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Dec 27, 2013

On the third day of Christmas....



Seasons greetings from the parking lot of the abandoned Pizzeria Uno in North Wales, Pennsylvania!

We didn't actually spend Christmas in the parking lot, but close -- too close for comfort.  Was it all a dream?



Thankfully, we're home again, and today, Friday, Michael and I decided to do a little post-Christmas fabric shopping.   I wore my new coat and hat.  I may need a new scarf.



Friends, I have not learned my lesson: do NOT go fabric shopping with other people, particularly if the other people is the person for whom you're sewing.  Go to the store yourself, bring home 4-5 swatches of fabric you'd be willing to sew, and let them choose one.  It makes life so much easier and they'll never miss what they don't see.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

First we decided to grab lunch on 32nd Street off Fifth Avenue, otherwise known as Koreatown.  Both Michael and I love Korean food, and we ate at the amazingly delicious self-serve restaurant, Woorijip



I couldn't name half the things I ate, but I loved them all.  Honestly, if you're shopping in the Garment District and feel like something off the beaten track -- unless you're Korean, of course, in which case it would be the beaten track -- I highly recommend walking the ten minutes out of your way and grabbing a bite at one of the dozens of restaurants in Koreatown (basically one street).  Yummy!  (맛있는)









On the way to lunch, we passed by my favorite hat shop, J.J. Hat Center, just around the corner from Koreatown, on Fifth Avenue.  If I hadn't just bought a hat I might have been tempted to buy another!



After downing our last kimchi pancake at Woorijip, we headed to Mood Fabrics.  It wasn't as crowded as I'd feared and I always enjoy looking at fabric.  We headed straight to the third floor and the wool coating aisle to choose something for Michael's winter coat.





Too black?



Michael is going through a transition period from Autumn to Summer (actually "light summer") which has left him a little uncertain about what looks best on him.  If it's not in his season's palette, he won't consider it.  Honestly, I can hardly tell the difference.

 

I spotted a gorgeous wool plaid I loved (for me) but I wasn't sure what I'd make with it.  Too loud for a sportcoat?





With too many choices before us, it wasn't long before we were both spent.  We headed home empty-handed.

To reiterate: I think I should bring home a handful of swatches and let Michael choose from a narrow selection.  People who don't sew don't know what suitable fabric weight for a coat is, or what designs are more/less challenging to sew, etc.

If I have to sew it, I have to like it, right?   Right???

How would you handle this fabric selection challenge?

Friends, I hope you are enjoying the holidays and that your shopping experiences are proving more productive than mine.

Have a great day, everybody!

29 comments:

  1. I often sew for my mum and when we are in a fabric store together it goes something like this: She: "I want that fabric. Make whatever you think suited out of it."
    I go: "okay"
    (she always picks gorgeous fabrics that are horrible to work with (silk chiffon, silk satin, huge plaids... You name it...)
    Swatches would be a better idea, since you get to control some of options! Good luck!

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  2. I usually bring the person with me to pick fabric. I've been told I have the patience of a saint, but sometimes I love going with someone else so I focus on their choices. I have a few people I sew for a lot and I can usually just go and pick out the fabric without them and hit a home run. The only time I don't like to do this is if I'm doing bridesmaid dresses and the ladies are brought to the fabric shopping. WORST THING EVER. I actually refuse to allow them to attend anymore. Bride's day - bride's choice.

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  3. Too many choices are a problem; I'd pick out what you like and limit the selection. Mood can really be overwhelming if you don't have a clear idea of what you want.

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  4. Ahhhhh! Why were you in North Wales? That's practically my backyard! There are not many fabric stores there but there are still a few gems left in Philly worth exploring.

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    Replies
    1. Mine too! I didn't realize that Uno's was closed; seems like not too long ago we ate there...

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  5. My mother used to make pretty much all of my clothes. When I got older she would give me and my sister-in-law fabric as Christmas gifts and then make up what we wanted. I ALWAYS liked the fabric she gave my sister-in-law better! Never felt I could tell her, though. She sewed fantastically but her color sense was a bit wild.

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  6. I have never taken someone that I sewed for to look for fabric since my daughter was little. She always wanted exactly what was on the pattern front. I take that back, as I did take my grandsons to the fabric store to pick out fabric for their boxer shorts! With that, anything goes at least it did when they were little. Now they are a little more sedate because of gym class, ya know...

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  7. You actually paid retail for that hat?

    Gotham Mango

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    Replies
    1. It was painful, but yes. ;)

      (Plus it's a great store that deserves to stay in business and the hat was made in NYC.)

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    2. Made is America - then well spent!

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  8. Yikes , I live near North Wales Pa. as well. I used to go to the Lansdale Discount House ( later Jomar ) for fabric. I must say the area has changed immensely in 30 years. Yep, many parking lots now, from suburban sprawl.

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  9. I had a discussion with the five year old today involving swimsuit fabric. Yes. I know. December is not swimsuit season. But the fabric is cheaper in the off season and then I sit on it until about April before I sew up suits! So we went fabric window shopping via ebay. First, it can't be real lightweight because I don't want to mess with lining it. (I prefer medium weight because it's not see-through) Next, it has to hit within my limited budget and be a pattern and color palette that both girls agree on. Which makes choosing fabric a challenge...

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  10. you should see how picky my husband is about pajamas which never see the light of day!!

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  11. I would definitely advise against shopping with my 12 year old boy. I have several yards of wild colored fleece in my stash courtesy of those shopping trips. In all seriousness, I know I could benefit from having someone else narrow down the choices for me, and I am the one who sews. I think it depends on the level of expertise - my husband is great at picking fabric and he doesn't sew, he's just good with with colors and visualizing the finished product.

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  12. I just got my winter coat fabric from Mood, but it was for moi and I knew exactly what I wanted, they by far had the most fashionable selection. I think giving the person you are sewing for a narrowed choice is a very good idea!

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  13. I just did exactly that for Jonathan - bought some and brought home some swatches as well. I was disappointed that he couldn't make it but it seems like it is for the better:) He was happy with what I brought home. . .

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    Replies
    1. And, might I add I was obsessed with all the herringbones. . . I bought three different versions. . .

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  14. I have the opposite problem. If I go shopping for material with my daughter we both end up with twice as much material as we should then I have to sew it all!
    A swatch selection is a good idea.
    p.s. The perfect hat is well worth the retail dollars IMHO

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  15. A swatch selection is a good idea, but I find what works even better is to have a general idea of what I am looking for before I go. The downside is that I often can't find what I am looking for, but the upside is that I don't feel so overwhelmed by all the choices. Do whatever works! Yes, you need a lovely, soft new scarf, a luxury scarf, to complement your beautiful coat/hat.

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  16. Your story reminds me of a recent trip to Mood with my non-sewer sister. She chose a beautiful upholstery fabric that would be "beautiful" for the heavily pintucked and pleated vintage blouse I was planning to make. UGH!

    I either do swatches or you get what I make you. LOL

    OTOH my daughter and I can go through a fabric store and come out with a new trousseau in a few hours....whether they get made or not is another story.

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  17. I take them shopping with, stand them in front of the full length mirror with the bolt held up in front of them at shoulder height, and enough rolled out to get a good look at what it would look like made up. People who don't sew don't usually have an eye for what a fabric does when it moves from being a swatch to a garment. I still do this with me and florals as some make me look like I'm wearing the wallpaper, so I like to double check.

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  18. I'm so miserable at choosing fabrics that it doesn't matter if I am alone or with someone. I'm drawn to color, pattern and texture (duh), but the right drape for the pattern generally escapes me. As it stands, my besties are flannel for kids' pajamas and denim weight for skirts. Sigh. I'm (slowly, achingly) learning to match fabric to pattern.

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  19. I couldn't agree with you more - the sew-ees need to choose from a narrow palette and just stop making us crazy! (Though of course, I'm sure Michael was very pleasant in his making you crazy.) With my kid, I buy her bras online (better choice, they actually have affordable bras in a 30 back online) but, if I show her options she dislikes them all. Like everything. If I just buy one, and give it to her, she's all: Mummy I love it!

    (Note: Of course, I always take up to date measurements of her so that, when I'm buying frillies online they are most likely to fit. And I'm willing to return.)

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  20. Hallelujah the gorgeous Michael has given up his Autumn position for the much more now-appropriate Summer (light summer? If summer is dark, it's not being summer? hehe) And yes, I do think you should filter his choices. Take his swatch book with you so you can match the fabrics to it, so he has no wriggle room. And I LOVED that plaid you had out, Sportscoats rock! My BMFF bought an even louder plaid jacket in Chicago when over there, and it is a huge success every time he wears it.

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  21. The first fabric-- the lighter one-- would look fantastic on Michael. His hair color looks really good with his skin color, and the lighter fabric echoes that happy combination. I also love your plaid fabric-- go for it!

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  22. Transition from autumn to light summer?? I thought you stayed in the same color family your entire life, but that you might change to lighter/darker shades over time... but then, I haven't paid much attention to new developments in the colors since I "had my colors done" in the 80s.

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    Replies
    1. I think with changing hair color (i.e. brown to gray) one's colors can change. Who knows?! ;)

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  23. Swatches all the way! Avoids all unsuitable options and the what nots. Hope you both settle on something soon

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  24. Well, my case is even worse - I am the person who usually lost herself in fabric shop :) Thnx for sharing good places - just moved in NY, so definitely will check fabric places.

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