Takeaways from New York

Readers,

Jack and I returned last Thursday from our week in New York.  It was an all-you-can-eat buffet of museum-visiting, Garment District-shopping, and long-distance walking. Here’s a day-by-day sampling of my souvenirs from my trip:

Friday, August 11

  • I bought a lovely scarf at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden shop.

Saturday, August 12

  • I was taken by this sleeveless jacket in the window of Mariana Antinori on Madison Avenue.

    Once in a long while I’ll see a jacket without sleeves and think such a garment might give me the balance of style and practicality I’m looking for.

I like jackets a lot but for my daily life, which includes fixing meals and washing dishes, wearing a regular jacket certainly isn’t practical. Now, if I could have the practicality of a vest but the wider range of styles of a jacket, that would be a sleeveless jacket.  One of these days I’m going to make one.

  • I caught up with attendees of sewing blogger Peter Lappin’s Male Pattern Boldness Day at the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum’s exhibit, Force of Nature. The show illustrated clothes and accessories using nature–sometimes uncomfortably literally–as inspiration.  This alligator handbag–

    From the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Force of Nature exhibit, a handbag from around 1938 using a very real alligator.

    –reminded me of the alligator handbag I saw on my field trip to The Alley Vintage and Costume a couple of years ago:

    Looking for the ultimate alligator purse? Meet Percival, mascot of The Alley Vintage and Costume in Columbus, Ohio.

  • I joined fellow fans of Male Pattern Boldness at nearby Panera for lunch and the much anticipated annual pattern swap.  I put half a dozen choice vintage patterns into the growing pile, but didn’t take any out.  Bonus: couturier and master sewing teacher/author Kenneth King crashed the party, and you can’t get better than that at a sewing get-together. He was mobbed, of course.
  • I spent the afternoon in one of the roving bands of Male Pattern Boldness readers ranging all over the Garment District in search of fabrics and trims.  Kyle Dana Burkhardt of the blog Vacuuming the Lawn led our group.  I wanted the chance to see stores I’d never been in before, and I did.  They were amazing
  • Our first stop was Metro Textile Corp. at 265 West 37th St., Suite 908.  The owner, Kashi, had opened his store on a Saturday just for us Male Pattern Boldness Day participants, and I think he was rewarded for his efforts.

    Customers kept Kashi busy unfurling yardage to cut in a frenzy of buying. (Thanks to attendee Venka for taking this photo.)

    My mission was not necessarily to buy anything that afternoon but to take a good look at fabrics to go with the unusual reds and browns in my cactus-print skirt or with the subtle yellows of my Pendleton jacket.

    A photocopy I brought of part of my skirt print helped me identify fabrics to coordinate with these colors from a 1940s-’50s palette.

    I brought the jacket with me, and a decent color photocopy of the skirt’s print, not to mention swatches on index cards of my fabric stash and a small knapsack for wallet, camera, and water bottle. The threat of showers (that never materialized) made me carry a windbreaker, which I tied around my waist.

    All of this impedimenta required managing, as I shifted my bags from hand to hand or shoulder to shoulder while navigating my way around my fellow attendees toward a particular bolt that caught my eye.  Everybody was friendly and helpful, though, and we all did our best to make space for each other. I pulled out my ring of card blanks and Kashi’s law-student son, drafted to be a helper that afternoon, swatched two beautiful linen shirtings for me. I promised to return Monday to have yardage cut.

  • Next was French Couture Fabrics, at 222 West 37th Street, 2nd floor, which proclaims on its website that “our buyers work to get the best fabrics from French Couture Houses like Celine, Sonia Rykiel, Chloe, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton.”  Others in my group might have been eyeing the leathers or the silks, but I couldn’t tear myself away from the gorgeous $12/yard cottons, wondering how many hundreds (thousands?) of dollars customers were willing to fork over for the readymade garments. I had a couple of swatches cut, but actually wanted many more.

    Swatches from Metro Textiles, French Couture Fabrics, Gray Line Linens, and Mood Fabrics gathered Saturday and Monday of my visit.

  • Our next stops were Daytona Trimmings, 251 West 39th Street; and Pacific Trimming, 220 West 38th Street.  In all my past visits to the Garment District I’d never stopped in these stores, thinking they sold mostly ribbons, tassels, and cords, which I almost never have occasion to use–but was I ever wrong. Trim stores sell every kind of hardware , zippers, buttons galore, and other findings and embellishments for clothes and accessories.

    Only a part of Pacific Trimming’s vast selection of buttons.

    Blouse and shirt buttons at Pacific Trimming. I already want to go back!

    Pacific Trimming: hooks and eyes of such variety as I had never imagined. I’m hooked!

I had remembered to bring the slider for my vintage Harris tweed hat to look for a replacement, and at both stores there was a wide selection, although nothing exactly right.

My hot iron damaged the original slider, and my Bakelite substitute was a little too eye-catching. Could I find a replacement in the Garment District?

I liked these sliders but thought they weren’t quite right to replace my damaged one. Having a knowledgeable salesperson help me look was wonderful.

  • Around 4:00 our group wended our way to Bryant Park to rejoin our fellow Male Pattern Boldness Day attendees to brag about our discoveries and envy admire other people’s purchases.  Although I had only swatches to show, my afternoon had been a success, too.  I had the luxury of returning Monday to look at fabrics again at my leisure.

The best part of Male Pattern Boldness Day is meeting members of a special community brought together by the humor, wit, and skill of Peter Lappin.

In Bryant Park with Peter Lappin, creator of the incomparable Male Pattern Boldness.

Sunday, August 13

  • Jack and I met our friend Rosa at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where we took in the Rei Kawakubo show.  The museum literature says “Her fashions…resist definition and confound interpretation,” and I couldn’t have said it better.  We roamed from one astounding–artwork? garment?–to the next just taking it all in.  I think I was smiling the whole time.  Although I’m sure Rei Kawakubo takes her work seriously, that’s not to say there isn’t a great deal of humor in it.

    With our friend Rosa at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Rei Kawakubo show. We imagined students’ reactions if Jack showed up for his first day of teaching this semester in this suit.

  • In another part of the museum, while Jack and Rosa looked at posters from World War I, I browsed a book called 101 Things to Learn in Art School by Pratt Institute professor Kit White. Number 85 was “Your studio is more than a place to work: it is a state of mind.”  That got me thinking: What state of mind would I like my sewing room to foster?
  • In Central Park after our museum visit I looked at my new swatches and swatches from my stash in the natural light.

    In Central Park, comparing swatches from my stash back home with what I’d just swatched in the Garment District. For evaluating colors, natural light sure beats store lighting.

    Monday, August 14

  • Back to the Garment District.

    I’m ready to return to the Garment District, wearing my weskit with big pockets for holding–swatches, of course.

  • At Gray Lines Linen I admired–everything, really.  I love the colors and weights of their linens for shirts and swatched a stripe and a plaid (seen on the swatch card above) for Jack to think about.  For myself, I admired some of Gray Lines’ yarn dye handkerchief linens for blouses and realized that they are all regularly stocked and on the sample card I’d bought last year.
    Back to Metro Textile Corp. to buy the two fabrics I’d had swatched on Saturday’s visit.  Kashi looked surprised–and pleased–that I had come back as promised.  After cutting the two linen blouse fabrics for me he scanned his stock for coordinates and pointed to a terra cotta-colored rayon knit that I agreed was beautiful.  I needed no further convincing that it would be a very nice addition, and took two yards, although now, I said, I’d have to buckle down and learn to sew knits.  “You can do it,” Kashi replied, “Just go slower.”  As I left with my new purchases Kashi encouraged me to come back leading a group.  Maybe I will!

    A plaid linen from Metro Textile.

    A kind of brick red-brown and white cross-dye linen from Metro Textile.

    The cross-dye doesn’t match any specific color in my cactus print skirt, but it still coordinates nicely with all the colors.

    Terra cotta-colored rayon knit from Metro Textile.

Onward to try again to replace the damaged slider for my Harris tweed hat.  I stopped in at Lauren Trimming, 247 West 37th Street, and found one that was fine, for a dollar.

The original slider, which I damaged with a hot iron, and its replacement that I found at Lauren Trimming.

My Harris tweed hat with its new slider.

My last visit in the Garment District was to Mood Fabrics. I knew I’d have to surrender my bags at the store entrance, but I was prepared with big pockets to hold a notebook and swatch cards. It was actually very nice to be free of my bags for awhile.

That morning the aisles were full of kids enrolled in Mood U sewing classes choosing fabrics for their projects and then bringing their choices to the cutting tables.  I sidled past them and began to absorb the breadth and depth of Mood’s collections.  On previous visits I’ve always been dazzled and then overwhelmed by the thousands of bolts and left with nothing more than swatches and shirt buttons.  On this visit, sticking to my “decide nothing in haste” experiment, I enjoyed browsing wools, cottons, linens, knits, and notions as if I were strolling through a gorgeous botanical garden. I had a nice conversation with a salesperson in the Cotton Twill section about raincoat fabrics, and had one swatch cut.  Done.

  • After seeing the Neue Galerie’s Austrian Masterworks exhibition we enjoyed Viennese-style hot chocolate and  cake in its Cafe Sabarsky.

    After viewing Austrian masterworks, some Klimt torte mit schlag.

    At the Museum of the City of New York in the exhibition A City Seen: Todd Webb’s Postwar New York, 1945-1960 we were struck by this photo:

  • 123rd Street, Harlem. 1946.

Tuesday, August 15

  • I was wondering what home decorating fabrics I could see without having to have a designer in tow, which brought me to Zarin Fabrics at 69 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side. I’ve made draperies for our living room and dining room and am “planning” (“planning to plan,” at this point, would be more accurate) to sew Roman shades, sheers, valances, and a shower curtain–right after I master pants-sewing and my serger.

    Zarin Fabrics

    Zarin’s selection is certainly big, but I concluded that actually my local home decorating fabric resources at Fabric Farms and Calico are awfully good and only a short drive away.

    An upholstery weight at Zarin Fabrics. Do I have a place for this in our house? Maybe not, but I like it.

  • In nearby Soho I chanced to see Crosby Street, which reminded me that I’d wanted to see the Crosby Street Hotel, one of two hotels in the U.S. designed by Kit Kemp.  She uses color, texture, scale, fabric and soft furnishings are like no other designer I know of. When we walked into the hotel I explained to the concierge that I was very interested in Kit Kemp’s work, and we were immediately invited to look at the lobby, bar, and meeting rooms as we wished.

    Kit Kemp’s typical exuberant combinations of pattern and color on display at the Crosby Street Hotel

    I’m so taken by handmade fabric lampshades–I’m very tempted to try learning to make my own. Have you ever seen the prices for shades like these? Incredible!

    I’m not looking to duplicate Kemp’s hotel style in our own house, but as a sewer I’m fascinated by how much importance she places on textiles. Search her name on Pinterest and see for yourself.

    Wednesday, August 16

  • I visited the Kangol hat store at 196 Columbus Avenue.  I’ve been a fan of Kangol hats for close to 30 years, and on the rare occasions when I can see a wide selection I can’t resist looking.  With help from Kangol salesperson Steve I walked out the door with a new trilby.

    Nothing makes my day quite like a new hat.

    Back at the hotel, I packed my fabrics and scarf and carefully folded my new Kangol to tuck into my suitcase for the next day’s flight home.

From the Fabric and Button Stashes: New Pairings

Readers,

What would bring out the best qualities in my latest finds?

What would bring out the best qualities in my latest finds?

Among the ridiculously wonderful simple pleasures in my life as a sewer is seeing how my latest acquisitions go together with what’s in my stashes.

These buttons, from a Spitalfields vintage fair in London, work nicely with this Italian linen-rayon.

These buttons, from a Spitalfields vintage fair in London, work nicely with this Italian linen-rayon.

This is often how my projects now start out. I may see a winning combination of a pattern and a fabric. Later (as in minutes, hours, or years) I may see a richer relationship with additional fabrics or with buttons that seem to have been made for each other.

Another option.

Another option.

Many times I’ve had a fabric in my stash that appealed to me and yet didn’t have the right complements to bring out its best qualities, so it remained unsewn. I’ve wondered whether I made a mistake keeping that fabric.

But then, how about these?

But then, how about these?

Then at sales in Minneapolis, like the Textile Center sale, or the Guthrie Theater costume department sale last fall, or at vintage fashion fairs I’ve attended in London, I may discover offbeat finds that partner beautifully with that “orphan” piece. I discover new (to me) relationships of color and texture.

I cut a slit just large enough to be a pretend buttonhole for a closer look.

I cut a slit just large enough to be a pretend buttonhole for a closer look.

Working out these design puzzles is very absorbing. I only wish I were much, much better at it.

This pair says "Summer suit!"  Do I have just the right three-button jacket pattern?

This pairing says “Summer suit!” Do I have just the right three-button jacket pattern?

When I got back from The World’s Largest Textile Garage Sale just over a week ago, I spread out my fabric purchases and started pulling buttons to try with them.

For comparison, another choice.

For comparison, another choice.

Here are some possibilities. Several look very promising.

How would this chunky button look with this chunky tweed?

How would this chunky button look with this chunky tweed?

Maybe, maybe not.

Maybe, maybe not. Not a first choice.

How about this?

How about this?

Closer, I think.

Closer, I think.

Another try.

Another try.

A contender.

A contender.

Just for fun. There are blue flecks in the tweed. Would these blue buttons work, or are they too much?

Just for fun. There are blue flecks in the tweed. Would these blue buttons work, or are they too much? They deserve to be out in the world, not on a card forever.

There are better choices for this button.

There are better choices for this button.

A possibility.

A possibility.

I so want to put this mid-'40s buckle on something. But is this linen the right home?

I so want to put this mid-’40s buckle on something. But is this linen the right home?

Can't wait to find these buttons their perfect little piece of real estate. What could it be?

Can’t wait to find these buttons their perfect little piece of real estate. What could it be?

Black rounds edged in white, in two sizes. Big ones for the front closure, smaller for pocket trim?

Black rounds edged in white, in two sizes. Big ones for the front closure, smaller for pocket trim?

Monochromatic choices.

Monochromatic choices.

These translucent buttons seem right for this lighter-weight linen.

These translucent buttons seem right for this lighter-weight linen.

This orange button and its eight mates have been languishing on the wrong-color fabric for years. This is a much better combo.

This orange button and its eight mates have been languishing on the wrong-color fabric for years. This is a much better combo.

From the World’s Largest Textile Garage Sale

Readers, Yesterday I attended my favorite event of any kind in the whole year: a gigantic rummage sale to raise funds for the Textile Center in Minneapolis.IMG_5776 (460x266) I considered not going this year, since we’re moving and the last thing you’d think we’d want is more boxes to pack. But do you think I listened to reason? No!IMG_5777 (460x279) Not when I could be among hundreds of my fellow fiber lovers. Not when I could rifle through tables piled high with choice discards from other sewers’ stashes and find amazing remnants for bargain prices. Not when I had vintage buttons back home needing fabrics to be paired with.

In the last minutes before the sale opened, buyers limbered up for the race to the tables.

In the last minutes before the sale opened, buyers limbered up for the race to the tables.

No, I was destined to go to the World’s Largest Textile Garage Sale.

Carts at the ready for customers like me buying in bulk. Volunteers stationed at checkout, next to the loading docks.

Carts at the ready for customers like me buying in bulk. Volunteers stationed at checkout, next to the loading docks.

Fittingly, the sale was held at the ideal place for recycling and DIY types: the University of Minnesota’s ReUse Program warehouse. Waiting for the sale to start, we early birds were encouraged to pull out old office chairs ($10 apiece) and sit, not stand, in line. How nice is that? I did have to balance myself gingerly on my rickety chair, but that would be just another colorful addition to my Textile Garage Sale story for 2014.

Beyond the couches were tables of silent auction items like sewing machines and pressing equipment.

Beyond the couches were tables of silent auction items like sewing machines and pressing equipment.

The rest of the year I may swatch one fabric and take weeks deliberating over a possible purchase.  But at the World’s Largest Textile Garage Sale, hesitate and ye are lost. I strode toward the wool and linen fabric sections with a glint in my eye, prepared to make dozens of split-second decisions.

I did!

I did!

This year I made good use of the stash “parking lot,” claiming a large box early, which I then filled without difficulty.

This was only the beginning.

This was only the beginning.

As usually happens, I ran into Steve Pauling, the Bobbin Doctor, in the machines section, where I admired a space-age looking Singer sewing machine and a mangle that had seen better days, both in the silent auction. Steve said he’d been too busy to go see what Ginny herself, of the fabulous Ginny’s Fine Fabrics in Rochester, Minnesota, had donated.

Thousands of patterns, sewing books and magazines donated for the Textile Center sale.

Thousands of patterns, sewing books and magazines donated for the Textile Center sale.

Oh my gosh. I had visited the legendary Ginny’s for the first time last summer when I was researching “Sewing Destination: Twin Cities” for Threads magazine. I’ve been to some of the best fabric stores anywhere–in San Francisco, New York, and London–and Ginny’s easily ranks with them for quality, variety–and price. The stuff that dreams are made of doesn’t come cheap, nor should it.

Having carts made it all the more tempting to buy more.

Having carts made it all the more tempting to buy more.

I had already stowed several fabrics on their original cardboard cores in my stash box. Were they Ginny’s fabrics? Yes, they were! In fact, one of them looked familiar, and I realized I had admired that Italian linen-rayon blend in Ginny’s bargain room in the back of the store last summer.

With my catches of the day.

With my catches of the day.

What other Ginny’s treasures could I uncover? I then investigated nearly every fabric I could find wrapped around a cardboard core on the chance that it was from Ginny’s and at a price I would likely never see again.

Pure linen with a beautiful weight and drape for a suit.

Pure linen with a beautiful weight and drape for a suit.

Eight of my nine fabric purchases ended up being from Ginny’s Fine Fabrics: pure linen, pure cotton, linen-rayon and linen-cotton blends, all about 80 percent off retail prices. I also found a wool tweed that had the look of the 1940s or ’50s in its coloring, a very good backdrop, I hoped, for some of my vintage buttons.

This tweed has a vintage look that should be great with some of my buttons from the '30s, '40s and '50s.

This tweed has a vintage look that should be great with some of my buttons from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s.

In the magazine aisle I found 19 of the 20 issues of Threads magazine I needed to complete my collection, for all of $2.00.

This linen cries out to be made into a shirt for summer.

This linen cries out to be made into a shirt for summer.

Having made the rounds of the fabric tables about six times, I began to slow down. The patterns, sewing books, notions, ethnic and vintage textiles, UFOs (really!) and machines didn’t interest me this year. Well, the mangle did intrigue me.

An Italian linen-rayon blend.

An Italian linen-rayon blend. 12 yards!

But reason returned. After two intense hours, it was time to call it a day.

Luckily, I was able to wheel my purchases to checkout on one of the ReUse warehouse’s carts, and had help loading the car. Thanks, Textile Center volunteers!

More Italian linen-rayon, in greenish blue for summer.

More Italian linen-rayon, in greenish blue for summer.

Back home, I swatched all my new acquisitions, measured the yardage–as little as 3 yards and as much as 12–and started pulling buttons for possible matches to inspire new projects.

9 1/2 yards of linen for summer blouses and a dress.

9 1/2 yards of linen for summer blouses and a dress.

The next round of fun was about to begin.

The newest members of the stash.

The newest members of the stash.

Project: Vogue 4036 Jacket, (1959), Part 2

Readers,

Before cutting into my wool-synthetic blend for this jacket I knew I’d have to tame its ravelly nature.

My ravelly fabric, backlit using my old lightbox.

My ravelly fabric, backlit using my old lightbox. Now you can clearly see how loosely woven it is.

I went to the Threads magazine website looking for help, and found it quickly in a post by Kenneth King called “A Trick for Working with Raw Silk.”

I’ve had the experience–okay, frustration–in the past of distorting raw edges of pattern pieces when I’ve overcast them. With Kenneth’s method both the distortion and the frustration are avoidable.

See the link for Kenneth’s instructions in words and pictures. Here’s what I did.

I traced off the upper collar pattern piece so it would not have to be laid on a fold. I laid out the plaid in a single layer and used a carpenter's square to square up the plaid.

I traced off the upper collar pattern piece so it would not have to be laid on a fold. I laid out the plaid in a single layer and used a carpenter’s square to square up the plaid.

Because I laid out the fabric in a single layer rather than double, I basted next to the pattern piece without the large thread loops Kenneth King called for.

Because I laid out the fabric in a single layer rather than double, I basted next to the pattern piece without the large thread loops Kenneth King called for.

I cut about 1 inch away from the thread-marked edges. Just estimate--the excess will be trimmed soon.

I cut about 1 inch away from the thread-marked edges. Just estimate–the excess will be trimmed soon.

The upper collar with the barely discernible contrast blue thread basting.

The upper collar with the barely discernible contrast blue thread basting.

The basting is right on the cutting line of the pattern piece.

The basting is right on the cutting line of the pattern piece.

I stitched a small zigzag over the basting.

I stitched a small zigzag over the basting.

The zigzagged basting. Now the upper collar is ready to be trimmed to size.

The zigzagged basting. Now the upper collar is ready to be trimmed to size.

I trimmed closely to the zigzagging without trimming it away.

I trimmed closely to the zigzagging without trimming it away.

The trimmed upper collar. No raveling, no tears!

The trimmed upper collar. No raveling, no tears!

What a nifty technique! Thank you, Kenneth King! I’ll zigzag and trim all the rest of my pattern pieces the same way.

I laid this collar piece around my neck to get a sense of its size, since I was a little concerned about that. Even with the seam allowances, though, it’s not overly big. I think it will do just fine.

The collar size is just fine.

The collar size is just fine.

Bolts from the Blue

Readers,

It started early yesterday morning when I was checking out the latest conversations on PatternReview.com. “What Minnesota PR members will I see Saturday morning at the Guthrie Theater Fabric and Trim sale?” asked SewMN. “It’s on Saturday, October 19, from 9 am to 1 pm at the Guthrie Theater.”

Fishing for fabric: catches of the day.

Fishing for fabric: catches of the day.

This was news to me. We live only a short, scenic drive from the Guthrie. How could I not go? At 8:58 am I was about twentieth in line for the sale.

Since settling in at the Jean Nouvel-designed, three-stage Guthrie Theater complex the costume shop had been acquiring fabric until every storage space was crammed. It was time to clean house. Hundreds of fabrics rolled on tubes or tied in bundles had colored price tags indicating $20, $10, $5, or $1.

My new purchases, taking it easy in our back yard.

My new purchases, taking it easy in our back yard.

Fabric rummage sales are certainly exciting, but I’ve bought my share of “bargains” that sat in my stash. A few years ago I bought some beautiful wool at such a sale with the department store credit card receipt, dated 1983, tucked into the folds. Guess what–I ended up donating it back to the same annual sale a few years later.

The mint green wool matches shades on the Yellow-Green card of the 3-in-1 Color Tool.

The mint green wool matches shades on the Yellow-Green card of the 3-in-1 Color Tool.

Having learned some lessons editing my fabric stash earlier this year, I’ve wised up about what I allow in. My fabrics can’t be prima donnas. They must play well with each other and with my wardrobe.

The gray in the fabric matches a tone on the Orange card. That explains why I like this gray, unlike many others.

The gray in the fabric matches a tone on the Orange card. That explains why I like this gray, unlike many others.

After circling the remnant-laden banquet tables a couple of times, I scooped up a perky, loosely woven gray and white checked wool and a mint green wool with milk-chocolate brown flecks in it. They both said “early spring suit” to me.

I brought my bolts over to the window to examine their colors in the natural light. Another sewer was clutching half a dozen fabrics rolled on tubes. One grabbed my attention: a wool in the mossy greens that go with my eye color so well.

The mossy green wool relates best to colors on the Yellow card.

The mossy green wool relates best to colors on the Yellow card.

I must have looked especially covetous or else she was feeling extra generous in that moment. After I admired her choice, she asked if I wanted it. I protested feebly.  She said, “I don’t have a plan for it. You know what you’d do with it.” I had to agree.  She said, “If I handed it over to you, would you take it?” She had me there. Yes! Of course!

Which is how I ended up in the checkout line with three fabric pieces of unknown lengths totaling $50.  Each of them, it turns out, is about 58 inches wide and  3 1/3 yards, which is plenty for a couple of garments each.

Could these buttons work with the "mint chocolate" fabric?

Could these buttons work with the “mint chocolate” fabric?

Now, I know my tendency to attach colorful stories to my fabric purchases. I don’t want or need to change that habit. What I’m doing differently now is imagining possibilities more fully–continuing the story of each fabric through the planning, construction, and wearing stages.

Can these buttons hold their own against this background?

Can these buttons hold their own against this background?

When I brought these beauties home I looked at what buttons, patterns and wardrobe items could go with them. Even though I didn’t see any dazzling button-fabric combinations, the gears started turning, and that’s enough for now.

When I saw this fabric, this pattern came to mind immediately.

When I saw this fabric, this 1962 pattern came to mind immediately.

I think there are some winning pattern-fabric combinations, though. The moment I saw the checked fabric I was thinking about this 1962 jacket with detachable scarf. This fabric has some loft to it, which would be great for the scarf. It is also very ravelly. I’ll learn how to work with this characteristic.

From 1956, ladylike jackets. Check out that bow on the back!

From 1956, ladylike jackets. Check out that bow on the back!

The mint green, brown-flecked wool has the warmth needed for the end of winter and the colors of early spring. One of these 1956 jackets could be delightful to wear in March or April.

From 1959, a smart jacket for the moss-colored wool

From 1959, a smart jacket for the moss-colored wool

The mossy green wool is not a coat weight, but has a little more body than many jackets need. I found this 1959 pattern for a between-kind of jacket:  warm enough to be a light coat in cool weather, yet light enough to wear indoors, too.  I’ve admired this pattern for years and have another fabric in mind for it. The mossy wool could be my practice piece before I cut into the more unusual fabric I have ultimately in mind.

On the back deck before rain and hail chased my photo shoot indoors.

On the back deck before rain and hail chased my photo shoot indoors.

These serendipitous finds have fired up my imagination. It really wouldn’t take that much more planning to turn them into living, breathing garments.

Would it?

Why not make it so?

The hail pellets were the size of pretzel salt. The photo shoot continued indoors.

The hail pellets were the size of pretzel salt. The photo shoot continued indoors.