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ON MY MIND

ON MY MIND OTHER TUTORIALS

FABRIC STASH ORGANIZATION

July 1, 2019

Last week I talked on instagram stories about my stash and my unsuccessful attempt at organizing it. For years I have been folding and storing all of my stash fabric (which I embarassingly have way too much of) in bins tucked under my cutting table. The problem is that although it was nice and safe in there, I never remembered what I had so I would buy more and more. I also couldn’t easily locate fabric when I needed it. Enough was enough so I decided to take everything out of my bins, organize it, donate the fabric I was never going to sew, (I was able to donate it to my local library for their creative space) and get all of the stash fabric organized onto shelves. I started using the rolling method because I had heard it was easier to see your fabric, but as I kept going I realized it was way too messy for my liking.

They I shared it on instagram and a bunch of you replied that you used the comic board method. I had never heard of this method before so I went to youtube where I found this great instructional video from Sew Sweetness. I was immediately hooked and decided to change my methods. The only issue I anticipated was that all of the tutorials I found were geared towards quilting and therefore 44 inch wide stable cotton fabrics. Most of my stash consists of 54-60 inch wide apparel fabrics. Some of them are super thick, others are slippery, and most are in 2-5 yard cuts. So I wanted bigger boards right off the bat.

Instead of the smaller comic book boards, I went with these 8.5 x 11 inch magazine boards. This little bit of extra size gives just enough extra room to help with my wider fabric. They also happened to fit the height of my Ikea shelves better. This is definitely something I would consider when choosing the size of the boards you use. Magazine boards are kinda like a thick cardstock, pretty inexpensive, and most importantly are acid free. This is something I would highly recommend thinking about because you do not want the cardboard you are using to damage your fabric if it stays on there for a long time.

I also ordered these clear plastic alligator clips which come in a big package and are pretty cheap. I do wish that they had bigger ones for the thicker fabrics in my stash and I am still on the lookout for those. So far I have only found metal ones that are bigger and I don’t feel comfortable using metal on my fabric in case it rusts. I know a lot of shops also use T pins which are a great option if you are not worried about rust or the pin damaging your fabric. I decided to stick with the clear plastic ones and make them work.

Now that you know what I am using, here is the step by step of how I folded my fabric. Keep in mind that I am no perfectionist when it comes to folding these. I always wash and dry my fabric right after buying it so I am left with some wrinkly fabric and frayed ends. This doesn’t bother me at all. You could certainly go the extra mile and iron your fabric before folding but personally I think this makes the whole process too long and more of a hassle. That’s just me though.

For this demo I am using 2 yards of denim that is 60 inches wide. For each cut of fabric you need one board and two alligator clips.

Start by folding your fabric lengthwise with selvages touching. I choose to have the right side of the fabric out so that it’s easier to see the fabric for what it is on the shelf, but that is up to you.

Take your magazine board and place it in the middle of the fabric between the selvages and the fold and about 5 inches in from the cut edge.

Fold down the top selvage edges over the magazine board. Make sure to continue the fold all of the way down the length of the fabric (2 yards in my case). This can get a little tricky if you have more yardage. On my rayons when I had 4 yards I folded the whole thing in half widthwise so it was like I was dealing with 2 yards wide.

Fold up the bottom folded edge over the magazine board. Make sure to continue the fold all of the way down the length of the fabric (2 yards in my case).

Fold in the 5 inches to the left of the magazine board.

Flip the magazine board with the fabric over and over until you get close to the end of your yardage. Keep it nice and tight.

Fold in the cut edges at the end of your yardage so that they are not hanging out.

Now fold this last fold in so that everything is nice and neat.

Take your alligator clips and slide them into the second two layers of fabric up against the last fold you made. This will hold your fabric tight on the roll without having to expand the small alligator clip too much.

That is it! I am so excited about how nice and neat it looks.

They stack perfectly on my shelf and keep it looking tidy, while still allowing me to see all of my fabric. I love it so much.

Folding all of my stash only took a few hours, cost about $30 US and was weirdly relaxing. I am hooked. It is how I plan to organize my fabric stash from here on out. I hope this was helpful for you as well.

Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that at no additional cost to you, I receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. All opinions are honest and my own.

ON MY MIND SEWING

MY NYC GARMENT DISTRICT GO TO STORES

June 2, 2014

I have a bit of a love / hate relationship with the NYC garment district.  It was one of the things that I was most excited about when I moved here.  It’s amazing to have a whole area of a big city dedicated to fabric shopping.  I love that most of it is focused on apparel instead of fleece.  It’s just fun to walk in and out of the many stores, digging for treasures, and bartering a bit once you find it.  There are elastics, buttons, and silks that would be hard to find at any big name store.

But there are some drawbacks too.  It’s not an easy errand anymore.  We are talking a few hours at least once you factor in subway travel and the hunting necessary.  It also tends to be quite a bit more expensive, and no coupons (although I have found a groupon for Paron’s once).  It’s a bit quirky with sometimes rude salespeople, loads of ridiculously gaudy fabric, and the time I accidentally got locked in a store with my newborn for 1/2 hour while someone took a break – not even kidding.  And don’t even get me started on taking kids with me.  It’s a nightmare waiting to happen.  It just makes it super hard when all I want is a few buttons, or matching thread and I am looking at a 2 hour ordeal at the least.

All of that being said, I still love it here and frequent the NYC garment district way too often.  But I have found that I have inadvertantly created a little “go to” list of stores where I feel comfortable, and I know I can find what I am looking for.  Here it is:

Fabrics

Gray Lines Linen (260 W. 39th Street #4) – This store is full of all sorts of linen including tons of beautiful stripes.  And everything in the store seems to be under $10 a yard and very wide.  Seriously love this store.  It’s my current fav.
I bought this aztec linen there which I still need to make into something and the fabric for this jumpsuit.

Mood (225 W 37th St. 3rd Floor)- You can’t go wrong here.  Lot’s of choices and friendly staff.  Plus a really cute dog.  I think that Project Runway has made this store super approachable.  I even feel fine bringing my kids with me here on a weekday.
I’ve made a lot with their fabrics including this, this, and this.

Paron Fabrics (257 W 39th Street) – The first store that I ever shopped in thanks to Gingermakes.  They have the nicest people working for them and a really good mix of quality fabrics and a good clearance section.  They also often do groupons.
I used their fabric for this and this.

Chic Fabrics (225 W 39th Street #11)- This one is a bit more crazy with bolts of fabric piled high and small walkways to weave your way between them.  But they have great deals.  If you know your fabrics you can really find some great stuff here especially silks.
I bought fabric here to make this.

Notions

Vardhman Inc. (269 W. 39th Street) – This is a small family owned shop that I always check first when looking for notions.  One time I didn’t have cash for some buttons and they gave them to me for free.  Ever since then I have been loyal to them.  They are really affordable too.

Daytona Trimmings (251 W 39th Street) – They have just about everything where it comes to trimmings.  I find them a bit less expensive than Pacific and have really nice staff.  They also have a store cat that my kids like follow around.

Pacific Trimming (218 W 38th St.) – Certainly a bit more expensive that than some of the other notions stores, but they have some really great stuff.  I love going here for specific stand out items printed elastic or neon cording.  I love just looking.

SIL Thread (257 W 38th St. #1) – They have rows and rows of zippers in every color and I’ve gotten almost all of my patternmaking supplies there.

Recommended (these are ones that I have never actually been to, but keep hearing great things about)

B & J  – I can’t believe that I have never been here.  From what I hear they have tons of fabric and are extremely organized.  I think that they are on the more expensive end so I’ve just been waiting for the right project.

Metro Textiles (265 W 37th St. #908) – I havn’t been here either, but I know that a lot of my NYC sewing peeps go here a lot.  I hear that there are great deals to be found.  I will definitely pop in next time I am there.

Well there you have it.  Do any of you have “go to” stores in NYC?  Please let me know what I am missing.

Also, the winner of last weeks Fashionary Measuring Tape is Shelley Carr.  Congrats!

ON MY MIND SEWING

Me-Made-May 2014 and Instagram

May 1, 2014

I guess I am a glutton for punishment because I decided to do Me-Made-May again this year.  Here is my pledge:

I, Kelli of True Bias, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2014.  I endeavor to wear at least one handmade garment each day for the duration of May 2014.

Unlike last year I won’t be posting my outfits to the blog.  I will probably do a halfway mark and then one at the end of the month.  I will be posting my daily selfies over on my instagram account.  If you want to follow along and you are not currently following me through instagram then you can do so through my account named truebias.  I post something there almost everyday anyways so it’s a fun way to interact.

ON MY MIND SEWING

5 TIPS ON SEWING FOR MONEY

January 24, 2014

If you are like me you started sewing as a hobby.  In the beginning it was just fun, nothing I took seriously, but over the years I have learned a lot.  I’ve invested a lot of time, money, and education into sewing.  I am not sure if I would call myself a professional seamstress or designer yet, but I wouldn’t call myself a hobbyist either.  I’ve come a long way and am really proud of what I have accomplished.  With this newly honed skill there has also come a desire to make some money at what I do, but I have also found that sewing is generally undervalued.  As opportunities have come my way I have had some bad experiences, but have recently had some really great commissions.  I thought that a lot of you are probably in a similar situation so I thought it might be helpful to share what I have learned.

1. Get Paid By the Hour – For me this is by far the best way to charge for a project.  I am a stay at home mom right now which means that every minute that I spend sewing commissioned work is time away from playing with my kids, doing bills, making dinner etc…  I just don’t have a lot of extra time so when I spend time on these projects every bit of time counts.  If a project takes longer than expected (which it usually does) then it is important to me to be compensated for that extra time.  I also like that once the hourly rate is decided upon then I don’t have to keep negotiating prices every time a new project comes my way.

2. Figure Out What You Are Worth – Depending on how experienced you are or how much extra time you have will determine how much you charge.  I think a good rule of thumb is think of a rate that would make you excited every time you received a new commission.  If you are dreading every new job then you are probably not paying yourself enough.  I won’t tell you how much I charge, but I will say that in my opinion minimum wage is way too little to charge for an experienced sewer.  Be honest with yourself, but don’t sell yourself short either.

3. Say No –  When a conversation starts with “This will be really good for your portfolio.” or “I have a pair of old jeans that I was hoping to…” then I know that it’s probably going to be a no for me.  I’ve become pretty good at politely explaining how I am not really trying to grow my portfolio right now or how it’s often not worth it to fix a pair of ill fitting jeans.  There have been a couple of times that I have been sucked into saying yes out of obligation or coercion, and I always end up regretting it.  There is nothing worse than hemming your neighbors grandsons jeans – especially when you are not getting paid for it.

4. Refer a Tailor – One of the ways that I am able to stick to my guns on #3 is to know of a decent tailor.  I try to explain that they are much faster than I am and therefore it would probably be cheaper to just have a tailor do it.  If you already know of someone good then it’s really easy to just refer them on when it’s a job you are not interested in.

5. Teach Your Friends –  I know I’ve sounded like a real hard A in 1-4, but I do think that it’s important to be generous when you can.  My rule of thumb is that if one of my friends asks me to sew or mend something for them I usually turn them down, but offer to teach them how to do it instead.  Sure, it may take more time in the long run, but I enjoy the opportunity to hang out with my friends (and usually it becomes a play date for my kids too) and to teach them a new skill at the same time.

Well, that it’s it.  I am sure that many of you go about this in a very different way than I do so please share your thoughts.  I am still learning.  Hope this helps!

ON MY MIND

2014 GOALS FOR TRUE BIAS

January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

So, I have some personal life goals as well, but I really wanted my blog/sewing to have it’s own list.  I have been thinking a lot about where I want this blog to go in the following year and these are the goals that I think are going to take me there.

1 – Stay on top of my inbox
I am seriously the worst about this.  I am horrible about deleting all of the unnecessary emails that I get and therefore the important stuff often gets shuffled amongst the rest.  This year I really want to be more on top of organization so I think that keeping my blogging inbox in control is a great place to start.

2 – Move my blog to WordPress
This has been on the to do list for a long time, but I know that I’ve just got to bite the bullet and do it in the near future.  It won’t be fun, but for my blog to grow I think it’s a must.

3 – Sew More for Myself
With the birth of my little boy at the beginning of 2013 I lacked the enthusiasm to do a lot of sewing for myself.  I made a few things for me, but made a lot for my husband and kids too.  I will continue with some of that, but am ready to focus on myself a little more this year.

4 – Release a True Bias Pattern
As some of you know I took some patternmaking classes years ago in college and then started taking a few more classes this year at FIT here in NYC.  I have wanted to produce a pattern for awhile, but am finally feeling the confidence in my skills to do so.  The goal is April, but that is a very loose goal.  It’s more important to me that it is done well.  Crossing my fingers that I can make this happen.

Do you guys have any special goals for your sewing / blogging specifically?