Wanna see my fabric?

fabric1 I don't even know if all the power of all the internets combined can accurately display for you the beautiousness of this fabric I just bought. Being the sewing novice I am and lacking confidence that I will not totally screw up many of my projects, I usually tend towards the discount bins at JoAnn. But recently I decided I needed a new tote. My pretty orange leather one is dirty and ragged and larger than I want.

I need something that's big enough to fit my laptop and a few other necessities while walking across campus, pretending I belong there. And something I can take to Glasgow next week and tote around everything it takes to keep me, Chris and my niece Rebecca occupied for the day.

I decided to that I would splurge on the fabric, and really take my time thinking about what I wanted this bag to look like and how I wanted to put it together. I marched (figuratively, as it's miles away) to the Viking Sewing Center on Jackson Road, fully intending to pick out some Amy Butler fabric, which I have been drooling over for months.

When I got there, however, there wasn't the selection I'd hoped and I found myself falling instead for these glorious colors. I was all proud, thinking how original I was being with my planning -- i'd use the flowery one for the main body, the stripes for accent and the polka dots for lining. I took them up to the cutting lady and she said, "Oh, lovely. Just like that bag!"

I followed her gaze and sure enough, there was a sample knitting bag that used the exact same fabric, except for the lining. Not only that -- I'd actually walked past it a few moments before and admired it. Guess I'm not so original after all. Anyhoo, I'm thinking I might use this opportunity to try my hand at an in-lining zipper. I know! Crazy! I'll let you know how it comes out.

Today, I also received a package from eQuilter.com containing some fabric I ordered up for my Dad's birthday gift. (Don't worry, he doesn't read this blog.) He cooks a lot and loves Italian food, especially pasta, so I planned to make him an apron and matching oven mitts out of this beautiful cotton printed with all kinds of Italian foods.


I ordered up the pasta fabric (left) to be the back of the apron, but now I have them together, it all looks a bit too neutral and the cream background on the pasta doesn't match the background on the main fabric. Thus, I think I'm going to go out and get some regular ol' cotton in a bright accent color -- maybe pick up the red of the tomatoes or the green of the olives -- and use that for the straps and a pocket. (I always love a pocket on an apron, don't you?) I'll be using the apron pattern from Lotte Jansdotter's book for that.

Oh, oh! And one more sewing related thing before I stop boring you with it... As I try (and fail) to master sewing some clothing items for myself, I've toyed with the idea of buying a dressform. Problem is a) they're expensive and b) they can be tough to match to your body type unless you have one custom made which is c) exorbitantly expensive.

Just when I had given up the dream (yesterday, to be exact), I went on Craig's List and lo and behold, someone was advertising an antique dressform for a song. (Not a cheap song, but a comparative song nonetheless.) A few emails exchanged and it turned out that the people selling it live not three blocks from me and were willing to drop it off on their way to dinner. (Small Ann Arbor side note: when they arrived, they noted the 826 Michigan sticker on my car and it turns out they're friends with the executive director there. Small, small, tiny world here.)


Within a couple of hours, this beauty was mine. Granted, she's a bit worse for the wear, but mostly it's superficial -- some fabric tears on the body parts and rust on the inside metal. I doubt I could even hand crank all the little twisties to get it anywhere near my shape. But it has a lovely wrought iron stand and even if I use it purely for decorative/fabric hanging purposes, having it in the corner just makes me feel that much more like a seamstress. Yay!