Monday, October 24, 2016

Fuse, glue, adhere

Reposting: originally posted 8/29/13 - some stores have changed, disappeared, popped up... I have discovered some new ones, and some more options have appeared since then...

Why write this post?

Because you can't deny the time and anguish-saving fabulousness fusing or gluing something properly can bring, as an alternative to hand-stitching...


I am glue-challenged.  My fear of adhesion, the process, my inability to properly launder, my disappointment when it fails, frustration when I press, maintain, and secure things to other things, has long made me seek other solutions, in an effort to  avoid all of the products associated with it.  But these are the things I have tried and loved/liked/dealt with, whether for clients, or for myself. 

Now, I share my experiences with you, and invite you to share your own.

So, here are some things I've tried, and how they have worked.  Chime in on this one, 'cause all input helps here...

One of the best sources for glue of all kinds is Manhattan Wardrobe Supply, because of their wide range of glue options and constant, healthy supply of products in the brick and mortar store!

The official spiel:

E-6000 is a unique adhesive formulated to meet high-performance industrial requirements. It adheres to more surfaces than virtually any other adhesive. E-6000 has exceptional adhesion to wood, metal, glass, fiberglass, ceramics, masonry and concrete. Not for use on Styrofoam. It also adheres strongly to leather, rubber, vinyl and many plastics. Because it is abrasion-resistant E-6000 may be used on high-wear surfaces. E-6000 maintains its flexible bond in cold temperatures and may be used to bond items subject to vibration. The clear E-6000 is not formulated for exposure to sunlight. For these applications, paint over E-6000 after it has cured.

In my experience:

This is great if you have a costume to assemble.  When stuff needs to stay put, without the real considerations of real life issues, like laundering and stiffness after adhesion, this stuff is great.  Not a lot of need for it in my life, but come Halloween, that stuff is gonna get a lot of use!

This glue is a general-purpose glue for school, craft, and household use. Sobo withstands multiple freeze-thaw cycles and dries fast and clear.

Got craft projects and/or kids?  This is the fiber artists equivalent of a stronger Elmer's Glue, in my opinion.  Works great, if that's what you need!

Barge cement

Great for leather, rubber, fixing your shoes, and in my experience, some home dec purposes, too!  This stuff is super strong, and professional quality.

Aleene's Tacky Glue

The official spiel:

Aleene’s® Original Tacky Glue™ is the most recognized and trusted crafting adhesive. The familiar gold bottle is found in almost every household in America, and the line of Aleene’s Crafting Adhesives includes glues for every imaginable purpose. The famous Original Tacky Glue™ is considered the ultimate in glues because it is incredibly versatile and reliable. This popular formula is also available in a jar with a built-in brush and an easy-to-squeeze tube. Aleene’s® Brush-On Tacky Glue™ gives you quality Aleene’s® Tacky Glue with the convenience of a built-in brush. And the easy-to-squeeze tube makes application super easy. Aleene’s® Original Tacky Glue™ * dries clear and flexible * cleans up with water * is the #1 choice of crafters! The nontoxic formula is recommended for all craft and hobby surfaces, including: * paper * fabric * ribbon * arts and crafts

In my experience:  A temporary craft glue.  Think holiday ornaments, kids' projects, and party decorations.

Other sticky stuff...


Just my own preference, but I don't use much fusible interfacing.  When I do get interfacing of any kind, I get mine from Steinlauf & Stoller. I am usually buying small quantities, so they are the best option for me. The rest of the time, I use woven interfacings, and sometimes fabrics that aren't necessarily sold as "interfacing", when I'm sculpting a garment.  Really depends on my opinion on whatever the garment requires.  Too much to explain here, but I do notice drastic differences in interfacing quality from store to store, so really, don't just buy it anywhere.  I've learned the hard way.

It gets far more complicated, though.  You might want to do something special, and you need something that only a really tough or specific fusible product can do for you.  I just had a very happy experience with thick, firm Fuse-A-Shade, which I bought from a local Jo Ann store (yes, really), and it was perfect!  Jo Ann is also good for shipping elsewhere, if you're not in NYC. Also easy to find Wonder-Under, Stitch Witchery, and spray-on or heat-set adhesives (turning something previously not fusible, into something fusible). 

A note about JoAnn, and why I mention the store here on this blog:

While the NYC garment district has a wealth of notions, tools, and things you can use, Jo Ann's products can help bridge the expertise gap, bringing some no-sew ideas to life, making use of the fabulous fabric you find in the garment district's stores. Not a betrayal of my mission here, but rather, a complement to it.

Also, see my post on Quick Fusing, if you want to bond or fuse yardage!


There are an amazingly large bunch of people who glue rhinestones.  I won't even ask why... but I have do some ideas, people...  Anyway, Joyce Trimming has got you covered for that stuff.  If you can't go in person, see their website.

Crystal Rhinestones...

M&J Trimming is a wonderland.  Visit the Swarovski counter, and I defy you to leave without a bag of something.  Silver foil backing, with adhesive already in place.  Easy to apply! If you need a Hot Fixer tutorial, M&J offers an instructional video on their site! 

Monograms and well, just letters...

M&J and Jonathan Embroidery both offer some great fusible letters.  They stay on so securely, you don't need to worry!  And, you've gotta check out the rhinestone script letters M&J offers.  If it didn't require so many letters, I would love to spell out "High Maintenance" across a cashmere sweatshirt... but people wouldn't know I was kidding, so...

And a personal Mommy recommendation from me...

I have learned to pre-fortify the knees of my son's jeans with iron-on patches BEFORE the hole begins.  Yup.  That's what it is to have an extremely active boy!  (He's no longer a "little" boy, but man... it's still true!)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fashion Design Books - Update

Update:  This store is closing, but there is currently a big 50% off sale going on!

Fashion Design Books (click the link for pictures of the store and their offerings) is a great bookstore, nestled within the campus of Fashion Institute of Technology on West 27th Street.  Open to the public, whether you are a student or not!

With both a website, and their brick and mortar location, they offer much more than simply books.

Fashion Design Books
250 W 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
(212) 633-9646

Store Hours:

    Monday: 8:30AM - 7:00PM 
    Tuesday: 8:30AM - 7:00PM 
    Wednesday: 8:30AM - 7:00PM 
    Thursday: 8:30AM - 7:00PM 
    Friday: 9:00AM - 6:00PM 
    Saturday: 10:00AM - 4:00PM 
    Sunday: CLOSED

    One of the beautiful things about this store, (and there are many), is that the names of the products they offer are clearly labeled, letting you know exactly what they are for. In many garment district stores, mystery products abound, but here, you know what you're looking at.

    Walk over to the notions area and you will find shirring thread for example, and plastic bags offering 100 zippers for $4.99 (not a typo), quality sewing scissors, screen printing kits, oversized waxed carbon paper and yarn. Aimed at the person who wants to create small quantities with high-quality results, you can get good bang for your buck here.

    In addition to that, let's say you want some books. Some of the books they offer are also used for classes taught at FIT. But ANYONE Can buy them, and no, you don't have to be enrolled in a course to do so!

    Need drawing supplies? Portfolios? Fashion Art supplies? Books to help you become a better illustrator? It's all here, in a quieter, less hustley-bustley environment (depending on when you choose to go, of course).

    They also have a nicely curated selection of high end fashion magazines, from which I had to rip myself away... since I have often wondered if there was a rehab for magazine addicts I could attend in the past. Now I abstain almost entirely!

    Anyway... if you've never been to this store, or actually, even if you have, it is worth a second (or ten thousandth) look!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Once upon a time... at City Quilter...

The lonely City Quilter sign, amid the constant construction/destruction on the block.

I wrote this post to tell you that the beloved City Quilter is closing (10/26/16).  They will still maintain an online presence, but we will miss the brick and mortar store!

I visited the store yesterday, stopping in to see if they were still carrying the umbrella kits I've always loved, but never quite committed to... (Note: they only had one left... I still haven't committed to that project).  The store was busy and happy, with lots of hustle-bustle... and they still have plenty of lovely quilting cottons and tools available for purchase.

But... their looming departure makes me feel sad.

Why? This is sad news for the sewing community, especially since there are so few stores who really approach the more crafty, non-professional, artistic and skilled sewer in such a respectful way. Community is vital to inspiration, motivation, and creativity. Unless you are a relatively rare breed of creative energy, what inspires you to make the things you make?  Generally speaking, what others have made/are making/what supplies there are to use - right? The layout and inventory of this particular store has always been warm and inviting, the staff has always been particularly helpful and welcoming, and they did not hesitate to answer questions in a patient, professional way.

But, it also sad for another reason.  What will replace City Quilter for the the people who love this store?  That is the question.  I have heard a few suggestions, and, while I will research them and put them here on the blog, I fear that there is no true substitute for this place.

Once upon a time, I wrote this post...

Even if you don't specifically care about "quilts" in general, I sincerely urge you to visit this particular show.  The New York Historical Society Museum, located on scenic Central Park West at 78th Street, is one of our city's fabulous visits of the moment.  On view until August 24th, this exhibit lets you get up close and personal with the beautiful quilted specimens on display.  While it is truly about our American history, it is also a very interesting textile study.  The fabric used to make quilts made two centuries ago have stood the test of time, and hold the same beauty today as when they were made.

At first glance, this exhibition might seem a bit quaint, its subject — textiles and the Civil War — evoking Americana more than American history. But this show, “Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts and Context in the Civil War,” which opened last month at the New-York Historical Society after originating at the American Textile History Museumin Lowell, Mass., does much more: It turns Americana back into history.

-  a quote from the article "King Cotton and His Bloody Surrogates" - New York Times

“Reconciliation Quilt,” 1867. Made by Lucinda Ward Honstain (1820-1904) of Brooklyn, New York. Cotton; appliquéd.

Examples of wools and cottons of the time are shown in the display cases throughout the exhibit, and examples of items made using these fabrics reveal their quality, durability, and beauty. The stitches in the quilts really spoke to me as I examined them, feeling the patient skill of quilt makers who worked thousands of careful hand stitches into those pieces, with no idea of how they would one day be displayed, and what they would mean in the context of our nation's history.  Truly, what a beautiful exhibit...

Also note on the plan your visit page of the museum's website, the museum also offers a "pay what you wish" admission on Friday evenings, and children under age 5 are free.

If you love quilting?

Try City Quilter or Purl for great quilting cottons.  Try Rosen and Chadick, and B&J for great cotton prints in general.

If you would like to know more about this blog, obtain a map of the garment district stores, or upcoming Speakeasy tours, just follow the links for more information!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion" This fall at the MET

Mark your calendars now... this one looks like it will be another beautiful masterpiece of an exhibit!

From the Metropolitan Museum's website:

The Costume Institute's fall 2016 exhibition will feature significant acquisitions of the past 10 years and explore how the department has honed its collecting strategy to amass masterworks of the highest aesthetic and technical quality, including iconic works by designers who have changed fashion history and advanced fashion as an art form. During the seven decades since The Costume Institute became part of The Met in 1946, that collecting strategy has shifted from creating a collection of Western high fashion that is encyclopedic in breadth to one focused on acquiring masterworks.
The exhibition, in the Anna Wintour Costume Center, will highlight approximately 60 of these masterworks from the early 18th century to the present. The Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery will be organized chronologically with ensembles shown in packing crates and on palettes, as though they have just arrived at The Met. Each object—primarily women's wear, as well as some men's wear ensembles and a selection of accessories—will be accompanied by an in-depth explanation of its significance within the canon of fashion history.
The Carl and Iris Barrel Apfel Gallery will feature some of the ensembles donated by designers in honor of Harold Koda upon his retirement as curator in charge of The Costume Institute in January 2016.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Proust's Muse

What a beautiful exhibit!  I took a quick survey today, but I know I have to come and drink it all in without a time limit on another day.

With no photo or video allowed for this particular show, all I can say is "GO" (in all caps).  This show is beautiful, and it makes me think of what seems to me to be a forgotten demographic.  Mature women of means who want to dress exquisitely... does any such thing exist at this level?

The garments will take your breath away. I don't think any more needs to be said.  This exhibit is perfection. 

See more photos here.

Note: The October 20th symposium is sold out.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Halloween approacheth...

And while there are many things you can buy for which you do not be able to sew/design to achieve, you do have to plan.  Know what you want to do by October 1st, and you should be okay.

(Now reposting this, by the way, as I have changed my plan for what my Halloween costume will be, AND I have updated the links for the best Halloween sources in the district for real-life and online shoppers!)

Great resources for costume ideas?  Learning from my own past mistakes, I say, I have to make a decision before October begins, and stick to it!  Halloween has no build-up, so I never care until people start really talking about it.  Trick-or-treating has fallen out of favor, and there aren't too many appealing events, so I think I have learned my lesson about how to manage it.

So, I share with you what I've found:

Here is what has long been my favorite NYC idea for a family costume, where we are all different sizes of the same creature.  Creepy, scary, and HILARIOUS!  I've made some for a client years ago, when buying one was not an option yet.

My pinterest Halloween page is also full of ideas.

But here's the thing - there are so many things you can make and put your own spin on, using supplies from the district. There is so much sameness out there, in both the costume stores and the DIY-sphere, that it is absolutely  amazing how much sameness I'm seeing. 

This year, I'm loving the rain cloud costume idea... worn with a raincoat, and I could trail it with a rainbow fluttering behind me.  

However, the more I think about it... the more I want to go in a completely different direction, and make my own statement.

I hate that I'm even putting this idea out there, because I am now FLOODED with related ideas, but this one inspired me to know exactly what I MUST do!

Here is is, folks:

So, where can you shop to find interesting, costumey fabrics or wild inspiration?

Try these:

and, of course, ALL the rest of the stores!!!!