Sunday, July 06, 2014

SR Harris Fabric Outlet - the fabric reveal

As I was snapping quick shots of my fabric purchases I realized I had purchased mostly knits.  It must be because we are currently in the midst of summer and I have quick and easy sewing on my mind.  This is what I picked up when I was at SR Harris recently.

Knit Fabric from SR Harris Fabric Warehouse  Sharon Sews Blog
From left:
  •  A black knit (very little stretch) with floral print found in the designer remnant section - $4/yard
  • A black/grey/yellow abstract print Lycra knit - $9/yard. This appears to be the same fabric used by Apple Annie to make her fabulous Sandra Betzina dress.  I bought what was left on the bolt which was just under two yards.
  • A red and white stripe (the white section is sheer) from the Worth collection - $7.50/yard
  • An abstract blue and white Lycra knit - $6/yard
From left:
  • A dusty rose Lycra knit labeled "dry-fit" - $6/yard. I plan on making workout pants.
  • Suno border print Lycra knit - $6/yard. I plan on sewing a coordinating workout top.
  •  Plum color Ponte knit - $6/yard
  • Gray "power stretch" knit - $6/yard
 Clockwise from top left:
  • Narrow plum/white stripe knit - $4.50/yard
  • Wide plum/white stripe kit - $4.50/yard. These two will be combined into one knit top for my daughter.
  • Beige and black chevron knit - $6/yard. I planned on sewing another McCall's 6612 knit pullover dress (blogged here and here) but the fabric is not as beefy as I thought so I will sew a top instead.
  • Black and white tie-dye stripe Lycra knit - $6/yard. Another top for my daughter.
From left:
  • White and purple polka dot woven - $6/yard. This one is destined to become a skirt.
  • Ignore that second fabric. That's the knit shown in the first photo.
  • A black and brown abstract print woven - $9/yard.  It has a lot of drape and I plan to sew a pair of wide leg pants.
  • A stretch woven with white roses on a navy background from the designer remnant section - $4/yard. I plan on sewing a summer dress.
I find this to be an interesting piece. As you can see from the above photo, it can be used on either side.  It is a woven that feels like something used for rain wear.  It was $6/yard and there was only two yards left on the bolt so I'll have to be creative when I use this one.

My last fabric purchase was this rayon border print knit. The flowers are huge!  This will be a dress although I'm not yet certain what pattern I will use.

And there you have it. My latest purchases from the infamous SR Harris Fabric Warehouse. I think these will keep me busy for awhile, don't you?


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Saturday, June 28, 2014

SR Harris Fabric Outlet - just another fabric shopping trip

Can you stand yet another post on the infamous SR Harris Fabric Outlet?

I only live about 40 miles from the fabric warehouse, which doesn't sound all that far. But, from where I live I need to drive through the heart of Minneapolis to reach the place and it can take me more than an hour. Doesn't sound so bad until you realize that you'll likely spend at least three hours inside shopping.  Add the commute time home and it's a five-hour ordeal.  I don't about you but my weekends are booked pretty solid and finding an extra five hours is difficult.

That's why, when I had a full-day of a work training scheduled only five miles from the place I hightailed it over there at the end of the day's training.  I could either spend a few hours fighting my way home in rush our traffic or spend a few hours waiting for traffic to thin out enjoying myself at the fabric store. 

I was looking for a few specific things this trip.  One was some appliques, which can be found in the rows of bins jam-packed full of appliques that cost $3 each. It requires patience and digging as there is no order to the items in the bins.
I didn't find what I had in mind, but did purchase these three leather embellishments.
I did notice they have increased the rows of quilting cottons tremendously.
The rows of silk always draws my attention. Although this visit I wasn't looking for silks.  The roll pulled out with the reds and purples was one I was debating about purchasing but decided no.  It was marked $25/yard so it sells for $12.50/yard.  Fabrics are all 1/2 of the price marked on the end of the bolt.
Since I had time to waste while I waiting for that heavy rush hour traffic to subside I began looking for the bolts with the designer fabrics.

I loved the texture of this SUNO fabric, but just couldn't figure out what I would sew with it since the colors could not be worn near my face.

 However I did purchase some of this SUNO border knit.  Remember, half off the marked price so this was $6/yard.

Others names I spotted while wandering through the aisles included Nanette LaPore.

Ellen Tracy (turn the sound off on your machine if you click the link to the Ellen Tracy site.)

 Nike knits

 Half of an aisle filled with bolts from Worth.  Keep in mind this is a warehouse and an aisle is quite long and quite high.
 The other half of the aisle was filled with bolts labeled "Made in Italy". 
In addition to these few bolts I showed you, there are wools, leather pieces and hides, linens, challis, dancewear, satins, cottons, fleeece, faux furs, home dec fabrics, home dec trimmings, laces, trims, zippers, buttons, and more. Whew.

If you haven't seen it yet, in 2011 I put a short clip on Youtube from one of my shopping trips to give you an idea of what to expect once inside.

I did notice  that the prices have gone up,  but I guess that's the case with everything. 

Next post I'll share my fabric purchases with you.


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Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Breeze Skirt - Simplicity 1662

"My, don't you look colorful!" 

I heard that comment twice today as I walked into the office wearing my Simplicity 1662 skirt.  

Was it meant as a compliment? Maybe, maybe not.  Who cares? When the sun is shining and the temps are soaring, I enjoy wearing colorful skirts and dresses.

This design is a hi low skirt with an elasticized waist. I sewed view B, a faux wrap, with the addition of a ruffle.
I appreciate how much the front pieces cross over on this design.  When that summer breeze becomes a gust of wind you don't want to drop what is in your arms to quickly try and keep your skirt in place. 

I also liked the separate casing for the waistline elastic.
The fullness of the skirt, the addition of the ruffle and the soft fabric created the perfect combination allowing the skirt to swirl and float as I walked. 

The fabric is a polyester print purchased at my local Hancock Fabrics in 2013.  In fact, I sewed this skirt within days of purchasing the fabric but didn't wear the skirt at all last summer. I'm determined to not let that happen again this year! 

For the office I simply paired it with a white cami, a turquoise green cardi, gold leather peep toe flats and clear beaded necklace. 

For running errands on the weekend I pair it with a sleeveless top and sandals. 
 This easy-breezy skirt is a breeze to sew and a delight to wear.  
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sew It All 8: Silk Pants, Striped Skirt, T-shirt Refashion and more

Sew It All Volume 8 will be on newsstands June 17. Inside you'll find dozens of projects to sew - including three of mine.  I haven't seen a copy of the magazine yet, but the editors sent me the images of my projects so I could share them with you.  I really like how they styled the garments for the photo shoots.

My favorite project is these wide-legged, silk, border-print pants.  You'll find the instructions for the "What a Waist" pants in the magazine and can download the pants pattern from the Sew It All website.

Next is a striped skirt sewn with alternating bands of solid and print cotton fabric.  You won't even need a pattern for this one.  Complete instructions for the "Show Your Stripes" skirt are in the magazine. 

The third project is a t-shirt refashion. It will fit you perfectly as you start with two t-shirts in your size.  The magazine instructions will tell you where to cut the shirts apart and how to sew them into this ruffled "Tee Party" knit top

Want to win a copy of Sew It All V8?  

Head over to the Sew It All blog  and comment on this threadHurry! Three copies will be given away with the winners announced on Friday, June 13.

And when you get your magazine and sew one of my projects I would love it if you would share it with me!

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Blog Tour: Two Versions of Pattern Review's Winter Street Dress

My turn, my turn! 

Well, welcome if you're here for the PatternReview blog tour of the Winter Street Dress! Thinking I had some spare time to sew, when Deepika put a call out a few weeks ago for pattern testers I threw my name into the mix.  

Silly me.  By the time Deepika sent the PDF pattern and instructions my free time had already disappeared. Why do I share that with you?  Because even with the small amount of time I had available to test this pattern I was able to sew two. 

Yes. Two. Because it really is that simple.

So let's back up a bit.

The dress itself is designed for knits, either long or three-quarter length sleeves with or without ruffled flounce.  The neck is nicely scooped - not too low, not too high, just right.  The skirt has two inverted pleats on the front and back.  The bodice is drafted for a C cup.  Sizing ranges from XS to 4XL.

Step one was to download, print and tape together the PDF pattern.

Ugh!  I discovered I'm not really a fan of that task.  It's so tedious!  

But my little buddy was there to keep me company. And by company I mean she scattered the papers all around as soon as I had everything lined up and then curled up for a nice long nap.  Snoring loudly too.

Anyway, back to the dress.  I decided to sew version number one - the pink dress - with minor alterations, using the recommended knit fabric. In my case a hot pink ponte knit. 

That I realized I had put aside to use for another partially finished project.  Of course I remembered the half finished project about oh, five seconds AFTER that last snip of the scissors. Oops!

The minor alterations?  A forward shoulder adjustment and adding 2" to the length across the bottom of the front bodice.  On the back I added the 2" to the side and graded back to the original pattern cutting line. 

At the testing stage, I did not have the final, detailed (and nicely photographed) instructions to follow.  As Sherril mentioned in her blog post, when we began testing the pattern piece for the neck band was not yet included. I used a 2" wide knit to bind the neck edge. 
On the test pattern there were no markings for the gather lines on the sleeve flounce - just general instructions to gather the center portion of the flounce only.  I left 2" on each side flat.

The fit of the pink dress is okay - but not quite where I would have liked it to be.  Even though this is drafted for a "C" cup, if I were to sew this again in a ponte knit I will need to an FBA.  You can see how it is too tight across the bust. I ended up taking in the waist at the side seam an 1" on each side and it's still loose.  I tried to pull it in with a belt but I think that just emphasizes the tightness of the bust. I would also peg that hemline more.

On the bright side - the back fits  very nicely. And don't let that innocent little face fool you - she's a little terror  when it comes to ripping paper!

I was done at this point, until  I started seeing all of the FABULOUS dresses on the blog tour. Yikes!  Mine looked so simple. So plain. So boring.   What to do, what to do, what to do....A-ha!

I remembered a piece of fabric I had ordered online about a year ago. It had this interesting pattern of boxes that grew in size from tiny at the selvage, to large in the center, back to tiny at the selvage. I was rather surprised when it showed up as that part wasn't clear when I ordered the fabric. 

Never one to shy away from using a border or unique print (see maxi dress, asymmetrical top, orange knit dress, baseball style tee) I tucked it away until the perfect project came along. It just so happened that was the Winter Street Dress.

I had to think carefully about how to place the pattern pieces as that yellow/green could not be near my face. Unless I wanted to hear "are you sure you feel okay" all day long. 

The small  boxes were used for the bodice, large boxes for the skirt and purple boxes for the neck edge.

As I was sewing the dress I kept thinking it was too much.  But I like it.  Both the fabric design and the fit. 

It's interesting that I cut and sewed this second version EXACTLY the same as the first. The only difference was the fabric.  This fabric is a lightweight sweater knit.  It works much better on my curves.

The back view.

I'm glad I was able to test this pattern because in all honestly I might not have purchased it as I thought the design was "too young" for me. (But what the heck does that mean anyway?  That's another post for another day. )

Be sure to check out the other dresses on the blog tour:  
The Winter Street Dress pattern can be purchased at

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