Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Economies of Scale

I fell in love with today's fabric as soon as I saw it on the sale upholstery rack at Mill End. It had so many colors that I like: green, yellow, and dark pink. But what I think really attracted me to it was its size contrasts: it was basically a bunch of huge polka dots surrounded by tiny dots. As you can see from the measuring tape, the "sunbursty" circles are about 3.5 inches in diameter! This is a much larger scale than I usually get in fabric. I find myself drawn to upholstery fabrics often for their fibers and feel but just as often for the sheer scale of their patterns. Big! Bold! Prints! AND upholstery fabric tends to be 60 inches wide, which is becoming increasingly important to me as I want to make very full skirts and dresses without lots of piecing.

Since this fabric was already on the sale rack, I was tempted to buy it (at Mill End, if you buy everything left on the bolt in the upholstery sale section, you get it at 50% off). When I saw the sign saying that they were taking an additional 20% off of all upholstery fabrics, I was sunk. I just HAD to get this fabric. I believe there was approximately 4 yards left on the bolt, and it ended up being around $6 a yard. The fabric is a medium heavy cotton twill. I intend to make a full-skirted halter-style-with-waist-yolk dress out of it, as soon as I am allowed to start new projects. Since I can't actually stand the way halters pull at my neck, I will probably convert the pattern to a cross-cross back. Here's hoping I can get to this project before the weather turns rainy and cold again around here.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The final episode of the trilogy

So, back in May I did a couple of posts about how I was inspired to make a dress. Well, I did, in fact, finish that dress in time for my cousin's wedding in June, and I thought I should show off the final result. Ignore the squinty eyes, and concentrate on how pleased I am with the result of my labors!

I used the pattern pictured in this post, and of course used the fabrics featured in this and this post. Overall, these were excellent fabric choices. The polyester silky is actually cooler to wear than I had been anticipating, and once the teal stripes have some lightweight interfacing, they are also the correct weight. I did cut the Vneck a little higher than the pattern calls for, and I eliminated the back zipper (I detest center back zippers. I think they are so ugly). Because the pattern is meant to be loose, I actually just pull the dress on over my head. I even took in the side seams at the waist about 2 inches, and can still just pull it over my not-very-small bust. Once one understands the geometry of how the neck band fits into the front, this is a very easy pattern to sew. I will probably make another one in the future, maybe with winter fabrics. I do still need to add pockets to the side seam of this dress. Maybe next week.....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yipes! Stripes! Part 1

I enjoy stripes. Not nearly as much as I enjoy Polka-dots, but that's ok. I especially love when stripes are used creatively, going different ways in one pattern or garment. However, I have not done too much sewing with stripes, so I can't moan and complain about how difficult they are to match. Yet!

The top fabric is one that I only have about a foot of. It was an interior design sample that was given to me when the fabric was discontinued. What you can't really see from the picture is that the blue stripes are actually chenille, which adds a great texture and draws me to the fabric. I also like the width of the stripes. The rest of the fabric is just a medium-weight cotton. I could see making a fun summer suit out of this material, especially one with tails.

The second fabric is a very light cotton, and is far more subtle than my usual taste. However, this fabric has proved to be a great complement fabric for me. I have used it in a couple of patterns where the main fabric is so crazy that the edging or bands should really be solid-colored. However, just plain solid is so boring, and !volia! the color-on-color stripes are the perfect solution! One layer of this fabric is very see-through, so I tend to double it. I believe I still have about 5 or 6 yards of this left. I started out with at least 10 yards that I inherited from a friend about 10 years ago.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blue cravings....

I'm Back! I haven't posted here in a couple of months as I have had lots of changes going on around me that kept me hopping: new part-time job doing alterations, family visiting, some decent weather around here finally, new church, some new friends, developing some new bag patterns for me business, injuring a thumb, just all sorts of new things. However, I am excited to have carved out some time three times a week to post here (probably Tu/Thurs/Sat). Anyways, enough about me, back to the fabric!

This beautiful fabric is one that I found at Bolt Fabric Boutique (see link in sidebar) a couple of months ago when they were having a sale. At first I was going to buy 5 yards of it because I thought it was on sale for $5 a yard, but then it turned out not to be (I believe it was more like $12 a yard), so i just bought 1 yard. It is a lightweight cotton or linen, 60in wide, and the colored rectangles all have eyelash edging, which makes my texturephillic hands very happy. Can't you just see this as a cute summer halter dress? Or a short-sleeved button-down man's shirt? I can! Maybe when I have more money I will go back and buy more so that I can make that dress....

Monday, May 19, 2008

Stash Part 1: Green

Every time I start a new colorway series for my purses, I get the immense pleasure of hunting through my stash for a few dozen minutes to compile fabric that goes well together and compliments each other. Usually a stop when I have about a grocery bag full, as I can usually get 6-10 purses out of that much fabric.

This time, however, I believe I ended up with 3 very full grocery bags worth. I just couldn't resist all the beautiful different shades of green. I used the different frog fabrics in the last picture as my inspiration for what fabrics to pull. The first two pictures show all of the fabrics piled high on my drafting table in my workspace. Most of the fabrics are scraps that range between 2x2 inches to an uncut half yard. However, there are a couple of larger pieces in there as well.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"Practice" Fabric

So, I purchased this fabric about 2 weeks ago when Fabric Depot was having a 40% off all fabrics sale. Usually when I purchase fabric, I don't have a specific project in mind. However, that is not the case with this particular purchase. After purchasing an amazing fabric at Mill End the week before (which will be the subject of another post), I was inspired to make a halter dress. Now, normally I am not a fan of wearing a halter anything. You see, I am...ample-chested. Halters really work best on smaller women (think A or B cup), because the deep V is not quite as scandalous on them, and the pressure on the back of the neck is less. When purchasing a halter top or dress in a store, there often isn't enough room for bigger than size C breasts, which makes the item sit funny,a nd it's just all sorts of bad. Trust me on this one. But! Halters can look sooooo cute if fitted properly. Custom sewing to the rescue!

Anyways, so I had this fabric, and a pattern that I wanted to try. But I knew that I was going to want to make alterations to the pattern, and I didn't want to try those alterations out on the final (amazing) fabric. Which means that I had to purchase a practice fabric. Now, if I had been smart, I would have just looked through my fabric stash and found something that would look cute if it worked out, but that I would be devastated if the dress turned out to be all wrong. However, at that point my Stash was in such a state of disarray, that I decided to take advantage of a good clearance section instead.

This fabric is a lightweight cotton, 45 inches wide, and I purchased the last of the bolt, which I believe was about 4 and 1/4 yards. It was 50% of of about $10.50, so you do the math. I chose it with this specific project in mind as a fabric that I like enough to wear a dress made out of it if the mock up turns out well, but that I am not too emotionally attached to the fabric if it has to become spare scraps instead.

Lesson of the week: Sometimes purchasing one fabric will necessitate the purchase of another. Fabric begets fabric. Kind of like bunnies.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, Please Shine Down on Me

This fabric....makes me smile. Look at those suns! I mean, just look at them. They are so bright and cheery and smiley and, well, sunny! Maybe if I concentrate really hard I can channel the power of those smiles into convincing the real sun to come out and stay out for more than 30 minutes at a time. I purchased this fabric about 6 months ago at a smaller fabric store that specialized in quilting cottons called Fibers in Motion. I believe I paid $2.50 for a fat quarter (for explanation of what a fat quarter is, go here). This fabric is so cheery and makes me smile so much that I kinda wish I had purchase more now. It's a great spring fabric, and would be great for children (or anyone who likes cute suns). If the weather outside continues to insist on being unpredictable and grey, at least my current fabric makes me feel warmer. If I had more of this, I think I would make pajama pants out of it. It is a very lightweight flannel. Even though I despise wearing flannel, this is soft enough and so happy that I think I could forgive its flannel-ness and wear it with aplomb.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

We're making a dress, a dress, a early in the morning...

Last time on Confessions of a Fabriholic:

We left our [intrepid/crazy/silly] heroine with over six yards of a fabulous fabric that she had no particular plans for. So what did she do next? What any sane fabriholic would do with amazing fabric and too little time: stash the fabric away in a box so that it can be found at some later date (often multiple times) long after it had been forgotten about. Bingo! Instant squeals of delight at rediscovering an amazing fabric with lots of possibilities.

Fast forward about 2 years to a time with this Fabriholic starts reading more sewing blogs. In particular she starts reading A Dress a Day, a blog where the author posts about different dresses that she finds, makes, wears, or covets. Needing something to do during her brief lunch breaks in the costume shop, Fabriholic starts reading the archives. In doing so she comes across a pattern that gets mentioned a lot that catches her eye: the Duro. The contrasting fabrics used make her smile. One of her friends becomes similarly enamored of the Duro-style dress and purchases the pattern above (Simplicity 4050). Once Fabriholic helps said friend make the dress from the simplicity pattern and see how much fun it is, she decides that she MUST make the dress for herself!

Now Fabriholic has a pattern that she wants to make, and one that she wants to make sooner rather than later. But what fabric to use? She hasn't had time to look thought her fabric Stash, but one day as she is cutting out fabric for some purses, she rediscovers some light teal fabric that she has quite a few yards of. The color of the teal triggers something in her memory, just out of reach...where is it?...right....THERE! Yes, that's it! She hurries to her Stash, rummages around for a bit, and a triumphantly holds up the silky pink umbrella print fabric that she vaguely remembered, brings it over to the teal fabric, and sure enough, the blues are a perfect match. Fabriholic taps her fingers together, smiles cruelly, and thinks to herself, "Now I have a perfect plan..." She allows her head to be thrown back in an evil cackle as the lights fade.

Until next time.....

Monday, May 5, 2008

April showers bring May...dresses??

This is the story of the makings of a dress, according to LadyT:

First, one must start with the fabric. While not a hard and fast rule, in my world approximately 90% of my projects start with me buying fabric that makes me squee, putting it in my stash, and maybe about 2-5 years later finding a pattern that sufficiently compliments that fabric. It is best if the fabric is on a very good sale so that you can buy quite a few yards of it, as one may never know what sort of pattern is the mate for the fabric. Also, I like fuller skirts and dresses and coats, all of which require more fabric. Not only do sheath styles tend to emphasize my larger hips in a non-flattering way, but it is often hard to find truly full skirts in stores, as fullness=more fabric=higher costs that lower price margins. My rule of thumb is to try not to buy less than 3 yards if I think the fabric wants to be a skirt or dress, 1/2 yard to a yard if it wants to be a purse (usually the more expensive fabrics), and if it is on sale for less than $5 a yard and I really like it, buy no less than 5 yards so that I have lots of play room.

This fabric was purchased when a Joann's near me was moving across the street (I believe this was Fall 2005). For some reason, this meant that they had to sell ALL the fabric in their store (why they couldn't just move the fabric across the street is beyond me, but hey, whatever). In order to facilitate this, they had a HUGE sale. Everything was AT LEAST 70% off. The only catch was you had to buy whatever was left on the bolt, weather 2 yards or 20. That day I believe I ended up with over 80 yards of fabric for about $350 (including some amazing Bridal stuff that I normally would never be able to afford), which is not too bad. This particular fabric had 6 and a half yards on the bolt. It is 100% polyester silky, which means it has the perfect drape for a flowy dress or skirt. I absolutely love the combination of colors and the fun sunburst/swirlys pattern in the background. However, what really caught my eye about this fabric is the clear sparkles. It is a bit hard to see in the picture, but can you find the slightly darker dots scattered about the fabric that kind of looks like rain? Those are caused by clear circles that are fused to the fabric and catch the light to give the fabric a really fun shine. THAT is the reason I bought this fabric. The umbrellas are fun, as are the colors, but it's the shiny that made this fabric a must have!

I had originally envisioned a drawstring halter dress or cowl neck dress for this fabric. However (as you shall see at a later date) another pattern was to demand to be made first. To be continued...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shopping Ladies

First things first: I don't want to forget to mention that Bolt is having a big sale this weekend, so if you live in the Portland area and haven't had a chance to check it out yet, this would be a great time to do so. There aren't many smaller fabric stores that can sustain themselves in the midst of Joann's myriad coupons and Big Names like Fabric Depot, but Bolt has some really fun prints that you don't find at either of those places, so I like to support them when I can. Prices aren't amazing, but they aren't outrageous either. I am going to try to go there first thing tomorrow morning, as most of the rest of my weekend is booked solid.

Speaking of Bolt, the last time that I went there I purchased two yards of the fabric at the left. I think it was the color combinations that attracted me to it at first. The yellow and teal/blue are really very bold against the brown-maroon background. The background color is just great in itself, as it is a nice neutral color that isn't used all that often. the scale of the women makes this fabric prefect for me to base some purse series around. I bought this fabric specifically with purses in mind. It's especially great since so many of the women are carrying purses in the print. I also love the great variety of dresses/outfits when you look closely at the fabric, and the fact that there is some skin tone diversity! I could see this as a cute simple skirt as well, just a plain A-line. Erin would probably make a dress out of it, but then again, that's what she does best!

Anyways, I don't know where my receipt is that would show me how much I paid for this per yard, but i'm sure it was about $7 or $8. I believe it is a 100% cotton, 45in wide heavy quilting cotton.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Polka Dots, Part 2

This fabric is one the I saw at Joann's for the first time last week. It was on sale for 40% off (I think it was originally about $9 a yard). The dots on it are variegated in color and regularity, which I really like. The size of the bigger polka dots is about the size of a dime (sorry, it's hard to take a proper scale picture when you are taking the photos in the store). It's a fun lightweight silky fabric that would probably make a nice airy dress for the summer. It two big downfalls/reasons I didn't purchase it (besides being on a tight budget): 1. the white background. White backgrounds are hard for dresses for me, and the hand/feel of material wanted to be a dress, but the coloring on it wanted to be a skirt or a lining. It would make a great lining for a jacket. 2. It's 100%polyester. While that actually isn't really a deterrent for me personally, it would be for quite a few sewers I know. Mostly I can sit and admire this fabric for it lovely colors and uneven spacing, but don't feel the need to Make Anything out of it.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Colorful Happiness

This delightful fabric is one that I first found in a Joann's when I was in Sacramento in December. I have been searching for it ever since, and I finally found it at my local Joann's the other day. I intend to go there and purchase 3-4 yards of it today. It is a 2005 Alexander Henry Fabric, according the the info on the selvage. It is quilter's 100% cotton. I plan to make a dress or skirt out of it. I mean, just look at the way the colors gradually change, and how it kinda looks like grass in a field on another planet! I think it would be great for a wrap skirt, or a simple A-line with a fun trim at the bottom. The stripes are about 1/2 inch wide and 6 inches long.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I have an uncle who really likes stars. Really really likes stars. So I purchased this fabric at Mill End the other week in honor of him. I have seen this fabric offered online for cheaper (I purchased it for $7.29/yard), but it wasn't worth the shipping for me as I only needed a 1/2 yard. The scale on this fabric is really nice: small without being minuscule (that is a quarter in the lower right corner to give you an idea of scale). This is a pretty typical printed quilting cotton, not too much special about it except that it has stars and dots. I chose it for the subtle irregularity of the pattern, the cute-but-not-in-your-face quality, and the fact that it is only black and white. It will go well with some other black and white patterned fabric that I have.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Velvet Fantasy

So, apparently Easter Triduum and a birthday means that I don't post for a full week. Whoops! Today's fabric is from a fitted jacket that was given to me by a friend's mom about 3 years ago. I adore the jacket, but the fabric plus the style makes it a bit fancy for most of my daily activities. I often wear it interviews and the like. I included so many photos this time because I think it is necessary to try to fully capture the impressiveness of this fabric over the internet. The first shot gives you a good idea of the scale of the design of the fabric. the coin in the corner is a quarter. The fabric is a 70% acetate/30% nylon burn-out velvet in rich deep jewel tones. It has a variegated abstract geometric design that has about a foot between repeats. One of my favorite things about this fabric is its texture. Not only is a velvet (which means Soft!), but the gold lines are actually a permanent glitter glue that rests on top of the velvety pile (which creates fun hard bumps, much like braille). If you look at the second and third pictures, you will notice two subtle images of flowers amongst the colors. Those are scattered liberally throughout the fabric, and are caused by the nap in the pile being reversed. This makes it a not-quite-true-burn-out-velvet, but I imagine that the method used to create this effect would be much the same (what exactly that method is, I am not sure. Any audience information would be much appreciated). In other terms, the flower images are created because the velvet has been shaped so that the light hits it differently in different parts. The fourth image is a bit blurry, but it shows almost the entirety of the the pattern in the fabric before it repeats.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Polka Dots, Part 1

Today's fabric is one that I saw and was totally coveting at Mill End when I stopped in to purchase some new fabric for As It Is In Heaven, the show I am currently working on. This fabric is currently in the upholstery markdowns section, and if you purchase the whole bolt it will be 50% off. At $11 a yard after the discount, and 3.5 yards of it, that would set one back about $40. Which isn't such an stellar deal that it MUST-be-purchased-no-matter-how-much-money-you-don't-have-right-now, but is a good enough deal that I am super tempted to go back and nab it before I regret it for the rest of my life. 3.5 yards is a good amount too: just enough to get one awesome (decently full or long) item out of it, with enough scraps left over for some fun purses. I can think of several coats or dresses I might want to make out of this material. The dots are about 2 inches in diameter, to give you an idea of scale. I absolutely love polka dots. Am crazy about them. I'm usually not a huge fan of neutral colors, but the wavy stripes in this make it AMAZING. As well as the fact that both the right and wrong sides are usable and have their own charm. The majority of the photo is actually the wrong side; you can see a bit of the "right side" on the right of the photo. I forgot to look at the contents of the fabric, but it felt like it was mostly heavy cotton, woven like those picture throw blankets one can purchase (You know what I am talking about, don't you?). Like most Home Decorator fabrics, this is 60 inches wide. Anyways, if I feel rich next week and it is still there, I may just buy it for myself for my birthday. We'll see.

Abstract Quadrangles!

Ok, so those who know me in person know that I have a...thing...for fabric. An I-do-so-love-it, an I-adore-the-fun-colors-and-feel-and-movement-and-daydreaming-
about-what-I-can-make-with-it sort of thing for fabric. Now, this is not uncommon among those who like to sew, or like fashion, or are heavily kinetic. But I do SO love fabric, and I thought it would be a great topic for a blog. So here goes!

This is a fabric that I bought back in Fall at Bolt Fabric Boutique in Portland. It was in their remnants sections for $5.67 a yard, and I believe I was able to purchase 2 yards of it. I was drawn to it by its use of slightly abstracted shapes and the layering of the colored squares and rectangles. I also happen to like pink and purple when they are together is such a way that is not TOO early nineties. The coin in the picture is a quarter, placed their to give you some concept of scale. Most of the inspiration for the projects that I make comes from the fabric. I paired this with some solid black and purple fabric to make some fun patchwork purses, and some solid black and bright pink fabric for similar projects. Both colorways seemed to work really well. I also paired it with some lighter pink to less success.

Saturday, February 23, 2008