Destination – L.A. Fashion District

Last weekend I went to L.A. for a wedding.  (Yes, I got my dress done in time! But I still need to take some decent photos.)   I made the most of my spare time, and squeezed in a visit to 3 awesome fabric shops.  In just over 3 hours, I walked away with enough fabric to cover a quarter of a football field!  Yikes!!!

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Kid in a candy store!

The first shop I visited was B Black and Sons. It’s an amazing place. They have been in business since 1922, in the same building.  They have everything you could need for making beautiful tailored garments.  And their gorgeous wool – oh my – bolts and bolts of gorgeous wool.

I tried to stay on track, and bought some tailoring supplies I can’t find at home.  I got hair canvas (actually called hymo), shoulder pads, sleeve heads, and tailor’s tape.

I also got a sleeve board.  This is a nice sturdy wood one, and it was reasonably priced.
After I got the items on my list, I decided to get one cut of wool.  The pictures don’t do it justice.  This is the nicest, most beautiful fabric I’ve ever bought (and the most expensive too).  Actually, it’s probably the nicest fabric I’ve ever owned, including my RTW suits.   With this purchase, I am tip-toeing onto dangerous ground for sure — this could be my gateway into a very expensive fabric habit.  😉


Even the selvedge is pretty!


Next, I went to Michael Levine.  I went to the regular priced store first.  This is a big place, and was really busy, which I thought was pretty cool.  It made me happy to see so many people who sew.  (I know, it’s L.A. and there are lots of people in the fashion industry – but it’s still cool to me.)

I got some swimwear fabric (planning to make a Bombshell or two), two cuts of Bemberg rayon in pretty colors I haven’t seen before, purple printed cotton lawn, and my first ponte knit.
I also picked up some tools for pattern drafting.  I got a notcher, an awl, and a needle point tracing wheel.
Next we took a quick trip across the street to the Levine Loft, but it was 97 degrees in downtown, and was way too hot up there.  Next time.

Finally, no fabric shopping trip would be complete without going to Mood.  Last time I was in L.A. I went to Mood, but got totally overwhelmed.  I did a lot better this time.  (The key was having a plan.  I had ideas about what I wanted, and how much yardage I would need for certain projects.)

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Official Mood Bag! This makes me way too excited. 🙂

I got a couple cuts of light weight cotton sateen, some red jersey, a medium weight printed sateen, some polka dot cotton, and more wool for a jacket!


One of my favorite things about Mood was the way the guy cut the fabric.  He didn’t!  He tore it (except for the knit), so the cut edge is automatically on grain.  Love this.

I had a blast, and wish I’d had more time to shop.  But I’ve got more than enough fabric to keep me busy for a while!  😉


Planning a Holiday Dress

I went to the fabric store Saturday to get some interfacing and thread. I came home with this:
Holiday Dress Fabric
Red, shiny Brocade! It’s totally not something I would normally pick. But I thought it would be cool for my holiday party dress. Of course since I bought this with no plan in mind, I had to spend some time looking for inspiration.  And there’s sooo much inspiration out there!  Seriously, I could look at pics of vintage brocade dresses for 8 hours and still not see em all!

I really like the waistband detail here.    Source

As for the pattern, I’ll be further modifying my latest version of the Truffle dress.  I’m planning to raise the neckline, and either add pleats to the skirt, or add two darts instead of one. I’m also going to add a built-in waistband.

In fact, I’ve already got it cut out! Here’s a sneak peek:
Holiday Dress sneak peak

Back Home

Aloha!  I’m back from my Maui vacation, and it was wonderful.  Lots of sun, beaches, hiking, and relaxing.  Oh, and I even got some fabric shopping in!!

On our first day, we had a few hours to kill before we could check into our vacation rental.  Luckily, I found the perfect place to go – FabricMart!  I spied this shop as we were driving in from the airport.
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Mr. B indulged me and we stopped in and perused the isles of hawaiian print fabrics for over an hour. And let me tell you, this shop is literally stuffed with hawaiian prints.  They have every color and combo you can imagine.
Fabric Mart!
Fabric Mart

I left with just two cuts.  (Pretty good self control, right?)  I got this hawaiian print, that I’m planning to use for the Apron Along.
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And this Japanese print.
Japanese Fabric
They had a good selection of japanese cottons, in addition to all the hawaiian prints.  I especially liked this one because of the surfing ninjas!  I have no idea what I’ll do with this, but it was too unique to pass up.
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After shopping, we fell into full vacation mode.  Which for us, typically means tiring ourselves out!  Here’s some shots from the week:

Waihe'e Ridge Hike

Ridge Hike – We hiked into the clouds!

Waihe'e Ridge Hike

Ridge Hike

Sunset - Keawakapu Beach

Sunset at the beach

Kapalua Bay Beach - Snorkeling

Great snorkeling spot


Maui upcountry, on the way up the volcano

Cow in the Clouds

A Cow in the Clouds


View inside the crater

Sunset at the Volcano

Sunset from the volcano – afterwards we stargazed, and it was the most amazing experience.  I’ve never seen so many stars!


Mmm…Malasadas! My favorite Maui treat.

Hazel in Hawaii

Lounging in my Hazel dress at our pool. (The vacation rental had it’s own saline pool!)

And then when we were too tired to do much else, I got some knitting time in.
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Now that I’m back, I’ve got tons of projects planned.  The hardest part, is figuring out where to start.  Maybe tracing my Peony pattern for Sew Colette??

A Busy Week Roundup

Whew, it’s been a busy week.  Unfortunately I haven’t finished anything, but I’ve got all kinds of ideas floating around in my head.  🙂

Let’s start with some new fabric shots.

I found all of this on the clearance table, so of course it had to come home with me.  I’m super excited about that fabric on the top – it’s a knit!  I’ve only worked with knit fabric once, when I made a pair of pajamas.  This time I want to try a dress.  The fabric on the bottom may become my Hazel.

Earlier this week my iron died after 12+ years of service.  I have a crush on my new one.  It’s so shiny!

New Iron

And this week my pattern drafting class met twice!  We did a lot of work with princess seams – which I love – so I was thrilled to learn more about them.

We started with our basic block again.

Basic Block

This is what it would look like if it was sewn up:
Basic Block

Then we traced the block onto tissue paper and started cutting and taping.  The first design we made was the shoulder princess.
shoulder princess

Here’s what the pattern pieces look like:
Shoulder Princess

Next we made an armhole princess design.  The difference is obviously that the seam runs from the waist to the armhole, instead of from the waist to the shoulder.
Armhole Princess
Armhole Princess

Here’s a slight variation of the Armhole princess seam.
Armhole Princess Variation
Armhole Princess Variation

After that we started playing around with adding fullness to the bodice.  Here I made a skinny yoke, with gathering around the neck.
Added Fullness
Added Fullness Around Neck

It amazes me that all these different patterns started out from the exact same block.  Hopefully over the next few weeks I will have time to sew up some of these patterns and see how they look.