Thursday, August 18, 2016

Through the eyes of another...

Pop quiz: Lemme know if you remember that I posted about the magical allure of this fabric in the past.  Notice that someone else mentioned it, too (see below). In a district this large, with mountains of merchandise, how amazing is it that we could all fall in love with the same fabric? I hope we don't all bump into one another anywhere this fall... It could be embarrassing!

Shams, if don't know already, is such a delight of a sewing personality.  On her blog right now, she has written a series of beautifully enthusiastic posts about her recent visit to New York City, and her exploration of the garment district.  It is as thorough as it is passionate, and I strongly recommend reading it.

Note: She does give me a shout out in her entry #4, but that's not why I'm praising her blog here.  I'm praising it because it is good!

On finding your inner Olympian

My daughter drew this portrait of my son.  Nothing to do with sewing, but her creativity inspires me.

Loving every minute of the Olympics so far, and feeling so inspired...

What can be taught about work ethic, perseverence, failure and success by watching all of these competitors?  For me, it lets me know that everyone, including the second AS WELL as the  very last person to finish in ANY event had to show up for someone else to win. To make that win count.  We all wanna win, but, win or lose, we all NEED to participate.  Of course the winner had to do the work to make that win possible, but the competition requires so much more effort than that person's individual effort.

Where is my olympian? She's feeling a little dumpy in her clothes right now.  Summer heat, sloppy t-shirts and shorts...

I've been doing a lot with rectangles lately.  Very simple shapes in fabrics that make a statement. (Above: Teal knit from Kashi, and "rippled craziness" (my term) from Fabrics Garden.)  This below- calf length dress is basically huge rectangle with a long panel suspended from the next, and a firm, elasticized belt.

My body wants to move.  When I wear something that restricts my movement or comfort, I may change my plans.  "Can we go home?" can be inspired by feeling hot and sticky, squeezed, exposed... My recent weight gain, while slight, I must confess, must be attached to the many decisions I am making every day.  This requires me to think about it a bit. What did I choose not to do because my pants were too tight, where did I choose not to sit because of the style of that skirt?

Where have I not  gone because I wasn't happy with my appearance recently?

Hmmmm. Now, I know I can make things that last a long time.  I know how to build a body of work, build a look, make a style statement...

And that's exactly what I should do. I'm inspired.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Peeking in...

Original artwork by my daughter

While my daughter's artwork deserves more of a comment than this, I am just without words when I see her drawings now.  So, I simply share this one with you.  Again, she has blown me away.

When I have a moment to take a somewhat leisurely stroll through the garment district, I try to take a peek into the stores that aren't on my regular radar, just to see what's new/what's changed/what inspires...

So, on my way down to City Quilter yesterday (which has since closed) , I popped into Truemart, a store I had incorrectly written off as dying, due to the impossible avalanche of merchandise inside, and apparently incorrect rumors of its imminent demise.

While I would not say that it is a place to go when you have a list of things you are looking for, it is great for a "treasure hunt" excursion, when you have time and an open mind, especially now, since, due to less merchandise in the store, that terrible claustrophobic feeling I referred to in an earlier post has eased.

Too tight of a space to capture a real photograph, this silk caught my eye.
This hoodie-esque fabric called out to me.  It told me loudly what it wants to be.

The prices are still quite fair, although not as fair as they once were.  Still worth a visit!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Navigating the New York City garment district... you never know what you'll find...

Yes, you can find THIS in the district...

And plenty of fabric stores, too!

Yes, we call it the "garment district", but wandering up and down the Manhattan streets the name designates, you wouldn't be wrong to simply call it the continuation of foot traffic, street traffic, noise, and office buildings, crowded with as many food vendors, corporate offices and novelty retail stores as you'll find anywhere else in this city.  


in-between, behind, and above all of those stores, you will find the magical vendors I so adore.

I was inspired to write this post after reading a great note from one of my blog readers today.  In it, she wrote:

...back in March, I traveled to NY from DC/BALTIMORE area on a trip that had been planned for months. I had your map in hand and I had gone through each store description, made lists of hours, lists of exactly what I was looking for, prioritized stores by times etc. I had one day in the GD, as me and my BF had the other days together to do other activities. One other detail...I was sick as a dog with a sinus infection, but determined! Your map saved me! I hit 19-22 stores in one day, came back with (or shipped) fabric and hard to find notions, dyes, zippers, bra making supplies etc. Thank you so much...your maps are the BEST! 

I thank you for that...  You made my day.

I am very happy to give people the information they need, and love keeping updated maps available to all who want to plan shopping trips to the district, even if you use the information to lead your own group! I created the maps from my own experiences in the district, and offer guidance regarding the strengths of the stores featured on them.

The maps are meant to be research and navigation tools, portable and easy, but not meant to be blown up and printed out, as it would be too crowded, and the locations need to be "clickable" to be useful. 

My suggestion, especially if you are uncomfortable using a smart phone or I-pad "on the go" to help you navigate, is to choose your destinations before venturing into the district, using the map to create a plan.  It is easy to get overwhelmed while fabric shopping, paralyzed by choices, and frustrated by looking in many places for one illusive find.

So, if you need/want a map, you can find the one to suit you here, or a garment district tour to suit your needs here.

Sending creative love and encouragement to everyone who reads this... Carry on!