Monthly Archives: August 2013

Pivoting in Downtown L.A.

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Well, I’m two days post op from minor knee surgery–tear of the medial meniscus.  Doctor O’Neill says my left knee probably was aggravated by a lot of pivoting motion.  Pivoting?  So the final blow to my knee was from mucho pivoting??  Hmm, I don’t play sports, I’m not what you’d call athletic these days, and my only real exercise is going to Curves.  But wait–!  Where was I last month when it really starting hurting so much more?  That’s right–L.A.  And here’s where the pivots come in.  As I explore the Fashion District in Downtown L.A.  I see—a fabric store–pivot–another fabric store–pivot–a trim store–pivot–more fabric–pivot–pant pant–well, you get the picture. 🙂  I was in Fabric Heaven and this blog entry is to share with my fellow fabric lovers.

It actually started even before we left Galveston.  I was purchasing vintage velvet ribbons from a fabulous Etsy Shop, Rosa’s Creations, and I realized the seller was in L.A.  I contacted the seller and decided to pay her store a visit where I could actually see all the ribbons she had to offer.  Oh My!  What a wonderland of vintage ribbons, antiques, and linens!  I worked with Ashley, who was so very gracious, and before long I had a luscious treasure trove of exquisite velvet ribbons.  (I couldn’t even bring myself to check them through baggage on our return flight.  I managed to fit them into my carry on bag!  No parting with those beauties! )

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Shortly after returning to Galveston, I fashioned what I’m calling the “Spend the Night Bag.”  This bag (a variation of my Anny Bag pattern) came together larger than I intended but it’s a fabulous travel bag.  Very sturdy straps with metal rings, six pockets inside, as well as another interior cross/bag secure strap and magnetic closure.   The fabrics are from Cowgirls and Lace in Dripping Springs, Texas.  Ruffles are a velvety upholstery weight, as well as a wonderfully textured faux crocodile turquoise band and strap.  But as I finished the bag, I realized it needed a certain something.  Velvety upholstery=velvet ribbon, right?  So, as scary as it was to actually CUT  aaaaahhh!  that sumptuous vintage velvet ribbon, I held my breath and reached for the scissors.  Hallelujah!  This was exactly what my creation was calling for!  And in the second picture, feast your eyes on the whole array of ribbons from that beautiful collection.  I’m sure you’ll see them in future creations as well.

After the visit to Rosa’s shop, what do you think I spied across the street?  MOOD Fabrics!!!!  Yes, except for NYC, this is the only other Mood Fabrics store!  As seen on Project Runway, this store is beyond belief.  The pictures do not do it justice.  It’s simply indescribable, and the staff was very courteous and helpful.  Wish I could just helicopter you all in to see for yourselves, but these pics will have to do.

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I hope you can enlarge that first picture to see the detail, but keep in mind that you’re only seeing half of the store.  If  you could look the other direction, you would see a similar scene.  Nirvana!  The second pic is just a sampling of the vast assortment of beautiful embellishments they offer. In the third pic you will see exquisite patterned silk velvets that I actually mustered the courage to cut recently. Yikes!  And, yes, I’ve also used one of those gorgeous hand-painted buttons.  Here is a recent bag (an Ali Foster pattern) that I styled with one of those sweet buttons.

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This blue leopard fabric has an ultra-suede feel to it.  The interior is a hot pink satin with pockets.  Embellished with a feathery row of black roses,  a black tassel, and hand-painted button on the reverse side.  Love this pattern and can’t wait to fashion yet another bag with it.

On the third day of our vacation, we headed right into downtown, L.A.  The Fashion District there is akin to NYC.  Blocks and blocks of nothing but fabric and trim stores.  (Hence the pivoting and pivoting and….)  Avant Trims  provided some beautiful embellishments, including the brooch that I added to a previous bag.  And Roma Deco had luscious fabrics including a multicolored over 100+ inch wide that I’ve already used for two linings.

Flowers and Brooches from Avant Trims

Flowers and Brooches from Avant Trims

An Avant Brooch on the flap of this bag...

An Avant Brooch on the flap of this bag…

Lining from Roma Decor Fabrics

Lining from Roma Deco Fabrics

More lush fabrics from Roma Decor

More lush fabrics from
Roma Deco

My favorite was  Michael Levine, a huge store that was having their month-end clearance sale.  Yeehaw!!  This Texas gal dug in and scoured every aisle.  I LOVE the discoveries I made, including these fantastic leather flowers and colorful faux ostrich fabrics!!

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Aren’t they fabulous?  Here is a mini-messenger bag utilizing both.  (And one of the hand-painted buttons as well.)

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This bag turned out so well, I can’t wait to make another!  You can bet your bottom dollar, I’ll be returning to Michael Levine on my next trip to L.A.  Thank goodness our son lives there!  When we weren’t shopping, we visited Bryan and his lovely lady friend, Liz. All in all, it was a fabulous trip.  And once again, Rick was such a trooper, taking his Kindle along and never complaining as I shopped to my heart’s content.  I am one lucky gal!

My final show-n-tell is yet another Ali Foster pattern that I love.  This fabric feels like someone embossed black suede onto white leather–nicely textured.  It styles so well with plenty of body to keep the shape of the purse.  The pattern called for sewn handles but I had some handles in my stash from a while back that I thought would work well.  So I just made some tabs to hold these handles.  A velvety, yet sturdy fabric created the bow.   Black and white damask with a zipper pocket complete the interior.  The pattern called for the bow to have a center of the same fabric but I liked the look of this rhinestone buckle.

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You probably wonder how this knee setback is going to affect my production of 15 or more bags for the Artwalk trunk show on Oct. 5.  Actually, I’m doing quite well (knock on wood) because I have now completed bag #13.  Whew!  Just writing about all this has tired me out.  I’m gonna go prop up this poor pivoted-out knee with some ice.  Until next time, HAPPY SEWING!

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Say Goodnight, Gracie!

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How lucky can one lady get?  TWO granddaughters who love to sew!  Grayson, aka Gracie, visited this week and not only does she love to sew but she’s a night person as well!  Oh yes– days spent gallivanting around Galveston and nights of sewing.  By day we shopped, enjoyed mani/pedis, visited the hairdresser, hit all the great restaurants, painted pottery, and frolicked on the beach.  Grandpa and Gracie sculpted a man of sand and we all played in the waves (including Buddy.)  By night we visited the Pleasure Pier and rode the Ferris Wheel,  took an awesome carriage ride, and did I say sew?  Just like the Madison visit, we packed it all in!

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Our very first evening together, I entered the sewing room to find that Gracie had already pulled together a combo of black fur, pink ribbon with leopard spots, and a black velvet flower, saying she wanted to make a bag.  Needless to say, a short time later and with a little help from Granny, Gracie had fashioned this adorable bag for back to school. 🙂

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You’ll notice in the second pic, Gracie has her nightgown on.  Bedtime?  What bedtime?  After the successful bag attempt, she was off and running to make miniature bags for dolls, rugs for her dollhouse, and pillows.  But the best part was when she used an iPhone to make sewing instructional videos!!  I loved it when she told the viewer, “Now you really need to use foot #53 for this laminated fabric, so if you don’t have it, you may want to start collecting different feet.”  OMG!  She says she wants to be a director. 🙂  Sounds like the Frugal Crafter to me!  Right, Lindsay?

So did Granny get any sewing accomplished?  Well, that’s why we have two Berninas!  I completed a bag I had started while sewing with Maddie.  I call it Gypsy Style with plenty of fringe and tassels using a Carol Taylor Oates pattern.  But the neat thing is the source of the fabric.  Repurposed!  My neighbor said his friend had upholstery remnants and he knew I made bags, so this beautiful heavy duty red polka dot fabric was intended for upholstery!  Paired with a taupe/red toile lining and an ivory/tan animal print,  it has new life as a stylishly whimsical bag.  Thank you,  Jeff!

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Interestingly, the other bag I created with Gracie was also fashioned from an upholstery remnant, either from Jeff, or my sister’s upholsterer.  I used this floral linen and an Amy Barickmann pattern.  A golden crushed velvet drapes the front with a leopard print tab adorned with a pin from my stash.  Delighted with this outcome.

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Since Grandpa was returning Gracie to her mom that day, I sent the bag along to show her.  They were meeting in LaGrange since Grandpa had property business to attend to.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten to photo the bag before they left, so I phoned him asking if he could please photo it and text it to me.  Uh-huh, you guessed it.  In the first pic I received, my bag is draped over “the other woman” in Rick’s life these days–that cotton pickin’ Kubota tractor!  Not funny, Rick!  Well, he made up for it by sending the one above, which I think is actually stunning.  He’s a darn good farmer/photographer!

The other item I sewed was from an unusual fabric I found in L.A.  (More about L.A. fabric in my next entry…)  It’s a ruffled, blue, animal print, fading from light to dark.  This does not sound very attractive, but drapes beautifully on Gracie as either a dress or gown.

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Finally, a few Gracie-isms.  She informed me that the reason kids have parents is so they don’t say things they shouldn’t.  She says that is when your parent says, “Just keep that to yourself.” 🙂  And then there was the day we were late to the Painted Potter and were running through the parking lot.  She yells, “Wow, Granny!  You run pretty fast for an…uh…your age!”  Nice save, Gracie!  Say Goodnight, Gracie!  I miss you!