Tag Archives: vintage

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

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Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

I’ve been thinking for a while about this post.  If you’ve been following my blog for a long time or have looked through past posts and seen a Brimfield post or two (or three), you’ll know that I love antiques.  I’m not a collector of any particular thing, but I love items from the past that I can use in my everyday life.  I like a bargain and a little patina.  Wood, metal, glass, ceramic–those are the materials I like to look for, and many of them have been pressed into service for sewing.  Thanks to some special items from  family and friends as well as flea markets and roadside finds, I have some vintage sewing tools, but I also have some great storage solutions.  That is what I want to share with you today.  Maybe it will give you some ideas or maybe you have fun vintage storage solutions of your own that you’d like to share in the comments.

Let’s take a little tour of my sewing space.  I actually cleaned it up for you.  😉

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

Here’s where I sew at one end of our living room.  Most of my tools and equipment have been gifts, freebies, or bargains.  The sewing table was my Mom’s and the chair belonged to my parents.  That cool old medical lamp was a side of the road find.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

It’s not very bright, but the head can be moved to direct light onto your project and you can make the lamp taller or shorter.

Here are a few more items I find useful.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

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Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

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Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

This is my fabric cabinet, found at a flea market.  Fabric is organized somewhat by color and somewhat by type.

Those are the big items, but I also have some very useful smaller organizers–wooden roast beef and cheese boxes.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

Patterns go in the roast beef boxes…and tools (and other items like trim) go in the cheese boxes.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

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Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

I also use cheese boxes in the drawers of my sewing table for organization.  That’s actually where I keep my box of cutting tools.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

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Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

Other great containers for storage include cigar boxes,

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

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Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

tins,

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

and really any old container that you like the look of and that will fit what you are trying to store.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

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Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

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Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

I also find old locker baskets useful, albeit somewhat pokey.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

For buttons and old, but beautiful spools of thread, I often employ glass canning jars, which look great whether they are vintage or new.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

And on my sewing table/desk, I’ve found that an old stamp holder (if it’s not too rusty) can be useful for holding thread and bobbins for your most recent projects.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

I also use this old shaving mug to hold binder clips for pattern pieces, mini clothes pins for my pattern instructions, and post-it tabs to help me keep my place in the instructions when I’m sewing.  This one features New Hampshire’s “Old Man of the Mountain” who fell off the mountain some time ago, so…I guess it’s even more special now?

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

Once you get started organizing with vintage containers, it’s not hard to follow that up with a few vintage notions.  Often people will give them to you if they are cleaning out and know you are interested.  I love having tools and notions that were loved in the past and knowing I can use and enjoy them and give them a second life.  It makes my own sewing that much more special.

Vintage Storage Solutions for Sewing

If you’re looking to add a little vintage flair to your sewing and/or your sewing organization, here are some of my sources.  I will tell you, though, that I’ve loved old things ever since I was little, so this collection of special odds and ends didn’t spring up overnight.  This is a great long-term hunt.  Patience will serve you well.

So, sources!  Number one for so many of these items has been family.  My parents and in-laws have often passed on things they weren’t using that I fell in love with.  Once I started to sew and knit, family and friends also gave me tools from family members who had passed away, which was really special.

If you are near Boston’s North Shore, my favorite flea market is Todd Farm in Rowley, MA.  It’s open every Sunday morning from approximately Easter to Thanksgiving.  I like early-morning antiquing, so I go before church sometimes.  If you are within driving distance of western Massachusetts, I highly recommend Brimfield.  The prices there are not as good (in general) as a small, local flea market like Todd Farm, but the selection is unparalleled.

For cigar boxes, you can often buy them inexpensively (or sometimes get them for free) at cigar shops.  They may not be vintage, but they often have that vintage look regardless.  And consider using any containers that you find useful and beautiful like clean jars or tubs from food or other items.

I also suggest yard sales, side-of-the-road freebies, thrift stores, and super junky bargain antique stores.

Of course all of this takes time, but I love the thrill of the hunt and the opportunity to use things with a history.  If you have any great tips for organizing or sewing with vintage items OR great sources for finding said items, tell me in the comments!

Recommendations

  • Have you seen the new “stickers” from the McCall Pattern Company for iOS?  It’s a free app with little sewing-related images that you can use on your phone (if you have an iPhone) or iPad.  They are super fun to text to your other sewing buddies.
  • So, here’s a website/blog that’s new to me, but could prove very helpful:  Shop the Garment District.  It’s about sewing and shopping for sewing goodies in New York City’s Garment District.  I heard about this site while listening to the Sew Forth Now podcast.  This is an old podcast that you can still listen to by Lori from the blog Girls in the Garden.  I’m finding some great resources through these.  Lori’s blog (which she is still posting to) is also a great source for sewing inspiration as she tries lots of different patterns and fabric.
  • Here is something I learned recently:  Everything is better with doodles.  😉

 

A New (Awesome) Shirt! Simplicity 2255 in Cotton + Steel Paper Bandana

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Hi, sewing friends!  It feels like forever since we’ve had a good old basic sewing post.  So that’s what we have today.  I love doing special projects and field trips and, honestly, taking a break from blogging has allowed me to build up a nice backlog of projects to share with you, but it’s also nice to get back to the normal, everyday type of sewing stuff.  A little break makes it feel more special, and it makes me excited to share things with you.

So, all that to say, I made a shirt!  And I love it!

Simplicity 2255

Simplicity 2255

The pattern I used was Simplicity 2255, which first came to life in my closet in an orange iteration last year.

Simplicity 2255

Simplicity 2255

This time I made the same view (View D) in the same size (16 at the bust, 18 at the waist and hips), but I left off the pocket, and I didn’t mess up the bias binding on the armholes!  Progress!

Simplicity 2255

Simplicity 2255

I will say that the shirt feels different in the quilting cotton I chose this time around than the voile-like mystery fabric I used last time.  I think I would like the armhole to be slightly larger, so I looked in some fitting books and, if I make this again, I’m going to try scooping out the bottom curve of the armhole just a bit, although I’m open to other suggestions if you have them.  It’s not uncomfortable exactly, but it feels a bit high and like there should be more room.  This wasn’t something I noticed in the first version.

I’d had my eye on this fabric for a long time, but what I didn’t see until my friend pointed it out, was that the pattern on this fabric almost makes a sort of plaid.  (Thanks, Maggie!)  I haven’t really delved into much pattern matching, but I decided to try to generally match the horizontal lines, and it turned out pretty well!  I’m happy with it.  I’m also really in love with the vintage buttons I used that came from my mother-in-law (Thanks, Mom!).

Simplicity 2255

I’m trying really hard to pay attention to what I most like to wear in each season and what I feel good in.  For summer, I’ve decided I like looser things so the breeze can keep me cool when I’m wearing them.  (In contrast, I find that I want to be wrapped up in blankets in the winter, hence “secret blanket clothing”.)  This shirt is definitely loose and breezy, and I feel super cool when I’m wearing it (literally and figuratively).

Here are a few detail shots.

Simplicity 2255

Simplicity 2255

Simplicity 2255

So, that’s about it for this shirt!  I’ve worn it two times this week, and I washed it yesterday so I can wear it again today.  Don’t judge (or if you have to, keep it on the inside)!  😉

Simplicity 2255

How about some Recommendations?

  • When I get the chance to watch TV these days, I’ve really been enjoying Atelier, a show created by Netflix and Fuji TV about a girl just out of school (college? grad school?) who goes to work in a custom lingerie store in Tokyo.  Unlike an American show, this isn’t smutty or racy, but is a really heartwarming story about learning to take pride in making quality work and to prioritize your customers, co-workers, and friends above your bottom line.
  • Hila’s blue dress over on Saturday Night Stitch is so cute.  I love it!  She copied a ready-to-wear dress, and I’d say she nailed it.
  • Allie J. interviews Deborah Kreiling of Simplicity, and they talk all about Simplicity’s vintage rereleases.  It’s really fascinating to get an inside look at Simplicity’s process.
  • And because I try to share the new things I find with you, I bring you an Olympic sport I missed the first time around:  ballet skiing.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide if the world is better or worse without this in the Olympics.

The Brimfield Report: May 2016

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It’s Brimfield time again!  I love Brimfield!  What is it?  The Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, MA is the largest outdoor antique market in the United States.  It happens three times a year in May, July, and September from a Tuesday to a Sunday.  Usually my wonderful husband takes a day off to watch the kids so I can get up long before the crack of dawn to head out there for a full day of antiquing.  I love it!

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Unlike some people who go to Brimfield, I’m not a serious collector of anything.  I keep a list throughout the year of antiques I’d love to find, but I’m usually looking for things that are maybe mid-century, on the smaller side, and something I can use.  I save up Christmas and other money, but I don’t think I’ve ever spent it all.  I love to look at everything, hunt for treasures and gifts, and get lessons in both history and the psychology of Brimfield.  It’s never dull.  I walk all day, and then I enjoy some good food.

This year, for the first time, one of my friends was a vendor.  Laurel’s business is called Retromat Vintage and she sells vintage clothing as well as other things that are interesting and cool.  Here a just a few pictures of some of her goods.

Brimfield Antique Show

I vote for bringing gloves back.

Brimfield Antique Show

Or how about hats?

I got the chance to work for her for about 20 or 30 minutes and, despite my nervousness, it went well.  She gave me some sewing goodies that I wanted in return…and a lobster roll.

Brimfield Antique Show

I felt richly rewarded for my minimal work!  Thanks, Laurel!  Laurel also gave me this Necchi-Elna catalogue, which was fun to look through since I have a much-loved Elna.  I had no idea they were one company at some point.

Brimfield Antique Show

The pattern was a freebie from another vendor.  It has no instructions, but I’m working on tracking those down…

I also got to see my friend Maggie from my favorite fabric store in NH, and we had some fun checking out the vintage sewing goodies.

My strategy this time, since I wanted to be available to Laurel if she needed me, was to hit my favorite fields first, and then walk through whatever other fields I could get to.  All the fields have interesting names.  Because I love to delve into whatever I am really interested in, I started a notebook to record favorite fields (currently New England Motel, Quaker Acres, and The Meadows), notes to remember, etc.  Inside I have directions to Brimfield, a page for each field with notes, general notes about where I like to park (in the middle), and my wish lists for the current year and years past.

Also included are a few Bingo lists I’ve made.  My husband creative Brimfield Bingo when we went together one year:  think of the craziest things you can (because you never know what you might find at Brimfield), and then check them off if/when you find them.  While I didn’t play Bingo this year, here are a few of the weirder things I saw:

Brimfield Antique Show

In case you lose an eye…

Brimfield Antique Show

or become a cook in a giant’s kitchen.

My notebook started to get so full of vendor cards, that Scott got me a little accordion file so I can keep track of which vendors are in which fields.  Yes.  We ARE cool.

Brimfield Antique Show

Want to see what else I got?

Brimfield Antique Show

Owl scissors!  At $2 apiece, I wish I had bought a bunch more for gifts.  Maybe next time.

Brimfield Antique Show

A sleeve board for pressing sleeves.  Don’t worry–I’ll clean it up before using it on my sewing projects.

I also got some fun jewelry:

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

And I got some gifts, some of which have to remain secret, but here’s one that doesn’t:

Brimfield Antique Show

And finally, here are some pictures of things I saw as I walked around.

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

A Singer Featherweight sewing machine complete with case!

Brimfield Antique Show

Not everything is antique–some things are upcycled from antiques or are handmade goods like these jeans or supplies for making other things like the yarn below.

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

Brimfield Antique Show

It was a great Brimfield, I have to say.  I had a lot of fun looking for treasures and hanging out with Maggie and Laurel.  If you’ve gone to Brimfield, I’d love to hear your thoughts, tips, or favorites.

For posts on Brimfields past, see these links:  2014 and 2015.

 

The Apple Picking Skirt

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It was time for a crazy-sewing-lady skirt.  What came from this determination was “The Apple Picking Skirt”!

Pink Apples Dirndl Skirt

As I’ve sewn more and more, I’ve used awesomely patterned quilting cotton less and less, but let’s be honest:  quilting cotton has the MOST FUN prints!  So, I decided that I needed a skirt (or a dress or a…something) out of some really cool quilting cotton.  Who should step in the fill the gap but Melody Miller of Cotton + Steel and her super cool Picnic collection.

Melody Miller:  Picnic (Apples Pink)

This was the project I chose after finishing my jacket for the Refashioners challenge.  I still had/have a few projects on my “big ‘ol batch of sewing” list (good name, right?), but I needed something quick and easy…and with only one or two new concepts to learn.  So, I checked out Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing by Gretchen Hirst from my library for the billionth time (I really need to buy a copy!) and used her instructions to create a dirndl skirt, which is basically two rectangles sewn together with a rectangular waistband at the top.  I’d never made one of these types of skirts before, and I wanted to try it.  I also wanted to try using horsehair braid to make the hem stand away from my body.

Pink Apples Dirndl Skirt

And it was fun!  And easy!

So, let’s talk about a few details.  I ordered my fabric from fabric.com, and got my horsehair braid from Pintuck & Purl.  Maggie, the shop owner, gave me some information on using it, and between that and Gretchen’s book, I was golden.  I got the pink zipper at Joann’s, and in my button collection (a gift from my in-laws’ attic), I found the BEST button!  Check this out!

Pink Apples Dirndl Skirt

It’s a squirrel!  And it looks like it’s holding the apple!  Thanks, Mom!

This was certainly a project of details.  It’s such a simple skirt, that I had fun on those extras.  I’m really convinced that the things that make clothing special (besides quality construction and style lines) are fabric and details.  Even in the thrift store I use fabric as a guide, looking along the rows of clothing for stand-out fabric, and only then considering the garment.

Since I mentioned details, I have another favorite detail on this skirt–the tag!

Pink Apples Dirndl Skirt

I didn’t realize until the last time I was up at Pintuck & Purl and was talking to some of the other ladies at the Sip & Stitch night that Cotton + Steel always has cool selvedges.  This fabric had all the information about the designer and the line and all that, but it also had this cute little section that said, “I made something pretty for you!”  Well, selfish seamstress that I am, I changed “you” to “me”, and I sewed it to the back of my skirt.

Now is when fantasy clashes with reality.  Would I really wear this apple picking?  No.  But I did wear it to church, and it’s making the beginning of fall feel pretty fun (I was having a hard time letting go of summer after the last winter we had.).

Pink Apples Dirndl Skirt

While I was making this, I spotted Jenny’s cool skirt featuring fabric with a map of London on her blog, Cashmerette.  I felt we were thinking on the same wavelength, which I liked, since she’s pretty cool.

Now that all is said and done, I’m not sure this is my favorite silhouette on me, but I think I’m going to try at least one more high-waisted, gathered skirt (from a different pattern) before I decide for sure.  Sometimes new silhouettes just take a little getting used to.

So, what about you?  Do you try to go incognito with your sewing projects so everyone will think they are store-bought or do you like to stand out and embrace looking “homemade”?

Whatever you are sewing, I hope it makes you excited for the season ahead and drives you on to make more projects in the future!

Pink Apples Dirndl Skirt

City Mouse, Country Mouse: The Country

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After visiting friends and family near Detroit last month, we went and did the same on the other side of Michigan.  The area we stayed in was completely rural, and very beautiful.  I regret not photographing any of the rolling hills and corn and soybean fields, but since that would have involved stopping on the highway or sticking my camera out the window, you’ll just have to take in what I did manage to capture.  🙂  Let’s go on a tour of southwest Michigan!

In my book, summer must include some fruit-picking!  My parents took us to Lehman’s Orchard in Niles, MI to pick sour cherries and raspberries.  I’ve long wanted to make a real cherry pie from scratch, but I can never find fresh or frozen sour cherries where I live (and if I did, I’m sure they would be very pricey).  Sometimes I find them in jars and they cost way too much, so I’ve never bought them.  The cherries at this farm were a bargain and so easy to pick.  Look how beautiful they are!

Cherry picking at Lehman's Orchard in Niles, MIDid you every play Hi Ho Cherry-O?  I think these look just like the cherries in that game!

Cherry picking at Lehman's Orchard in Niles, MI

Once we picked them, we brought them to a little outbuilding and washed them.  Then they went through the cherry pitter!

Cherry picking at Lehman's Orchard in Niles, MI

We also picked raspberries.  My husband found one of the coolest sights that day on top of one of the raspberry rows:

Raspberry picking at Lehman's Orchard in Niles, MI

Baby birds!

We also visited Fernwood Botanical Garden in Niles, MI.  One of the highlights was these stick houses.

Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve

Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve

And…since I was out in the country, I had to look into a new store that I had never seen before:  Rural King, in Niles, MI!  I don’t own any trucker hats, but I was kind of hoping to find one there that said “Rural King”.  I would definitely have worked that into my wardrobe!

Rural King in Niles, MI

This is a true farm store.  I got a lot of looks when I walked in mainly because, although I was dressed very casually, it was clear I hadn’t just come off the farm.

Rural King has many cool offerings, like

Rural King in Niles, MIwork clothes,

Rural King in Niles, MIsparkly belts (this picture does not do the sparkles justice),

Rural King in Niles, MI

and baby chicks!

Along with farm and food stuff, I also love antiques, so I peeked into many an antique store.  Luckily for my wallet and limited storage space, I didn’t buy anything beyond that dress in Detroit, but how awesome/crazy would it have been if I could have bought THIS?

Picker's Paradise in Niles, MI

Doesn’t everyone need a mirror with taxidermy squirrels on it?  “Only” $325!  Or how about THIS to hold your rings and bracelets?

Picker's Paradise in Niles, MIA raccoon arm!  Yeah, that didn’t come home with me either, but not because I wasn’t tempted!  These were both from a booth in Picker’s Paradise in Niles, MI, which was a pretty great store.  All the other booths were much more normal, I promise.

During our visit, we went to Lake Michigan several times.  I love Lake Michigan.  It’s like the ocean, only with fresh water and no scary creatures.  We visited both St. Joseph, MI and Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor, MI.

When we went to St. Joseph, it was for the day.  They have beautiful Silver Beach, with bathrooms, a snack shack, and a playground.  The town also has a children’s museum, carousel, Silver Beach Pizza, the coolest splash park ever, and lots of cute shops you can visit.  It’s busy on the weekends, but really fun.

St. Joseph, MI on Lake Michigan

Sunset view of Lake Michigan from the pier in St. Joseph, MI

Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor is just over the channel from Silver Beach, but is much less built up and more naturalistic.  Like Silver Beach, it also has bathrooms, a snack shack and a playground, but is much quieter.  We had fun swimming and looking for rocks with fossils on them.

Jean Klok Park, Benton Harbor, MI

The beach at Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor, MI

We ate a lot of good food on this trip.  So, my burger recommendation from the west side goes to Laura’s Little Burger Joint in Decatur, MI.  We’re staying rural, here, so this is out in the middle of cornfields.  It’s a beautiful drive.

Laura's Little Burger Joint in Decatur, MI

The burgers here are huge!  There are many fun options (as well as things besides burgers), and seating is in the open at picnic tables spread out under the trees and sky.

Laura's Little Burger Joint in Decatur, MI

Laura's Little Burger Joint in Decatur, MI

May I also humbly suggest that after you have finished your burger, you might want to drive a minute down the road to get your after-dinner ice cream at the Hayloft?  I think you won’t be disappointed.  🙂

And now, for you sewing fans out there, the west side fabric report.  As I mentioned in the last post, before this trip, I did my research about good fabric stores near where I was going to be staying and found this great list from Rae Hoekstra of the blog made by RAE.  By her recommendation, I visited Field’s FABRICS in Kalamazoo, MI.

Field's Fabrics in Kalamazoo, MI

Field’s is an excellent fabric store that I highly recommend (and now really want to visit again).  For all the lucky western Michigan people, there are several locations.  Field’s is probably as big as Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, MI, but has a very different feel.

Field's Fabrics in Kalamazoo, MI

Field's Fabrics in Kalamazoo, MI

It didn’t hurt that there were some serious sales on.  I came away with a stretchy fleece from Malden Mills (smooth outside, fleece inside) and a cool red/purple chambray that I want to say is Robert Kaufman (although I’m not 100% sure).  Sadly, I can’t find these on their website to link to.

Field's Fabrics in Kalamazoo, MI

I may actually deserve an award for this fabric trip.  I had only 45 minutes to shop this whole, amazing store and, cutting time excluded, I totally did it!  My husband laughed when I told him I would only have that much time (after I spent two hours shopping at Haberman Fabrics, can you blame him?).  I did it, though!  I also tried to convince the lady who cut my fabric that they needed to open a Massachusetts branch, but she didn’t go for it.  That’s sad, but I’m recovering.

Lastly, although I didn’t photograph it, I went to Hancock Fabrics in Mishawaka, IN.  I hear people say they get things there and since we have Joann, but not Hancock, I thought I would check it out.  I think there was a sale on at nearly every store I hit on this trip (awesome!), and it was no different here.

Hancock Fabric in Mishawaka, IN

I got a pink and white cotton gingham (can’t find the fabric to link to, but it’s 100% cotton with a quarter inch check) and a cotton stretch sateen suiting in super-fun colors.  I can definitely envision a skirt (the suiting) and shirt (the gingham) out of these, maybe even worn together.  My mother wasn’t so sure about that combination, but if those garments ever materialize out of this fabric, I think that I can convince her.  If not, I’ll wear it anyway!  😉

So that was my trip!  We got seriously spoiled, ate so much good food, and had a wonderful time with friends and family.  Thanks to everyone who made our trip really special.  And readers, I hope you get a chance to check out some of these places if you are ever in southwest Michigan.  It’s a beautiful and friendly place to visit.

 

City Mouse, Country Mouse: The City

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Hi, Friends!  It’s been a long time since our last meeting here on these pages.  I was off visiting friends and family for most of July, and I thought you might like to see a few of the places I visited.  As always, I’ll include links when possible.  Maybe you’ll find some new favorites, too!

First let’s visit the Detroit area of Michigan.

My sister-in-law took my mother-in-law and me into Eastern Market in Detroit one weekend.  Eastern Market is a farmer’s market filled with delicious food and beautiful plants.

Detroit's Eastern Market

Detroit's Eastern Market

Detroit's Eastern Market

Castor Bean

Detroit's Eastern Market

Dahlia

Detroit's Eastern Market

Dahlia

The market area is flanked by cool shops as well.

Outside Detroit's Eastern Market

DeVries & Co.

Outside Detroit's Eastern Market

DeVries & Co.

DeVries & Co. had all sorts of great foods, imported and domestic.  You could ride the old freight elevator to the top level to find cute home goods as well.

And, of course, we had to look in this labyrinthine antique shop that my sister-in-law discovered.

Outside Detroit's Eastern Market

Eastern Market Antiques

This little area was arguably my favorite.  I even found a vintage dress/tunic!

Outside Detroit's Eastern Market

Outside Detroit's Eastern Market

Collar detail

It’s a bit on the short side for a dress on its own, but I have a few ideas for it…

Just before we left, we visited the Detroit Mercantile Company.  Talk about a great selection of quality and hand-made goods!

Outside Detroit's Eastern Market

Detroit Mercantile Company

Outside Detroit's Eastern Market

Detroit Mercantile Company

Since I’ve been contemplating making jeans, I was pretty interested in the offerings from the Detroit Denim Company.  After checking out their website, I kind of wished I had tried to set up an interview.  Maybe another time…

We also had fun food adventures, and I can wholeheartedly recommend Joe’s Hamburgers if you are ever in Wyandotte, MI.  They have a great retro vibe and delicious food.  The burgers are small (“sliders”), which makes it all the better if you want to sample several–and don’t forget to order a few kinds of fries if you are with a group so you can try more than one kind!

Joe's Hamburgers in Wyandotte, MI

 

Joe's Hamburgers in Wyandotte, MI

Joe's Hamburgers in Wyandotte, MI

Joe's Hamburgers in Wyandotte, MI

Mushroom Swiss Slider and Poutine Fries. Yum!

And now, you probably knew it was coming…FABRIC SHOPPING!  I have to thank my husband who drove me around and sat through three hours of fabric shopping (plus plenty of indecision on my part).  My in-laws also deserve thanks for babysitting!!!

Before we left, I looked online for fabric stores in the Detroit area and came up with this list from Rae Hoekstra of made by RAE that covers some of the best of southern Michigan.  And she was not wrong.  I went to two different fabric shops near Detroit, and each was spectacular.

Unfortunately, I didn’t do Material Girls in Dearborn justice (so sorry!).  I got a picture of the outside of their shop and then totally dropped the ball on photographing the inside.

The Material Girls in Dearborn, MI

The ladies who worked there were really wonderful.  They had a good selection of quilting fabric as well as some carefully curated apparel fabrics.  It was so wonderful to see, in person, many of the fabrics I have looked at online.  There really is no comparison to touching and looking at fabric in person.  After saving up a nice little fund for shopping, it was great to not only look, but also buy and stock up on supplies for upcoming projects.  Here is what I got from The Material Girls:

The Material Girls in Dearborn, MI

The bird fabric is for me (I was inspired by Carolyn of Allspice Abounds), but the pandas and superheroines are for Christmas presents.  Luckily the intended recipients don’t read this blog.  Shh!  😉

We also visited Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan.  It’s a little bit hard to describe this one.  It might be fabric paradise.

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

I don’t think I’ve been in a fabric store quite like this since I started sewing seriously.  It was mainly dedicated to apparel fabric, including bridal and special occasion, but also had home decorating fabric, space for classes, a sewing machine repair window, and so many notions.  Wow.

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

 

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

When I first got there, I was so excited.  I wandered through looking at all the various apparel fabrics.  I had made a list so I could be at least slightly focused, but after looking at everything, my excitement turned into distress.  I saved and worked to build a fabric fund, but there was too much!  What should I get?  What would I be sad to leave behind?

Want to see what I got?

Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan

The striped fabric is a rayon knit from Italy that’s double-sided!  I also wanted to experiment with a little stretch lace and stretch net.  (I can’t find any of these on their website, or I would link to them.)  What a great store.

Yea for fabric shopping and yea for some fun in the city!  Thanks, family and friends!  Next up…the country!

 

 

Me-Made-May ’15: Week Three

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Here we are at the end of week three of Me-Made-May.  I’m excited to show you some more pictures.  I was expecting a lot more repeats by this time, but I’ve been digging deep in my closet and storage to try to keep things changed up.  It’s encouraging that I’ve made more garments than I thought I had.  It also makes me want to sew even more!

Since May started on a Friday, the weeks are running Friday to Thursday (at least as far as my blog posts are concerned).  Fridays come with a little extra challenge for anyone who wants to take it on, and week three’s challenge was “Something Old”.

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 15: Summer Blouse from the book Weekend Sewing, made from a vintage sheet #mmmay15

The shirt I’m wearing is “old” in that I made it before I really got traction with sewing and before beginning the blog.  It’s also made from a vintage sheet.  If you read the last post, you’ll recognize this shot.  I found a vintage sheet that almost matched my shirt at Brimfield!

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 16: Pajama shirt as everyday shirt from McCall’s 6848 #mmmay15

This shirt is made from McCall’s 6848, which is a pajama pattern.  You may recognize the fabric from the Mother’s Day skirt in last week’s Me-Made-May post.  It’s a sheet that someone gave me.  I love the fabric and I wanted to see if this shirt would translate into an everyday shirt.  I’d also thought of making it from a knit for exercising and/or day-to-day wear, but I’m not sure.  I like it in these pictures, but when I was wearing it, I kept seeing an old pair of scrubs I used to wear as pajamas.

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 16: Pajama shirt as everyday shirt from McCall’s 6848 (close-up) #mmmay15

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 16: Pajama shirt as everyday shirt from McCall’s 6848 (close-up) #mmmay15

The back yoke is actually the hem of the sheet.

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 17: Ankara peplum from Simplicity 1699 #mmmay15

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 17: Ankara peplum from Simplicity 1699 (close-up) #mmmay15

This shirt is made from Ankara fabric and Simplicity 1699.  I think, in my imagination, where I actually tweak and fit patterns to be just right, I would add an inch to the bodice of the shirt just above the waistline since this sits about an inch high, but in real life, I still love to get a project done and move on.  Maybe someday…

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 18: Alabama Chanin style reverse applique scarf/wrap #mmmay15

Day 18 turned into a bit of a photo shoot, so even after narrowing down my choices, I have a lot of pictures to show you.

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 18: Alabama Chanin style reverse applique scarf/wrap #mmmay15

This scarf/wrap is really versatile.  I designed it from some of my husband’s old t-shirts in reverse applique a la Alabama Chanin.  It was a lot of fun to work on and while I don’t wear it as often as I would like, I think it’s still one of the pieces I’m most proud of.

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 18: Alabama Chanin style reverse applique scarf/wrap (close-up) #mmmay15

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 18: Alabama Chanin style reverse applique scarf/wrap (close-up) #mmmay15

 

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 19: Alabama Chanin style reverse applique shirt #mmmay15

You’ve seen this one before!  The challenge with a repeat garment, especially since I’m taking pictures every day, is to find a new way to style it.  I do that in normal life, too, but when I find a good outfit, I also repeat it.  I’m trying not repeat whole outfits this month so I can give you something a little more interesting than seven of the same outfits repeated each week.  It’s a good creative exercise.

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 19: Alabama Chanin style reverse applique shirt (close-up) #mmmay15

This picture makes me feel like I’m in an Alabama Chanin book.  Not sure why they haven’t called me to model yet…

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 19: Alabama Chanin style reverse applique shirt (detail) #mmmay15

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 20: Exercise shirt, McCall’s 6848 #mmmay15

I used to be so good at exercising regularly, but my main motivation to exercise this spring has been because I made a new piece of exercise clothing.  I made this shirt and it looked so awesome with the chevron fold over elastic as an edging, but when I wear it, it gapes more than I would like.  I think I may go back and fiddle with the neck and armholes to see if I can get a fit I’m happier with.

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 20: Exercise shirt, McCall’s 6848 (close-up) #mmmay15

This shirt is also from McCall’s 6848.  You can see my first gym-ready version of it here.

Last, but not least for this week is an Alabama Chanin sleeveless shirt.

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 21: Alabama Chanin sleeveless shirt #mmmay15

I love this shirt, but I think if I make it again, I’ll make it one size larger.  I’d love something with a slightly looser fit.

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 21: Alabama Chanin sleeveless shirt (close-up) #mmmay15

I made this shirt from a knit sheet (the main part) and an old t-shirt (the binding).

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 21: Alabama Chanin sleeveless shirt (detail) #mmmay15

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 21: Alabama Chanin sleeveless shirt (detail) #mmmay15

I love the Alabama Chanin patterns year-round, but especially for the summer.  I have a feeling I’ll be making more in the warmer months.

That wraps up another week of Me-Made-May.  Thanks for following along.  I’ll report back with more soon!

The Brimfield Report, May 2015

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A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

 

If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any significant amount of time, you’ve probably heard me mention The Brimfield Antique Show.  For newcomers out there, The Brimfield Antique Show is the largest outdoor antique show/flea market in the U.S.  It runs from a Tuesday to a Sunday three times a year in May, July, and September.  This amazing explosion of antiques takes place in the small town of Brimfield, MA, just a bit west of Sturbridge.

Brimfield is a showground for the old, the common, the unique, and the just plain weird.  It’s a mix of antiques, raw materials for creation, junk, and true artistry in the way of upcycling and re-creation.  As a person who loves a deal and a treasure hunt, it’s irresistible.  A good chunk of any Christmas money I get goes into the “Antiques Fund” in the hopes of a trip to Brimfield.

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

I go for the fun of the hunt and the possibility that I might find unique treasures to use in my home or cool gifts for others.  Each show, I decide if I want to try to “see it all” (or at least walk through every field–you can never really see it all), or focus on going slowly through favorite fields.  This year, my best Brimfield buddy and I went the slow route and hit our favorites:  Quaker Acres, New England Motel, The Meadows, and a bit of Hertan’s, Brimfield Barn, Central Park, and Mahogany Ridge.  The various fields stretch back on each side of a one mile stretch of road and have, as you can see, rather unique names.  This may make it seem like we looked through a lot, but I bet we didn’t even get through half of all there was to see.

Want to look through some of our finds?  Let’s start with some of the weirder stuff:

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

Need some extra teeth?

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

How about a fully stocked dental cabinet?

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

Maybe you’re looking for an alligator (foot) change purse?  We saw about a billion alligator purses, some with heads attached that you could have used with this baby.  You may be surprised to hear that I didn’t buy it.  😉

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

We also found some super cute kitsch, like these owl scissors from Diane at ferdinandhome.

Not only did she have owls, she had something that reminded me of my wardrobe…

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

Check out this sheet!  It almost matches my shirt (which I made from a sheet).

In fact, we found a lot of great fashion at Brimfield.  I took fewer pictures than usual because I got so caught up in everything, but here are a few fun finds.  My friend Jo-Alice and I think it’s time to bring great hats back.

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

These look perfect for next winter.

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

Or maybe you need some cool gear for your motorcycle or bike rides?

Because you never know what you might see at Brimfield, the last time I went with my husband, we created our own game of Brimfield Bingo.  We came up with whatever wild and crazy things we thought we might see or that we would be surprised to see and made a checklist.  Jo-Alice and I did the same thing.  I had a hard time keeping everything in mind because I started to get mesmerized by all the treasures, but Jo-Alice was a pro.  Here’s our list:

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

We found everything but #8 and our bonus.  Pretty good!  Brimfield Bingo is still in its early stages.  Should there be a prize?  Actually finding this stuff feels like a prize in and of itself, but I’ll take suggestions.

Here’s our non-traditional bike (#5):

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

I think it folds up!  I tried to convince my husband that this was the kind of “new” bike he should get when his old one died, but somehow, he didn’t go for it.  Oh, well.

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

Maybe we should have put a hot air balloon basket on our list!

Speaking of baskets, check out these beauties!

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

This shop was owned by Robert Markey of Christiby’s and was filled with gorgeous baskets, wool blankets, and all the things you’d love to see in your dream cabin or hunting lodge.

Check out these gloves.  They are so beautiful.  Can you imagine how much work it would have been to add all those beads?

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

I always love the kitchen and home stuff at Brimfield, too. Here’s a nice selection of Catherineholm pots.

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

I also found this cool shaving mug (I originally thought it was some kind of tea cup) with a picture of “The Old Man of the Mountain“.  Sadly, the Old Man fell off the mountain a few years back, but now we have a picture of him!  I got this for my husband.

Unfortunately, it won’t work with his shaving supplies after all, but maybe it should hold a succulent and an air plant.  What do you think?

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

We always love to look through the printmaking blocks.  I think these were used to make saris.  Jo-Alice uses them to make impressions in clay.

So, what did I get in the end?  Not a lot of quantity, but some fun stuff, nevertheless.

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

I got this shirt.  I love the floral print.

A trip to Brimfield with Pattern and Branch

I also got some clip-on earrings and a necklace for me, as well as the shaving mug for my husband (which is mine now 😉  ), and a sweet bug book and two handkerchiefs for my girls.

I’d say it was a successful trip.  We walked for 10 hours (minus maybe 15 minutes when we sat down for a snack and some water), found a billion treasures, learned new things, and ate good food.  It was an education, as always, and a ton of fun.

 

Summer Blouse

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Happy May!  It’s finally May and even though it’s not really warm here, it’s not winter, either.  The leaves and flowers are budding and starting to show their colors.  This is the time of year I’m reminded that you can actually crave color.  I just want to squeeze all the gorgeous greens, blues, yellows, and pinks that are starting to come out!  The other thing I’ve realized is that I want to dress in all these colors, but…it’s still cold, which means layers and long sleeves.

Must mean it’s a good time to make up another Summer Blouse from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross!

Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross

Summer Blouse from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross

I’ve made this blouse twice now.  This is a garment that gets a lot of wear in spring and summer, and maybe a little bit into fall.  My fabric of choice is vintage sheeting (as in, “Go to the thrift store and buy a sheet with a pattern you like.”  Cheap and easy.  Just don’t forget to prewash!!!).  I love this fabric for this shirt because all day long you feel like you are getting into newly cleaned sheets.  They don’t wrinkle much and are ideal over a tank top if you need a little break from the sun or if a breeze comes up.  If you need to take a nap, it’s like you are already in bed (ok, just kidding about that one…unless you wear a blanket-like wrap over top!).

Summer Blouse by Pattern and Branch

Summer Blouse by Pattern and Branch

My favorite place to wear one of these blouses is The Brimfield Antique Show, but really any antique flea market will do.  Not only do you get the sun and wind-repelling benefits I mentioned, but if you use a vintage sheet, you look like you’re dressing for your surroundings.  😉  Just be warned that you may have people look at you funny and then, when they find out you made your shirt from a sheet, tell you their grandmother had those same sheets.

Summer Blouse by Pattern and Branch

Summer Blouse by Pattern and Branch

Strangely enough, as you can see in this last picture, my water-soluble sewing marker didn’t come out completely after I washed this.  I even soaked the shirt overnight in OxyClean.  Luckily, you don’t really notice it when I’m wearing it.  The marks are pretty light and follow some seam lines, but I’ve never had that happen to me before…

A nice thing about this pattern is that you can make this at nearly any skill level.  I made my first version of this blouse when I was pretty new to sewing, and I still love and wear it.  This can also be a great pattern to use a vintage button on if you have a stash of them.

Summer Blouse by Pattern and Branch

Summer Blouse by Pattern and Branch

Summer Blouse by Pattern and Branch

A few things to note:  my version didn’t turn out quite like that pictured in the book.  If I actually try to button this, it sort of chokes me, so I always keep it open and wear it over a tank top.  There is an omission on the pattern pieces (it’s missing some markings at the shoulders).  You can find all errata here.  It’s also much shorter on me than the one on the model in the book.

Even with these differences, though, I love this blouse, and I’d recommend it as a nice summer top to make from sheets, voile, or any light fabric.  Layer it with a jacket for cooler days, and you are all set for antiquing or any fun outing.

 

Field Trip: The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee (Part 2)

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Yesterday I took you on a tour of my trip to The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee.  Here is Part 2 of that post, with more makers and vintage sellers to help you with your own Christmas shopping.  Let’s get right to it!

When I was in high school, I came across a set of encyclopedias that were being thrown away and took one to make a hollow book.  Working long and hard with my X-acto knife, I finally finished my project, but it was nowhere near as awesome as the books at Book End Designs. BookEndDesigns.etsy.com

Book End Designs at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Book End Designs at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

 

Maybe vintage linens are your thing?  You may like The Linens Lady www.facebook.com/TheLinensLady  She had handkerchiefs, tea towels, table cloths, and aprons, all in wonderful condition.

The Linens Lady at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Mill 77 www.mill77.com is a multi-dealer antiques and consignment space in Amesbury, MA.  I loved looking at this booth with its array of interesting vintage items.  I think I need to visit the store!

Mill 77 at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee IMG_8282 IMG_8284

Across from Mill 77, I met Antoinette Indge of Cinderloop. www.cinderloop.com  As a sewer, I was really impressed with her clothing.  I’m pretty sure the pictures won’t do this one justice, either (If anyone has tips for shooting pictures indoors without natural light, I’d love to hear them.).  Her work was really creative.  Most of the clothing was shaped through artful gathers and beautiful stitches in just the right places.  I’ve never seen clothing quite like it.

Cinderloop at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Cinderloop at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

One of my favorite things about art is how it can be used to make us look at materials and other things in new ways.  When I saw these clutches made from the same materials used for lobster bait bags, I thought they were so creative.  They’re also easy to wash in your washing machine.  You can’t beat that!

Alaina Marie at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

These bags are made from the same material as lobster bait bags!

One of my favorite booths belonged to Katie Marie, artist, bookmaker, and owner of Lives and Letters.  www.etsy.com/shop/livesandletters  She is a lovely person and we had a nice, long chat about making things and, specifically, her own books.  She upcycles old books and binds them into old/new journals.  They come in various sizes and papers.  She told me that if I was looking for something specific, say a journal with half graph paper and half blank paper, she can accommodate that.  She chooses really interesting books as her covers and gives them new life.

Lives and Letters (Katie Marie) at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Bazaar

Right next door to Katie was Jessica Kealty. www.kealthydesign.com  She is an interior designer, but also sells goods from her travels.  At this event, she was selling, among other things, Turkish towels.  I’ve seen these in magazines, but never had the chance to feel them myself.  They were lovely.  The lady that I spoke with was telling me that people use them not only as towels, but also as shawls, scarves, and baby blankets.

Kealty Designs at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

All of these shops were located in the large, main tent at the Bazaar.  There were also several greenhouses and a smaller tent with more vendors as well as a shop in a cute truck.

I found my friend Elizabeth Berthoud of sacAmain www.sacamain-shop.com in one of the greenhouses.  (She was the one who generously donated the leather that I used to make the clutches for my friends.)  I’m always impressed with the quality of her handbags and all the special touches she puts into them.

sacAmain at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Look at this cool purse made from upholstery fabric with a belt for the handle!

 

sacAmain at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Last, but not least, I visited Laurel of Retromat Vintage.  www.etsy.com/shop/RetromatVintage and www.RetromatVintage.com  She was just as friendly and knowledgeable in person as I thought she would be.  She had a really great array of vintage goods and clothing.  In case you are wondering, I did try on the fur dress, and it fit…but it was a bit snug in the shoulder area, so I decided not to bring it home with me.  😦

Retromat Vintage at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Retromat Vintage at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Retromat Vintage at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Between this event and the September one, I think I liked September’s better.  There were more vendors since it could be held outdoors, and the entrance price was lower, but this was fun nevertheless.  I found it very inspiring and I came away with new ideas…oh! and even a few Christmas gifts.  🙂