It’s Friday, which means it’s time to talk about fabric! This won’t be my usual type of Fabric Friday post, instead it is a haul of what I purchased in the NYC garment district last weekend.
Some of you may know that my birthday was on Monday. I’m a bit of a picky shopper, so my parents gave me money to spend instead of presents. I spent a little bit on posters and jewelry but decided to spend most of it on fabric. So this post will be devoted to the things I picked up, and what I plan to use them on!
I wouldn’t say i’m a thrifty person, but the things I make are created so I can learn. And I don’t need (or want) really expensive fabrics to be a part of the learning process. Most of my projects require at least five (sometimes more like twelve) yards of fabric, which adds up really fast. Then you need to buy lining fabric, notions, trims, buttons, embellishments, and the overall price skyrockets.
Which is why I usually go into NYC armed with a list of what I need to buy, how much i’m willing to pay, and how much I need of each material. I’ll bring swatches, sketches, lists, whatever I think will keep me organized and on budget. It’s very rare for me to purchase fabric without a project in mind, unless it’s super cheap.
But was a birthday shopping trip, and because I was spending my own money, it was a little different then usual.
I didn’t go in with a list – or any idea of what I wanted (very scary) . My goal was to buy things I liked, and to not be as concerned about the price or projects in mind. So that’s what I did!
I want to say i’m not writing this as an attempt to brag or anything like that – I asked on tumblr and people showed a genuine interest in what I purchased, which is why I’m posting this. Also, buying this huge amount of fabric is not a regular occurrence for me, this is a once a year type of thing.
My first and most frivolous purchase was this rhinestone encrusted chain, and a large pendent to go with it. The shop I visited had a wall devoted to different types of these, they were so damn pretty I knew I had to take something home. The prices ranged from $10 – $70 a yard which scared me a little at first. When you think about it, less elaborate necklaces would cost double the price, and a yard is enough to make two, so it isn’t that unreasonable.
I ended up going with a pendant made for bridal headpieces ($16) and a yard of a mid tier chain ($16) it was expensive and a bit silly, but I really love these and think they make a good gift.
Keeping on trend with the trims. I’m not really sure what it will get used for, but I love gold trim, especially in the form of lace. It will either be used to hem a dress, or cut apart to make pretty appliques.
In the same store I found this green lace and loved it enough to buy two yards. I’ve been wanting to make something green for a long time, and this inspired me to make that a reality!
My final purchase from the shop was these feathers! I’ve been getting more into hats and headpieces, so I knew I wanted to buy at least a few feathers. My favorite store that sells feathers was closed, so these were the only two I bought on the trip. I’ll have to get more next time, or attempt to find a seller on etsy.
In the next shop I went a little bit crazy. I left with twenty yards of fabric. Who does that?
Purchase number one were these embroidered and embellished satins. I intended to buy one yard of the ivory, and five yards of the red, but because it was the end of both bolts I got a yard extra of each, for free!
I have no clue what to use them for, but I think they are pretty.
I also bought more of this raspberry colored cotton sateen. I’ve made a dress from this fabric before, and I love it very much. The fabric is a dream to work with, it drapes beautifully, and is only $4 a yard. I actually bought this with something in mind…Ever since I saw this painting at the Brooklyn Museum I’ve wanted to bring her dress to life, and this is the perfect fabric to do it with.
In the same store I picked up two yards of black cotton sateen, three yards of glitter satin and two yards of stretch tulle. I’ve wanted to make a black embroidered capelet for a little while, and when that happens i’ll need a dress to go underneath, these seemed like a good base for that project!
(I forget to buy black velvet for the capelet though – that’s what you get for not making a list)
Glitter satin isn’t a fabric I would usually choose, but I feel like the subdued pink color tones down the glitter so it isn’t tacky. Or maybe it’s super tacky and i’m just trying to justify my love for it. Either way I like it a lot.
I also bought some brocade. Because I can’t have a shopping trip where I don’t buy at least a little brocade. I purchased three yards of the gold, and one yard of the pink one. These will either be turned into fancy bodices or made into piping and used with a more subdued material.
I kind of want to make a super fancy jacket from the gold one, but it would probably blind people.
I picked up these two more subtle brocades, two yards of the black and a yard of the blue. The black one has a satiny finish, and though I loved it in the store I now think It looks a little too asian influenced to work in any of my projects. I still adore the royal blue brocade – I have no clue what to do with it but it’s lovely.
The final pretty fabric I purchased (the rest are quite boring) is this black lace. I liked the black lace I worked with on my striped taffeta dress so much I wanted more. Obviously I couldn’t find more, but I did find something similar, and I snatched up two yards. I paid $50 for the two yards, which hurt, a lot. But I’m going to pair it with some taffeta I already own, so the overall cost shouldn’t be too bad.
Moving on to the boring fabrics! I bought seven yards of bright red flat backed velvet, I purchased this kind of – sort of with a project in mind. For a while i’ve wanted to make something similar to the dress Joanna of Aragon wears in this portrait, but I may use it for something else. Large quantities of velvet always come in handy.
I purchased seven yards of linen, and three yards of textured linen in the same store. The plain linen is for a chemise – I’m not sure what type yet, but I have a few upcoming projects that will require one, so i’ll decide then.
I just liked the textured linen. I want to make some middle age-y things in the near future and I feel like this would work well with them.
I also bought chiffon. Another fabric that is just good to have around, even if you don’t know what to do with it. These really caught my eye – although they are polyester chiffon, they flow like silk and aren’t at all sheer. Really different from what i’ve seen before.
I bought seven yards of each, at $4 a yard.
I bought regular, semi-sheer two tone chiffon as well, three yards in each color. I’m not sure why but these colors really jumped out at me, and I liked how they looked next to the gold and navy.
At the end of my shopping spree I realized something – I wasn’t sure if I had bought enough fabric for a complete project. Though I had bought bits and pieces here and there I didn’t think I had enough cohesive materials to make a single thing.
(I realize now that I did, but at that point I was panicing)
So I went back and bought two fabrics that had caught my eye, but I had passed by.
Thing one was this very rich, dark green stretch velvet. I bought seven yards at $6 a yard, but it was the end of a roll so I got almost two yards extra for free. This matches the green trim I purchased earlier very well.
Then I zoomed back to another store and got seven yards (the magic number of this day) of ivory upholstery demask. This is my favorite purchase of the day, believe it or not. I bought it thinking it was sixy inches wide, but when I brought it home I realized it’s one hundred and twenty inches wide – twice the amount I expected. So exciting.
I think it will look really lovely as a dress worn underneath a green cape.
So that’s that. My fabric collection has officially grown by fifty (more like seventy, yikes) yards and i’m not sure where to put everything. I guess I need to get sewing to make more room!
I feel pretty insane and a little guilty buying some much fabric, but i’m sure it will all be used before the year is up. Between this haul and what I purchased on fabric.com a few months back I have enough fabric for a dozen projects, exciting!
I hope you enjoyed, and if you are interested in my few non-fabric birthday items, i’ll be posting them under this tag on tumblr.
Sticking to Fabric Friday tradition, I suppose i’ll ask a question: What is the most recent material you’ve bought? Did you buy it just because it was pretty, or do you have a project in mind for it?
Thanks for reading!