Fabric Shopping, New York City Style

 This past weekend, my husband and I took off for our first real weekend away without kids.  Hard to believe that in almost 6 years, this was our first time getting away.  We're only 3 hours from New York City and figured it was time we go and explore.  Of course, for me, it was fabric heaven!
Our first stop on our tour of the Garment District was Mood.  When we got there, we were informed that Mood was closed for an hour while they filmed Project Runway.  I was simultaneously annoyed and excited. We didn't spot Tim, but he's up there!
 We spent the hour exploring all the smaller shops nearby.  My hunt was mostly for interesting knits, the one fabric type that's really lacking in my local fabric shops.  Right across the street from Mood is Stretch House.  I quickly realized that the smaller shops are a whole different world from Mood and the other larger shops.  Prices aren't really marked and you'd be a fool not to negotiate.  The employees were very friendly and I was happy with my purchases.  My next stop was Spandex House.
All these places are jam packed with roll after roll of fabric.  But, the staff pretty much knows exactly where everything is.  After asking about striped, cotton blends, I was led upstairs to the exact spot.  Pretty impressive considering the appearance of chaos.

Later in the day as we were wandering towards Little Italy for dinner, we just happened across Jem Fabric Warehouse. It was really cute with much more character than the other stores we visited.  There's a huge urn of buttons and some nice couches for dutiful husbands to sit down and read on.

And now for the loot!
 I got a yard of a black and oatmeal wide striped knit and a yard of nude swimwear lining for about $10 total.

 I got the best deal on this pink and white striped cotton knit.  The salesman told me it was $6 per yard, but then only charged me for $7 for a yard and half.  I was pretty excited about that!
We were lured into the next shop by their "inventory reduction" sign.  And I hate to say it, but the salesman could not have been grumpier.  There were a bunch of rolls of knit, all leaning together in the middle of the store.  I asked for the blue striped fabric, which was at the dead center of the group.  When the salesman found out I only wanted a yard, he almost refused to get it for me!  I ended up getting 2 yards, along with a few others.  All were $5 per yard.
 I also got this beautiful woven fabric for $5 per yard. Finally, we headed back to Mood, where I was pleasantly surprised at how friendly all the sales people were.  After hearing that Project Runway was literally there moments before, I was feeling a bit intimidated.  But everyone was really down to earth and super helpful.  There are no deals at Mood, but the fabric is definitely higher quality than the smaller shops.
I got 3 yards of this cotton, spandex, knit and a yard of this interesting knit print.

 I also got a few yards of stretch lace trim after pinning this tutorial for making your own underwear. 
 A pretty sweet haul!
 So, if you're planning your own trip to NYC, here's my advice:
  • definitely shop the smaller stores and don't be afraid to negotiate 
  • bring some cash as the smaller shops prefer it and it definitely helps if you want to negotiate
  •  you kind of get what you pay for - the prices are higher at the larger stores, but the quality if often better
  • in general, everyone is super friendly, so don't be afraid to ask for help and don't be intimidated 
Well, there you have it.  We had such an amazing time in NYC and will definitely be back.  Any tips for our next trip?


Skirt Week Fun

 Have you been following Skirt Week over at Crafterhours?  So many cute skirts and great inspiration. 
My Chambray Pocket skirt is up for voting this week!  Such an honor!  I get so much mileage out of this skirt, definitely a favorite in my closet.

And while you're poking around on Crafterhours, be sure to download their Racerback Dress pattern, it's free, and a really great pattern. 


Race Tee Refashion

Yesterday I ran a road race.  I don't run a lot of races, but enough to end up with a drawer full of cotton race tees that I almost never wear.  They are usually too big and boxy for my taste.  As we're driving back from the race my husband says "I bet you could fix up your shirt".  Huh, why didn't I ever think of that before?

I'll apologize in advance, these photos were an afterthought, so they're not my best.
So I sat down and experimented.  First, I deconstructed my shirt. 
 Then I used a pattern I traced from a favorite tee I have, and re-cut the shirt.
 I reassembled the shirt with a new trim around the neck and sleeves.  Now I have a tee I'll actually wear! I did the yellow one first and had some technical difficulties.  I had to redo the neck a few times and ended up cutting into the printed part.

I also learned you should not iron over the print.  It will melt and stick to your iron and make a big mess.
I dug out one of my older race shirts and this time, took my time, rather than racing through it, so to speak.  Much better the second time.

 Often times my sewing, like my running is less than perfect.  But, I find if I take my time and try not focus so much on the finish line, I end up with a result I'm happy with.

Here's to being less than perfect, but perfectly happy nonetheless. 


A New Button For Printing

If you look closely, you might notice a new little button at the bottom of my posts.

I've had some readers asking about putting up tutorials in PDF format, which prompted me to find this cool little widget. It will let you save any post as a PDF for easier printing.  You can use it just for printing, non-PDF style as well. 

Try it out.  Let me know what you think.


The Ools

This is probably one of my more random posts.  But, these guys came out so cute, I had to share.

My daughter was at the dentist the other day and we discovered that she has her first wiggly tooth.  Of all the things to get emotional about, this was it for me.  I vividly remember waiting on those teeth, blaming her fussiness on those teeth. And now they're going to fall out!  I'm simultaneously excited and heartbroken.  
In any case, there's lots of talk of lost teeth and the Tooth Fairy around my house.  I decided to get ahead of the game and make some kind of tooth fairy pillow. 
I found this tutorial for a sweet Love Bird.  It has a nice pocket in the front, perfect for a tooth and a little gift.  I didn't follow the instructions really, but used it more as inspiration. 

 I made one for both kids, even though the younger one has a few years to go before any visits from the Tooth Fairy.  He named these guys Ool, which is his silly word for owl.  

And, I think I've been bit by the softie bug, because right after I made these Ools, I made this guy.  You may recognize him as Otto from Gideon and Otto.  Tutorial coming up soon, maybe even this week.  

What's your favorite softie?