Thursday, October 30, 2014

Yesterday, in the garment district... (spoiler alert: Don't worry!)

On the corner of 39th and 7th Avenue in NYC...
I saw this...

Although the sign doesn't say so, this closure is temporary, and the booth is undergoing renovations.  In the meantime, you can visit the virtual kiosk online (not helpful when you are already walking around) or go to their office on 38th Street!

Monday, October 20, 2014

About Friday's Speakeasy

Friday's weather was perfect, and the fabrics we saw were beautiful.  I find myself repeating this statement every time I lead a tour.  Yes, I bought some fabric of my own, and the others found equally beautiful things... Sigh...

I've mentioned this broken grid fabric from Fabrics & Fabrics and cottons from Rosen & Chadick before.
See the Facebook page for more info.

Beautiful cozy sweater knit from Metro Textiles.  Also mentioned today on the Facebook page.

Sought out a rhinestone zipper for one participant at Daytona Trimming.

Beautiful day, wonderful people, fun and delicious lunch!  I wish we could do it again tomorrow! Short post today, you'll understand why when you see my next update!

Until then, sew on, my friends!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fabrics World USA

Note: Read previous post on this store, and my commitment to responsible blogging, so you are fully informed.

Ready? Here we go:

What year is this?  What season is this? What's trending? I don't know if the owners of this store care.  After seeing these great spandex knits, I'm not sure I care, either.

Just gorgeous!

Stand back!

Had to buy it...

The fabric I chose feels like a heavy swimsuit fabric, kinda.  I'm dedicating it to the "weird garment" category in my life, and it will become my lazy Saturday drawstring-waist hoodie, lined with athletic mesh, for active weekend wear, with solid leggings and t-shirt beneath.  I know that's crazy-specific, but that's what I see...

Where to Get International Fashion Publications in NYC

Don't believe the address on the bag...

This store has a new location, and great reviews (with the owners' response!) if you Google them.

I wandered into a store that truly surprised me (again) earlier this week. It has been a LONG time since this blog post on Around the World, and this particular establishment has come a VERY long way since.  Packed to the brim with beautiful magazines and fashion, photography and technique books, with great lighting and an efficient layout, don't you dare expect to sit in an armchair (there aren't any) and read A SINGLE WORD without the intention of buying.

Relaxed and in a browsing mood, I entered the store, looking for nothing particular, both overwhelmed and impressed by the choice of publications on display, when I felt the buzz of an incoming text message in my pocket.  I reached for my cell phone, and suddenly, with the aggression of a SWAT team (no exaggeration), the words "NO CELL PHONES!" were bellowed simultaneously by MORE THAN ONE staff member behind the counter.

Frightened, "Ummm... Okay... I'm not using the camera, I just..." I stuttered.

What is this photo? It represents about as close as you can reasonably hope to get to this place for a photo, but look at their website for store photos - the wrinkled white banner announces the location, as it is currently obscured by scaffolding.  Think I'm kidding about the no photo policy?  Just try to get a photo ... I dare ya... and report back (if you live to tell).
Okay.  I get it. Under normal circumstances, I would have been offended and made my exit, but their shouting was so overwhelmingly aggressive that I was more amused than anything.

Yes, there are bold signs banning the use of any camera-like device in the store, and they defend that policy vigorously. I continued browsing, and a few minutes later, in a much softer exchange, I politely asked the proprietor how cell phone use harms a store like his. "After all, a person who snaps a quick photo of a magazine cover is not the same person who would buy a $60 magazine."

"It starts with the cover," he explained, "but people photograph whole articles, full photo spreads.  They don't just bring cell phones, they bring sophisticated photo equipment. Even large bookshops like Borders can't survive in that environment." 

*Note to all:  When I did make my purchase, (yup, I did...) the woman on line in front of me did spend about $200 or so on her magazines, and the store didn't even have the most current issue of one particular magazine she was looking for, so she likely would have bought more, if she could have.

And what do they have?  Everything you've ever wanted, plus everything you never knew existed.  You are only limited by the girth of your wallet.  From a fairly casual browsing experience, I saw at least $500 worth of publications I REALLY wanted to own.

So, what did I buy?

Only the best tween magazine I've seen in a LONG time. I had already heard of it, but I must mention that this magazine is unbelievably great.  I'm glad I read it first, because I may never be able to pry it from my daughter's hands!

You can find issues and info here.

So, visit this store.  Just don't take a camera or reveal your cell phone for ANY REASON.  Don't say I didn't warn ya...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Create the Perfect Fit

I must say... I have some sewing friends who really rock...

Joi Mahon, with whom I have maintained a great friendly rapport over the past decade or so, has been rockin' it for years, and is now the author of a fun book on fitting! 

Note: Other than having my own copy of this book, I am not being paid or compensated in any way for this review.

I received my copy, ready to review it with careful, critical eyes, and let me tell you.... it is a great fit for the hungry sewing audience right now!

Here's what the book assumes:

  • That you are sewing with a commercial pattern that is a standard size, and the body of the intended wearer differs from that standard size, which is almost ALWAYS the case, by the way.

  • That you RECOGNIZE the difference between the body for which the pattern was intended (understanding both the body measurements and fit descriptions of the pattern) and the body of the intended wearer.

  • That you already have basic sewing knowledge, and recognize the markings (bust, waist, hip, etc.) on your commercial pattern. *The book will help you with this.

  • That you intend to sew for an adult female or tween figure.  (Although there is one page dedicated to sewing for men)

Here's why it's great:

  • Spiral bound/easy to lay open while you work

  • Clear, quality photography, so you can both SEE and READ what you are supposed to do.

  • The information and techniques are presented in a conversational, easy-to-read, no-nonsense way by Joi, who has experience teaching students in a variety of settings, and addresses the most commonly asked fitting questions!

  • Addresses often overlooked issues - modifying ease, applying adjustments to pants, when adjustments intersect design details, and... the adjustments I frequently encounter when sewing for athletic figures, like bicep and upper back adjustments!

This book can certainly fill a gap in your sewing education.  If asked to compare it to any other sewing books I've seen, I would say it is best suited to the more modern, creative sewer.  It is simple enough to be a useful tool, without burdening you with excessive fitting details, and complex enough to help you navigate common fitting issues many sewers face, for a variety of different patterns.

I truly find it a worthy addition to a home sewing library!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

I took a friend to get her machine fixed... in Queens! (about home machines)

A product that intrigues me. Find it at Sew Right

Even the best machines break, get jammed, die... we have to accept that.  But when they do, we need to know where to go, right?

If you have a home sewing machine (not industrial), and are looking to get it repaired, I have only heard of one resource in Manhattan with lots of happy home sewing customers, and, actually, nope, they aren't in the garment district.  Gizmo Notion has some great Yelp reviews, but I have never been there myself.  While it is worth trying City Sewing to repair certain brands, they primarily serve industry clients, using professional equipment.

In my experience, the best, fastest, and highest quality repair service at the best price is offered by Sew Right.  Yeah, you'd have to go to Queens for this one, but it would be worth the time and travel if you needed the services they provide.  They repair all makes and models.  And they do it well.  They also offer lots of sewing classes for home sewers.

Now... If you are a Pfaff owner, you gotta go to Sewtime (conveniently located across the street from Sew Right).  Sewtime offers lots of sewing classes, and there are some pretty awesome ones at the Westbury location (inside a JoAnn's fabric store), like the parent/child class, where you learn as a team.

Personally, I have a wonderful Pfaff, as well as some other non-Pfaff machinery, so I have been to both places, and received excellent service at each one.

On Friday, I drove my professional dressmaker, Manhattan-dwelling friend to Queens to get two of her beloved home machines repaired. While my friend explained the problems with her serger and sewing machine to the staff member there, I looked around at all of the stuff for sale in the store.  I drooled over a few machines, appreciated some quilting fabrics and embroidery samples, noticed their sewing class offerings, and found the "tape" photographed above. I am so intrigued by it, and am thinking of creative uses for it. I was shown one great use for it in the store - you can wrap a thread spool with it, and the tape keeps the thread secure on the spool. I'm sure you can keep things closed with it, secure things that you are working on that are not finished yet... I like the idea of securing loose strands of beads and things like that when you aren't done... I don't know what else to do, but I think I'll buy some, and find a million uses.  Somehow, I've become obsessed with the idea of this tape!

But I digress... We were talking about machine repair, right?

The thing about taking a machine to Queens... you're gonna have to have a friend with a car, rent a Zipcar, take a taxi, and wait a while (think maybe a week or two), but you'll get your machine back, at a fair price for the problem, working like a dream, or a thorough explanation for why it can't/isn't!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

On sustainability... and why we should care

Sarah Jessica Parker wears ECO-friendly sweatshirt by Pharrell Williams article here

In bed the other night, winding down for sleep, I asked my husband, "Can you think of any industry where people are banding together in a big movement to bring about change in industry practices?" No response.  "Anything?" 

Yes, these are my thoughts before I go to sleep...

"Hmm.. he said.  Maybe big oil?"

Oil?  I thought?  And then, I thought about a high school friend of mine, who I coincidentally ran into just a week ago, (who is actually an expert in the fields of Human Rights and Corporate Responsibility) and how some of the thoughts she has to share might be applicable in the sustainable fashion movement.

A path to her website led me to a link that you will have to see to believe.  When you visit, look at the list of companies on the left of the screen, and think about how many of those brands you own. 

*Keep in mind that specific brands play different parts in this crisis, and clicking through is necessary to read which details pertain to each company.

If a purchase of those products is a "vote" for their role in the industry, for slavery, for poor treatment, for unsafe conditions, for human rights violations, how many votes have you cast?


Take a deep breath, then click here.

Also note problems such as food insecurity and anemia for factory workers in the article posted here.


there are some great companies, like Levi Strauss, who are really making a point of having a clear, positive corporate mission as it relates to how their products are produced.

Here's a relevant article addressing the current concerns, and what can happen if not addressed... And another one...

But the big questions is... what will need to happen to make change happen?  What might we start to do differently?

Bigger still...

What will happen if we do nothing?