Thursday, November 21, 2013

No comment...

Update: This blog is on hiatus for the holiday season.  The new job (see below) and family obligations have made it very hard to keep up, and I intend to make sure this blog is a quality one, with well-researched posts.  I must say... I don't want to jinx it, but I am really enjoying the new job, and the beauty of having coworkers again. While I get used to my new schedule, it is too ambitious for me to try to keep up with this blog, the kids, and life all at once... so the blog is taking a little rest.  I will pop in again at the end of January or so, to give a fresh perspective.

Today, November 4, 2013 (when I first started this post), I am beginning a new job.  Many things have changed for me this month.  All of them good, as far as the big picture is concerned, but I am now moving into a new season in my career, in motherhood/familyhood, and in my life.  

So I got a bit quiet for a moment, (now it is November 17th as I write this) as I always try to remember that while the blogosphere often feels like mass friendship, is actually a bullhorn of sorts.

Here's the thing: 

I got a new job without looking for one.  I saw one job that interested me, put in one resume (written for that job only), interviewed at a few levels a few times, and I got it.  I felt it was a sign from the universe, so I took it!  To do this, I had to undo some agreements I had already made, not take on new projects, cancel some pretty expensive obligations, and make some people wait longer than they wanted to for me to honor some promises I had already made, and made some people angry, all because I couldn't spill the beans on a job I couldn't be sure would turn out as I expected.  So, yes, it was a bit messy, but had to be done. (Note: I did negotiate in the time for the Speakeasies I had already scheduled, although tomorrow's speakeasy is now cancelled, due to very light interest.) If you are waiting for any answers from me, and haven't heard anything by late this evening, just reach out to me, and I will respond.

So, now, here we are... and things are just lovely.  This is not a fashion job, but it makes use of skills I have acquired over my career thus far, and gives me a much more predictable schedule.

So, what about the Speakeasies?  They will continue to be carefully scheduled, whether led by me, or by a beloved sewing colleague, and as valuable and focused as ever.  Due to limited interest in the Spring Speakeasies, I have removed them from the blog until people start asking about them again. 

By the way, thanks to the garment district, I also have a killer work wardrobe (and more supplies to expand it) now, too!  We are business-casual, which is just perfect.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Holiday gifts for the sewing enthusiast!


Much like last year's post (2012), similarly titled, "Holiday gifts for the sewing enthusiast..." Yeah, okay, the only real difference is the ellipsis and some updated information...

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:

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

Classes (in person):
Knitting Classes at School Products Yarn

Books and Subscriptions:


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

Monday, November 18, 2013

Shopping in the Garment District on a Saturday...

Not sure why I haven't noticed, but the garment district is no longer the ghost town it once was on Saturdays.  For those of you who aren't available to shop during the week, there are still plenty of stores to choose from.  And the hours aren't even significantly reduced, like they once were!  Many are open between 10 and 5 with some variations on both opening and closing times, and a much less hustley-bustley experience, to boot!

We have the insanely predatory landlord situation to "thank" for this. As rents have increased, many of the shops now know that (to quote one of the fabric store owners) "If you're not open on Saturday, you are guaranteed not to do any business, no matter how little." As the stores are now far more retail friendly than they once were, we can also "thank" the ever-decreasing customer base. These stores are happy to have all the business they can handle!

Who is the Saturday shopper?  Anyone who doesn't have time on weekdays, anyone who prefers relative quiet, anyone who is happier to "discover" what she/he needs than to be on a very specific search, since looking for something very specific may be tougher on a Saturday, and, lastly, not an intense bargain hunter, since the least expensive stores tend to be closed on the weekend, too.

So, I went to the district this Saturday (yesterday), on what was mostly a quick research run, to find the right complement to a garment I need to finish for a client.  

By the way, this is my photo of what the weather looked/felt like in Central Park yesterday...

Could this just take your breath away, or what?

I went to Rosen & Chadick.  They open at 11AM on Saturdays now, by the way - a bit later than some of the others.

Here's what I found:


This is a wool you've gotta see/feel to believe. Visit it. Buy it. Love it.
A mind-blowing  Loro Piana perfectly white (rare) cashmere to blow you away, some printed silks and some cotton prints that were just magical. Just lovely.

Then I stopped into New York Elegant.  By the way, you may be interested to know that the owners of this store were once fabric converters in Korea.  They really know how to choose great fabric, and, if you don't already know, this store is just HUGE.  Here's the thing though.  They can carry a lot of inventory, and keep it for a long time. There are times when fabrics have been around for 15 years before they actually have their "moment", when they are sold.  That is the beautiful thing about having so much room.

Here are some cool things I found:

Corduroy... seriously!

Pretty acrylic somethin' or other - loved it!


Wool sateen in a glorious regal purple at NY Elegant
Now, NY Elegant is selling more supplies for non-professional workrooms, too.  Near the front counter, you can pick up large sheets of carbon paper, small rolls of pattern paper, thread, magazines, and some general notions, too.   


Where to next? Chic Fabrics, where I found a sparkly-grey stretch knit, that would make a perfect holiday season Saturday shirt in my life, and a grey faux leather that calls out to cover a holiday dessert cart, accented with silver and glass ornaments.







And finally, Daytona Trimming, where I saw this loopy trim (below), in warm colors, begging to accent a mantle.  Just gorgeous.


Where else should you go?  A Saturday itinerary could easily include Paron Fabrics, where I found this great coating fabric:

And you should just feel it.  This picture doesn't do it justice.

Yes, you want this.
Are there more stores?  Of course, there are!  As you probably already know, Mood is wide open on Saturday, as is Gray Lines Linen, B&J Fabrics, A.K. Corp, and many of the trim and notions stores you know and love.

So, there you have it.  Now the only day you will see tumbleweeds in the district is Sunday.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fabric has no expiration date...

And thank God it doesn't...

Heaven knows I'd be swimming in a sea of "expired" fabric by now, if that were true.

But... let's say you bought some silk fabric years ago, that you just loved, but never fully committed to a project? Well, you take this beautiful, irregularly striped fabric, and hand it over to International Pleating, to make it magical.


Tight, mushroom pleating takes those stripes to different textural magic (below)... but, creatively paired with its unpleated version (above), 



 it becomes...

Stay tuned...