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June 2, 2014

I have a bit of a love / hate relationship with the NYC garment district.  It was one of the things that I was most excited about when I moved here.  It’s amazing to have a whole area of a big city dedicated to fabric shopping.  I love that most of it is focused on apparel instead of fleece.  It’s just fun to walk in and out of the many stores, digging for treasures, and bartering a bit once you find it.  There are elastics, buttons, and silks that would be hard to find at any big name store.

But there are some drawbacks too.  It’s not an easy errand anymore.  We are talking a few hours at least once you factor in subway travel and the hunting necessary.  It also tends to be quite a bit more expensive, and no coupons (although I have found a groupon for Paron’s once).  It’s a bit quirky with sometimes rude salespeople, loads of ridiculously gaudy fabric, and the time I accidentally got locked in a store with my newborn for 1/2 hour while someone took a break – not even kidding.  And don’t even get me started on taking kids with me.  It’s a nightmare waiting to happen.  It just makes it super hard when all I want is a few buttons, or matching thread and I am looking at a 2 hour ordeal at the least.

All of that being said, I still love it here and frequent the NYC garment district way too often.  But I have found that I have inadvertantly created a little “go to” list of stores where I feel comfortable, and I know I can find what I am looking for.  Here it is:


Gray Lines Linen (260 W. 39th Street #4) – This store is full of all sorts of linen including tons of beautiful stripes.  And everything in the store seems to be under $10 a yard and very wide.  Seriously love this store.  It’s my current fav.
I bought this aztec linen there which I still need to make into something and the fabric for this jumpsuit.

Mood (225 W 37th St. 3rd Floor)- You can’t go wrong here.  Lot’s of choices and friendly staff.  Plus a really cute dog.  I think that Project Runway has made this store super approachable.  I even feel fine bringing my kids with me here on a weekday.
I’ve made a lot with their fabrics including this, this, and this.

Paron Fabrics (257 W 39th Street) – The first store that I ever shopped in thanks to Gingermakes.  They have the nicest people working for them and a really good mix of quality fabrics and a good clearance section.  They also often do groupons.
I used their fabric for this and this.

Chic Fabrics (225 W 39th Street #11)- This one is a bit more crazy with bolts of fabric piled high and small walkways to weave your way between them.  But they have great deals.  If you know your fabrics you can really find some great stuff here especially silks.
I bought fabric here to make this.


Vardhman Inc. (269 W. 39th Street) – This is a small family owned shop that I always check first when looking for notions.  One time I didn’t have cash for some buttons and they gave them to me for free.  Ever since then I have been loyal to them.  They are really affordable too.

Daytona Trimmings (251 W 39th Street) – They have just about everything where it comes to trimmings.  I find them a bit less expensive than Pacific and have really nice staff.  They also have a store cat that my kids like follow around.

Pacific Trimming (218 W 38th St.) – Certainly a bit more expensive that than some of the other notions stores, but they have some really great stuff.  I love going here for specific stand out items printed elastic or neon cording.  I love just looking.

SIL Thread (257 W 38th St. #1) – They have rows and rows of zippers in every color and I’ve gotten almost all of my patternmaking supplies there.

Recommended (these are ones that I have never actually been to, but keep hearing great things about)

B & J  – I can’t believe that I have never been here.  From what I hear they have tons of fabric and are extremely organized.  I think that they are on the more expensive end so I’ve just been waiting for the right project.

Metro Textiles (265 W 37th St. #908) – I havn’t been here either, but I know that a lot of my NYC sewing peeps go here a lot.  I hear that there are great deals to be found.  I will definitely pop in next time I am there.

Well there you have it.  Do any of you have “go to” stores in NYC?  Please let me know what I am missing.

Also, the winner of last weeks Fashionary Measuring Tape is Shelley Carr.  Congrats!



May 29, 2014

I have been a fan of fashionary products for awhile.  I bought one of their sketch books with my Christmas money last year and have spent many nights since watching a movie while sketching up new ideas.  So when fashionary contacted me about trying out some of their new products (and sharing one with you) I was eager to comply.

They sent me the following new items – Tiger Mania Women’s Sketchbook,  Women’s Flat Paper Panel, Children’s Figure Templates, and their Body Measurement Tape Measure.

I don’t consider myself a great artist, so drawing accurate fashion sketches is always an issue.  I really love that I can carry this little book in my purse and when I have some extra time at the park, or waiting for the train I can take it out and use their outlines to sketch out some inspiration that I am having.  And the best part is that it all stays in one place so I can go back and look at ideas long past when I thought about them.

The little flat paper panels are really fun too.  I love their new kids line.  One side is toddler and the other side is an older kid.  I think that kids proportions are really hard to hand draw so it was fun to follow their guidelines to whip us these little sketches of my two kids in outfits that I either recently or are currently working on for them.

They have also recently come out with this really cool measuring tape that has all of the standard body measurements that you would need already printed on it.  Such a cool idea.  I am excited to bring it to my patternmaking class again in the fall and give it a real try.

Fashionary was kind enough to send me an extra one of these new body measurement tapes to give away to a reader.  If you would like to be entered into the giveaway just comment on this post.  For an extra entry join our email list below (I promise not to spam you.  It will only be used for news and sales about pattern releases and a very infrequent newsletter).  Just make sure to put “+1” in your comment so that I know you signed up.  The giveaway will run through Sunday night at midnight EST and I will announce the winner on Monday.

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Me-Made-May 2014 and Instagram

May 1, 2014

I guess I am a glutton for punishment because I decided to do Me-Made-May again this year.  Here is my pledge:

I, Kelli of True Bias, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2014.  I endeavor to wear at least one handmade garment each day for the duration of May 2014.

Unlike last year I won’t be posting my outfits to the blog.  I will probably do a halfway mark and then one at the end of the month.  I will be posting my daily selfies over on my instagram account.  If you want to follow along and you are not currently following me through instagram then you can do so through my account named truebias.  I post something there almost everyday anyways so it’s a fun way to interact.



April 22, 2014

I admit it, I am a podcast junkie.  I have always been someone who preferred listening to talk radio in the car than to music.  Now that I don’t have a car I have found that listening to podcasts through my phone is the perfect escape for me.  I know that a lot of sewists watch shows while they sew, but I have found that podcasts are my perfect medium while working on a project.  I have found a few podcasts that are sewing/blogging specific and have loved keeping up with them.  Here is my short list and I would love to hear what podcasts you guys love too – especially ones that are focused on sewing and blogging.

Modern Sewciety – I love that there is an actual sewing podcast out there!  She recently interviewed both Sew Caroline and April Rhodes and it was so amazing to listen to the stories behind their businesses.

Smart Creative Women – This podcast is focused on women in business, but more often than not these women are creative bloggers of some sort.  There is a lot of talk about branding which I have found really useful.

The Fizzle – This is an entrepreneur podcast geared towards bloggers.  Although not sewing related in the slightest I have found it really motivating and entertaining.  I can honestly say that listening to this podcast finally gave me the guts to buckle down and start on my first True Bias pattern (coming in May).

This American Life – Nothing about blogging or sewing here, but this is my favorite podcast to listen to when I am sewing and don’t need to concentrate too hard.

The Moth – Another storytelling podcast, this one tends to be more free form and I find it to be so inspirational.



March 19, 2014

I remember just two years ago first discovering the small world of indie pattern makers.  I found Megan Nielsen and Grainline at about the same time and I was seriously blown away.  I thought that it was the most brilliant idea that I had ever heard of and I couldn’t wait to dive into this new community.  Now, just a couple of years later, there are more indie pattern companies than I could name.  There are companies geared to men, lingerie, rockabilly, modern, children, and every other niche you could think of.  They cater to every skill level from complete beginner to couture.  I love supporting indie pattern makers and I say the more the merrier.

In the last few months I feel like I am seeing another avenue open up for home sewers and sewing bloggers.  It seems like we are desiring to not only have custom patterns, but also be able to create the fabric to go with it.  As some one who agonizes over finding the perfect fabric for a project – and seems to have a hard time finding it – I am super excited about this.  I think that this is a trend that is going to continue to grow as companies become more aware of the growing home sewing community and the desire to have fabrics geared towards our tastes.  Here are some of the recent happenings that I’ve noticed in the way of fabric design:

Cotton + Steel : I watched their vimeo story about a month ago and felt so inspired.  They launch their first line of fabrics in May as a collaboration of 5 designers with RJR fabrics.  They seem to have a rockabiliy vibe to their designs and from what I can tell will mostly be producing cottons.

Art Gallery Fabrics – AGF announced earlier this month that they are creating a Limited Edition run of fabrics in collaboration with three sewing bloggers/patternmakers.  While most of these fabrics are printed as quilting cottons I was really excited to hear that they are also releasing some of their designs in knits and voile too.  I hear that they are going to continue this collaboration with other designers in the future.

By Hand London – This young and hip company once purely created sewing patterns but just recently announced that they will also be selling custom print on demand fabric.  They have great taste so I can only imagine that their fabric is going to be killer.  They launched a kickstarter campaign to buy their own digital printer.  You can read more about it and contribute here.

Spoonflower – While they are by no means new to the scene I can only imagine that with the new competition they will continue to expand and find ways to connect with their audience.  In fact I noticed that they just added a new lightweight modern jersey fabric option.  I have found some really amazing designs while exploring their archives and I love that they offer silk in addition to other fabrics.

As excited as I am about the options above, I still think that there is plenty of room in the market especially for modern, less feminine designs in apparel fabrics such as silk, rayon challis and linen.  I can’t wait to see this industry expand and see what is next.

How about you guys?  Have you noticed this new trend starting as well?  Are you excited about these new collaborations?  Have you ever tried custom fabric before?