Sewing Blogger Meetup

Leila was in town for a short visit when we recorded the podcast. And good blogger that she is, she already posted about our little get together. Now, we didn’t just gab about what we call ourselves as people who sew. We also hit up the Vogue Fabrics flagship store with her costuming friend Kate.

Kate, me & Leila post-podcast recording
Kate, me & Leila post-podcast recording. Since we were talking about indie pattern designers & giving away some Cake Patterns I thought I’d wear my Tiramisu t-shirt!

As you can see, there were a lot of pretty things that wanted to come home with us.

Oooo! Wool jersey!
Oooo! Wool jersey!

Sigh, I don’t know how I was so restrained. Actually, I don’t know how we were all so restrained. Our wallets largely remained intact. Kate didn’t even get anything- can you believe it?! I think I need some of that amazing fabric self-restraint.

Pom pom trim!!!
Pom pom trim!!!

Leila & I hope to do more podcasts together, but that’s all dependent on when she can next make it back to Chicago. In the meantime, what would you like to hear me talk about on the next episode of Stitches? How long do you like a podcast to be? Shorter like parts 1 & 2 of episode 1, Steam. Or longer like episode 2 with Leila?Podcasting with Leila


Meeting In Real Life

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.

Real, high quality tailor's chalk. It has a waxy feel to it.

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.

Becky, me & Ginny at the Jeanne Gang Exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. The weird blue lighting is from a projection we were standing under.

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.

Somewhat ordered chaos in the Textile Discount Outlet

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.