Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Death of a Fabric Store

I have a special place in my heart for Fabric World. When I moved to North Portland in 1988 there were no fabric stores in the area except Fabric World. Because of the missing letters in the sign I often referred to it as abic orld. I use to go there to pick up thread or zippers if I didn't want to drive all the way out to Fabric Depot or over to Mill End Fabrics.  Fabric World was one of the strangest fabric stores I have ever been inside. Half the store has kids clothes from the mid to late 70s' still on the rack with plastic covers over the clothes. The other half of the store was filled with polyester fabric from the same era. There were some gems in there every now and then. I was able to get some cotton jersey for really cheap when I started to sew with knit fabric. The price was decent and I was able to make a couple of nice Alabama Chanin dresses. One afternoon I went there for white thread, on the counter was a stack of what looked like some nice batiked fabric. There was a sign that said "recent imports", the price was about $5 a yard. I remember asking about the fabric and the woman behind the counter said the owner likes to travel, she buys "weird" fabric and sends it back to the store. I bought some very soft blue cotton batiked fabric, it felt like a voile. I loved that fabric. I want back a few more time, but never found the any more of that great fabric. I remember there were two very different women that worked there, one was an older very friendly woman who I would talk to about her grandkids and what I was working on, the other woman was not as friendly and always had conservative radio playing very loud. 

Last summer I went to Fabric World to get a zipper...but it was closed. There were several notes on the door and it looked like the mail had piled up. It looked like they had been closed for a couple weeks. I stopped by a couple more time to see what was up, there was still a store full of clothes and fabric, but there was no indication of why it was closed or if it was ever going to open again. 

In early March a friend told me that she was at City Liquidators and was told that they had bought the contents of Fabric World. WHAT!!!? I was told the woman that owned Fabric World passed away. Either her kids or her son (not sure if which) didn't want the store and just wanted to turn over the building. 

Searching the internet I could not locate any indication that woman who owned Fabric World had passed away. Her name is Rose Mary Gospodinovic, it's not a common name so you would think if she passed away there would be some record that would pop up. In fact the only thing that came up was the case against a Curtis Gibson who was found guilty in 2013 of stealing $1million from Rose in 2007-2009. He claimed she was a friend and he was inventing the money in property.  Rose Mary is about 88 years old so it may be that she is getting too old to take care of the business. She also had or has several other pieces of property that come up in her name. From my searches it seems that the property and business was put into a trust. I'm sure there is more to the story but this is all I have for now. 

As a fabric addict I decided to check out what City Liquidators had bought from Fabric World. I was told that Rose Mary had traveled a lot and often sent things she bought back to the store. That City Liquidators had taken out of the store a lot more than just 70's clothing and fabric. There was reported to be some expensive Gucci bags and shoes. I did not see the bags or shoes but I did locate an entire room of polyester fabrics. City Liquidators is selling the fabric by the bolt. There are some gems in the mix. I found some yellow 100% wool, some 70% wool and 30% nylon white, blue, green and red plaid and a bolt of burgundy plaid fabric (when I got it home I realized it was 100% acrylic). Several of the bolts are being sold for $29 a bolt, which for 10 yards of wool is excellent. But several of the bolts are not full bolts, so you are getting about 5 yards or less of fabric. The other problem for me is that I do not really need 10 yards of fabric, but I bought the bolts anyway. Some of the larger bolts are being sold for as much as $59 a bolt and the fake fur is being sold for $250 a bolt. I mean really!!!!...this fabric is about 30-40 years old. Polyester has come a long way, the polyester/acrylic they are selling is not a good kind....it's thick and very scratchy. Think of those nasty polyester pants with the elastic waist band that your grandmother wore...that's the stuff they are trying to sell. There are boxes of craft items, zippers that are $.99 (almost new price), tons of lace and some nice cotton rope that may be great for macrame. 

If you are like fabric this is worth checking out, but don't go there with high expectations. The price's will have to come down, in fact some of them have already dropped since I first went in to see what was available 3 weeks ago. They have re-priced 1/2 bolts of fabric to $10, but most of the 1/2 bolts are acrylic. If you have time to dig..you may find some great deals. I did locate some cottons and wools in the mix, so there are still some great fabric to be found. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Vintage Apron

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Sew Mama Sew. I had signed up to get a message on different challenges or submissions they may want from the sewing community. I was not chosen for their most recent request for submissions to make something for the kitchen. So since I had this vintage apron pattern out on my sewing table and have been waiting for a reason to make it, I challenged myself to get it done.  The pattern is a Simplicity 4868, a bib apron with a pocket. I have an apron from this pattern that my great grandmother made years ago and I wore that apron till it fell apart. I have the pattern in large, medium and small, I guess my great grandmother loved this pattern too. 

I had pulled out the pink fabric to cut out the apron several months ago but never got around to cutting out the pattern. Once I started to lay out the pattern pieces I realized I did not have enough of the pink fabric...I dug into my fabric bins and came up with this blue fabric that is printed with a cute Country Fair type of scene. 

I completed the apron in less about 2 hours, I did sew the back strap on upside down at first and had to take it off. I also had some problems with the way the back tie was connected. I think of this as a trial run. Now that I know where I had problems, I can make it again.  I will also play around with using different fabrics for the front and sides. 

I love wearing these type of aprons with a summer dress that doesn't have pockets. Or maybe wear it when I'm up in the community garden. The skirt is nice and full so it would hold a lot of vegetable. I always forget to bring a container with me to the garden and often end up filling my skirt of top with my bounty. I have always liked aprons that have a full front and of course POCKETS. Next time I make this apron I will put two pockets on the front. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Quilt, Cats, Tools, Zipper Pouch & Bricks

After I finished the scrap quilt last week, I left it on the wall to just look at it and see what I thought. Everytime I looked at it, it always looked too busy. I think it needed a visual break. I had been to Scrap moving sale & got 18 yards of some cotton ecru fabric that was only 12 " wide.  It was $2 a bag for fabric scrap and I picked up a lot of upholstery samples, 18 Yds of 12" wide cotton ecru fabric as well as a lot of other fun pieces of fabric, I came home with about 10 lbs of fabric for $2. Anyway....The quilt top looked too busy. I wanted a border but I didn't want the squares to look too separate...I wanted the squares to blend together some way. I think splitting the sashing in half and adding a colored piece of fabric helps cut up the light border and connects all the square. It's still quite busy but it has some visual resting spots that help move the eye through the quilt. I want to use this to practice my long arm quilting. I'm taking another class on how to use the long arm quilting machine at Modern Domestic next week and I want to use this quilt to practice. They have a new machine and so I have to take the class again. I don't mind as I'm sure I will learn something I don't already know. Arty likes the quilt...she posed for several photos. 

I talked last time about my job at the Tool Library, this is what I see when I walk into work in the morning  It's in the basement of the Historical Kenton Firehouse. It's kind of cool going to work at a historical firehouse. More on the library later.
 I made another triangle zipper pouch using Melody Miller fabric again. I like the heavier cotton that she uses in her fabric line. The fabric line is Ruby Star Rising. I'm trying to clean up the inside of the pouch. Instead of just stitching or serging the ends inside the pouch I attached bias tape.  Bias tape coves the raw edges inside but I think it's still just as nice if I  serge the raw edges. The bias tape also makes the pouch a little stiffer along the two seam lines. It's also difficult to find a 4" zippers in town. I have found a few on line but nothing at my local fabric shop. I can get 10 red 4" zippers for $5 from a woman in California or 25 different colors for $10 from Amazon. I will have to do a little more research on zippers. So far I have been using the zippers I have at home and cutting them to size. I really like making these little pouches. 
 CLEAN BRICKS!!! A friend took out his chimney and had a lot of brick in his driveway. Friends kept telling him that they wanted the brick and would pick some up but them be discouraged at how hard it is to clean the brick. He delivered some brick last week and I spent about 4 hours cleaning this brick. It's pretty simple once you get the hang of it. It's just time consuming and if you don't set up a table to put the brick on while you hit it...your arms will get sore. Holding on to a 5 or 6 lb brick while you it it with a hammer is hard on your arms. Believe me...I know. I learned the hard way...set up a small piece of wood with a lip all around, that will keep the brick in place as you hit it with a hammer. It's messy so alway set out a tarp under your table. Our friend was very happy to deliver some more brick this afternoon and I hope to clean the rest next week. I need to complete a small walk way behind my garage this summer. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A couple more zipper pouches

I had some more time in my sewing studio this evening after the sun when down. It was 70 degrees this afternoon in Portland!! I loved being outside reading, pulling weeds & playing with the cats. When the sun went down at about 8pm (daylight savings time started today), I went down to the basement into my studio and made a couple more zipper pouches from this tutorial. I wanted to try some fun novelty fabric. I pulled out some fun fabric that has images of camera. I got it half done before I realized that the cameras were upside down. I had to get out my seam ripper and pull out the zipper and start over again. Good thing it's such a simple project and taking out a couple seams was very easy. I completed the camera bag and thought I would add a crushed penny as a zipper pull. I had a couple of pennies with holes drilled in them, they were left over from when I was practicing drilling in the pennies to make a necklace. The penny I used on the camera bag was a mis-stamped penny. I wanted to use a split ring to hold the penny to the zipper pull. It was very hard to open this small split ring and even harder to get it on the penny & zipper pull. It seems that hold that I drilled in the penny was a little too small and needs to be larger if I'm going to use pennies on these cute bags. 
Then I decided to use some of my Melody Miller View-Master fabric. I love this Melody Miller fabric and still have a nice stash of some of her early lines of fabric. I completed the pouch in about 15 minutes. Since I did not have any more pennies with holes handy I pulled out some beads. It took me longer to pick out what beads to use on the zipper pull then it took me to complete the pouch. I can't say enough about how easy these pouches are to make. I again cut down a couple zippers to 4" since I do not have any 4" zipper (they are kind of difficult to find). Since the zippers teeth on the zippers was nylon it was easy to sew through them on my machine, I would not try this with a zipper that has metal teeth unless you are going to hand stitch the bottom of the bag. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Zipper bags

I have been obsessed with these zipper bags since I learned how to make them on Craftsy. It's a free class with Kristin Link of Sew Mama Sew. They are easy and take up very little fabric, about a fat quarter of fabric. I made 3 more the other evening in about an hour. I use scrap leather for the little handle on the left of the bag. Though I really like these bags they are a little large for my purse. I needed something to hold change instead of just dropping quarters into my bag. Then I found this tutorial!!! on making small triangle pouches. 

I made 2 pouches.  The first one is the tan one made from scrap upholstery fabric. The fabric was a little heavy so I had some problems sewing it all together. Also the original tutorial called for a 4" zipper. I had a 6" zipper so I just increased the size of the bag. It turned out a little too large, not to mention that it also was too bulky. I had some problems turning it inside out too as I forgot to unzip the zipper. I decided to try to make another one. I had taken a zipper out of a dress a couple weeks ago and I cut that red zipper to 4". I used some more scrap material, it was a heavier fabric but not a heavy upholstery fabric like the tan fabric. I whipped this little blue one up in about 15 minutes. The best thing is when you unzip the pouch you can see everything inside. The other change purse I had was problematic because the opening was so small I could not see inside and often had to dump all the change out on the counter. It was a little frustrating for folks in line behind me at the grocery store. I love these little pouches. I want to make a bunch of them using crushed pennies as zipper pulls. 

I saw this quilt hanging on the wall at Modern Domestic when I was in there to sign up for a class. I really like the quilt. The quilts that are currently on the wall are all made by instructors at Modern Domestic. I forgot to look at who did this quilt but I wanted to share it because I really like the design.  I love the deer head and the quilt is quilted all over with a tree pattern, a very Northwest quilt. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sometimes I just need a jump start

I started a new job a couple weeks ago. I'm the Tool Coordinator for the North Portland Tool Library. It's a lot of fun but I'm also realizing how much I don't know about tools. You would think that with since I spent a lot of time in the tool department at Sears as a child with my Father I would know more. It's kind of nice to know that I do not know everything. The job is only about 10 or 11 hours a week and it gives me a chance to get out of the house and talk to all kinds of people that live in my neighborhood. 

Since I started my new job I have not been sewing very much. I kind of hit a funk. So to get me out of that funk I made another quilt top. My husband asks me if we really need another quilt...I say of course we do. But I must admit I have about 4 or 5 quilt tops that are just sitting in my studio. So really what is one more going to hurt. It got me out of my sewing funk so it's a good thing. 

I started by pulling out my scrap bin and just sewing pieces of fabric together. I tried to stick with blues and reds. The idea was I would make the blocks with a white sashing between all the blocks and call it my red,white & blue quilt. Well it really did not happen like that...once I started to sew I just pulled pieces that looked good next to each other. I used a lot of pink, some nice blacks and purples too. I used all scrap from my scrap bin. All the squares are 12.5" x12.5" I would sew till the block was larger than the 12" and then cut it down. I would than use the cut scraps I cut off to start the next block. I was able to use some really small pieces of fabric with out going crazy while sewing. Once I got the squares completed I liked them all next to each other, I don't think I will put a sashing between the blocks. I like the fact that all the blocks run into each other and it's hard to see where one block starts and the other one ends. This quilt will be about 5ft by 4ft and if I get a backing done, I may try to free motion quilt it on my home machine. I still have a HUGE scrap bin and I know I need to tackle that part of my studio...but that is for another day. 

I'm still making rugs. This is one of the latest. As you can see Arty loves this one. She jumped up on it right away (of course that may have been because my husband put some cat nip on the rug). I was lucky enough to get some red last time I was at Pendleton Woolen Mill, it's a nice bright color. I dropped off some samples at a couple shops. One shop already contacted me saying "it was not the right fit" for their store :(. Oh well there are other shops that I think these rugs would do great. I'm thinking of making smaller rugs for cats, as our cats love sleeping on these warm wool rugs. I can change directions and hit all the pet stores in the ares. I also like the rugs unfelted, they feel very lush. Felting the rugs means I have to wash them in hot water with Murphy's Wood Soap and dry them on high. It adds a step that may not be necessary. Of course folks that want to felt the rug can and it makes the rug look a lot different. I make these while we watch movies at night and I'm getting quite a stack of rugs. If I don't start selling some of these soon....everyone will be getting rugs for Christmas this year. This red, black and grey rug is about 45".