Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Fabric Shopping in Jackson Heights, Queens

I know we all know about "The Garment District" in midtown Manhattan but fabric shopping spots exist in other places in New York too. I know Sheila, who authors the blog, Sheilaz-CTK, regularly shops in Brooklyn for fabric. There also use to be quite a few fabric stores in downtown Manhattan. I honestly don't know how many of those still exist so if someone knows please feel free to drop a note in the comments section.

The trip to Jackson Heights came about through a discussion at the first Sewcialists Last Tuesday of Every Month Meet-up. Kristen (blog: JinxandGunner and IG: jinxandgunner) and I were sitting next to each other and she told me that she buys most of her fabric locally in Queens. I was intrigued as she described several stores in a 4-5 block radius that she walks to and purchases beautiful fabric.

So Syreeta (IG: Syreeta Briana) and I begged her to take us fabric shopping in Queens and the #jacksonheightsfabriccrawl was born.

I have to tell you fabric shopping in Queens was something I really wanted to do because it was a 3 hour trip each way on public transportation! But it was a beautiful day and there were some amazing sewists who turned out to shop.

L-R:  Syreeta, Grace, Amanda, Carol and Kristen our amazing hostess!

Our Itinerary ~

First we visited two Sari shops. The fabric offerings in both shops were vivid, colorful pieces purchased in either matched sets or 6 yard pieces similar to the lengths offered in the African fabric stores. I will admit that I was overwhelmed with color and choice in both of these stores. I think you have to go into these stores with something specific in mind because there is a little of everything. However, I will remember it for the next trip (yes I'm going again) and be better prepared.

Next up was M&J Fabrics ~
7917 37th Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY  11372
Phone:  718.426.2181

In my mind, this was Kristin's favorite store. This is also where I bought the majority of my fabric because the proprietor 

had amazing rolls of challis fabric and some great rayon crepes.  I also bought a couple of border prints from him and now I'm regretting now buying the black floral border print...*sigh* The rayon challis were $4 a yard. Yeah, $4 a yard. I bought one lone rayon crepe for $2 a yard.

This is where we spent the most time. I would have dropped alot more money than I did at this store because the selection was that good. BTW, I had a few guidelines for this trip ~ I couldn't spend more than a set amount of money and I had to be able to cart it home on public transportation. It really helped rein in my inner fabric piggy.

Since I checked out first, I had time to take pictures, so a few shots of my fabric shopping sistahs...

Liz Discount Fabrics was the second fabric shop stop ~
8323 37th Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Phone:  718.426.2121

This shop is tiny and crammed to the brim with fabrics, laces and sewing supplies. I loved that you could find everything you needed to complete a garment in one place. Thread - check. Lining fabric - check. Sewing notions - check...all stuffed into a small space.

Syreeta and Carol sporting her Morgan Jeans

Loved the laces hanging from the ceiling reminded me of some of the trim stores that have disappeared from The Garment District

I bought this fabric here.

It's a navy & white striped ponte with a bonded (interfaced) back. I love to collect these types of fabrics and this one already has an idea attached to it. So it will probably not stay in the collection long, cause Fall is coming!

Value Fabrics third on the fabric store tour ~
8413 37th Avenue 
(but it's moving so check the store window for new location)
Jackson Heights, NY  11372
Phone:  718.457.9488

This one was as small as the prior store and while I didn't buy anything here, Grace and Kristen found some cute pieces. Again beautiful pieces of fabric, sewing notions and sewing laces, another wonderful neighborhood resource. 

I took no pictures at this stop or the next one probably because I was shopped out at this point!

Jackson Fabrics NY Inc was the last stop.
84-30 37th Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY  11372
Phone:  718.424.6989

We kinda breezed in and out of this one.  Our fabric bags were heavy and we were ready to sit, eat and talk. Well talk more!!! I don't even have a good impression of this store, which is sad, but it is another local resource so that's a good thing.

The great thing about neighborhood fabric shopping is that the restaurant was one block down the street. I am not a foodie and when Kirsten first said "Peruvian" I was like what? She was like give it a try you will like it and she was right.  It was the perfect stop after a long day.

8620 37th Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY  11372
Phone:  718.672.2224

photo credit: newyork.seriouseats.com

The food was fantastic.  The conversation was great and as the group shot below shows, we had a wonderful day together.

We headed back to the subway after that and three hours later I walked into my home...tired but very satisfied from an amazing day. It was worth the trip and I will definitely do it again!

Here is the rest of my fabric haul ~

Black 'n White Midweight Rayon Crepe 
$2 a yard - bought 4 yards

Ltwt. Rayon Challis - $4 a yard - bought 4 yards

Large rayon sateen border print
$4 a yard bought 4 yards

Floral rayon challis - $4 a yard bought 4 yards
When I got home I realized that I have a rayon crepe knit 
in this exact print from Fabric Mart

Ltwt. rayon challis border print
This was the first thing I touched & it started the rayon challis spree
$4 a yard - 3 yards

Conclusion ~
Most of what I added to the fabric collection was rayon challis. I don't have much on hand and loved what I found. They will be great for next summer's garments and are worth stashing because they were purchased at an amazing price!

I just want to give one more shout out to Kirsten for arranging the day. It was well thought out and fun! I'm sure she will announce the next one on Instagram, so look for it there if you're interested in attending.

...as always more later!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Wide Legged Challis Pants + A Concord Tee

I've wanted a pair of wide legged challis pants for quite some time. Because every once in awhile during the summer, I want to wear a pair of pants. In my former life, I would make a pair of linen pants every summer but they seem a little too formal for where I am now, well the way I use to make them. I've had so many clothing needs since changing jobs that I'm just getting around to thinking about pants.

Now I don't wear a lot of pants in the summer. Just every once in awhile I wake up and don't want to wear a dress or skirt and jeans just don't cut it for me when it's really hot.

Materials ~
The pattern is my TNT pants pattern. I've made some adjustments to my pants pattern and I've got a muslin made but nothing wearable yet. However, I thought I would start with it this time because I'm not looking for a fitted garment.

The fabric is a rayon challis from Fabric Mart purchased for these pants. The elastic is the remaining bit of Dritz Stretch elastic that I've been hoarding since it's no longer being made.

Construction ~
I knew that I only wanted the extra width in the leg area so I added width from the hip area down on my pattern.  I freehanded the addition of the extra space, adding it to both the front and back pattern pieces. Since they were going to be wide I knew I didn't have to worry about being precise and just went for it.

Now this is definitely a don't do as I do moment! *LOL* You should measure and add the proper amount to both sides.  However, this worked for me since I was only trying to get a quickie pair of pants.

The legs were serge finished and construction was quick.  I've made this pattern quite a few times now so there were no issues. After a quick try on to make sure the legs were wide enough, I added the elastic to the waistline.

Then the pants were tried on for hem length. Now while I know that I should hem them a little higher I really like the extra length on these especially with heels.

I'm wearing them with my black concord t-shirt from this post. I decided to just remove the ruffle and hem it especially since it works so well with these pants. I'm loving this look because its just what I wanted...relaxed...comfortable and casual...yet sophisticated.

A few more pictures ~

However, I do need to adjust the waistline so that I can make these as a pair of elastic waist pants...but that's for another day!

If you're interested in making a pair of your own...this pattern is on my "to buy" list...

...or a pattern for a pair in a knit fabric...

Next up on the cutting table is The Marilyn Dress from StyleArc Patterns using a Telio Denim Border Print.

Parting Shot ~

...as always more later!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

New Look 6340 in a Border Print

After I made my first version, I knew I was going to make another one right away.  This summer my policy has become "If I like it make it again as soon as possible!" Because when you change up the fabric and add an embellishment, non-sewists don't realize you're wearing the same dress/pattern!

I chose this border print for the dress because I wanted something different from the first two versions. Then I flipped the script by using the border print at the neckline instead of at the bottom of the dress.  It looks like I wanted it to in my head but it didn't occur without challenges.

Materials ~
For this one I used a cotton sateen border print from the collection.  The fabric wasn't tagged so who knows where it came from...though I think Fashion Fabrics Club...but I'm not sure. The notions are a little interfacing for the facings and the purchased white piping from Daytona Trimmings also by way of the collection. 

Pattern & Construction Information ~
As you may have noticed I added sleeves to this one which meant a few pattern changes. 

Let's start with the sleeves...
To make sure I added back the space that was removed from the sleeveless dress pattern pieces, I measured the two back & front pieces against each other. Using that as a measurement, I drew the extra space back, right onto the fabric. I probably should have made new pattern pieces but I don't believe I will make this version again...and if I do I have my notes here to remind me of what I did.

That settled ~ the next challenge became how to match the border print across the top of the dress. I wanted it to work from the sleeves all the way across the front and back of the dress. I ended up making and inserting three sleeves to determine which one would work best.

Option One ~
The sleeve cap had too much of the brown in the top which made the border print look really disjointed across the front and back.

Second Option ~
This one had less brown in the sleeve cap but was too long and looked matronly. That was something I could correct though by cutting off some of the extra at the sleeve hem.

Third option ~
Then I decided to try a total floral sleeve adding a piece of the border as a band at the sleeve hem. But the sleeve was too long and heavy looking so I rejected it.

As you can see from the pictures of the finished dress, I went with the second option.

Though honestly, the border print doesn't work as well as I would like across the front of the dress. I wanted it to match completedly around the dress and it doesn't. I'm acknowledging that upfront but I'm still wearing it!

I went back and forth over whether or not I liked the dress. My disappointment in how the border print works across the sleeves, how it looks like a house dress on the hanger...helped to let it hang for a few days before I finished it. When I did, I decided to add some white piping to the neckline and sleeve hems to give it some punch.

I'm so glad that I added the piping. It gives it a little more upscale look yet delivers the comfort I want.

A few pictures of the dress ~

Conclusion ~
Since I used a cotton sateen for this one, it hangs differently than my linen versions do. Also, this dress would have benefitted from a back opening because while it's not so hard to get on, it's a little challenging to get off because of the sleeves. Yet again, not enough to make me not wear it.

Parting Shot ~
My other parting shot pics have featured the girls but the boys were here too. Now while The Little Prince, Danny, never left the comfort of the airconditioning, the Littlest Prince, Joshie, did venture out with his sisters.

This is my last version of this pattern.  I'm putting it away. There are other projects that I want to work on. It's August so summer will be gone soon and I really want to make a few other garments from my summer sewing list.

...as always more later!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Marilyn Dress by Style Arc Patterns

This is the first Style Arc pattern that I've sewn even though I own a bunch of them.  It's taken me a minute to get on the Style Arc bandwagon because I had issues with waiting for a pattern to arrive from Australia. I know not very global thinking...but I'm an instant gratification kinda girl!

Anyway, as soon as the nested patterns appeared on Amazon, I bought several...and then several more...without sewing any of them. However, I've seen a few of these dresses on the Internet and knew that I wanted one for my wardrobe too.

First impressions...
The instructions are scant. The diagrams are scant. I believe you need to have some sewing knowledge to make this pattern. The dot on the pattern "instructions" suggests Medium skills and I would agree with that assessment. Also, the seam allowance is 3/8", it's very important to remember that!!!

At first I was confused by the stitching and cutting lines but after handling the pattern a little, I caught on. I read the scanty directions and then proceeded to go my own way.

Materials ~
A blue embroidered border print chambray by Telio purchased from fabric.com

24" invisible zipper
white corded piping
white rayon bemberg lining

Construction ~
There were a couple of things...

I didn't have enough fabric to make lined sleeves. So I used a white rayon bemberg fabric from the collection to line my sleeves.

I added an invisible zipper to the back of the dress, cause I hate button & loop closures. Which I'm so glad I did because it allows me to unzip the dress and step into it instead of wrestling with it to get it over my head.

I made a v-neck that is between the high and lower necklines the pattern recommends.  Because of that I had to make an adjustment to the front neckline facing also.

I added 3 1/4" to the hemline so that the dress would cover my knees. Since it's a border print that I wouldn't hem, I needed to make sure that was correct and was the source of much angst before cutting it out.

I added white piping to the neckline. The dress seemed too plain with all of the party at the bottom. The white piping carries some of that detail to the neckline.

I cut a size 24 but probably should have cut a size 22 because I ended up going back in and sewing 3/4" side seams to remove some of the width. Before I did that, wearing the dress felt sloppy and nightgownish and even now it's a very loose fitting dress. 

Sleeve Construction ~
The sleeve construction was particularly trying. I know I'm not good at puzzle pieces and the way the sleeves went together wasn't intuitive to me.  Also, scant instructions...so I had to sit and puzzle it out. I did eventually figure it out but it was dicey there for a bit. I made no changes to the sleeve patterns figuring that they were open on the sides and that would cover my bodacious biceps.

However, I don't like how open the sleeves are...they seem to flop around on my arms. I notice that Megret (Cookin' and Craftin') made the same observation. I checked Linda (DanvilleGirl) and Lara (Thornberry) posts and they don't mention it either so I wonder if it's a curvy girl thing?!

After sleeping on it, I added a bartack halfway down the sleeves. This does pull on the front a little when I put my hands on my hips but I'd rather that then the floppiness that was occurring.

Neckline Changes ~
As I mentioned above I added piping to my neckline to bring some color to the top...otherwise it was kind of bland. Also, I cut my neckline between the highest point and the lowest marking on the pattern. Was this a precise cut, hell no?! You do know me right?! *LOL* I just picked a point that looked like it would work for me and cut. It worked though! The piped neckline is one of my favorite parts of the dress.

A few pictures of the dress ~

Conclusion ~
I'm glad that I made the dress. Though I won't be making it again.  I could tell midway through constructing the dress that it was a one and done. However, the experience hasn't soured me on StyleArc patterns. I will definitely try out some of the others in my collection.

...and I'm hoping that during the next heatwave, I will turn to this dress because of the air conditioned sleeves and the loose fit. Those features will make it perfect for the humid, steamy, hundred degree weather we can experience.

This dress does fit into my plan to make as many denim/chambray dresses as I possibly can. I love the ease of wearing a good denim dress especially since it works in my office...and while I'm probably still a little more dressed than anyone else but I'm not over dressed.

I know that I said the border print NL 6340 would be up next but I have a packed weekend and I plan to wear this dress. I thought it appropriate to move this one up in the queue and share it now instead of later!

...as always more later!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A Black/White & Red Concord Tee Maxi

I really wanted a red maxi Concord Tee dress as my final rendition of this pattern. My original vision was a red scooped neck maxi with short sleeves and black/white check accents at the neckline and the sleeve hems.  As you can see that's not what I ended up with...

Due to a shortage of the red knit, I had to cut the sleeves from the black/white check accent fabric. This small change salvaged my vision. At first I wondered if I would like it. However, I really do love the final version.

The only change from this maxi dress and the other Concord Tee Dresses is the length. I added side slits from my knees down to make it easier to walk in. 

I used a red rayon knit from the collection which I think is from Fabric Mart but don't hold me to it.  The black 'n white check is also from the collection and I have no idea where it was purchased from because my accents were cut from a 1/2 yard scrap from my scrap bin. Although the knit was last used here in the granddaughter's back to school clothing.

I love the versatility of this pattern...and I guess I've really worked it out this summer! However, it's a real testimony to the pattern's great bones!

A few more pictures ~

Conclusion ~
As you can see, I'm thrilled with this last Concord T-Shirt Maxidress and I'm sorry to bombard you with pics but I really love how this one turned out! It's also soooooo comfortable.

I did end up making five t-shirt dresses from the Concord Tee pattern...even though the Flamingo Sleeve dress won't be able to be worn until fall. The way it shakes out is three of the t-shirt dresses can be worn during the summer - the rose print, the peach print and this one. The black & creme lace ponte with black lace sleeves and the flamingo sleeve dress will work both in the spring and the fall. So I covered the spring/summer season with these makes. I really am putting the pattern away now. *LOL*

Next up on the blog is the border print version of New Look 6340.

Parting Shot ~

...as always more later!


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