Gathering supplies

It feels like I only just spoke about shopping but here I am, back with more lovely things to share! In my mind, it’s important that I have an intended use/project for 95% of the things I buy, and that I actually do end up using it, or (in the worst case) giving it away.

So with that in mind, I tried to make purchases of things I’m likely to use fairly soon, and I’m definitely all set for the long Easter weekend now!

Minerva Crafts

I was approached by the lovely Vicki at Minerva Crafts asking if I’d like to try some of their products. I’m approached fairly often by retailers about this sort of thing and I usually decline unless it’s a) most definitely sewing related (and not just another clothing store wanting to pimp me out for some % off code!) and b) I genuinely think I’d like the product and feel good about recommending them.

Not only are Minerva most definitely sewing-related (and owned by fellow sewists!!) but omg do they stock a gargantuan amount of sewing supplies! Ladies, it took me four days to trawl through the site and actually decide what I wanted. Four days. Not just fabric, but a ton of haberdashery (including supplies I’ve never seen anywhere else, like the stretch/lycra bindings), high end sewing tools and gadgets, patterns, the works. I didn’t even look in the Knitting, Quilting, or Needlework sections!

They’ve also got free shipping on all orders over £20, which is pretty awesome, too, as I’ve seen a lot of places with a much higher barrier than that…

But I won’t leave you in suspense any longer, here’s what I selected!

First up – 2.5m Black and silver heavyweight jersey to make the StyleArc Marie jacket, which coincidentally arrived from Australia the same day (4 working days after the shipping email! Noice!). This feels perfect for the jacket, too – hefty but drapey at the same time, with a nice bit of glam from the silver lurex threads.

Then I also couldn’t say no to 1m of fluorescent yellow poly jersey for accents in running leggings (the whole thing in fluorescent yellow is a bit Too Much, even for me!), too.

And then Vicki also threw in 2m each of their stretch bindings in black and fluorescent orange to try out on necklines and edges of tops. It was hard to choose colours as they have so many! Rachel at House of Pinheiro recently used this as the neck edge in a jersey dress and raved about it, so I’m eager to try it myself.

Heads up, people – they also stock vilene bias tape in charcoal or white, too! This stuff is amaaaaaaaaazing, and I use it for stabilising necklines, bias edges, shoulders, the lot. Burda magazine always advise using it on knits, but I find myself reaching for it on wovens (like my birthday dress), too.

Our Patterned Hand

Some sewists are funny about buying fabric online but the one item I really try to always buy in person is thread, specifically when I’m trying to match a fabric. So that’s pretty much every time I’m not buying black, white, or replacing one where I already have the colour number!

I’m lucky that I’ve got three great independent sewing shops within walking distance of my office (actually, five if you count Bhopal Fabrics and Z. Butt, which I pass on my walk home), and two of those stock Gutermann thread. Some people have brand loyalty to certain foods, clothing, or sneakers – I am forever loyal to Gutermann thread. FOR LYFE, YO.

So anyway, I set out on my lunchtime errands, passing all three sewing shops – Beyond Fabrics is closest but closed this week, and Fabrications are more machines and studio than supplies, but the lovely Our Patterned Hand on Broadway Market (Haggerston/Hackney/Bethnal Green/Shoreditch area) had everything I was looking for!

On my list was: more purple thread for my birthday dress, a black separating zipper for the Style Arc Marie jacket, and a 10m reel of 25mm/1” elastic for legging waistbands (I hate buying 1m lengths and wasting a section each time!).

Whereas Beyond Fabrics is half the distance walk from my office, they only really stock quilting fabrics, a small display of Gutermann threads, and a very limited (and mostly quilting-focused) display of haberdashery. But Our Patterned Hand is definitely more dressmaking-focused! On top of the things I bought, they also stock Liberty fabrics (in silks as well as cottons), genuine Harris tweed, a big wall of buttons, a wide choice Gutermann threads (including the new recycled poly spools), a pretty wide choice of zippers (regular, invisible, and separating), a bunch of books (including all three Pattern Magic books), and some pretty cool kits for handbags, panties, pillows, and clothing.

I had to stop myself from chatting too long and get back to my desk! It’s certainly worth the extra 30min of walking to get up there now that I know what they offer, too, and their prices were very competitive considering you don’t need to pay for shipping.

Top tip for London sewing peeps: Patterned Hand also stocks BurdaStyle magazine now, too! There were a big stack of Aprils at the till. Otherwise, it seems to be hit & miss with the big WH Smiths, I find. At least here you can call and ask first!

Funki Fabrics

I showed you my purchases from Funki Fabrics last week, but I had to email them because the samples I’d ordered weren’t included by mistake. So they shipped those out again, and I’m sooooooo in love!

From the top are the digitally printed lycra samples of: Space multi digiflex (god I love that name, hahah), Short circuit green, Flash malva, then below are Beam multi and also a non-printed sample of Flo orange stretch lace.

I’m interested in the lycras for running leggings, naturally (and I’m most tempted by the circuit boards but I really must sew down my lycra pile a bit more first!), but I love the fluorescent orange stretch lace, too, because I was so inspired by the current Etam Lingerie collection that features all-lace bras and panties in a range of really bright (and some fluorescent) colours.

Birthday dress update

I had an evening alone to sew on Wednesday but I didn’t get as much done as I was hoping. However, I did get all the really tricky bits out of the way – lots of curves to match and inset corners, both of which are notoriously difficult to do well. So it’s no surprise it took me longer than I expected!

In any case, the lining is entirely done now (the curved facings were all tricky to attach cleanly, especially the sleeve facings!), and the front and backs are all pieced together now, too.

The next step is to insert the invisible zipper (I want the dress to be classic and I fear an exposed zipper will date rather quickly), then sew the shoulder and side seams, attach to the facing/lining at the neck and sleeves, flip, and sew the lining centre back seam. Then hem!

Can I finish this before Monday evening’s birthday dinner? Normally it’d be a confident YES, but I’m running 18 miles Saturday morning (in the snow!?!? sob), then seeing friends out of town all day, then off to a film screening on Sunday followed by Sunday lunch with the inlaws… So there’s not much time to work on it!

But as soon as I’m finished it, I’ve got all the supplies I need now to hunker down over the four day Easter holiday weekend and sew, sew, sew!

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