June 3, 2012

right here in river city


this is a sad tale, y'all.

i had an hour to kill yesterday.  naturally i killed it in the garment district.  levine loft: 12 pounds of fabric for 32 dollars.  i walked out giddy.

but i'm realizing something.  i don't know if i'm in love with cheap fabric anymore.  egads!  yes, i said it!  as i loaded up the washing machine and looked at all the color, i was certainly happy... but when i took the yardage out of the dryer, i noticed it was... hot... and sort of... sticky... and quite heavy... bordering on chemical weaponry, really...


because i need a maxi dress in a print that will devour me whole.


this was a win, i will admit. 

the little devil-with-expensive-tastes on my shoulder actually started mouthing off at the top of my sixty minutes in the district.  my first stop was FIDM.  miss cation and i had had such great luck there, i thought: burnout velvet? silk? gold weave?  for a dollar a yard, why would i go anywhere else?  i might not even swing by levine loft! (yeah, i know.)  well.  i skipped into the joint, and was instantly underwhelmed.  thin flimsy jersey to the left of me, thick off colored upholstery swatches to the right.  um, where's all the good stuff?  i innocently asked.  the gentlemen happily pointed me to racks of hanging beauty, all priced at ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS A YARD OR MORE.  mind you, these racks were 75% off, but 75% of $250 a yard is... math i cannot do.  and neither can my pocketbook.

but, but... i stammered, this fabric used to be over THERE... pointing sadly to the sixty cent shelves.  the men eyed me suspiciously: were you here about a month ago?  

yes... i said cautiously, suddenly feeling like i might have to prove julia bobbin's theory true and go on the lam.  so YOU were one of the four!!!  a wide eyed and pointing FIDM man yelped.  i got in SO MUCH TROUBLE for that!   

cationasuarus rex and i just happened to be two of four peeps who stumbled into a one time vortex of designer magic last month.   the "holy hell we just put all of the good shit out on the floor for a dollar a yard GET IT BACK!!!" kind of magic.  (yes, tj, this is the same magic you put in the washing machine.  your save was gorgeous, but GODSAKES WOMAN THE METALLIC WEAVE IS DRY CLEAN ONLY).


pay no attention to the x in the corner.  naughty picmonkey.

determined to find gold in the cheap seats, i scoured the remnant bins and came up with four bucks of fabulous. but my cheated FIDM gent was not satisfied.  he coaxed me back into the designer section, with promises that there were yards there priced at $25, with the discount making it, um, i don't know. five bucks?  whatever.  i made horrible faces at everything he found and we were both in stitches (get it?) until my eyes landed on this silk.


yes, i bought it.  four yards of designer silk for $25 total.  i agonized over this decision.  but when i got home and really looked at my levine loft finds... quelle domage.  there's no comparison.  maybe the extra dinero is worth it.

this could be a problem.  especially considering i'm the kind of geek who cut all the tags off her fabric-by-the-pound yardage just to see how much that little bit of extraneous paper and plastic cost.



THAT'S LIKE, A WHOLE EIGHTY CENTS, YO.

trouble, for sure.

53 comments:

  1. Yumm.. what a journey hun. Im quite bad for expensive fabric... my cape was £30 per metre and I got 3,5 metres and love the luxurious result.
    I started buying cheap fabric for muslins that became wearable but they don't really give me satisfaction ! I want quality and sometimes i get carried away for cheap and end up not using the garment much.

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    Replies
    1. yeah, i have to admit my favorite dresses are the 'spensive ones. but they are also my most regrettable fails! perhaps i should finally jump on the cheap muslin wagon, at least for more costly makes.

      who AM i and WHAT HAVE I DONE WITH OONA.

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  2. Looking at your fabric made me a little ill. It is so pretty!

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  3. p.s. what kind of camera do you use? Your pictures are so bright and perfect!

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    1. "Looking at your fabric made me a little ill."

      too funny.

      i use a canon G12. i love it. simple enough to use the auto settings, but there's so much to play with if you want to get advanced. the fully reticulating screen is the bomb. haven't found a good wireless remote for it yet though.

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  4. Every time you post about the LA garment district, I get so excited because I'm actually going to get to spend a whole day there later this summer! Yes, I am saving my pennies and planning on bringing an extra suitcase just for bringing home fabric. :)

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  5. How do you get up to such hi-jinx?! I love that you weighed the tags too - I would have totally done that.

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    Replies
    1. it had to be done. hi-jinx (one of my favorite words) usually ensue when i decide everyone is my best friend. they tell me lots of stuff when i do that...

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  6. Calm down woman, I put everything through the machine (including $30-75/metre silks yo!) And I'm not the only one either) and have never had any problems before (and now that you've decided to lay off the cheap stuff neither will you!) And no I'm not washing the open weave because it's not fabric. I won't be dry cleaning it either because the links between the squares will dissolve in dry cleaning solvent (yes I checked). So it's a use and throw unfortunately but that doesn't matter because its only use will for photo-support then it'll be stored with much-o love n'care so no worries!

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    1. oh. my. GA. i am so not ever no ever putting that silk in the wash. (though i might try that bathtub & towel roll thing i've heard tell about.)

      don't tell my sewing machine the open weave is not fabric... mine's becoming a maxi skirt...

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  7. lovhe pink pleated win fabric and the AMAZING SILK!!! expensive fabric is one of my downfalls. but i have to say, when buying RTW and 2 shirts that look similar are next to each other, i'll pick up the expensive one first every time. it's a sickness, a glorious, expensive, gorgeous sickness.

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    1. oddly i do gravitate to expensive RTW. though now, instead of looking for the cheap knockoff i MAKE the cheap knockoff.

      i'm nervous to cut that silk!

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  8. those fabrics were a great deal. Thats funny about what happened when they mistakenly put out the good fabric...hahaha did they honor that when you were there?? hahahah I love the way you write, You make me laugh every time I read a post of yours!

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    1. thankya!

      they were thrilled i bought the $25 silk. they felt it chipped away at the Day That Shall Not Be Named.

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  9. The Loft is dangerous... very dangerous. One day I am worried I might go in, start tugging at some fabric, fall into a box and get buried alive. Eventually some fabulous sewing blogger will whine about paying an extra dollar when they find my mummified tibia wrapped up in their fabric. I may or may not have actually had a dream about this at some point.

    In any case, I too am starting to ponder my love of cheap fabric since I seem to acquire it faster than I sew it and it doesn't seem to last long after it gets sewn up, but, I think I will still keep going to the Loft when I am in LA... too good to miss and great place to find cheap knits and muslin fabric if you don't luck out and find some other good stuff there.

    Also, your silk is fabulous - totally worth the price!

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    1. mummified tibia!!!

      i know, you've got to visit the loft. it could be the day they've put missoni remnants out. holler if you're in town!

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  10. Oh my, I know this addiction. 'Spensive fabric, I have only eyes for you. Silk, if I insist. You are so lucky to have got the amazing stuff last time so cheaply!

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  11. I am physically ill at the idea that all of this is available to buy and I am trapped on Gilligan's Island with the lamest Hancock fabric as my only comfort.....so wrong, so wrong.

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  12. I agree with prttynpnk. Nothing but a Hancock in my neck of the woods.

    Please make a maxi skirt with that pink pleated fabric so I can live vicariously.

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  13. Oh dear, yes. I'm limited by my income, thankfully, and the offer in the local shop. If I want something special - if I want anything but home decor cottons and artificials - I have to chuck out additional money for public transport tickets. So I have to be careful.
    But last week we went to buy cotton for my sister's apron, and I fell in love with a cotton/silk lightweight print... and can't get it out of my head. It was just 99 CZK a metre! I'm going down the rabbit hole, too, I'm certain of it.

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    Replies
    1. so, you're sewing for your sis? that means you DESERVE new fabric for yourself.

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    2. But I'm teaching her to sew along the way. :-) You know, spreading the bug, hehe.

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  14. Ack! Beautiful silk! BUT. The cheapo stuff can be good for my psyche, like, "hey, let's try something new and just start cutting!" Some of the expensive stuff is so stressful to use (see: Liberty lawn that eyeballs me every time I dig through my stash).

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  15. Oh, that silk is beautiful. And so is that hot pink stuff. Pretty together, right? And, yeah, I buy a LOT of cheap fabric when I could just buy a little of the good stuff, but it is stressful to use expensive fabric. To wit: I just made the stupidest skirt out of the most beautiful Liberty lawn....Great.

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    Replies
    1. teehee. is it any consolation that you can wear a skirt more often than a party dress?

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  16. It's hard to go back to the cheap stuff, isn't it? This is my problem - big time! It's kind of like the first time you finish the insides of a garment really well - all the messy insides of dresses past start to haunt you. ha ha ha

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  17. The nice stuff is so worth it.

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  18. I agree with Amy and T Sedai. The nice stuff is worth it, and most of us end up buying way more than we'd ever use anyway. Besides, after its aged for a while, its free! Upgrade. You're worth it.

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  19. Oh dear oh dear I *knew* I should have just bought out the nice embroidered silk when I was there. Dang it, I'm going to be kicking myself for that for a long, long time. Good to know, though, that we practically got away with murder!

    That silk is totally worth it! I've been feeling similarly about some of my earlier Loft finds...

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  20. It's a sad state of affairs once you discover the wonders of high quality fibers vs cheap man-made fare.... your wallet will never be the same!! Console yourself by remembering how much you'd pay for those same fibers if they were fashioned into RTW or couture... at least you're saving a bundle by making things yourself ;)

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  21. POly blends make me sweat (and stink like a hippie). I have pricey tastes in fabric but only for the breathability of natural fibers. I do love the way you never have to iron a poly (and lord help you if you do: the funk summoned by pressing a steamy iron to an old length of polyester is NASTY!)

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    1. that's an excellent point. i often wonder about the smell coming up from the iron.

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  22. You might have mentioned it, but I didn't see it. So, what's the shop where you get these "cents" fabrics? Pleeeeeeeeeaaaaaaseeeeee?

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    1. mais oui! it's michael levine's loft, which is directly across the street from michael levine's. it is a huge mess of cardboard boxes stuffed with fabric, but they also have bolts and hangers of neatly folded gems. and, they'll cut whatever yardage you like-- which surprised me, at 2.50 a pound i figured it would be take it or leave it. if you park in the levine lot, you can get validation for an hour or two.

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    2. THANK YOU! For sharing the source. I'm looking them up now and will be paying a visit in no time!!!

      Your sewing is very inspiring!
      xx

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  23. ITS LIKE I DON'T KNOW YOU AT ALL!!!

    *sob*

    The silk is lovely, though, and I am definitely digging the pink :)

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    1. but i promise to drink whilst playing with the 'spensive stuff! you know... it's almost like my fabric needs to come up to the standards of my alcohol.

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  24. unfortunately i always found if i don't love the fabric i don't love
    the dress :( and I have mucho spensive taste also. the silk cdc that I just
    got downtown for 1.25 per yard us probably really poly....

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    1. what does cdc stand for? charmeuse of some sort? FOR 1.25?!!!

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  25. crepe de chine. i think it's silk. it's a place on the corner of 8th and san julian. very hit and miss.

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  26. sorry, i meant to write the corner of 9th and san julian

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  27. Oona, you are such an enabler....I'm close enough to downtown to make a trip this weekend! Eek!

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    1. ACK! did you go? come back when my work hours relax!!!

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  28. four yards of designer silk for $25 sounds great! i love your choices of prints. so fun!

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  29. Replies
    1. i'm beginning to wonder how i'll get it all back to NY.

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  30. The pleated pink fabric is to die... I've been looking for pre-pleated yardage for awhile. It'd make a dreamy maxi! I'm so hooked on nice fabrics... probably because I don't have a lot of local choice, and once you've played with the good stuff it is hard to go back! You have such a great eye for prints... that cream silk with the mango/tangerine print--wow.

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  31. You're a Divine Sewing Goddess so of course you happened to be there when the goods were switched. It was Meant to Be! (who were the other two? I came here from 'cation's so I already like know it was her, too.)
    Hugs,
    Tina in San Diego
    my blog: Artelicious www.tina-rathbone.blogspot.com
    (Where I relate the woes of my first tailored jacket, no real and true pattern, and mucho frustration -- when I could be up to sewing pleasures like yourself and your crew ...)

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied if not always written!