Hi Sewists,

I’ve had an amazing week away: MrA & I went to visit family in America for Thanksgiving- which was fantastic in itself – but we also got to stop in New York for a few days on the way, which was a bonus. I should manage your expectations now though and remind you that this was a family trip not a fabric trip!

We stayed in TriBeCa and had an amazing view of the city from the hotels rooftop bar…

We met up with some fabulous resident ‘cousins’ who took us to Chinatown and the restaurant they have been going to for over 20 years…!

And a few bars that we never would have found if we weren’t with locals! From the outside it looked like nothing, but the party was on just through the curtains!

Of course, it was far too cool to take photos once we were inside… after all, we didn’t want to look like tourists!

With not only our main flights but also internal flights to navigate, we were reluctant to take checked bags with us. On our last day we would fly to NY in the morning and have 5 hours or so before flying back to the UK in the evening. Maybe we could have dropped bags somewhere, but I wasn’t willing to take the risk: so it was hand-luggage only. I knew long before we flew that this wouldn’t be a shopping trip…

… With the call of the garment district there was no way I wasn’t going to visit Mood Fabrics though. I love watching Project Runway and one of the highlights is seeing inside Mood Fabrics and of course, their resident dog Swatch. (If you weren’t sure how much I love dogs, check out my last post!) Well, Swatch ambled out for a scratch behind the ears and I had a plan regarding the aisles and floors of fabric… 1: I have enough ‘everyday’ fabrics to use up in my stash before I buy any more. 2: I didn’t have enough room to carry the volume of fabric needed for a ‘special project’ and 3: I didn’t have any special project on the cards anyway.

When it comes to my wardrobe, I tend to wear more plain fabrics. So fabric shopping is usually pretty simple for me. Indigo denim for jeans, grey jersey for sweaters, cotton for shirts (often blue!), twill for trousers… it’s only really my work shirts where I bring some pattern into the mix – and even then it needs to be predominantly black and white. I also have very limited space in my flat and try to only buy fabric if I’m going to use it right away. (I am, of course, constantly disappointing myself regarding that last issue.) So with this in mind I limited myself to only looking at cotton shirting and T-shirt jersey; if I saw something I liked I could purchase upto 2 yards. Harsh huh?

So MrA convinced me to get something, a black cotton with little white reindeer on it – to make a Christmas shirt for work. It was clearly popular (or old!) as there was barely 2 yards left on the roll… enough for a shirt…? We’ll see…

Of course, I had to get a Trophy bag while I was there. And even though it wasn’t very full, I still enjoyed toting it around Manhattan!

At the end of the road we stopped in to ‘The Tailor’ for a drink. While we were there, I remembered a little trick I was taught by a comedian on a cruise ship 25 years ago – how to fold a dollar into a ring. I hadn’t done it for years so thought I’d lay it down in order here so you could have a go too, if you haven’t seen it.

The Dollar Ring

  • With the dollar face up, fold down the white border at the top edge.
  • Fold the bottom edge into the groove.
    Fold in half.
    • Fold the white border on the right edge over.
    • Fold the right end over showing the ‘1’ from the other side.
    • Fold the left side behind at 90° – note the alignment with the inside of the ‘E’.

    • Pick it up and wrap the pre-folded bit round the back and over the top.
    • Line the crease up with the bottom of the bit that extends to the right.
    • Fold the other long piece over, through the ring and out the other side.
    • Fold the white border over.

    • Then you just fold the ‘face’ over and tuck the border in. This can be a bit tricky so you might want to use a ‘poking-device’ – watch your fingers!

    And there you have it…!

    We weren’t so mean to only leave a dollar though! We left it looking more like this…!

    Wardrobe-wise I was in a bit of a ground-hog day wearing the same few outer layers and switching up the under layers. But I am happy to report that 100% of my clothes were handmade (all by me except the socks which my mum knits!)

    There had been a big snowfall a week or so earlier in New York. Visually there were only a very few small mounds of snow left on a few corners, but you could feel the snow had been there, it was really cold! But never was I more grateful for my Goldstream Peacoat and my Cosy Cardigan than I was when we flew up to Vermont where the snow was really coming down and the temperatures got as low as -14°C!

    (I haven’t forgotten them; my hat & gloves are in the bag & went straight on after this photo!)

    We had such a great time with our family and their friends. Lots of food, drinks, talking and laughter, socialising and shopping.

    (A startlingly varied selection of festive baubles – particular ‘favourites’ include the toilet, sink plunger and the fried bacon!)

    Yes, we went to the mall on Black Friday. I know, horror-of-horrors, right? Well it was a very tame event to be honest: MrA bought a couple of pairs of jeans – he left a pair of trainers behind – (as I’m reluctant to make him any after seeing how he treats them!) and I ordered some new sewing labels using the free in-store WiFi.

    But there is one more sewing story before I sign off: before I left I’d bought some washable paper (… I know, right… whatever next…?!) and made up some ThreadTheory wallets for the nephews (and a few extra!).

    They were well received and fun to make; it’s a great pattern pack. Have you used washable paper before? It’s crazy stuff! I made these ones just by dampening it enough to make it a bit more pliable, but I’ve got a few more sheets now and am putting them through the washing machine a few times before I use them. I’m loving the way the paper is softening up and turning more leathery. I’m planning on using some for elbow patches on something, and seeing what it looks like with a bit of leather-wax rubbed in… watch this space for more!

    Now I’m home ( and still jet lagged) it’s dawning on me that I am TOTALLY BEHIND ON MY CHRISTMAS SEWING! … I haven’t even thought about a list. I think this may be the year that I don’t do Christmas sewing. Other than a few wallets maybe…! Hmm

    Until next time,

    Happy Sewing!

    Notes to self:

    • Check schedule up to Christmas for potential sewing days.
    • Keep washing the paper!
    • Purses and wallets for all!
    • Next time we visit I’ll plan the NY days for after the family visit so I can buy a suitcase of fabric!