Thursday, June 18, 2009

I slipped my leash

lost my mind, blew the budget and basically shot any chance of stash parity for a while to come.

In other words, I went to New York. I went with good intentions, and considering that (a) I went to New York, and (b) I visited Kashi while in New York, I didn't do too badly.

Unless you consider 15 yards bad. On top of the 10 yards earlier this week.

On top of the 7 yards last week.

Yeah, yeah, I did the math. You can check the sidebar.

Yesterday was great, though. I took train up in the morning, wandered around a little, stopped in a store on 35th Street called - I think H + M Fabrics - that's been going out of business for at least the last year. From there came the first score, 2 yards of black/white/pink cotton stretch novelty print (dress or skirt) and 5 yards of white batiste for underlining. Note: the batiste is not included in the fabric totals. I don't count lining, therefore, I'm not going to count underlining. All this cost $14 - $2 per yard. No guilt there.

After that, I wandered up to 39th Street and stopped in another store (don't remember the name, but it's 2 doors down from Beckenstein's, which was my destination. But first, I went into this little store, which was stuffed full with bolts up to the ceiling, and fell for this coral, black and white, vaguely Asian-inspired, Betsey Johnson semi-sheer cotton (see, a use already for the white batiste!) I think it wants to be a nice floaty summer skirt.

I did make it to Beckenstein's after that. Beckenstein's is menswear heaven - suitings, shirtings, tie silks, linings, seersuckers, wools, gabardines. Lovely stuff, amazingly high quality, with prices to match. I broke down and got a shirting cotton anyway - Italian, almost glossy, a maroon plaid with a muted light blue thread running through it. Perhaps it will make up for Jackson Pollock in space. And if not, it'll look good on me.

At 12:30, I met up with Elizabeth of Sew a Beginner at Metro Textiles, a lovely place to have lunch. Kashi was his usual welcoming self, and had lots of new goodies on offer. There's a navy cotton suiting with white flecks that feels vintage to me. Also, I got rayon jersey in heathered navy and brown - the flecks are darker instead of lighter, which looks particularly interesting in the brown. The photo of these fabrics is much lighter than they are.

I also got one stretch knit for a summer dress, a turquoise and green floral. Another goodie: blue fine-striped cotton with stripes of embroidery. This one warrants going through the vintage patterns for an appropriate summer dress.

After Metro, we went over to Pacific Trims and I scored more buttons for the endless collection of buttons I seem to need to feel secure.

The best part of the whole day, though, competely wiping out fabric shopping (not that I'd give any of it back, mind you) was our trip down to FIT's museum for the Isabel Toledo exhibit. I have to admit that other than the Inauguration dress she did for Michelle Obama and a few other pieces, I really wasn't all that familiar with her work. But I am now, and it killed me that photography wasn't permitted in the exhibit because I would really love to share what I saw with you all.

My brain is still swimming, trying to figure out how she constructed some of those dresses, even though the cards at the feet of most of the mannequins had lovely little diagrams of the pattern pieces that somehow resolve themselves into dresses that in no way resemble those strange little collections of pieces.

But actually, she had me at hello. When you go down the steps to the exhibit, the Inauguration dress is in a case, and there's a wall of photos in chronological order of Toledo's career. There's also an excerpt of the brochure posted there, and this is what got me: "I never thought of myself as a designer. I'm a seamstress. I really love the technique of sewing more than anything else. The seamstress is the one who views fashion from the inside! That's the art form really, not fashion design, but the technique of how it's done."

Let us all bow down and worship - or at least really, really appreciate - a designer who proudly calls herself a seamstress.

Last but not least, Vlad, still living large in the guest room. Starting to go downhill, even slightly aware of it some days, but for a cat who was given two weeks to live back in January, he looks pretty good.


Sew-Ann said...

Nice haul. Me shopping in NY, I would be on the sidewalk twitching from overload, foaming at the mouth with fists of receipts and bags.

Poor kitty, although me and cats don't get along.

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

I love H&M Fabrics! I haven't been in a minute but I was always able to find some of the kewlest trendiest fabrics there for really cheap prices. And I'm jealous that you've seen the exhibit already.

cidell said...

We are two ships passing in the night. I also didn't count my batiste haul. Those are accessories :)

NancyDaQ said...

Lots of great eye candy in the last couple of posts!! You're enabling me...

I'm jealous that you got to go to the Isabel Toledo show. I love her collection that she did for Anne Klein, too bad that didn't work out but it looks like she landed on her feet!

Amazing that Vlad is still around. I hope he continues to beat the odds.

BConky said...

Fabric is the devil. I'm trying to not buy it but it's so so so tempting. It's busting out everywhere in my house. I hope Vlad has a peaceful end. It's hard lost one of my kitties last year to kidney disease. It stinks.

gwensews said...

Fabric addiction is a good disease. A happy one. I would throw all that fabric on the floor and roll around in it!

Meg said...

Ya got some great stuff here! Maybe that store on W.39th was A.K. Fabrics?

Sarah said...

I'm so jealous; fabric shopping in New York! We have some lovely fabric shops here in the back of beyond but they are tiny. You are so lucky; your fabrics are beautiful!

Leslie in Austin said...

There is no shame in buying good fabric.

Did you get a good look at the royal blue sleeveless gown at the Toledo exhibit? Saw a photo taken at a distance and was intrigued. Can you describe the bodice?

Sending good wishes for Vlad.

meredithp said...

Nothing wrong with fabric acquistition! You never know where your next yard is coming from. Be prepared is my motto. :-)

Thanks so much for the comments on the Toledo exhibit. I'm going to print out that excellent quote and hang it in the sewing room.

Vlad is a good looking dude. Always love the cat photos!

Nancy K said...

Threads used to do detailed articles on designers and their work and how they made them. Toledo had a really great article with diagrams of her patterns. They were still a puzzle. They looked so simple on but the patterns were not so simple!
I don't count lining either LOL.
Nice haul.

Tany said...

I'm glad Vlad is doing alright; he looks peacefull.