I generally don't care much for Thanksgiving because of its hypocritical heritage, but this year I am thankful for something that has come to mean a lot to me: this blog & all you lovely readers. It's been rather lonely around here with friends moving across the country & people dying. This blog has helped reconnect me to the world & I'm incredibly grateful for that.
Somewhere around middle school/junior high I would go into chat rooms & have silly conversations with anonymous people. This was when chat rooms & instant messaging first came out & anyone who wanted to be cool just totally HAD to do it. Having had that as my first online experience, I wasn't expecting too much when I started blogging, just a way to get free patterns & some good vintage sewing love from the 1912 project. But once I started blogging I met people, real people with real faces. And we had real, substantive conversations. While I haven't had a chance to speak with you all, I am grateful you are reading, that we are not alone in our somewhat esoteric pursuits.
Even though having good, long conversations with some of you online has been fulfilling, I was always envious of those people who got to meet other bloggers in real life. It seemed like all the seamstresses I saw online were from California. I've never even been there. Well, I got lucky. In the past two weeks I met two bloggers I admire. The perfect Thanksgiving present.
The first blogger I met was Becky from DomesticNews. She was in Chicago for a few days & had just enough time to squeeze in a fabric-filled day. Her friend Ginny (who sews & knits but doesn't have a blog) drove. First up was Vogue Fabrics in Evanston. I think Becky was a little bit in awe of just how much stuff there was. With Vogue in my backyard & a three story fabric warehouse not too far away, I've taken huge selections for granted. It was a nice reminder that I'm privileged to live in a city with so much to offer the sewing crowd.
We also made our way to an African fabric store with amazing batiks & the Art Institute for an exhibition on Japanese fashion designers. It was nice to see garments in person that I had originally seen on slides in a classroom.
The highlight of our excursion was Adler's, which has been open since 1908, but is rarely heard of outside the industry as it supplies professionals & design schools. Such wonderfully obscure products! Like a clamp thingie that cuts blades for cutting fur, a stretchy thing for pressing sleeves (not a sleeve board although they have those too) & many other contraptions I don't know how to use. So many things to delight, but the simplest brought me some of the greatest pleasure. When I was first learning how to sew I had a wonderful piece of tailor's chalk. It's taken me well over a decade to find chalk of this quality again. Baby this stuff glides! And it does not crumble into a powdery mess. Oh heaven.
Readers, I have something to relate that makes me very proud. Shoes & winter coat aside, I made the entire outfit I wore that day, right down to the unmentionables! Top, bottom, undies, bra, socks, knit accessories & purse. I have some blogging catchup to do. Those are my first pair of jeans & under that shirt is my first bra. Just thinking about sewing bras makes me smile.
I met up with the second blogger this week, Rhonda from Rhonda's Creative Life. We went to the Textile Discount Outlet, a three story warehouse that is so full of fabric & odd notions you can trip over them. Literally, there's a lot that's on the floor. I forgot to have a photo taken of us, but here's a picture of just one half of one aisle. I'm not sure I can adequately convey the enormity of this place, except to say again, three floors! And the building takes up the block.
Again, simple pleasures won me over. Strong steel underwires. I had searched high & low for good underwires in this city & never come up with anything save one awful plastic option. But it got better, Ambiance Bemberg Rayon, $0.99/yd- what an unreal price. One end had a stain, the rest was perfectly fine, but it was enough to get me an amazing deal.
And Rhonda had a beautiful purse with her. I've had my eye out for a good, tough yarn ever since I saw her post about this knitted handbag that she designed. What a treat to see it in person. The detail work she did was fabulous, with a handsewn lining- swoon! While the bag is full of details, it is not dainty & was much bigger than I had expected. This is a bag that is both pretty & functional. Now more than ever I can't wait to knit one up myself.
Thank you ladies for such wonderful times! And thank you everyone who reads this blog. If you're ever in Chicago give me a ring; I'd love to meet up for a fabric hunt or even a mellow cup of tea.