Tag Archive | notions

Hello Old Friend

Hello, it’s me again.

Did you think that I had forgotten about you?

I did not.

Actually, I have really missed you and I am thrilled to be back with you.

This is the conversation that I had with each of my sewing machines as I unpacked them from their boxes and set them up in my new sewing room.

They made their cross country move over the holidays admirably with very few issues, and are now set back up and ready to start sewing again.

img_1243The sewing machines, sewing tools and notions were not the only thing to make this long move to their new home. The stash moved as well, and lets just say, I am a little more than embarrassed by the enormity of my stash of fabric. As I packed each box and prepared it for the move, I was stunned by the number of boxes I had labeled fabric.

Had I really let my stash get this big? Did I really own all this fabric?

img_1245Buying it a piece at a time, I really had not noticed just how big the stash was getting and how much fabric that I owned. The actual size of the stash was not nearly as big of a problem as the fact that there was no way of hiding the number of boxes I had loaded with fabric from the husband any longer as they were loaded into the trailer to be moved.

I thought for a brief moment about labeling some of the boxes, kitchen or bathroom, but if the husband opened one of these boxes to find fabric, it would be much worse than admitting just how much fabric I have in my stash at this point.

img_1242Luckily the husband is a great guy and he just rolled his eyes as he loaded the multitude of fabric and sewing boxes into the moving trailer. Needless to say, it took an entire trailer just to move my previous sewing rooms contents and the fabric stash. And of course I find myself once again vowing to purchase no more fabric and to just sew items from my existing stash.

img_1246Actually, the entire trailer was not just full of sewing tools, notions and fabric.

The same trailer also carried the yarn stash and my crocheting supplies.

But this really only took a fairly small portion of the available room in the trailer.

 

Crochet hooks are just not that big and I can stuff a lot of yarn into one box.

I am very close to having my new sewing room set up with all of my sewing tools and notions in one place and ready for me to start sewing again.

And I am super excited to get back to sewing again.

Stay tuned to see some my newest creations.

Until then, sew forth and move on!

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To Live and Buy in LA

IMG_1659I Love LA!

The lights, the beaches, the entertainment, the movie stars, the glamor, the shopping! Oh yes the shopping!

Of course it was shopping in the fashion and garment district that in LA that I loved the most!

I recently journeyed to Los Angeles, CA to attend the 56th Annual Grammy Awards show and the Grammy’s Tribute to the Beatles show, and then the next day the husband took me to the LA Fashion/Garment district (LAFD) to do some fabric shopping. Wow! I was in heaven! Even with as many times that I have been to LA over the years, I just hadn’t previously made the time to go and see the downtown LA fashion district. I had done a little research before I went on where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see, so I had some idea of what I was in for, but it was still very overwhelming. The beautiful rolls of fur, satin, silk and lace that lined the streets in every direction for as far as the eye could see made my mouth drool and my head spin like a top. My creative mind swirled with idea after idea. I was ready to shop, ready to buy and ready to create something ASAP!

IMG_0002-1From my research I knew I wanted to go to Michael Levine’s, so I decided to start there. It was a fun store but it was a little disappointing to me from what I had heard about it. It was a nice fabric store and the prices were reasonable. You could find pretty much any sewing item you needed. But, for a bargain hunter/stash collector, this was not the place for me. So I next made my way across the street, and headed for Michael Levine’s Loft.

IMG_1715On my way to the Loft, I stopped at a shop that had $0.99/yd satins displayed outside. I needed some of these satins for some current projects that I was working on. And while I was purchasing several yards of several different pieces, I found a fabulous knit for the husband a shirt but I did not want to pay the $7/yd even though it was a big name designer fabric. The shop owner said he would go down to $6/yd and I’m sure I could have got him down to $5/yd, but I just could not pay that price for fabric to stash in the closet, so I past on this fabric and I am glad I did. Because in the LAFD you just never know what you might find if you look hard enough!

IMG_1722We made our way into the Loft, and I was in bargain paradise. All fabric at the Loft was in big card board boxes and you have to dumpster dive to see what there is. All the fabric in the Loft is sold by the pound for $2.50/lb. I dived right in to see what treasures I could find but after several boxes, I could see that the husband, although being a real trouper, was starting to waver, so I decided I was done. At least I thought I was until I just happened upon a scrap piece of the the $7/yd designer knit fabric from the other store.

Now the hunt was on!

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Even the husband got involved in the hunt at this point. After digging though several more boxes and finding a couple more scraps, and it was still not enough to make the husband a shirt, we decided to call it quits on the hunt. But as we started to leave, the husband spied the desired fabric in another box, and this was a big piece of more than 2 yards in length that would be enough for him a shirt. I ran and grabbed the scrap pieces, which were about 3/4 yd each, plus some snowman lace and some black satin lace for lining, and headed for the scales to check out. I now have a little over 3 lbs of fabric, about 7 yards in total for just $7.50! Or just slightly more than the price of 1 yard of the same fabric from the store down the street. I was so excited! Not only was I going to get a shirt for the husband, but I would still have plenty of scraps for all kinds of kid’s clothes, as well as the snowman lace and lining, which was so light that it was practically free!

IMG_1718After leaving the Loft we continued to make our way down the street, and as we did I touched so many different gorgeous fabrics along the way, especially fur in styles and colors I had never seen before. I had already purchased way more fabric than I needed, because I really didn’t need any, so I started to bemoan the storage of my purchases. Why had I picked up that snowman lace? What P1040004was I going to do with it besides have it live in a box?

But then the husband said, “Why don’t you put it over some velvet and make a Christmas dress for the little neighbor girl.” I don’t know if he had this brilliant idea before seeing the next store, or if the idea came to him beforehand, but the next store had some beautiful crushed velvet for $1.99/yd. I promptly purchased what they had left on a roll of black. This is going to be a beautiful Christmas dress for the little neighbor girl. I just need to get it made now, in between my other projects and before next Christmas rolls around.

IMG_1731At this point both I and the husband were getting tired, and the purchases that the husband was being a dear and carrying around seemed to be getting heavy. And even though we had only been on one street so far today, and only in a fraction of the many stores we had walked past, we were ready to call it quits, or at least that’s what I thought until I saw the next store with nothing but notions. As made our way across the street to go and see what the notion store had, we passed a shop selling fleece so of course I just had to stop there too.

Outside the fleece shop they were displaying all of the different sporting teams fleeces, so we stopped in really quick just to see what they had. The salesman told us it was $10/yd for the fleece. That was not a bad price for licensed prints. He then mentioned that inside, the fleeces, although not licensed prints, were $6/yd. That was a great price so I had to step in just to see. The entire wall was covered with rolls of fleece 4 and 5 rolls deep. There were so many different prints, dogs and baseballs and monkeys and princesses. I started to pick out everything that I wanted and then I stopped. $6/yd was a great price but was more than I wanted to pay for fabric just to live in the stash. Seeing that he was losing a sale, the salesman piped up that if I would purchase 20 yards of any print, he would sell it to me for just $2/yd.

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What?!? $2/yd?!? SOLD!

As I began to pick out all the different prints I wanted, I happened to glance over at the husband and saw a tear in his eye. He did not want to tell me no, but he was not sure how I was going to get 200 yards of fleece home or where in the stash 200 yards of fleece was going to live. And he was right. I really, really, really did not need any more fleece! I have barely sewn up any of the fleece that I already own and so I put the rolls of fleece back and we headed towards the notion store once again.

The notion store was great, full of thousands of buttons and threads and zippers and lace. I was very unprepared to shop at this store though. I have white zippers for sleepers but did I need pink or blue or yellow? I need separating zippers but what sizes and what colors? I use three buttons on every shirt I make for the husband but what color or size would I need next? What color of thread do I need for my next project? What is my next project? My head was still spinning and I was feeling faint. So, I purchased some various buttons in sizes and colors that I use often and we left.

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Finally totally exhausted we headed back to the car, but not without a stop for a world famous LA Bacon Dog on the way! If you haven’t ever had one, it’s a bacon wrapped hot dog with grilled peppers and onions usually cooked on a cookie sheet on top of a shopping cart scattered everywhere throughout LA’s downtown street corners.

In the end I had a wonderful first time shopping at LA’s garment district. And I plan to return there again some day soon. I can already hear the monkey fleece calling me back!

At The Closing of the Year

P1020758As much as I hate to see the year end, I am also excited by the renewal that the new year brings. It is a fresh start. A time of hope. A time of empowerment. My ambitions are high. And I feel like I can do anything I want at this point.

And, with all of this excitement coursing through my veins, I have set only one sewing goal for this new year.

TO GET CONTROL OVER MY FABRIC STASH.

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Sure. It sounds simple you say, but you have to understand just how out of control the stash is. Because of where I live and the fact that I must travel great distances to get to any sort of real fabric store, I must have a stash of fabric on hand. When I want to start my next project, I can’t just run down to the local fabric store and pick out some fabric and notions for that project. There is no local fabric store to run to. My stash is my local fabric store. So, when I make it to a fabric store, and see a piece of fabric that I might want to use to make something at some point in the future, and especially if it is a good price, I must pick it up. NOW! And this is why I have such a large stash of fabric. Well at least this is my justification for the stash.

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P1020761Seriously though, I like every other fabriholic love to get a great deal on some nice new fabric. And I just love to make a shirt with $2 dollar a yard fabric and then brag about how the buttons cost more than the fabric used in the shirt. I just love to touch and feel all of the wonderful pieces of fabric I see at the store, and then to purchase and own them. I wonder sometimes if my hobby is not sewing but instead the practice of collecting fabric, patterns, and notions. I love to add a new piece of fabric to the stash. It enters the stash with such possibilities of someday becoming a great sewn up master piece of art. And I love to buy patterns for just $0.99 a piece. They fill me with hope that someday I will make a fabulous item from them.

And then every once in awhile, the reality of it all sets in…

Somedays I wish there was really such a thing as Fabriholics Anonymous…

I have been collecting fabric to add to the stash for over 25 years now. And yes, I really do still have some of the original pieces that started in the stash back then. I remember the first move the husband and I made together after we had graduated from college. The stash was at that time just 12 apple boxes in total, and that included the notions and sewing machines.

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Wow!

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P1020763The stash now encompasses several large closets and over the last few years has leaked out from those, piling itself against walls and into every empty corner I can find. The stash is so disorganized now that the throw it and run method has been my way of managing it over the last couple of years. Recently, when I have purchased a new piece of fabric, it stays in its bag and is just tossed onto one of the piles. There is no organizing it with other matching fabrics so it can be retrieved easily later when needed. And my latest love of crocheting amigurumi creatures, has not helped the issues with the stash either. The fabric stash has now just taken on yarn too, and this is only adding to the current problem. And so this is why I have to say, the time has come to finally do something about the stash.

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Back when the stash was only at 12 boxes, it was completely under control and organized. I knew what I had and where to find it. The boxes were carefully curated and labeled. It was easy to look over the boxes and know just where what I would need was at. As the years have progressed I had always been able to keep up the organization of the stash, but in the last few years, I have totally lost control of it. I now have to spend huge amounts of time to hunt for every piece of fabric that I think I have and that I think would work for every new project I start.

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This is not working for me anymore. I need to get control of the stash and fast!

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So, how am I going to complete this goal, and get the stash under control? I have decided it will take 3 steps.

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1. Part with what I’m not ever going to sew something with and then organize the rest. I have finally found a local charity that would just love to have all the fabric and notions that I am not going to use. They will take it and put it to good use. This will be the divide and conquer part of the goal, to go through all the boxes and piles and have an open mind as to what to keep and what to give away. The organizing will occur during this stage too. I will then re-box all of the fabric in the stash so I know what I have and where it is at. I am not going to spend my time making spread sheets on my computer of what fabric I own to help me organize the stash. I think doing that would take a lot of time and not really help me out that much in the end. I think just having similar fabric and similar colors in their own boxes with proper labeling on the boxes will do more to help me find just the right piece of fabric to sew next. The husband has offered to build customized modular shelving to help this step if needed. I am unsure yet if I do but I all let you know later how it turned out.

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2. Sew up what I’m keeping. Stop letting all the wonderful pieces of fabric that I have in my possession just set in the stash. Get them out and sew them up and make them into wonderful things. I started doing this last year and I had a lot of fun with it as I made sleepers, and kid’s shirts from patterns that I forgot I even owned. The local charity will also take my finished items and give them to people who really need them and can use them. That way I don’t have to limit what I make to just things for me and the husband to wear.

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3. Stop adding to the stash. This will be the toughest step of all. This is not going to be fun or easy. I know I am going to hate it, and do the “Oh but its just one piece” or “Oh but it’s such a nice piece of fabric at such a great price” and “Oh but I can make …” but I will have to find the strength and willpower to turn and run away from it. With that, I have decided that it will be easier to just not see it in the first place. So, no more perusing Fabric Mart’s web site, no more stopping in at M&L fabric just to see what’s in the $2 a yard bins, and no more slipping over to Walmart’s fabric department to browse while the husband is in electronics. No more. (Except for interfacing, I will allow myself to go to a fabric store and buy interfacing. For some reason I can’t seem to keep the right type or amount in stock in the stash.)

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So, there is the New Year’s goal and the plan. I am excited to get started on it even though I think it will take a few months to finish it. And yes, I know it will take away from the precious little free time I have available that I could be sewing, but having the stash under control will enhance my sewing experiences in the future. So I am ready to dive in head first on the hope of a brighter future!

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Have a Happy New Year everyone! I hope you and yours have a great one!