when your sewing project has to be put down for a little while.
Have you ever “failed” at a sewing project? Sometimes your project comes together all at once. You find a pattern then the perfect fabric (not your muslin but final garment fabric) then notions are easily procured. Sometimes it’s user error, sometimes its poor pattern fitting, this time it was a notions fail.
We all make mistakes, in sewing it can be hard to handle. Perhaps it’s because you have to destroy what you’ve just created. Here is how this outfit started out great but took some perseverance to get finished.
The event: a birthday party in a suite at the racetrack, with highs in the 80’s or 90’s I can’t remember (I ended up sick with a fever and didn’t get to wear it, whawha). Our going out usually consists of jeans and a nice shirt so this required a bit of a dressier outfit but also something that wouldn’t be too hot in this So Cal heat. I immediately knew what I wanted to make.
I had tested both patterns the View Ridge by Straight Stitch Designs and Cleo Skirt by Made by Rae, for these designers and shopped for fabrics with these specific patterns in mind. I knew what I wanted to use on them before I even paid for them so it seemed like a win before I even began. Oh how pride goes before a fall.
How I made stretch pull on jeans out of one of a kind ice dyed fabric.
I ice dyed some Cone Mills Denim natural color with a 20% stretch for these jeans you can read all about it here. Since I was essentially cutting into a piece of art, I made the fit version out of black denim also with 20% stretch from JoAnns. The quality in the two different denims was VERY noticeable.
My tips and suggestions for fabric shopping in Downtown Los Angeles CA
Fabric shopping can be so exciting, sometimes even treasure hunt like. I live about 45 minutes away from one of North Americas few fabric and manufacturing hubs, Downtown Los Angeles. Where there is garment manufacturing there is fabric. If you are visiting Los Angeles, you like to make clothing for yourself or others and you brought an extra suitcase (not really, but maybe) you really should get out there and shop DTLA (Downtown Los Angeles).
There is lots of walking and lots of people (if people aren’t your thing try to go during the week or early in the day)
It is very dirty downtown and you will be walking, a lot
Micheal Levine has a bathroom, most fabric shops don’t, some chain restaurants or food places may want you to deposit a quarter or use a code given by a cashier to unlock the bathroom
Bring cash. While many are totally fine with using a card swiper, you have more bargaining leverage if you pay cash, at the smaller vendors especially
If you are driving, everything is paid parking expect on average $20 (I’ve usually paid about $15 but rates can change) or use a social ride service, taxi or public transport
There are a multitude of small shops along Maple Ave. packed so tight it’s hard to walk into them but it is so worth it, thats were I found an entire roll of picot elastic for $6.00. Be aware some are closed on Saturday but open on Sunday. In between Maple Ave. and Santee St. on E. 9th St. is my favorite place to find swim and some underwear fabric Blue Moon, Google maps will take you to an indoor mall where its appointment only so beware. On Maple Ave. is Michael Levine’s, the map apps will take you to the right location for this one and it is worth it for a wide variety of fabrics, notions, yarn and ribbon or just a bathroom break.
Across the street from the main Michael Levine location is their Upholstery fabric and The Loft above. DO NOT MISS THE LOFT! This is where the treasure hunting starts. Up above the beautiful rolled and sorted upholstery fabrics are large boxes and bins of “one offs” “remnants” and “end of bolts”. Sometimes it’s a yard or it could be four, all of it is sold by the pound. I found loads of poly and nylon for lingerie sewing and knits, oh so many knits. The Loft is closed on Sunday so plan accordingly.
If you go on a weekday or Sunday (they are closed Saturday) there is a large vendor of trims and elastics on Maple between 9th and 8th. The building has “Trim Expo” painted on it but I don’t know if that is still the name of the business. So many beaded trims, woven ribbons, wedding lace and lingerie elastics in the back.
Once you are done getting down and dirty for your fabric fix, head toward Mood Fabrics in the Miracle Mile/La Brea part of Los Angeles. There on S. La Brea Ave you will find Mood fabrics and a bit farther up The Fabric Store-Los Angeles. This is where you can find silks and french ribbons, linens and New Zealand merino Jersey. At Mood they are happy to help pull down rolls or if you are wanting to “wait and see” give you a generous swatch. I am still using the swatch of Tulle Leonardo I received there, Bra making is great for using small bits of fabric.
There is also FIDM to visit if there is a costume or fashion installation to be displayed but that is for another post. I hope this has giving some intrepid sewist out there the info they need to explore what DTLA has to offer, it really is an experience that should not be missed.
Sashiko or little stabs are a Japanese technique of mending clothing or reinforcing areas of high wear. Usually it was white or natural cotton thread onto indigo dyed garments so the contrast as well as the rhythmic dashes create a functional and aesthetically pleasing focal point. Whether or not it was intended to be. Quilters have used this type of stitching as well to quilt together the fabrics or create interest. Continue reading “Embellishment & Mending: Sashiko Stitching”
How I made a difference in dye value work in a finished garment.
I love silk noil or raw silk. I first found it when I was working at JoAnne’s Fabrics and I bought the entire bolt of tan 45”. I made wonderful wide leg drawstring pants out of it and a tank top. It had a great drape and being silk it just wore really well. It does have a bit of a Continue reading “Silk, Shibori and pattern hacking”