Monday, May 17, 2010

Pattern Review Weekend in Philadelphia

I just returned from a long weekend in Philadelphia, organized by and attended by over 40 other sewing enthusiasts. We shopped for fabric, had show and tell of garments we had sewn, took a workshop with Kenneth King and viewed couture garments in the Philadelphia Museum of Art collection. It was wonderful! We stayed at the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel, located a short walk from streets lined with historic buildings, unique shops and restaurants. The weather was cool and dry. I took my camera, but ended up with only two pictures, neither very good. For pictures you will need to visit the blogs of other attendee such as LindsayT and Cidell Okay, part of the reason I don't have pictures is a bunch of us skipped the Museum activities to drive to the brick and morter location of our favorite on line fabric source It was worth it. Not only did they have all the web site fabrics, there were others at very nice discount prices, like silk prints for $2.00 yard.

This was in addition to the whole day spent fabric shopping, riding about town in a yellow school bus that looked like it was decommissioned from daily school runs, and was being used as inexpensive group transportation. For the price it was a value.

First stop that day was “Fabric Row”; several blocks of small, family run, fabric stores along 4th Street.
There I bought boucle trims and elastic with beaded edges for $0.60/yard, belt buckle covering kits, which are not available anywhere around where I live, and a "curve square" by Solange Brien, This tool is part french curve and part square ruler. It has both metric and imperial measurements along straight and curved edges, with slots for marking buttonholes and seam allowances. It will be great for adding seam allowances to Burda patterns after I lay them out on the fashion fabric.

We returned to the bus and rode over the river to Cherry Hill, NJ where London Textiles was located. This is a fabric wholesaler that opened for a couple hours just for us and let us dig through refrigerator size boxes of remnants. The remnants were 2 to 9 yards long, nice quality fabrics for $5 to 6 dollars per yard depending on the fabric content. The only rule was you had to buy the full piece. I found some teal burgundy crosswoven silk/wool remnants of a fabric I had been coveting at Waechters Silk Shop web site last fall. Also several silk prints in the teal and grey color combos I love, and a burgundy wool tweed.
The last stop was Jomar and by this time I was getting tired. It is one of those cavernous warehouse places with what looks like manufacturers lots of un-salable or past season clothes, cheap shoes, small appliances, and fabric. Some of the clothes had Chadwicks and Metro labels. I get mail order catalogs for these brands. A voluptuous under clad woman trying on 4 inch high heel, bright pink patent leather stilettos asked my opinion of the shoes. I murmured something about “lovely bright color”. They were great street shoes, if you know what I mean. I found a couple of soft wool twill weaves in colors I use as basics; brown based cream, grey, and a mid hue greens, all for $6.00/yard. These wools have already been through the washer and dryer and are destined to be used for pants.

Some learning’s from my trip:

-Fabric is heavy
-The space under the seats in school buses does not hold much fabric.
- I am able to skip lunch for more fabric shopping time. Maybe I can develop a "Fabriholic Diet"
- Internet friends with similar fabric taste are horrible enablers when they are shopping with you in person.
- Stores don't always have public restrooms.
- Ben Franklin is over exposed in Philly – His face appears in signs, on top of building, in sculptures, and of course on money

I was feverishly working on this Burda jacket (March 2010 issue , pattern 120) before the trip, hoping to have it finished in time to wear with my second pair of Burda"carrot pants". But I ran into fitting issues. I was able to find coordinating belt buckles in the right sizes on "Fashion Row" so maybe it is just as well I didn't finish it before the trip.

I hope to get it done soon.


  1. I am still in love with your carrot pants!

  2. I love your carrot pants and the Simplicity top too. It was nice meeting you this past weekend.

  3. I loved hearing about your wonderful weekend. What a treat and I am soooooo jealous.

  4. It sounds like such a wonderful time. I am enjoying reading all the blog posts about the event. Great new fabric pieces, too.

  5. It was nice to share my purchase with you while on line at PA Fabrics! I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to have a proper chat.

  6. Can't get over how you rock the carrot pants! It was great to meet you.

  7. I agree. Those carrot pants looked fab. Revel in all the oohs and ahhs you got!