Friday, December 28, 2012

PSSST... Speakeasy tours special offer... Dare I do this?

Note: This offer expired today, January 1 2013.

Reposting, for those of you who have asked about dates and fees.  This offer is limited, and will remain available until January 1, 2013.  This will be fun!

The following Speakeasy tours are definitely a "go", since there are enough signups to make them work.  As an added benefit, I have included a new option, available to anyone who chooses from this date forward, to bring one, or up to 2 friends along for just $25 each.  This is a limited time offer during the holiday season (depends on response).

Why?  The more, the merrier... within reason, of course!  And because there are people who want to come along (or bring someone else), who have expressed that they are a little cash-strapped at the moment, and boy, can I relate!

Yes, Seriously.

Yes, you still get lunch - even at $25.

Here's the kicker... When you spend $100 via Paypal, you may qualify for the Bill Me Later program, which lets you delay your payment for 6 months, with no interest.  Click through for details.  This makes it well worth it to bring a friend along.

Already signed up and wanna bring someone along? After you have paid your own Speakeasy tour fee, you may sign up a friend, or have the friend sign her/himself up, mentioning in the comments who the full price participant is.

Bring a friend for $25, and specify the date you are choosing in your comment box...

Offer expired.  Thanks to those who took advantage! 

Itinerary (for every date) below: 

10AM - 2PM - 

Shopping (Will include several very special fabric and trimming stores with a wide variety of offerings suitable for many different purposes/types of garments.)


Lunch (included in your fee)

3PM - until end of business day

Armed with your "Secret Map" and your own interest in or desire to visit the many other stores you see or have learned about, you may visit more garment district stores if you wish, and give unique codes (that you'll get from me) to vendors who will give special assistance/discounts.

The cost of this guided, efficient tour is $75 per person. If you use this trip to shop and participate in what NYC has to offer, you will save at least as much as you are paying, and probably far more.

Wanna come? Click below the date you wish to attend, send payment, and the details on meeting time/place will be provided.

From outta town? If you need hotel and/or travel help, I will advise some of the BEST NYC secrets I know! Also, you can click on hotels above (this page - to your right) for the most standard and convenient choices. Payment is only accepted via PayPal (you do not need a Paypal account), credit or debit card. No cash, personal checks, or additional payments will be accepted on the day of the tour. The trip will involve a good amount of walking, so come prepared, and healthy. These are the dates for all remaining Garment District Speakeasy Tours:

December 21, 2012

March 22, 2013

April 12, 2013

Friday, December 21, 2012

Today in the Garment District

Today, I led some fabulous ladies around the garment district, on a shopping trip I specifically altered to suit to their interests, and boy, did we have fun! Want me to tell you all about it? Nope. This one's "classified". You've gotta come on one for yourself to experience the magic. So, I guided them to the things they were seeking, and helped them to find great feathers, lace and lace trim, great sculpted leather flowers, and breathable, high quality knits. Efficiently. With lots of laughs in-between. Oh and a bonus NY political figure sighting and photo op!

 Want me to tell you more?

 Want me to show you photos?


 There's a reason why I call it a "Speakeasy".  And today, it really was...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday gifts for the sewing enthusiast...

Let's say you know and/or love someone who loves to sew or craft.  There are some gifts guaranteed not to disappoint.  Time is short, life is busy.

Maybe you want to gift yourself with something sewing-related.   Maybe you want to gift yourself, and then hand the bill to someone else (ahem...) for reimbursement for your Christmas gift... Offensive? Maybe.  Efficient?  Definitely.  (You'll thank me later for that idea...)

Did you know there are some fabric stores, sewing studios, and websites who offer gift certificates and other gift possibilities?

Well, here are some ideas for you.

Gift Certificates:

Mood Fabrics (online or in-store)
Emma One Sock (online only, for online use)
Gorgeous Things (online only, for online use)

Classes (in person):

City Quilter ( I blame them for giving me the fever for their umbrella workshop, now that I've seen it!)
Cindy Chock for private, semi-private (3 or fewer adults), or children's classes - Call for details
Mood (NYC or LA)
Manhattan JCC
The Sewing Studio (in a group, or private lessons available)

Books and Subscriptions:

Around the World Fashion Publications

Or, you can always treat yourself or anyone else to a "Speakeasy" shopping trip!  The next one is scheduled for this Friday!

If you know of any other NYC garment-related stores  offering gift certificates, don't hesitate to chime in!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sequins and the holidays...

If you're anything like me, you have a healthy respect for sequins, and a genuine love for them, but SHUDDER at the thought of trying to cut them away on your seam allowances, dig them out of the crevices of your machine, manipulate them to fit your design and force them to lay the way they were intended. What a pain in the nether region...

Sequins, however, do have one absolutely stellar advantage: they make anything ordinary look festive.  They make you feel like a million bucks.  Here are some alternative thoughts on how to use sequins for your holiday finery. The following project was for a client of mine.

These are fabulous metallic sequins attached  to a mesh from B&J Fabrics.

This fabric is wonderful, but the application of those sequins looks so random, how do I navigate the seams efficiently with a sewing machine?

My solution?  You don't.  You pull out a hand sewing needle and thread, and go for it! (I did line this top with china silk, by the way, using my client's flesh tone.)

Minimal seams make it easier.

Why not show a little skin in the back, huh?
Okay, so you can also add sequin trim to a garment, or you can get hot-fix sequins you can iron on, which I imagine, can be problematic, so experiment a bit before committing to this.  For the truly committed, you can sew on your own sequins individually, but you'd also be amazed at how beautiful a delicately interspersed sequin embellishment with a Swarovski crystal center can be on even the very simplest silk tank! Add them to your shoes, you bag, your hair accessory, your hat... whatever!

From low priced to high end, there are LOTS and LOTS to choose from.  I'm feeling like an infomercial here. (Note: The above example is a high-end one.)

So where you can you find fun sequins?

So, it actually isn't too late to get started.  Don't be afraid to add a little sparkle to your holidays this year!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

PR 11th Anniversary party at Elliott Berman

I must say, yesterday was a perfect day.  Just perfect.  That doesn't happen often.  Had a great morning meeting, followed up with great time with my kids after school, and then a PARTY.  Yes, a PARTY!  I don't get out much at night people.  I'm a mom of two kids. This was a big deal for me.

What fun we had last night! Yes, I went to the NYC Pattern Review 11th Anniversary party/Holiday party at Elliott Berman Textiles. Had a great time with those who came out to celebrate, and we were truly warmly received in their space.  Tricked out with party lights, music, food, and music, it was a fabric lover's paradise. Oh, and there was carrot cake!  I  love carrot cake...

We actually played fabric and designer trivia games!!!! And while I never win anything, and I mean ANYTHING... ever... this time, since it was trivia, not luck, I knew the answers to many of the questions, and, as a result, I totally racked up on fabulous fabric swag! Yup, there were prizes!

Oh, and get this... Among the fun guests at the party, I actually got to meet some bloggers I had only met "virtually" so far, and that was really a kick! Among them:

Kelli of True Bias
Clio of Clio & Phineas
Peter of Male Pattern Boldness - and Yes, he was wearing the great color blocked shirt!

And I also got a chance to have great conversations with other passionate people who are in the industry, but not the blogosphere!

You know what proves how much I enjoyed myself?  I didn't pull out my camera EVEN once!

Monday, December 10, 2012

On Fabric Temptation...

It all began with a morning visit to Kashi. Yes, that Kashi... of Metro Textiles.

I guided a garment district "Speakeasy" tour back in September, and vowed that no fabric shopping money would leave my pocket that day.   I was not there as a shopper, but a guide, I kept telling myself.  I had to be an effective one, too, curbing my raging fabric lust long enough to effectively show, assist, explain, and discover along with the participants I was leading through the offerings of the amazing stores we visited that day.  After all, I'm an adult. A grownup, in fact. Yes, with a solid and manageable quality stash, limited "free" time, and... and... I just have to be practical.

I tried to focus in on my job.  Really tried.  But...This fabric winked at me from the corner.  It did.

A cotton stretch knit - waves of deep eggplant purple, a sedate varsity purple, and a mellow frosted baby purple (like equivalent of baby blue, but purple, ya know)? Very soft, kinda stretchy (one way), sheer-ish in the right light, and wonderfully drapey. Fiber content tested at home with burn/smell/melt test.

I didn't buy it, although I did gently brush it flirtatiously a few times as I walked past.  It was available in two colorways.  Both of them exciting.  But one of them (pictured above) was just swirling with possibilities. It kept whispering to me.  I felt a bit dizzy.  Maybe even a bit weak.  I tried to think about other things, help people find what they were looking for, and even tried to help them find what they didn't know they were looking for, consult on how this or that fabric would look as a dress, a top, a pair of pants... But... It kept calling my name. I was blushing. My palms were sweating.  I fanned myself. What had come over me?

I tried to shake it off, and forget all about it, as we went on to other stores, saw piles and stacks and bolts and piles and PILES of other options, but the memory of that encounter just wouldn't leave me. Unable to forget the magic of that moment, I ventured back to Metro a few days later to sweep up some of that delightful yardage, hugged it tightly, and brought it back to my workspace.  What would it be?

I knew it needed to be a shirt.  It had told me so. A deliberately eccentric one, with raglan sleeves.  Maybe a pocket? Comfortable and cozy for winter. I wanted an asymmetrical twist or turn somehow at the neckline, and... well, maybe a pocket.  "Let's keep it roomy," I thought.

My inspiration:

Aiming for something similar to view B (the blue one), I drastically changed/recreated the pattern to accommodate my body, a stretch knit, and my other fit and style preferences.  My daughter, age 11, called this pattern "boring". During the redesign process, the shirt, on its way to "becoming", passed through a few weird phases.  I'll call them (1) Tween Pajama Top, (2) Post-Menopausal -hide and seek (still at least 15 years or so away, I think), and finally, (3) Dr. Seuss meets "Where's Waldo". Those impractical peekaboo slits changed form, ultimately disappearing entirely, and the shape of the shirt oh-so gradually morphed as I worked the silhouette and design idea from what was once a sort of vague, blurry vision, to the happy, totally "me" shirt it is now.
Yes, I inserted an invisible center back short zipper in a stretch knit (after stabilizing), so I could create a close neckline that wouldn't stretch out.

I gently elasticized the sleeve hems and hem of shirt, to get a gentle "blousing" to happen.

No stripe matching.  Deliberately.  Makes the fabric dance.
The tucked fabric "cascade" from the neckline to hem has no seams.

And then I put it on, for about the 10th time (and even that might be an exaggeration - as in TOO FEW times) at the end of the design process, looked in the mirror, and involuntarily whispered aloud, "I love you it." True story.  And I mean that.

Monday, December 3, 2012

NYC Fabric store review: Elliott Berman... Outrageously great store.

Over the past few years, before I took over this blog, Elliott Berman Textiles had been mentioned a few times, in a few different posts.

Yeah, just a few times...

Post 1
Post 2
Post 3

And, for some reason, I felt as if I had been there before, and maybe didn't think too much about it, since I'm not particularly swayed by designer names, or "exclusivity" for exclusivity's sake?  Heard the name before, I'm sure... didn't place it too high on my priority list.  Colleagues with decades' worth of experience had heard of them too.  But had they ever been?  "I think maybe once...wait, I'm not sure... I know the name.  What street is that place?" No particularly ringing endorsements. No gasps or sighs, nothing. Whatever. But, I'm here to tell you... Whoa.  Now that I've reported back to them just what I've found... they have ALL put this place on their priority lists.

Inspired to go after talking to the lovely Australian who sang their praises at length, this place started to intrigue me, and, to top it off,  an extremely warm written welcome from Eugenia made it a must-see.

So I went.

And man, oh man... where do I even start with this place?

For starters, it is upstairs.  In an office building.  On 35th Street.  You won't pass this place by accident.

I started my research by visiting their website, and I fell in love with this fabric. Wanting it desperately, I knew I wanted to just visit and touch it, before making a final decision.  I gave myself a little mumbly-pep talk in the elevator on my way up, promising myself not to shop, just explore and think a bit, since my unstarted projects pile is getting to be a bit ridiculous. So, I stepped off the elevator, and headed down the hall a bit to the showroom.

And when you do go, (and I'm thinking you will...) you will find a showroom set up for wholesale, not retail, which can be intimidating.  But the key here, is... Eugenia.  Lovely, engaging Eugenia is welcoming, engaging, and gives you all the information you need to just dive in to the beautiful selection this store has to offer. 

First off, the organization of the fabrics is set up in a wholesale-friendly way.  Fabrics are grouped by fiber content and by width, since production is concerned specifically with the width of the goods, and in the garment biz, their patterns are already made, and cutting layouts planned.  You won't see any color story, other than "current", since it isn't set up for the retail customer. Sourced from mills in Italy, Switzerland and France, primarily, the fabrics are just TO DIE.  I mean that.  I challenge anyone to visit and tell me differently. Seriously.  I'd bet you money...

They also have a great website, listed as a favorite by some of you who responded to the survey!

So, why here, instead of the gazillion other fabric stores?  Quality.  Oh, and BEAUTY.  Crazy, like heart-palpitation style beauty.

Eugenia holding a fabulous silk header card.

Now, on their website, they share that many of these fabrics are remaining goods from design houses like Chanel, Milly, Dior, Missoni, etc.  This isn't the stuff someone found laying in a corner of those design houses.  Nope. Not the rejects, either... The ACTUAL fabric the designers used.  Just touch it.  It speaks to you. And wait... the goods they are selling that come from these design houses isn't from past collections... not from past collections... from the NEXT collection, and some from custom projects done for private clients, and no one else.  Yes.  That current, and that exclusive.  Many of the fabrics were custom done for the design houses, and some are "signature prints" (meaning the designer's logo or print is repeated in the print of the fabric itself) and lots more beyond those.  

Oh, and the knits!  The resilience!  The hand! The artistic value of the prints and colors!  So gorgeous!

What would scare me at this point, if I were you, is talking about price.  Believe it or not, this place has prices you can do, with some fabrics near $20 or so a yard, and on up, depending on how fancy you wanna get.  Most things I loved were somewhere in the $30-40 range retail.

So what happened?  Did I buy the fabric?  Well... *Clears throat and mumbles*  Ummm.... I have to go back, with a bit more money... to get that fabric, and a couple other things...

So go.  And tell them I sent you.  And, if you order online, they are ready, willing, and able to serve the international customer!

Elliott Berman Textiles
225 West 35th Street, 7th Floor    
New York, NY 10001 
Tel: (212) 764-0180

Fax: (212) 764-0241
Toll Free: 1-800-609-6072

And, for you designers and fanatics out there attending the DG Expo, be sure to visit their station, and tell them hello!

What, you haven't heard of the DG Expo?  Stay tuned for the next post!