Saturday, April 30, 2016

Fabric Referrals and Such

It’s days before your next costume event, things are not coming together on your sewing table, it’s time to rethink your project or maybe even start over.  How many of us have been there?  I know I have, and just recently with last month’s Titanic Tea event.   I am going to share the following information for the benefit of the OCCG members and others. 

Hidden fabric locations with the lowest prices (better than the LA fashion district):

1)      Jenny’s Fabrics
8984 Warner Ave
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

M-F     10-8pm
Sat       10-6pm
Sun      12-5pm

Notes:  4.9 star review; 17,000 square feet of fabric shopping, mostly cottons at $2.98py, but they carry everything from cotton to silk at prices as good or better than what you can bargain for in LA.  Look for the “flats” of fabric and be prepared to do some digging.  The staff is very knowledgeable and helpful.  Sometimes I have stopped off here on my way to LA and found exactly what I needed, and saved myself the time and traffic.  Jenny’s is located right off the 405 at the Magnolia exit in Fountain Valley.

2)       M & L Fabrics
3430 W Ball Rd
Anaheim, CA 92804
714) 995-3178
*mention you are an OCCG Member to save an extra 10%!!!

M-F     9-7pm
Sat       10-6pm
Sun      12-5pm

Notes:  4.7 star review, 23,000 square feet of fabric shopping, the BIG sister of Jenny’s Fabric!  Same owners!  Same great saving, but an even BIGGER selection of fabrics and all things sewing related.  Look for the “flats” of fabric starting at $2.98py and remember to check out the room at the back of the store for more great deals.  The carry a full selection from basic cottons, voile, lawn, batiste, to quilting cottons, all the way up to silk bridal satin and everything in between.  They have two major sales per years at 50-75% off their prices.

3)      Dorrell Fabric Outlet
10870 Spencer Ave
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

M-Sat  10-6
Sun      11-5

Notes:  4.5 star review; fabrics start at $5py and up, lots of upholstery fabrics.  Located right off the 405 freeway at Euclid/Ellis in Fountain Valley.

4)      Fabric Outlet and Crafts
10450 Beach Blvd
Stanton, CA 90680

M-Sat  10-7pm
Sun      12-6pm

Notes:  Looks just like a shop in downtown LA with bolts and rolls of fabric everywhere!  Fabric prices are okay, as is the selection.  Be prepared to do a little digging around for things.  Fabrics, trims, laces, etc are all here.  The shop help is not very knowledgeable, so you are pretty much on your own primarily due to a language barrier.  Sometimes I have gone in and had a good experience, sometimes I could not understand a word being said and had to use a translator.  Right down the street from the Stanton Indoor Swapmeet. 

5)      Golden West College  Swapmeet (GWC)
15744 Goldenwest St
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Sat       8-3
Sun      8-3

Notes:  Sunday is your better Fabric selection day!  This is my new favorite place to buy fabrics!!  Saturday has some, but not nearly as many.  Fabric runs from $1py to $5py, and they WILL bargain!  Although, when someone is offering me fabric at $2py, I pretty much just hand them my money!  Rolls and rolls of fabrics, mostly stretchy, but some cotton, linen, and wool blends thrown in there, poly color change taffeta at $3py.  1000 yrd cotton cones at $1.25 each.  Edgings and trims starting at .05 per yard.  These prices are SO MUCH better than LA, and it can save you the drive time and traffic trouble.  The trade off is selection and service.  Service is basically measure and cutting, they really can not tell you much about the fabrics they sell, and there is often a language barrier.  I asked once about doing a burn test, and they had no idea what I was talking about, but for $1.50py I just grabbed it.  If you are comfortable with your own judgment on fabrics, you will do well here.  Beginner fabric shoppers, this might not be your best place to start unless you have someone along with you that can assist.  Also, if you see a fabric you like, you should bargain and buy it, at these prices fabric moves very fast, and it probably will not be there when you come back.  That has happened to me on more than one occasion.  Buyers come thru here and buy 30-50yrds of a fabric at a time. 

So, now you have your beautiful new fabrics and notions for your next project already to go, and you sit down to sew and your machine is not doing its job!  What to do?  Well, you can take it to your local Sewing Machine shop that will charge you $100 just to tell you what is wrong with it, and then another $50 or so to actually fix it, or you can call someone to come to you!

Ron Castellanos
Industrial Sewing Machine Tech

Works on: Brother-Consew-Juki
Union Special – Yamato
*also offers Scissor Sharpening

*He will drive from Riverside County to Orange County

I found Ron on Craigslist several months ago, and he has been a life saver, not to mention the money he saved me.  He came to my home and did a full machine tune-up for $70!!!   Very nice and respectful man, very knowledgeable and gave me some tips and tricks on how to better protect my sewing machine as well.  As you can imagine, he is very busy, so call him and make an appointment, but be prepared to wait a day or two until he can actually get to you, but his service and savings are certainly worth the wait!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Edwardian Tea Gown / Simplicity 8399

The Ladies of the Traveling Tea Society planned an Edwardian Tea on the Queen Mary this Month in Remembrance of the Titanic.  In support of this event, the Orange County Costume Guild had an Edwardian Sewing Challenge due April 1st.  While my first choice did not work out (a true vintage restoration piece – still in progress), I was able to cobble together an Edwardian Tea gown that I very much liked. 

I did not have a lot of time left for sewing and making a new gown after I tabled my original project, only about ten days, and that included buying the necessary fabrics!  I took a day looking at my pattern stash and deciding on colors.  I wanted something easy and pretty straight-forward, so I selected the Simplicity 8399 Titanic Dress pattern by Andrea Schewe.

Next, I was off to purchase fabric.  The night prior I had sat and watched a spectacular sunset, all corals, dusty purples, and peach, highlighted with pops of gold and white.  I decided right then and there, those would be my colors!  As luck would have it, I was able to pull together all the fabrics and colors that I needed.  A beautiful peach embroidered sheer, a pink Chiffon, a dusty violet Georgette, plus a coral Crepe de Chine.  The drape and hand of each fabric was in perfect contrast to the next color it layed against. 

This gown would need to be dry-cleaned due the fabrics, so I just pinned the pattern pieces and went for it.  There are three different layers on the skirt and four different layers on the bodice.  The embroidered sheer was lined with the Chiffon, the Georgette, and lastly the Crepe de Chine.  The bodice has all three of those, plus a white striped cotton underbodice that you can see just a little of.  Lots of seam sewing, hemming, and gathering for the skirt section, followed by lots of fiddling of fabrics for the bodice.  The pattern called for a big zipper, but no thank you, I went with a row of beautiful mother of pearl ½” buttons down the back instead.  Another change I made was I lengthened the sleeves to elbow length. 

One thing that I did not learn about this pattern until it was too late was the bust line.  If you are a smaller busted lady, say B-cup or smaller and short waisted, you should be okay.  This pattern makes no adjustment for cup size.  I should have done a full bust adjustment and added three inches to the length as I am also long waisted, but with a back closing gown, it is always so hard to fit yourself.  By the time I realized I had a problem, it was too late to fix it.  I just used my corset to flatten down the “girls” for a better fit, and made a wider sash to help cover my faux pas.  In my defense, I did cut a bodice mock up, but again, it is just so hard to fit a back closing gown without help.

While the pattern looks simple, it is deceptive, the layering construction can be challenging.  You have a lot of fabric to work with in all the skirts, approximately nine yards, plus another two yards or so of fabric in the bodice, for an eleven yard total.  I think I bought twelve yards total, and just managed to have a few scrapes leftover.  I bargained very hard for the fabrics and notions, so I think the entire gown cost me approx $28 to make as I already had the pattern.

I am not sure that I would personally use this pattern again unless making the necessary FBA bodice adjustments, as it was not really designed for my body shape, and there are just too many other patterns out there to try without all that extra effort.  However, I think this is a good pattern for a smaller bust sized person with beginning sewing skills that would like to give themselves a challenge.  Enjoy.