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Sewing Finds in Great Britain

9 Oct


In my last post I mentioned a recent intercontinental trip — Mr. Homemaker and I took a little vacation to Great Britain last month!  We had known for a while that we wanted to go because one of my friends from medical school is spending a year there doing a fellowship.  We decided that planning a trip to visit them in Scotland would be a good excuse for us to make our first trip to Europe together.  We took an overnight flight into Glasgow then caught the train to meet our friends at their flat in Edinburgh.  While the weather was a bit chillier there than it is here, that didn’t stop us from tromping all over the place.



Once we explored Edinburgh, we spent a night at Dalhousie Castle then took the train into the Cotswolds.  While there we visited Bath, which I thought was a lovely place and can’t wait to go back.  Finally, we took the train into London and spent three nights before heading back to reality and (warmer temperatures!).  In London, we booked a room at the High Road House in a residential neighborhood called Chiswick.  According to their website, their hotel chain is a members club for people in the film industry but when rooms aren’t filled, they reserve them to commoners like us.  While I think the London hotel is low-key compared to some of their other properties (like Miami), I did spot one celebrity that I recognized while we stayed there (Hugh Dancy).



The hotel was immensely cute and their food and bar service were excellent, not to mention the fact that the bathroom was filled with full-size amenities — we had four different body washes to choose from each morning! To top it all off, the room was reasonably priced and it was a 3 minute walk to the tube.



While I am not a huge museum-buff, I did stop by the Victoria and Albert to view the Ballgowns exhibit while we were in London, and we visited the Tower and saw several of the other big sites.

Now, of course you know I squeezed in a little shopping while we were there.  I did have to be careful, though, because we did carry-on only for this trip (hard to believe if you know me!).



I knew I wanted to go to Liberty and I was open to any other cute sewing souvenirs I came across.  First up, while in Bath, I visited a cute little shop called The Makery, where you can actually shop online.  It was a darling, tiny little store that sold unique trimmings and fabric and also offered classes (of course, I didn’t have time for one of these).  While there, I picked up two lengths of patterned bias binding (blue floral and red and white dot) and a Molly Makes magazine with a free envelope of assorted buttons.  Next up, we stopped in Salisbury to visit Stonehenge and while there I passed a sewing machine store that also sold some notions, so I picked up the white buttons and a cupcake pin cushion.  Finally, in London I knew I had to visit Liberty and that’s what I had been saving all my pennies for.



While there, I met Chow, a very helpful and funny salesman who cut my selections of cotton lawn and cotton jersey.  I also found two pieces from the remnant table, one 2.5 yard piece in a brown, pink, and mustard shoe pattern and another small length of floral silk destined to become a scarf.  Yes, Liberty fabrics are a splurge, but how often does a girl get to visit the brick and mortar store in person?  Not to mention all the restraint I had exercised when packing my carry-on suitcase so I could fit a few cuts of fabric in it for the ride home 🙂

I will leave you with a few more photos from our trip; you can check out my Flickr stream if you want to see more (although I did not upload the entire 500+ photos).  Thanks for looking!  More cooking and sewing to come, so stay tuned 🙂








NYC #2 — The Fabric!!!

10 Aug

Okay, I won’t make you wait any longer.  Here’s my haul from the recent trip to NYC.  I will let the pictures do the talking… mostly 😉

This is a red and ecru dot silk charmeuse I picked up from a men’s fabric store.  May become a blouse…


This is a silk border print that I got 3 yards of.  Definitely seeing a dress in its future.


On the left a silky soft cotton floral print (3 yards) and on the right an equally soft and shiny royal blue cotton sateen (2 yards).


On the left a free remnant of some abstract print.  On the right a gorgeous silk woven with a little stretch and some texture (3 yards).


This is one of my favorite finds — a silk Shantung or dupioni with grey and black large-scale paisley print and bright navy blue sequin embellishments.  Perhaps a dress and/or blouse if I can squeeze it out of the three yards I bought.


On the left a Missoni sweater knit remnant I got for $40 (about 2.5 yards), and on the right 1.5 yards of cashmere and linen blend for a sweater with an exposed hot pink zipper up the back (zipper coming up soon).


Both knits, on the left a more stable piece with chocolate brown, aqua, tan, and white; on the right, a jersey with olive green, aqua, brown, and white.  Knit top from the piece on the left and maybe a DVF-style wrap dress from the piece on the right.  3 yards of each.


On the left, one yard of a gorgeous black woven fabric with texture and sheen, destined to become a LBD or pencil skirt for dressier occasions.  On the right, 4 yards of a wide navy and white stripe knit for a maxi skirt.


On the left, tan dot silk jersey with plans to become a tie neck blouse.  On the right, a fine rib knit in soft green with aqua, burgundy, and olive green — one of my favorites.  Three yards each.


On the left, a ponte knit stripe with plans to become an easy to wear dress.  On the right, a beautiful, light silk chiffon.  2.5 yards of the left, 2 yards of the right.


On the left, a silk voile with no specific plans yet.  On the right, a pretty silk twill with dress plans.  Three yards each.


Another favorite — 3 yards of wool knit hoping to be made up into a cowl neck sweater or sweater dress.


My two leather hides — one in mint and one in chocolate.  Both of these were on the sale rack and cost $25 each.  I came out pretty good compared to the ladies who were buying enough hides to make jackets and skirts.  I don’t have the guts for something like that yet!  We’ll see if these little delicious-smelling babies can whip up into a cute clutch purse or a case for my iPad.


And last but not least, my aforementioned hot pink zipper and a cute jade colored belt buckle.  I have no idea when or how I will ever use the latter, but I really like it and it came from Mood!  🙂

So that’s a grand total of 53.5 yards of fabric, two hides of leather, one zipper, one belt buckle, and one roll of tracing paper (not pictured).  How much did I spend?  Come on, ladies — my husband reads this blog, too!  🙂

I had a blast visiting NYC and scouring the city for the best fabric I could find.  I know it will be years (if ever) before I sew all this up, but I can’t wait to go back again and discover more treasures.  I would also love to spend more time seeing more of the sites that the city has to offer.  Have you ever been to NYC?  I’d love to hear about your favorite Big Apple experience!















Fun in the Big Apple

9 Aug


I have so much to tell you all about, I am having a hard time deciding what to post first.  But this definitely has to be it — I recently returned from a fabric-buying trip to NYC.  That’s right, a trip to New York City for the sole purpose of acquiring fabric for me to sew up into whatever my heart desires (or just lust after as it sits in my stash 😉 ).

Like the shirt I’m wearing? Stay tuned for more details and a review of the pattern!

I went with a friend and fellow sewing enthusiast and we had the best time.  We joined up with a bunch of other fabric junkies as part of Peggy Sagers’ NYC garment district tour/buying trip.  Although I have never sewn any of Peggy’s Silhouette patterns, I have watched some of her free, informative webcasts and sat in on one of her sessions at a sewing expo in Atlanta back in March.



She took us to several wholesale fabric distributors who typically don’t sell to the public so we had access to awesome selections at great prices.

We also got to go to the popular spots like Mood and Pacific Trims (where they have walls of nothing but zippers!).

The most unusual stop was a leather store where they sold hides of everything from pigs to stingrays.  I picked up two small pieces off the clearance rack to try out for a small clutch or sleeve for my iPad.

The highlight of the trip for me was getting to tour the Nanette Lepore studio and main office.  During conversation over dinner, Peggy mentioned that one of the stops on our tour was next door to the Nanette Lepore offices and that on some priors tours they had visited the NL studios.  When I told her that NL was one of my favorite designers of all time, she arranged for me to have a private tour!  I was thrilled and loved seeing where some of my favorite fashions are designed.

I love the fact that most Nanette Lepore clothes are actually made in the USA, right in NYC.  When my tour was done, Nanette’s assistant took me to the warehouse and let me shop the racks from the sample sale that had occurred the day before — then gave me an extra 20% off!  Talk about icing on the cake!!  I brought home a blouse, skirt, and dress to add to my collection.

We spent one day with friends of my sewing buddy and they took us to a cute little town in Pennsylvania for lunch.  The best part?  All the tables in the restaurant used old sewing machine bases for the legs!




I am so glad I had the opportunity to take this trip (my first time in NYC, at that).  I can’t wait to start sewing up all my delicious fabrics!  More pics of the fabric to come.  Keep watching my Flickr for a sneak peek.  You will also see photos of an upcoming recipe that you will absolutely love 🙂

Have a great weekend!