I had a fantastic time in Dublin last week and managed to spend a lot of money at all of the fabric stores in town. So if you’re looking for fabric stores in Dublin to visit sometime, here’s a quick guide to take along…
Hickey Fabrics at 5 Henry Street
This one looked a bit corporate from the website, but I was pleasantly surprised by the shop itself! It’s set on three levels, with the ground floor mostly being curtain and upholstery fabrics, the first floor being bridal fabrics, and the basement being fashion fabrics and haberdashery. I mostly stayed downstairs, and I was really impressed by the mix of really nice quality fabrics – lots of standard corduroys, denim, knits, satins, fleeces, and anything else you could think of. I got an absolute steal on a length of 100% silk charmeuse – it was originally €42, marked down to €10!! There were a handful of other silk prints marked down, too, but I fell in love with this navy, silver, gold, and teal print. There was only one Spring/Summer pattern I had any interest in, Burda 7783, so I bought that and found the most wonderful grey linen/lurex blend to make it in! I also snagged a one metre remnant of teal satin, and had a sweep through the haberdashery before finally stocking up on Gutermann thread. All the London stores decided to inexplicably switch to Coat’s Duo overnight, which is more expensive for less length and makes me shudder at the memory of the quality of the American Coat’s and Clark thread. So I bought huge spools of all the neutrals in the hope they’ll last me a while.read more >>
If you’ve been following along, you’ll remember that my grandmother visited the Pendleton woollen mill in the 1960s and bought two 2 yard remnants of 100% wool navy blue suiting fabric for $6 each (so $12 total). In August, she gave these to me, saying she’d never got around to sewing up anything with them and she thought I’d make better use of it.
The trousers were far more straightforward than the jacket, however, so they didn’t take nearly as much time or seam ripping to complete! I wanted to tie together the satin accents of the two pieces so I opted to add a thin stripe of navy blue satin ribbon to the outside seams of each trouser leg, which I think gives a subtle sheen as I move. The integral belt/waistband of this pattern really evokes a sort of cummerbund, too, and raises this design above just a normal trouser suit.read more >>
I’m nearly finished the tuxedo-inspired trousers which are made from the same vintage Pendleton wool as the tuxedo-inspired jacket – I’ve just got to hem and turn up the bottoms and they’re ready for a photo shoot! But in the meantime, if you’re a Pattern Review member, take a second right now to go vote in the One Fabric: Wool contest in which said tuxedo-inspired jacket was entered. Go on, I’ll wait.
So finishing up such classy threads has made me stop and think about which parts of my wardrobe I actually wear most on a day-to-day basis. I absolutely love making the smart ensembles and special occasion wear, especially since the aim of my FW/07 Collection was to increase my business attire, but I tend to wear a lot of basics in my otherwise very casual office. I think looking through the garments I wear most often might help to give me some focus as I start mentally planning what I’ll be sewing this spring…
Fehr Trade Most Worn Awards(in no particular order)
- Black leather handbag – I use it to haul all my supplies, lunch, mittens, iPod, and everything else around every single day. I wouldn’t change a thing.
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I’ve been working on the jacket portion of my tuxedo-inspired suit (the show piece from my F/W 07 Collection) for the better part of January now, and I finally finished it this week. I cut out the pieces for the trousers at the same time to ensure I had enough fabric for both (I do, with about a half yard left over!), but sewing both at once would’ve really just resulted in missing pieces!read more >>
Last night after dinner I thought I’d go work on my blue Pendleton jacket. I knew the next step was to create and attach the upper collars (that will cover most of the satin lapels), and so 2 pieces for each lapel, plus the back (collar) facing, it shouldn’t have taken more than a half hour or so. Two hours later, I was mentally exhausted and I felt like I’d come away from an entire day’s marathon session.
I know I only just moaned about this pattern yesterday, but I ended up doing something last night I’ve never, ever done before in sewing: I got out a ruler and measured two pieces to see if it was actually physically possible to join them.
The seam in question:read more >>
I’m making good progress on my tuxedo-y suit using my grandmother’s vintage Pendleton wool. I’ve done the single welt pockets (a first time for me!) and the construction of the jacket body, and I’m now working on the many collars and lapels. The placement of the welt pockets (which are hidden under a front flap) is way too high, though, and the pockets are too narrow to be useful, though – this is the second time I’ve had BWOF jacket pockets be waaaay too narrow for my hands to fit through, so I must remember that for next time.read more >>
Things were a bit hectic in the leadup to Christmas this year, seeing as how we were starting from scratch in our own place this year. Sewing ornaments and other decorations took up most of my time, but I was able to fit in two sewn gifts in the few minutes I had before work in the mornings, sewing with very numb fingers in my heater-less sewing room.read more >>
I have such a thing for red corduroys. I’ve probably owned about ten pairs over my lifetime, and they have all been worn multiple times a week until their inevitable downfall. For the last few months, however, I haven’t been out shopping very much and when I have been out in stores, I haven’t been able to find any cherry-red cords anywhere.
So in my American fabric buying orgy I picked up some bright red baby wale corduroy to make my own. The fabric was a bit thinner than I was expecting (more shirt weight than trouser weight) so I hope they don’t wear out prematurely, because I’m stupidly happy with them!read more >>
If you have never felt or sewn bamboo fabric before, stop what you’re doing and go buy some right now. Seriously. I’ll wait.
Bamboo jersey is as soft as cashmere, as easy to work with as cotton, machine washes without much shrinkage (or loss of softness), is antibacterial (so if you make workout gear in it it doesn’t stink half as bad as even the techno wicking stuff!), and all the wrinkles steam out of it in the time it takes to have a shower. Honestly, this stuff is wonderful, and I can’t wait until more colours are available and I’m buying every single one.
This wrap dress pattern is originally from the May 2006 Burda WOF, but it’s proved so popular that Burda have released it as a 2 euro download pattern, too. It really is the perfect wrap dress – necklines that don’t move, secure fastenings (two snaps are concealed beneath the decorative belt), and best of all – a full frontal overlapping skirt panel so you don’t have any surprises on a windy walk to work! Coupled with the luxuriously soft bamboo, this really is like wearing pajamas…read more >>
Due to popular demand, the latest addition to my FW/07 Collection is the Go Patterns little black dress, 4001. This dress is not one to be taken lightly, as you’ll remember from my fitting session – it’s much more of an exercise in couture techniques than a quick dress you can whip up in an evening. At several points I got a bit frustrated with my glacial progress and the amount of hand sewing, but the end result is just… breathtaking.read more >>
I finished the muslin for the Go Patterns Little Black Dress last night. It was rather fetching in its recycled-Hendrik-duvet-cover material, orange basted seams, sharpied notches, unfinished hems and zipperless back!read more >>
At the end of last winter, my beloved handbag was looking decrepit and sad, and I forced myself to throw it away (but not before taking a memorial photo). The exterior was brown suedette, with the last remnants of James’s dogs playing poker fabric as the lining.
I used that bag to its death, but I knew that come colder weather, I’d set out again to make my 5th (I think?) Hotpatterns Nairobi bag. This pattern was given away as a free pdf when they first launched the site, but as far as I know, it’s not available anywhere any more.read more >>
The first ever Fehr Trade catwalk show on Sunday was a massive success! The four designs I showed went down really well with the crowd and with the backstage ladies alike (who couldn’t keep their hands off that gorgeous silk!). I’m so pleased with how everything went, from the models to the music, to the organisation (by La Geneve North and Fat Talent), and most of all, by those of you who took time out of your Sunday to come down!
Unfortunately, my photos from the catwalk itself didn’t turn out too great, owing from my camera’s autofocus delay “feature”, but luckily the backstage shots did. You’ll just have to imagine these ladies strutting to the dulcet bleeps of The Blow‘s “Pile Of Gold”…read more >>
As part of my FW/07 Collection, I decided to embrace the menswear trend and create a pinstripe suit, borrowing from classic tailoring, but updating it all with feminine elements.read more >>
I’ve been working away on my FW/07 Collection in every spare moment, but for the last week, my spare moments have been drastically reduced by boat duties. So rather than the glamorous woman you’ve come to know from this site, for the last week I’ve been looking more like this:read more >>
Following on from the jedi jacket, I thought I’d stick with Simplicity 3631 a little while longer and make a blouse using the bodice from the dress and the poofy, cuffed sleeves from the long jacket. On closer inspection, however, I realised that the jacket and coat both have raglan sleeves, which wouldn’t work to just attach to the bodice (which needs a cap sleeve). So rather than go through some extensive redrafting session, I just used a cap sleeve pattern piece from elsewhere, widened the hem, and created my own cuff to button closed at the wrist.read more >>
I’ve now completed two pieces for my FW/07 Collection, a pair of chocolate brown trousers, and a white cropped jacket.read more >>
I’ve avoided all talk of SWAP (Sewing With a Plan, roughly – sewing a bunch of garments in terms of a wardrobe instead of separate pieces here and there) even though everyone else around me was doing them. For the most part, it was because I bought fabric for specific projects and I created these as the feeling took me.
However, since I’ve lost weight, my wearable wardrobe has decreased considerably and I came to the realisation last week that I don’t own any trousers that aren’t jeans, period. I’m also doing more presentations at work that require me to dress a bit more nicely, so after 5 years of wearing teeshirts and jeans to work, I have a large hole in my wardrobe in that regard, too.
Going to America last month and the subsequent fabric and pattern buying orgy left me with the supplies for a wide variety of garments. So naturally my mind turned to the best ways I could see to use both patterns and fabrics to fill these holes in my wardrobe.
I’ve devised the following plan, though I realise it will more than likely take me the entire fall and winter to accomplish it.read more >>