Google Reader.  I prefer to think that I "collect," that I'm collecting pictures of Japanese fabric because I want to know what's out there and available (and not because I ordered some from Singapore last week.  No, never!!).  

Last weekend, I became obsessed with vintage patterns.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Book Review: Martha's American Food

I love America.  I love food.  What could be better?

Project 12: Simplicity 1884

Do you also forget to look in the Sportswear patterns?  I always forget they exist, probably because they aren't as well-organized as the dresses, skirts, and tops; in one pattern, you can have a jacket, skirt, dress and shirt, and while that's an awesome deal for the price, it's also extremely overwhelming.  So much to look through!

However, in the spring Simplicity patterns I found two (yes, two!) sportswear patterns to buy.  Instead of pantsuits and coordinating pieces, they're actually extremely wearable.  I actually bought this one, Simplicity 1884, because it reminded me of the Anna Maria Horner Socialite dress, which I made last year and then gave (the pattern) to my cousin.  I still wear the dress; it's great for warm days at work.

Without further ado...

Pattern Description
Coordinates: v-neck top or blouse, kimono jacket and pants, all in one pattern.  This is View B, a v-neck blouse.

Pattern Sizing
For this particular piece, it was XS - XXL.  This is a medium.

Did it look like the drawing on the envelope when you were done with it?
Yes!  Except I vetoed the tie.  This top has a lot going on.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Hmm.  Yes and no.  If you've never done one of these necklines before, this is not the pattern to start with.  However, if you have, you'll probably find it easier--the overall construction is simple.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like that I pretty much have another copy of the Socialite Dress now, and I love the swingy style.  I'm heading to Beaufort, SC, in a couple weeks and this will be great with a pair of shorts.

Fabric Used
Sarah Jane Studio's Children at Play balloons.  I knew when I bought it that I wanted to make it a blouse.  Originally I was picturing a button-down, but I think this is just so cute.

Pattern Changes or Alterations Made
Nothing.  I skipped the bow on the front but that wasn't a huge change.  Oh, and somehow I turned double-fold 1/4" bias tape into single-fold 3/8" tape.  That was just a MacGuyver moment.

Would you sew it again?
I'm thinking about it!  It'd be nice in a voile or lawn--something super light and airy for the summer.

It looks super cute hanging in my sewing room--I know that much.

PS--a little preview of some things I made for the shop...!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Baby Gifts

Can I just say that, despite my ramblings, I'm not a child-friendly person.  Yes, it has crossed my mind a dozen times.  Yes, Nicholas and I talk of children in hypotheticals.  But, if it were to come right down to it, neither of us like, want, or need to have children.  We like pets.  Pets like us.

However, baby gifts are a whole different story.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


If you read this blog, or just know me in general, you've probably figured out by now that I'm not happy unless I'm making something, whether it's dinner, dessert, a new skirt or a project in InDesign.  I like tangible things, which is probably why I enjoy "stuff"--I have five bookcases full of books, boxes of CDs in storage, and many, many more DVDs than I could ever watch.  Having these things, for whatever reason, also makes me happy--though I know that's an unpopular opinion and makes me materialistic.  Whatever.  I like books.

So I got a bee in my bonnet yesterday to bake.  And sew.  Oh, and work, because I still do that.  And despite the trouble with the bag (sewing through eight layers of fabric and interfacing is not fun), I was happy.  I was home, I was doing my own thing.  Offices tend to suck the life out of me; at home, I actually saw the sun (shocking) and had a little tabby who helped me along the way.

Images by Freepik