Welcome to my new sewing room! It’s my favorite room in the house: this is where the magic happens. Out of all the rooms, this one has taken the most tweaking to get it just how I like it. It’s a never-ending process, but I love where it’s at right now so it’s time for a tour!
I made this little tee last summer, and it’s one of the simplest shirts I’ve ever made. No sleeves to set, just two pattern pieces to stitch together and then hem. Despite this shirt’s simplicity – or possibly because of it – it is my #1 most worn me-made garment, hands down.
The ultimate test of wearability for me-mades is simple: does it make it into my suitcase? This shirt passed with flying colors, and has traveled as far as Thailand! But these pictures are from another one of its journeys, when I met my favorite Marie in New York for a weekend of fabric shopping, dessert eating, and general exploring.
What’s extra special is that I bought the fabric on another Marie adventure, at the Türkenmarkt in Berlin. The fabric was cheap, and it’s not great quality, but somehow it became an extremely comfortable shirt with the perfect amount of drape and stretch. After a year of nonstop wear, it’s starting to thin out, especially where the shirt ends up rubbing on my belt buckle, but I think I have enough fabric left for a clone.
Trips with Marie always include blog photos for us both, like these where we crossed the Brooklyn bridge and I said things like, “am I walking too fast? is it blurry? how’s this?” and she patiently snapped shot after shot.
Of course, I can’t neglect to mention the fabric. Mood was the queen of eye candy, as always (and winner of both our wallets…), but there were plenty of stores, like the one above, that provided loads of inspiration. Finding fabric is a joy in itself, but the best part of this trip was discussing future projects with a fellow crafter. One of us would spot a fabric similar to one already in the stash, and we’d talk through a planned shirt, skirt, or bag… so many ideas, so little time!
As I’ve said before, traveling is often just an excuse to find new fabric stores. My most recent trip to Belgium and the Les Tissus du Chien Vert store in Liège was no exception.
Brad flew to Belgium for a business trip, and I was eager to tag along. Belgium’s promises of frites, waffles, and beer were enough to get me excited… but they also have this fabric store with a giant boat in the center of it. You can climb up to the boat, and spin the steering wheel and everything. It’s very effective marketing, since it gets your significant other excited about a fabric store (especially valuable when said significant other may or may not be the only one authorized to drive the business-use rental car).
There may have been a conversation like this:
Sam: Do you mind if we stop at this fabric store on the way to Bruges? It looks really good and there’s a giant boat in the middle of the store!
Sam: I mean, we don’t have to do it if we don’t have time or if you don’t want to…
Brad: But there’s a giant boat in the middle of the store!
I loved this store. It was an absolute delight.
Not only was there a boat in the middle of the store, but the cutting tables were fashioned on top of the beds of old trucks. The place was filled with natural light, and the decor was just right: creative but not kitschy, fun but not flashy. And the place was huge, especially by European standards, and filled with fabrics of all varieties. They had a great selection and good prices, plus a sale during my visit.
The oilcloth corner boasted its kid-friendliness with a vintage coin-op toy and hopscotch floor. The oilcloth selection was impressive, as were the selections of wools, durable outdoor nylons, and faux furs/velvets.
They had a high pile velvet that felt like heaven. Brad and I each wanted to buy enough to line every pocket of every coat, for life. We were only stopped by the fact that it was only available in red and pink. If that had been green, or orange, or blue, or yellow, we would have had to devote a suitcase (and perhaps a bank account) to the stuff.
On the upper deck, there were swings draped in leathers and suedes.
I ended up with one meter of fabric: a gorgeously textured green wool that’s destined for a new project chair. I managed to escape with just that, for now.
This was the Liège (Hognoul) location, but they have additional stores in the Brussels area. Don’t quote me, but it looks like the others may have boats as well… or at least something nearly as cool. This felt like the kind of store I could return to again and again, and I’ll definitely make another stop if I end up in Belgium sometime.
Travel Tuesday is a semi-weekly feature that allows me to recap the many trips I’ve failed to formally document. I’ll be sharing photos and fuzzy (but fond) memories from recent and not-so-recent adventures.