Sunday, December 9, 2007

I've moved...

To a new blog thats more about making stuff from the vintage fabric I've been talking about on this blog.

Plainly Jane is the new blog to go a long with my etsy shop.

I'll be updating new projects I'm working on both for my little ones and for the store.
Let me know if you like it...

Monday, October 1, 2007


I like to think I'm a library of random information. Most of the time I like to know a little bit about a lot of things, and then every so often I delve a little deeper and become an expert on something totally obscure.
As such, this is one of my new favorite websites. It actually IS a library of totally random information. Enjoy!

(picture is a little wool felt bag with a bike - very fun to make).

Saturday, August 18, 2007

(mostly) Modestly Priced Supplies On-Line

Before I start, I wanted to show you this dress I made from Kohura's Clothes. I just love this pattern and added a vintage button and vintage french ribbon from Charlotte as a closure. This is my favorite so far, but its still to big for Livy.

I had a question from a reader about where I get some of my supplies. As most of you know, I try to get all my materials second hand - from thrift stores and the like. I just like finding fabric with a history and that is way too close to the trash bin. I like the eco-friendly aspect of it.

But when I can't get what I need from the thrift store or if I'd like a little japanese fabric (I just love japanese fabric), I turn to the sources I've listed below. I also seek places that take PayPal so that the proceeds from my Etsy sales fund the next batch of goods that go up on Etsy.

LINEN ($5-$7 per yard): I love to sew with linen, but was having a hard time finding quality linen at good prices. I ran across all sorts of colored linen tablecloths at thrift stores, but I never seem to find natural or brown colors. I finally found What a great place for inexpensive linen and they take PayPal! They've got all sorts of colors and thicknesses from sheer to canvas. I have yet to place an order, but I've heard its great.

WOOL FLANNEL ($8-$10 per yard): There are a few I've found affordable wool. First, Chloe's Toes Boutique has a limited selection. Another option is Fashion Fabrics Club which has great prices on just about everything and a huge selection of wool flannel.

WOOL FELT ($8 per 18" square): Magic Cabin has a great selection of wool felt. They even have a 14 color felt pack for $35. You can find a better selection of wool felt, felting supplies, and roving at A Child's Dream Come True. Neither one accepts PayPal though.

CORDUROY: The Fashion Fabrics Club carries a huge line of stretch and 100% Cotton Corduroy.

CANVAS: I love the selection at Hart's Fabric. They take PayPal.

ORGANIC AND NATURAL FABRICS: My favorite store is Near Sea Naturals which carries nearly everything you need to sew organically. You name it and they have it: wool, hemp, cotton, and blends of tencel and silk. They have knit and woven fabrics in very pretty colors and patterns. I expected their products to cost a bit more, but they are EX-PEN-SIVE. You can find some seconds and thirds on their site though. They do accept PayPal.

OILCLOTH: Hart's Fabric is also good for Oilcloth at a great price.

JAPANESE FABRIC: My three absolute favorite on-line stores: SuperBuzzy, Purl, and Reprodepot. Each one has a fantastic selection of Japanese fabrics and kits, but other notions and trendy fabrics. Each accepts PayPal.

JAPANESE CRAFT BOOKS: The cheapest Japanese craft books I've been able to find are on Don't be intimidated by the foreign language, just click English. The only problem I've had is searching for what I want. I generally look for kids clothing patterns and finally found them under "homemaking" (I think). Their books are at least 1/3 less than any other source I've found and FREE shipping for any order over $25 anywhere in the world.

LEATHER: I found just plain leather hard to find. I was looking for scrap leather in neutral colors to make baby shoes and found Brettuns Village. They sell a bunch of different thicknesses and colors. They've got great prices, take PayPal, and have FREE shipping. What could be better.

LEATHER BAG HANDLES: They seem impossible to get sometimes. I've found Tall Poppy Craft has some vinyl and leather.

Thank to those of you who've asked about or commented on my materials. I've been meaning to post about my favorite on-line shops. Let me know if you've got any others that are just fabulous and inexpensive while still of good quality.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Plainly Jane

I finally did it. I started sewing girl's dresses, pants, scarves, and shoes a few weeks ago, trying them on Livy and then setting them aside. My idea arose from the fact that I'm not too fond of pink and frilly. Don't get me wrong, Livy has some of both in her closet - and they are pretty cute on her. I just wanted more options than purple or pink with kittens and butterflies.

So, I started sewing from Japanese Pattern Books and then making up my own patterns. I use vintage or repurposed fabric, buttons, wool, zippers, etc., all natural fibers (as far as I can tell), and very simple patterns to make clothes for girls that are minimal and understated, but still with a childish cuteness.

I'm concentrating on fall and winter wear which seems utterly ridiculous considering its been in the high 90's and feels like 107 degrees most days. I found several yards of gorgeous wool in neutral colors floating around The Humane Society Thrift Store last weekend and couldn't wait to dive into them (hence the scarves and shoes). Today I made a fabulous little jacket that actually fits Livy very well now (meaning it probably won't by winter time so look for it on Etsy).

I've only got about 8 items up on Etsy now. Nothing is selling, but its nice to see that people are actually looking at them. If they don't sell, than Livy has a fabulous woredrobe ahead of her because everything I've made, save the jacket, has been way too big.

Anyway, check out Plainly Jane by String and Scissor on Etsy. My String and Scissor store is still open too, but now I'm selling actual scraps from things I'm making and other supplies I have too much of. Here are a few more of the items I've put in the store.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Linen and a great Swap

My new favorite thing - Linen. I love the way it feels and how it sews like a hot knife through butter.

I really prefer to use found and discarded fabrics, but if I had to buy some I'd use this website for sure. Oh yes... lots of colors and thicknesses and really good prices. Did I say "really good"? Because I really meant GREAT, especially compared to other sites I've seen. The has almost exclusively linen at prices from between $5 and $8 per yard. Let me repeat... $5-$8 per yard. And they accept paypal payments which, as anyone who sells on Etsy knows, is way too convenient.

My very talented cousin, Erin of Elsa Bloom, and I have decided to do a fabric swap. We recently reconnected after losing touch for a while, and we discovered we both love sewing, vintage fabric, japanese sewing patterns, and Superbuzzy - interests we cultivated independently from one another. It must be in our genes. Anyway, I STUFFED the largest flat rate box I could find full of my favorite fabrics. And because I wish I were there in person to tell her exactly what each is, I wrote little lists telling her where I found each one. I hope she loves it!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Books and Big Ideas

As I mentioned in my last post, I am completely nuts over japanese sewing patterns. In the last week I have made no less than 3 simple skirts, 3 pairs of pants, and a dress. All are from this book:

This morning, I remembered a post praising the miracle called I remembered most of all that the post (which I don't remember the name of) mentioned FREE SHIPPING worldwide with orders over $25. What? I hate paying for shipping. Its so darn expensive that I could buy another book for the same price it costs to send my book across the states. I bought 3 books this morning for under $50 shipping (or no shipping rather) included. The downside is that it may take more than a month to get my books, but by then I'll probably have forgotten I ordered them. I'll just get a big surprise in the mail! Already though, I can't wait to see whats inside them, so for now I'll post their pictures and pine away.

Perhaps more importantly, I have been making plans to open a new Etsy shop to sell garments that I've either made too many of or that don't fit Livy or Liam. Livy is such a ham that the moment I put her in something I've just made, she runs to the full length mirror and poses and twirls. She's only 22 months old and already a clothes hound. Liam keeps telling me he wants a new dress, so one of the books has boy patterns.

Anyway, I think at least 2 of the skirts and several pairs of pants will end up in the shop. I've also made three scarves that will end up there too. I'm hoping I'll be able to sell some since its justification to make more, but we'll see. I'm trying to use all natural simple materials that I've repurposed or recycled. Lots of linens, some wools, and a bunch of cottons. I've had a ball searching for materials, but I think I may have to find a source to buy some of it new since it takes a lot more fabric to make pants than it does to make a patchwork. In the meantime, I'll continue the search for recycled materials. Its hard to tell sometimes though if something is pure or a blend, if so what else is in it. I don't like not being able to list "100% of xx" on the label if I can't be sure.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My new addiction...

girls clothing from Japanese craft books. They are some of the sweetest simplest things I've ever seen.

I've never (successfully) sewn something from a pattern because I hate to follow directions. I've also never (successfully) sewn clothing. Both of these things take too long for my taste and there are too many steps that I can mess up.

Yesterday I tried both and am very happy with the results even though the dress is a tad too big for Livy. I added seam allowances to the pattern and I'm really starting to wonder if they are already built in. I got the pattern from this book which came in the mail from Superbuzzy on Saturday.

It took me 4 hours from start to finish which included a little cuddle time with the kids. This pleases me tremendously because it means I must have improved my sewing skills quite a bit. since that time I tried to make a diaper cover.

One of the best parts is being able to use the vintage fabric I've been collecting. I have a ton of the fabric I used to make this dress because I thought I might mess up, but I'm thinking of making the same pattern from feedsacks next.

I really don't think I'd ever buy Livy clothing from a store again if I could sew fast enough.